Deborah LaVine is the Program Director of the graduate level Film Directing Program at California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS). An award winning director, Deborah’s most recent work is the short film, UNINTENDED. The film features Jeff Perry, a founding member of the Steppenwolf Theater Company and co-star of the television series, SCANDAL. UNINTENDED is scheduled for completion in August 2016.
Other recent film works include, LOST MUSIC, a lyrical exploration of loss and memory featuring Barbara Bain that played the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Sedona Film Festival among others. Deborah’s short film, PRAIRIE SONATA, screened at the Moondance Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado winning the Spirit of the Festival, and Audience Favorite awards there. It has also played the Reel Dakota Festival, The Newport Beach Film Festival, and the Black Hills Film Festival. PRAIRIE SONATA, filmed in South Dakota, served as an inspiration for WILD PRAIRIE ROSE.
Theatrically, Deborah has directed over 300 professional productions across the United States for which she has received many prestigious awards including 4 Ovation awards, 16 Drama-Logue/Backstage West awards, and a NAACP Image Award citation among others. Select Los Angeles productions include NAPOLI MILIONARA at the Road Theater (Ovation award winner Outstanding Director and Best Production), THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI at Theater Exchange, Deaf West Theater’s STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (Ovation award Best Production), KINDERTRANSPORT and A SHAYNA MAIDEL at the Tiffany Theatre, THE ACCOMPLICES at the Fountain Theater, and Edgemar Center for the Arts multi-award winning BLACK CAT CABARET.
Carol Monroe was responsible for both the acquisition and development of new intellectual properties, as well as production, for SD Entertainment. While at SD, she executive produced numerous DVDs and television series for such properties as Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Care Bears and My Little Pony. Prior to joining SD, Carol served as Executive Producer and head of the Entertainment Division of the Hasbro Properties Group, where she produced numerous television shows and movies based on the toy company’s legendary brands, including Transformers, GI Joe, Action Man, Tonka and CandyLand.
As Senior Vice President of Programming and Development, she was integral to the success of Fox Kids Worldwide in the 90s, then the #1 children’s television network. In that capacity, Carol was responsible for 19 hours of original programming per week, including such hits as Power Rangers, Spiderman, X-Men and Goosebumps.
Carol was Vice-President of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, where she produced Fudge and Harry and the Hendersons, and was involved in the development and production of ER, Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures, Back to the Future and Fievel’s American Tales. Prior to that, she worked on the feature side of Amblin, on films ranging from Land Before Time to Arachnophobia.
Carol is the author/editor of Over There, Over Here, an electronic book about literature during WW2, as published in the Saturday Evening Post. Previously, she served as editor for Gatsby Girls, a collection of early F. Scott Fitzgerald stories, originally published in the Post. She is a special consultant to Mitroff & Associates, the leading provider of educational and curriculum services in the children’s’ entertainment space. Carol has served on the Boards of Directors and special committees for Children Now, Girls, Inc., the American Center for Children and Media, and the Fred Rogers Scholarship selection committee. Carol worked as a theatrical producer and has won three Drama-Logue awards for outstanding production of the year.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER & ACTOR/VERNON
Cliff Schulz was born in Le Mars, Iowa, where he grew up and attended college at Westmar University. He was involved in theater and wrestled, NAIA Division II, for two seasons. After college, he spent ten years in the insurance industry in various sales and sales management roles across the U.S. In 1992, he moved from Atlanta to L.A., where he first joined the SAG/AFTRA union as an actor in 1993, while selling insurance in southern California. His most notable appearances include the season seven finale episode of L.A. Law (Hackett or Pack It), Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and 3 Ninjas Kick Back.
He moved back to Iowa in 1994 where he met his wife, got married, started a family and eventually settled in the Sioux Falls, SD. area. After a few more years in the insurance industry, he made a career change and spent five years as a Business Development Manager in the commercial banking software industry. In 2002, he took a position as Director of Sales & Marketing for an international manufacturing firm, where he traveled the world. In 2007, he started an insurance agency that currently covers the state of South Dakota.
CINEMATOGRAPHER /ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Ki Jin Kim is a filmmaker, cinematographer and producer, working and living in Los Angeles. In 2012, he co-founded Nonetheless Productions, an independent production company dedicated to helping its talented collective of diverse directors in the production of feature films and digital content for a variety of platforms.
The latest feature he produced and shot, Spa Night, premiered at Sundance 2016 in US Dramatic Competition. His other work as producer includes the feature film, Aurora Notte (BAFICI 2014), and the MTV Other web-series, Myrna the Monster (Sundance, SXSW 2015), and clients such as Intel and GoPro.
Ki Jin moved from his native Korea to Los Angeles to attend the Film Directing Program at the California Institute of the Arts, where he now teaches Film Production.
Giulia Caruso is an LA-based Italian filmmaker and one of the founding members of the independent production company Nonetheless Productions. She recently produced Andrew Ahn’s debut feature Spa Night, premiering at Sundance 2016 in US Dramatic Competition, and Myrna the Monster, starring Kathleen Hanna and executive produced by MTV(other), that premiered at Sundance and went on to play more than 100 festivals worldwide, including SXSW, Palm Springs and the Florida Film Festival.With Nonetheless Productions, Giulia has produced content for clients such as Intel, Wired, GoPro and MTV, and is currently producing Ian Samuels’s debut feature Still Lives (working title) and a number of other projects for different platforms and formats.
Giulia’s directorial debut feature Aurora Notte premiered at BAFICI 2014, and her latest short was executive produced by James Franco as part of the omnibus film Holyland. Giulia is a Berlinale Talent Campus alum and 2016 Project:Involve fellow. She holds an MFA in Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts, for which she was awarded the Hollywood Foreign Press Scholarship.
Sharon Greene is a screenwriter, producer and teacher living in Los Angeles. Her feature film Operator, co-written with Director Logan Kibens, premiered in 2016 at SXSW. Operator participated in the Sundance Labs, and was supported by Film Independent and the Sloan Foundation. She holds a MFA from USC’s Writing for Screen and Television program where her TV pilot Cherryland was nominated for the Student Humanitas Prize.
Sharon wrote, directed and performed in the late-night experimental comedy show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind in both Chicago and New York. The Chicago Tribune selected her play, Fake Lake, as one of the ten best plays of 2008. She is currently developing a television show.
Meridith Sommers is originally from New York. She received her B.A. from American University in Washington, D.C. with a double major in Performance Music (cello) and Law & Society. Since moving to Los Angeles over a decade ago, she has worked on numerous television shows including Numb3rs (CBS), In Plain Sight (USA), The Client List (Lifetime), Vegas (CBS), and Covert Affairs (USA). In addition, she has edited numerous short and feature films including: Acquired Taste (dir.: David Ruchman, Best Editing Finalist), Model Minority (dir.: Lily Mariye), Death in the Desert (dir.: Josh Evans), Wild Prairie Rose (dir.: Deborah LaVine), and Thrill Ride (dir.: Chris Parrish). She was also a finalist for the 2015 Sundance Institute’s Sally Menke Memorial Editing Fellowship.
Hannah Rose Dexter is a 23-year-old bass player and composer with expansive range and interests. Had she never heard the album Funk Power by James Brown, she’d be well along the slippery slope to a career in classical music. Six years after putting that record on the stereo, her style is a combination of all that she loves: funk, ragtime, old time, jazz, pop, world, experimental, new wave, 50s rock’n’roll, country western, and (still) classical.
Since graduating with her Bachelor’s from CalArts in 2015, she has scored the feature length film Wild Prairie Rose, performed an original solo bass score to a series of 19th century films at REDCAT, and another to The Glass Menagerie, directed by Deborah Lavine and James Franco. In her spare time, she can be seen biking around Los Angeles and performing with the psychedelic children’s band, A Horse A Spoon A Bucket.
COSTUME DESIGNER & ACTOR/FLORENCE
Betsy Berenson divided her time in front of and behind the camera on Wild Prairie Rose. Betsy has been designing and building costumes for over 30 years. With a BFA in Theatre Design from West Virginia University, Betsy worked for several years as a dresser and seamstress at the prestigious South Coast Repertory for Mainstage productions of Amadeus, The Seagull, Saint Joan, The Gigli Concert, Galileo, The Debutante Ball and many others, sometimes working singlehandedly as dresser/quick change artist for casts of over 30 actors. After her daughter was born, Betsy designed and dressed many children’s theater productions for Rainbow Kids in Los Angeles, including Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It.
Betsy began her stage career in pastoral Pennsylvania, working at the Red Barn Theatre with roles in such plays as Plaza Suite, See How they Run, Charlie Brown and Butterflies are Free. After moving to Los Angeles, Betsy became a member of Pacific Theatre Ensemble, (now Pacific Resident Theatre) and her credits there included a featured role in the acclaimed production of Jamie Baker’s South Central Rain and an adaptation of Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are. This is her first role in a feature film.
Caryn Drake is a Post Production Supervisor and Graphic Designer living in Los Angeles, who went back to her theatrical design roots when asked to be Wild Prairie Rose’s Production Designer. She is also the feature’s postproduction supervisor.
She holds a BFA from Valparaiso University where she studied Graphic Design and Production and has been working in digital post production, graphic design, and marketing with social media campaign planning and execution. Caryn has worked with independent filmmakers as well as entities such as FOX, Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, Warner Bros, LEGO, Universal, The Jim Henson Company, Apple, Cirque du Soleil, Carmike, DigiNext, AEG Live, and Lionsgate.