ALYSIA REINER (Theodocia)
Alysia just finished filming season 4 of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, won a SAG award for her role as “FIG,” the tough as nails assistant warden as part of the amazing ensemble cast, and can be seen in seasons 1, 2 and 3 now on NETFLIX! She just started filming season 1 of BETTER THINGS for F/X, brought to you by the inimitable Louie CK & Pamela Adlon. Additionally, you can catch her as D.A. PARKS in Shonda Rhimes’ breakout hit HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, and Lilian Izikoff on ROSEWOOD. On the film front, She just starred with 2 time Emmy Winner Anna Gunn in EQUITY, the first ever female driven Wall Street film, which she also produced and premiered at Sundance in January 2016.
It sold to SONY PICTURE CLASSICS for a Summer 2016 release, so please come out & see it! Equity was Alysia’s 7th independent feature as an actress in 2015, but the first in her life as actress and producer. Alysia loves working as a change maker for women, and last month spoke at the UN about this very thing. Additionally she was just awarded the Sarah Powell Huntington Leadership Award by the Women’s Prison Association, was recognized as an INTELLIGENT OPTIMIST in Ode Magazine and profiled by New York Women in Film and Television as a woman to watch.
SEAN GALUSZKA (Ewald)
Actor, Singer/Songwriter Sean Galuszka hails from Central NY with a BS in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University. He spent a semester abroad at the London Royal Studios studying Classical theatre, Shakespeare, Fringe theatre and music.
Upon graduating, he landed the lead role “Jean” in the critically acclaimed PBS AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE presentation of MISS JULIE. After the project wrapped, Sean decided to travel…the entire United States.
He packed a VW van and covered a twenty-state tour in ten months playing guitar and performing his unique blend of spoken word and acoustic rock from NYC to Houston to Los Angeles. Sean recently guest-starred on ABC’s MIRACLES playing “Garth”, a local rocker. Producer David Greenwalt was so impressed with Sean’s original music that the show licensed two of his songs.
Among his growing credits, Sean also wrote, produced and starred in the award winning short film HOW MUCH which screened in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theater in October 2001 with Girlfight. The film was under consideration for the 2001 Academy Awards for best dramatic short and was voted Audience Favorite at both the Los Angeles International Film Festival and CineVegas. His film also earned the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlantic City Film Festival. Susan Lambert directed the dark comedy-drama.
Sean’s performance broke box office records in the LA premiere smash hit The Complete Works Of Wm Shkspr (Abridged) at the Globe Playhouse. The show became Los Angeles’ longest running comedy. A special performance of the hilarious Romeo and Juliet segment was requested in Washington DC for Tipper and Vice President Al Gore. Sean also starred as “Feste” in An Appalachian Twelfth Night, Dancing Barefoot’s second major Shakespeare project. Robert L. Williams’ original adaptation aligned rich, traditional mountain music with the poetry of Shakespearean verse by setting Twelfth Night in an isolated coal-mining town in the thirties. The show earned a Drama Critic’s Circle nomination as well as remaining on the LA Times Critic’s Choice for its entire run.
KATHLEEN DAVISON (Robin / Emma)
Hailing from a small town in Pennsylvania, Davison had no connections to Hollywood and stood stiff odds to ever land there. She grew up in severe family dysfunction and spent her teenage years in foster homes, an experience that would lead her to spend her adult life volunteering with foster youth.
After completing a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Theater at Penn State University, Kathleen spent a year writing/directing/and performing for stage and film in Chicago. It was her involvement with David Schwimmer’s directorial debut feature which inspired her to make the leap to the West Coast.
Kathleen built her career and film education with years of practical experience spent in the working trenches of her industry heroes, including prized apprenticeships with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Frank Darabont, Glen Morgan, and James Wong.
Talent and unyielding determination fueled Davison’s climb to director, shooting her first short film, Effloresce, in 2004. The journey was interrupted when the film, just as it was reaching completion in post-production, was lost in a series of drive failures and had to be rebuilt. Kathleen took a several year hiatus to build family and re-build her film.
Claiming her two children as her “most important productions,” Kathleen incorporated them as cast members when she returned full-force to career with her directorial feature debut, Primrose Lane (2015), for which she also wrote, produced, and played the starring role.
During post-production of Primrose Lane, Davison was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She refused to take another career hiatus and pushed through major brain surgery (successfully removing the tumor) and a lengthy rehabilitation, while also pushing through post-production of her film, which would garner a long line of award winnings including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, and many other technical and performance awards, starting with the First Place Audience Award and a Jury nomination for Best Director at its debut screening.
In 2015, Davison released her, now re-built, directorial debut short film, Effloresce, which also upholds Davison’s winning streak with an abundance of festival accolades, including Best Director, Best Original Short Screenplay, Best Actress and a host of other technical and performance honors. Effloresce began its festival run with the Third Place Audience Award (in competition with features) and a Jury nomination for Best Actress (Davison) at it’s very first screening. Davison plays “Amelia,” a woman who makes an unconventional lifestyle choice in her determination to prove that love is not disposable.
2015 also marked Davison’s debut as commercial director, winning a Bronze Telly Award for her first spot for We Care Dental.
Kathleen lives in the Los Angeles environs where she continues to write, direct, and produce under the banner of Painted Saint Entertainment. She is a proud alumna of the Sundance Institute, a member of The Alliance of Women Directors, Women in Film, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), and the Actors’ Equity Association.
CHRIS MARK WILLIAMS (Chris)
CHRIS CHEE (Joel / Wu )
SHARI BELAFONTE (Dr. Hunt)
Shari currently has just come on board to play MAYOR JANICE LOMAX on ABC’s hit daytime soap opera, GENERAL HOSPITAL. Upcoming will be the feature film CONFESSION’S OF A TEENAGE DISCIPLE, directed by Eric Stoltz, where she plays FLO, the all-knowing Librarian. She’ll be voicing a rather anxious cow named THELMA LOU in the upcoming feature DOG AND PONY SHOW, which has begun principle photography, and stars Mira Sorvino and Ralph Macchio.
She’s the recipient of a TELLY award for excellence in marketing, the prestigious BAMBI award from Germany, a BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Award from the Washington DC International Film Fesival for playing the psychic Dr. Hunt in PRIMROSE LANE, and a Glass Slipper Award from PALM SPRINGS WOMEN AND FILM for her body off work over the years.
MARC COHEN – EDITOR
Emmy-nominated (Wishful Drinking, starring Carrie Fisher) editor, Marc Cohen, has made his mark in both film and television. Cohen claimed multiple festival accolades as Best Editor for Primrose Lane his first film with director, Kathleen Davison. Some of Marc’s other work includes Rough Hustle, Homeland, A Killing, Friday Night Lights, and Dearly Departed.
BOBBY FINLEY – CINEMATOGRAPHER
An award-winning cinematographer, Bobby Finley’s career spans over 3 decades, beginning with Industrial Light Magic as a lighting technician and including a long relationship as Bill Pope’s gaffter. Bobby has worked on such iconic classics and franchises as The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., The Goonies, Forrest Gump, Jurassic Park, Men In Black, The Matrix, Spider Man, and many more. He began his working partnership with Kathleen Davison as cinematographer on Primrose Lane, claiming 3 festival accolades for Best Cinematography. Bobby is a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 600, 728, and 16.
PENKA KOUNEVA- COMPOSER
Film & game composer of “exquisite talent” (Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands game co-composed with Steve Jablonsky), Penka has worked for 15 years in Los Angeles on titles grossing $15 billion world-wide. Her own music is a blend of her Eastern-European upbringing, classical training, modern film & game music, and influences ranging from rock, electronica, Medieval chant to non-Western music. She has made Hollywood history (first woman Lead Orchestrator on films with budget over $100M – Ender’s Game and Elysium). And just like the great Shirley Walker, Penka is a mentor who has nurtured the careers of many.
Notable collaborations: with the celebrity composers Hans Zimmer (orchestrator: Pirates 3, Angels and Demons), Steve Jablonsky (Transformers franchise, Gears of War 2, 3), with Neal Acree for Blizzard Entertainment (orchestrator: World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III franchises), and for SCEA (Lead orchestrator on Bloodborne). A Sundance Institute Composer Fellow, Penka has scored dozens of independent features (Midnight Movie, Primrose Lane), television shows (Forensic Files, Modern Marvels) and video games (H-Hour: World’s Elite, Hades, IronKill, additional music on Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen game). Penka has composed two concept albums in cinematic orchestral-electronica style, A Warrior’s Odyssey (2012, available from Howlin’ Wolf) and The Woman Astronaut (on Varése Sarabande in 2015). Like a great musical storyteller, her music carries the listener forth on an emotional wave, with soaring themes, innovative orchestral and digital textures, and primal percussion.
Penka was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, received classical training in piano and theory, and began composing incidental music for kids’ theater at the age of 12. In 1990 she ventured out of Bulgaria with a Duke University composition fellowship and $130 in her pocket. In 1997, she made history at Duke by receiving the first-ever PhD in Composition from this distinguished institution. At Duke, she studied with the celebrated orchestral composers Stephen Jaffe and Scott Lindroth. In 1999, she began her career in Los Angeles as the orchestrator for Emmy-winning composer Patrick Williams. Later that year, Cliff Eidelman gave Kouneva her first scoring break, the AFI thesis short Shadows directed by Mitch Levine.
Penka has since been honored with the Aaron Copland Award, SUNDANCE Composer Fellowship; Hollywood Music In Media Awards, Square Enix Music Online nomination, Independent Music Award; two Ovation Awards, The Visionary Award from Women’s International Film & TV Showcase, GRAND PRIX at the Tokyo Young Composers Competition, Meet the Composer Award, and numerous Artist Fellowships.
Penka is on the Advisory Boards for Game Developers Conference (GDC), Sundance Institute, and Mentor for NARAS (Grammy®). As an industry leader and groundbreaking artist, she is a frequent speaker at GDC, Game Sound Con, CalArts, Berklee, Musicians Institute, Duke, Columbia College, Society of Composers and Lyricists and numerous schools, game conferences and events. As a role model and passionate advocate for artists’ growth and advancement of women composers, Penka is featured on MPR, film and video game press.