Rodney Ascher’s film ROOM 237 (his first feature) premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival before travelling to Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Locarno, Toronto, Fantastic Fest, and now the New York Film Festival. ROOM 237 is the second (after the short The S From Hell) in a series of subjective documentaries wherein audio interviews are illuminated in a collage style that strive to bring the audience into the inner worlds of people who’ve been profoundly affected by something they’ve seen in the movies or TV. A member of the last generation of film students to work on a four-plate flatbed he was also an early adopter of digital tools and shares some culpability in the Death of Film. His work, which hops between genres and mediums includes countless short films, as well as a few TV commercials and a bunch of internet quickies. In his recentish music video he killed Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy, and Andrew W.K. For the last few years he taught an editing class and that experience was invaluable in the creation of ROOM 237. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, his son, and their cat.
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Daniel Carbone’s short films have been showcased at various film and arts festivals internationally. In 2007, his short “Being” was showcased at Lincoln Center. In 2008, he received the Warner Bros. Film Award for his short, “Feral,” in addition to honors for directing, editing, and NYU’s Wasserman/King Award for filmmaking at NYU’s First Run Film Festival. As a Director of Photography, Carbone has shot feature films for Matthew Petock (“A Little Closer”) and Rick Alverson (“Rabbit”).
Russell Harbaugh received his MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in 2011. His thesis short “Rolling on the Floor Laughing” has played festivals worldwide including the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, BAMcinemaFest, Maryland, Milano, Warsaw, and many others. Previously, Harbaugh was the assistant to Eric Mendelsohn on the 2010 film “3 Backyards,” which earned the Best Director award at Sundance that year. Currently, Harbaugh is developing his first feature “Love After Love” with producing partner Michael Prall. He is from Evansville, Indiana and currently resides in New York.
Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau
Simon Jaikiriuma Paetau was born in 1986 to a German father and a Colombian mother. Since 2006 he has made several projects in Colombia, Brazil, Cuba and Germany. His last short film, “Mila Caos,” was selected for Cannes’ Director’s Fortnight, New Directors New Films, Rotterdam and many other International Film Festivals. He has won several awards, including the German Human Rights Film Prize 2008 for “Oury Jalloh.” He studied at the International Film School Cuba, EICTV and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, KHM. Simon is currently developing at the Résidence his first feature film called “Without Artificial Tits There is No Salvation.”
Ana Lazarevic is a Writer/ Director who has completed her MFA in Film at Columbia University in the city of New York. She was born in Belgrade, Serbia and left the country before the Yugoslav war erupted. She visited Serbia often and developed a great desire to share the characters of that world and the intangibles of the post-war atmosphere. She studied film at DePaul University in Chicago and went on to work in production for NBC Universal before moving to New York to pursue her degree at Columbia University. Her short film, “The Runner,” premiered at the 2011 New York Film Festival and was a Student Academy Award Regional Semifinalist. She is currently developing her first feature film, “Bacha Bazi: Boys for Play.”
Leah Meyerhoff’s short films have screened in over 200 film festivals, won a dozen international awards and aired on IFC, PBS, LOGO and MTV. She has been shortlisted for the Sundance Labs and the Student Academy Awards, won a grand jury prize from Slamdance and an honorable mention from San Francisco Film Society, and received grants from IFP and the Tribeca Film Institute. She has been featured in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times and was profiled on the docudrama “Film School” on the Independent Film Channel. She has taught at Tisch Asia, The Art Institute of Chicago and New York Film Academy, served on the jury for Slamdance and Hollyshorts, and is a current programmer for Rooftop Films. She holds a Bachelor’s in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and is a Dean’s Fellow in Graduate Film at NYU.
Olivia Newman is a Brooklyn-based writer/director and recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Film Program. She has written, directed and produced several short films in the USA, France and Serbia, and currently has two feature films in development. Olivia’s short films have received awards from HBO, The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, SimonSays Entertainment, Cine Golden Eagle, and the Angelus Awards, and have screened in film festivals internationally including the New York Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Palm Springs International Shortsfest, Cinequest, Vancouver International Film Festival and the Bermuda Film Festival. Her feature screenplay, “216 Garden,: was selected for Faculty Honors at the Columbia University 2011 Screenplay Competition and her thesis film, “First Match,” won Best Student Short at the 2012 Aspen Shortsfest and Best Short Film at the 2012 NJ International Film Festival. “First Match” is currently being broadcast on the California PBS affiliate, KQED.
Lucas Smith is an emerging director, cinematographer, and editor based in New York City. An Arizona native, he studied Philosophy at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His first major short documentary, “Sacrifice”, explores halal live animal slaughter in the outer boroughs of New York City, and is one of the most-viewed films on the subject online. He is keenly interested in creating observational documentaries that emphasize cinematic vocabulary and sound design. Lucas is currently in production on “Ghosts of the Aral Sea,” a feature length documentary concerning the lives of subsistence
fishermen on the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan. He received his MFA in Social Documentary Film from School of Visual Arts in 2012.
Kim Spurlock received her MFA at NYU’s graduate film program. Her short film, “Down in Number 5,” screened at over 30 festivals ultimately winning a 2010 Student Academy Award and will soon be traveling the United States as part of the exhibition America: Here and Now, along with work by notable artists including Gregory Crewdson, Chuck Close and Laurie Anderson. Other films include “Afternoon,” a Vietnamese ghost story, which premiered at Slamdance and won the Jury Prize at the Vietnamese International Film Festival, and “Fish,” which premiered in Palm Springs and ended its run at Tokyo Short Shorts. While developing her first feature, “The Whispering Giant,” Kim has been honing her directing skills in the theater. She made her directorial debut in March 2012 with a short play entitled “Book Club,” which premiered in The Barrow Group Mainstage in New York City.
Musa Syeed’s debut feature, “Valley of Saints,” won the World Cinema: Dramatic Audience Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He previously co-directed “Bronx Princess” (Official Selection, Berlinale) and produced “A Son’s Sacrifice” (Best Documentary Short, Tribeca), both of which aired nationally on PBS. Syeed is currently working on two interactive projects that were developed at BAVC’s Producers Institute and the ITVS/Mozilla Hackathon. Syeed has also taught film for Williams College and was a Fulbright fellow in Egypt. His new narrative project was selected for IFP Film Week project forum, for the Asian Project Market, and as a finalist for the San Francisco Film Society/Hearst screenwriting grant.
Greg Vander Veer
Greg Vander Veer is a documentary filmmaker from Jay, Vermont. He directed and photographed the film “Keep Dancing,” which was an Official Selection of over 25 international film festivals, won the Starz Denver Film Festival Audience Award, and was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s 2010 Distinguished Short Documentary Award. Greg is currently directing and producing three feature documentary films and creating a variety of short content. He also serves as a student mentor for Old School Films, a board member of the Dance Film Association, and a video contributor for Indexmagazine.com.
“Habibi,” Susan’s first feature, is an official selection for the 2011 Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. For her work on “Habibi,” Susan has been recognized as number 25 on Arabian Business’ list of “100 Most Powerful Arab Women”. Additionally, Filmmaker named her one of the “25 New Faces” to watch for.“Habibi” won Best Film, FIPRESCI Prize, Best Actress, and Best Editor at the Dubai International Film Festival. It received the Camera Novo, the highest prize at the Cinema Novo Festival. “Habibi” is the recipient of support from IFP Narrative Lab, Cinereach, Princess Grace Foundation, Jerome Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and others. In September, Tate Gallery exhibits a piece by Susan. She has made five other shorts which have screened at Sundance Film Festival, New Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and elsewhere. Susan is a Fulbright Fellow. Prior to filmmaking, she was a schoolteacher and journalist in Beirut. She was born in Brooklyn.