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A recently released convict finds himself trapped between his urban criminal past and his new life on probation as the only black man in a conservative white Wisconsin farming town.
Although I was born and raised in London, UK, my mother is from Wisconsin, USA so as a child I would spend summers in the States seeing family. With fond memories of playing on my family’s Wisconsin dairy farm, I always felt like an outsider through my inability, even as a child, to do the things my farm-raised cousin could.
As an adult revisiting the farm I found the chores performed incredibly hypnotic and calming to watch. Farms are a place of tremendous upheaval and mechanical power, but also of baseness, of simplistic physical duty.
Farms are so little understood by the urban dweller, of which our society is becoming increasingly dominated by. By, in essence, sending my protagonist to a farm to cleanse him, I want to show an American Dream story of social movement and rejection of his past transgresses through physical hard work in this new and alien environment.
The outsider element at the core of the film is race. I find perception and discrimination due to race fascinating. Clearly the United States still has a problem with race relations in many parts of the country, and whilst I cannot try and tackle everything in this film, I certainly wish to pose some poignant social questions.
Should our past actions allow for prejudice against us? Can we expect to be absolved of all blame simply because we have served our punishment? Is a small, largely ignorant micro-society incapable of change? Can people prove to others who are pre-programmed a…See more
As evidenced by his recent induction in to the prestigious BAFTA Los Angeles Newcomer program, Jonny has enjoyed considerable success in the entertainment business from a young age.
He has held positions at ICM, where he reported to talent agent Carol Bodie, and at Lionsgate Entertainment, where he worked alongside Helen Lee-Kim in the international division.
After 10 months in the office of Paula Wagner, former CEO and co-owner of United Artists and Cruise/Wagner Productions (Mission: Impossible franchise, The Last Samurai, War of the Worlds, etc.) he set out to produce on his own in the autumn of 2012 under his UK based JP International Productions banner.
He currently has a full slate of projects at various stages of development and pre-production, including the Hollywood blacklist screenplay The Scavengers, set to shoot in Ireland at the start of 2015. The Scavengers will star Colm Meaney (Star Trek, Con Air, Get Him To The Greek), Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall, Parked) and Sarah Bolger (In America, Spiderwick Chronicles, Once Upon a Time).
In the Fall of 2014 Jonny produced Halfway, written and to be directed by Ben Caird, which is set to star Quinton Aaron (The Blindside) with producing partner Tommy Oliver (Kinyarwanda, 1982). He is also developing a scripted television project with producing partner, HSNi CCO Andrew Sheldon.
A native of Scotland, Jonny received his bachelor’s degree in English literature and history from the University of Leeds … See more
In cinema the telling of a story visually is as important as the story itself. Whether it be a dramatic story of introspection, hardship, revelation or celebration, Ben Caird invites the audience to experience this through his striking imagery, wherever possible in place of narration.
Born and raised in London, Ben’s parents encouraged involvement in the arts at a young age. This exposure to theater, film and music later influenced his decision to attempt his own story telling.
After graduating high school, Ben completed the Diploma in Digital Film Making from London’s SAE Institute and founded Kino Persona, a company that produced viral media and promotional content for the music industry. He then went on to attend one of the world’s leading post-graduate film schools.
Ben was enrolled in the London Film School in 2008 where he was immersed in the world of cinema study and met lifetime friends and future colleagues. In 2011, Ben completed his Master of Arts in Filmmaking, graduating as a director with his short film, Drift. Drift premiered at the 34th Rencontres Henri Langlois Student Film Festival and, along with other official selections and accolades, won ‘Best Student Short’ at the inaugural London Lift-Off Festival.
Ben’s next short, Farmhand, is a film depicting an idiosyncratic break in the monotonous life of a young farmer. It was officially selected in the London Short Film Festival, 2013, and is currently being… See more
Jonathan Baker is a multidisciplinary entertainment executive. In 2007, Jonathan founded the JB Studio, which focuses on educating and developing talent and producing creative projects. The studio has over 100 creative artist clients ranging from film and television stars, Broadway leads, to young up and comers.
Before founding JB Studio, Jonathan worked at Sony Pictures Entertainment for five years. His first role was in television research; he then went on to great success at Screen Gems and TriStar Pictures. He marketed fifty major theatrical releases, of which ten films achieved #1 at the box-office status. Films of note include Closer (dir. Mike Nichols), Adaptation (dir. Spike Jonze), Big Fish (dir. Tim Burton), Boogeyman (#1 at the box office), Underworld (#1 at the box office), In The Cut (dir. Jane Campion), You Got Served (#1 at the box office), the Resident Evil franchise, and Exorcism of Emily Rose.
In addition to his work with JB Studio, Jonathan is currently adjunct professor of feature film and entertainment economics at Carnegie Mellon’s Masters of Entertainment Industry Management program in the Heinz School of Public Policy. He also teaches film economics for the GIOCA graduate program at the University of Bologna, Italy.
Nnamdi Asomugha is an Executive Producer on the film Beasts of No Nation, currently shooting in Ghana, directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba. Asomugha supports entertainment that inspires social change and will be integral to forming the ‘Halfway Foundation’ to create more public initiative towards solving recidivism. Nnamdi is well known for his career as an All-Pro cornerback in the NFL. His philanthropic efforts have equally garnered him considerable praise over the past decade. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2009 and 2010. He was the NFL’s Man of the Year (Byron Whizzer White Award) in 2010 and in 2008, he was a finalist for Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. His charity, The Asomugha Foundation, operates two primary programs: Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN) and Asomugha College Tour for Scholars (ACTS).
Through OWIN, Asomugha and his family provide food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts, and scholarships to widows and orphans victimized by poverty or abuse in Nigeria.
In 2006, Asomugha launched the annual ACTS program. Each year, he teams up with selected students from the San Francisco-Bay Area, Los Angeles and Philadelphia Area high schools on college tours across the country. All of the tour participants who have graduated from high school have gone on to attend higher education institutions. Students in the ACTS program receive college scholarships and are required t… See more
Best known for his work as the star of Academy Award nominated film The Blindside, Aaron was born in the Bronx, New York City. He was raised by his mother, the late Laura Aaron in Augusta, Georgia, and from an early age Quinton has been both singing and acting.
His feature film debut came in Michel Gondry’s Be Kind, Rewind where he starred alongside Jack Black. Aaron was then nominated for multiple awards in 2010 including both the Teen Choice Award and MTV Movie Award for ‘Breakout Star’, for his depiction of Michael Oher in the Academy Award nominated The Blindside opposite Sandra Bullock in a role that brought her the Oscar for Best Actress.
Aaron has since appeared in a raft of guest star appearances on shows such as One Tree Hill, Law&Order SVU and Harry’s Law. In the Fall of 2014, Aaron will executive produce and star in Ben Caird’s feature debut, Halfway.
Tommy Oliver is the award-winning Producer of Kinyarwanda and 1982, the former of which Roger Ebert named to his top 10 films of 2011.
As a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, where he double majored in Economics and Digital Media and as a Microsoft alum, he developed a keen understanding for business as a whole. As a producer and writer, he’s faced innumerable challenges from crafting a coherent and marketable story to tackling the logistics of shooting in a foreign country and beyond. This combination of skills allows for outside the box thinking, creative problem solving and better communication.
Kinyarwanda won accolades across the globe in 2011, including the Sundance World Cinema Audience Award. Tommy’s follow up film 1982, which he wrote, directed and produced was equally well received winning the Marquee Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival in 2013. 1982, which starred Hill Harper, Wayne Brady, Quinton Aaron and Oscar-nominee Ruby Dee, premiered to a rapturous applause at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
In the summer of 2014, Tommy will become the youngest African American producer in history to produce a studio feature when he produces The Perfect Guy for Sony.