“The talented writer and actress Elisabeth Gray” (The New Yorker) is a playwright and the winner of the Fringe First Award for Innovative and Outstanding New Writing for her first play, the dark comedy Wish I Had a Sylvia Plath, which has gone on to have a successful productions Off-Broadway and around the globe, currently running in Norway. Her gothic comedy Southern Discomfort ran Off-Broadway this year after touring the US and the UK. She wrote the award-winning short film Socks and Bonds and has two feature screenplays in development.
Daniel Zimbler is a South African-born director and writer, and a graduate of Columbia’s MFA in Film Directing. Zimbler has twice directed for the stage Off-Broadway in New York, and his short-form film work in comedy, horror and drama has garnered wins on the international festival circuit. He recently directed the TV comedy series "Those Who Can’t" for South Africa's national broadcaster (SABC, to be aired July 2015), and has a feature screenplay (a drama-thriller) in development. www.danielzimbler.com
Rob Cristiano is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker. He is the recipient of the 2013 Producer’s Guild Debra Hill Memorial Fellowship for emerging producers. Cristiano has produced eleven short films in a variety of genres ranging from science-fiction to dark comedy, including, Penny Dreadful (Official selection of over 60 int’l film fests, Audience Award Clermont-Ferrand Int’l Short Film Fest). Prior to enrolling at Columbia, Cristiano spent five years at MTV, where he produced DVDs of the most successful franchises in the history of the channel, including Beavis and Butt-head, Aeon Flux, and The State. He also worked as an assistant editor for numerous TV shows, as well as the feature-length doc The Redemption of General Butt-Naked (Winner - Best Cinematography, 2011 Sundance).www.RobCristiano.com
Born and raised in San Francisco, Lance Kaplan acted in commercials as a child and soon decided he wanted to make films. At 10 he made an animated version of "Jaws" with a Bell & Howell 8mm camera his uncle had given him, and built a darkroom in his bathroom. Although he went on to study literature at U.C. Santa Barbara, receiving his B.A. and M.A. in English, and then worked in magazines for a decade, he eventually found his way back to what he loved most: making movies. He recently returned from southern India, where he shot his sixth feature, a mystery thriller. He lives with his wife Jessica in Brooklyn.
Composer/pianist Fabian Almazan, a native of Havana, Cuba, found his musical roots as a child where he first became involved in the classical piano tradition. In 2002, he was selected for the National 2002 Grammy High School Jazz Combo, and the following year, the Brubeck Institute where Fabian he performed with Dave Brubeck and Christian McBride. He received his Master's from Manhattan School of Music (recipient of the Michael W. Greene Scholarship) in 2009. Almazan has been the pianist for the Terence Blanchard Group since 2007 and has toured world wide.
Almazan received the Cintas Foundation Award in Composition, participated in the Sundance Composers’ Lab, and has received numerous other commissions/grants - most recently the 2014 Chamber Music America New Works. He has had many collaborations with directors as a film composer, and has had his music on both the silver and golden screen. www.fabianalmazan.com
Danya Abt is a Brooklyn-based freelance editor and documentary director with a passion for unexpected sounds and other forms of comedy. She once witnessed somebody slip on a banana peel. Her films have shown at the Museum of Modern Art and on PBS and her recently completed short documentary Eric, Winter Spring was an official selection of the 2015 True/False Film Festival. www.danyaabt.com
If Danya Abt could understudy anyone, she would understudy Big Bird.