Director Biography – Anthony Venezia (REDEMPTION)

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After seeing John Wayne in the film “The Alamo,” Tony Venezia longed to become an actor. But growing up in Villa Park is a long way from Los Angeles and when Venezia finally made it there for graduate work at UCLA, it was not to study acting but animation.
As a high school student, Venezia began creating independent films in 1969 using a borrowed 16mm movie camera with his clay animated piece “Klei.”
Venezia’s 3½-minute stop-motion animation film also won several awards in competition including a best animation award in college level category.
Venezia studied film in college, creating several award winning films while at Illinois State University.
In 1978, he decided to make his break to Los Angeles when he was accepted to the Animation Workshop at UCLA. “My original plan was to do a year. I wanted to make my first film at UCLA and then come back to Chicago,” Venezia said. “After about three weeks into the program, I decided I wanted to finish it.”
During his time at UCLA Venezia created more award winning films including one that won the honor of national finalist for the student Academy Awards in 1983.
In 1981 he formally began his career in special effects working at Mid Ocean Motion Pictures in Hollywood. Mid Ocean was a unique studio that created effects for high-end TV commercials and show opens. It was here that Venezia started experimenting with a technique called slitscan. This is a process of painting with light directly on to film. Between 1981 and 1989 he completed three abstract films using this technique. In 1983 Venezia founded what would eventually become Electric Filmworks, a special effects company that created film effects, graphics, theatrical movie opens, and trailer elements. In 1987 Venezia received a hefty production grant to produce his film Ghost Dance, which was the third film of the above-mentioned series. Since in 1989 Venezia has not produced any independent films until this year, however he has worked on a multitude of theatrical and commercial projects. In 2000 he came back to his Midwest roots to raise his children in an area that was more family friendly than Los Angeles. Since that time, he worked four seasons on the Oprah Winfrey Show in their on-air graphics department and has created nearly all of the show graphics and elements for Total Living Network between 2000 and 2011. Venezia has been teaching full time at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, since 2005, where he established their animation program.

Director Statement

Within one’s spiritual life things like defeat, despair, desolation, depression, and even death are encountered. What happens after one decides to stand up to these challenges and experiences a second chance?
Death is a passage in both a figurative and literal sense. To some death comes to end life. But to others the passage through life is a constant journey through change, growth, and restoration.
These experiences are opportunities to a richer life if only one can grasp them. Redemption explores those concepts.

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Director Biography – Reena Dutt (TOO MANY BODIES)

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Dutt is a member of Lincoln Center’s Directors’ Lab in New York City, and an experienced producer. Her most recent producing credits include the Sundance premiering AKICITA: The Battle of Standing Rock (2018), John Legend’s “Penthouse Floor” (over 10M views on Youtube), and a PSA in support of the #MeToo campaign (As seen on Huffpost, NowThis, and USA Today coming soon).

As a director, Dutt was a finalist for the NewFilmmakers On Location competition with her short, SNAPSHOT!, her short films 3 PUFFS OF GOLD travelled the festival circuit internationally, and TALL as seen on Evite.com.

Dutt has directed a series of Sponsored and Original Content projects for Evite.com, commercials for Mr. Tummee, and a spec for Moet Chandon. She also directs theatre in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

She is a graduate of the Media Arts program at the University of Arizona, Tucson, the acting program at William Esper Studio, New York City and was a fellow with San Francisco Film Society and Film Independent.

Most important, Dutt is a city girl with a country soul who creates with a conscience, on and off screen.

Director Statement

After the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I counted back the years to the first school shooting I was aware of. It was nearly 20 years prior at Columbine High School. I remember having just moved to Los Angeles and flipping through my mental Rolodex of dorm friends – was anyone I just graduated with a Colorado Native? Did they go home for the summer? Were they or their families affected?

Social media was not a powerful tool at that time, and now Parkland students are making strides online with their own journey to reform through digital media. Mobilizing thousands across the country to support common sense gun laws, they mirror the youth I dreamt of being — the activists of 1968 Berkeley and New York City.

Around the same time I started thinking about a John Legend video for “Penthouse Floor” I had produced a few months prior that addressed our country’s polarizing political divide. The video garnered numerous remarks online and I further realized our need for entertainment – it’s an approachable means of expressing opinions of conflict. Perhaps members of those online audiences may not feel comfortable speaking their opinions in public, and instead, they activate by becoming living room advocates.

In the process of seeking support for the production, I learned the TOO MANY BODIES team had two degrees of separation from a fatality of the Santa Fe High School shooting, and I personally had one degree of separation from a Columbine survivor. I only learned of my colleague when she revealed her PTSD was ongoing due to the event nearly 20 years prior, and it wasn’t something she revealed to too many people.

What happens to the families who have lost loved ones? What happens to the community members who were witnesses? What happens to the survivor with life-changing PTSD? What happens to the onlooker who doesn’t know how to help?

Film and movement were always my go-to therapy, and TOO MANY BODIES brings the two together as a means to express something that is as important to my soul as is being an American. The music video is partnered with a website for survivors, advocates, and loved ones. We hope to point audiences in an introspective direction that will in turn ask them to rethink and/or activate as advocates for common sense gun laws.

The power of art as a seed for discussion is necessary. I hope you and fellow artists join me in having those hard conversations using art as an instigator, in turn strengthening the progress of our community and our country.

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Director Biography – Simo Liu (GEOMETRY)

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Simo Liu is an animated film artist, illustrator and designer. Originally came from China, Simo studied animation and digital arts from University of Southern California as well as motion graphics from California Institute of the Arts. Simo’s works combine various styles, techniques and aesthetics with sounds and music to show art pieces interesting and meaningful.

Director Biography – Stirling Matheson, Sarah Farnsley (ABSOLUTION)

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Stirling Matheson is a founding director of Ballet Theatre of Indiana, a choreographer of numerous narrative works, and a dancer.

Stirling Matheson grew up in Fairfax, California, where he trained at Dance Theatre Seven under David “Rocky” Roxander and Jody White. He continued his training at the Arizona School of Classical Ballet with Nadya Zubkov before attending Butler University, where he earned a B.A. in Dance (Pedagogy). While at Butler, he performed principal roles in Giselle, Cinderella, Serenade, and several other works. Under the direction of Marek Cholewa, he performed in a tour of Poland and studied at the Cantilena School of the Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia.

After graduation, he danced with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, where he performed soloist and principal roles in Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Frontier 1812. After leaving Maryland he worked as a guest artist throughout the country before founding Ballet Theatre of Indiana in 2014.

For BTI, Stirling has created a number of original works including Dracula, The Masque of the Red Death, Baba Yaga, and Under the Bridge, and directed the short film of Sarah Farnsley’s Absolution, which premiered at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood as part of the Dances With Films Festival and has been featured several other festivals as well..

As a writer, Stirling has been published by Dance Magazine, Digital Trends, Complex Magazine, 95 Octane, and About.com.

Director Statement

Most of the time, when a camera is turned towards dancers something is lost. Either a choreographer is too frightened to cut in and lose any movement or a filmmaker doesn’t capture the essence of the choreography itself. This leads to film that either has the look of archival footage, which is missing the emotional impact of live performance, or a work of cinema that almost glosses over the actual dancing. My goal for “Absolution” was to balance these two artforms and use the magic of cinema to replace the emotional impact of a live show.

Director BIO: Kate Kroll (RANGWANG)

Kate Kroll Creator Profile

Kate Kroll

genres:

Documentary, Experimental, Fiction

topics:

Arts, Music, Multicultural

Senior:

Director, Producer, Production Manager

Intermediate:

Editor, Writer, Camera Operator

Junior:

Host, Music, Social Media Strategist

Short Film: EMERGENCE, 5min., USA, Dance

Directed and Conceived by Klaus Hoch, “Emergence” is dance music video shot as a single, continuous drone take. “Emergence” features live music composed and performed by Peter Manning Robinson playing his Refractor Piano™, with choreography by Emilio Dosal.

Project Links

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Director Biography – Alayna Jennings (UNREMEDIED)

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Independent filmmaker and spoken word artist Alayna Jennings is a Salt Lake City native. She has worked in the entertainment industry since 2010. Her work combines the artistry of poetry, choreography, and film. Alayna’s passions radiate in her work, addressing critical social issues with a focus on affecting authentic change.
Her directorial debut Unremedied attacks the dangers of indifference and ignorance towards a relevant societal epidemic, sexual harassment.
Alayna’s written works have been performed live throughout the country, and include topics such as domestic violence, equality for women, child abandonment, and embracing the power of activism.