2014 Filmmakers and Special Guests

We had an exciting lineup of Filmmakers and Special Guests who attended LIFF 2014 from across the country.

Filmmakers included:

Bernard Rose (Director) – (The Devil’s Violinist)

Bernard Rose grew up in the London of the 1970s and that turbulent decade that was the golden age of cinema formed and influenced his work. In British cinema it was the era of Ken Russell, Nic Roeg, Lindsay Anderson and Stanley Kubrick, all iconoclasts who produced a vibrant exciting and challenging cinema that was simultaneously intensely personal and powerfully engaging and entertaining. Rose aspired to make his own films in this manner and took matters into his own hands getting hold of whatever cameras he could and learning to use them. Rose made many films as a teenager and they soon found public recognition when he won the BBC young filmmakers competition in 1976 with “A Bomb With No Name On It” – a three minute film about a terrorist bomb in central London. Rose was then recognized in an adult competition when “Looking at Alice” (1977) was named one of the “ten Best” amateur films of that year in the competition then run by Movie Maker magazine. He went on to major commercial box-office success and critical acclaim as Director of IMMORTAL BELOVED, CANDYMAN and last year’s festival screening of the film BOXING DAY.

Richie Mehta (Director) – (Siddharth)

Mehta has just completed two feature films. I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN, a science-fiction drama starring Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell, and Victor Garber, which premiered at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival, and SIDDHARTH, a Hindi-language film starring Rajesh Tailang and Tannishtha Chatterjee, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2013 and recently won the Beijing International Film Festival. Both film will be theatrically released in 2014.

Tom De Cherchio (Director) – (Unlicensed Therapist – Short Film Program)

Long-recognized for accolades and awards, including Gold One Pencils, Communications Arts, Cannes, D&AD, AICP, The Gunn Report, and placement on USA Today’s “Top 20 Spots of All Time” list with Bud Lite “Limo”. “Limo” has also been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in New York. Prior to being a director, De Cerchio’s career as agency copywriter led him to TBWA/Chiat/Day where he also won Gold and Silver One Show Pencils. After Chiat, De Cerchio and former partner Bryan Buckley started an agency called Buckley/De Cerchio. Some of Buckley/De Cerchio’s highlights include winning the Snapple beverage account, for which De Cerchio wrote the now famous line “Made From The Best Stuff Prior to joining ORIGINAL, De Cerchio was at MJZ and H.S.I. As a screenwriter, De Cerchio has written for MGM, Universal, Columbia, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney Pictures. He has also collaborated with Hollywood directors such as John McTiernan and Renny Harlin. De Cerchio has also found time to helm features and shorts films. His credits include Disney’s CELTIC PRIDE starring Damon Wayans and Dan Aykroyd, and the short NUNZIO’S SECOND COUSIN, a black comedy about hate crimes starring Vincent D’Onofrio. NUNZIO earned a permanent place in the MOMA’s short film collection as well as in the UCLA Film and Television Archive Permanent Study Collection. It was also screened at the Sundance and Telluride Film Festivals.

Chris Bower (Director) & Monica Cooper (Producer) – (We Won’t Bow Down)

Director, Christopher Levoy Bower (Chris) is a filmmaker from Asheville North Carolina “The film embraces the people, their artistry and shines a light on the resilience, the passion and the dedication it takes to keep this tradition alive. It’s been a labor of love that is a long time coming and we feel that we now have a piece that the Mardi Gras Indians will be very proud to share. – Chris Bower

Matt Livadary (Director) – Queens & Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo

Matt Livadary is a passionate filmmaker and a Los Angeles native. After graduating from USC’s Cinema School, he worked for several years at the prestigious Creative Artists Agency, which reps clients such as Ang Lee, Spike Jonze and Cameron Crowe. In 2008, Matt worked as a story editor alongside acclaimed director Marc Forster at the production company Apparatus. While working on Queens & Cowboys, he has also made a name for himself creating content for clients including Sony, EA and Comedy Central.

Rich Ragsdale (Director) – “Animal” Music Video Program

Rich Ragsdale is a composer and director, known for The King of Queens (1998), Less Than Perfect (2002) and According to Jim (2001).

Russell Brown (Director) – (Karen Black: On Acting) A Special Tribute

Russell Brown’s third feature film, Annie and the Gypsy, starring Cybill Shepherd, premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in June, 2012. Osiris Entertainment will distribute the film in Spring, 2013.

Scout Raskin (Producer & Animator) – (Comedy Central Festival Exclusive Sneak Peak of TripTank Episodes)

Scout Raskin has over twenty years experience in the industry. She got her start as a child actor in John Waters’ cult classic film, Cry-Baby. After college, she high-tailed it out to Los Angeles and began a love affair with animation. She has worked for ShadowMachine and Starburns Industries on Adult Swim’s stop-motion hits Robot Chicken and Frankenhole. In 2009, she started Sonic Bunny Productions and began to write, direct, and produce independent cartoons. Currently, she’s a Producer at ShadowMachine for Comedy Central’s animated sketch series, TripTank.

Richie Adams (Director) – (Una Vida)

Richie Adams is a writer, director, and producer who cut his teeth in film as a title designer, and over the past ten-plus years has worked with many of the great players in film and television.

Graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Richie Adams freelanced in advertising before attending Otis School of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he was handpicked by Richard Alan Greenberg of main title fame (Alien, Superman, Matrix) to be Art Director for his new company, RAGinc, and, later, Creative Director of Greenberg’s next company, Ignite Creative, where Richie designed and produced main title sequences and motion picture advertising for films such as S.W.A.T., The Last Samurai, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

After several years in Los Angeles, Richie returned to hometown, Baton Rouge, LA, to form River Road Creative, a boutique live-action studio where he continues to offer design and related services for film and television (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Water For Elephants, Babel), as well as directing/producing commercials, which have garnered awards and accolades at most of the major award competitions, including an EMMY® nomination.

In 2014, Adams wrote, directed and produced his second feature film, Una Vida: A Fable of Music and The Mind, which is currently playing the festival circuit, debuting at the 2014 Vail Film Festival where it won the Audience Award.

Jonathan Downing and Tiffany Sewell of Screaming Shih-Tzu Productions (Wildman in Music Video Program)

Special Guests participating in Mentorship Program Master Classes:

Chris Garrity (Head of Super Bowl Innovation)

Chris Garrity is head of innovation and marketing for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl Host Committee (February 2016). He is working to build excitement for the 50th Superbowl celebration with new media, events and technology partnerships.

Chris cut his teeth in marketing at Spin Magazine and has 20 years of experience creating customers for global brands including Apple, Netflix and Levi Strauss. His specialty is creating meaningful interactions with customers through content, new media and live events.

At Apple, Chris was able to build the online presence of Apple Retail with video and podcast content from events and performances in stores with content from artists like Sting, Common, M83 & Steve Martin.

At Netflix, Chris built event, social media and short-form content marketing programs from the ground up. He developed and produced entertainment marketing platforms that positioned the Netflix brand as a premiere entertainment destination.

Emily Best – (CEO of Seed & Spark)

Emily founded Seed&Spark to make a contribution to the truly independent community in which she would like to make moving pictures. In 2011, she had the great fortune of producing her first feature with a remarkable group of women. The spirit, the community and the challenges of that project, Like the Water, inspired Seed&Spark. Before producing Like the Water, Emily produced theater, worked as a vision and values strategy consultant for Best Partners, ran restaurants, studied jazz singing at the Taller de Musics, tour guided and cooked in Barcelona, and before that, was a student of Cultural Anthropology and American Studies at Haverford College. Emily was named one of the 2013 Indiewire Influencers, dedicated to 40 people and companies who are asking the big questions about what the independent film industry is today (and why) and, more importantly, what it will become. Emily is touring film and tech festivals around the world, Sundance and Tribeca to Galway and Louisiana, to educate filmmakers and learn their best practices in connecting with their audiences to build a sustainable career.

David Lotwin- Business Development “An Urban Legend”

David Lotwin is probably one of the most influential people in the history of urban music and marketing. When you can say that, “Jay-Z started his career at my studio as a young talent”, then that is saying something. David started his career working with some of the biggest reggae artists of all time including such greats as Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Dennis Brown and was co-founder of the most influential studio in hip-hop history called D&D studios. Currently, David runs the Urban Marketing division at Sound and continues to be a freelance A&R guy for major labels. This is a man that always understood what the next big thing in music and marketing was going to be. Sensing that a change was brewing in urban music, he set out to get in on the ground floor of what would become music’s best selling genre, Hip Hop. Not only did David get in, he became a cornerstone with the creation of D&D Studios in 1983 which was the home to some of the early pioneers of hip-hop, just as hip-hop morphed into a worldwide phenomenon and D&D became the Mecca. As the 1980’s turned into the 1990’s, hip-hop royalty continued to come through the doors of D&D including Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Jay-Z, DJ Premiere and Gangstarr all recorded some of their greatest songs at D&D Studios. Continuing on the music path David is now the president of Electronic Kingdom Records. Also managing two young artist Jitta on the Track and  DJ Paige. Now the Marketing Director at Brabble a social network . Marketing initiatives include working with Steve Madden Shoes, Trojan condoms, Iceberg Vodka, South Pole clothing, Schwinn Bicycles, Ecko Clothing, Burlington Coat Factory, Members Only ,Phase One Records, Ultra records which are just a few of the brands that have helped morph his reputation from Hip Hop legend to an “Urban Marketing Legend”.

Thom Kennon (Chief Strategy Officer -Brabble)

With over 25 years of direct and interactive marketing experience, Kennon has spent the past fifteen years developing and refining a philosophy, methodology & toolbox focusing on a unique behavioral human experience model. This integrated strategy discipline lies at the heart of the new marketing engine which Kennon believes is required for all 21st century brands in this evolving post- digital era. Thom has founded, launched or lead three interactive agencies over his career and is a frequent contributor to integrated marketing trade press and industry panels in addition to teaching his master of science course Social Media & the Brand at NYU.

Matt Raub (Defy Media)

Starting off on the startup side alongside Jason Calacanis and his 24-hour live streaming web TV network, This Week In, Matt Raub began his journey into New Media and took what he learned to move on to large entities in the space and help them grow. One in particular was Collective Digital Studios, which Matt was apart of from its early iteration, as a digital branch of The Collective Management Group. While there, he handled all aspects of content from production, to talent acquisition, to marketing and brand integration. Upon leaving, Matt went on to work directly with one of the largest YouTubers in the space, Toby “Tobuscus” Turner. Matt took on day-to-day responsibilities of running three of Turner’s YouTube properties, accounting for 15 million subscribers on the platform. Now, Matt has recently joined Defy Media, a union of Alloy Digital and Break Media, running production for their video games vertical and handling all aspects of their top gaming brand channel, SmoshGames.

Daniel Ravine (Chief Digital Officer)

Mark Peikert (Executive Editor, Backstage Magazine)


Filmmaker Reception: Each day during festival in the Filmmaker Lounge from 4 pm – 6 pm. Come and enjoy music, cocktails and conversation with your new favorite filmmakers and special guests.

Gala Party: Post-film screening reception each day during the festival in the Filmmaker Lounge from 9 pm – Midnight.

Film Receptions: After each film screening, audience members are invited to participate in both casual discussions and structured dialogues in the Filmmaker Lounge.