LESFF WAS CREATED BY Roxy Hunt, Shannon Walker, DAMON CARDASIS, and Tony Castle.
Roxy is a director and producer who Co-founded BFD Productions, the NY based production company, with partner and fellow fest director, Tony Castle. Most recently she directed the CNNgo Original Series Mostly Human with Laurie Segall, the Fullscreen Original Docu-series Present Tense: With Jillian Rose Reed with Executive Producer MORGAN SPURLOCK and Maker Studios, and produced the critically acclaimed political ad campaign, "James Franco Presents... The Most Interesting Woman in the World".
Shannon Walker is a writer, producer, and (sometimes) actor living in New York City. She is a two time Writer’s Guild Award nominee, co-executive producer of The Writer's Guild East Awards Show, and co-founder of The Lower East Side Film Festival.
Tony Castle is a producer based in New York City. He is a Co-Founder of BFD Productions, which has produced work for brands like CNN, Refinery 29, Airbnb, H&M, Chevrolet, Intel, Adobe, and The Guardian, among others. Castle produced the feature documentary The Entrepreneur with executive producer MORGAN SPURLOCK and The CNNgo Original Series Mostly Human with Laurie Segall.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Damon Cardasis is a two time Writer’s Guild Award nominee and together with writer/director Rebecca Miller runs their production company Round Films. Cardasis produced the upcoming film Maggie's Plan (starring GRETA GERWIG, ETHAN HAWKE and JULIANNE MOORE), set for release by Sony Pictures Classics in May, and is currently in post production on a documentary with HBO.
On Broadway, Cardasis produced the ARTHUR MILLER CENTENNIAL and is the co-founder of The Lower East Side Film Festival.
DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EVENTS
At the tender age of 5, Monica’s mother hosted an awesome beach bash for her birthday…that only 4 people attended. As you can imagine, this was a very traumatic experience. She has since made it her mission in life to create events so epic that no one would dare to miss them! Throughout her career she has planned events for Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios, NBC and Viacom. In addition she has worked on numerous VIP programs for today’s hottest concert tours including Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and New Kids On The Block to name a few. She is excited to be on board with the LESFF for the third year and can’t wait to help audiences and filmmakers create some unforgettable moments.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Kelly Rockwell is a comedian, writer, engineer, and co-founder of Secret Story Film and Video, a Brooklyn based production company. She comes at film with an eye for technology, as she needs to use her MIT engineering degree for something.
Josh is an actor, writer and improviser living in New York City. He is also a professional athlete ranked 11th in the world for this crazy sport called slacklining... seriously check out his website.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Sue Funke is a born and raised New Yorker with over a decade of digital experience. She’s grown social media presence for About.com, Someecards, Logo TV, Nick at Nite, The Jim Gaffigan Show, Lopez, and TV Land. Funke is also known in the New York comedy community as a stand-up and sketch comedian. She's excited to be a part of The Lower East Side Film Festival team and encourages you to follow her work on the project on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
William Cusick is a writer, director and designer. His feature films include Pop Meets the Void and Welcome to Nowhere (Bullet Hole Road). Cusick has directed a variety of shorts, commercials and music videos, and has designed video projections for international productions of theater, music and dance. Cusick is on faculty at The New School in NYC.
Jeff is a writer, projectionist, DCP encoder, and all-around digital media inspector. A Colorado native, he has spent his last three years on the film festival circuit working in a variety of capacities for a number of fests, including: Telluride, True/False, Palm Springs, Seattle, Ashland, TCM, and Denver Film Festival. He is an avid film-goer and fierce proponent for the making and exhibition of independent cinema, and is thrilled to have been brought on this year as a member of LESFF's programming committee.
Kyle Ginzburg is a film director and writer based in New York City. Born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida, Kyle attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where he received a B.F.A. in Film & Television Production in 2014. His most recent short film, Crop, has been accepted and featured by the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. He is currently working on future projects.
Siri Betts-Sonstegard is a Design Researcher & Service Designer currently working on developing innovative cognitive tools for clinicians at IBM Watson Health. Before joining IBM, she worked as part of the Design Innovation Group (DIG) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she focused on understanding patient needs through human-centered design methods and approaches to develop new digital products and services. Part of her work is to translate complex information into compelling stories. Siri is honored to participate in the Lower East Side Film Festival, which is an innovative festival showcasing passionate storytellers.
Cheyenne Britt is a recent Hofstra University graduate in TV/Business. There she produced a show about student films on campus called Director’s Cut, and is now making her move to the Big Apple!
Brittany Wilson is an actor, writer and aspiring filmmaker based in New York City. She's currently in preproduction on a short film that she co-wrote and will be shooting this summer in her home state of Maryland. When she's not watching movies, you can find her downing iced-coffee, tearing up a dance floor or reciting lines from Jurassic Park (the original obviously).
Olivia Yumi Pulphus
Film enthusiast with an affinity for international art house and box office hits, Olivia Yumi Pulphus thrives on variety. Olivia hopes that this year’s festival selections will leave attendees feeling excited, thrilled and emotionally intrigued.
Enjoying international recognition for her remarkable work as an editor, writer and film critic for many of the world’s most renowned publications, such as ELLE (Russia), Harper’s Bazaar (Russia), Interview (Russia), L’Officiel (Russia) and Vogue (Russia), among others, Ms. Prisyazhnaya has established herself as an expert in film, art, fashion and culture. Since relocating to New York, Ms. Prisyazhnaya has further cemented her elite standing within the film industry, regularly interviewing Hollywood’s most distinguished directors and actors for prestigious publications and broadcast networks.
Rachel is an actor, singer, development professional, and general hyphenate based in New York City. Career highlights include playing a goat, rapping about calculus, and development roles at RKO, The Public Theater, and other non-profits in New York. For more information, click here (www.rachel-newman.com)!
Benjamin is a Director and Cinematographer of feature and short films, commercials, music videos, web series, and branded video content. With a technical mind, a human heart (as opposed to a frog heart... who writes these things?), and an explorative eye, he strives to tell great stories and create beautiful images.
Harvey runs New York’s best private Screening Room at The Crosby Street Hotel. He watches movies all day with the people that make them, months, sometimes years before they hit theaters. He won’t tell us who, what and when, (non-disclosure agreements are as common as confetti at weddings), but you can bet in any given day it could be works in progress by Ang, Marty, Sophia or Baz...
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Damon Cardasis
- Ed Litvak
- Traven Rice
- Sarah Vitti
- Brian Tate
- Adam Norbury
- John Maybee
- Alex Tonetta
- Siri Betts-Sonstegard