Writer/Director Shelli Ainsworth is a Minnesota-based artist whose work in experimental theater and film has earned her national recognition. She is the past recipient of grants and fellowships from ITVS, The Bush Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. Ms. Ainsworth began her artistic career as a playwright working in experimental theater. With an extensive background as a playwright, director and multi-media artist, she was a frequent collaborator with the acclaimed Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis. Her plays were commissioned and produced by Red Eye Theater, Theatre Orange, Intermedia Arts, and Minnesota Public Television. Her screenplay A PSYCHIC MOM, was commissioned by the Independent Television Series (ITVS) for production as part of the TV FAMILIES series with James Schamus as the coordinating producer. A PSYCHIC MOM aired in all major markets and was featured at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Ms. Ainsworth’s short narrative films have been seen in festivals and museums in the United States and Europe. Her first feature film, STAY THEN GO, has been the 2014-15 official selection in film festivals across the country, as well as the official selection for the Southern Circuit, a highly regarded touring program. For STAY THEN GO, Ms. Ainsworth was the recent recipient of the “Pioneering Women in Screenwriting” award from the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival. She lives and works in Minneapolis and has three children.
Christine Walker is an award-winning producer of artist-driven independent film. Her film credits include: THE TURIN HORSE by Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr which was recently awarded the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize and the Fipresci International Press Prize at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival; the Sony Pictures Classics film DARLING COMPANION, directed by Lawrence Kasdan starring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline; the Sundance Film Festival premiere film THIN ICE directed by Jill Sprecher with Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup; Sundance opening night premier film HOWL directed by academy award winning directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman starring James Franco as the beat poet Alan Ginsberg along with Jon Hamm, and David Straithairn; the Todd Solondz directed LIFE DURING WARTIME which won Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival in 2010 and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Walker also co-wrote and produced OLDER THAN AMERICA starring Adam Beach and Bradley Cooper; FACTOTUM starring Matt Dillon, Lily Taylor and Marisa Tomei, and line-produced the Academy Award nominated AMERICAN SPLENDOR. The film garnered more than thirty two international awards. Christine’s awards and recognitions include the National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award for HOWL, Producer’s Guild of America Diversity Award, Independent Spirit Award nomination for best new producer, and the Sundance Institute’s Mark Silverman Producing Fellowship Award and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah.
Geoff Sass has a background as an independent film producer and marketing professional. As the former Chief Marketing Officer of the mini-studio Werc Werk Works, he recently guided LIFE DURING WARTIME and HOWL to theatrical distribution with IFC and Oscilloscope. Geoff also managed festival and marketing campaigns for the films at Sundance, Venice, Berlin, New York International Film Festival, Toronto among others. Geoff also brings significant brand perspective to his work in film having developed innovative marketing programs for top brands including Chamilia, Target, Nike, Capital One, Lee Jeans, and Thomson Reuters. As a producer he has teamed up with filmmaker Shelli Ainsworth to create a series of highly regarded short films that have appeared nationwide on PBS, as well is in museums and festivals around the world. He is a winner of numerous EFFIE and AdFed awards for effectiveness of advertising and creative excellence.
Stephanie Dillon’s business acumen was developed after years of managing private trusts for large energy consortiums. On a personal level, she has devoted her life to working as a tireless advocate for women’s issues, and to serving in counseling roles at several organizations focused on women in crisis, in both Minnesota and Texas. Utilizing her vast national network of contacts and resources, Stephanie has now parlayed her skills into a lifelong passion for broadcast media and entertainment, with a focus on facilitating projects from conception and financing through distribution. Her current work includes the development of two feature films, a television pilot, various commercials and branded entertainment.
Born of a writer and graphic artist, Bo Hakala is a natural visual storyteller. He became obsessed with filmmaking at an early age and fell in love with the camera. Since his education at The University of Iowa and Columbia College in Chicago, he has photographed a handful of feature films, most notably Stuck Between Stations (which premiered at Tribeca) and Memorial Day. Bo has photographed commercial work for brands such as Target, Best Buy, Porche, Subaru, Rapala, General Mills, Johnsonville, Skull Candy, and Park Nicollet as well as TV work for History Channel, Travel Channel and MTV. Bo is proficient at sleeping on airplanes and hopes to one day shoot a Godzilla film.
Jim Coleman has composed music for films by directors including Hal Hartley (Henry Fool, The Unbelievable Truth), Todd Phillips (Frat House), Danny Leiner (Flashback), Beth B (Exposed, Visiting Desire), and Rosemary Rodriguez (Acts of Worship, Silver Skies). Coleman’s music has been featured in both one offs and series on HBO, A&E, The CW Network, TLC, TruTV, Court TV, PBS, ZDF Television. Additionally, he has scored numerous commercials for Verizon, Minolta, Bank of America and Subaru. He has composed music for theater and dance performances, with these show being mounted at Salzburg Opera Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s NEXT WAVE Festival, and La Mama. In his groundbreaking, seminal musical career, Coleman has released numerous albums and toured extensively as Jim Coleman, Cop Shoot Cop, Phylr and Here. Tracks from Cop Shoot Cop have been used in several trailers for feature films, as well as in commercials (NIKE Extreme Sports). Jim is currently scoring a feature narrative film and working on a full-length album based on recordings of near death experiences.
Alan Canant is an editor working in narrative, documentary, and television. His most recent work is Nature Calls, starring Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville, released by Magnolia Pictures. Previously, Alan edited The Catachism Cataclysm, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was executive produced by David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride. It is distributed by IFC Films. Alan’s nonfiction credits include Girl Model, “the riveting breakout hit…” of the Toronto Film Festival. It is distributed by First Run Features and will be appearing on POV. He has also edited a number of verite-style projects that aired on PBS, ABC, Discovery Channel, MTV, and A&E. Alan’s short format work includes producing and editing promos and trailers. He has edited for NBC, AMC, Sundance Channel, USA, and BBC America where he won a PromaxBDA award. Alan lives in Brooklyn, NY, and is a member of the Editors Guild.