The Director/Actor Exchange Panel
Friday, April 15th, 3:30pm
Hannah Grimes Center
Directors and actors from our featured independent films explore their collaborative creative process behind the set and in front of the camera.
Lisa Bostnar, Moderator:
Lisa Bostnar has made her career mostly in New York. Starting on the stage, she has starred in such critically acclaimed productions as Arthur Schnitzler’s Far and Wide and The Lonely Way, as well as The Madras House, The Taming of The Shrew, Hamlet, A Lie Of The Mind and Much Ado About Nothing. Lisa has guest starred in several episodes of Law & Order and Pan Am. Lisa has starred in several independent films, including the soon to be released Sweet Kandy. In April, Lisa can be seen in the new play, A Persistent Memory on 42nd St. at The Becket Theatre.
Diego Ongaro, Writer/Director:
Diego Ongaro is a French director living in rural western Massachusetts. In 2005, he wrote and directed Me, My Bag and My Ball, a short film that won the Canal+ Award at the 2006 Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival. He then directed three other short films: Return to Labradoria (Clermont Ferrand & Aspen Shortfest 2008), Rice and Meat (Winner of Milano Film Fest. 2009 in the section “Short, Yet Good”) and Bob and the Trees (Boston Independent Film Fest, Maryland Film Festival), the latest being the inspiration for the feature film bearing the same name. Diego likes carpentry, sausages, playmobils and raking leaves.
Bob Tarasuk, Actor:
Bob Tarasuk was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT. At 19, he married his wonderful wife Susan, and together they have three children and two dogs. Bob holds two degrees: an Associates Degree in computer programing and a Bachelor’s Degree from UConn in Natural Resource Conservation (with minors in fisheries, biology, and forestry). After living and doing resource management work in New Mexico and The Ozark mountains, Bob moved to The Berkshires where he has lived as a farmer and licensed forester for over 35 years.
Mark Battle, Director:
Mark Battle is an award-winning independent filmmaker in southern NH. A professional web designer, musician, photographer and songwriter, Mark Battle has had a camera in his hands and telling stories for as long as he can remember. His unwavering passion for film and design was born as a child when he became enraptured by the opening credits sequences of his favorite films. Mark’s penchant for the dark, twisted, unusual and misunderstood has made him a diverse and fearless filmmaker. He has several screenplays waiting to be realized and hopes that his work will be recognized one day when he can pursue filmmaking full time.
Andi Morrow, Actor:
Andi Morrow was born and raised in the mountains of East Tennessee. She spent her childhood attending and participating in storytelling festivals, which is where she fell in love with the art of storytelling. Andi’s passion is in telling stories that inspire and connect – through acting, writing, filmmaking, live performance, and music. Since graduating from Maryville College with a degree in Theatre, she has performed on stage and screen in Boston, Miami, Knoxville, New York, & all over the Southeast. Andi is also very involved in activism surrounding the protection of Southern Appalachia’s Mountains, Water, & Communities from Mountain Top Removal and other devastating land destruction.
Jane Baker, Director:
Jane Baker is a 30 year theatre dramaturge, writer, and performer. Jane has a BA in Theater from Hofstra University and a MA in Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She has taught hundreds the craft of improv, acting, and writing at various institutions including Upper Darby Performing Arts Center and currently at The New England Youth Theatre in Vermont. Jane has written and published Melodramas written specifically for NEYT’s Melodrama Program. She has recently penned her memoir Nobody Ever Dies When I’m Around. Jane’s directorial debut, The Parker Tribe, is based on her childhood and premiered at the 2015 TriBeCa Film Festival. The film has won several awards including the New York Television Festival’s Best of Fest, NY Critics Award and Best Actor (Drama) for David Koechner. Jane is currently working on a feature script. She lives in Vermont with her partner Sharon, and their objectively beautiful boys, Max and Sam.
Cassie Dunn, Actor:
Cassie Dunn is a 16 year old from Brattleboro Vermont who attends BUHS. The Parker Tribe was her first film experience and she loved it! Cassie is very involved with The New England Youth Theater. Some of her favorite roles include Maureen from Rent and Amy from Little Women. She is currently involved with a production of The Importance of Being Earnest at The Vermont Theater Company, where she plays Cecily. Cassie would like to thank her dog for his ongoing affection.
The Power of Passion
Saturday, April 16th, 1:00pm
Hannah Grimes Center
Our featured documentary filmmakers discuss the emotional impact of their character-driven documentaries as they follow their main subject’s journey through victory and defeat, joy and despair.
Virginia Prescott, Moderator:
Virginia Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of Word of Mouth and the 10-Minute Writers Workshop podcast from NHPR. Before returning to her home state of New Hampshire, Virginia was a producer and editor for NPR’s On Point and Here & Now programs, and a director at WNYC in New York. Throughout her career, she’s trained journalists and helped develop independent community radio in post-conflict zones from the Balkans to West Africa. She was a member of the Peabody Award-Winning team at Jazz from Lincoln Center, an Edward R. Murrow Award-winner at WNYC, and a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.
Brian Oakes, Director:
Brian Oakes is a director from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire based in Brooklyn. He began his career in film as a designer and creative director. His motion graphics work has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival with Wordplay, I.O.U.S.A, These Amazing Shadows, and Hot Coffee. Other film and television work includes Freakonomics, Inequality for All, African American Lives, Finding Vivian Maier and Living with Lincoln. Brian received his BFA in communication design from Syracuse University. Jim marks Brian’s feature-film directorial debut.
Nomi Talisman, Co-Director, Co-Producer, Co-Animator:
Nomi Talisman and her co-director/producer/animator Dee Hibbert-Jones are artist/filmmakers who tell stories that bring to life larger issues of criminal justice and civic responsibility. They blend animation and documentary forms to challenge entrenched attitudes and move beyond dehumanizing statistics, engendering empathy and critical reflection. Their collaborative film and media projects have been exhibited and screened in museums, international festivals and exhibitions in the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and Europe.
The filmmaker team created all key animations on the 32 thousand drawings in Last Day of Freedom. Their current film project Last Day of Freedom won the Jury Award for Best Short at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival this year, then received the Justice for All Award at the (In) Justice Film Festival and most recently the audience award at SF Doc Fest. Dee is an Associate Professor of Art & New Media at the University of California Santa Cruz. Nomi is a freelance editor and media specialist. Born in the UK and Israel respectively they now live in San Francisco. This is their first documentary film.
Jan Sutcliffe, Editor:
A Kodak kid from Rochester, New York, Jan’s interest in film began with photography, turning to cinema after an independent study during a semester abroad in France. On completion of a BA in French Literature from Colgate, she continued her studies at the Center for Media Study at the University at Buffalo. Over the past twenty years, Jan has edited numerous programs for broadcast and cable series, and many independent documentaries including Omar & Pete for PBS/POV (nominated for a national Emmy), Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita for PBS/Independent Lens (winner of a Peabody Award), The Principal Story for PBS/POV, Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City, Old South for America Reframed, and Love is a Verb for PBS/American Public Media.
Chris Owen, Director:
Chris Owen is a documentary filmmaker based in Wilton, New Hampshire. A third-generation educator, and the son of a machinist/artist, Chris’s filmmaking combines his love for learning and his love for creating things. He makes films that are rich in metaphor and suggestive of multiple layers of meaning: films to “see through.”
An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Chris nurtures this commitment while at the same time remaining an appreciative student of all the ways that humanity engages (or does not engage) the “depth dimensions” of life. He lives on a stony patch of New England soil with his wife, 2 children, 2 dogs, a cat, several chickens, and a reluctant ox.