Dr. Thomas Theodore Bouloukos
From director Michael Akers (Gone, But Not Forgotten; Phoenix) and producer Sandon Berg (Gone, But Not Forgotten; Phoenix) comes a genre defining film about a young gay man whose spirit and drive prevents him from accepting his new life as a paraplegic.
Morgan joins the life of Morgan Oliver (
Leo Minaya, Manito; How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer
) when he returns to the home and life that he left as a walking man, before an accident in a bike race leaves him a paraplegic. Although his well-meaning mom, Peg (Madalyn McKay, Taffy Was Born) and best friend Lane (Darra “Like Dat” Boyd, VH1’s Flavor of Love) try to convince him that everything is great, Morgan exiles himself from the outside world that only serves to remind him of a life he can no longer lead. A chance encounter on a basketball court with Dean Kagen (newcomer Jack Kesy), a sensitive and awkward ex-inmate, inspires Morgan to enter the wheelchair division of the race in which he wrecked. As Dean helps Morgan train, a romance blossoms between them. But when Dean comes home to find Morgan collapsed on the bathroom floor after a hard day of training, he realizes that Morgan's true demon is his addiction to the win. Dean questions Morgan's priorities in their relationship and demands that Morgan quit the race. Unable and unwilling to squelch his competitive nature, Morgan defies Dean's wishes and races the hill that took his ability to walk. In a repeat of the events at his last race, Morgan finds himself at the bottom of a ravine, and is forced to face the impossibly arduous journey back alone.
“Leo Minaya gives a winning performance,” OutWord Magazine. With amazing supporting performances by Kesy, Boyd, McKay and Theodore Bouloukos (Vacationland, Between Something and Nothing), and gorgeous cinematography by Chris Brown (Phoenix), MORGAN is a powerful story
of perseverance, determination and, of course, love.
(4 out of 5)
by DR (10/21/2011)
“I'D RATHER BE fucking dead than go on living in a wheelchair,” Morgan Oliver exclaims at one unguarded point in the film Morgan. It's not so much the small stuff Oliver dislikes about a life confined to a wheelchair, from the extra effort it takes to simply get out of bed to the difficulties in maneuvering around a small kitchen. The beginning scenes show the character struggling with those types of routine, everyday tasks.
Ultimately, the gay athlete is most frustrated that his new life in a wheelchair has put limits on his fiercely competitive nature and his previously wide-ranging mobility. A wipeout during a bike race last year broke Oliver's back and paralyzed him from the waist down. It will take time before he's able to compete in that same race again, using a customized bike — not to mention a lot of convincing to get his mother and best friend, adamantly opposed to more racing, on board.
Michael Akers's fascinating, quietly powerful film follows Oliver in his new life in a wheelchair. And then comes love. Akers's film is in many ways a traditional love story, told with a refreshing twist: A handsome, hunky gay man falls in love with another, who just happens to be wheelchair-bound. Jack Kesy plays the able-bodied Dean Kagen, who pursues a relationship with Oliver, played by Leo Minaya.
The two bond over basketball, as well as their respective movie-star good looks: Kesy looks a bit like James Dean, while Minaya resembles Gyllenhaal. The two actors have a nice chemistry and sexual heat, and they portray the budding romance with just the right amount of initial awkwardness and eventual passion. Kagen is a natural caregiver, and seems in every way perfect for Oliver, far less troubled by Oliver's handicapped body than Oliver is.
Oliver still has the drive of a competitive athlete, and he ends up pushing himself and his relationship a bit too hard, leading to a lot more struggle and soul-searching. Fortunately, Akers's film has a lightness of being
, never getting bogged down in too many details.
You're never too concerned that Oliver won't eventually figure the right course to take.
“What inspired you to tell this story?” It’s the first question anyone who sees the movie asks us. Most any storyteller will tell you that the best stories are the ones that find you. We were holding auditions for our third film, Phoenix. I called a young actor named Andy to give him his audition time. I asked him if he had any questions about his character or the project. “Not really,” he said, “but there’s just one thing: I’m in a wheelchair. “ I looked at his headshot. “It doesn’t say you’re in a wheelchair,” I told him. “It’s in my picture,” he told me. I looked. No wheelchair. “You can see the wheel, under my right arm.” I looked. It was a relatively close-up picture. I studied under his right arm and sure enough, there was part of a wheel in the frame. “Is that a problem?” he pressed. I thought about it. “No. I would consider an actor in a wheelchair.” Why not? But then I suddenly remembered something and I stammered out: “It’s just that, uh, the space where we’re holding the auditions, it’s on the second floor and, uh, there’s no elevator.” “Oh, that’s OK. I can leave my wheelchair downstairs and just crawl up the stairs.” It is the sort of commitment I like to have from actors, but I was embarrassed. “Why don’t we schedule another time to meet, in a place that’s a little more wheelchair friendly.”
When we finally did meet he was cute, bubbly and gregarious. He read his role quite well, but his stories were even better. He talked about everything from how he was able to get around in Los Angeles to dating. He told me he had to dump one guy because he discovered the guy was only dating him because he had a wheelchair fetish. Andy had found him naked in his wheelchair one night after they’d gone to sleep. He was fearless. In the end, we didn’t cast Andy in Phoenix because the lead character had to be able to walk. But his life story stuck in my mind.
We had just discovered within our own gay community there is a smaller, quieter, unseen and overlooked minority that we had to give voice to. We tried to do that with Morgan.
Making the Movie
We knew that we wanted the movie to be a love story so originally we called the project “Hot Wheelz.” We began interviewing gay men in wheelchairs. Through a Web site specifically for paraplegic and quadriplegic gay men, we found a beautiful young man named Robbie. He had been a tennis player. I had several long, candid conversations with him: how did he become paraplegic, what did it take to survive, what was rehabilitation like, what was the moment like when he realized he would never walk again, what can he still do and what can’t he do, how does he go to the bathroom, how does he have sex? He was open to all my questions and generous in all of his answers.
The script stage lasted a long time as the project underwent several major revisions. We were struggling to find the universality of the story. How could we explain the character’s journey into accepting his new life as a paraplegic in terms an audience could understand? It was during this period that we both experienced a lot of upheaval and change, including re-locating to the East Coast. Our lives may not have been going according to our plans, but we always assumed that we would eventually get back to the place we once were. One day, it became clear that we could never go back; no matter how much we wanted to. Our lives had changed too much. And that was when the script for Morgan was finally written.
Casting the roles was very tricky. Several scenes called for flashbacks in which Morgan needed to be able to walk. So we needed a convincing actor to play the character in both worlds. We narrowed our choices to Leo Minaya and Jack Kesy because of their talent. “I need to see you kiss,” I told them. It’s something I require of any actors playing love interests because (a) I want to see their chemistry and (b) I want to make sure they’re capable of on-screen intimacy before I’ve started shooting the film. Well, they kissed and their chemistry electrified the room. But it was not clear who would play Morgan. We spent an afternoon auditioning them together. We’d bought an old wheelchair and they took turns playing Morgan and Dean. After that, it was clear: Leo should play the title role and Jack should be the love interest. They left. We looked at each other, “Do you think that’s the first time that either one of them has kissed a guy?” We never asked and never will.
As we moved into production, one of our primary concerns was authenticity. We did significant research into the kinds of spinal cord injuries, the types of rehabilitation and the major lifestyle changes of the newly paralyzed. Leo and I work diligently on portraying the character sensitively and truthfully. Leo spent several weeks in a wheelchair, learning to see the world from that perspective. He remained committed to the realism of Morgan’s situation. And, as with all art, the truth gave birth to moments of beauty. One shot that I particularly like is of Morgan having to get his jacket from the closet. Clearly his mom hung it up there out of habit, and Morgan, now unable to reach the hook, has to pull it down. We just let things be real, and then we said, ‘ok, what would you do now?’”
For more information on the production, please read the following interview in EDGE Magazine.
New LGBT film ’Morgan’ tackles sensitive subject matter
by Lewis Whittington
Friday Aug 5, 2011
Director Michael Akers and writer Sandon Berg were working in various movie industry jobs when they met 13 years ago in Los Angeles. The couple has made four films together and are completing their latest effort "Morgan" before taking it to film festivals this fall. Last month they had a test screening of the movie on the last night of Philly’s QFEST for comments and reaction to their story about a gay bartender who becomes paraplegic after a cycling accident.
In a phone interview from New York, Akers said he likes to hear feedback from savvy, test audiences before he releases a film. Before Qfest, "we had a couple of questions about what we might change," he said. "I had been working on the ending; something was troubling me so we made changes before the festival screening. Based on the audience reaction in Philly, I think we solved it."
"The Qfest audience took notice of a couple of things that we also had been thinking about changing. Audiences might not know the technicalities, but they can pinpoint a symptom of what is off," Akers explained. "But the main thing was positive feedback about the central story about a suddenly paraplegic man adjusting to his new life."
Akers and Berg previously made the TV satire "Matrimonium" and the break-up cheater drama "Phoenix." Their biggest hit so far "Gone, But Not Forgotten" was also a gay love story involving a character who also suffers physical trauma. "Morgan" took several years to bring to the screen. "We wanted to make this film for a long time, but felt we weren’t ready," Akers said.
As part of their preparation, the filmmakers worked with paraplegic men and the issues they face. "Morgan had this image of himself as the hot bartender and cyclist before the accident. We focused the story on how does he regain his masculinity, attractiveness and self-esteem?" Akers said. "Sandon interviewed several men dealing with similar issues."
As real as possible
Akers said it was crucial to find the right actors for the sensitivity and intimacy required for the parts. They cast Leo Minaya as Morgan ("Manito," "How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer") and Jack Kesy, in his film debut, who plays his new boyfriend Dean.
"We had straight actors and the issue of sexuality was at the forefront of playing these gay roles," Akers noted. "We rehearsed them in both parts, but as we got to know them, it became clear want role each actor should take. Then we used part of their own stories to help craft each role. The actors didn’t really care; they just wanted to be part of this movie."
Akers wanted to make the sex scenes with as much realism as possible. "Love scenes are always tricky. I told the guys I wanted to make sure that was a pulse, a beat directly from the story -- this goes from the leads not touching to touching, to what has to be comfortableness. Like the rest of the film, I just told them, we are going to do this as real as possible. Morgan was aggressive before the accident and we didn’t want to take that away from him in this situation. So we having him leading and seeing how it would really happen and we were surprised at how natural and surprising that scene turned out to be."
Berg and Akers will finish the post-production tweaks this month and the movie will be making the rounds on the gay film fest circuit in its final cut this fall. For updates check their website.
The Response to the Film
By Sandon Berg
Cut To: I’m standing in the lobby right before my first festival screening. Michael and I introduced the film and it starts. A few minutes into the film I notice him: a guy in a wheelchair. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. I was suddenly a wreck. Was he going to like the film, or would he think it was ridiculous? How did I have the audacity to think I could tell a story about what it is like to be in a wheelchair? This is all a big mistake. I kept watching him.
After the screening, Michael and I were to go on stage for a Q&A. Michael walked up to the stage, but I stopped next to the guy in the wheelchair. I put my hand out. “I’m Sandon Berg. I’m the producer of this film and if you’d like to tell me what you think, I would love to hear it. He looked up at me, expressionless. “When and where?” I couldn’t tell how he felt. They were calling me to the stage. Michael was already there. “I’ll talk to you in the lobby after,” I told him. I went up to join Michael on stage.
The audience was so enthusiastic about the film, and touched by the story. I was very proud of the work that we had done. But I still couldn’t wait to hear from the man in the back.
After the Q&A, I went to the lobby and I met him. Jerry was his name. We were in the corner of the lobby. Someone rushed past behind him jarring his chair on the way into the next movie. “Does that happen a lot?” I asked. “All the time,” he said. “It’s like you’re not there,” I guessed and he nodded. “Have you been in the chair long?” It was recent, he told me. He was on a motorcycle when a woman in a van “mowed him down.” He told me he had been married, he came out, the marriage ended; his wife wouldn’t let him see his kid, then, the accident. “I’m alone,” he told me, “and I’m in pain. Most days I want to kill myself. The only thing that keeps me alive is my faith in God.” I asked him about therapy or a church group – did he have any support? “It’s too hard to get to for me.” “But you made it here.” “I really wanted to see your movie. I had to.” “Did you like the movie?” I almost couldn’t ask him. “I loved it. I saw so much of myself in Morgan,” he told me. “Thank you for making it. Thank you.” I hugged him and he held on to me for a long time.
I don’t always know why I start making a movie. It’s more of a feeling, or a nudge in the direction of a story. There’s something that whispers, “That one there needs to be heard.” I find it interesting, but it’s only after researching it, studying it, imagining it, creating it, making it and then finally showing it, that I know why I made it. Sometimes it’s not until someone says, “thank you for making this,” that you know who you made the movie for. And once you know who you made it for, you understand what inspired you to make it.
The Response to the Film
By Michael Akers
As I stood on the stage before the first screening of Morgan, I suddenly felt completely insecure about the film. I had been working on the movie for years, and the wheelchair had become just another prop on set, another thing that had to be accounted for in scheduling the movie, in setting up the shots, and adjusted for in blocking. I was used to it. But now, as the audience settled in, they were about to see the world for the first time.
Did I portray that world correctly? Sympathetically? Realistically? What audacity did I have to tell this story? These thoughts raced through my mind as the movie unspooled. Would anyone understand what Morgan was going through? Would they root for him? Could anyone understand this movie?
When the lights came up, all my fears were assuaged. The audience was thrilled with the movie. They had connected with it. And it spoke very personally to people for all kinds of different reasons.
As I met many people in the lobby after the screening, one young man was hanging out to the side. He was from the city, almost gangster-like; his hat pulled sideways down over half his face. He waited until everyone had left, and then he came up to me. “I have to tell you something.” He was extremely serious, nervous. He made me uneasy. “You should know that your movie really touched me.” He adjusted his hat so I could see his face. His eye was injured. “You see, I’m a foster kid and one of my foster dads beat so bad, that my eye is disfigured. I feel like Morgan. I feel like I’m so damaged that no one can love me.” He was shaking.
I didn’t know what to say. I could never have expected such an impact. I just listened as he told me his story. He said the film gave him hope. I thanked him for his bravery in sharing that with me. That took a lot of courage. And I told him that he should keep his heart open for love. That he was worth being loved and someday he would find it.
I will never forget that young man. I work hard on my films. Out there every day of production, I strive to push the actors to their limits, write and re-write the scenes, and fight for authenticity. When someone comes up to me to tell me that my work means that much to them, I know it was all worth it.
MORGAN is Michael Akers’ fourth in a line of genre defining films. His first film, Gone, But Not Forgotten, altered the queer indie landscape with an adept story made universal through common human drama and incidental sexuality. About a forest ranger who rescues and has an affair with a man suffering from amnesia after his accident, the movie explores the much debated question: “Is being gay a choice,” and went on to win numerous audience awards after playing in more than 30 festivals world-wide. Gone, But Not Forgotten ultimately became one of the most successful and best-selling gay independent films of all time. Akers followed this success with his daring improvisational comedy, MATRIMONIUM, about a straight man who competes on a reality show and must convince his family he’s suddenly “turned gay” and gain their acceptance when he announces he’s met the man of his dreams, an unsavory backwoods gay redneck strategically chosen by the show. The film earned a strong cult following by skewering reality television’s representation of gays and society’s resistance to gay marriage based on “family values.” His third film, Phoenix, pays homage to Antonioni’s L’Avventura, garnered critical and financial success. Replete with symbolic cinematic imagery, this film chronicles an idyllic young man’s pursuit of unrequited love and his loss of innocence after his affair with an older man leads him to Phoenix where he learns that his lover has been married to another man, and has left them both. The two jilted men search for their missing lover and ultimately find temporary solace in one another. He continues to broaden himself as a filmmaker and to push the boundaries of the gay genre with MORGAN, which not only gives voice to an unrepresented segment in the gay community, but also engages viewers with his signature universal romantic story.
Michael was born and raised in Ephrata, PA, a small town in Lancaster County (Harrison Ford shot ‘Witness’ there). He moved to LA and worked his way up to unit production manager on the cable movie “Jurassic Women” starring Jan Michael Vincent. He then shifted his focus to development and spent nearly three years with Turner Feature Animation (“Cats Don’t Dance”). The Warner Bros buyout of Turner moved Michael to Grand Productions where he helped land the Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” franchise and worked in developing features for David Bowie, Nicolas Cage and the estate of Andy Warhol. He also helped produce the Lifetime series show “Intimate Portraits” of Heather Locklear and Jane Seymour. Thereafter, Michael moved into television production as the executive assistant to Martin Short on “The Martin Short Show.” This high profile position enabled him to take positions as story and research assistants to Ryan Seacrest’s “NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies” and Anne Robinson’s “The Weakest Link.”
After relocating to New York, Michael teamed up with David Raleigh to direct a series of videos for the Ali Forney Center, one of which is the music video "That's What Friends Are For" as performed by Raleigh, Alan Cumming, Billy Porter and Ari Gold.
After graduating with a BFA in theater from Florida State University SANDON BERG moved to Los Angeles where he starred in several national commercial campaigns including Sears, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, eMusic.com and Subway. He also appeared in the West Coast premier of Nebraska, a play directed by Henry Polic II (of Webster fame), as well as an HBO Workspace production of The Witch. Sandon was recruited to start-up an internet investigation company specializing in intellectual property infringement and corporate fraud. After successfully growing the company to nearly 50 employees with offices on both coasts, he returned to the entertainment industry penning, producing and starring in the avant-garde B&W W/Splash of Clown, a short film which experimented with several emerging video techniques. His first feature film Gone, But Not Forgotten, won over 30 wreaths in festivals around the world, selling out and winning audience favorite awards in London, Sydney, Hamburg, Barcelona, Manila, Austin, Philadelphia, Memphis, Seattle, Chicago and Rochester. Finding offers from distributors unsatisfactory, Berg launched his own distribution company. As a result, Gone, But Not Forgotten has been released in several languages and grossed over thirty times its budget. His understanding of how to get a commercially viable story onto the page and then take it through production and market it for the screen makes him often consulted on low budget films. He also wrote and produced other critically hailed and popular films including Phoenix and cult favorite MATRIMONIUM, in addition to coordinating on multi-million dollar films such as Disney’s Santa Clause 3. Most recently, Berg has been hired to write the true story of Callie Michael, a woman whose abusive marriage ended on the same night she received the call that her only daughter attempted suicide while serving in the Navy. Other projects in development include romantic comedy Even Steven, and Golden Years, a poignant dramedy about the desperate measures of an aging gay couple to maintain control of their lives in the face of terminal illness.
as Morgan Oliver
Leo Minaya was born on an airplane and he has been making headlines ever since. He grew up with his single mother and four siblings in Washington Heights in New York City. Leo never allowed his environment to weigh him down, and his imagination provided the outlet he needed to escape the hard times. “Leo was a special child filled with light,” says his mother. “Growing up he was always the center of attention and admired.” Leo wrote, directed, and produced his first play in 5th grade!
By the time he was in middle school, it was clear he was going to be an actor. Leo remembers, “The day I knew acting was going to be my life, I was cast as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in junior high. I remember loving the rush I got from performing in front of the entire school. I was so nervous at the end because I knew my reputation was on the line, but my fear quickly vanished as the crowd went wild and gave me a standing ovation. I was hooked... it was a great moment in my life.”
Leo then attended a performing arts high school and began his professional acting career. His first audition landed him a role in the feature film Manito, which became one of the most talked about Sundance films of the year garnering the cast the best ensemble acting award. Critics took notice of Leo. Roger Ebert declared, “If there’s any justice we will see more of Leo Minaya.” An article in Maxim singled Leo out noting, “Minaya’s performance has gained him critical acclaim, positioning him as someone to keep your eye on.” Leo returned to Sundance with his next film How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, starring Elizabeth Peña, in which he played America Ferrera’s love interest.
When Leo landed the title role in Morgan, he knew it was his most challenging role to date. Working with a director like Michael Akers and playing a paraplegic was the opportunity he was looking for. “The producer gave me this old rickety wheelchair. I took it home and lived in it for 2 weeks. I learned how to get in and out of bed and basically do everything using only my arms,” Leo explains. “I think I drove my girlfriend crazy, but it really paid off. In the scene where I’m climbing up the cliff, I’m really climbing and I only allowed myself to use my arms. Authenticity is the most important thing to me as an actor.”
as Dean Kagen
Newcomer Jack Kesy was raised in New York City. He also lived in East Germany as a child, and in Poland. Before studying theatre in London, Jack served in The Unites States Marine Corps. He has a passion for tennis having played with many ATP tour players. Film credits include Yelling to the Sky and Grand Street. He’s also appeared on stage in Diary Of Anne Frank and The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
Knowing his reputation for helping young actors hone their craft, Jack was eager to work with Michael Akers. He also wanted to do a gay role noting, “A lot of big actors played gay roles before they were famous,” including Al Pacino in Cruising. Jack credits Pacino with inspiring him to be an actor after seeing Scent of a Woman.
Darra “Like Dat” Boyd
as Lane Williams
In 2006, TV viewers all over the world fell in love with Darra “Like Dat,” Boyd, the charming, down-to-earth yet no-nonsense character from VH1’s hit show Flavor of Love Season 2 & Flavor of Love Girls Charm School Hosted by Mo’Nique.
Boyd, a New York native, currently resides in Jersey City. She began her stand-up comedy career in 2007 performing on every relevant stage New York City, including the Eastville Comedy Club, NY Comedy Club and Broadway Comedy Club. Her comedy show, “The Z Room,” which she hosts every Monday night in Murray Hill, has become one of the hottest comedy open mic nights in New York City.
She was recently cast for the new animated series The Borderhounds and has also made appearances on Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Mercy, Nurse Jackie, Rescue Me, The Big C, and in feature films SALT, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Adjustment Bureau and HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack. Two international films helped secure her following in Moscow, where they continue to show Season 2 of the Flavor of Love with her voice dubbed over in Russian.
When approached by a close friend to audition for the role of Lane in Morgan, Darra grabbed the opportunity. “I knew this was my chance to make the transition from reality television to mainstream drama… I knew I was Lane because it seems like my life and friends closely mirror the characters in the script. When I got the call that I got the part, I knew I had to take that role and make it my own. It was the only way to make this film successful”.
If you ask Darra, “Where will we see you next?” She always answers, “You never know where you’ll see me. You just might look up from your slice of pizza and there I am. Only because, I’ve never been afraid of a paycheck!”
as Peg Oliver
Madalyn McKay was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and began her professional career right out of college as a singer with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. She then moved to New York where she landed her first leading role as the manipulative Aunt Min in David Giardina’s psychological thriller Taffy Was Born which won Audience Favorite Feature and Best Director awards at the New York Film and Video Festival. The film also had an exhibition screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Other film credits include: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehena as the Soccer Announcer and the upcoming Public Hearing as Jeni Weaver.
Favorite Off Broadway roles include: Queen Victoria in Anais Nin Goes to Hell and Mama Fratelli in Save The Goondocks which were both part of the New York International Fringe Festival. Other theater credits include: Choreography of Cyn and Marta (Cyn), Punching Glass (Mrs. Sembers) and the upcoming musical The Orange Person (Aunt Joan).
On Television she has played a Judge in the pilot Barely Legal, a Ritz Guest on Boardwalk Empire, and most recently a Passenger on the new ABC Series Pan Am.
Commercial work includes commercials for Comedy Central, Playstation 3/Little Big Planet and H&R Block.
as Dr. Thomas
Theodore Bouloukos is a New York-based actor and writer, whose performance work is divided equally between independent narrative cinema and the myriad projects in video, painting and photography, live-performance and tableaux vivants that have been exhibited at festivals, museums and galleries around the world, including recent shows at the Venice Biennale and Art Basel Miami. An alumnus of The Albany Academy and Columbia University, he also wrote Hiding My Candy, published by Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster; and he writes a column on art, called Aestheticism, for YourItList.com, administered by Harper Perennial Books.
His numerous film credits include Richard in Todd Verow’s Vacationland, Danny Zeigfeld in The Evangelist, and most recently Public Hearing.
Post Production Supervisor / Co-Producer
Israel Ehrisman was a Co-Producer of Paul Goodman Changed My Life, which opens at the Film Forum in October 2011. Previously, he was a Producer on Kimberly Reed’s Prodigal Sons which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. He also co-produced Michael Akers’ Phoenix, a re-imagining of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’AVVENTURA. This experience made him a vital part of the Akers/Berg team and the three have been working together ever since. “I’m pretty sure Israel has a photographic memory,” Michael Akers explains. “He soaks up information about all things technical, all things entertainment, and makes sure we’re all up to date. He’s a great resource to have, especially when my head is in the middle of production.” “And on production he’s tireless,” adds Sandon. “The 20 something’s on set will start dropping like flies and Israel will still be buzzing around getting things done.”
Prior to making films, Israel was the Director of Logistics for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
, and has worked at NewFest
, the North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
, and the Sundance Film Festival