Director Biography – Jill D’Agnenica (A DOG’S STORY)

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Jill D’Agnenica is an award winning filmmaker and visual artist working in Los Angeles as a director and editor. She’s had the pleasure of editing drama series including How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), Lucifer (Fox), Pretty Little Liars (Freeform), Stitchers (Freeform), Switched at Birth (Freeform), Undercovers (NBC), Hollywood Heights (Nickelodeon), Dirt (FX), and The Division (Lifetime). Jill made her television directorial debut on Freeform’s Switched at Birth in 2017.

The Los Angeles Times called Life Inside Out (Jill’s first feature film) “a gentle, poignant drama whose heart and head are squarely in the right place” with “tender direction by Jill D’Agnenica.” Life Inside Out premiered at the 2013 Heartland Film Festival where it won both the Crystal Heart Award for Narrative Feature and Best Premiere. It went on to be screened at 21 festivals, receiving 16 awards, including 5 Best Feature and 4 Audience Awards. After a limited theatrical run, it now streams on AmazonPrime.

Jill holds a BA in history from UCLA and an MFA in Visual Art from Claremont Graduate University. She is a member Film Independent, Film Fatales, the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Directors Guild of America.

With her myriad of experiences as a director, editor, and producer on music videos, PSAs, indie shorts and features, Jill enjoys opportunities to contribute as a guest lecturer, panelist, and mentor to fellow filmmakers and artists.

Director Statement

“A Dog’s Story” had its genesis with a series of humorous sculptures that my friend and frequent collaborator, artist Margaret Adachi, did of unhappy and angry pooches in dead end jobs. Like all of her various animal sculptures, they were anthropomorphized stand-ins for Margaret, this time aged out of work life and feeling irrelevant.

I call her “Margaret Adachi: Genius” because she is so, so quirky and funny and smart. I asked Margaret to write a back story for one of her sculptures which became the narrative for “A Dog’s Story” and together with our friend and collaborator, cinematographer Guido Frenzel, we hatched a plan for how we wanted to portray that story in film, landing on the character of The Dog giving a slide lecture, like a Ted Talk.

Guido wanted to shoot the entire movie with a 50mm lens “like Ozu” and the one-walled set I built in my studio had just enough room for him to get the wide shot we wanted.

We had a blast, setting up and shooting in one long night, laughing and chatting through each of the shots, since I decided to record all the sound in post.

I knew hitting the right tone with music would be absolutely essential to the telling of the story and also no small feat. To our absolute great good fortune, musician Goh Nakamura agreed to compose the score for the movie and it is perfection.

I am delighted that my friends and I got to play together to create “A Dog’s Story.”

Short Film: APPY DAYS, 20min, USA, Comedy/Family

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“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” goes bad. Randy finds an app to solve his families mobile technology distraction problem.

Project Links

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Short Film: THE GET TOGETHER, 12min., USA, Comedy

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A wholesome middle-aged couple from Rhode Island have been invited over to a very successful and eccentric Hollywood record producer’s house with his much younger wife to plan the wedding of their children. As the two couples start to get to know each other, their difference seem to melt away with the help of accidentally injected edible marijuana. They slowly begin to expose their own marital problems and confide and seek comfort in each others partners. One thing leads to another and they find themselves on the verge of “The Great Switcheroo” when the unexpected happens resulting in confusion, hilarity and absurdity.

Project Links

COMEDY Best Scene Screenplay: ONE MORE ZERO, by Toni Nagy

Two artists from NYC become disillusioned by their urban existence and decide to escape to rural New Hampshire to start an art collective in an effort to shift the current paradigm of consciousness – yet what they didn’t anticipate was how differing ideologies would impact their naive idealistic vision.

CAST LIST:

Faith: Jordan Boscariol
Narrator: William Poulin
Marcul: Steven Holmberg
Kevin: Gabriel Darku

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: Age-Dive, by Ryan Mutama

A struggling comedian with an unsuccessful dating life finds compatibility in a woman nearly twenty years his senior, but their difference in age triggers insecurities that he lacks the wisdom to manage.

CAST LIST:

Tara: Justine Christensen
Narrator: Jordan Boscariol
Andrew: Gabriel Darku
Lance: Fabio Abrue

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: Hashtag Blessed, by MK Ansari

Hotshot Silicon Valley lawyer, Nina Khan, must confront the trauma of her first generation Canadian upbringing and the ghosts of boyfriends past, with the help of Dr. Lata Sharma. As Dr Sharma sets off on the journey with Nina, she discovers that she has ghosts of her own to confront.

CAST LIST:
NARRATION – DIANA FRANZ
Nina – JULIE C. SHEPPARD

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: LATE FEES, by Darren Coyle

A forty-something tries to change the past to change his present.

CAST LIST:

Narration – JOLLY AMOAKO
Kassie – 8 – KATELYN VARADI
Bert – 9 – THOMAS FOURNIER
Jody – 1 – DELPHINE ROUSSEL
Eric – 1 – LOGAN FORSYTH

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch