• Friday, October 11, 2019 3:22 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Steve Perrong is a Director/Editor for Neighborhood Film Company based in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, specializing in commercial and documentary work as well as Behind-The-Scenes and EPK content for film and television. 

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    The most recent project I am coming off of is Behind the Scenes content for the film “Concrete Cowboys,” written by Neighborhood Film Company owners Ricky Staub and Dan Walser and directed by Ricky. It stars Idris Elba, Jharrel Jerome, and Caleb McLaughlin. I am also currently directing BTS content for M. Night Shyamalan’s “Servant” and Jason Segel’s “Dispatches From Elsewhere.”

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    I started helping out for a television show at a local church when I was around 15 or 16. From there I went to college to study film and have continued to work in the industry ever since.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I grew up just outside of Philly so this has always been home. I’m lucky that I have been able to stay based here. I have shot in most of the states in the U.S. and in other countries and my favorite film crews are still in PA.


    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? Anything in Philly will always look great. I think PA in general is unique because it offers a variety of landscapes and settings for shooting.


    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    I love that every job is different so it keeps you on your toes. It’s a great environment to continue to get better.

    6) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I think the most memorable will be working on Concrete Cowboys. It was a film that was close to all of us at Neighborhood and we couldn’t really believe it was happening. “Glass” was another film that was memorable to work on. I directed some featurettes and a lot of bonus content. 

    7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    We love being able to do work in Pennsylvania both large and small. I have some commercials coming up and hope to be in production of a documentary before the end of the year.

    8) 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?
    Shooting in PA not only keeps local crew and talent who make a living in film working, it also boosts the economy - dollars spent with local merchants and hotels benefits the state as a whole. And I think any time you can see PA in a movie or show it will help drive tourism.


    9) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    You always need to be practicing your craft and remember that filmmaking is like a team sport. Be open to collaboration.

    10) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Networking is key and always have a positive attitude.

    11) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Trying to maintain a good work-life balance is a must.

    12) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m all about the Philly films but I might have to go with “Night of the Living Dead”

    13) What is your favorite project that you worked on? 
    Most recently I had so much fun on a commercial I directed for “Visit Philly”. We were all over the city for the shoot and made sure to show off the not so touristy spots of town to prove that Philly has a lot to offer.

    14) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I just hope that I can continue collaborating with great people while creating work that makes me happy.

    15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    www.neighborhoodfilmco.com or @perrong on Instagram.

  • Friday, October 04, 2019 1:54 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     By Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Lancaster County-based film director, Bradley Hawkins, began his film career as an actor in the San Francisco Bay area in the early 1990s, starring in plays and musical theater productions on stage, as well as being on-camera in commercials, television, and films. Hawkins and his young family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1997 where he taught acting, film studies, and humanities, and directed several stage productions at the high school level. After retiring as a high school teacher, Hawkins returned to acting on-camera and transitioned into an award-winning indie film director in 2015 with his directorial debut comedy short, Roller Coaster, which earned 30 film festival awards throughout the country. In 2017-2018, his quirky, comedy-fantasy, Filling In, won 61 film festival awards and 37 nominations from throughout the U.S. as well as in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, and even in Lithuania. Both Roller Coaster and Filling In are now streaming on Amazon Prime today. In addition to being a film director, Hawkins coaches emerging on-screen talent through his on-camera program, The Actor’s Workshop of Central PA, as well as holding virtual acting coaching sessions nationwide. Hawkins also founded his film production company, Dadley Productions, in 2015, with his daughter and producer, Sarah Hawkins.

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

    We just recently wrapped production on my latest short, Calf Rope the heart-warming tale of the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, and the endearing legacies that can live on, long after the elder is gone. Calf Rope is a tender short film set in the 1960s about a 65-year-old cattle auctioneer and former junior rodeo champ from rural Oklahoma, and the tight bond he develops with his young grandson from suburban Pennsylvania while teaching him a few tricks from his previous trades.

    The film is loosely based on my boyhood memories of my Granddad Mac and concludes with a hint of the legacy that my "Grandad" unknowingly left behind for me as a role model for being "Grandpa" to my own young grandchildren today. To continue the legacy, my daughter, Sarah Hawkins is producing Calf Rope which will be the third film project produced under the Dadley Productions’ banner. The production phase of the film was crowdfunded through Seed and Spark (raising $23,800) and we’ve just launched a second campaign for an additional $30K to get the film through all of the standard post-production tasks, but also including marketing and enough funds to cover the expense for film festival submission fees for at least a year on a global scale. Those interested in being part of our team to complete Calf Rope can find out more about how to “saddle up” with our posse at tinyurl.com.calfropemovie.

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

    After an early career as the founding director of a youth music organization in 1980, I switched lanes in the mid-90s to return to my passion for acting both on stage and on screens in commercials, television shows, and films throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1997, my wife and I and our two young kids left California for Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I taught acting, film studies, and humanities courses at Lebanon High School (Lebanon, PA) and directed several stage productions throughout my 14 years as an educator. After retiring from teaching high school in 2014, I returned to acting on-camera and then branched out as an award-winning indie film director in 2015 with my debut comedy short, ROLLER COASTER earning 30 film festival awards along the way.

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

    Although Roller Coaster was shot entirely in Los Angeles, and principal photography for Filling In was shot in upstate NY, almost all of the B-roll footage for the comedy-fantasy short was shot throughout Lancaster County (Elizabethtown for a jewelry store in Hong Kong, Lancaster for Wall Street,  Manhein for Mexico, Mount Joy for “Middle America”, etc.) . Through that experience, I discovered the wide diversity of locations available right here in Central PA, and therefore my latest film Calf Rope was shot entirely in our region (Annville, Ephrata, Lancaster, Landisville, Mount Joy, and Palmyra).

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

    ForCalf Rope we were fortunate to have absolutely stunning locations offered to us to throughout Lancaster and Lebanon counties to shoot at for our period piece set in the mid-1960s including Orthopedics Association of Lancaster in Lebanon for a pivotal hospital scene, the New Main Theatre in Ephrata, to represent Oklahoma during the time period, the exterior of Bube’s Brewery in Mount Joy, and the Shale Knoll Arena for a complex and climatic cattle auction scene with over 50 head of cattle livestock of all shapes and sizes. Due to the diversity in our region, we know that we have been able to convincingly pull off representing both the states of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania in 1966 while shooting the film in August of 2019.

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

    As a boy at age seven, I was given an 8mm Brownie movie camera for my birthday, and I knew almost instantly what my life goal was going to be. It just took me almost 50 years to make that journey. So when asked what I love the most about my new job is that it allows me to tell the cinematic stories that have stuck in my head for decades and now to be able to put them up on screens throughout the world.

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

    Along with our plans to expand Calf Rope from a short into an indie-feature, we are also in development on an ensemble-cast, cinematic light-comedy “love letter” to Lancaster County called Whoopie! (in the vein of Little Miss Sunshine and Amélie), as well as a gritty, coming-of-age drama/thriller with the working title of Dylan (reminiscent of Mud and Short Term 12. Though there will undoubtedly be some dark turns involved in all three stories, as in all of our previous work through Dadley Productions, audiences will ultimately be left with a sense of hope and inspiration once each journey has reached its conclusion.

    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?

    After retiring from teaching in 2014, I’ve spent a lot of time as an actor and director in L.A. over the past five years and was essentially bi-coastal for about three years with agents representing me in both L.A. and PA. However, I’ve come to see that there is absolutely no reason in the 21st-century for filmmaking to be limited to a “major market.” Content for streaming and screening can now be created virtually anywhere. Anywhere that films ARE being created means jobs for the artists in their selected cinematic field to be able to help their local economy and community thrive. Nurturing film production in PA means nurturing our local restaurants, hotels, businesses, and jobs for our local artists that have acquired those skills so that they do not need to be leaving PA for Atlanta, Baltimore, L.A., NYC, Toronto, or Washington D.C., NYC for work. I for one, have no interest in spending any of my remaining years nurturing other regions for filmmaking either as a director or an actor and would prefer to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s economy.

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

    For actors anywhere but particularly in our region (where performance opportunities in stage productions are currently far more prevalent than on-camera narrative or commercial work) it’s important to seek out the training to make that significant transformation from stage to the screen; from broad, external actions and projection to the far more intimate, subtle, and internalized reactions. I was trained early on that acting on-camera is often much more about listening and reacting to what their scene partner saying than it is about their own spoken lines. Stage directors are constantly telling their cast to “pick up the cues,” whereas film directors want and need their talent to take the time to internalize their unspoken thoughts before allowing the outspoken dialogue to come out of their mouths, delivered at volume levels based on truth and reality rather than having to artificially project these emotions and thoughts to the “back of the house.”

    Other advice to the actors reading this interview is to seek advice from directors, producers, and casting directors (rather than other actors) on headshots, resumes, marketing themselves on social media, etc. and to hold off on creating a reel until there is enough quality footage to even have one. Far too many actors in our area just get their headshots done from whoever they’re actor friends do, and/or rush into getting acting demo reels without having professional level, quality content on it. As someone who routinely casts projects these days (and is often asked to recommend talent for local commercials, web and film projects) I tell all actors that I coach that it is far better to not have a reel than to have a bad one.

    For filmmakers in our community, much of the current paid work in our region is commercial, and the film companies that I feel that do the best job at that are those that strive toward taking a more cinematic, narrative approach to their work. We also have a lot of documentary filmmakers in Central PA, and though I often greatly respect their end product, doc filmmakers tend to frequently be  “one-man bands” that do 90% of the job on their own (camera operator, producer, director, editor, marketing manager, etc.). By nature, narrative filmmaking requires the need for more collaboration to create characters, actions, and dialogue in a screenplay, as well as stage environments (through production design) as opposed to filming what is happening organically in front of them. I feel that local documentary filmmakers would greatly benefit from forcing themselves to delegate responsibilities and relinquish more creative control to other crew members on their production team, as is routine in narrative filmmaking.

    I’m also liking what I’m seeing coming out of Central PA through a group called Vidjam’s Central PA Filmmakers. As defined on their page Facebook page, Vidjam is A place for filmmakers in Central PA to network and collaborate,” and the group hosts quarterly 48 hr film competitions for awards and recognition where filmmakers put together teams of their own that must write, cast, location scout, shoot, editing, color correct, score, color-correct, etc.) all within between their 48 hr starting/ending times on Friday and Sunday evening. These brave and dedicated souls (of all levels of experience) are learning, experimenting, collaborating, and stretching their creative wings to improve their skills and to network with like-minded artists in our region, and I’ve come to truly respect the spirit and the intent of the Vidjam experience.

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

    I’m a big proponent of creating one's own content. I’m seeing more and more local film production companies making the occasional choice to sacrifice the financial security of a paid commercial gig in order to have the experience of creating something more meaningful to them that though there may not be financial rewards (initially) could lead to much bigger and better projects that can be monetized and eventually provide sustainable income for local filmmakers. That’s at least been the strategy for Dadley Productions. Our two completed shorts both now on Amazon with a combined award total of 91 awards and 37 nominations, and our current short Calf Rope (now in post-production and set to be released in early 2020) have already proven to be a launching pad for our company in that we are now receiving screenplays for consideration from all over the world for future projects and are working with three different screenwriters on each of our upcoming feature-length screenplays which can be monetized. We view the short film format as a “short cut” up the food chain in the industry as ling as each produced short is created at the highest level of excellence that our limited resources can afford.

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

    At age 63, and being in a position of directing one thing or another for over 40 years now (whether it be marching bands, jazz bands, orchestras, choirs, stage plays, or films) and fortunately learned my lessons many decades ago My top five most valuable lessons as an ol’ guy that I try to pass on to those who consider me as a mentor are:

    1. Punctuality is expected in this biz and is a rule I’ve tried to live by all my life. “To be early is to be on time; to be ‘on time’ is to be late, and to be late is not to be.”
    2. My mantra for illustrating the importance of cooperative collaboration in this industry is an ol’ cowboy saying, “If you want to ride fast, go alone. If you want ride far, go together.” Dadley Productions is fully committed to going far, rather than fast.

    3. Better to take risks and be able to live with yourself for trying, rather than having to someday say to yourself “I wish I woulda.” In other words, “Ya can’t win if ya don’t play.”

    4. Never skimp on sound design during post-production. Even the first “major motion picture” during the silent era, The Great Train Robbery (1903) was screened with a pianist accompanying it when was screened. Too many inexperienced filmmakers spend their budgets all on the production phase of filmmaking but then try to cut financial corners during post-production on sound editing, mix, design, and scoring and their film goes nowhere as a result.

    5. I’d much rather work with a crew and cast with the biggest hearts than the best equipment or talent. Skills can be taught. Hearts must be willing to learn.
    11. What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
     Silver Linings Playbook

     12. What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    My current project, Calf Rope, means more to me on a personal level than any other creative endeavor I’ve ever embarked on. It truly feels like my entire life has led to this moment in time for the purpose of telling this story of the importance of leaving a long-lasting legacy for our children's children, as well as for the generations beyond them through the wonder and magic of cinema.

    13. What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?

    Dadley Productions is shooting for the moon with Calf Rope. My daughter worked for the Academy of Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for four years and in 2015 I had the honor of attending the Oscars as my daughter’s “Plus one.” The only father/daughter date could ever beat that would be for us to return due to one or both of us being an Oscar nominee. It is our shared dream that Calf Rope is the film that brings us back as a nominee for Best Live-Action Short Film, with her as Producer and myself as Director.

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

    Follow Dadley Productions on Facebook, connect with us through our website, and look for each us on Instagram. In all honesty, Instagram is definitely where the entertainment industry has now gravitated towards and where we have connected with the most filmmakers outside of Central PA. If you’re a filmmaker and are not active on Instagram, you're seriously missing out.

    @bradley_hawkins, @calf_rope, @filling_in, #dadleyproducitons, #rollercoastershortfilm

  • Friday, September 27, 2019 8:56 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Please  meet Ryan Shank – the Founder and Executive Director of the Red Rose Film Festival with a vision of creating more opportunities for central Pennsylvania as an entertainment hub. Ryan is an award winning independent producer of film & branded content who has collaborated with both international and domestic musicians, artists, & corporate communicators to develop and create innovative and visually stunning narratives to drive brand awareness.

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    After 5 years of due diligence and research we are bringing a large scale festival to my home town, Lancaster PA. 


    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    I started as a model/actor at 15. Commercial auditions at Mike Lemon Casting and Heery/Loftus Casting. went to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a degree in marketing. Then off to LA. Traded in front to behind the camera as a producer of branded content in my early 20’s. My heart is in front, my head behind the camera. I love the business of filmmaking. 


    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I choose Pennsylvania because this is home. I choose it because I can work in the community that means something to me. I choose Pennsylvania because I love my family and I believe that Film is about perspective and experience. I’ve Lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and been to New York more times than I can count. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a community you know and building something out from there.


    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Pennsylvania is largely underutilized. We have amazing bro locations but also two of the most famous cities in the country. You can do so much from Pittsburgh, to Lancaster, to Philadelphia.


    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    Community engagement. Filmmakers and audiences are my clients. I want to create a memorable experience. I’m a film exhibitor. My job is to create a platform for film makers and film enthusiasts to meet.


    6) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    The Red Rose Film Festival Nov 1-3


    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 film industry employees more people in the United States than both farming and mining. These are staples in the United States economy. Jobs are being created all over this country to create film. Why are we not bringing more of them to Pennsylvania?

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

    There are no shortcuts! Whether you’re in front of the camera or behind it, this industry is about relationships and cultivating your knowledge through experience. No one is going to hand you opportunity. Protect your reputation and your integrity! 

    Also, it is my firm belief that there is only one true difference between Pennsylvania and moving your whole life to Los Angeles or New York or Georgia. That one difference is proximity. Remember those you are competing against in those cities are having the conversations you want to have on a daily basis. So, when you get an opportunity to have an industry conversation SHOW UP PREPARED!


    9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Never shy away from sharing your goals and vision with others. One conversation can lead down a huge rabbit hole of opportunity if you are true and clear of what your goals are. Also, always be a professional. Someone once said “it’s a fun job. But it’s still a job”. Put the work in.


    10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier? 
    Learn your way around the business of filmmaking. The number one question I receive from potential investors in film is how and when I will see a return. An artist will not always have to know the answer to this question but hell, it helps!


    11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Too difficult. I’ll go with Rocky for now...

    12) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Red Rose Film Festival and Silver Linings Playbook (background)


    13) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My goal is to bring more films to Pennsylvania, specifically central Pennsylvania. I have chosen a life where I am focused on building a family so to bring the industry home is my greatest aspiration.


    14) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Feel free to call me directly. I believe in collaboration. And like I said, sometimes it’s just one conversation that can lead you to something great. Visit my website at www.phillyac.com and drop me an email!

  • Friday, September 20, 2019 10:59 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Please meet Leon Sanginiti, Jr. who is a full-time Pennsylvania filmmaker and a member of International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600). He worked on most of M. Night Shyamalan's films starting with “Wide Awake” that starred Rosie O’Donnel, Dennis Leary and Robert Loggia.

    Leon is currently working on a TV series for AMC called “Dispatches From Elsewhere” which stars Jason Segel of “How I met Your Mother”, Sally Field, and Andre 3000.

    1)   What are your biggest achievements in the film industry.
    As a crew member, especially in the camera department, I think the completion of any job you were fortunate enough to be hired on is a great achievement. This industry isn’t a very easy nut to crack for many. It’s challenging and, many times, very closed off to people trying to “make it”. A job well done, and the ability to be re-hired, is a great achievement. I work as a camera assistant, it’s a taxing position, but also can be very rewarding.

    2)   What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Well, as I mentioned, being fortunate enough to get hired on a major Hollywood production is half the battle of surviving in this industry. The other half is using your skills to do a job well, and to know you helped in some small way, make that production a success. I recently wrapped “21 Bridges” for STX Films, and “Servant” for Apple. Both of which I had worked with the cinematographers on previous shows, and they were comfortable enough to re-hire me, knowing I can do a good job. My relationship with local director M Night Shyamalan is also something I am very happy with. I’ve known Night for over 20 years and have worked on almost all of his locally shot features here in Philly.

    3)   How did you get started in the film industry?
    When I was around 9 years old I was fascinated with sci-fi and fantasy movies. I wanted badly to be a stop motion animator through my childhood. I used to make small jointed models of dinosaurs and creatures in my parent’s basement and shoot short animated films with my friends. When I got into college, Temple University in Philadelphia, I majored in Film Production and started to work more with camera and lighting. This led to me shooting several student films, and really learning to love the idea of how the camera works within a film. After I graduated I started to work as a camera PA on commercials, and finally got to work as a camera assistant on independent features. Eventually this led to me breaking into the market of major feature films.

    4)   Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I was born in Philadelphia and I’m proud of my city. The history, culture, people, everything. I’m happy to call it home, and I really don’t wish to work anywhere else. I’ve traveled all over for work, but I am happiest here. My family, friends, and my roots are here.

    5)   What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    My favorite places to shoot in PA are in Philly, especially South Philly, that’s where I was born and raised. Sometimes I get to shoot in locations that I used to shoot when I was a kid making my own short films, and that’s always a treat.

    6)   What do you love the most about your job?
    I love being able to solve problems, especially when you collaborate with talented people. I love the ability to see how things work out and finally being able to see the end result on the big screen with lots of people in a theater. I love seeing the reaction of others when they get to experience a film I worked on for the first time. Hearing the audience laugh or scream means a lot, like I had a small roll in their enjoyment.

    7)   What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Working on “The Sixth Sense” with Night Shyamalan is very memorable, even though we shot it more than 20 years ago, it still feels like yesterday. After reading the script all I could do was think how incredible this film was going to be as long as Night stayed true to his vision, which of course, he did. Bruce Willis was fantastic to work with, and Haley Joel Osment was an\ amazingly talented child actor. It was an wonderful experience, and the success of that film is something I am extremely happy for Night, the local crew,  and Philadelphia itself.

    8)   Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I currently am working on a TV series for AMC called “Dispatches From Elsewhere” which stars Jason Segel of “How I met Your Mother”, Sally Field, and Andre 3000. I am the B Camera 1st AC. I also have two other shows coming out later this year, “21 Bridges” which stars Chadwick Boseman of “Black Panther” and Sienna Miller, and “Servant” which will be Night Shyamalan’s new episodic series for Apple’s new streaming service.

    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?
    Without the Film Tax Credit, there is no doubt that the film industry in PA will be almost non-existent. Our industry relies on the credit to survive, because without it, producers will undoubtedly go somewhere else to film. It’s that simple. We have seen productions that were set up and ready to go, production offices open, locations being scouted, etc, and then suddenly we get notified that the show is packing up and going somewhere else because the Tax Credit was depleted. This is devastating to us. We need to work to survive, obviously, and when shows suddenly move away because there is no incentive to shoot here it hurts everyone within the industry, and even those who are not directly involved, like local vendors, hotels, restaurants, and so on. It’s the worst case of trickle down effect.

    10)  What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    My best advice is to network. Connect with anyone that you believe can help you in any way, no matter how small. It really is all about who you know in this business. Hone your skills, expand your abilities and talents, but in the end, if someone is there to help you in some way, it can make the difference between success and mediocrity. Regarding the mistakes to avoid, I have to say it’s important to take your time when you start out. I’ve seen a lot of people try to rush their way through the beginning of their career, trying too hard to make something of themselves without taking the appropriate steps to make it by learning the ropes first.

    11) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Well, first networking is the most important way to connect to others in the industry. Staying in touch with co-workers and staying on top of what rumors are swirling about. Philadelphia has a wonderful Film Office, and their website is helpful with news and contact info regarding jobs that are happening. And finally, after a while, you may find yourself fortunate enough to get called for work simply from recommendations of others you have worked with before. That is when you know that you are doing something right.

    12) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Be patient. Pay attention. Be kind and helpful. As a crew member those things are most important. It can help you get more work, and more importantly, helps you make friends.

    13) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    The original “Rocky” is my favorite film shot in Philly. It was the first time I actually saw my city in the movies as an additional character in the movie itself. I’ll never forget seeing that in the theater.

    14) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    “The Sixth Sense” is my favorite film because it is so well done. It was fun and exciting, and it made me feel like I worked on something very special. Actually, any of the 11 films I have worked with Night Shyamalan on are pretty special.

    15) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I aspire to continue doing what I’m doing for as long as I can. Working as a camera assistant is unique because I get to be right in the center of the film making process with very talented people. I get to learn new technology all the time, and I get to do something that I have loved ever since I was a child.

    16) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Well, I don’t have any projects per say that I am working on independently, but I am always eager to help in any way those who aspire to work in the camera department as an AC. You can visit my website at www.phillyac.com and drop me an email!


  • 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 Iams (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 Iams (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.


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

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