Hiram Martinez - screenwriter/director
Dominican-born, NYC-based Martinez is a 2009 Nicholl Finalist for Ansiedad, a skewed coming of age dramedy which has completed filming with Eva Mendes, directed by Patricia Riggen, scheduled for 2012 theatrical release. Since Nicholls, Hiram has secured a deal with CBS, adapted Dusty and The Big Bad World for Jon Hamm's Points West Pictures, written a TV pilot, The Fighting Kind, and signed with ICM. Current projects include a series for Michael Keaton for HBO, and a development deal for WB. Martinez' feature writing/directing debut, Four Dead Batteries, won a number of Best Feature, Best Comedy and Best Screenplay awards and was named a "Critics Favorite" by The Village Voice. He has the distinction of having edited both Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly's shows. His newest spec, Flying Paper Airplanes, is in development for Paula Weinstein and Jeffrey Levine.
Sean McCarthy - screenwriter-director
Sean began filmmaking as a kid in urban San Jose, learning the craft - and gaining access to equipment - sneaking into film classes at local college campuses. His first short film, RAGING CYCLIST, won acclaim in Bay Area festivals. It was followed by the tongue in cheek SUPERHERO, with McCarthy in the title role as an ordinary guy in a bad world. In the process of making his films, Sean trained a team of actors, producers and crew that now produce music videos and commercials together under the Guerilla Wanderers production banner, whose OFFICER DOWN, won the 2008 Babelgum Short Film Award. Sean's most recent short, BOXED UP, a thriller, was selected to screen in 2011 Cannes, and will be making rounds this the festival season; a music video, CUTTING SEAMS, has been winning awards, including 2011 L.A. Music and Film Festival.
John Soto - screenwriter/director
John Soto's features have received distribution in over 60 countries and fans worldwide. Debuting in Fall 2010, NEEDLE was awarded the 2010 L.A. Screamfest "Golden Skull" and took honors for Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, and Best Supporting Actress at the British Horror Film Festival. A dual Austrailian-American citizen, Soto heads his own production company, Filmscope Entertainment. He is currently in pre-production for his new screenplay, VENGEANCE, a detective mystery thriller, which he will direct and co-produce with Greg Coote's Latitude Entertainment in 2012.
Bernard Dixon Jr. screenwriter/director
An accomplished music video and commercial writer-director-producer Dixon's dramatic debut was the award winning conspiracy thriller, THE LYRIC, set in the Chicago hip-hop scene. Dixon's BET credits include Road To Sunday Best, music videos, promos and sketches, featuring D.L. Hughley, Damon Wayans, Fantasia, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Rodney Perry, Morris Chestnut, Jay Phillips, Chris Spencer, Chris Brown, Omar, Allen Payne, Mike Epps, and Nick Cannon. He co-wrote, directed and produced the pilot DA NETWORK, a sitcom based on his experiences at a black entertainment network, with an ensemble cast that included Phil Morris and Damon Wayans Jr. He is currently in discussions on an original multiplatform series THE LINK, which has found advocates at Foxx-King. A suspense thriller, 7 SONS OF PSYCHO, about an undercover reporter investigating a murder by hazing in a black fraternity, has veteran producers Robi Reed, Holly Carter Davis, Dwight Williams and Preston Holmes, and stars, including Kevin Hart, attached.
Caleb Claxton - screenwriter
Raised in the American Heartland (that would be Kansas) with an ex-military stepfather and homeschooled by his mother in an eccentric houseboat community in Florida, Claxton's specs have tackled revenge and double agents in post-IRA Ireland (The Begotten), a cross-cultural exchange of Mafia and Yakuza assassins (Go Fight Go). Portal, co-written with Brian Maples, takes a group of geeky developers on an adventure inside a World of Warcraft-style game. Caleb's recent assignments include a contemporary Western crime drama set in the Napa Valley. He is in discussions to adapt Bob Layton's classic comic Freakface.
John Arends - screenwriter
With a background encompassing fiction, poetry and advertising, Arends imbues commercial, concept-driven screenplays with a timeless sense of story. His award winning specs include Solomon's Whale, Page Grand Prize winner and Nicholl semi-finalist, about a band of ecowarriors battle to save the King Kong of whales from a mercenary hunter, and Trice, a period bio about the color barrier breaking football player Jack Trice (as Heart of Honor, top 30 for the 2009 Nicholl award). Past assignments include a sci-fi/actioner about the replanting of the Garden of Eden for producer Ernst-August Schneider and adapting his feature Shepherd's Moon as a TV series for producer Tracee Stanley. Next up, a contemporary action thriller set in Chicago.
Gus Buktenica - screenwriter
Gus began as an actor in the Second City after obtaining degrees in Economics and English. With literary inspirations from Python to Joyce to Chandler to Capra to Kitano, Buktenica's scripts reveal an affinity for the common man in desperate circumstances whose salvation can be achieved through intellectual prowess and/or slapstick. His specs include a noir sci-fi, a sports-based romantic thriller, a Freaky-Friday romcom involving a man/dog swap, and a contemporary TV spoof of 60's era procedurals M Squad and Dragnet. His caper involving identical twins on opposite sides of the law, Lowe Men, set in London's swinging 60's, has just been optioned by Michael Helfant's Troika Pictures.
Emilie Beck - playwright/director
Critics have called her work "transformative." Number of People was produced as centerpiece of Hartford Stage's 2007 Brand:NEW Festival, and directed by the playwright for the Piven Theater Workshop's 2010 season; a national tour starring Ed Asner in discussion for 2011. And Let the Skies Fall, was directed by the playwright in a critically acclaimed L.A. producton. In Beck's new play, Invasion of A Sovereign Body, a celebrated chef confronts disease and the affect of "Mr. Parkinson's" progression on her relationships and identity over two Thanksgivings. Accolades as a director of other playwrights' work include the post-Katrina drama Because They Have No Words. Ms. Beck received the LA Weekly award for Best Direction and Best Production for Block Nine at Elephant Theater in 2010.
Gillian Bagwell - author
Ms. Bagswell's debut novel, The Darling Strumpet, an historical romance of the life and times of Restoration actress Nell Gwynn, will be published in January 2011 by Penguin's Berkley Books. September Queen, a prequel, set for publication in 2012, describes young King Charles II's escape from England to France disguised as a servant to Jane Lane and their life-long affair of the heart. Both books also have publication deals for the UK (Avon) and European territories. A classically trained actress, Bagwell was Artistic Director of the Pasadena Shakespeare Festival for 12 seasons, mounting thirty-seven critically acclaimed productions.
Gerald Emerick - composer/writer/director
Gained notoriety at CBGBs with the band Quincy, which was signed by Columbia to a record-breaking deal. Emerick went on to create the PTL Sound Club, a satirical alternative music/performance-art club act, and to build a long list of credits as a film actor (Being John Malkovich, Synecdoche, NY) and composer (Walk Hard). He wrote and directed Who's Kyle?, featuring Gary Oldman and Shams and Delusions, a Big Bear Film Festival selection; his short The Heart's Eye View, took Grand Prize at the LA 3D Film Festival.
Kateland Brown - screenwriter
A young woman whose characters violate male sanctuaries and live to tell. Kateland Brown's feature spec, Fire Storm, an action-drama involving a rookie female firefighter's initiation, was a UCLA Extension Screenwriting Competition Finalist. Catch the Air, tackles a homeless, black inner city teen girl whose dream is competing in the white male-dominated world of skateboard championships. As a production assistant for Warner Brother's Writers Workshop, Kateland found a mentor in workshop director Chris Mack. She has been an assistant in the writers room for CW's Smallville, and a producers assistant on Melrose Place and the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars. Ms. Brown holds a BA in Film from Cal State Fullerton.