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SYNOPSIS

SKATING TO NEW YORK is a contemporary coming-of-age adventure, about five boys on a small-town Canadian high school hockey team, who live to skate. To do something great after losing a big game, they decide to skate across Lake Ontario to New York on the coldest day of the year. Think of the movies FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS meets STAND BY ME. This is a story about home and friendship, about leadership and facing up to danger, and about growing up and never giving up.

Casey is the team goalie. The movie opens with Casey missing a block and losing the game, distracted by his parents fighting in the stands. His best friend, the older Rudy, starts a rumble when the opposing team shoots a puck across the ice, unintentionally smacking Casey in the side of the head and knocking him out. Casey's buddies are all there for him as he emerges with seven stitches; there's Rudy, bossing around his younger brother, hanger-on Art, along with the swaggering and confident Boney, and Jimmy, the practical and brainy one who knows better than everyone else. Feeling like losers, hemmed in by being young in a small town and by their circumstances at home, the boys come up with something great to do that's never been done before; they'll skate across Lake Ontario all the way to New York.

Their adventure is a true coming-of-age journey, complete with the exhilaration and joy of being young and free. As their day of skating wears on, (the lake is 22 miles across), the weather gets colder and the conditions out on the ice become more and more treacherous. The boys face physical obstacles, including a life-threatening crack in the ice. And they face an unexpected confrontation with a stranger out on the ice whom they hoped would help them. As they struggle to reach New York on the other side, it gets colder and darker, and the interpersonal roles of the boys shift and adjust. Casey rises to the challenge of the journey, leading his friends to safety on the other side. It's there, in the fabled Roadhouse that was their goal, that Casey faces the thing he's most afraid of; his parents are breaking up.

Lifelong friendships are cemented on their journey. The boys help one another across the lake, and in doing that they help each other face up to their fears and not give up on their dreams. The movie is book-ended with another hockey game, and this time Casey uses a tried and true goalie move taught to him by his ex-hockey player father. The boys play together more as a team than ever before and they win their game. Unbeknownst to any of them, they're being watched by a scout in the stands and are recruited to move on to try out for the regionals together.

SKATING TO NEW YORK is an independently_thumb financed film, shot this winter in late January-February, all in Northern Ontario, Can_thumbada. Produced by Wendy Japhet, whose most recent film, AN EDUCATION, garnered 3 Academy Award nominations, the goal is to premiere SKATING at the next Toronto Film Festival, and to release the film coinciding with the 2014 Winter Olympics. We are proud to have the backing of the NHL and the support of its sponsors, including The Toronto Maple Leafs. Our foreign sales representative is Glen Basner of FilmNation Entertainment, who recently represented THE KING'S SPEECH, among many other award-winning and commercially successful films. The film's director, Charles Minsky, is the prolific cinematographer of PRETTY WOMAN and VALENTINE'S DAY, among many other films.

TRAILER
MAKING OF

The unique challenge of making SKATING TO NEW YORK from a production point of view, was shooting the majority of the movie on a frozen lake that had to deliver the scope of Lake Ontario. The lake is a main character in the movie, and Chuck and I wanted the story to feel and to be real. To accomplish this, we cast boys who could do their own skating. During casting we brought a group of actors to a Toronto outdoor ice rink. Chuck had them audition playing hockey on ice, and then they did a few scenes outside next to the rink, to see how they worked together. When you see the movie, you'll see that our boys are in character on their journey in the film, both talking and skating and freezing, throughout.

The bigger problem was: where to find a frozen lake we could rely upon to freeze, that was big enough and isolated enough to stand in for the lake in the movie. We were hoping to film on Lake Simcoe, using Port Perry as our town location. Within an hour from Toronto, our crew could commute. We scouted Lake Simcoe in the fall, and Chuck went out on a boat and picked the widest area from the shore so we could cheat an endless horizon. There was a company prepared to shuttle our cast and crew back and forth from shore to our "ice" location. It seemed perfect. But just to be safe, we decided to drive north to scout another town that had a great image Chuck saw in the location pictures, as a Plan B.

In the pouring rain, we drove in the Toronto Film Commission's generously donated van, accompanied by a location manager for our scout. As we drove north, we doubted this would ever be the right place; too far north, too cold, too small a town. Our location manager had shown Chuck photos from Haileybury, a town six and a half hours north of Toronto, that looked right. As the sun set, we arrived at Lake Temiskaming. We drove around the lake and found that in the town of New Liskeard, two miles away, the local hockey arena was on the shore of the lake, with a big parking lot adjacent, and a lakeside hotel and restaurant on the same lot. Production-perfect! I bounded into the hockey arena and introduced myself to the lady working at the ticket window. Her name was Mary McNamara, but she told me to call her "Tuffy". She was wonderful, straightforward and friendly, and I asked for her phone number, just in case the other location didn't work.

Six months later we were ready to travel back to shoot our "test" teaser on the ice. We had equipment donated from Panavision, and a couple of friends willing to go with us to help. We called our contact at Lake Simcoe, and he informed us the lake was frozen around the edges, but the center was still open water and not likely to freeze anytime soon. I still had Tuffy's phone number and on a whim I called her. She remembered me, and she confirmed that Lake Temiskaming was indeed frozen ( of course it was), and had been so for weeks. I asked Tuffy for someone I could call who might be willing to clear snow off a portion of the lake so that we could film some local boys skating like on a rink. She gave me Marty Maille's number, of Maille's Marine, the snowmobile dealership in town, and right on the shore of the lake.

I cold-called Marty. He answered and didn't hang up when I explained who we were and what I was hoping to do and asked for his help. He didn't say more than four words. Clearly Marty was skeptical, so I asked if he would think about it and suggested I'd call him back in a couple of days. When he answered my next call, Marty told me he'd googled Chuck and me and that we were "the real deal". He agreed to give it a try and we left for New Liskeard 10 days later.

Chuck and I had never driven anything out onto a frozen lake before, and neither had the crew we brought along with us. Marty told us to leave the sunroof open and our seatbelts off, just in case. We looked at each other. Why exactly were we doing this? Marty led the way out onto the ice in his truck, around 9pm in the dark. He drove us to a group of illuminated fishing huts sitting a half mile out on the lake, and there he told me to go into one of the huts and meet his wife Doris and his daughter Monica, who were waiting for me inside. Chuck and the guys proceeded with Marty to check out the ice-rink sized area Marty had cleared. Chuck and I had talked about it before we arrived - be grateful, be appreciative, say thank you over and over, and then ask for a clearing the size of a football-field with a 500 foot "runway". Marty was speechless again.

Meanwhile, in the stove-warmed fishing hut, Doris poured me a glass of red wine. Monica listened silently while Doris told me about her son Andrew, age 17, who had been killed 8 months before in a car crash. Doris and I cried in the fishing hut that night, the first time we had ever met, we bonded, and have been friends ever since. Andrew played local hockey all his life, and had grown up skating with all the local boys. Marty had cleared and maintained a rink at their house, where Andrew and his buddies had played every winter, there were even lights so they could play at night. All the families in town knew the Mailles and loved them. And the Mailles became the reason we made our movie in their town. Over the course of making the film, they became our conduit to everything in the town; helped us get locations, clearances, townspeople as extras and so many more things too numerous to mention. Marty was there everyday of our 25 day shoot, watching over us and making our production go as smoothly as it did.

Marty and Doris are the heart of the film, they are our true friends, and the film is dedicated to the memory of their son Andrew. They like to say that Andrew led us to them, we like to believe the same. Chuck and I feel there's a deep, personal trust and connection between us all that makes the film special for us and always will.


Wendy Japhet, Producer



PHOTOS

Connor Jessup

Gage Munroe

Wesley Morgan

Matthew Knight

Dylan Everett

Michelle Nolden

Jason Gedrick

CAST

Connor Jessup starts on Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi drama series Falling Skies, TNT’s hit show currently filming its season. Opening in the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. Jessup plays Noah Wyle’s once kidnapped son, ‘Ben Mason,’ in which critics tout Jessup’s performance as “masterful.”

Write, producer, director and actor Jessup won the “Rising Star” award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival starring on the big screen as the lead role in the independent film Blackbird, in which he portrays ‘Sean Randall,’ an angry and troubled teenage boy who is wrongfully accused of and arrested for a crime that he did not commit. Randall finds himself in a juvenile detention facility where he realizes a change must be made if he is to survive.

Jessup is best known for his leading role in the Discovery Kids TV series Saddle Club in which he played Simon Atherton, a thirteen-year-old computer geek. Jessup credits his love for the dramatic arts and entertainment industry to his involvement with local Youth Theater growing up: his skills extend far beyond the scope of acting on the big or small screen as this teenage prodigy has been writing, directing, producing, and editing films from the tender age of eleven.

His producing credits include the independent film Amy George, which won the Spirit Award at the Brooklyn International Film Festival in 2011, and was shown at both the Toronto and Wisconsin International Film Festivals. The independent film, shot in the summer of 2010, follows a thirteen-year-old boy’s quest to become an artist whose dreams are halted because he believes his mundane life has left him unprepared to make his dream a reality. After reading a book on what it takes to become a true artist, this seemingly unlikable boy finds himself in a life of risk, ecstasy, wilderness, and women.

Jessup also completed the short film Something, in which he wrote, directed, produced, and edited. Something follows 10 year old Jack as he struggles to find beauty in life after he survives the collapse of the human existence. HE also wrote, directed, and produced the short film, I Don't Hurt Anymore!, in addition to the play Pushing Normal, in which he received the ‘Award of Distinction’ for the script at the 2010 Sears Drama Festival.

An avid writer, reader, and environmentalist, Jessup was also the youngest student to ever participate in the scientific expedition to the Arctic with Students on Ice at just 13 years old. Academics have always played an important part of Jessup’s life as he has managed to maintain a 98% grade point aver throughout his high school career, making him the top student in his school. Jessup is an insatiable film buff and lover of all things cinema, both classic and contemporary; when not writing, acting, or producing, Jessup enjoys traveling in Asia and Europe—he spent this summer in Europe and spent time living in Japan for a few months writing a screenplay.


Gage Munroe has been acting professionally since he was eight years old. After two summers at acting camp, Gage asked his parents whether he could add acting to his long list of extracurricular pursuits. In the six years since, he has had the great fortune to explore the many sides of the film and television industry, performing in TV commercials, movies of the week, children’s animated series and feature films. Some of Gage’s notable credits include: television shows such the Steven Spielberg produced Falling Skies and the hour-long NBC drama The Firm, and episodes of Beauty and the Beast, Life with Boys, and Alphas. TV movies including Lifetime’s Sundays at Tiffany’s and the Hallmark Channel’s highly rated The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (for which Gage was nominated for a 2011 Young Artist Award). Gage also voices the main characters in the eponymously titled animated series Mr. Moon and Justin Time, and plays the recurring role of Matt in the preschool favourite My Big, Big Friend. In November 2013, Gage was cast in the lead role of Jim Hawkins opposite Donald Sutherland’s Captain Johnson in the Sutherland-produced CBC animation feature film, Pirate’s Passage. The star-studded cast includes Carrie-Anne Moss, Kim Coates and Paul Gross.

In the fall of 2011 Gage appeared in the blockbuster 3-D feature film Immortals, in which he had the opportunity to work opposite Freida Pinto and John Hurt. More recently, he played a lead role in the critically acclaimed Canadian feature production, I Declare War, winner of “Best Picture” and “Best Screenplay” at ActionFest, an up-and-coming genre film festival in the United States; I Declare War was a festival favorite at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and received theatrical release in the U.S. in 2013. Gage also co-starred in the Canadian feature Mad Ship directed by David Mortin, and in winter/spring 2013 shot leads in two films back to back: The first, the action/drama feature Skating to New York which shot in northern Ontario, was followed immediately by the Hallmark Channel holiday m.o.w., Christmas with Tucker, with Gage in the lead opposite James Brolin.

Gage’s passion for film transcends all aspects of the art and business of movie making. When he is not in front of the camera, he can often be found making and editing short films of his own – either that, or playing hockey or baseball, depending on the season.


Mississauga-born Wesley Morgan rocketed into his acting career, booking a series role on Paradise Falls with his second audition. Acting had been preceded by a successful modeling career in his mid teens which co-existed with advanced level hockey, lacrosse and other sports.

This exceptional athleticism is paired with a charismatic talent that serves both comedic and dramatic roles. Recent film credits include the studio action comedy Kick Ass 2, indie action drama Skating To New York, m.o.w. Pete's Christmas, the Sutherland western Forsaken and m.o.w. The Secret Life of a Single Mom as well as Score: A Hockey Musical and Harriet The Spy: The Blog Wars.

Series credits include series roles on Really Me and Majority Rules with guests on Falling Skies, Being Erica and recurring guests on Degrassi, Less Than Kind and Unnatural History.

Recent passions include horse back riding and everything to do with the care and training of horses.Other 'transport' involves a spectacular Mustang, which Wesley drives only in good weather.


Matthew Knight first appeared on the small screen alongside his brother Jack in the groundbreaking Showtime/Showcase series, Queer as Folk. This appearance opened doors to a number of TV movies, the most memorable being Candles on Bay St. where he earned a Young Artist’s Award, as well as a 2007 Camie Award.

Knight’s first major role came at the age of eight when he appeared in Big Spender. Yet his role in the Francis Quimet golf classic, The Greatest Game Ever Played, altered his career. On set, the young actor was mentored by acclaimed actor/director, Bill Paxton and co-star Elias Koteas, who he went on to work with in the horror film, Skinwalkers.

Knight received recognition for his work in horror films, namely the sequel, The Grudge 2. The success of this film allowed him to reprise his role in The Grudge 3. Since then, Knight has experienced great success, starring in a number of TV movies and feature films, including Christmas in Wonderland and Finn on the Fly, not to mention Hallmark’s wildly popular trilogy, The Good Witch. Knight Guest starred in the hit CTV series Flashpoint and the CBC Christmas special, A Heartland Christmas.

Matthew played the lead role of Ethan on the Disney Series My Babysitter is a Vampire for 2 seasons.

In 2010, Knight received yet another Young Artist Award for his work in the Feature Film GOOBY and he continues to thrive in the industry. In 2014 Matthew can be seen in the film Skating to New York where he played the role of Jimmy, which he shot at the beginning of 2013.


At just 18 years of age, Dylan Everett is already an award-winning television actor, having starred in several popular series since the age of 10.

He has had lead roles in two highly successful TV series, How to be Indie (2 seasons) and Wingin’ It (3 seasons) which he won a Young Artist Award for Best Actor in a TV Series in 2011 and he co-starred in the CBC MFT movies Booky and the Secret Santa and Booky’s Crush which he was nominated for a Gemini Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

In 2012-2013 he secured the recurring role of Campbell Saunders on Degrassi for which he was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award as Best Actor in a Children’s Series. He has had principal roles in a number of other series such as Testees, The Latest Buzz, Doodlebops, and The Dresden Files. He has also had roles in a variety of films such as The Devil’s Mercy with Stephen Rae Cooper’s Camera, Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town for CBC and Frenemies, a Disney Channel Original Movie.

Most recently he has co-starred in 2 feature films, No Stranger than Love co-starring Alison Brie, Justin Chatwin and Colin Hanks and Skating to New York, a film about a group of boys that set out on an adventure to skate across a frozen lake from Canada to The United States. Look for these films to be released in 2014.

He was also recently cast as Young Dean Winchester in the CW series Wi (2013).

In addition to acting, Dylan enjoys making music. He is also very athletic, participating in sports such as golf, snowboarding, hockey and soccer and most recently horseback riding.


Michelle Nolden’s resume boasts blockbuster and independent features as well as critically acclaimed television projects, all of which have earned her an international reputation. Recent feature films include Vincenzo Natali’s Haunter and Chuck Minsky’s Skating to New York both set for release in 2013. She has just completed her second season on the hit CTV show Saving Hope where she plays Dr. Dawn Bell and she recurs as the U.S. President in the CW series Nikita as well as the Crown Attorney in the CBC’s famous The Republic of Doyle. She garnered great reviews as the lead in the HBO Canada/Movie Network series Zone of Separation playing a tough edged United Nations Peacekeeper. In the critically acclaimed CBC movie entitled John A: Birth of A Country, she donned a corset and Scottish accent to play the wife of George Brown.

Features include The Time Travellers Wife, Red, Lucid and Show Me among others. Nolden is regularly seen on the small screen with five seasons in the recurring role of U.S. attorney Robin Brooks on the Primetime CBS show Num3ers. Selected guest roles include Covert Affairs, Cracked, The Listener” , The Murdoch Mysteries, C.S.I Miami, Everwood and Crossing Jordan. Nolden has been nominated for an ACTRA award for her performance in the Canadian blockbuster Men with Brooms as well as for Gemini awards for her portrayal of Hadley Hemingway in Hemingway vs Callaghan and a drug addicted mother in Rookie Blue. She was a series regular on the critically acclaimed ShowTime series Street Time where she co-starred with Rob Morrow and Terrence Howard.

Nolden wrote and directed the short film Loonie which was selected to screen at the Palm Springs, Los Angeles and Atlantic Film Festivals among others. Both lead actors were nominated for 2008 Actra Awards, as well as winning best short film for the NSI Online Film Festival. She also wrote and directed A Man’s World and the documentary I Need A Hero both currently in the Festival circuit. She is the Artistic Director of the Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival currently in it’s third year. Michelle has several projects in development with husband and producer Chris Szarka.


Jason Gedrick first began studying acting in his teens in his native Chicago and after small roles in Bad Boys and Risky Business, made his feature lead debuts in Iron Eagle and The Heavenly Kid. Other film credits include i, Ron Howard’s Backdraft, Crossing the Bridge, and Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July.

Gedrick simultaneously pursued theatre, starring on Broadway in Our Town with Don Ameche and Helen Hunt, as well as the off­-Broadway production of Mrs. Dally Has a Lover with Judith Ivey. His last stage foray was Wrongturn at Lungfish, directed by Garry Marshall. Gedrick has starred in numerous critically acclaimed television series including Stephen Bochco’s Murder One, EZ Streets, created by Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, Falcone, and Boomtown. He also recurred on such hit shows as Ally McBeal and Desperate Housewives, and most recently starred alongside Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte in the HBO drama series Luck, created by David Milch and Michael Mann.

Charles Minsky

Wendy Japhet

Edmond Stevens

Sandy Kroopf

Monte Merrick

Francois Dagernais

Peter Cosco

Ken Blackwell

Alex Kavanagh

Dave Grusin

CREW

Charles Minsky | DIRECTOR | chuck@skatingtonewyork.com

Skating to New York is Charles Minsky’s feature directing debut. It’s a boys coming of age story, with a big visual scope. The film was shot and completed in 2013 and independently financed and produced, based on the novella by Edmond Stevens. This year he also directed two half hour episodes of ABC’s family comedy “Back in the Game”, with James Caan.

Chuck has a long and distinguished career as a cinematographer. He shot "New Year's Eve" for New Line/Warner Brothers with his long-time collaborator Garry Marshall. The film’s stars include Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker and Michelle Pfeiffer. Other films Marshall and Minsky teamed up on were “Pretty Woman,” starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, “Raising Helen,” starring Kate Hudson, “Princess Diaries II”, starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, and “Valentine’s Day”, starring among others Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, , and Shirley MacLaine.

Minsky's other feature film credits include; “Welcome to Collinwood,” starring George Clooney, William H. Macy, Sam Rockwell, Luis Guzman and Patricia Clarkson, “The Producers,” starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, and Will Ferrell, “You, Me and Dupree” starring Kate Hudson, Matt Dillon and Owen Wilson and "Something Borrowed", starring Kate Hudson, John Krasinski and Ginnifer Goodwin. Other directors he has worked with include James Bridges, John Landis, Robert Aldridge, Colin Higgins, Ron Shelton, Peter Faiman, Frank Marshall, Paul Michael Glazer, Audrey Wells, Anthony and Joe Russo, and Susan Stroman.

Charles Minsky has also shot numerous pilots, including "China Beach" directed by John Sacret Young and "Related" and "Vanished", both directed by Mimi Leder, as well as many other television shows including “Amazing Stories”, “Lois and Clark” and “Lucky”, starring John Corbett. His most recent television movies for Hallmark Hall of Fame are “Loving Leah” starring Lauren Ambrose and Jennifer Ehle, and “The Russell Girl" starring Amber Tamblyn.

Charles Minsky graduated from UCLA and soon found a home in movies, working first on several AIP exploitation films. He worked his way up the camera department ladder, becoming an assistant to DP John Alonzo on "Tom Horn", starring Steve McQueen, Linda Evans, Slim Pickens, and to DP Ray Villalobos on "Urban Cowboy", starring John Travolta, Debra Winger, Scott Glenn, and to DP Joe Biroc on "Choirboys", starring Charles Durning and Lou Gossett Jr. He operated on "Nine to Five", starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton, "Mike's Murder", starring Debra Winger and Paul Winfield, and the "Patricia Neal Story", starring Dirk Bogarde and Glenda Jackson. His first film as a cinematographer was "Radioactive Dreams", a post apocalyptic adventure.

Minsky was a producer on the 2009 documentary “Citizen McCaw,” about the Santa Barbara News-Press. He was also a producer on the original Pee Wee Herman Show, with Paul Reubens. He is a member of the Motion Picture Academy and the ASC.


Wendy Japhet | PRODUCER | wendyjaphet@gmail.com

Wendy Japhet has worked as a producer and as an executive in feature films in Los Angeles for the past twenty years. Most recently Japhet produced the independent feature film Skating To New York, which is currently on submission to film festivals. Skating is the feature directorial film debut of acclaimed cinematographer Charles Minsky. (Pretty Woman, The Producers, Valentine’s Day). Recently Japhet was the Executive Producer of Pain and Gain for Paramount Pictures. Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers) and written by Christopher Marcus and Steve McFeeley (Captain America, Narnia), the film stars Mark Wahlberg, The Rock, Ed Harris and Tony Shalhoub. Japhet was President of Gale Ann Hurd’s Valhalla Motion Pictures (The Walking Dead on AMC). Previously she was the President of Endgame Entertainment, a film production and finance company, where she was the Executive Producer of An Education, written by Nick Hornby and starring Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby), Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson and Alfred Molina. An Education was distributed by Sony Classics, won two Sundance Awards and was nominated for three Academy Awards. At Endgame Japhet was Executive Producer of Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, distributed by Summit Entertainment and starring Rachel Weisz, Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo, as well as Executive Producer of I’m Not There, released by The Weinstein Company and starring Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Richard Gere, directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven).

Japhet worked at Paramount Pictures for 5 years. As President of De Line Pictures, Japhet was the Executive Producer of The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, and Edward Norton, and the Executive Producer of Without A Paddle, a comedy starring Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, Dax Shepard and Burt Reynolds. Later, as Senior Vice President of Production, Paramount Motion Picture Group, Japhet supervised Get Rich Or Die Tryin written by Terrence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire), directed by Jim Sheridan (In America, Brothers) and starring 50 Cent. rior to Paramount, Japhet ran Fogwood Films at The Walt Disney Company, where she produced Sally Field’s directorial debut The Christmas Tree starring Julie Harris and Andrew McCarthy, as well as Field’s independent film directorial debut Beautiful, starring Minnie Driver. At Fox, Japhet was Executive VP of Production for Lynda Obst Productions, working on such movies as Contact starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and One Fine Day starring George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. Also at The Walt Disney Company, Japhet worked as VP of Production for Dreyfuss/James Productions on Mr. Holland’s Opus, for which Richard Dreyfuss was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Japhet started working in New York for PBS/WNET’s The Great Performances series and for Jim Henson’s The Muppets, and in London for the BBC, learning physical production for several years before moving to Los Angeles. Japhet started her career after graduating from Oberlin College as an English major (via Barnard).


Edmond Stevens | WRITER |

Edmond Stevens began writing for publication in high school as a reporter for the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press. That led to staff positions with major New England newspapers and later the Los Angeles Daily News. Transferring to Europe in the early 70s, he reported on social unrest and the emerging terrorist movement.

Relocating to Los Angeles made for an obvious transition to screenwriting. He has developed movie and television projects for every studio and network. His journalism background factored into a number of works, from true crime themes to intimate personal stories. For a Lifetime TV pilot, he spent weeks in the New York courts, closely observing juvenile justice and families in crisis, which evolved into his work on the CBS series, Family Law. His 2000 nominated episode of that show was the Environmental Media Awards winner, one of a number of prizes for screenwriting and documentary filmmaking. His series credits include multiple episodes of Promised Land, and Turks, with two seasons as story editor.

Edmond’s portfolio also includes six made-for-TV movies, including an adaptation of the classic “Night of the Hunter.” His first theatrical motion picture credit was “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh,” and he has compiled a list of uncredited rewrites on a number of other major motion pictures. Now in a transition from film to prose, Edmond has just completed “Lake Palmdale,” his first novel length fiction for publication.

His teaching credentials include creating the screenwriting program at Utah’s Writers@Work, plus lecture and resource appearances at Sherwood Oaks College, University of Utah, University of Southern California, and the Sundance Institute.

“Skating to New York,” based on true life circumstances growing up in Vermont, expresses his lifetime passion for the outdoors. Cold weather sports still figure significantly into his life as a ski-mountaineer and ice climber, guiding high-altitude ascents of major peaks in North America, the Alps, Andes, and Himalayas.


Sandy Kroopf | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER |

Sandy Kroopf is a producer and writer in both film and television. In TV, his credits include "Against The Law", "Lonesome Dove", "Saved" and the Peabody Award winning television series "ER" and "Nothing Sacred". He was a writer on the film "Birdy" and a producer on "No Man's Land" and "Under The Tuscan Sun".


Monte Merrick | SCREENWRITER |

Monte Merrick has written the feature films Memphis Belle, 8 Seconds, Staying Together and Mr. Baseball, as well as Miracle at Midnight, Oliver Twist and The Miracle Worker for television. He is also an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced off-Broadway in New York, at the National Playwrights Conference, Sundance, and many regional theatres around the country.


François Dagernais | CINEMATOGRAPHER |

François Dagernais has been fascinated by the emotional power of images from when he first set out to tour the world with his camera as a teen. Cinematography continues his exploration of this passion.

Since his first feature in 1997, François has worked closely with directors in defining the visual style of each movie and developing a sensitive and artistic response to the script. He has applied this creative approach to both features and documentaries. François’ work has been widely praised and honoured. He won a Gemini Award for best photography for No More Tears Sister, as well as a Canadian Society of Cinematographers award for best Cinematography for Undying Love, and was invited to the International Cinematography Festival, Camerimage, Lodz Poland. The New York Times wrote of his work: “with lush cinematography….. beautiful…”. Art Forum referred to “the lovely cinematography of François Dagenais”, while Film Focus wrote “every frame bathes in beauty”. Films he has photographed have been shown at such festivals as Sundance, Havana, Toronto, and Camerimage. They have also been showcased at New York’s Museum Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London, the Boston Museum of Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum.

François is passionate about films that communicate ideas and emotions, and tries to choose projects that can fulfil this passion. Over his career he has worked on many films with compelling ideas and powerful conflicts - films such as “The Samaritan”, “No More Tears Sister”and “A Silent Love”.

His desire to experience other cultures has lead to various projects abroad. He has enjoyed working with local crews and talent, immersing himself in new ways of seeing. He has shot features in Cuba, Mexico, Iceland and the Philippines, and has filmed documentaries worldwide. He is fluent in French, English, and Spanish.

François is a connoisseur of all visual arts, with a particular involvement in still photography. He has exhibited and won prizes for his photos in Canada and Europe. He was awarded a Chalmers grant from the Ontario Arts Council for a mentorship with renowned Magnum photographer Alex Webb.


Peter Cosco | PRODUCTION DESIGNER |

Peter Cosco studied sculpture at OCAD, including a year in Florence, Italy, and was a member of Cold City Gallery. Cosco has exhibited his work at some of Toronto’s leading galleries including the Power Plant, Carmen Lamanna Gallery and Mercer Union. Peter began production designing for film and television in 1997 and has received notable praise for his outstanding work in contemporary, futuristic and period projects. In 2003 Peter won a New Zealand Film Best Design Award for the Lions Gate feature film THE NEMESIS GAME and shared a DGC Award Production Design nomination for the feature film NOTHING directed by Vincenzo Natali. Variety's 2008 review of Patricia Rozema's KIT KITTREDGE noted, "Tech contributions are strong, especially... Peter Cosco's down-to-the-last-1930s-detail production design". This feature film was also nominated for a DGC Award. Peter Cosco designed David Bezmozgis' debut feature VICTORIA DAY, praised in the Globe and Mail as "intensely well observed". Most recently Cosco designed Martin Donovan’s COLLABORATOR, produced by Ted Hope, and Anita Donans THE LESSER BLESSED. The Los Angeles Times wrote “Working with production designer Peter Cosco, the filmmaker finds a balance between the beauty of the Northwest Territories and the entrenched poverty of its people”Peter has designed projects for other noted directors including Michael McGowan, Alex Chapple, John Fawcett, David Wellington and Gary Burns. Peter Cosco has worked across Canada as well as internationally, most recently on the Hallmark Hall Of Fame production CHRISTMAS WITH HOLLY.


Ken Blackwell | EDITOR |

Ken Blackwell recently finished editing the feature film “Skating To New York” directed by long time cinematographer Charles Minsky. Earlier this year he edited the Pilot for TNT’s “The Last Ship” produced by Michael Bay and directed by Jonathan Mostow. Ken is also serving as supervising editor for “Backmask” a horror film for Director Marcus Nispel. Ken also edited the reboot of “Conan The Barbarian” for Director Marcus Nispel and edited 2009’s “Friday The 13th” for director Marcus Nispel and Producer Michael Bay. Previously he served as associate editor on the blockbuster hits, “Hancock” for director Peter Berg and Michael Bay’s “Transformers.”

Ken also Edited “The Expendables” for director Sylvester Stallone. He also served as additional editor on the sequel “The Expendables 2.”

Ken has provided a range of editorial services over his career, including visual effects editor for director Michael Mann’s “Collateral, “Miami Vice”, and most recently “Public Enemies.” He was also the vfx editor for Rob Cohen’s “xXx.”

Additional/associate editing credits include, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, S1m0ne, “Eraser” and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.”

First Assistant Editor on Michael Bay’s “The Island”; Tarsem Singh’s “The Cell” and “The Fall”; Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Wild Wild West”; Mimi Leder’s “Deep Impact”; “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” from director Steven Spielberg; Tony Scott’s “True Romance”; Martin Brest’s “Scent of a Woman”; and the documentary “U2: Rattle and Hum.”

On the small screen, Blackwell served as editor on the Steven Bochco series “Over There” and as first assistant editor for both seasons of the David Lynch series “Twin Peaks.”

Ken got his start as an intern for academy award winning director Barbara Koppel, on her documentary “American Dream.” He has a B.F.A. in film from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.


Alex Kavanagh | COSTUME DESIGN |

Alex Kavanagh designs costumes for film and television. She thoroughly enjoyed the creative challenge of shooting “Skating to New York” in Northern Ontario. She says; “It was freezing cold! But we had such a great cast and crew, and I just loved the script. It was a wonderful experience working with Chuck and Wendy.”

Kavanagh’s credits include the romantic drama “The Vow” starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, the soon to be released dance film “Make Your Move 3D” starring Derek Hough and BoA, and the dramedy “No Stranger Than Love” starring Alison Brie, Justin Chatwin, and Colin Hanks.

Kavanagh designed “Saw 3D”, the latest installment of the popular horror thriller series, and has designed the costumes for it’s predecessors, beginning with “Saw II”. She worked on the Independent feature “Real Time” which opened the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival, as did “Wierdsville” which she designed for director Allan Moyle.

Alex designed the costumes for the ambitious rock opera “Repo! The Genetic Opera” starring Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, and Sarah Brightman, and the Canadian comedy troupe the “Kid’s in the Hall” miniseries “Death Comes to Town.”

Kavanagh’s other design credits include “Land of the Dead”, “Diary of the Dead” and “Survival of the Dead” for director George A. Romero, “Harold and Kumar Goes to White Castle”, “Gingersnaps III: The Beginning”, and “Ginger Snaps II: Unleashed”.


Dave Grusin | COMPOSER |

Academy Award winning composer Dave Grusin is considered a living legend in film history. His sophisticated and witty comedies include Heaven Can Wait (Academy Award nominated), Tootsie(Academy Award and Grammy Award nominated), The Goonies, Murder by Death, The Graduate (Grammy Award winner), and The Goodbye Girl. His award-winning scores can be heard in such movies as The Milagro Beanfield War (Academy Award winner and Golden Globe nominated), Reds, and The Fabulous Baker Boys(Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated, Grammy winner).

Grusin’s other nominated scores can be found in such films as Three Days of the Condor (Grammy Award nominated), The Champ (Academy Award nominated), On Golden Pond (Academy Award and Grammy Award nominated), For the Boys (Golden Globe nominated), Havana (Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Grammy nominated), The Firm (Academy Award and Grammy Award nominated), The Cure (Academy Award and Grammy Award nominated), Selena (Grammy Award nominated), andDinner with Friends (Emmy Award nominated). Other credits include Tequila Sunrise, Lucas, Falling in Love, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Racing with the Moon, Absence of Malice, My Bodyguard, The Electric Horseman, And Justice for All, and The Front. For television, Grusin composed the retro-cool caper themes to It Takes a Thief, The Name of the Game, and Baretta, as well as the theme for St. Elsewhere. He recently scored the feel-good, coming-of-age drama Skating To New York which will hit theatres in 2014.

“As American as apple pie” (says film music historian Jon Burlingame), Grusin grew up in Colorado, where he became particularly adept at jazz piano. He took his playing and arranging skills with him to New York, then L.A., where he moved into television and eventually film. In short time, he became a fixture and a legend.


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