JAMES FRANCO (Walking After Midnight) Best known for his breakthrough starring role on "Freaks and Geeks" (1999), James Franco was born in Palo Alto, California on April 19, 1978. Growing up with his two younger brothers, James graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996 and went on to attend UCLA, majoring in English. To overcome his shyness, he got into acting while studying there, which, much to his parents' dismay, he left after only one year. After fifteen months of intensive study at Robert Carnegie's Playhouse West, James began actively pursuing his dream of finding work as an actor in Hollywood. In that short time, he landed himself a starring role on Freaks and Geeks (1999). The show, however, was not a hit to its viewers at the time, and was canceled after its first year. Now, it has become a cult-hit. Prior to joining Freaks and Geeks (1999), Franco starred in the TV miniseries To Serve and Protect (1999). After
that, he had a starring role in Whatever It Takes (2000).
Although he'd been working steadily, it wasn't until the TNT made-for-television movie, James Dean (2001) (TV) that James rose to fan-magazine fame and got to show off his talent. Since then, he has been working non-stop. After losing the lead role to Tobey Maguire, James settled for the part of Harry Osborne, Spider-Man's best friend in the summer 2002 major hit Spider-Man (2002). He returned to the Osborne role for the next two films in the trilogy.
Next was Deuces Wild (2002) and City by the Sea (2002), in which Robert De Niro personally had him cast, after viewing his performance in James Dean (2001) (TV). He was recently seen in David Gordon Green's Pineapple Express (2008) opposite Seth Rogen, in George C. Wolfe's Nights in Rodanthe (2008), starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane and in Paul Haggis' In the Valley of Elah (2007), starring Tommy Lee Jones. Also starring opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant's Milk (2008/I) in which his performance earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. Definitely growing out of his shyness, James Franco is turning into a legend of his own.
TIMOTHY GREENFIELD-SANDERS (ABOUT FACE: SUPERMODELS, THEN AND NOW) is known for his strikingly intimate portraits of world leaders and major cultural figures. From Presidents to porn stars, artists to Oscar winners, Greenfield-Sanders’ work defines a certain cultural photographic “canon” of our time. His portraits can be found in numerous museum collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. His series of 700 art-world portraits is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Featured Past Filmmakers
DAVID REDMON and ASHLEY SABIN (GIRL MODEL) have produced, directed, edited and photographed seven feature documentaries: Mardi Gras: Made in China (2005), Kamp Katrina (2007), Intimidad (2008), Invisible Girlfriend (2009), Girl Model (2011) Downeast (2012), and Kingdom of Animal (2012). Their intimate and intricately crafted documentaries have won a variety of film festival awards and their work has aired on television stations throughout the world. David Redmon received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany, State University of New York and is a former Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. Ashley Sabin received her B.A. in Art History from Pratt Institute and is currently obtaining an M.F.A. on a Fulbright Scholarship.
DAVID BOATMAN (RALPH RUCCI: A DESIGNER AND HIS HOUSE) Fashion filmmaker, David Boatman got his start backstage at New York Fashion Week directing and producing The Tent's Tenth – a feature documentary celebrating ten years of fashion in Bryant Park. David went on to pioneer online fashion video content for Style.com and IMG at fashion events around the world.
During this time David met fashion designer Ralph Rucci and chose him as the subject for what would become the award winning documentary, Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House. Honored with a special screening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the film was acquired by The Sundance Channel.
David has brought to life many fashion-related stories, most notably, The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund series and Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor. Alongside broadband video and documentary filmmaking, David and his team at Boatman Media continue to explore and innovate with many commercial clients including American Express, CFDA, Coach, Ebay, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks and Vogue. www.boatmanmedia.com.
David received his Master’s Degree from New York University, TISCH School of the Arts and lives in New York City.
JILL BAUER (SEXY BABY) Co-Director, Producer, Sound Operator, was 15 when she landed her first interview with Barbara Walters and was so taken by the interview process that she never stopped asking questions -- especially about relationships, one of her main beats while at the Miami Herald. Bauer is a Hearst and SPJ award-winning journalist and has written for and edited several magazines and newspapers including Esquire, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times, and launched Smart Kid, a national parenting magazine. She is the author of the non-fiction humor book From “I Do” to “I’ll Sue”: An Irreverent Compendium for Survivors of Divorce (Penguin Books).
Jill's latest film, Hot Girls Wanted, produced by Rashida Jones, was recently signed with Netflix following Sundance.
RONNA GRADUS (SEXY BABY) Co-Director, Producer, Director of Photography, was born and raised in New York City. Since a young age she loved to watch people, so when a camera was placed in her hand a documentarian emerged. She graduated with a BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and began her career as a photojournalist. Most notably she was a staff photographer at The Miami Herald where she was dubbed by editors as one of the strongest among the 22-member photography staff. While there, she was sent on several assignments in Cuba and covered Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Her latest film, Hot Girls Wanted, produced by Rashida Jones, was recently signed with Netflix following Sundance.
SARAH BERKOVICH (BLANK CANVAS) received her undergraduate degree in documentary film production at Emerson College in 2010. While in Boston, she worked at MIT as a videographer for the Nextlab Initiative, and as a production assistant on an American Experience episode. Sarah spent a summer in Los Angeles interning at the International Documentary Association, where she helped coordinate Docuweeks, an Academy-nominated theatrical showcase. She currently is working on her MFA degree in documentary film and video at Stanford University. Sarah is passionate about documenting oral history, and one day hopes to teach documentary filmmaking in addition to being a producer.
INEZ VAN LAMSWEERDE AND VINOODH MATADIN (LADY GAGA – YOU AND I – JO, YUYI, BRIDE) For over two decades, the meticulous and audacious imagery created by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin has challenged and inspired the field of fashion photography. Working together since 1986, the Dutch partnership rose to fame in the early 1990s. Experimenting with the latest digital imaging technologies, their early work captured the imagination of art critics, who were mesmerized by the sophisticated interplay of elegance and horror in their images. As their notoriety burgeoned in the art world, the fashion community became equally captivated by early editorial work for British style magazine The Face, which added high-octane glamour to their dark and unsettling aesthetic. Collaborating with Belgian designer Veronique Leroy, they formulated a vocabulary of attenuated predatory figures in hyper-real environments, flying in the face of the prevailing ‘grunge’
movement and signaling the end of that genre of fashion photography. Exerting considerable influence in fashion and in art, Van Lamsweerde and Matadin are exceptional in balancing successful careers in both.
The pair met whilst studying at the Art Academy in Amsterdam and following careers in and around fashion, began working formally together as artists in the early 1990s. Their provocative breakthrough 1993 series Thank You Thighmaster and Final Fantasy challenged preconceptions about the female form through innovative use of computer manipulations, whilst The Forest (1995) seamlessly conflated the features of men and women’s bodies to pose questions about gender and beauty. Starting to translate these challenging techniques into fashion imagery in 1994, van Lamsweerde and Matadin attracted enormous attention for their sensational editorial for The Face and they instantly began photographing for the most prestigious and progressive magazines.
They are regular contributors to Vogue Paris, Purple Magazine, W Magazine and V Magazine among many others and have created iconic advertising campaigns for leading fashion and fragrance brands including: Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Gucci, Chloe, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Chanel, Robeto Cavalli and Viktor & Rolf Parfum. In collaboration with the choreographer Stephen Galloway, van Lamsweerde and Matadin have devised a unique and highly recognizable language of poses that imbues their work with individuality and produces vivacious, playful portraiture. Enjoying working with young and more established models equally, the pair have longstanding, collaborative relationships with the faces of our age, including Kate Moss, Shalom Harlow, Christy Turlington, Chloe Sevigny, Lou Doillon and Sophia Loren. Van Lamsweerde and Matadin are highly sought after as society photographers and have created definitive, iconic portraits of many of the key figures of film and celebrity, from Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood, Daniel Day Lewis and Yves Saint Laurent to Madonna, Natalie Portman, Shirley MacLaine and Julianne Moore.
Van Lamsweerde and Matadin’s career in art is equally prolific; their work is exhibited internationally and held in public and private collections across the world. Motifs from imagery produced for commercial commissions are carried through into artwork and the pair regard this dialogue between commerce and art a central theme of their practice. Their work can have diverse and unexpected outcomes, such as their ongoing collaboration with van Lamsweerde’s Uncle, the esteemed sculptor Eugene van Lamsweerde, or their richly experimental work with the art directors of M/M (Paris). (Biography by Penny Martin.)
JESSE EPSTEIN (34 x 25 x 36) is a Sundance Award-winning director. Her work has screened in over 40-film festivals worldwide, and at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Mass MoCA, The Peabody Museum, and Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam. She received a Master’s Degree in documentary film from NYU. She was also selected for "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine. Her films Wet Dreams and False Images received a Short Subject Jury Award at The Sundance Film Festival, The Guarantee received Best Short Film at Newport International Film Festival, and 34x25x36 received a national PBS Broadcast on POV. 34x25x36 also screened during Berlin Fashion Week in the Soho House Berlin Fashion Film Contest hosted by RENÉ LEZARD and Interfilm Berlin Fashion Fever: Style, Cult and Passion. All 3 films, and an interactive website (http://www.bodytypedfilmproject.com/) are executive produced by Chicken & Egg Pictures in association with The Fledgling Fund, and are distributed on
the BODY TYPED DVD through New Day Films.
Jesse is also the founder of a youth video program in Manhattan's Lower East Side, and for three years was an instructor for Reel Stories: Sundance's youth documentary lab. Jesse also teaches “Girls Make Movies” at the Girls Leadership Institute.
JAMES BELZER (MAKE IT IN AMERICA: Empowering Global Fashion, The Tents) was born and raised in the Panama Canal Zone. His family moved there from Philadelphia when his father (formerly a ship Captain with Texaco), accepted a position as a Panama Canal Pilot. Until his retirement after 27 years of service, his father was responsible for navigating ships through the Panama Canal for the Panama Canal Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Government.
Growing up in the deep tropics of Panama was a unique experience. James, like many of his peers, was not widely exposed to traditional U.S. media, due to limited availability of TV, as well as the delay in the delivery of film, music and the absence of other forms of pop cultural experiences, like the mall?! The Panama Canal Zone, as it was called, was pretty much like a company town, with all housing and services owned and operated by the Panama
Upon graduation from Balboa High School, where he was the Senior Class President, he set off for New York City to attend NYU. After an initial cultural and weather crisis – having never experienced winter – James successfully adjusted to NYU and life in greater New York. He accomplished his academic endeavors, attending the Tisch School of the Arts as a Drama Major in the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, ultimately earning his B.A in Journalism from NYU. He made up for the lack of access to the established pop culture references in childhood by deciding to create some new artistic projects of his own.
Upon realizing that the life of a painter, singer, actor, basically a “starving artist,“ in New York had serious limitations, James joined Fairchild Publications and began his career in ad sales in the world of fashion magazines. After 7 years at Fairchild working at M Magazine, he went on to work for other national magazines such as Esquire, Spa Finder and most recently, for the past five years as the Business Development Director at Harper’s Bazaar.
Having never given up his creative ambitions, the artistic activities have lived as entrepreneurial efforts right along side his magazine career. From producing parties at a host of NYC nightclubs, to the advent of his music alter ego (Jimmy Beats), to the more recent live theater productions – off Broadway at The Lucille Lortel and at the Cherry Grove theater in Fire Island – James has produced and directed numerous creative projects over the years.
Now an independent filmmaker, James is involved with several key film projects, including The Tents – a documentary about the history of NY Fashion Week that was recently released (www.TheTentsMovie.com), Make it in America: Empowering Global Fashion and Coming of Age in Cherry Grove: The Invasion – a documentary about the colorful members of the Cherry Grove (Fire Island) community.
SARA ZIFF (TANGLED THREAD) is the Founder and Executive Director of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit labor group for models working in the American fashion industry. She has worked as a model since age 14, walking in runway shows for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, and appearing as the face of Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic and Stella McCartney. She is currently represented by the Marilyn agency in New York. In 2009, she co-directed and produced the award-winning feature film Picture Me, which chronicles her and other models’ experiences of their industry. Sara has written for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and Fashionista. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.