It all started with People Magazine. In the summer of 2001 I was living in DC and my grandmother, who was then in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s and a descent into dementia, was living in a rest home in the suburbs. And for that summer I was her only relative in the city, and while I worked in a bike shop and partied away my summer, about once a week I would head out to the suburbs and read to her. I tried Harry Potter at first, but that was too long to hold her interest, and in the end we settled on People; its short articles were about subjects she liked. It was the last real time we got to spend together.
Ten years later, she had passed on and I was living in Los Angeles working as a filmmaker when I first read Angel’s Perch. And while the experience was very different, there were universal truths about that experience that resonated deeply with me. The sense of an inter-generational connection. The unpredictable nature of who you would be dealing with on an hour by hour or minute by minute basis. And overall, a sense of love and reverence and gratitude.
What I loved about Angel’s Perch was that it was a story that is so seldom told truthfully. There are a lot of cliches about aging out there, but it’s the specific details that make this story so real for me. The moments of humor mixed together with moments of pain; the ways in which our relationships with our family can bring us out of our shell in unexpected ways they were all there.
With every project, you’ll get a stream of feedback; actors will have input, financiers, editors, it’s a world of good input, and you need to know the spine you are holding on to every step of the way or else you’ll end up lost in a sea of helpful suggestions. With Angel’s Perch, it was the story of rebirth, of a grandmother and grandson loving each other through hard times that I held on to through every decision that I made.
I then set out to build a visual structure with my longtime collaborator, cinematographer Kimberly Culotta, that would complement the story without calling too much attention to itself. That would show off the natural beauty of our West Virginia setting without wallowing in aesthetic beauty without purpose. That would highlight for the audience the emotional journey that our lead, Jack, goes through. And most of all, that would bring our story to life.
We were lucky in our casting throughout; actors would read the script and connect with it and pass it on to other actors until we had filled it out with a great palette of talented individuals who really understood what we were going for. And we were luckier still in the locals; locals casting is always a gamble, but then some days you find a star like Homer Hunter living up a dirt road deep in the hills, and you remember stars are all around.
Pain is inevitable in life, but the best thing you can do with it is share it honestly, to use it as a way to connect to other human beings. Because it’s so easy to feel alone in life, especially when you are in pain, and knowing other human beings have struggled with the same things you’ve struggled with can be such a lifesaver when you are in need. And it was my honor to get the opportunity to tell this story, and get another chance to remember those moments of connection I got to have reading People Magazine.
We got some of the team together (J.T., Kim, Charles and Ellen) on Release week[read more]
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Joyce Van Patten
Joyce Van Patten most recently appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Amy Herzog's The Great God Pan. Broadway appearances include People in the Picture, Brighton Beach Memoirs,I Ought to be in Pictures, Rumors, Jake's Women (all Neil Simon); Taller than a Dwarf, More to Love. Lincoln Center: Fair Country, Ring Around the Moon. Signature: The Oldest Profession. MTC: Labor Day. The Public: The Seagull. Chicago: Show Boat. Los Angeles: Ahmanson Theatre: Dead End. Geffen Theatre: Rabbit Hole. Huntington Theater: The Cherry Orchard. Films include: The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, Grown Ups, Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, This Must Be the Place, Mame, Bad News Bears, St. Elmo's Fire. And lots of TV.
Ally Walker has made her mark in both television and film, at first, starring in daytime's Emmy winning Santa Barbara, and True Blue, followed by as turn a private eye in the series Moon Over Miami. As Samantha Waters in Profiler, she played a forensic psychologist with a dark past. In HBO's Tell Me You Love Me she received critical acclaim for her
portrayal of "Katie." Walker appeared for three seasons as the sociopath ATF Agent June
Stahl on Sons of Anarchy, FX's critically acclaimed dramatic hit series. Her most recent
series role was Gloria Shepherd in the Lifetime's The Protector. Ally also made several guest
appearances on Matlock, L.A. Law, Wings, The Shield, Law & Order, Boston Legal, Southland,
Law & Order Special Victims Unit, and many more hit series and several made for television
On the big screen, Ally first appeared in Cameron Crowe's cult classic Singles. This was
followed by the action flick, Universal Soldier and Steal Big, Steal Little, which starred Andy
Garcia and was directed by Andrew Davis; Toe to Toe; Wonderful World with Matthew
Broderick; and her well-remembered role as "Ashley Bartlett Bacon," Peter Gallagher's
girlfriend in While You Were Sleeping.
She made her New York stage debut in Alan Ball's Five Women Wearing the Same Dress,
alongside Thomas Gibson and Allison Janney. Recently, Ally returned to New York to
appear in the final all-star cast of Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron's Love, Loss and What I
Ally has always been an environmental and child welfare activist, supporting such
organizations as Environmental Defense Fund and CYFC Children Youth and Family
Collaborative. Ally is most proud of her documentary For Norman...Wherever You Are.
It chronicles Ally's experience through the Los Angeles Foster Care System, a journey
that she was inspired to take after helping a mother and her one-year-old boy get off the
streets. This film raised awareness of the flawed but necessary system and was essential to
enacting significant reform not only in Los Angeles, but throughout the state of California.
Additionally, this heartfelt project won Best Documentary Feature at the San Fernando
Valley International Film Festival, as well as the Champion of Conscience Award at Wine
Country Film Festival.
Ally was born in Tullahoma, Tennessee and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Walker studied
biology and chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz and went on to work
for a genetic engineering firm in San Francisco. While spending a semester at Richmond
College of the Arts in London, Walker became interested in theater but did not pursue it as
a career in lieu of her education in the sciences. After graduating with a science degree, she
continued to work in genetic engineering until she was spotted in an L.A. restaurant and
cast her in her first project. She currently resides in Santa Monica with her husband, sons
and three dogs.
Ashley Jones is one of Hollywood?s most versatile actresses on the
rise having garnered her break-out role as the scene-stealing
Merlott?s waitress, ?Daphne,? throughout the second season of
HBO?s hit vampire-series, TRUE BLOOD.
Since then, she has been seen recurring and guest starring in
numerous top-rated television shows including, but not limited to,
THE MENTALIST, CSI, HOUSE, PRIVATE PRACTICE, CSI:
NY, FLASHFORWARD, DROP DEAD DIVA, and BONES. Jones
is currently recurring on the CW's 90210. She also has starred in
several notable LIFETIME movies.
Jones enjoys working behind the camera as well. She was proud to
receive her first producing credit for the TV film, DEAD AT 17,
for Lifetime. She has gone on to produce and star in other movies
for the same network, one of which, A SISTER'S REVENGE, airs
in April 2013.
Having wanted to act since she was a young girl, Jones began
performing in theatre at nine years old as the lead in Enid
Bagnold?s English play, ?The Chalk Garden.? She has come a long
way since then and is grateful to have already been given the
opportunity to work with talents such as Luke Wilson & Will
Farrell in the hugely successful comedy, OLD SCHOOL, as well
as Betty White, Oscar Award Nominee John Hawkes and Academy
Award Winners Ellen Burstyn and Alan Ball.
Furthermore, the People's Choice and Daytime Emmy Nominated
actress can be seen as ?Bridget Forrester? on the #1 serial drama in
the world, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL.
Jones actively participates with STEP UP WOMEN'S NETWORK, a national charity connecting professional women with
underprivileged teens. She is on the hosting committee for the
2013 Inspiration Awards. When not working, volunteering or
traveling, she can be found hiking, writing and playing violin.
Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee, raised in Texas and
currently resides in Los Angeles.
J.T. is a Los Angeles-based writer, actor and producer.
Prior to arriving in Los Angeles, J.T. spent four years as the Associate Director of the critically acclaimed National Comedy Theatre in New York, of which he was also an original cast member. In addition to his work as Assoc. Director at NCT, J.T. served as a lead facilitator for WITS Teambuilding, an improv comedy based corporate training program.
In 2008, J.T. also produced a highly successful production of Love Jerry as a part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival (4 Best of Fest awards and 3 Talkin' Broadway Summer Citation Awards).
Film/T.V.: When In Rome, "30 Rock", "Puppy Love", "Office 2010: The Movie" (web). Theatre: Midsummer Night's Dream, Metamorphoses, Mr. Kolpert, The Spitfire Grill, Are We There Yet?. He holds a B.A. from Penn State University, an M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and has been mistaken for Ed Helms more times than he can count.
As the efficient Nurse Lydia Wright on the NBC series 'ER', Ellen Crawford had the distinction of uttering its first line. Her character went on to marry Sgt. Al Grabarski, played by her real-life husband, Mike Genovese. Nurse Lydia was on staff at fictional County General Hospital for ten seasons, then returned for the series finale in an homage to the first scene of the pilot.
Ellen has guest starred on 'Grey's Anatomy', 'Desperate Housewives', 'Mental', 'Without A Trace', 'Boston Legal' and 'CSI', as well as many other shows. Feature films include recent releases 'Model Minority' and 'Petunia', as well as 'The Man From Earth', 'Soldier', 'Cries Of Silence', 'The War Of The Roses' and 'Remember' for which her role as an Alzheimers patient garnered her a Best Actress nomination at the California Independent Film Festival.
On Broadway, Ellen originated the role of the ancient and intimidating Sister Lee in 'Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?' Off Broadway she has appeared in 'The Misunderstanding' and 'A Touch Of The Poet'. Regional theatre audiences have seen her as Miss Havisham in the musical ?Great Expectations, Emily Dickinson in 'The Belle Of Amherst', and opposite husband Mike Genovese in both 'On Golden Pond' and 'Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?'.
Ellen and Mike have a personal interest in Alzheimer's education and research, as Mike's mother succumbed to the disease in 2010.
Elisabeth started her career in New York. She first appeared in pilots, such as the G4?s Undercover Cheerleaders, a mostly improvised exploration of how hard it is to be blonde, as well as independent films like Happy Hour, and plays. More recently, Elisabeth guest starred on Louie, and was a series regular on MTV's critically acclaimed I Just Want My Pants Back. She also just completed work on the feature Hairbrained with Brendan Fraser, as well as a multi-episode arc on USA's Suits.
Elisabeth earned her B.A. in Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College, and spent a year in Paris studying theatre with legendary clown Philippe Gaulier. Yes, with a red nose.
Homer Hunter is a native of the Boone County coalfields in West Virginia. After high school graduation, he joined the United States Marine Corps and is a proud Vietnam veteran. Homer was employed by E. I. DuPont for 27 years, retiring in 1993.
Homer was born into a musical family of eight children. While growing up, he and his siblings sang together in the churches where their father preached. Since 1975, Homer has been singing and playing guitar with local Bluegrass groups. He has produced two albums, Bluegrass Melodies and Daddy Did His Job for the Lord, a collection of family favorites.
Homer currently lives on the banks of the Greenbrier River in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, where he dedicates his time to community projects. He has served on the Board of Directors for Allegheny Mountain Radio and the Pocahontas County Senior Citizens, worked at Allegheny Echoes Music School, volunteered as radio disc jockey at WVMR, and served as Commander of the Durbin American Legion. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church of America and grandfather to Grace and Olivia. Every September, he hosts a gathering of music loving family and friends from around the country. This event is an opportunity for old friends and new to showcase traditional mountain music.
Jesse Sharp is currently playing Gomez Addams on the national and international tour of The Addams Family musical. Other stage credits include: Grease - Asia (Vince Fontaine) Henry and Mudge - US (Henry's Dad) Regional: Utah Shakespeare Festival: Great Expectations the Musical (Premiere) Macbeth (Bloody CPT/ Macbeth U/S) Merchant of Venice (Morocco) SRT-Santa Rosa Rep: The Wedding Singer, Lend Me a Tenor (Tito), Mame (Beau) New York: Genius Famous (NY Fringe), Autumn Moon (Wings Theatre) Los Angeles: Into the Woods (Baker) Hamlet (Hamlet), Peace in our Time (The Antaeus Company - LA Weekly theatre award) Film/TV: Angel's Perch (Festivals in 2013), Not Another Teen Movie, General Hospital, The Man Show + several TV and Radio commercials. Jesse has also performed Improv, Sketch and Standup comedy at The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, Improv Olympic, The Comedy Store and many more. Training: MFA - UC Irvine, BA - UCLA. Official Website
Michael is a West Virginia mountaineer, registered Professional Engineer and is the Business/Operations Manager for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Green Bank, WV facility, home of the largest fully-steerable radio telescope in the world. Living and working in very rural Pocahontas County has not diminished his work with the arts and media as he has hosted several national and international film crews (French 5, NHK-TV, 1TV, BBC, Al Jazeera), television productions (National Geographic, Animal Planet, PBS, NBC, CBS) and produced the facility's own tour film. Being a 3-dimensional thinker, he loves the technical aspect of filmmaking but is available to hold the boom mic when needed. He has also enjoyed time in front of the lens and has done several interviews for the small screen. On the big screen he has worked as an extra in John Sayle's 'Matewan' (1984), a farmer in the upcoming James Franco's 'Child of God' (2013), and most recently in his beloved role as the country doctor in 'Angel's Perch'. He loves the challenges of acting and the emotional charge it gives.
Conor began acting in 1977. He studied with Dena Dietrich for 3 years in LA and then moved to New York and studied with Uta Hagen and Stephen Strimpell at HB Studio for five years. He worked with Micheal Moriarty's theatre company, Potter's Field, in the early 80's. He did numerous plays across the country for the next 10 years including "A Zoo Story", Death of a Salesman, Glass Menagerie, Getting Out, Chamber Music, Tartuffe and won The Denver Drama Critic's Circle Award for Best Actor for the original play "PJ". Most recently he starred in the world Premier of John Kolvenbach's play "Goldfish" and the West Coast premiere of Noah Haidle's play "Saturn Returns", both at South Coast Rep.
He has starred in over 100 film and TV productions including HBO's Emmy winning mini-series' "The Pacific" and "From the Earth to the Moon", both produced by Tom Hanks. He played Undersheriff Jeff McKean on "CSI" for 3 years and is now recurring on "Law and Order: LA". Some recent film credits include "Stir of Echoes" with Kevin Bacon, "Flash of Genius" with Greg Kinnear and "The Lincoln Lawyer". He has recently played recurring characters on "Lie to Me", "Without a Trace", "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Medium". Once a year he teaches a workshop at UCLA's MFA Theatre program. For all his credits check out IMDB.com and type in Conor O'Farrell.
Charles Haine is a filmmaker/entrepreneur who has been working in the motion picture industry since 1999. After completely his MFA from USC in 2005, he has worked as a freelance director, cinematographer and colorist.
Charles recently wrapped production on his first feature film, ANGEL'S PERCH, starring JT Arbogast (30 Rock) Joyce Van Patten (Grown Ups), Ellen Crawford (ER), Ashley Jones (TRUE BLOOD) and Ally Walker (SONS OF ANARCHY). Shot in West Virginia, Angel's Perch is the story of a man coming home to take care of his ailing grandmother and finding a connection to himself he didn't know he had lost.
Charles has also had a successful career directing book trailers for a wide variety of clients, including the hit trailer PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES; DAWN OF THE DREADFULS for Quirk Books, Chuck Klosterman's THE VISIBLE MAN for Scribner and more than a dozen others. He also directed the music video for CAN'T GOTTA WORK IT OUT for Fitz and the Tantrums which was recently featured on the newly relaunched pop up video.
In 2012, Charles worked as the host for UNCHAINED REACTION, a discovery channel show produced by the Mythbusters.
Since founding Dirty Robber in 2008, he has grown it into a business with 12 full time employee?s providing production and post services to a wide gamut of clients, in addition to producing two feature films.
He also is an associate professor at Los Angeles City College teaching cinematographer and editing, and he teaches color grading, visual design and stereography at Columbia College Hollywood.
Kimberly Dilts is a producing artist who works as an actor, director, choreographer, writer, and teacher. After completing Angel?s Perch, Kim plans to further develop her three feature-length scripts with her partner J.T., shoot some comedy shorts, and finally learn French.
Past projects include producing, writing and performing in a tour of Abby & June, a two-person play about travel and identity, and producing and performing in Mr. Kolpert, a black comedy about suburban alienation. As a theatre director, she assistant-directed The Revenger?s Tragedy (Off-B?way), and has frequently collaborated with director Elena Araoz to create visually stimulating physical theatre that has graced stages across the country.
Kim also served as the Director of Operations for The Haitian Education and Leadership Program for several years, which taught her more about humility, determination and passion than any other experience to date.
TV: Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Dirty Sexy Money, 90210. Kim is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin MFA Acting program, and she holds a B.A. in theatre from the University of South Florida. She frequently plays evil characters and/or suicides, despite sporting super-cute dimples. She also enjoys voicing Anime.
Kimberly Culotta developed her love for the image at a young age as a painter. Wanting to keep the fine art "fine" she embarked to seek a more practical career. After studying Anthropology and Cinema Criticism (with only a minor in Painting) at USC, she began a career in film on a track towards producing. The first sets she experienced were as a producer, but the realization hit her almost immediately that the image was still her passion. She expedited the switch to Cinematography at the American Film Institute's Conservatory, where she was Awarded the Technicolor Grant for her thesis film.
Spending 14 hours straight on one painstaking image is a luxury you almost never get as a cinematographer, but the additional dimension of movement and the joy of collaboration has been an ever satisfying exchange. The challenge every new project brings to utilize the available tools and given restraints to express the human experience is an ever fulfilling embarkment, and Kimberly is thrilled to work on her second feature film with the team of Angel's Perch.
As a member of Punch Brothers since the band's inception, guitarist Chris Eldridge has been at the vanguard of acoustic music for much of the past decade. Although initially drawn to the electric guitar, by his mid-teens Chris Eldridge had developed a deep love for acoustic music, thanks in part to his father, a banjo player and founding member of the seminal bluegrass group The Seldom Scene. Eldridge later gained in-depth exposure to a variety of different musical styles while studying at Oberlin Conservatory, where he earned a degree in music performance in 2004. During his time at Oberlin, Eldridge studied with legendary guitarist Tony Rice. After graduating he joined the Seldom Scene with whom he received a Grammy nomination in 2007. In 2005 he founded the critically acclaimed bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters. At the 2007 International Bluegrass Music Association awards Eldridge and his Stringdusters bandmates won Emerging artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year for their debut album, Fork in the Road.
Meanwhile, in 2005 he had caught the attention of mandolinist Chris Thile, who enlisted him, along with banjoist Noam Pikelny, violinist Gabe Witcher, and bassist Greg Garrison to start working on an ambitious side project. Soon after they decided to focus all of their collective energies into band and Punch Brothers was born. The band has since released 3 critically acclaimed albums, received 2 Grammy nominations and toured around the world.
Chris Eldridge has worked with a diverse cast of musical luminaries including Jon Brion, Fiona Apple, Paul Simon, John Paul Jones, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, T-Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, Jerry Douglas, Sara Watkins, Del McCoury and others.
Adi has always loved visual storytelling. Growing up in India, with it's varied forms of art, Adi learned quickly there are many ways to tell a story. From there he spent eight years working in Mumbai and Dubai that exposed him to both eastern and western story structure. His passion for editing, and his extensive technical knowledge, means he has a wide range of skills and is well versed in the intricacies of how to tell a story. From feature films to music videos, his resume includes clients like Dirty Robber, Scrappy Cat Productions, Dell, Red Bull Records, Red Chilli Entertainment, Aamir Khan Productions, Burning Ghat Cinema, Boxer Films, Uprising Creative, Super Alright and many more. Adi loves to tell stories that are interesting and successful, but mostly stories that entertain and move.