Roozbeh Dadvand / Director/Writer
Born in Philadelphia, Roozbeh Dadvand is of Persian descent and has visited Iran several times, where his experiences there inspired interest in gender and cultural issues. In 2003, he earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature with minors in Film and Women’s Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. An aspiring filmmaker, Roozbeh recently completed the MFA Film Production program at the University of Southern California. “Mossadegh” represents Roozbeh’s graduate thesis.
Amber Beard / Producer
Amber Beard is an award winning filmmaker and USC alum. While in undergrad at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, she received a Kodak grant for film, and shot her first 35mm project. As a graduate at USC, she worked on numerous projects including as a Producer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival selection “Unspoken,” and as Assistant Director on two Student Academy Award Winning shorts: “Viola” and “Pitstop.” Amber’s films have screened at CineVegas, Raindance, Dances with Films, Chicago International Reel Shorts Festival, and the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her narrative directorial thesis “Growing Up Vegas” won Best Student Short in the Action/Cut Film Competition and an Honorable Mention at the Accolade Awards. Her short documentary “Secret Circles,Hidden Prayers,” won Best Short Documentary at the Santa Fe Metaphysical Film Festival. Her feature script, “Stillwater Junction,” was a finalist at the Cinema City International Film Festival and the First Cut Film Series. A talented director, producer and voice actress, Amber most recently has produced music videos for Grammy award nominated singer-songwriter Katie Herzig.
Marina Pereiro Davis / Producer
Marina Pereiro Davis grew up in Argentina. Her passion to explore other cultures has taken her all over the world, including Latin America, Europe and China. She’s been a teacher, simultaneous translator and a writer and associate producer at CNN in Atlanta. In 2008, she obtained an MFA in Cinematic Arts from USC in Los Angeles, where she produced several thesis films, including FUELING CHANGE and MOSSADEGH. She worked for Mark Burton and Hilary Swank’s production company, helping them develop independent feature films. She has collaborated with the North Carolina Center for Design Innovation (CDI), the North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), on several art and film projects. She’s currently developing her first feature film with her producing partner from New York.
Grace K. Lee / Producer
Grace K. Lee grew up in Philadelphia. She produced her first feature-length film at age 15. Since then, she was accepted into the BFA program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and, subsequently, she attended the University of Southern California, where she received her MFA in Film & Television Production. Having produced 7 award-winning films each varying in style, format, and genre, Grace is the recipient of an Emmy Award for her producing efforts and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. After cutting her teeth in development as an assistant to some of the most powerful and prolific producers in the business, she now works in Business and Legal Affairs on major studio productions.
Nathaniel C. Leonard / Writer
An aspiring scholar and teacher, Nathaniel has long augmented his academic interests in dramatic literature and its adaptation in film with practical involvement in the theatre. Over the past ten years, he has been involved in over a dozen productions at varying levels, from directing student productions of Macbeth and Oleanna to directing his own adaptation on the Faust story at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nathaniel is currently in the process of completing his PhD dissertation in English literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he recently was awarded the Charles A. Peters Prize for his work on formal experimentation in a number of dramatic works by John Marston. His academic interests, which focus on the inherent issues present in attempting to read texts from the English Renaissance meant for performance, have always been rooted in his love for the stage and by extension the implications of film as a permanent medium for performance. Nathaniel holds a Master’s Degree in Renaissance Literature from the University of York, UK and a Bachelor’s from Kenyon College where he double majored in English and Drama. This project was Nathaniel’s first foray into screenwriting at this level and he hopes to continue to find opportunities to write for the stage and screen in the future.
John Harrison / Director of Photography
John Harrison is a cinematographer from Vancouver, Washington whose work has taken him across the country and around the globe. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Spanish, John spent time exploring his world, living in Spain for a year before coming to Los Angeles to the University of Southern California, where he received an M.F.A. in Film Production.
John’s filmography includes dramas and documentaries that have earned numerous awards, including the BAFTA for Best Student Film, a Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival, and a nomination for an Academy Award. His films have screened to sold-out audiences in Hollywood and in theaters as far away as Mumbai, India. He is a two-time winner of the Thomas Bush Award for Excellence in Cinematography.
John is a fluent Spanish speaker and an above-average soccer player. You can find examples of his work on http://www.blueskyhill.com. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Jeff Chen / Editor
Jeff Chen is the youngest of three sons. His two older brothers are a doctor and a lawyer, so naturally, when he attended UCLA as an art major, his parents were thrilled! Now that he’s finished with his MFA at USC, his parents continue to offer moral support with questions like “so, when are you going to get a real job?” Well Jeff has gotten a real job, and recently edited the Slamdance hit feature documentary, Superheroes, which was picked up by HBO last summer. If you would like to know more about Jeff, or making your parents proud, please visit jeffchen.net.
TJ Volgare / Editor
T.J. is an award-winning writer, director, editor and producer from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing and Directing from the inimitable University of Southern California and a B.A. with honors in Writing, Acting, and Directing with an emphasis in Theatre Arts from Pepperdine University. In 2009, he finished an apprenticeship under legendary writer/director Terrence Malick in the making of “Tree of Life.”
T.J. has written and directed 8 short films. He developed his most recent project, “The Abattoir,” under the mentorship of acclaimed Southern auteur, David Gordon Green. It screened in over 10 festivals around the country, and received the Best Short Film Award at the New Hampshire Film Festival. In addition, T.J. has received the John Scott Douglass Award, the Mary Pickford Award, the Circulus Scholarship, the Jeffrey Jones Award, Panavision’s New Filmmaker Award, and a FujiFilm grant for his outstanding achievements in writing, directing, and project development.
T.J. started his career working as a development intern at Artisan Entertainment. He went on to apply that development experience in his work as a reader and story analyst for two prominent Los Angeles theatres: The Mark Taper Forum and The David Geffen Playhouse. In January 2011, he completed work as picture editor on the feature film “Vinyl” directed by Sara Sugarman (“Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen”). He then moved into his current position as the Head of Editorial at the Agency For The Performing Arts (APA).
Michael J. Lloyd / Composer
Award-winning composer Michael J. Lloyd grew up as a jazz saxophonist in the Phoenix area, opening concerts for Grammy-winning artists Diana Krall, Chick Corea, and David Sanborn, and playing with the likes of Grammy-winner Poncho Sanchez and famed jazz saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Gary Foster. Upon graduating from Arizona State University Summa Cum Laude, he was accepted into the University of Southern California’s world-renowned film scoring program in Los Angeles. Here he studied with acclaimed film composers James Newton Howard and Christopher Young and was a recipient of the BMI Scholarship for excellence in Film Scoring. Since finishing at USC, Michael has completed two feature film scores, numerous short film scores, and has done a variety of work on numerous studio films. He has recently worked on feature films such as Invictus, Hop, Red Tails, and Hugo, video games such as Dungeon Seige 3 and The Darkness II, TV pilot At Your Convenience, and short films Mossadegh and Follow Me. He resides in Santa Monica, CA.
Paul André Fonarev /Sound Designer/Sound Mixer
Paul André Fonarev was born in Copenhagen, Denmark quite some time ago. During the first four years of his life, he jetsetted around the world with his parents, learning the ins and outs of culture, etiquette and style from the best and brightest that Italy, Yugoslavia, France, Mexico, Algeria and many others had to offer. The arrival of his younger brother in Racine, Wisconsin spoiled all that and the once-fated-for-greatness wunderkind settled with his family in (of all places!) New Jersey. Despite this setback, Paul knew he was destined for great things. After a brief but notable stint in the field of molecular biology at Rutgers University, he could no longer ignore the siren song that was Hollywood and immediately rushed out to research the possibility of applying to film schools. Due to his fortitude, a roguish wit and the frayed wiring of several malfunctioning computers in the university’s admissions department, Paul was accepted to the USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate program where he was soon drawn to the sound department, full knowing that the picture business was really just a scam hatched by radio moguls who cared more about “talking the talk” than “walking the walk.” From these humble beginnings, Paul joined forces with renowned UPer (yoo-pur) David Lankton to form MISOSound (http://www.misosound.com/) and the rest is history (or will be, in any case).
Jeffrey D. Simon / Production Design
Jeffrey is a filmmaker from Chicago, IL. A degree in Production Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design led him to Los Angeles. His design work has appeared in many festivals and on nationally syndicated TV (Elvira’s: Movie Macabre) and his art direction across television and at Sundance (Filly Brown). He is currently working with designer Oliver Scholl (Independence Day, Jumper) which has led him to London.