Alex Cirillo is a producer and the Co-Founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, a film & media incubator, and Big Vision Creative, a production company specializing in developing feature films and series. Big Vision’s Kickstart Diversity Program has been featured in The Washington Post, OUT Magazine, Slate, IndieWire, and Bust Magazine. Cirillo got her start at Washington Square Arts & Films, where she produced TV pilots, commercials and digital content. While at WSF she also worked on feature films including JC Chandor’s MARGIN CALL and ALL IS LOST.
Cirillo Co-Produced Tahir Jetter’s feature film HOW TO TELL YOU'RE A DOUCHEBAG, which premiered at Sundance 2016 and was selected by IndieWire as a Breakout Hit of the Festival. The film sold to BET, AMC and Sundance Selects internationally. She also produced narrative feature LIGHT OF THE MOON starring Stephanie Beatriz and Michael Stahl-David, which premiered at SXSW '17 and won the Audience Award.
Cirillo is currently in post-production on feature documentary POWER OF PEARL, supported by AM Docs Film Fund and environmental activists Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau, and Greek co-production EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL starring Tonia Sotiropoulou, Hannah Herzsprung and Alexis Georgoulis. She’s an adjunct professor at NYU teaching audience building, marketing, and distribution for filmmakers and writers, and has had the opportunity to speak on these topics at a White House Round Table and film festivals nationwide, including Sundance, SXSW, Newfest, SeriesFest, Savannah Film Festival, and ATVFest.
Dani Faith Leonard is a comedian and producer, and co-founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet and Big Vision Creative. Big Vision Empty Wallet is a film and media incubator that creates awesome programs, encouraging independent creators to get their work made and seen. This past October, they launched Kickstart Diversity, an incentive program designed to support film and TV projects created by women, POC, and the LGBT community. Through BVEW and separately, Dani has produced over 300 interactive events and live theatre productions, in addition to short films and digital content. She has led conversations about audience building, distribution, and creative collaboration at the Sundance Film Festival, Savannah Film Festival, aTVfest, SeriesFest, and the Downtown Las Vegas Project.
In 2014 - 2015, she co-produced and hosted Big Vision Creatives, a live-streamed show powered by ABC News. Current projects include feature film EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL, and feature documentary POWER OF PEARL, both currently in post-production. She performs stand-up and sketch comedy regularly in NYC and is working on a slate of comedy projects, including a live show, titled Unmotivational Speaking. In 2016, her comedy work was featured in Esquire, Nylon, Refinery 29, Entertainment Weekly, and more.
Maria Allred is an award-winning filmmaker and film fatale. In her "unapologetically bold" debut feature film, The Texture of Falling, she took on an impressive number of roles including writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, and art-director, "taking auteur theory to the next level" according to critic James Berardinelli.
The film premiered at the Marbella International Film Festival (Spain), where she was nominated Best Director, then went on to a theatrical release across four major U.S. cities. Prior to directing her feature, she had three short films with television premieres on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Since childhood, Maria has passionately studied painting, poetry, philosophy, creative non-fiction, and various forms of dance. In addition, she has for eight years participated in Jungian-based process groups with author Paul Levy. Not coincidentally, her filmmaking-strongly informed by visual art, music, philosophy, and movement-is poetic, symbolic, and visually driven. She received her BS in Liberal Studies, Film Focus, from Portland State University.
Allred is intrigued by pushing cinematic expression into new terrains while also keeping the audience thoroughly entertained.
Critic Maggie Stacu raves about Allred, "To say that she is talented is an understatement. What she has created is, simply put, one of a kind. Not only that, but it's poignant to our time."
Racheal Cain Stephens is a writer, director and production designer who began her filmmaking journey as a young actress. In 2005, at a callback for a commercial in Miami, Florida, she realized her heart was behind the camera and began to steer her focus toward writing and directing. Racheal attended Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts where she honed her craft, writing and directing several short films including a psychological horror, Roaddog, and a dark comedy, The Clancy Family Funeral Home, both which went on to play at several international festivals. She graduated in 2011 with a BFA in Film Production.
In 2015, Racheal was hired as Director of Videography for the social media marketing company, Go Be Social Media, where she directed commercial content for high-end clients including PackIt Coolers and Strut-This Athletic Wear and, in 2016, she simultaneously began working in Client Services at Quixote Studios where she worked with celebrity clientele on a daily basis. She currently works as a freelance Production Designer in Los Angeles, designing films, commercials and music videos. Most recently, she designed a series of commercials for Klay Thompson's shoe line, ANTA KT4, and music videos for various artists and bands including the video "Daisies" for Stephanie Poetri.
All the while, Racheal has worked simultaneously to drive Alaska forward. The screenplay won First Place in the Los Angeles Screenplay Competition and placed in several other national competitions, the project was selected into the Big Vision Empty Wallet Kickstart Diversity incubator program, and she raised over $63,000 toward production on Kickstarter through the film's social media fan base.
Originally from Nebraska, Lance got his start making movies at a young age. Shooting and directing home movies with his friends and editing them from VCR to VCR, Lance has always been about pushing the boundaries and challenging the existing standards.
Lance studied film at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Upon completion, Lance moved west to Los Angeles to apprentice and work as a camera assistant. He credits sitting on the dolly with the DPs discussing their lighting plans and watching the team work all around him for his keen sense of lighting and feeling.
Since, Lance has turned full time cinematographer and travels the world doing what he loves. He has shot on 5 continents, every climate imaginable, from shorts and features to network TV shows, documentaries and commercials. Lance is currently a resident Cinematographer for SNL, most recently lensing the hit sketch "Grouch" with David Harbour.
As a seasoned independent casting director with over 10 years of experience, Bess Fifer has played a key role in shaping numerous careers across film, Broadway, and television. Bess cut her teeth at New York's most in-demand casting office, Telsey + Company, where she worked on a diverse range of high-profile projects, such as SEX AND THE CITY: THE MOVIE, JONAH HEX, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, RENT, IN THE HEIGHTS, and over 100 national commercials.
After striking out on her own in 2010, Bess' keen eye for talent and her professionalism have been consistently sought after. Bess’s most recent projects include SXSW’s 2017 Audience Award Winner THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, the indie feature WETLANDS, and POTTERSVILLE for Netflix. Earlier work includes casting THE HUMBLING starring Al Pacino and helmed by legendary Writer/Director/Producer Barry Levinson, and the independent comedy BERT AND ARNIE'S GUIDE TO FRIENDSHIP.
Associate Casting Director work includes THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY with Rachel Tenner Casting, directed by and starring Ben Stiller, Seasons one and two of MARVEL'S DAREDEVIL as well as season one of LUKE CAGE, with Julie Schubert Casting, and acting as the New York Casting Associate on season one of STRANGER THINGS with Carmen Cuba Casting. Bess also had the pleasure of working with the legendary Peter Bogdanovich on SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY with Jen Rudin Casting. When she's not on the clock casting the features ALASKA, LINGUA FRANCA, and CATCHING UP, Bess can be found swinging kettlebells, listening to rap from the 90's, or brunching with her favorite women. Bess Fifer currently resides in New York with her husband Mark, and their 4-legged children Jackson, Rufus, and Pete.
Morgan Ryan is a LA based Art Director, Stylist, blogger, and model, with experience Creative Directing and styling fashion editorials and videos for clients such as Paul Mitchell, Orly, The Bu Kombucha, Reebok and Clinique.
When she's not writing, snapping polaroids, or getting inspired while roaming LA by foot, Morgan is happiest collaborating with other artists.
ALASKA'S KICKSTARTER BACKERS
Stacey Kate Accad
Robert Adam II
Anna Megan Becker
Andrew Scott Bell
Torie & Ben
René G. Boscio
Chris & Tiffany Bowling
Sydney Clara Brafman
Heather Brooke Brawley
Logan McKennah Brown
Denise Minium Bryant
Kevin & Kim Caleca
Kevin Caleca Jr.
Monica & John Callaghan
Tom & Brigitte Callaghan
Chris Danger Rose & Kismet Rogue Fox
Sharon Canedy Fritz
Marcus Alexander Gazioch
Laura & John Gilbert
Dennis & Sandy Gilbert
Adrián Aurrecoechea González
Taras Demian Groves
Julie Hargreaves Hall
Charles C. Hickinbotham
Jolene P Knox
Caleb C. Lorentz
William L. Luther
Christopher S McHenry
Robert Bryce Milburn
Cindy Calhoun Nadler
Elk's Pride Pictures
Jorge Sanchez Pimienta
The Pirate Pimp
Two Pumps Productions
Max Jacob Radbill
Becky Lunsford Sakoff
Cristiana Marié Santos
Thomas E Smith
Alan C. Strutz
Ginger A. Thompson
Aaron Isaac Vasquez
Jon Michael Villagomez
Jennifer Elizabeth York