Jump Street Films
PRESENTS NOVEMBER 2006 RELEASE OF
A guide to recognizing your saints
Running time: 98 minutes
Dito Robert Downey Jr
Young Dito Shia LaBeouf
Monty Chazz Palminteri
Flori Dianne Wiest
Young Antonio Channing Tatum
Young Laurie Melonie Diaz
Mike O'Shea Martin Compston
Laurie Rosario Dawson
Giuseppe Adam Scarimbolo
Diane Honeyman Julia Garro
Young Nerf Peter Tambakis
Adult Nerf Scott Campbell
Frank Anthony De Sando
Jenny Eleonore Hendricks
Uncle George George Di Cenzo
Written and directed by Dito Montiel
Produced by Trudie Styler
Executive Producers Sting
Co-producers Rene Bastian
Co-producers Robert Downey Jr
Director of Photography Eric Gautier
Editors Christopher Tellefsen
Production Design Jody Asnes
Costume Design Sandra Hernandez
Associate Producer Alex Francis
Line Producer Lucy Cooper
Original Music by Jonathan Elias
Casting Amanda Mackey
Supervising Sound Editor/Re-Recording Mixer Paul Hsu
Production Sound Mixer Charles Hunt
Based on the book A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints by
Dito Montiel (Thunders Mouth/Avalon Press - 2003)
A guide to recognizing your saints
Dito Montiel's A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, a coming-of-age
drama inspired by Montiel's mid-eighties youth in Astoria, Queens, exudes the rawness
and authenticity of the classic urban dramas MEAN STREETS, SATURDAY NIGHT
FEVER, DO THE RIGHT THING and KIDS. Based on his memoir of the same name,
GUIDE won both the Dramatic Directing Award and a Special Jury Award for Best
Ensemble Performance at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and was selected to
screen in Critics Week at the Venice Film Festival.
Shot on a shoestring budget by first-time director Montiel in collaboration with
renowned director of photography Eric Gautier (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), A
GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is an evocative and heartbreaking cinematic
memory piece that packs an emotional wallop. The film features exceptional
performances by Robert Downey Jr, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson,
and Shia LaBeouf, as well as a breakout turn by Channing Tatum, whose star-making
performance will be remembered as one of the year's finest. The combined efforts of
this cast of established talents and young, up-and-coming actors recalls the ensemble
triumph of AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
A successful writer living in Los Angeles, Dito (Robert Downey Jr) is summoned
home to Astoria after a 15-year absence by his mother (Dianne Wiest) when his father
(Chazz Palminteri) becomes seriously ill. His father never forgave Dito for leaving home
and thus the two have a very strained relationship. Memories of his youth come flooding
back as Dito (played as a teenager by Shia LaBeouf) revisits the old neighbourhood,
encountering the few childhood friends (the "saints" of the film and memoir's title) who
aren't in prison or dead. As Dito finds himself whisked back into the childhood events
that shaped him, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters living in the thick of a
sweltering 1986 Queens summer.
These "saints" include Laurie (Melonie Diaz), Dito's childhood sweetheart; Mike
O'Shea (Martin Compston), a transplanted Scot with an Irish name who dreams of
becoming a punk rock musician; Giuseppe (Adam Scarimbolo), a reckless, destructive
and possibly insane member of Dito's street posse; and the unforgettable Antonio
(Channing Tatum), Dito's cocky and volatile best friend grappling with an abusive father.
As Dito comes to terms with the ghosts of his past, he must fight to rebuild a
relationship with his emotionally distant father.
An honest, unflinching account of a bittersweet return to a neighbourhood where
relationships can never be what they once were, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR
SAINTS is about coming to terms with misplaced love, reconciling with family, and
embracing the ghosts of your past. It's a mesmerizing debut from a truly gifted new
About the production
Writer-director Dito Montiel, the son of a Nicaraguan immigrant and an Irish
mother, was a kid "from nowhere going nowhere," as he wrote in his memoir A Guide to
Recognizing Your Saints. Growing up in Astoria, Queens in the seventies, he pulled
pranks for Greek and Italian gangsters, confessed at the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, took furtive hits of mescaline, and snuck into Times Square brothels.
As a young adult, he discovered the grit and grime of Lower Manhattan back
when it still felt authentic, formed a punk band called Gutterboy (signed to Geffen for the
then unheard of sum of one million dollars), and was himself discovered by the city's
vibrant underground culture. He was embraced by an eighties fashion and art
cognoscenti that included Andy Warhol and his Factory cohort Cherry Vanilla;
photographer Bruce Weber (for whom he modelled Calvin Klein underwear); Liza
Minnelli and Allen Ginsberg. Montiel's memoir A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR
SAINTS, published in 2003, was a rollicking tour of the highs and lows of life both on the
streets of Astoria and later in the electrifying milieu of pre-gentrified downtown
In his memoir, Montiel writes about his exploits in Manhattan and on the road as
if they are out-of-body experiences: "When we walked in, Liza Minnelli, to whom they
had once before introduced me, remembered my name, and thanked me for coming,"
Montiel writes. "I was in shock and trying very hard not to let her, or anyone, know just
how freaked out I was."
The memoir often takes an impressionistic approach, painting scenes with clips
of memory and bits of pop music:
And the vision was quick. As quick as it was vivid. And it was of you. Of you and me walking
down a jazz-filled Miles Davis Saint Mark's Place. "So What" (especially once the trumpet kicks in). And
just as that vision faded, the sweetest sound of pleading Curtis Mayfield took us all the way up to 111th
Street (Eddie you should know better). Oh, and that was where we kissed... Annette. Where we kissed
that magic kiss and wrote poems where every line rhymed. And being this was all a vision, a dream, a
daydream, well then we went back downtown with the Isley Brothers "Who's That Lady" filling up the
empty cracks along 8th Avenue's 1970s spent red-lit bars (around 38th Street).
For the film version of his book, the protagonist Dito (who despite sharing a name
with its creator is a fictional character) is someone who has matured into a sensitive,
literary type. His adult life has taken him worlds away from the old neighbourhood to
which he reluctantly returns after many years of self-imposed exile in LA. Embracing
and confronting one's past is the essence of Dito's story in the film.
The real-life Dito is a talented screenwriter and director who has, with this debut
film, concocted a living temple to the lasting power of memory. The faith practiced at
this particular temple is the spirit of youth - of the events of one particular summer when
everything changed for a particular young man. Rather than recount bit-by-bit the
events detailed in his memoir, Montiel has distilled and transformed his own source
material into an evocative mood piece that ranks as one of the more indelible accounts
of New York City street life in years.
The person who first thought Montiel's memoir might make a good movie was
actor Robert Downey Jr.
"A friend of ours, Jonathan Elias, brought Downey (into my life)," Montiel recalls
today. "They came to a reading I was doing at Book Soup in Los Angeles and Downey
was like, 'you wanna make a movie outta this?' And we did. Ridiculous, right?" he
At first, Downey thought A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS might be
a good project with which to make his debut as a director. "I think he liked the idea of
working on something from scratch," Montiel recalls. But Downey became preoccupied
with a flurry of other projects, including GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, KISS KISS
BANG BANG, FUR and A SCANNER DARKLY. In the interim, Downey introduced
Montiel to his friend Trudie Styler, whose Xingu Films ultimately put together the
financing for the movie.
"In Dito's memoir, I saw the kind of material I tend to respond to, which is
material that comes from a place of true passion," Styler says. "I began as a
documentary filmmaker, so an autobiographical tale of a young man's real-life journey
really made sense to me. The title itself resonated with me on a personal level. I
certainly have my own 'saints' that have guided me though life."
"I think Robert thought of me for GUIDE because he saw what we did with Guy
Ritchie and his first film, LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS" Styler adds.
"He knew I had an interest in first-time filmmakers and thought I was the woman for the
Downey concurs. "My first thought about making SAINTS into a movie was, 'I
don't want to walk into the office of a quintessential Hollywood producer with this,'" he
recalls. "Dito and I are, first and foremost, friends. There are a lot of creeps in the
netherworld between true indies and studio movies and a lot of producers who will give
up on a project too easily. Not Trudie Styler. She's a really savvy business woman, but
once she sets her mind on something she won't stop until she succeeds."
In a development process that took over four years, Montiel, Styler and Downey
worked diligently developing the parallel stories of Dito's youth and his return home.
"Robert and I talked a lot and ultimately decided that the heart and soul of the
movie should be young Dito's coming of age and his return home," Montiel says. He
laughs about his wild days in Manhattan: "Who'd want to see that?"
"Trudie really gets story," adds Downey, "and she really kicked our ass to get the
right script. She was really diligent. At one stage she had me, Dito, and her Head of
Development Alex Francis basically locked into a room in her apartment in New York,
and wouldn't let us out until we'd nailed the structure. She was pretty much working on
the project when I wasn't, and when I'd come out of an acting gig we'd go and work
together on it some more."
In addition to Downey and Styler, Montiel worked with a wide range of mentors.
He workshopped the script at the Sundance Screenwriter and Filmmakers Labs with
such mentors as director Frank Pierson and novelist Walter Mosley. He then met with
producers at Original Media and Belladonna Productions, who, from their respective
projects THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and TRANSAMERICA, among many others,
knew how to make movies in New York on a budget. Next he enlisted the services of
noted cinematographer Eric Gautier, who had recently shot THE MOTORCYCLE
With this team in place, Montiel shot a richly detailed period film, often in the
precise locations where the pivotal events of his youth played out. Ironically, Montiel
says, it was harder to make his old neighbourhood look like the present day than it was
to get a mid-80s feel.
"The place doesn't change," he says. "That's what I love about it."
Because A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS in film form mainly
focuses on the director's very specific memories and events of his youth, casting these
roles became a challenge for both the filmmaker and his producers. As Montiel recalls,
"I was insane about the casting of this film. I'd walk around all night, everywhere,
looking for any ragged, under-aged kid out too late, and when I came across one I'd
walk over and say, 'Look I know this is weird but I'm gonna give you a number and you
should come down and we'll do this thing for a movie.'" Montiel reports holding seven
open casting calls on his own, in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
"It's almost funny now when I think about the fact that I was so obsessed with
discovering unknowns - it never seemed strange to me," Montiel says today. "The idea
of using actors, especially 'child actors,' was at that point unimaginable."
Downey and Styler had different takes on Montiel's desire to cast unknowns.
"Ultimately, my only job as producer on this movie was having Dito's back,"
Downey says. "If he became obsessed with one approach or another, my role was to
say 'OK, go explore it.' My feeling is you can never go wrong by instilling in your director
that they've got to go through what they've got to go through."
Styler took a more practical approach.
"Dito hadn't had the benefit of making films," she explains, "and at the beginning
didn't realize the extreme time constraints he'd be working under just to shoot the
movie. Ultimately it became clear that kids off the street simply wouldn't be viable. We'd
need actors with experience and stamina in order to make our days."
"I was busy fighting against my cast and luckily I lost battle after battle," Montiel
"At the time, Shia LaBeouf seemed a million miles from the Dito I wrote, yet I
came to discover that he somehow understood all the undercurrents of the character.
He did it his way. He's great and no one would have done it better. All the actors in the
film gave me gifts I'll carry for a lifetime."
The director's interest in casting unknowns ultimately did pay off, however.
"I loved this white girl in New York named Eleonore. I wanted her to be 'young
Laurie' and I felt like I'd found Jodie Foster in TAXI DRIVER. But Rosario Dawson
wanted the role of 'adult Laurie' and there was no way white Eleonore was going to
grow up to be Rosario Dawson."
But Dawson led Montiel to Melonie Diaz, a young actress who'd charmed
audiences in RAISING VICTOR VARGAS.
"She was the most perfect young Laurie I could wish for," says Montiel. "I did,
however, sneak Eleonore into the film as this recurring extra that talked all over the
place, and she just naturally became Laurie's friend, Jenny."
Styler is proud to have discovered Martin Compston, who plays young Dito's
friend Mike O'Shea, when she served on the jury for the British Independent Film
Awards. He won a Best Actor award there for his work in Ken Loach's SWEET
Styler is particularly passionate about the younger actors in SAINTS.
"Martin's performance in SWEET SIXTEEN haunted me," she says, "and he
really lifts our movie by playing a character that's not so many degrees away from his
own background. I am so glad that we cast a real Scottish actor in the role. His
foreignness is alien to Dito and all his friends, and for Dito this new guy opens up a
whole new world for him, beyond his insular existence in Astoria. Mike is almost exotic -
a poet as well as a foreigner. To someone like Antonio, this is a threat. But to Dito it's
like he's been shown a way out."
Of the stunning breakout performance delivered by Channing Tatum, who plays
Dito's volatile and vulnerable best friend Antonio, Styler is adamant in her opinion that
Tatum brought to the film a huge, bright spark. "Antonio was one of the most difficult but
also one of the most important roles in the film. Channing needed to convey
tremendous vulnerability despite his character's tendency toward violence," Styler
insists. "Channing manages to generate huge empathy for Antonio. We can see how
troubled he is, and we can see that everything he does, while it may be misguided, is
done out of love and friendship for Dito."
"Like any low-budget film, making SAINTS was hard work for everyone,
especially our younger actors," adds Styler. "They never once let us down."
Anyone familiar with film production knows that most movies are shot out of
sequence so that a production can "shoot out" an actor on consecutive days. SAINTS
was no different. Because Downey and LaBeouf were playing the same character at
different points in life, their actual shooting schedules never overlapped. Although
audiences will surely notice how the young Dito and the returning Dito share many of
the same mannerisms - by all accounts the two actors never studied up on each other's
Says Downey: "The day before I started shooting I watched Dito and everyone
shoot the scene in church where Antonio flips out. I'd heard the kid [LaBeouf] was great,
and he was, and we talked. But we didn't get into any heavy technical stuff. I think it
probably works simply because it's an example of good casting. But the key might have
been that neither one of us were trying to play Dito per se."
Styler thinks each actor's work plays so well against the other's because "it has
to do with their acting chops. Robert of course is one of our greatest actors. And Shia is
one of the newest crop of talented young leading men. They both immersed themselves
into their roles. They share in common an uncanny ability to combine tremendous
charisma with great sensitivity. They each command an audience's attention in scenes
without ever resorting to grandstanding. I think it's because they both seem to hold
within them a curious and very strong sense of solitude."
Making a movie based on the life one actually has lived created both challenges
and opportunities for the filmmaker and his actors.
While shooting in the neighbourhood in which he grew up, Montiel encountered a
number of old friends who watched as actors playing people with their same names
performed the script. "My old friends were always hanging around, telling the actors, 'I
would never say that!'"
Actor Anthony De Sando, who brings life to Frank the Dog Walker in a very
memorable turn, sought out the real-life Frank the Dog Walker - who now lives on
Manhattan's Upper West Side - without telling his director.
"It was the most amazing acting research I've ever done," enthuses De Sando,
"because he'd lived and breathed it. I saw this movie as a very fine line between cinéma
vérité and fiction, and talking with this guy was just incredible."
"He hung out with him for three days and never said a thing," says Montiel,
shaking his head in disbelief. "Anthony totally freaked me out when we shot his scenes."
Other events and characters in the film were changed to fit the movie's new
narrative. The death of Giuseppe on the elevated train tracks is one such example:
"Giuseppe is alive and well but got deported to Italy for being a career criminal,"
explains Montiel. "My friend Billy Cockeye died riding on the roofs of trains, which is
where that idea came from." However, the harrowing scene in question was shot at the
train station nearest Montiel's childhood home, a location that was very difficult to
The real-life Laurie lived above "some kind of locksmith" and not a grocery store,
says Montiel, "but a place very similar. I jumped out of her second-story window more
times than I can remember. Her father was always chasing me."
After shooting the film, the biggest challenge confronting Montiel was found in the
editing room. He had to balance a story line from the past with one set in the present,
featuring different actors. Montiel also sought to create an unconventional narrative
strategy that said something about the very nature of time and memory.
One of the film's recurring motifs is the withholding of information from the
audience as the storyline from the past plays out. Twice we experience characters
playing out scenes against breathtaking visual backdrops that Montiel doesn't reveal
until the end of the respective scenes, as if to suggest visual exclamation points. One
such scene involves the personal threat against Dito that is spray-painted around his
bedroom window - an act to which Dito, Antonio and his friends respond long before we
actually see it on screen. Another similar scene is a wide, night-time shot of the majestic
Astoria Park Pool, which we only see after a long period of intense dialogue between
Dito and Mike O'Shea on the subject of their futures. This "backwards" narrative
strategy embellishes these scenes with the added depth of a passionate storyteller
whose enthusiasm for telling stories in new and inventive ways has led him to "save the
best for last," in an effectively visual manner.
A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS was put to together by Montiel
while working with two editors. Chris Tellefsen started out as an assistant editor for
Martin Scorsese on THE COLOUR OF MONEY and went on to edit the early films of
Whit Stillman and films for Milos Forman, David O. Russell, Larry Clark and M. Night
Shyamalan. Jake Pushinsky had worked with Montiel for several years on his music and
on Montiel's short films, but had never cut a feature.
Needless to say, it was an unusual process.
"I'd just come off learning that 'INT' meant 'interior' and 'EXT' meant 'exterior,'"
Montiel explains, "and my friend Jake, who'd edited nothing, ever, except for my short
films, didn't even know what an AVID was.
"My producers allowed him on as an assistant and hired Chris, an excellent,
experienced editor. I spent all day with Chris and all night with Jake. Both were equally
amazing and both deserve full credit for helping me find the movie in what we'd shot."
In the editing room, Montiel discovered that "the script was really only there to put
people in particular positions. Once we got them there it was time to sit back, enjoy and
cut it up!"
Q&A with Dito Montiel
Q: Can you describe your family background?
A: My father is from Nicaragua, born and raised there, and my mother is Irish,
from Coney Island in Brooklyn. My father used to call me Casper as a kid because I'm
so white. But I pretty much grew up in an Italian-Greek neighbourhood. It was always
ignorance more than racism - a little more forgiving.
Q: How much liberty did you take in translating your life and the lives of
your childhood friends to the big screen?
A: I took huge liberties. This was no James Frey book! This is a combination of a
million different stories (real and imagined). The Mike O'Shea character was a
composite of one of Antonio's younger brother and an actual guy named Mike O'Shea
who was from Ireland and now he lives in England - and he's alive and well, so he's
probably surprised that he dies in the movie. I'm telling a story - the truth is in the
emotion of the characters.
Q: What are some of the major differences you encountered between
writing a memoir and shooting a movie of that memoir?
A: The idea of making any sort of biographical picture wasn't really interesting to
me or to any of the people involved in the film - especially to me. You watch something
like THE AVIATOR and think 'now that's an interesting life.' For the film, I just really
wanted to capture the feeling of my book. The book has about sixty different stories.
With the movie you feel like one or two of the stories is tough enough. I wanted to zero
in on a moment in the book and touch the feeling of that moment for than telling an
Q: Was there a decision to go with the most tragic moments for this movie?
A: An important part of making the film, which was also an important part about
making the movie, was not to judge or vilify anybody, you know. I wanted to just lay it
out there as it is. I hate viewing things through rose-colored glasses so the thought was
to keep things feeling as real as possible for this movie. It was more about capturing the
emotion of the book - and the warmth, hopefully.
Q: You assembled a terrific ensemble cast for which you won a prize at
Sundance... how did you assemble such a great cast?
A: This has been a strange trip and it's a particularly hard question to answer
because there's so many answers. Initially I was terrified of my whole cast because I
didn't really want to make a film with big movie stars. I love movies like RAISING
VICTOR VARGAS and CITY OF GOD - which tried to keep things as real as possible.
But when it came down to it, the cast did something very special. I know that's the
typical response from a director who is congratulating his actors - what they each did
individually was something incredibly special for me.
Q: What do you think Robert Downey Jr brought to the part of Dito in the
A: Robert Downey Jr was probably the most complex of all the actors. When I
first wrote the part, I was thinking of Robert. And he said he would try a Queens accent
or something, which got me really worried. The hardest thing about directing - and this
is something I learned quickly - is once you put something on paper, it doesn't exist
anymore. Unless someone is playing Gandhi, and even then it doesn't exist. The
characters get handed off in a way. What Robert brought to the role is exactly the
opposite of what I would have brought to the role, which is sappy and sympathetic.
Robert brought realness to the role. He came to the set thinking it was about a guy who
comes back to his neighbourhood and realizes everyone from his past is a loser - that's
not what it's about at all, but I never told him that. He brought this sense of indifference
to the role that played out as a slow awakening - he made it very special in that way.
Q: Was it odd to watch an actor playing you - is the character, in fact, you?
A: I put my name in the film because I'm dumb like that. This was never my story
once it became the movie. Everyone just took it and ran and that's what was fun about
making this film. Robert Downey Jr certainly wasn't playing me in this film. I handed him
a role and he internalised it and decided how he felt about the role. So while it was
certainly strange to hear my name over and over, the film is not 100 percent
Q: How did you come upon Channing Tatum for the role of Antonio? It
seems like he's been hiding in teen movies until now.
A: He was someone I was really concerned about too. Antonio, the guy I wrote,
he's 5 foot 8 and pretty scraggly looking and every bit as tough as Channing - but
definitely not as good looking. When Channing showed up, I though,' Oh my God, it's a
Bruce Weber model' - blue eyes, blond hair and he's from the South. But then we got
together and started talking about the role. There's something about Channing - he
might look like a Bruce Weber model and come from the South but I knew this character
inside and out and I can't believe how well he nailed this person. Emotion was all that
mattered to me and he certainly embodied all the lost qualities I wanted to convey in the
character of Antonio. I don't know how he pulled it off, to do things that are more or less
criminal but still come off as compassionate.
Q: How does New York of your youth compare to New York now? Was it a
challenge finding streets that could pass as 1986, considering how much New
York City has gentrified in the last twenty years?
A: It's not all that different now (compared to 1986). I'm actually in Astoria now.
There have been a lot of changes in Brooklyn and Manhattan but Queens has always
been like this series of small towns in the big city. We shot on almost all the same
streets that the story actually took place. We did one day in the East Village, which was
the hardest part. Because the East Village to me was rubble - I don't even know if the
South Bronx looks like the East Village anymore. Now it's a whole different planet, with
fancy restaurants on Avenue C. We managed to find one block (East Third Street) that
was as close to that eighties feel that I could remember. Astoria was a lot easier
because it's more or less unchanged.
Q: One thing you captured particularly well was the idea of a cramped New
York City apartment during an unbearably hot summer - how do you achieve this
without being totally obvious?
A: We kept going for this sense of opposites with the whole film. Eric Gautier, the
director of photography, is never intrusive as a cameraman, he doesn't swoop in the
hypodermic needles, if you know what I mean, or zoom in on a hot radiator. The whole
film is like that. I believed that it would come through without stressing the obvious
things. That was a big part of it, from the acting, to the costumes, we just trusted that it
would seep through. I don't need a lot of New Yorkers talking like, 'Yo, Vinnie!' And I
don't need to see the Empire State Building - that's what I mean about going for
opposites. Going for the less obvious maybe is a better description.
Q: The film feels like a mood piece in many ways. You use a lot of unique
stylistic flourishes in the course of the film, like characters talking to the screen,
or unconventional voiceovers. Did you try and make the film as unconventional
A: There really was no advanced planning for this movie! The only plan was to
make things feel as real as possible. The hope was to experience the film more than to
watch the film. A lot of the film, because it's set in 1986, is supposed to be these
fragmented memories. How do you put those pieces back together again? That was the
thought behind it, if there was one at all.
Q: What about the voiceovers - they're used so inventively in the film...
A: We tried to stay away from typical voiceovers and flashbacks. I don't know
much about film except that I love it. I know that the guy who wrote MIDNIGHT
COWBOY said that he was uptight about the idea of flashbacks. He never wanted
anything to look like 'Oh, I remember when... ' There was never any plan for the
voiceovers, like when Dito and Mike are on the subway talking. I remember watching
the scene and thinking that it's no wonder nobody wanted to make this movie... what
they're saying is very quiet. But it's more about what they're NOT saying. It's a whole
movie about people not saying anything. If you listen to the voiceovers they're really
conversational as opposed to expository.
Q: So would you say this film really came to life in post-production?
A: It was a combination of factors. That's where it got really fun. On the streets
filming it was fun because you start seeing pieces of the movie come together. The term
'dailies," which is all new lingo to me, was supposed to be what everyone fell in love
with on set before you edited the film - footage that then ends up not looking as good
when you finally edit. Well my experience was the opposite. I was looking at dailies and
I was ready to shoot myself. I thought it looked like a bunch of madness. It really started
to come together for me when I watched actors like Chazz Palminteri really go for it.
Q: It must have been one thing to write your memoir and sort of purge
yourself of all these traumas you endured. What was it like adapting the memoir
into a screenplay - were you dredging up these memories all over again? Was it
cathartic for you in any way?
A: When I first started working with Eric Gautier I told him that I loved REQUIEM
FOR A DREAM but this wasn't that neighbourhood. I loved CLOCKERS but this also
wasn't that neighbourhood. I wanted it to be a beautiful place, which is how I
remembered it. But there is always pain involved with beauty; that's just the way life is. I
told Eric I wanted to walk down those streets again and fall in love with Laurie again. It
wasn't so much painful as a sort of walk down memory lane.
Q: Can you give us an update on some of the characters in the film - the
ones that were loosely based on real people from your past?
A: My mother passed away. Nerf is still great - he's an ambulance driver now.
Antonio's younger brother is cracked out of his mind - I gave some of his real-life
dialogue to Nerf's character in the film. Giuseppe is a career criminal. Antonio's still in
prison. And Laurie died of AIDS two years ago.
Robert Downey Jr (Dito) has evolved into one of the most respected actors in
Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new
and fresh even after three decades in the business. Downey received an Academy
Award nomination and won the BAFTA for best actor for his performance in the title role
of CHAPLIN, released in 1992 by Tri-Star Pictures.
Downey has completed production on a number of films that will be released this
year. The first is A SCANNER DARKLY, which is being released in July 2006. It
co-stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson who play characters
living in a futuristic America that has lost the war on drugs. FUR teams Downey with
Nicole Kidman in a film inspired by the life of Diane Arbus, the revered photographer
whose images won great acclaim in the early 1960s. Downey will then be seen
alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Gary Oldman in the David Fincher film ZODIAC for
Warner Bros. The film is based on the Robert Graysmith book of the same name, and is
about the notorious serial killer who haunted San Francisco during the 1970s.
In 2005, Downey was in the Academy Award nominated film GOOD NIGHT AND
GOOD LUCK, directed by George Clooney. He was also seen in the action comedy
KISS KISS BANG BANG (Warner Bros), directed by Shane Black and co-starring Val
Kilmer. In October 2003 Downey was seen in two very different films. The ICON film
THE SINGING DETECTIVE was a musical/drama/remake of the popular BBC hit of the
same name. He also starred in the Warner Bros thriller GOTHIKA opposite Halle Berry
and Penelope Cruz.
Downey made his primetime television debut in 2001 joining the cast of the Fox
TV series "Ally McBeal," playing the role of attorney Larry Paul, for which he won the
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series,
Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as the Screen Actors Guild
Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Comedy Series. In addition, Downey
was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
In 2000, Downey co-starred with Michael Douglas and Toby Maguire in
WONDER BOYS, directed by Curtis Hanson. In April 2000 he starred alongside Steve
Martin and Eddie Murphy in the hit comedy BOWFINGER.
In September of 1999 he starred in BLACK AND WHITE, written and directed by
James Toback, along with Ben Stiller, Elijah Wood, Gaby Hoffman, Brooke Shields and
Claudia Schiffer. In January of 1999, he starred with Annette Bening and Aidan Quinn in
the Dreamworks SKG film IN DREAMS directed by Neil Jordan.
In 1998, Downey co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes in
Warner Bros US MARSHALS directed by Stuart Baird. He also starred with Heather
Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner in the critically acclaimed TWO GIRLS AND A
GUY directed by James Toback.
In 1997, Downey was seen in Robert Altman's THE GINGERBREAD MAN
starring with Kenneth Branagh, Daryl Hannah and Embeth Davitz; HUGO POOL
directed by his father Robert Downey Sr, starring Sean Penn and Patrick Dempsey; and
in New Line Cinema's ONE NIGHT STAND directed by Mike Figgis and starring Wesley
Snipes and Nastassja Kinski.
In 1995, Downey starred in Miramax's RESTORATION with Hugh Grant, Meg
Ryan and Ian McKellen, directed by Michael Hoffman. Also that year, he starred in
RICHARD III, for MGM/UA, in which he appears opposite his RESTORATION co-star
McKellen. In Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) with Woody Harrelson
and Juliette Lewis, Downey starred as a tabloid TV journalist who exploits a murderous
couple's killing spree to boost his ratings. In Robert Altman's SHORT CUTS (1993) he
appeared as an aspiring film make-up artist whose best friend commits murder. For the
comedy HEARTS AND SOULS (1993) Downey starred as a young man with a special
relationship with four ghosts.
His other film credits include THE LAST PARTY, SOAPDISH, AIR AMERICA,
CHANCES ARE, TRUE BELIEVER, JOHNNY BE GOOD, 1969, LESS THAN ZERO,
THE PICKUP ARTIST, BACK TO SCHOOL, TUFF TURF, WEIRD SCIENCE, FIRST
BORN and POUND, in which he made his feature film debut and which was directed by
Robert Downey Sr.
On 23 November 2004, Robert Downey Jr released his debut album called "The
Futurist" on the Sony Classics Label. The album contains eight original songs that
Downey wrote, as well as two cover songs.
Channing Tatum (Antonio) - With exceptional roles in three upcoming films,
Channing Tatum is a talented young actor who is sure to establish himself as a
breakout star in 2006.
Besides his breakout role in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS,
Tatum was also recently seen starring opposite Amanda Bynes in the Dreamworks film
SHE'S THE MAN, which was released on March 17, 2006. This film is directed by Andy
Fickman and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner. Inspired by the Shakespeare play,
"Twelfth Night," the film stars Amanda Bynes as a boarding school student, Viola, who
enrols in the school disguised as her twin brother and finds herself falling in love with
her handsome roommate, Duke, played by Tatum. Again, Tatum drew exceptional
reviews including Daily Variety referring to the film as having a "bright and enthusiastic
cast, centred on the swarthy and magnetic Channing Tatum as Duke... "
Tatum will next star in the Disney film STEP UP, directed by Anne Fletcher and
produced by Adam Shankman. The film centres around Tyler Gage, played by Tatum, a
street smart juvenile delinquent who gets sentenced to community service at a high
school for the performing arts. After first distancing himself from the rest of the students,
he falls in love with a beautiful dancer who helps him to discover his own talent for
dance. The film will be released on August 11, 2006.
Channing Tatum was born in Alabama and grew up in Florida. At age 23, he
starred in an international Pepsi commercial with director Tarsem and two highly
popular national Mountain Dew commercials directed by Kinka Usher. His natural
charisma and athleticism in these commercials brought him to the attention of both
extreme sports fans and Hollywood industry executives. He was then signed by a talent
agency and started taking acting classes with Harold Guskin and at the Dena Levy
In 2004, he had his first guest appearance on a television show with a role on an
episode of "CSI: Miami". In 2005, he starred in HAVOC opposite Anne Hathaway and
Joseph Gordon Levitt and then in COACH CARTER with Sam Jackson as Jason Lyle.
That same year, he starred as motocross superstar Rowdy Sparks in the Fox film
SUPERCROSS and also shot the lead role in the WB pilot "The Prince" for director
Channing Tatum currently resides in Los Angeles.
Shia LaBeouf (Young Dito) burst upon the scene and has quickly become one
of Hollywood's most sought-after actors. His natural talent and raw energy are quickly
earning him a reputation as one of the most promising young thespians.
Shia is currently shooting the action adventure TRANSFORMERS for director
Michael Bay. The film focuses on duelling alien races, the Autobots and the
Decepticons, who bring their battle to Earth, leaving the future of humankind hanging in
the balance. LeBeouf recently completed filming the thriller DISTURBIA for director DJ
Caruso. Shia stars as a teen living under house arrest who becomes convinced his
neighbour is a serial killer.
Later this year, Shia will be seen in the drama BOBBY for director Emilio
Estevez. Starring opposite Demi Moore and Elijah Wood, the film centres around 22
people who were at the Ambassador Hotel where US Senator Robert F. Kennedy was
Shia was most recently seen as the lead role in the film THE GREATEST GAME
EVER PLAYED for Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Bill Paxton, the film was based on
the best-selling book by Mark Frost, and tells the true story of the legendary 1913 US
Open, in which Frances Ouimet, a 20-year-old golf amateur from Massachusetts,
shocked the golf world by defeating the British champion.
Shia's additional feature film credits include CONSTANTINE opposite Keanu
Reeves, I, ROBOT, with Will Smith , HBO's Project Greenlight production THE BATTLE
OF SHAKER HEIGHTS, and the hit action- film CHARLIE'S ANGELS II - FULL
THROTTLE. In 2003, LaBeouf made his big screen debut starring opposite Sigourney
Weaver and Jon Voight in the film HOLES.
On television, LeBeouf garnered much praise from critics everywhere for his
portrayal of "Louis Stevens," on the Disney Channel's original series Even Stevens. In
2003, he earned a Daytime Emmy award for "Outstanding Performer in a Children's
Series" for his work on the highly rated family show.
LaBeouf attended the Magnet School of Performing Arts at USC and currently
resides in California with his family.
Rosario Dawson (Laurie) - With numerous films already to her credit, including
female leading roles opposite today's hottest film actors and directors, Rosario Dawson
has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought after leading ladies.
Dawson was last seen in the starring role of 'Mimi Valdez' in the film adaptation
of famed Broadway play RENT. Dawson top-lines the Chris Columbus directed version
of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson musical, joining many of the original cast
members including Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse Martin, and Taye Diggs.
Dawson recently wrapped starring roles in two films, both for the Weinstein
Company, including Kevin Smith's sequel to CLERKS titled PASSION OF THE
CLERKS and John Madden's KILLSHOT alongside Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane and
Johnny Knoxville. Dawson is currently starring in and producing her first film for director
Talia Lugacy. This will be Dawson's first self produced film.
Dawson's was recently seen in the Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller film noir drama
SIN CITY. She plays the role of 'Gail' in the third and final instalment of the film based
on Miller's graphic novel series, which also stars Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Clive
Owen, and Brittany Murphy. Dawson also recently starred in the Oliver Stone epic
ALEXANDER for Warner Bros. She joined an all-star cast playing opposite Colin Farrell,
Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, and Jared Leto. Dawson can also be seen co-starring
with The Rock, Sean William Scott and Christopher Walken in Universal's
action/comedy THE RUNDOWN.
Dawson co-starred last year in the Lions Gate drama SHATTERED GLASS with
Hayden Christensen, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Zahn. She also appeared this year in
the indie film THIS GIRLS LIFE, which has been making its run in the festivals this year.
Additional credits include SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK, a romantic comedy, written,
directed, and starring Ed Burns as well as Heather Graham, Stanley Tucci and Brittany
Murphy; THE FIRST $20 MILLION IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST, written by Jon Favreau
and directed by Mick Jackson; Ed Burns' ASH WEDNESDAY, along with Burns and
Elijah Wood; and LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONEY, written and directed by theatre
director Peter Marrei; Spike Lee's THE 25th HOUR, opposite Edward Norton, Philip
Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper. MEN IN BLACK 2 with Will Smith and Tommy Lee
Jones; and Ethan Hawke's CHELSEA WALLS.
Dawson made her film debut in the highly acclaimed and controversial hit KIDS.
Directed by photographer Larry Clark, with a script by Harmony Korine, KIDS depicted
24 hours in the life if a group of New York Skaters and the havoc that runs through it.
The film features a group of kids actually pulled from the streets in New York, as
opposed to professional actors. With a surprise midnight screening at the Sundance
and a spot in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, her film career was well
Dawson's other film credits include: Spike Lee's HE GOT GAME opposite Denzel
Washington; LIGHT IT UP, opposite Forrest Whitaker and Vanessa Williams; DOWN
TO YOU with Freddie Prinze Jr; and, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, with Rachel Leigh
Cook and Tara Reid.
Born and raised in New York, Rosario continues to make her home there.
Dianne Wiest (Florid) - Perhaps best known for her Oscar-winning supporting
roles in Woody Allen's HANNAH AND HER SISTERS and BULLETS OVER
BROADWAY, Dianne Wiest has also had memorable roles in Allen's films RADIO
DAYS, SEPTEMBER and THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO. She was also nominated
for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Ron Howard's PARENTHOOD. Other
memorable film roles include work in Tim Burton's EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and
Mike Nichol's THE BIRDCAGE. Wiest last appeared onstage in Wendy Wasserstein's
Third at Lincoln Center and on Broadway with Al Pacino in Salome directed by Estelle
Parsons. Other theatre appearances include The Shawl, Hunting Cockroaches, After
the Fall, Beyond Therapy and The Art of Dining.
Melonie Diaz (Young Laurie) - Melonie Diaz was born in NYC. She was raised
in the Lillian Wald Projects of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She has attended the
prestigious Professional Performing Arts High School for drama and is now pursuing to
complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Melonie is
also an accomplished actress; she has been featured in notable films such as Tom
DiCillo's DOUBLE WHAMMY, Peter Sollett's RAISING VICTOR VARGAS (official
selection of the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals) and LORDS OF DOGTOWN
(from Catherine Hardwick, director of THIRTEEN). She has also starred in "Scenarios
USA" a short film promoting safe sex, and "From an Objective Point of View," directed
by Jim McKay and Hannah Weyer. Melonie has participated in the First Annual Hip Hop
Theater Festival at PS 122.
Martin Compston (Mike O'Shea) - Martin makes his US screen debut in A
GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. The experienced young Scottish actor
starred in Ken Loach's 2002 film SWEET SIXTEEN, for which he won a BAFTA Award
and a British Independent Film Award. The role also garnered him Critics Circle,
European Film Academy and Cannes Film Festival Best Actor nominations. Martin has
appeared in WILD COUNTRY, TICKETS and NICELAND, as well as on British
television, with roles on "Monarch of the Glen" and "Casualty," among others. The
Glasgow, Scotland native can be seen in 2006 in RED ROAD and alongside Robert
Carlyle in DRAGNET.
Adam Scarimbolo (Giuseppe) - A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS
marks Adam's first lead-acting role in a feature film. His prior roles include a featured
part in UNDEFEATED, a John Leguizamo-directed film for HBO; supporting roles in
LYMELIFE, BITTERSWEET PLACE and ANNE B. REAL; and a lead role in "Gasline,"
which was awarded Best Short Film at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Adam has also
appeared on television in guest starring roles on "Third Watch" and "The Sopranos."
Adam studied theatre arts at Brooklyn College.
Julia Garro (Diane Honeyman) - Julia makes her screen debut in A GUIDE TO
RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. The Spanish-Italian first generation American was
born in New York City where, at the age of 13, she began acting classes at Biz Kids.
She later studied drama at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Performing
Arts. During that time, she also studied in Argentina and at the French-American
Association for Cinema and Theatre in Paris. A dedicated athlete and yogi, Julia
currently attends Barnard College, where she is majoring in Women's Studies and Film.
Peter Tambakis (Young Nerf) - Before his role as the reluctant troublemaker
Nerf in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, Peter appeared in the blockbuster
films THE SIXTH SENSE and RANSOM. He has also had supporting parts in IGBY
GOES DOWN, LIVE FREE OR DIE and SNOW IN AUGUST, among others.
Scott Michael Campbell (Adult Nerf) - Besides Scott's turn as the
down-on-his-luck Nerf in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, he was recently
seen in Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and is in the forthcoming films CRAZY
and AMERICAN GOTHIC. His prior film credits include FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX,
HART'S WAR, RADIOLAND MURDERS and BULWORTH. He has also appeared in
many popular television shows, including "Grey's Anatomy," "The West Wing," "Frasier,"
"ER" and "Crossing Jordan."
Anthony De Sando (Frank) - Anthony starred in the dramatic films FEDERAL
HILL, CEMENT, and A DAY IN BLACK AND WHITE, as well as the comedies KISS ME
GUIDO, PARTY GIRL and THE WHOLE SHEBANG. Other film credits include NEW
JACK CITY, OUT FOR JUSTICE, and HBO's HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS. On television
he has played series regular roles on "LA Law," "Under Suspicion," "New York News"
and "Welcome to New York." Anthony has also had recurring roles on "Crossing
Jordan" and "The Sopranos." Additionally, he has guest-starred on "Sex and the City,"
"Third Watch," "Without a Trace," "Numb3rs," and "NYPD Blue." On Broadway, Anthony
played the role of Toddy Koovitz in Richard Greenberg's 2003 Tony Award Winning
Best Play "Take Me Out." He recently completed BEER LEAGUE in which he co-stars
with Artie Lange and Ralph Macchio.
Dito Montiel (Director) - Dito Montiel was born and raised in Astoria, New York.
His father was a typewriter mechanic from Nicaragua who fought with Sugar Ray
Robinson in the Golden Gloves.
At 13, Montiel sang for a New York hardcore/punk band called Major Conflict.
The band was together for three years and put out a 45 record. At 17, Montiel was in a
band called Gutterboy. The band famously won a $1 million record deal from Geffen
Records in 1991 and became one of the most 'successful' unsuccessful bands in rock
During this time, he was embraced by a New York fashion and art cognoscenti
that including Andy Warhol and his Factory cohort Cherry Vanilla. He was also a model
for renowned photographer Bruce Weber, for whom he modelled Calvin Klein
underwear, and rubbed shoulders with Liza Minnelli and the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg.
With Gutterboy, he toured as the opening act for the Stray Cats.
His first book, a memoir called A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints was
published by Thunders Mouth/Avalon Press in 2003. He wrote a script off of an idea in
one of the chapters which was chosen along with 8 others by the Sundance
Screenwriter and Filmmakers Labs. Here he was mentored by the likes of Frank
Pearson, Walter Mosley and Alfonso Cuarón (Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN), Ed Harris and
The film of his memoir, also titled A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS,
won the Dramatic Directing Award and a Special Jury Prize for best cast ensemble at
the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Montiel recently completed his second book, The Clapper, which will be
published in 2007 by Thunders Mouth/ Avalon Press. His articles, interviews and poetry
have appeared in Vanity Fair, Interview, and numerous other magazines. He lives in
New York City.
Trudie Styler (Producer) - Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director,
environmentalist, human rights activist and UNICEF Ambassador.
Trudie's film credits with her production company Xingu Films, include the
documentaries "Boys from Brazil" (1993); IDA award-winning MOVING THE
MOUNTAIN (1995); award-winning documentary on the making of a Walt Disney
animation THE SWEATBOX (2002) which she co-directed; and A KIND OF
CHILDHOOD (2002). Feature film credits include THE GROTESQUE (1996), Guy
Ritchie's first two films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998) and
SNATCH (2000) which she executive produced; GREENFINGERS (2001); CHEEKY
(2003); ALPHA MALE (2005); and A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS
(2006). Commissioned by Glamour magazine, Trudie directed her first short film entitled
"Wait" in the summer of 2005 in New York. The film stars Kerry Washington and Debi
Trudie's recent acting credits include a guest appearance in "Friends" (2001), a
major role in the ABC series "Empire" (2004), and the highly acclaimed BBC series
"Love Soup" (2005). Her most recent film roles include CONFESSIONS OF AN UGLY
STEPSISTER (2001); ME WITHOUT YOU (2001); CHEEKY (2003) and ALPHA MALE
In 1988 Trudie co-founded The Rainforest Foundation with husband Sting, and
for thirteen years she has produced benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, securing the
talents and enthusiasm of some of the world's most prestigious artists and raising $21
million for the cause.
Travis Swords (Producer) - As an actor, Swords appeared opposite Tommy
Lee Jones and Robert Duvall in the CBS blockbuster mini-series "Lonesome Dove,"
Clint Eastwood in PINK CADILLAC and Kevin Spacey in "The Jim and Tammy Faye
Bakker Story." Under the tutelage of legendary producers Don Simpson and Dawn
Steel, Swords made his 'behind-the-camera' career move by raising the financing for
and producing Joel Hershman's award-winning debut film, HOLD ME, THRILL ME,
KISS ME. Acquired by October Films, the micro-budget indie garnered audience awards
at both the Deauville and Seattle International Film Festivals. Its initial cable airing
netted the year's highest rating for an indie film. Time Warner paired the duo with "ER"
creator John Wells to produce a TV version of their off-beat indie.
GREENFINGERS, a Samuel Goldwyn/MGM release produced along with Trudie
Styler and starring Clive Owen and Helen Mirren, marked Swords' first foray into the UK
film scene. Swords remained in England to work with Xingu Films, producing CHEEKY,
the directorial debut of actor David Thewlis. Once again partnering with Joel Hershman
and Trudie Styler, Swords signed a deal with the Walt Disney Company to produce THE
LOCKSMITH, Hershman's first studio picture.
Xingu Films Ltd has offices in both New York and London. Established by
Trudie Styler and partner Anita Sumner in 1996, the company has specialized in
producing feature-length documentaries, including Boys from Brazil (1993); IDA
award-winning MOVING THE MOUNTAIN (1995); award-winning documentary on the
making of a Walt Disney animation THE SWEATBOX (2002); and A KIND OF
CHILDHOOD (2002). Dramatic feature film productions include THE GROTESQUE
(1996), Guy Ritchie's first two films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS
(1998) and SNATCH (2000); Joel Hershman's GREENFINGERS (2001); David Thewlis'
CHEEKY (2003); Dan Wilde's ALPHA MALE (2005); and Dito Montiel's A GUIDE TO
RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS (2006).
Since its inception, Xingu Films has worked almost exclusively with first time
writer/directors (only Joel Hershman had made a feature film previously), and continues
to focus primarily on searching for fresh and innovative creative voices. While Styler
acknowledges this can be a risky approach to take, the rewards of discovering and
nurturing genuine and exciting new talent only serve to increase her passion for the
world of filmmaking.
Clara Markowicz (Producer) has spent the past 10 years in the world of
entertainment. After having cultivated her production talents on a number of high-profile
special events, television shows, and music videos, Clara Markowicz founded Original
Media with her partner Charlie Corwin in 2001.
As a Managing Partner of Original Media, Clara not only runs operations at the
company, but supervises the production of all in-house projects such as "Miami Ink," a
popular TV series on TLC, the reality show "Skate Maps," which is in its second season
on Fox's Fuel Channel, and numerous projects for MTV and VH1. She is also one of the
producers on the feature film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE.
Prior to founding Original Media, Clara worked as a producer at Live Music
Channel, a company that delivered live performance programming to viewers via
multimedia formats. There she produced three television series which aired on Fox,
WB, and cable affiliates respectively, and numerous live concert shoots for artists
ranging from Snoop Dogg to The Flaming Lips to TLC. Before joining LMC, Clara was a
special event producer and publicist at Harrison and Shriftman and was responsible for
producing numerous special events for high profile clients in New York like Gucci and
Absolut Vodka. She holds a degree from Brown University and currently resides in
Charles Corwin (Producer) was born and raised in New York City and attended
NYU Law School. After stints as an attorney, and in the record business, he co-founded
an Internet company called LiveMusicChannel.com. LMC broadcast live concert
performances by platinum recording artists over the web, and was a pioneer in the
streaming of digital media. After selling the company, Charlie turned his attentions to
producing films and television.
In 2002 Charles Corwin and Clara Markowicz founded Original Media LLC, a
New York based production company, specializing in unique films and series for
television. In 2004 Corwin produced the feature film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
(along with fellow producers Clara Markowicz, Wes Anderson and Peter Newman). The
film was directed by Noah Baumbach and premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film
Festival where it won awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film was
released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures in October 2005. It has since
been nominated for 6 Spirit Awards and 3 Golden Globes, including best picture for
Original Media also produces multiple television series including "Miami Ink"
(Corwin, Executive Producer) about 5 dedicated and colourful tattoo artists who open a
tattoo parlour on South Beach.
ORIGINAL MEDIA LLC is a New York-based production company specializing in
unique films and series for television. The company has built a strong reputation for
cutting-edge content and quality production. Original programs include feature films,
television series, and alternative programs.
In 2004 Original Media co-produced THE SQUID AND THE WHALE which
premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 where it won Best Director and Best
Screenplay. The film was nominated for 3 Golden Globes and 6 Independent Spirit
The company has just finished two new films. A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING
YOUR SAINTS which was co-produced with Xingu Films and features Robert Downey
Jr, Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri and Shia LaBeouf; and HALF NELSON,
co-produced with Hunting Lane Films and starring Ryan Gosling. Both films premiered
at Sundance in January 2006.
Original Media also produces television series, including series currently airing
on MTV, VH1, TLC, and Fuel.
Eric Gautier (Director of Photography) has received critical acclaim for his
images in Walter Salles‚ MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. The film was nominated for a
BAFTA Award and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. Having
also worked on Olivier Assayas' CLEAN, he earned the Technical Grand Prize in
Cinematography at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for both films. Eric is currently
shooting Alain Resnais' new feature PETITE PEUR PARTAGEE. Eric has worked with
critically acclaimed directors such as Raoul Ruiz, Arnaud Despleschin, Patrice Chereau,
Claude Berri, Catherine Breillat and Leos Carax. He won the French Cesar in 1999
THOSE WHO LOVE ME LIKE THE TRAIN and received a nomination last year for
Jody Asnes (Production Designer) has lent her talents to commercials, feature
films and television projects as divergent as John Cameron Mitchell's SHORTBUS,
Good Machine's iconic TRICK (Sundance 1999) and Director Josh Sternfeld's WINTER
SOLSTICE (Tribeca 2004). She has an art history background, is fluent in Spanish and
has worked extensively in Latin America where she designed the film HOMELAND for
Director Doug Scott.
Chris Tellefsen (Editor) - Chris Tellefsen began his career as an assistant
editor for Martin Scorsese on THE COLOUR OF MONEY and BAD. Since then,
Tellefsen has worked on a wide range of feature films including KIDS, FLIRTING WITH
DISASTER, PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, GUMMO, ANALYSE THIS, CHANGING
LANES and THE VILLAGE. Most recently, Tellefsen edited the acclaimed film,
Jake Pushinsky (Editor) - After completing his studies in Jazz and Recording
Arts at Sonoma State University, Jake Pushinsky spent a year as an assistant music
editor. During that period he worked on Tsui Hark's cult classic, ZU WARRIORS as well
as a couple of other features. Next came his four-year tenure as a music editor at Elias
Arts where he worked alongside Dito Montiel. Jake edited two short films for Dito that
were the earliest incarnations of A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS.