Category Archives: Interviews & Features!

Britain’s Rosie Kinane-Adams is not just a producer, but a true storyteller

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Rosie Kinane-Adams

Rosie Kinane-Adams has always been aware of the power of storytelling. She understands the connection one can feel with someone they have never met, simply by hearing their story. She has felt this obsession since she was a child. She wanted to know everything about everyone that ever existed. She became fascinated with television and its ability to share the story of a child her age going through much different circumstances; from her house in London, England, she was able to see far beyond her city, and into the happenings around the world.

It was only natural for Kinane-Adams to want to do her part to tell people’s stories, and the answer was simple. She would be a producer. She would spend her life showing people who overcome all obstacles, whether it be the story of a dancer who overcame a disability to perform on the biggest stage in the world, or a couple trying to overcome their lifestyle differences and fall in love.

“I wanted to be responsible for inspiring people around the world and showing them what’s out there and what people are capable of,” she said.

Kinane-Adams has worked on many successful projects throughout her career. She produced Married at First Sight Australia, which has been nominated for Best Factual Program Silver at the Logie Awards. She also produced two seasons of Simon Cowell’s hit show America’s Got Talent, impressing audiences and colleagues across the globe.

“The simplest way to describe working with Rosie would be like a ‘breath of fresh air.’ That is why she stands out among other producers I worked with. Her approach to the job, her attitude, and her overall presence are something all producers need to strive for. She brings excitement, positivity, and new ideas in every situation she is in. She is the best producer I have ever worked with; and hopefully will again in the near future,” said Chase Marbumrung, Line Producer of America’s Got Talent. “Rosie is so amazing at what she does because she is dynamic. She is full of energy and new ideas; and she adapts to any situation without sacrificing her character. Everyone I know who worked with her can vouch for this. Every production would be lucky to have to her.”

Earlier this year, Kinane-Adams once again put her touch on a popular television show, this time being for the ninth season of Masterchef Australia. The Masterchef franchise is one of the most successful cooking shows in the world, with a presence in 52 countries, and on every continent. The Australian version differs slightly from the original British version. The initial round of the show consists of a large number of hopeful contestants from across Australia individually “auditioning” by presenting a food dish before the three judges in order to gain one of 50 semi-final places. The semi-finalists then compete in several challenges which test their food knowledge and preparation skills. The contestants will then be whittled down through a number of individual and team-based cooking challenges and weekly elimination rounds until a winning MasterChef is crowned. The winner plays for a prize that includes chef training from leading professional chefs, the chance to have their own cookbook published, and $250,000 in cash. Working on the show has been a mission point of Kinane-Adams’ career.

Masterchef is the most successful cooking show format in the world, and a lot of that comes down to story. People at home love to see home cooks like themselves succeed and achieve their dream. It’s about good people wanting to follow their dream and learn from the best in their business. It’s a feel-good show, and they never go out of style,” said Kinane Adams.

After her success with Married at First Sight, the Endomol Shine Group recruited Kinane-Adams to work on Masterchef. They were looking for the best, and Kinane-Adams’ results from Married at First Sight showed she was just that. Her episodes did incredibly well in the ratings up against tough competition. Her episodes came in at number one in the ratings the night they aired, and were up 98 per cent year on year from the timeslot the year before. She continued a similar pattern on Masterchef.

“Having an internationally renowned producer like Rosie on the team brought an invaluable source of knowledge and creativity to the show. Working with her inspired creativity for myself and the rest of the team. Rosie’s unique approach to storytelling is what makes her one of the best in the business,” said Kelly Maycock, Senior Producer of Masterchef Australia.

Kinane-Adams edit produced two 60-minute episodes of Masterchef Australia. To do this, she took the raw content from the field and crafted it into a clear, concise and compelling episode for the viewers at home. She would watch through over a hundred hours of footage and create a clear timeline and story from the many stories that existed within the episode. From there, she would work with her editor to polish it into an episode that met the high standard that Masterchef has the reputation for. She was vital to the success of her episodes, and the season as a whole.

Working on such a respected format within my industry, and one that has been around in one form or another since I was born, is an incredible milestone for me. To have such final creative control on such a successful and complex show is a wonderful feeling. With just myself and an editor working on it gives you a real sense of ownership over the episode. The success of that episode is, in a large part, down to storytelling,” Kinane-Adams said. “The show has a lot of integrity. It’s all about encouraging growth for the everyday man, proving that anyone can follow their dreams and achieve them. It has a really positive vibe to it, and that’s a wonderful thing to be a part of.”

Masterchef is known in the industry for being one of the hardest shows to post-produce and edit. It is said if you can do Masterchef, you can do it all in the reality world, and Kinane-Adams can truly do everything in the reality world. She is one of Britain’s best, and there is no doubt that we can continue to expect great work from this storyteller for quite some time.

Rhythmic gymnast Ana Perez talks National Base Spanish Championship 2015

Ana Perez has always loved rhythmic gymnastics. It was her first love, and she realized it when she was just four years old, growing up in Valencia, Spain. She appreciates every aspect of it, basking in the sense of achievement that comes from having a perfect routine. She loves the concentration of the sport, only having two minutes to make something flawless, knowing even the smallest twitch can throw off everything for the judges. However, what she likes most, are the hours spent training, knowing she is fighting for a dream. She felt this when she was a competitive athlete for twelve years, and now, she feels it as a coach.

Working with many top athletes, Perez quickly became recognized as one of Spain’s best rhythmic gymnastics coaches at the age of sixteen. Ten years have gone by, and her reputation is known, not just in her native country, but around the world in her sport. She has won championships and trained the best, sharing her experience with beginners and shaping them into professionals. In 2015, this is just what she did for her winning team at the National Base Spanish Championship with her club, Club Morvedre.

“When I saw the result on the screen of the ranking and saw that Club Morvedre was the first, we were calm, since there were some teams to compete, but when the category ended and Morvedre was first in the National Base Championship in the Juvenile category, we embraced the technical team and the gymnasts who make up the whole and we were excited. At that moment, we felt very proud, because it was a dream that we had finally achieved. At other times, we had not had good days of competition and at last here we had performed a perfect exercise,” Perez described.

Every November, this Championship occurs, where 16 teams of each category come from all the communities. This Championship of Spain Base level corresponds to the second highest level that Spain has, only ahead is the Absolute level. It is a competition that allows gymnasts to be evaluated on their level, where they can take a step forward in the rankings. It is one of the most vital competitions for the athletes in the country.

“I love being able to teach gymnasts, transmitting the values of sport, competition, discipline, companionship and self-improvement that are essential to rhythmic gymnastics. Even more importantly, about the relationship between a gymnast and her coach. A good relationship leads to the achievement of results. There is a very strong relationship between myself, as a coach, and this youth team, as performers. Our mutual work has allowed us to obtain the best result that we could achieve,” said Perez.

As a coach, Perez helped to make the corrections and modify those parts of the choreography that did not work well. Thanks to these corrections, the team were classified in the autonomic phase for the National Base Spanish Championship, in Zaragoza, and were champions of Spain in the Young Category.

“Ana worked closely on the project where we managed to help the youth team win first place in the Spanish Championship. She is an excellent co-worker and a good support in the hardest moments or, better said, in the most stressful moments as well as in the happiest ones. She always tries to look for the best for the Morvedre club, and she gives it her all. She is ferociously committed to her work. I have worked with her for a long time and she has taught me many things, among which I emphasize commitment, discipline and comradeship,” said Alicia Gaspar, Perez’s fellow coach.

When preparing the team for the competition, Perez worked on the warm-ups, handling of the ribbon, and the physical preparation required for competition, as the gymnasts needed to be in the proper physical condition at the required level of competition. This sport is about sets of repetitions of the choreographies prepared by the trainers so that the exercise is successfully performed. They trained in the summer, preparing the choreography with the music. They trained three hours a day, five days a week, making sure every detail was ironed-out.

“My contribution has been to give my best to bring about the best result, both in the editing and in the choice of music. I have given them the commitment and the confidence to be able to get the result obtained. I find this to be an essential element to coaching any sport, both when it comes to training and when it comes to competing. The instructions are key, as well as the part that the athlete plays,” said Perez.

Some parts of the choreography originally did not go as planned, as the apparatuses fell and the gymnasts became nervous. Perez then decided to make it easier for some pitches, so gymnasts felt safer with their choreography. That is essential when it comes to competing, because gymnasts should be comfortable with their exercises. Without Perez, the team could never have achieved what they did, and this was acknowledged by all who witnessed the team’s results.

“As president of the Morvedre Club where Ana has been working for more than ten years, I have to thank her for everything she does: for being part of my team of coaches, for the great work done season after season at all levels and for her results obtained. But above all, I have to thank her for creating the good atmosphere of fellowship between coaches, parents and gymnasts, as well as the excellent preparation of the gymnasts that led to one of the competitions in which more than 100 gymnasts competed, getting to be among the best,” said Luis Marín.

Needless to say, Perez’s commitment to coaching is greatly appreciated by all.

From Bollywood to Hollywood: Actress Karishma Bhandari

Karishma Bhandari
Actress Karishma Bhandari shot by John Clark

Born and raised in East London, actress Karishma Bhandari first made her mark in the Bollywood film industry back in 2012 when she landed the starring role of Sita in Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood.

Aside from being a skilled actress with magnetic appeal on screen, Bhandari’s extensive dance training gave her an added edge over the hundreds of other hopefuls vying for the role. Though she was only 19 at the time, Bhandari had already spent several years perfecting her craft at home in London. Her outstanding performance in the film Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood brought her widespread attention and ultimately proved to be the catalyst for the successful career she has today.

Directed by Encounters International Film Festival Award winner Aneil Karia, who also earned  the Grand Jury Prize Award from the Utah Arts Festival for her 2014 film Tag, the comedic adventure film Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood was commissioned for the Alchemy Festival, the UK’s largest festival of South Asian culture. The film followed Bhandari’s character Sita, Sheila played by Gurkiran Kaur (Oxasians, London Kahanis) and Rita played by Roshni Rathore (80’s Vampire Flick, Love Type D), three dance teachers at a local community centre who make it their mission to keep the centre open after a wealthy developer buys the property with the intention of closing it down in order to build a hotel. Chalk full of lively Bollywood dance routines, Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood’s endearing story about three young women battling the odds and fighting for what they believe in was a hit with viewers.

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Still of Karishma Bhandari in pink in “Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood”

The first insight into the dynamic talent actress Karishma Bhandari has become known for, Southbank Centre Goes Bollywood proved Bhandari’s ability to portray a character who was the polar opposite of herself– a necessary skill for any true actor, and one that has undoubtedly led her to land leading roles in a wide range of films since.

Director Aneil Karia says, “Karishma’s passion is one thing that makes her stand out from the crowd, as well as her striking look and her warmth. It was a challenging, nuanced role in the film and she delivered a wonderful performance.” 

In 2016 Bhandari’s international reputation got an even bigger boost when she landed a lead role as Geeta in the Bollywood feature film Club Dancer directed by B. Prasad. The film follows Ria played by Nisha Mavani, an Indian girl who moves to the city where she tells her parents she’s landed a respectable job, however she is really a dancer in a club.

When her parents come for a surprise visit and find a man at her house who they assume is her boyfriend, but is actually a criminal who sought refuge from the police the night before, they immediately want them to get married. The man quickly disappears, but Ria finds another man, Amit, who’s identical to him and negotiates a deal with him to pretend to be her boyfriend in exchange for money, which he needs for his sister’s wedding. Bhandari’s character Geeta comes into play as the man’s soon-to-be-wed sister, a key character in the plot who helps further the love story that eventually develops between Ria and Amit, who’s played by Rajbeer Singh (Who’s There?, Ishq Junoon: The Heat is On).

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Still of Raja (left) and Karishma Bhandari (right) as Geeta in “Club Dancer”

In the film, which Bhandari traveled to India to shoot for several months, she acts alongside notable Bollywood stars such as Filmfare Award winner Shakti Kapoor (Hungama, Musafir, Raja Babu) and Stardust Award nominee Zarina Wahab (Vishwaroopam, My Name is Khan), as well as actress Judith Shekoni (The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2, Ice, Ordinary Lies).

Although she was raised in London, Bhandari’s parents are originally from Punjab, India and she grew up speaking Punjabi– something that created a challenge for the actress as Club Dancer was made in Hindi. However, Bhandari trained diligently, learning a new language and adapting her accent for the role, and she seamlessly delivered her performance as if Hindi was her mother tongue.

One of the highlights of Bhandari’s performance as Geeta came towards the end of the film when she performed an intricate Bollywood dance routine, one that few other actresses could have pulled off with the same level of grace and style she brings to the screen.

Bhandari admits, “I had already had Bollywood dance training, but to do it on a massive set in front of a lot of people was challenging… We had rehearsals every day for about two weeks and when it came time for the shoot date I had the heaviest outfit to wear. It was a wedding song and I was literally covered in jewels, which made it difficult to dance, but I pushed through and made sure my movements were seen… the song was definitely the most memorable as it was amazing to see how it was edited together.”

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Sill of Karishma Bhandari (center) surrounded by background actors in “Club Dancer”

Some of the other film credits Bhandari has become known for over the years include BAFTA nominee Jon Jones’ (Da Vinci’s Demons, Cold Feet) 2013 drama Lawless with National Television Award winner Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster), the Empire Award nominated comedy The Inbetweeners 2 with Simon Bird (Drunk History: UK, Friday Night Dinner) and James Buckley (Zapped, White Gold), Asko Pati’s (Love Station, Super Micchua) romantic action film Aashiqui: True Love with Ankush Hazra (Romeo Vs Juliet), the 2016 sci-fi drama The Conversations with Daniella Down (The Wedding Party), and more.

Having already made a name for herself in the UK and Bollywood, actress Karishma Bhandari is currently planning to make her move to the states where she will undoubtedly be in hot demand in Hollywood as well. Bhandari is currently in production with the upcoming series The Corner Shop where she plays the lead role of Maleeka, as well as the series Emergency: LA where she plays Nurse Persis Chadra. A supremely talented actress, we have no doubt that we will be seeing a whole lot more of Karishma Bhandari in the future!

Producer Melina Tupa talks upcoming documentary ‘Slaves Among Us’

Melina Tupa always has always had two passions: film and journalism. Growing up, it never really occurred to her that there was a way to combine both of these things. Then, one fateful day, she had an epiphany that changed her life. She could be a documentary filmmaker. Being a journalist, she believes, gives her an extra responsibility as a film producer to pursue stories that are of public interest and that will help the communities she lives in. Since coming to that realization, Tupa has been committed to making impactful documentary films, and that is why she is so sought-after around the world for what she does.

Over the past few years, Tupa has delivered hard-hitting documentaries that share truths many are unaware of or afraid to talk about. When producing the PBS Frontline film Rape on the Night Shift, audiences everywhere became aware of the horrifying stories of many janitorial workers who have dealt with sexual assault. With her film The Search, she told the story of a grandmother’s search for her long-lost grandchild, which dives into the Argentinean “Dirty War.” All who work alongside Tupa are not only impressed, but also inspired by her commitment to her work.

“I had the honor of being a Consulting Producer with Melina on her documentary The Search. It was a pleasure working with Melina: she’s smart, driven, tenacious, creative, and yet is open to different perspectives and ideas that are not her own, which means that she is also confident. What makes Melina good, but great is a better word, is that she always has a big vision for her work,” said Director and Producer Spencer Nakasako.

Soon, audiences will once again have the chance to see Tupa’s formidable producing abilities in the upcoming Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) film Slaves Among Us. The documentary will expose the many layers of human trafficking, from the recruiter in the home country to the smuggler, trafficker and subcontractor that make it possible for major corporations to profit from forced labor in the United States. The documentary will tell the story of a group of teens from Guatemala who, with the inadvertent aid of the American government, fall into the hands of a criminal enterprise. This investigation will show who makes money off such victims and how the American consumer benefits from their mistreatment.

“I wanted to work on this project because I believed this was a very important story that needed to be widely known by the audience. The fact that in 2017 we still have forced labor is outrageous,” said Tupa.

Tupa was approached to work on Slaves Among Us after her success with the Investigative Reporting Program on the documentary Rape on the Night Shift. The producers of the documentary knew she had a very good reputation and she had an asset that was key to work on the field: she is bilingual in Spanish and most of the characters on this story are Spanish-speaking individuals. As a field producer, this was vital.

“I liked that I had direct contact with the sources of the story. I did old school reporting: just knocking on people’s doors and asking what they have seen or heard about the case. I was able to get to know the community I was reporting on thoroughly. And I was also able to gain the character’s trust. A lot of them are undocumented immigrants and many times they are afraid of telling wrongdoings because they are afraid of the retaliation they might get,” Tupa described.

Working in Ohio, Tupa reported on the trailer park where Guatemalans (adults and minors) trafficked to the United States were living. She was able to conduct interviews with more than thirty individuals there. She was able to secure three interviews (one in shadow, two full face) where the sources confirmed the story about the trafficking scheme she was after. She was also able to establish a connection with a very important source who had worked with the main characters of the story. This led to finding and securing and exclusive interview with one of the victims of labor trafficking.

Back at Investigative Reporting Program office, she worked as a Researcher. She found archival videos, photos and newspapers on the DeCoster Egg Farm violations, unaccompanied children entering the United States across the border, egg industry facilities, and the case of immigrant minors working on an egg farm. This information was pivotal to illustrate the story.

“I believe it is important to tell this story because nobody should be living in slave conditions in 2017. It’s important to let people know this is happening so this could result in a change of policy, for example, in unaccompanied minors entering the United States or for the poultry industry to have highest safety standards for its employees,” said Tupa.

Slaves Among Us is expected to be released in 2019. Based on Tupa’s track record, audiences can expect an outstanding film once again.

 

Photo by Vanessa Arango Garcia

Producer Xueru Tang connects with her heritage on upcoming film ‘Hot Pot Man’

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Producer Xueru Tang

Xueru Tang has two mottos by which she lives her life. The first is “work hard”. Her friends call her a workaholic, but to her, she is focused. She loves what she does and she strives to be the best, and she makes no excuses for that. Her second mantra is “believe in yourself”. The world “believe” is important to her. Every project she takes on, she truly believes it will succeed, and this belief keeps her pushing through any tough times, or any problems that may arise, causing her to face her fears. These two qualities, hard work and faith, combined with an innate talent, are what have allowed Tang to become the film producer she is today, and she is recognized around the world for what she does.

Having worked on award-winning films like Locked, Inside Linda Vista Hospital, and Emily, as well as last year’s popular commercial for Chinstudio’s Fall Collection, Xueru Tang has had a career filled with success. However, with her upcoming film Hot Pot Man, she got to feel a sense of accomplishment that she has yet to feel in her esteemed career, telling a story of her hometown.

“I was born and raised in Chengdu, China. The hot pot was created in Chengdu, and it’s my home food. It really important to me. All the story in the film happens in Chengdu, and it is shot in Chengdu. This really excited me when I heard about the project. I want to show the world how beautiful my city is,” said Tang.

The film, which will premiere in October in Chengdu, has received a lot of media attention. Newspaper Xin Cheng Kuai Bao and Jin Ri Toutiao reported about Tang, calling her a New Power filmmaker from the generation after the 90’s. They interviewed her about her experience in U.S. film industry, how she combined the differences between China and U.S. in film production and operated the whole project from funding to future distribution.During these interviews, Tang also shared her opinions about helping Chinese independent filmmakers spread their strength in U.S. market and form its own way to distribution and achieve a greater personal, marketing and social value.

“Five years ago in China, not every filmmaker studied film, and we don’t really think about the professional and how it is important. For today, we still don’t request professional producers who study producing or filmmaking as their college or university major. Everyone just works, never studies, and they just use their way or someone’s way to do thing. For me the kind of the producer who studied and worked in Hollywood, and knows about Hollywood style, is really difficult to find in China. I think this is similar to what it is like in Hollywood, they don’t know a lot about the Chinese market there. When they call me a New Power Filmmaker, I think it is because I understand both markets. In that way, I am a unique producer,” Tang described.

This understanding of both the Chinese and American film markets is vital for Hot Pot Man. Tang brought the Hollywood style of thinking to her hometown. She did the funding and location scouting for the film, and dealt with the stars, like the famous rapper Di Xie and the Chinese comedian Jian Liao, and their agents. She checked all the contracts with crews and locations, and made sure there was insurance and the required permits. She made sure labor was fair and didn’t allow for too long of work days. For distribution, she got the film into Chinese cinemas, negotiating in what she calls the “Hollywood” way.

“Xueru is our excellent producer. She delivered a business plan and pitch book in english and Chinese in one day. This work efficiency we have never experienced from one person in China. And Xueru was a very responsible producer. I remember, another producer couldn’t find the location and couldn’t make a deal with talent, so we called Xueru. She didn’t blame them, she just bought a plane ticket and came to China to solve all the problem. I really like working with her. She has respect for the views of others, and she brings a lot Hollywood working style to us, making our shoot very smooth and all the crew members very happy,” said Dage Zhang, Director of Hot Pot Man. “Xueru loves her job, she crazy loves what she does. She told me she believes the movie will change the world. She wants to produce good movies that will affect the world. And most importantly, I never once heard her say she could not do something, she always tried first, and I think that is remarkable not just as a producer, but as a person.”

Tang found the story of Hot Pot Man very interesting, and when she got the call asking for her help, she didn’t care that she was on the other side of the world, she wanted to come and do what she could.

“No one thought of this as a job or work, everyone thought of it as a film. It was really great team work. But working for this project, it’s my passion. I have special feelings for my city, my city helped build my personality,” she concluded.

Alon Juwal’s Sci-Fi Film “Visitors” Keeps Viewers on the Edge of Their Seats

"Visitors" Alon Juwal
Film Poster for Alon Juwal’s Film “Visitors”

Last year producer Alon Juwal wrote, directed and produced the riveting dramatic sci-fi film Visitors, which has been gaining traction with audiences and festivals across the U.S. since its release at the tail end of 2016.

Starring Kei’la Ryan (Bad Friends & Family, Kingdom, Night Crawlers) as Kaleigh, Nick Unger (Front Seat Chronicles, Phil of the Future) as her brother Cole, and Tim Juliano as their father, Visitors follows two siblings who return home to their estranged father’s house after a long absence, only to find their home being invaded by a group of uninvited visitors from another world as the night progresses.

As the producer of the film, Juwal’s ability to bring together a talented cast and crew, execute the business side of things, such as raising the necessary funding to actually make the project happen, as well as overseeing all aspects of the production from pre to post were integral to the success Visitors has achieved since its release.

Garnering extensive attention across the country, Visitors earned Juwal the Best Director of a Sci-Fi Short Award at New York City International Film Festival, as well as the Honorable Mention Award from the Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. Visitors was also nominated for awards at several festivals including the USA Film Festival, Vail Film Festival, Phoenix Comic-Con and Newport Beach Film Festival, and was chosen as an Official Selection at the New Hope Film Festival.

“Working with Alon has been an amazing experience… he doesn’t like to waste time, he knows when he has the shot which makes him a great decisive director. Alon is good at what he does because he knows that preparation is key, and you can see it in the way he put the project together,” explains Tom Edwards, Visitors’ aerial cinematographer and behind the scenes videographer.

“Before principle photography he made the time to meet up with his actors and crew members to make sure everyone was comfortable and on the same page. To have a good friend like Alon who is just as passionate as you are, working together to make stories come to life is a real charm.”

Visitors film Alon Juwal
Egor Povolotskiy (left), Alon Juwal & Nick Unger (right) on set of “Visitors” by Majid Alkhatib

Through the powerful combination of the film’s score, specific angles, lighting and purposeful pacing, Juwal does an impeccable job of building the suspense within the story in a way that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

The long shots of the brother and sister running through the trees at night trying to make it to safety, while neither the characters nor the viewers really know what they are running from, the bright lights beaming down from above creating eerie silhouettes in the forest, but still leaving us unsure of where the light is coming from, and sporadic sounds of their father’s dog barking in distress, are a few of the cinematic devices Juwal employs to heighten the tension within the film.

While all of this was tantamount to nailing the thrilling, otherworldly sci-fi elements, what really makes Visitors such a unique film is the burdensome relationships Juwal paints between the siblings and their father. As the producer/director of the film Juwal remarkably captures the palpable feeling of emotional discontent that exists between Kaleigh, Cole and their father, revealing the years of turmoil that persists within the family with a subtlety that allows the audience to draw their own conclusions. Visitors is proof that Juwal’s style is one that shows rather than tells, a mark of a truly talented and thoughtful filmmaker.

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(left to right) Kei’la Ryan, Nick Unger, Alon Juwal & Braden Pruss on set of “Visitors” by Polina Krasovicka

Like the work of most producer/directors, Juwal’s personal life experiences have had a strong impact on the stories he chooses to bring to life on screen. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Juwal’s parents separated early on in his childhood; and it is clear to see how his first-hand experience growing up with divorced parents gave him the insight necessary to accurately portray the strained relationship that exists between the children and their father in the film Visitors.

“I spent the majority of time with my mother as I was growing up. Even though I saw my father quite often, we were always pretty distant from one another. The first thing they teach you in film school is to write about what you know, so I always tried to channel these experiences to my work,” explains Juwal.

Juwal’s approach to Visitors is uniquely powerful in that the film includes all of the elements necessary for an entertainingly suspenseful sci-fi film, while also portraying a moving emotional story that touches audiences on a deeper level.

“First and foremost, good cinema must be entertaining. Cinema is a way of escaping from reality, so when we go to the movies, we basically want a break from our boring, every-day lives. We want to be entertained,” admits Juwal. “Personally, when I go to the movies I’m looking for more than that. I want to be moved. A good movie can often stay with me for an entire day, even more.”

A beautifully shot film with a heartfelt message, it’s not at all surprising that producer and director Alon Juwal has received such far-reaching acclaim for Visitors, and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

 

 

Writer-Producer Stuart Reid Sets New Standard for Kid’s TV

Writer-producer Stuart Reid’s appealing combination of talent, good humor and ambition has an unusual effect on just about every project he’s attached too. As soon as he joins a team, Reid’s high quality contributions typically elevate not only the task at hand, but also his role.

His first writing credit was for DHX Media and Nickelodeon’s Make It Pop, but since then, the charming Canadian has gone on to story edit, write or co-write nearly a dozen episodes of children’s television, develop original series for Sesame Street and NBCUniversal, and even been hired to simply write jokes, ‘punching up scripts’ on shows “looking for a little extra oomph in the comedy department”.

Earning industry-wide recognition is a characteristic aspect of Reid’s sure-footed career path, a journey that led him to film and television even before he finished school. “One of my first summer jobs as a teenager was with Corus Entertainment at Treehouse TV in Toronto,” Reid said. ”Working at Treehouse sort of piqued my interest and got me interested in television and production, and specifically kids. Next thing you know, cut to ten years later, and I’m living between Toronto and Los Angeles, staffing regularly and working with brands I grew up loving, like Doozers and The Jim Henson Company.”

For Reid, his professional life was firing on all cylinders. “It was a lifelong dream for me to work with Henson – a legendary brand with such a cherished and iconic history,” Reid said. “To me, it was a great accomplishment. The Doozers are those little green guys and gals from Fraggle Rock. The Doozers are always building, inventing things and engineering solutions to overcome the obstacles in front of them. There’s a real curriculum there, teaching kids to overcome adversity, and nurturing essential skills to help them creatively problem solve.”

From there, Reid continued to distinguish himself, working with writing partner Mark Purdy on an unannounced series for DHX Media and Mattel (the toy company). “Stuart is one of our primary writers,” story editor Shea Fontana said. “And he also one of the few writers that we could rely on to generate solid episode premises for a series. I knew I could always count on Stuart to deliver high quality, funny and entertaining stories. His work has been integral to our success.”

His gift for mastering the tricky balance of heart and comedy is Reid’s calling card, one that affords him many opportunities. It’s a comprehensive set of skills that allows him broad professional latitude. “Right now, now I writing on an upcoming show for Air Bud Entertainment, but mainly trying to find the time to develop more original material. It’s been a busy year.”

Reid always has one eye on the horizon, and he knows exactly what he wants. “I really enjoy working in animation, but really anything involving comedy that lets you flex the creative muscles. We love to play in big worlds with supernatural elements and larger than life stories. As long as there is heart and something real that makes our characters tick.” Reid said, “we’ve been writing on a lot of existing franchises or other people’s shows. Our ultimate goal is to get a series of our own on the air… Something original, in the truest sense of the word, that came from our tiny, tiny brains.”