<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 
  • Friday, September 13, 2019 10:54 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair


    Melody Tash has been working professionally in the film industry in a variety of capacities — from director of photography, camera operator, directing, producing, writing, art directing, acting, editing, and teaching — for over 10 years. Melody is the president and founder of Cinema Quilt, a full-service production company that works with clients from concept through final film. Melody’s cinematography has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, TLC, Nick, CSPAN, and Billboard.com among other places. Melody has a degree in theater with a history minor from Temple University. Her short film, Hallow Gate can be found on the streaming platform seedandspark.com

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    My most recent success actually started all the way back in 2011, when I wrote and directed a fundraising trailer for a feature film. Our team was super ambitious with our all-or-nothing fundraising goal, and a bit naïve about how to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign. Needless to say, with that combination we did not make our goal. We shot so much for the trailer though that a few crew members urged me to turn the footage into a short film. This idea had been nagging me for years and last year I finally dusted off the hard drive and confirmed that yes, there was enough for a short film. And more importantly, that the footage looked great. I locked picture on the short film Soul Catcher, earlier this year and soon will be working with a local composer and sound designer to polish it up for a festival run next year.

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?

    I went to college for acting but by my senior year I realized that I was more interested in directing. That year I became friends with Vanessa Briceño, an MFA film student. I was an assistant director on her thesis film, and from that point on we collaborated on several projects outside of school. For awhile we had a running joke that I was trying to drag her into the theater world and she was trying to drag me into film. While I gained a lot of the skills needed to be a director, producer, and writer from Temple’s theater department, the only film course I ever took was acting for film. I taught myself (with the help of books, workshops, and mentors) how to operate cameras and edit. In time, what started off as a side-project/hobby turned into my full-time career. I’ve worked as an art director on a handful of commercials and independent films including McCanick with David Morse. My work as a camera operator and DP has appeared on ABC, billboard.com, C-Span, TLC and more. I’ve directed two short films (Hallow Gate and Soul Catcher), and in 2012 I founded my production company, Cinema Quilt. Cinema Quilt primarily creates commercials and short-form documentaries for local business, nonprofits, arts, and educational organizations.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    I choose to work in PA because this is where I keep my stuff. But seriously, it is where my roots are. I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area since I was a young child, I went to college here, started a family here, and at this point I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. I also love that the Philadelphia area is close enough to sometimes be able to work as a local in NYC, DC, the Jersey Shore, and Delaware as well.

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    I love filming in Philly— there’s such a diversity of locations from the beautiful skyline, to boathouse row and the Schuylkill river, to all the unique characteristics of the different neighborhoods, to the historical landmarks everywhere. You can find very urban to very rural looks within a short drive.

    5) What do you love the most about your job?

    I love the fact that I am constantly learning and constantly being throw into new situations. One day my office is at the oldest working theater in America and the next it is at the oldest zoo in America. I love getting an insider’s view of many different types of jobs and lives. Sometimes I’m spending the day with celebrities and other times I’m spending the day with people who have had a very tough life and are struggling to survive. Having a firsthand glimpse into all of their lives is an extraordinary privilege.

    6) What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?

    I think the biggest challenges that I’ve found were after I became a mother. I remember being only a few weeks pregnant while I was filming the finale for an episode of TLC’s “Four Weddings.” I was exhausted all the time and would sneak away at lunch for a nap. I remember finally telling another crew member why I was suddenly sitting on an apple box every chance that I got and no longer eating the foods I had liked last week. I was afraid that there was going to be a perception on set that I was lazy or weak, something that someone who didn’t know had “jokingly” called me on a set in a prior pregnancy when I was 10 weeks pregnant. I had this fear that if I took any time off from work that I would be forgotten. It’s a feeling that I think everyone in the industry can somewhat relate to: if you turn down too many jobs you will no longer be the first name called. Within hours of giving birth (with both of my children) I was talking on the phone with clients from a hospital bed while also trying to figure out how to keep a new human alive. In retrospect I know it would have been fine to take some time off, but it is hard to turn down a job in the moment.  I chose to breastfeed my children and finding time to pump while adhering to a tight schedule is really challenging. Not to mention finding a location that’s both private and sanitary in which to do so. A few times I got really sick because I went too long without pumping on sets in order to stay on schedule and not inconvenience anyone. I found that asking ahead of time if there will be time for a pump break is usually not a good idea if you want to be hired, so I’d hope for the best and only pump when everyone went on a break. More and more I started working with my own clients so that I could control the schedule rather than freelancing as a DP/camera op. I really miss freelance work and hope to be able to do more soon, but the hours are often not very family friendly. It’s a really challenging career to balance with a family, for both fathers and mothers, but it is especially hard for breastfeeding mothers.

    7) What is your advice for other women in film?

    Show up, work hard, know the going rate and ask for it, have fun, support other women, and don’t be afraid to become your own boss.

    8) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    I just wrapped a spot for Beyond Celiac’s Step Beyond Celiac 5K Races.

    https://vimeo.com/345536958

    I worked with the client from first concepts through to the final edit on this. We had a crew of 5 camera people filming on location at the Philadelphia Zoo and the footage was turned into a commercial that will be used to draw crowds not only for the Philadelphia race next year, but for their races in Kansas City and Dallas later this year as well. I am also in pre-production for the web series Greatest Weakness, a comedy set in South Philly about blowing the interview and failing at life.

    9) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    The film industry in PA is more than a job, it is a family. And much of my film family has moved to places like Atlanta, NYC, and LA over the past few years when work here has dried up. Having a thriving film community in PA means that more people will stay, and it will mean that I can continue being able to do what I was meant to do. When work slows down, it is scary; especially for those of us in the industry like myself with a family and young children to care for. I’ve had many different jobs in my life before falling into film and there is nothing that I’m better suited for than helping to craft visual stories. I love the energy of being on set with people from all different types of backgrounds, all working together to create a visual story. From documentary to commercials to feature films to music videos, to press junkets to live events, the drive and commitment that you find from cast and crew is this business is incredible and so inspiring. It is hard sometimes to watch friends whose careers have skyrocketed after moving to a new state. I am rooted here and wish that I might be able to obtain similar career successes without having to move to another state.

    10) What is your advice for the aspiring filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    When you’re new, sometimes you feel like you are supposed to know everything. And if you’re not careful that can come off as being cocky instead of confident. It is okay if you don’t how to find the ABB button on the camera you’re shooting with, or why or when you want to use it to begin with. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something and to ask questions. Filmmaking is a team sport. Find your team and go make stuff! Continue to welcome new people onto your team, and be open to learning from everyone. Over a decade in this business and I am still constantly learning.

    11) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    When I first got started in the field I found most of my jobs from craigslist and the film.org website. These days it is more from referrals and some cold calls. Go to film events like the ones that PFIA hosts, go meet people. People like to hire and work with people who are friendly and fun to be around. This industry is too demanding and unpredictable to have a terrible time at work everyday.

    12) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    Preproduction is essential. The more time that you spend figuring out what the overall vision of the piece you’re creating in preproduction, the better everything will go. There’s often no budget for preproduction, but without it you’re often scrambling on set and then you end up paying for it in post.

    13) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    Oh gosh, that’s a hard one. I’m not sure I could really narrow it down to just one. I liked The Sixth Sense a lot. Twelve Monkeys was good too. And Silver Linings Playbook. The Wrestler. In Her Shoes. Invincible. Limitless. So many good ones!

    14) What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    My favorite project most recently was filming the press junket for Creed II. The energy on set was incredible; it was a friendly, professional, well-oiled machine. And at the end of only three days, it truly was a film family that parted ways.

    15) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    My biggest aspiration in this industry is for 12 hour days to no longer be considered a “short” day, and for us as an industry to lose the bragging rights mentality about lack of sleep and long hours on set. Haskell Wexler made a documentary about this issue in 2013, Who Needs Sleep?, highlighting the huge safety concerns connected with sleep loss. His motivation for filming the doc was the preventable death of a fellow crew member, Brent Hershman. Watching Wexler’s film made me pause and reevaluate my own choices. I continue to hope that our industry as a whole will do the same. The mentality that there’s no other way to stay on budget is a poor excuse for neglecting the health and well being of cast and crew. Why in 2019 are we proud to be working sweatshop hours? If the industry as a whole doesn’t change, then my hope is to start a production company that shoots features with a strict adherence to 12 on 12 off, or better yet 8-10 hour days. In a dream world, I wouldn’t have to choose between working on features and having nightly dinners with my children.

    16) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    Follow CinemaQuilt on Facebook/Instagram (@cinemaquilt) or send a note through our website www.cinemaquilt.com.

  • Friday, September 06, 2019 8:50 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Aleksandra Svetlichnaya is a local Pennsylvania actor, writer and director. She created the “DINNERVERSE” short film series and founded SVET Studios, a female-run production company based in the Philadelphia area. Films in this series have screened at San Diego Comic Con, Wizard World Philadelphia and ScareLA in Los Angeles. They have had press write-ups from Dread Central, PhillyVoice and Philadelphia Daily News.

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    In June I was invited to be a part of “Women in Indie Film” panel at Wizard World Philadelphia. It was very cool to get to showcase one of my short films and speak about women in the film industry on a panel with other very talented women.

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?

    I first started in the Costume department, working on a variety of independent films. From there I transitioned into acting. But I quickly found that I wasn’t happy simply being on one side of the camera or the other, or just in one department – I wanted to do it all! That was when I decided to form my own production company, so that I didn’t have to feel limited or play by anyone else’s rules.  

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    I love working in PA because it has been my home since immigrating to the US as a child. But even more than that, I think we have a lot of talent here and a lot of untapped potential. And PA has so many options! We have so many amazing locations, historic architecture, landscapes, etc. Within an hour or two you could be in the city or in the mountains. And if you really need a beach, we’re right near the NJ shore. There aren’t many states that can offer that much variety!

    Plus you can’t beat the community aspect. In my experience PA communities are very filmmaker friendly. Most of them are so welcoming and happy to allow filming or even lend a hand. That doesn’t happen everywhere!

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    I’ve had the privilege of shooting in Ontario St. Comics in Philadelphia on several occasions. It’s an amazing location! M. Night Shyamalan also filmed there for “Unbreakable” and “Glass”.

    I’m also obsessed with Eastern State Penitentiary. I hope I have the chance to shoot there someday!

    5) What do you love the most about your job?

    I love being able to be creative in so many different ways. But more than anything, I love that I have the opportunity to inspire other women. If I’ve inspired just one young woman, whether it’s in film or in any other way, then I’ve done my job.

    6) What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?

    The challenges of being a female filmmaker are the same as the challenges of being a female, period. It’s the same tropes and stereotypes that women face in daily life in all fields. You are frequently underestimated or not taken seriously. At events, it’s almost always an assumption that you’re strictly an actor, or worse -- that you’re just someone’s date. It can be more difficult to have your voice heard. But that’s why it’s up to us to speak louder, be more persistent and make sure that it’s easier for the next generation of women in film.

    7) What is your advice for other women in film?

    Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t play by anyone else’s rules. Don’t let anyone tell you that “this is how things are” and “this is how it works” and that you need to abide by that. Don’t settle. Don’t stop. And don’t ever let anyone try and keep your voice from being heard – no matter what it takes.

    8) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    Always! I am currently in production on the next short film in my DINNERVERSE series, which is based in and shot in Pennsylvania. Several others are also in various stages of pre-production. 

    9) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    The film industry brings so many jobs to local businesses and individuals that it should really be a no-brainer to increase the film tax credit budget. It allows local creative professionals to stay in their hometown, or at least home state, and have high quality jobs available to them. If this isn’t the case, those professionals will have to either make lengthy commutes for work or simply move out of state. If there aren’t enough film tax credits to go around, there won’t be enough jobs in PA for experienced professionals to stay. This also goes for the next generation. Philadelphia, for example, has multiple colleges with great creative programs perfectly suited for the film industry. If there are film industry jobs available locally, the students from those programs will have a reason to stick around after graduation and contribute to the local economy. If not, they’ll just take what they learned here and bring their talents to other states.

    10) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    I would focus on making connections with local professionals, versus taking time and money to travel to New York or other areas. Unless you’re planning on moving, local connections will be the ones that ultimately lead to more work. Even if it seems like “smaller” opportunities, they will be more consistent and will ultimately lead to “bigger” gigs too.

    11) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    I firmly believe in the power of using social media professionally. I’ve booked amazing jobs off of Facebook for example and I’ve found cast & crew for my own projects on there as well. The key is using it PROFESSIONALLY and not just randomly direct messaging people you don’t actually know and trying to get them to give you a job. That doesn’t work and that’s not what “networking” is. Showcase your work. Try and make genuine connections. Treat it like a marathon not a sprint.

    12) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    Filmmaking is a team sport. Find people that you connect and work well with, and create things with those people. Don’t try to do it all on your own.

    13) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    Other than my own? J Obviously the “Rocky/Creed” franchise is a classic. And I also like M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Sixth Sense” and the “Unbreakable” trilogy. 

    14) What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    Other than my own projects, it was very cool getting to work as an actor on “Creed”. I’m a huge action movie fan, so getting to see how the boxing scenes were choreographed and filmed was amazing. Plus nothing beats seeing Sly in action!

    15) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    I don’t particularly care about awards. For me, the greatest “award” would be a full panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con. For those unfamiliar, that is the biggest panel space in the biggest comic con there is. That’s where all the big movies, like Marvel and DC, and all the popular TV shows hold their panels. For me, it doesn’t get bigger than that!

    16) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    If I am in pre-production, or production, on a project there are always local calls for cast and crew. However, I’m always keeping my eyes open for new talent to collaborate with and social media is a great way to connect with me.

  • Friday, August 23, 2019 1:40 PM | Jennifer Butschle (Administrator)

    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Please meet Nathaniel Deen, a local Pennsylvania filmmaker, who is now working on a full-length feature film based on a true story “BRAVE THE DARK” (original screenplay written by John Spencer) starring Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Crown) and Nicholas Hamilton (IT). Nathaniel was the Sight & Sound Photographer for 15 years before becoming Broadcast Producer and is currently Lead Project Manager at Sight & Sound Theatres.  He is also the Production Manager for the filming of all the stage show DVDs, which have been featured in Fathom Events in movie theatres across the country.

    1)    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    My most recent success is writing & directing a short film called, The Life That Is.  I teamed up with MakeFilms in Lancaster, PA to co-produce the project. I am proud that we were able to recruit local Pennsylvania talent and crew, as well as use local locations.    

    2)    How did you get started in the film industry?

    I have worked at Sight & Sound Theatres for nearly 30 years.  I was an actor for 6 years, but decided my talents were better suited behind the scenes. I  joined  the Art/Media Department as a photographer and was the Production Manager for TV spots, media for the shows, and filming the DVDs of all the shows.  I had always wanted to be involved in the film industry. My friend and coworker John Spencer and I decided to write our first feature film together.

    3)    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    Pennsylvania is my home and has been for all of my life.  The diversity of people and their stories compliment the various landscapes across the state offering a multitude of creative options.

    4)    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    The hard part is which location to use first. Pennsylvania is home to botanical gardens, amusement parks, covered bridges, casinos and we even have our own Grand Canyon.  My favorite locations would have to be in and around Lancaster County.

    5)    What do you love the most about your job?

    I love the talented people I get to connect with each and every day.  Creating films requires a dedicated and professional team, that can take an idea and make it happen on the big screen. 

    6)    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    I am in production with Inspiring Films on a full-length feature called “Brave the Dark”. It is based on the true story of Stan Deen, a local teacher who helps a local teenager come to terms with his dark past.  Brave the Dark will feature Jared Harris (Chernobyl, The Crown)  and Nicholas Hamilton (IT) The current plan is for principle photography to begin in October in and around Lancaster County.  I am super excited to see the impact shooting this film in Pennsylvania will have on the local economy.

    7)    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    The Pennsylvania Film Tax credit allows us to work where we live. Without it we would need to take our films to other states.  There is so much local talent in our area, and we need to raise the financial support to continue to take our craft to the next level.  Producing films in Pennsylvania will not only provide jobs for the local talent, it will also advertise that area to the audience. Keeping films in Pennsylvania will be a benefit to the state on multiple levels.

    8)    What is your advice for the aspiring filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    Although film making is fun, it also requires a lot of discipline, determination, and maturity.  I believe that great films start with a well written & story driven script.  Do not start pitching your script until you have a great version to present to producers.

    9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    Continue to hone your craft.  Get connected.  Getting into the film industry is about getting in front of those already working in the industry.  Be persistent but always lead with your work ethic and abilities, not your ego.  In this industry we are always looking for talented people who are experts in their field.  Be someone who is dependable and trustworthy.

    10)  What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    I have learned that in this industry you need to just be yourself and no matter what happens good or bad, hold true to who you are and your values.  Understand and remember why you want to be in the industry.

    11)  What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    The movie “Rocky”.  I was living in Philadelphia when it was filmed and remember all the hype when it premiered. 

    12)  What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    My favorite project is always the current project I am working on. At this time, BRAVE THE DARK is my favorite project.  It is a very personal film and many amazing things have happened since we started production.

    13)  What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    I would love to continue to produce story driven films that give the viewer hope, as well as create characters we can relate to and look up to. With so much negativity in the world, it is important to have something tangible to hold on to. For me that is hope.

    14) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects? 

    Check out inspiringfilmsllc.com or bravethedark.com or follow us on Facebook @bravethedarkfilm.  We will be posting and updating as we get closer to production


  • Friday, August 16, 2019 10:40 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      Please, meet Sara Lynn Krupnick, a local Pennsylvania filmmaker whose most recently wrapped production was in collaboration with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, entitled, “Why We Hate,” which will air on Discovery Channel later this year. Within five short years, Sara was able to advance her career from production coordinator to unit project manager and line producer; she is currently focused on projects in and around Philadelphia and New York City. Sara is a member of the Producers Guild of America and New York Women in Film and Television, has production managed Emmy-winning television series, and is AICP trained. She is a proud perma-lance  (permanent freelance) member of the Jigsaw Production company (based in NYC) and they recently filmed an episode of their documentary series, “Untitled Justice Project,” for Netflix in her hometown of Philadelphia; the recreation shoot was directed by none other than the talented documentary filmmaker, Alex Gibney.

    1)  What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    I was recently promoted from Unit Production Manager to Line Producer at Jigsaw Productions. This was no small feat, as many applied for the position; however, my tenacity, work ethic, vast networking skills, and advanced knowledge of the industry and its standards catapulted me to the top of the list, and I was chosen for the promotion. My secret weapon has always been my appetite for learning, you can always better yourself and the company you work for by advancing your skillset and learning from others, whether it is through observation, personal experience, book/guides, and/or friendships. With that in mind, I was The Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) trained and became a member of the Producers Guide of America.

    2)  How did you get started in the film industry?
    By the ripe age of eleven, my mind was set on becoming a filmmaker, and furthering the art-form. My realization manifested after watching numerous films and television series and wishing I was the protagonist, I had their job, their life, I wanted to be them. My curiosity was forever sparked by the ever-renewing knowledge I would gain from my television set, from watching others create a world that I strived to become a part of. When I realized that all of those feelings and dreams originated from the moments I saw flash upon my screen, I was hooked and knew I had to work in the film industry. When I realized I wanted to become a director or producer, I put all my ducks in a row and dedicated all my free time to achieving my goal; I enrolled in weekend film classes, which in turn led me to choosing Film School at Temple University. While studying at Temple, I interned at NFL Films in the Cinematography Department, and after graduating, I was offered a position as a seasonal Camera Assistant at NFL Films. My time at NFL Films led to my role as Camera Assistant on multiple feature films, from there I got into producing and production coordinating and managing and so forth.

    3)  Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I was born and raised in Philadelphia, I chose to attend Central High School and remain in Pennsylvania during my college years at Temple University. I am a proud Philadelphian, my first true exposure to cinematic glory was in 2005, when I was invited onto the set of the film, Invincible, directed by Ericson Core, that shot a scene at my high school. My career in the industry started in Philadelphia, thus I hope I can continue to bring more work to the area, as there are such beautiful locations to shoot all over Pennsylvania, from its urban American history to the majestic Pocono Mountains.

    4)  What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    My favorite location to film in Pennsylvania is Center City, Philadelphia. Philadelphia is such an architectural accomplishment, full of history, life, and lights. Many of the projects I have worked on in Pennsylvania, have been shot in Center City, Philadelphia.

    5)  What do you love the most about your job?
    The role of Line Producer is truly equated with being the “mother” of the project. I thoroughly enjoy nurturing each project from pre-production to post-production, ensuring my project fully blooms. I pride myself in being the person any crew, cast, network, and/or studio, can place their trust in, with full knowledge that I will do everything in my power to ensure the project succeeds. I am involved in every facet of the creation process and I feel a real sense of ownership.

    6)  What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    Being a female filmmaker, is much more than having tough skin, it is making the tough calls, the right calls. Too many a times, women are put into situations or are perceived by their reactions to situations, based solely on their gender and are brutally labelled accordingly. I remember when I was a green production assistant, and no one wanted me to touch the expensive equipment, because they thought it was too heavy for a girl like me to carry. Over the years, I have proven myself as a well-intentioned, intelligent, and hardworking member of any production team. Also, with the #metoo movement giving a voice to those hurt in the industry, I am happy to note that the entertainment industry is taking a stand to stop particular behaviors, to create a safer environment, more conducive to create successful films and happy employees. This is one step towards ending the gender bias in the industry.

    7)  What is your advice for other women in film?
    I know it is clichèd, but “be yourself,” that is the most important thing to remember. There will always be individuals who like or dislike you, never worry about them, know your worth and just be your passionate and ambitious self, despite what anyone ever has to say.

    8)  Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am currently line producing an exciting short film for an up-and-coming director from Bryn Mawr. This project will be filming from August 23rd to August 26th in Montgomery County.

    9) PaFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    The film industry in Pennsylvania is vast and full of creative minds and stories. I have the privilege to travel for my work, and experience different culture’s and countries’ perspective on film, and I believe beyond conviction that Pennsylvania is a unique geographical and social atmosphere, unlike any other.  Pennsylvania has a strong selection and network of amazingly talented cast and production staff and crew. I truly believe increasing the film tax credit will better the entertainment industry, as it would afford more productions the opportunity to work in Pennsylvania. It is sad when I see films like, Shazaam!, that are set in Philadelphia, and yet filmed in Toronto, as Pennsylvania’s tax credit is currently not competitive enough.

    10) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    My best advice is to never give up. I have had those moments too. Most successful people had a point in their careers where they questioned themselves. It’s important to question yourself. Get out there and work on Independent projects. That is how I got started and it led to doors being opened.

    11) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    There are numerous websites where gigs are posted. My personal favorite is: staffmeup.com. The other best way is always through personal recommendations. Most of the people I hire were recommended to me by another producer. Make sure to network any chance you get. You can never stop networking.

    12) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Find your mentor or mentors. These people will be your guide. Impress the people who you want to be or work with, they will want to help you. Always listen and ask questions if you aren’t sure.

    13) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    The Visit, I had the pleasure to work on this film as the camera production assistant.

    14) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    My favorite Philadelphia based project is the one I am currently wrapping up for Netflix. It is about a very important topic and I think people will learn a lot.

    15) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My aspiration is to be an executive producer for feature films and scripted television shows.

    16) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects? 
    I always post on
    film.org for any of my Philly based projects.


  • Thursday, August 08, 2019 1:44 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     On July 30th local filmmakers and actors got to join M. Night Shyamalan in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of his masterpiece The Sixth Sense - one of the most famous and highest-grossing psychological thrillers in the world.

    The event started with a VIP reception, followed by the film’s screening at the Philadelphia Film Center - the same theater where the film premiered in 1999!  After the screening, Director M. Night Shyamalan and Film Society Executive Director J. Andrew Greenblatt discussed how the film was made, giving the audience an opportunity to ask questions. Guests learned many intriguing behind the scenes facts about the movie and Shyamalan’s path to success. The conversation was so friendly and personal, accompanied by jokes and laughter, that it felt more like a night out with a friend than a meeting with the legend. John Rusk, the first Assistant Director of The Sixth Sense and PAFIA Board Member, also attended the event, and fans got a chance to meet Shyamalan’s right hand man who helped bring this pièce de résistance to life.

    M. Night Shyamalan resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is the pride and glory of the Pennsylvania film community. “All these ideas, they come to me based on our city and where we live – this incredible place,” says Shyamalan about Philadelphia. He works primarily in PA and every one of his films is an award-winning blockbuster. His path to success, filled with stories of hard work and perseverance, serve as the true inspiration to the local filmmakers.

    All proceeds from the event benefit two great organizations with wonderful missions: the Philadelphia Film Society and M. Night Shyamalan Foundation.

    Philadelphia Film Society creates opportunities for diverse communities to experience film through initiatives that inspire, educate, challenge and entertain.

    The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation supports the grassroots efforts of emerging leaders as they work to eliminate the barriers created by poverty and social injustice in their communities.

  • Thursday, August 01, 2019 3:47 PM | Jennifer Butschle (Administrator)

    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Please, meet David Vincent Bobb who is a local actor and award-winning filmmaker. David starred in a scene opposite Benjamin Bratt in the feature film “Pinero”. His biggest achievement is his most recent film, “Right Before Your Eyes”. He obtained a personal achievement of “Best First Time Director”, awarded to him by the 2019 Philadelphia Independent Film Festival. In total, the film has been selected to 6 film festivals, nominated for 19 awards and has won 6 awards.

    1)   What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?

    My independent feature film “Right Before Your Eyes” recently picked up national distribution with Nagra/myCinema and will have a limited theatrical release on 9.20.19, with Canada, Mexico and worldwide release to follow. This film has been a labor of love of mine for over 14 years. It is inspired by events in my life. It’s the story of a recovering addict and alcoholic on a train ride home to visit his young Autistic son he hasn’t seen since birth. This film would not have been possible without the help of the Philadelphia film scene. I am Philly native and most of my actors and some of my crew are from Philadelphia. I was able to find all of my talent and crew through, of all places, Facebook. I posted that I wanted to shoot a faith-based feature film and was looking for like-minded actors and crew that would be interested in helping me bring this dream to fruition. The response was overwhelming and I couldn’t have been more blessed with the cast and crew involved in the project.


    2)   How did you get started in the film industry?

    After I was discharged from the United States Marine Corps, I was working as a waiter in a seafood restaurant in South Carolina. I would always talk about wanting to get involved in theatre and film but never really pursued it. One day a waitress came into work and told me that they were casting extras for Disney’s “The Jungle Book” live action feature film starring Jason Scott Lee, Cary Elwes, and John Cleese. I went to an open casting call at the Holiday Inn in Beaufort, South Carolina and before I even got back home I had a message on my phone from the Casting Director stating that they want to cast me in the film. One night I was sitting on this elaborate Disney set in the middle of a small island in South Carolina. I was looking around at the stadium lights, the live oxen and elephants walking around, and all of the actors, including myself, dressed in our period pieces and I knew at that exact moment that this would be something I would do for the rest of my life.


    3)   Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    I am the kind of guy who stays true to my roots. I am originally from Pennsylvania and as I soon found out, the film industry in Pennsylvania, and in particular, Philadelphia, is thriving. I would have to say the best thing about working in Pennsylvania is the fact that there are so many beautiful locations to shoot and a plethora of filmmakers, cast, and crew that are as hungry as I am to make poignant and lasting films.


    4)   What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    I’ve been lucky enough to have locations such as The Colebrookdale Railroad in beautiful Boyertown, Pa, as well as some real gems in Harrisburg, Pa (Bethesda Mission), and Camp Hill, Pa (Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral).


    5)   What do you love the most about your job?

    The friendships that are created on a film set are unlike any other. When you can share your vision with somebody and they believe in that vision enough to help you tell your story and they accept who you are, that is a friendship I’m willing to hold onto for a lifetime.


    6)   Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    It’s been a whirlwind ever since my first project started taking off. I’ve gotten several offers to write/co-write, direct, and produce several different features. For now, I am going to focus on seeing my current project all the way through to the finish line (international distribution) before I make any moves to go to the next project. When the time is right, I’ll know it.


    7)   PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    To me the obvious would be the job opportunities that open up to filmmakers, cast, and crew when projects are advertised. The local economy flourishes when these filmmakers plant their feet in whichever City they are shooting. Local businesses (restaurants, markets, hotels, etc.) not only benefit from an increased spike in sales while these projects are in town, but the advertising a filmmaker can offer (having a local business featured in a film) could have some really substantial long-term effects for that business. I can think of no better way to advertise than with a medium that has the potential to be visible to millions of people worldwide in perpetuity.


    8)   What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?

    My biggest piece of advice to filmmakers would be when you hire cast and crew for your project make sure that they truly believe in your project. Hire not only based on talent, but also based on their commitment to their craft and professionalism. You can usually tell at a casting call or when speaking to crew on the phone or in person if they are somebody you want to spend the next few weeks/months with.  Investigate the cast and crew you want to hire. Check out their resumes, search IMDb, ask around. Remember this is your vision and your hard-earned money. You have the right to know that what you are getting in return for your blood, sweat, and tears is going to be a quality investment. I was once given a very important piece of sage advice that I’d like to share with you. If you want a successful film, make sure you have these 3 elements: a good story, a good cast, and a good crew. The only way you are going to have those 3 elements is to do the research. Don’t rush your project and be diligent. It will be worth it in the end and you have an amazing story to share with the world.


    9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?

    Be nice on set and people will remember you. Remember, this is a profession, treat it like one. Be respectful to those that hired you and build strong relationships while you are on set, even if it’s only for a day or two. The film industry is a very tight community and word travels fast. If you leave a positive lasting impression on those you work with and work for, gigs will actually start finding you.


    10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    Never ever rush and don’t commit too soon to anything. I was so excited when “Right Before Your Eyes” went into pre-production that instead of researching I made some knee-jerk decisions that ended up being mistakes. What I would recommend is that you ask lots of questions before you make decisions in reference to the entire production process. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially if you are “green”. Don’t ever feel like you have a “dumb” question or that you will look less knowledgeable if you don’t know how every single piece works. Surround yourself with positive people that genuinely want to help you and believe in your project.

    11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?

    “The Deer Hunter”


    12)  What is your favorite project that you worked on?

    “Right Before Your Eyes” - www.beforeyoureyesfilm.com


    13)  What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    To help faith-based films become more mainstream. Faith-based films have gotten such a bad rap over the years. But as we progress as a human race, faith-based films do seem to be turning the corner a bit and are starting to make a real statement in the film industry. I want to be a voice for the faith-based film industry. I want to help integrate and change that narrative.


    14)  What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    CDB Films will advertise casting calls when upcoming projects are ready for production. We advertise on all social media outlets as well as using local and national news resources.


  • Thursday, July 11, 2019 11:47 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     
    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Please, meet Jennifer Yee McDevitt who is a local Pennsylvania screenwriter with films in development at 20th Century Fox. She worked at Warner Bros Studios, spent two seasons with NFL Films and directed 10 MOUNTAINS 10 YEARS narrated by Anne Hathaway with music by Bruce Springsteen. She is represented by CAA and Rise Management.

    1) Please describe your most recent success and how you have grown in the industry.

    For the past couple years I've been grateful to write for Amazon and Netflix. Currently, I'm writing the next movie for Universal Pictures. It's an adaptation of the popular novel Goodbye Vitamin. Dylan Clark (The Batman, Bird Box) is producing the film for Universal.

    2) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?

    I recently wrote a television pilot set in Pennsylvania. Hopefully one day we'll get to shoot it here.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?

    Earlier in my career, I lived in Los Angeles for 5 years. I decided to move back to my hometown of Philadelphia because I wanted to be closer to my family for the long-term. It has definitely been challenging to work long-distance, when all of my colleagues are in LA and New York, but it is completely worth it to me. Pennsylvania is where I grew up. It's where I met my husband. We got married here, bought a house here, and started a family together here. I love putting my family first, and the joy it has given me has made me a better writer.

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?

    One of my pipe dreams is to someday shoot a West Wing style walk-and-talk scene through Reading Terminal Market!

    5) What is your advice for aspiring filmmakers?

    Follow your heart, be patient, and don't give up. It's a very long marathon, not a sprint. I wanted to write movies when I was 21 years old, but it took me 11 years to actually become a working screenwriter. 

    6) What would be the best way for our local cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?

    If one of my scripts shoots in the region, there will be local casting and crew calls. 

    7) PaFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of the PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?

    The PA film industry brings massive economic growth and employment to our state. Every time a movie shoots here, our neighborhoods benefit, restaurants benefit, hotels benefit, retailers benefit - and the positive domino effect is endless. On the writing end, my colleagues and I have written many scripts set in Pennsylvania - but because of the tax credit - most of those projects moved to Georgia, Canada, and Europe. It's discouraging because we're specifically working very hard to bring more economic growth to our home state - and uncapping the tax credit is critical to making that happen. The PaFIA team has been amazing in their advocacy work in Harrisburg and additionally in building a sense of community for all of us. PaFIA Board Member Dave Raynor has been a wonderful mentor to me for many years. His genuine friendship and guidance to so many of us embodies the kindness amongst artists here and why I love working here.

    8) What are some of the most valuable lessons you learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?

    In the beginning, several people told me, "It'll get easier." The truth is - it doesn't get easier, but you get much more experienced and you get better! 

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:04 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      

    Written by: Jaymie Macek, PAFIA Social Media Coordinator
    Photos by: Maria Shamkalian, PAFIA Vice Chair

    It has been almost a year since Philadelphia, Pennsylvania started to host monthly networking nights for the local film industry professionals to network, collaborate on the projects, and learn more about the benefit of film tax credits. These events are free for both members and non-members, and they help us spread the word about the importance of film tax credits and hear stories and experiences from those in the industry.

    Each month, PAFIA members, film enthusiasts, crew members, actors, casting directors, screenwriters, producers, directors, agents, investors, and curious minds all collide at The Happy Rooster in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Located in the heart of Philly, The Happy Rooster has been a staple of the Philadelphia scene for decades. They serve irresistible food, delicious drinks, and fabulous experiences. Currently, they hold the title for the best lobster in Philadelphia, as well as best host for our Philadelphia PAFIA monthly socials!

    Every month, The Happy Rooster spoils PAFIA attendees with a private room, delicious complimentary appetizers, and a variety of drink specials, all tailored for the organization. They also began to offer a brand-new option for these Networking Nights - karaoke! Their staff is extremely helpful, and they always provide a pleasant experience for everyone while guests are singing, drinking, eating, participating in a 50/50 raffle, taking $20 headshots with Michael E. Pearson, learning about new productions, and advocating for the film tax credit. Their generosity and dedication to the organization has made the PAFIA Networking Nights in Philadelphia a huge success.

    If you’re looking for a PAFIA approved space to meet, greet, and eat in Philadelphia, look no further than 118 S. 16th Street. We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Happy Rooster and all the Philadelphia Networking Nights in the future.


  • Thursday, February 14, 2019 11:50 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      

    By: Courtney Gumpf
    Partner | Flying  Scooter Productions
    PAFIA Board Member

    When I became a Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) board member about a year ago, I realized I was unaware of its core objective. Absolutely, I was familiar with the organization and was a supporter of the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit, but I lacked an understanding of their mission – to educate legislation on the benefits of the Film Tax Credit.

    I began my career in film and television and have many friends who are still in the industry today. It is because of my experiences I have been able to witness first-hand the job security and economic growth the film tax credit provides. So, when the opportunity presented itself to travel to Harrisburg and meet with the lobbyists and legislators, I was eager to attend, learn more and share my point of view.

    Arriving in Harrisburg, I didn’t know what to expect and have to admit was a little nervous. I quickly met with fellow board members David Haddad, Lela Checco and our Lobbyist Jim Davis. The Senate was in session, so Mr. Davis filled us in on the latest developments, and both Lela and I had the opportunity to share stories of impact we’ve seen both personally and economically due to the film tax credit. We then stopped by the capital building where we introduced ourselves to Senators from both the eastern and western sides of the state and explained the importance of continuing and raising the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit.

    A dinner with a State Senator quickly followed and we were able to spend one-on-one time explaining our stories in more detail. He was extremely pleased to hear how many local businesses and crew members have been affected and grown due to the movie and television industry. I explained how after college I planned on moving out of the state; however, with the amount of filming that took place in 2008-2009 was able to start the career I always wanted in my hometown state of Pennsylvania.

    Overall, the experience was more beneficial than I could have imagined, and I definitely learned the importance of building relationships and connections in Harrisburg. The opportunity for face-to-face conversations is crucial in educating the House and Senate members who have the power to vote by keeping the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit at the top of their minds. 

    Our crew here is incredible, and it is up to us to continue the discussion, reach out and all share our stories!

    You can start by calling and emailing if you can't make it to Harrisburg: http://bit.ly/ContactPARep

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8:48 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

        
    By: Lela Checco, Crafty Craft Services, LLC
    PAFIA Board Member

    On Tuesday, February 5th, 2019, I hit the road and headed for Harrisburg to explore, learn, and make my voice heard. It was my first trip to our state capitol as a professional union worker, and I was very excited. But I’ll admit it: I was also very nervous. I felt out of my element and had butterflies in my stomach the whole time!

    But despite those butterflies, I got a lot accomplished on my trip. I toured the Capitol Building and, along with Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) board members David Haddad and Courtney Gumpf, met with PAFIA lobbyist Jim Davis, to get a better understanding of how he interacts with our legislators on an issue that is very close to my heart - filming TV and movies in PA.

    I learned a great deal from Mr. Davis and was inspired to do everything I can to help our cause. And later that evening, I took a big step toward that goal, when we sat down to dinner with a senator and his staff. We had a lovely meal, and I put a lot on the table: myself.

    I once read somewhere that “people forget the facts but never forget a good story.” So, I went with that and told the senator *my* story, to give him a glimpse of what it’s like working in the film industry in PA. I explained what my career in Craft Services involves and regaled him with stories about providing on-set food and beverages to the cast and crew. I told him how I pride myself on using local businesses as much as possible and emphasized how I’ve seen small businesses grow from my interactions with them, from hitting higher sales goals and acquiring new equipment to expanding their operations, creating physical storefronts and food trucks from social media posts, and much more.

    I also described how my own career has grown, due, in large part, to the resources I’ve found in Pennsylvania. I was born and raised and received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Keystone State; and, after a brief stint in California in the early-2000’s, have worked here for well over a decade. I’m now on my way to owning my own food trailers, which, as I told the senator, is only possible because of the connections I’ve made with Pennsylvania businesses through my work in film.

    The senator was glad to see how “PA proud” I am and seemed impressed with everything I shared about my connections and interactions with local businesses - and I’m glad that I told my story and demonstrated how the film industry has grown and worked hand-in-hand with other industries to help them grow and make our state’s economy, and residents, thrive.

    But mine is not the only story to be told. You’ve got a story too. Tell it! You may not have the time, energy, or money to make it to the capitol. But you can still make your voice heard. Call or email your senator to tell them *your* story. Let them know who you are, what you do, and how it affects the businesses around you.

    We have an amazing crew here, and Pennsylvania is our home. The Tax Credit for PA is very important to us, and hopefully it will be raised to a higher limit to keep our family together. So, please, do your part. Stay informed... and keep your representatives informed.

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   4   5   ...   Next >  Last >> 

Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software