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Screenwriter/Co-Producer Velina Hasu Houston is an internationally acclaimed playwright with a well-rounded body of work as a published screenwriter, essayist, and poet. She has written for Columbia Pictures, PBS, Sidney Poitier, and Lancit Media. In 2006, she co-produced a documentary film (Desert Dreamers), which premiered on PBS and was narrated by Peter Fonda.

Dr. Houston has published two anthologies of Asian American drama, and is the recipient of numerous commissions from distinguished institutions such as Asia Society, Manhattan Theatre Club, Los Angeles Opera, Mark Taper Forum, and Silk Road Theatre Project. Her many honors and awards include the Remy Martin New Vision Screenwriting Award from Sidney Poitier and the American Film Institute, the Japanese American Women of Merit by the National Japanese American Historical Society, and the East West Players Made in America Award.

Having written over 20 original plays, Dr. Houston draws from her multiracial experience, as well as the experiences of her family. Dr. Houston is Japanese on her maternal side and African American, Native American, and Cuban on her paternal side. Her plays have granted her two national first prize awards, Off-Broadway world premieres, and recognition as a Japan Foundation Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation Fellow, a Sidney F. Brody Fellow, James Zumberge Fellow, California Arts Council Fellow and a Los Angeles Endowment for the Arts Fellow.

Currently, Dr. Houston is a Commissioner for the U.S. Department of State’s Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, a member of the Japan-US Bridging Foundation, and a member of the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange. Her professional memberships include the Writers Guild of America, The Dramatists Guild and The Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema Arts, a Master of Fine Arts from University of California Los Angeles’ School of Theater, Film, and Television, and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, mass communication and theater from Kansas State University.
www.velinahasuhouston.com

 

 

 

 

 

Director/Producer Tamara Ruppart has worked as a director, producer and actor in both theater and film. On stage, she has directed Komachi, A Thousand Cranes, The Fantasticks, Strike-Slip, Velina Hasu Houston’s Kokoro (True Heart), and the world premiere of Extinction.

Behind the theatrical scenes, Ms. Ruppart has worked at The Charlotte Repertory Theater (Picasso at the Lapin Agile) and on Broadway (Phantom of the Opera). In television production, she has worked on My Life As An Experiment, 2011 (NBC pilot), featuring Donald Sutherland and Paget Brewster, directed by Michael Spiller; The Mummy Road Show, 2002 (National Geographic Television series); Shift, 1999 (feature), featuring Christopher Meloni, directed by Kelly Anderson. In film, Ms. Ruppart has worked on An American Poet’s State of the Union, 2010 (doc), featuring poet Peter Kane Dufault and actor Chris Noth; Alana, 2010 (ind); The Day the Ponies Come Back, 2000 (feature), featuring Guillaume Canet, directed by Jerry Schatzberg; 18 Shades of Dust, 2001 (feature), featuring Danny Aiello, directed by Danny Aiello III. Ms. Ruppart is also Co-Producing Moishe, All-American (feature), a film currently in pre-production, associated with September Films.

Ms. Ruppart has a particular affinity for Japan and Japanese culture, after studying Japanese in college and living in Niigata, Japan, teaching English for 15 months after college. In 2001, Ms. Ruppart went on an overland trip from Beijing, through Inner Mongolia, across the Tibetan Plateau, up to Mt. Everest Base Camp, and down into Kathmandu, Nepal. She has also traveled in Southeast Asia and Europe.

Ms. Ruppart has studied Digital Filmmaking at New York Film Academy in Los Angeles as well as Script Supervision and Continuity under Shari Carpenter in New York City. After receiving a scholarship, Ms. Ruppart attended The New School for Drama. Having studied directing with Elinor Renfield, Casey Biggs, Austin Pendleton and Olympia Dukakis, Ms. Ruppart graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Directing in 2009. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Davidson College in 2000.
www.tamararuppart.com

 

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Executive Producer Ko Mori is the President of ELEVEN ARTS, a global motion picture and distribution company based in Los Angeles, with an office in Tokyo. Mr. Mori works to bring Japanese and Asian movies to audiences worldwide that will serve to facilitate cultural exchange.  ELEVEN ARTS is responsible for producing The Harimaya Bridge (staring Danny Glover) and Haunted Highway, and for distributing the Japanese Samurai film Love and Honor and Ken Watanabe’s Memories of Tomorrow. His recent film Uzumasa Limelight was considered for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and won both the Jury Prize for Best Actor and the Best Feature Cheval Noir at the Fantasia Film Festival (2014). His film Man From Reno was nominated for the John Cassevetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards, won the Narrative Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival (2014), and won the Jury Award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

 

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Producer Cat Youell has won several awards for her work as a producer. Film credits for producing include award winning films Potter’s Field (short), To Rest in Peace (short), Breathe (short) and Elevated (short). Directing and writing credits include award-winning films The Mischievous Case of Cordelia Botkin (short), The Other Cheek (short), Daddy’s Little Girl (short), and Continuity of Parks (short).

Ms. Youell began her fascination with film at an early age as an only child watching classics on TCM while being homeschooled on Orlando, FL. Not only were movies her entertainment, but also her window into the outside world, inspiring her to write and act out ideas on her own.

Ms. Youell left home to return to her native Carolinas to attend Davidson College, a small but prestigious liberal arts school outside of Charlotte, NC. While there, she was heavily involved in several student organizations there. As a storyteller, Ms. Youell loves discovering little known, true tales, particularly those about strong female characters.

Ms. Youell studied film internationally at Cambridge University in England and Griffith University near Brisbane, Australia, and she achieved her Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude in English at Davidson College.  She recently graduated with her Master of Fine Arts from the Production Program at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts where Ms. Youell produced three award-winning films.

 

 

 

 

Producer Brad Crowe has won numerous scholarships for excellence in film and many awards from various international film festivals. Mr. Crowe has produced award-winning films Potter’s Field (short), The Mischievous Case of Cordelia Botkin (short), To Rest in Peace (short), F.U.B.A.R. (short), and The Lost Journal of Vice Marceaux (short).

The son of an airline pilot and flight attendant, Mr. Crowe grew up in Singapore and was exposed at an early age to the worlds of theatre, music and politics. An avid actor, director, producer, and musician, he quickly learned the importance of a social conscience in the arts. Given his worldwide background, the question of home is forever a challenging one. Consequently, his work is often thematically focused around the unconventional families, cultural outsiders and unique slices of American social life, all of which are frequently infused with dark and comedic undertones.

Mr. Crowe fulfilled his Bachelor of Arts on a full scholarship with a double major in Film Production and Film Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. He then completed his Master of Fine Arts in Film Production at the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts with an emphasis in writing, directing and producing. While at USC, Mr. Crowe produced multiple award-winning short films and was honored with the Thomas B. Bush memorial scholarship and the Albert R. Broccoli scholarship for excellence in Film.

 

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Associate Producer Giselle Gilbert is currently producing two films by Velina Hasu Houston, Path of Dreams and Rising Soul. Past projects include: SHFTY (Endemol Beyond), The Chisera (reading, directed by Douglas Clayton), Cinnamon Girl (reading dir. by Jon Rivera), and Brown Girl in the Ring (reading, dir. by Michael Arabian). Recent acting credits include: Cécile in Les Liasons Dangereuses (dir. by Robert Shampain) and Claudia in Heir of Lungs (dir. by David Gantz). If you try really hard, you can see the back of her head on an episode of HBO’s Luck. Giselle produced a Staged Reading of Tea at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center in June of 2014, and played Hero in an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Ms. Gilbert received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from the University of Southern California, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was nominated for Valedictorian of her graduating class. She also received the David Dukes Memorial Scholarship for her dedication to the craft of acting, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  www.gisellegilbert.carbonmade.com

 

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Associate Producer Monique Yamaguchias a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has produced a wide range of projects including features, short films, documentaries, music videos, and new media projects. Her notable mentions include having her projects showcased at ComiCon as well as having one of her features, Tales From The Dead  make it to the top ten of the best Japanese-Horror Films of all time.  http://www.moniqueproducer.com

 

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Director of Photography Yoshihisa Toda studied film at the Tokyo Polytechnic University and Film School of Tokyo. He has filmed television, films, music videos and documentaries in over 30 countries, and is fluent in both Japanese and English. In 2007, Mr. Toda shot United Red Army, which won the Japanese Eyes: Best Film Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival, the Mainichi Film Concours Award for Best Director and Best Cinematography, and the C.I.C.A.E. Award and the Netpac Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2012, Mr. Toda shot Our Homeland, which on the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Mainichi Film Concours Award for Best Screenplay, and the Kinema Junpos Award for Best Film and Beset Actress. His Film Michi won the Best Cinematography Award at the PIA Film Festival, the most prestigious independent film festival in Japan.  Early this year, Mr. Toda shot Ken San, a documentary directed by Yuichi Hibi, featuring Martin Scorsese and Michael Douglas.

 

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Prop Master Jim Landis has been working in Television and Film Production since 1986 and has an impressive resume of very diverse projects. He has been very fortunate to travel extensively throughout his career, living in New York City to Seattle Washington. Some of his show highlights are, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, ENTOURAGE, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4, FELICITY, THE OFFICE, BARTON FINK, MIKE & MOLLY to name a few. He was honored when asked to work on PATH OF DREAMS and looks forward to the shoot in Japan.

 

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Costume Designer Barbara Chennault is a career costume designer and style contributor. Since 1992, Ms. Chennault has worked steadfastly, qualifying her for membership into the prestigious Costume Designers Guild (IATSE 892) and Motion Picture Costumers Union (IATSE 705). Her costume involvement in film, television and on music tours is extensive. Films she has designed are Intimate Betrayal  (1999), Rendezvous (1999), and After All (1999). Some of her television experience include The SoulmanThe GrindMediumDAG, and Mike & Molly. In the music industry, Ms. Chennault has held positions on tour with Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Cyndi Lauper, Natalie Cole, Janet Jackson and Tina Turner. Barbara received a BFA in fashion design and illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York.