Director Biography – Jesse Haaja (ONCE AN ANGEL)

642b14fe21 headshot

Jesse Haaja is an multi-award winning director, producer and a writer. His first full length film Rendel was released 2017 and it was sold to over 60 countries.

Haaja has a background in commercials as Graphic Designer and Art Director. In 2009 he founded the company Haaja & Arwo Design which grew to be the biggest advertising agency of the area in just a few years. Through the agency Haaja has directed and worked as writer, director, producer and DOP for several award-winning commercials and in 2015 was chosen as the young entrepreneur of the year.

His latest accomplishment is Finland’s first superhero movie Rendel (2017). Rendel is based on Haaja’s own creation; a comic character he came up with when he was 13-14 years old. Rendel has already gained tens of thousands of followers and Rendel enthusiasts from all around the world.

Haaja has earned a reputation as an easy going but determined and ambitious director. He takes pride in being positive and trusting his crew with his creative vision to be executed properly. As an endless source for ideas, Haaja is known to work tirelessly towards his goals.

Works and lives in Finland and Los Angeles. He is fluent in English and Finnish.

Short Film: ONCE AN ANGEL, 2min., USA, Experimental

The White Angel and the Black Angel

  • Film Type:
  • Genres:
    Musical, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    2 minutes 23 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 19, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:

Director Biography – John J.A. Jannone (SOLDIER ONLINE)

I am an audiovisual installation and multimedia artist, composer, and have a background as a performer, improviser, and creator in music, theater, and hybrid performance forms.

I’ve been teaching for over 20 years, most of that time at Brooklyn College, but also at Osaka University, Hunter College, Pratt Institute, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

My current work is in the areas of:

* Sound and music for existing media (scoring for film, television, multimedia, theater, and dance)
* Sound and image as a product of generative processes (2D and 3D algorithmic image generation which implies, or literally maps to, sonic processes).
* Re-purposing antique technologies as sound-generating sculptural objects (for instance, my current work in re-building vintage oscilloscopes as music synthesizers, blending a retro-tech sculptural aesthetic with physical computing and hybrid analog-digital synthesis design and construction).

I’ve been fortunate to recieve numerous grants, including NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) and Creative-IT grants, in the areas of mixed-reality learning environments, multi-channel sound dispersion, music composition, mobile-networked collaboration, and research and teaching innovation.

I joined the faculty at Brooklyn College in 2000 with the mission of creating interdisciplinary programs in new media. I created the Advanced Certificate program in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) in 2001; and, in 2006, the PIMA MFA program, which I directed through 2008, and again 2011-13.

In addition to my teaching in my home department of Television and Radio, within the City University I’ve taught Music Composition and Computer Music in the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, and Sound Art in the IMA program at Hunter College.

In 2014 I was thrilled to be invited to teach in the Arts and Media Graduate Program at Osaka University, one of Japan’s most prestigious universities. I spent a wonderful six months in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

For 18 years I’ve served as Executive Director of Camp Ballibay for the Fine and Performing Arts, a summer arts education program for children, and currently the top-ranked program of its kind in North America.

Short Film: SOLDIER ONLINE, 5min., USA, Music Video

5c71080cf2 poster

Official music video for Old Robes (Subtle Soup Records) “Soldier Online” from the album The Spider and the Spectator.

Software Art / Realtime Cinema: generative, audio-responsive animation.

Who is the Soldier Online? A gamer, lost in their own exciting but unreal world? A drone pilot, far removed from the too-real destruction they are causing? A troll, wielding heavy words at a distance? Just a persistent brute, pushing forward despite desperate odds? Or perhaps, quite literally, a dog in heat? (On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog…) It’s this mystery character that I animated, always running, but always fragmenting and re-forming, in a world alternately collapsing and exploding around them. The animation is generative and audio-responsive, meaning that it is not “edited” in a conventional, linear way: rather it is a piece of software that responds to the changes in the music to create an evolving visual narrative. Although you are seeing one recording of the video, in its native form it turns out differently each time it is played, influencing the narrative implications. The look of the piece takes its playful inspiration from motifs in 17th-century Chinese classical painting.

Project Links

Director Biography – Arsen Arzumanyan (FURNACE OF THE BIRDS)

Eb3cf674c2 headshot

I am a Filmmaker originally from Latvia who has been working as a sequence designer and digital cinematographer in Hollywood films and Commercials for the past 10 years. My goal is to use new technologies and methods to try to recreate dreams capes and take the viewer on strange but enjoying journey.

Director Statement

This Film is a combination of several visual experiments, structured around one main narrative premise. What if Birds had religions, what would there myths be? What would there ceremonies be? I was heavily inspired by documentary style cinematography especially at the start of the film. I want the audience to feel like we are observing in on an event that is happening regardless if the cameras are on or off.

Short Film: FURNACE OF THE BIRDS, 3min., Animation/Experimental

E0dc8e40bd poster

An Avian creation myth stepped in mysticism. If birds had a religion, perhaps this would be there origin myth.

Project Links

Director Biography – Mark Robertson (STANDING AS ONE)

3429b6f87c headshot

The work of Mark Robertson and One Vision Productions has impacted the lives of over 10,000 at-risk youth across the country, in both regional and remote communities.

Founding Director, CEO and MC, Mark Robertson is well renowned for his passionate contribution to creating social change and has been widely recognised for his innovative approach and visionary thinking.

Short Film: STANDING AS ONE, 4min., Music Video/Dance

78f5847594 poster

This deadly mob from Kingscliff High School are demanding social change with this amazingly powerful Hip-Hop film clip, created during the 8 week Music For Change Workshop by One Vision Productions. Their strong imagery tells a story of two worlds; the Dreamtime, where the ‘Old Ways’ were the guide, and the modern day where greed and corruption rule.

Their message is this…

We must unite and strengthen our connections to ourselves, each other and mother Earth in order to build a better future for all.


Director Biography – Emma Keehan (OUROBOROS)

E1f30f8eda headshot

New to the Asheville, NC area, I am looking forward to being a part of the talented film community here.

My day job is in the mentoring/counseling field with flexible shifts and this has allowed me to work with some local filmmakers on several interesting projects and I look forward to continuing my engagement with the local film community.

Before moving to Asheville, I was a student at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) where I graduated in 2018 with a degree in film. I was a member of the Production Club at my school for my first year and went on to be selected as the club’s Producer and Officer, successfully running the club for the next three years.
I had some wonderful teachers at UWM, including Tate Bunker, Sky Hopinka, and the late Ken Wood. My favorite classes included: Zen, The Art of Filmmaking, Director of Photography, Horror, and The Business of Screenwriting. The connections with my professors and fellow students were the most valuable assets from that chapter in my life and I long for the time when we can all gather again to work on a collaborative project.

My years in Milwaukee were the longest time I have spent in one city. From a very young age, my family moved from place to place on an average of every two years. It was incredibly fun and exciting to move all over the world and meet and become friends with so many different people.

Amidst all the travel were two constants for me and my younger sister and brother. 1) We all were homeschooled. In fact, my first class in “normal school” was my first day in college, where I graduated with honors. 2) We were all on the saber fencing circuit for many years, bringing home gold medals and high rankings. My sister and I traveled around the world for years representing the US in our sport.

I want to use my life to explore, take risks, and connect with people along the way. Which is great because, as far as I can tell, that’s what life wants for me and if I should be allowed to philosophize for a moment, for us all as human beings.

Director Statement

Within a voiceless, fantastical present-future, heavily masked figures stand within what seems to be a cargo train as they travel throughout the night and arrive at their destination in order to carryout their solo dances. The judge allows the performers to offer only small portions of their contemporary routines before harshly buzzing each of them off stage.

Our main character begins to ponder the fruitlessness of this cycle as she sits in an enchanted room bustling with mesmerizing activity while a visionless wardrobe attendant hurriedly goes through the motions of preparing her for the stage.

The dancers repeatedly travel, present their art, and receive the buzz of failure from judges until one day the main character’s eyepiece cracks and falls away to reveal her innate sense of sight. She discovers her own unadorned skin and wakes up to the ineffectuality of the maze of unfulfilling circumstances that make up her life.

She confronts the next judge who rejects her efforts and reveals his specious nature. Trying to help her fellow voyagers, she lifts the mask from the next contender who, overwhelmed by the anxiety of learning of her own essential power, pulls the mask back down to cover her face, thus returning to the life she knows.

The main character reveals a dejected and despairing posture, sharply contrasting with her bold and sweeping choreography. Unable to face the challenges of a new way of life without help from her cohort, she returns to the train and rides on into the night wearing a fully repaired mask.

Short Film: OUROBOROS, 8min., USA, Dance

7ce4238211 poster

One masked dancer threatens the cycle of pursued acceptance met by authoritative rejection when part of her facade falls away and she can truly see.

News & Reviews