FRESH INFO - Visiting Filmmakers/Artists at this year's Festival

Stephane Gauger

A filmmaker who gives the term "multi-hyphenate" a strikingly diverse spin, Stephane Gauger has worked on a variety of short and independent feature films as director, writer, actor, cinematographer and gaffer. Born in Vietnam to interracial parents and raised in Orange County, Calif., Gauger studied theater and French literature at Cal State Fullerton, where he first began writing and directing Super 8mm short films.

"I like to model myself after filmmakers that have a good sense of story but who also are visual," notes Gauger, citing Martin Scorsese, P.T. Anderson, Wong Kar-wai, the Dardenne brothers and Zhang Yimou as influences.

On his debut feature Owl and the Sparrow, a charming contemporary drama shot in 15 days last year on the bustling streets of Saigon, he served as writer, director and cinematographer. Ten-year-old newcomer Pham Thi Han leads the cast of the low-budget self-financed film as a runaway girl bringing together two lonely hearts, played by Cat Ly (Journey From the Fall) and Le The Lu (Buffalo Boy), both experienced Vietnamese actors.

"In essence, I wanted this to be a very simple film that's apolitical and just about humanity," says Gauger, who shot on 30 Saigon locations with two Panasonic DVX100 Mini DV cameras. "Owl and the Sparrow was just a whimsical kind of thing. I guess I had trigger finger - I wanted to do a feature, I knew that I could shoot digitally and wanted to have something completely handheld."

This summer, Gauger is directing second unit on Timothy Bui's Powder Blue, which the two co-wrote. The ensemble drama stars Forest Whitaker and Jessica Biel. - Justin Lowe

Jared Goldman

Jared Ian Goldman began his career in film interning in the Acquisitions Dept. at Miramax Films in New York in 1998. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English and Economics in 2001, he worked briefly at Miramax quickly moving on to GreeneStreet Films where he worked as the Manager of the Production Department on such films as In The Bedroom, Swimfan, Uptown Girls, Romance & Cigarettes and A Prairie Home Companion.

Since leaving Greene Street in late 2005, Jared has worked on several feature films. He worked as a Production Associate on Michael BlackÕs "The Pleasure of Your Company" for GreeneStreet; a Production Manager on Henry Bean's "Noise", starring Tim Robbins and William Hurt, for 7 Arts/ThinkFilm; and as a Production Manager for Tom McCarthy's "The Visitor", for Participant Productions/Groundswell Films. Goldman co-produced the award-winning film "Manda Bala" with his close friends Joey Frank and director, Jason Kohn.

Jauretsi Saizarbitoria & Emilia Menocal

Co-directors Jauretsi Saizarbitoria and Emilia Menocal were both born of Cuban parents but raised in the United States; both share the desire to connect with the mythology and mystery gilding that toughness (often referred to as "Cubaneo," meaning the struggle of Cuban life), as well as a curiosity about a rare sociocultural movement flourishing on Castro's watch. Following Magyori and fellow rappers as they prepare for an international hip-hop festival taking place in Havana in 2004, "East of Havana" sets their individual stories against the bitter, resilient landscape of Cuba's political history.

Jauretsi Saizarbitoria was born in Miami to parents who owned Centro Vasco, a Cuban institution for music and food dating back to Havana's stomping grounds where her grandfather founded it. She moved to New York to work for Paper Magazine throwing downtown finest parties. She later served as Entertainment Director for Details Magazine where she eventually jumped into the Editorial side and went on to serve as Entertainment Editor for Jane Magazine while contributing to a few other respected independents. Jauretsi Saizarbitoria & Emilia Menocal find a delicate balance elusive to so many seeking to capture and relay the Cuban experience; they succeed in illuminating the country's natural beauty without glorifying it, and addressing the sociopolitical plight of Cuba's youth without patronizing.

"Jauretsi Saizarbitoria's and Emilia Menocal's film serves as a metaphor about artistic freedom and wiliness" --- Robert Koehler, Variety.

Louise Osmond

Louise Osmond directed "Deep Water" with Jerry Rothwell, both making their cinema debuts on the project. Louise's previous work, for television, includes Blitz: London's Firestorm and Looking For Victoria. She currently resides in the U.K.

Of "Deep Water" Osmond says, ÒThe most exciting thing about it for me was that it was just such an amazing human story. In the sense that; he was a man who set out to attempt something that was beyond him. And he gets in over his head. That is a situation that anyone can identify with.. As a filmmaker, you just wish for a story like this. The narrative has these incredible twists and turns of fate. Each time, you feel that events are conspiring to trap Crowhurst".

Bill Plympton

Bill PlymptonÕs short films have been seen widely around the country, highlighting many animation festivals. His oblique, off-center sense of the ridiculous in everyday life has made the "Microtoons" and his other shorts a popular MTV offering. His distinctive style has even invaded the world of advertising.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Plympton credits Oregon's rainy climate for nurturing his drawing skills and imagination. When he was fourteen he sent Disney some of his cartoons and offered up his services as animator. They wrote back and told him that while his drawings showed promise, he was too young. His illustrations have graced the pages of The New York Times, Vogue, House Beautiful, The Village Voice, Screw, and Vanity Fair. His cartoons appeared in such magazines as Viva, Penthouse, Rolling Stone, National Lampoon, and Glamour. "Suddenly people began returning my phone calls," remembers Plympton.

His work started appearing with more and more frequency on MTV and showing in the increasingly popular touring animation festivals. After a string of highly successful short films (One of Those Days, How to Kiss, 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, and Plymptoons), he began thinking about making a feature film. His shorts were winning prizes like crazy and he wanted a new challenge. And, as he puts it, "I wanted to make a full-length movie ever since I was a kid."

What came to be called "The Tune", Plympton's first feature film, was financed entirely by the animator himself. Sections of the feature were released as short films to help generate funds for production. These include "The Wiseman" and "Push Comes to Shove," the latter of which won the 1991 Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. The completed film also made the rounds of the film festivals, garnering the prestigious Houston WorldFest Gold Jury Special Award as well as a Spirit Award nomination for Best Film Score.

After personally drawing and coloring 30,000 cels for "The Tune", Plympton moved to live-action. BillÕs latest feature film, "Hair High", is a gothic '50s high-school comedy about a love-triangle that goes terribly bad, with two young, murdered teens returning to their prom to get revenge. Plympton is still charting new territory in animation, this time by broadcasting all of his drawing for the film live on the web at PlymptonÕs short film "Guard Dog" has also been a hit at film festivals and it brought Bill his second Oscar nomination in January 2005.


No other band performs with such a command of African poly-rhythms and as high an energy as Mamdou. Performing original songs and arrangements, Mamdou has developed a unique sound that WILL GET YOU TO DANCE!! The truly multicultural band is led by the immensely talented Mamadou Diop (pronounced 'maa-maa-doo jop').

At the heart of MamadouÕs music is the drum. Powerful are the rhythms of SŽnŽgal, making a connection with the soul of each listener. Each musician is given command of separate, offset rhythms, making this music among the most danceable around. Sung in Wolof (Mamadou Diop's native language), French, and English, the songs speak of the importance of love, friendship, and spirit; all in a manner that transcends language and cultural barriers.Prior to coming to the United States, Mamadou Diop was considered one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in Senegal, and unique in his approach to music. He toured Africa, Europe and Canada performing with some of Senegal's most noted musicians and bands (including those of Orchestra Baobab, Baaba Maal, Youssou N'Dour, Thione Seck, etc.).

Today, Mamadou resides in Massachusetts, constantly writing and arranging new materials that are introduced routinely in front of live audiences. Surrounded by some of the top musicians in New England, he and his band are ready to bring their creations to you! Says Mamadou... "It is my wish for this music to be in direct contact with the soul of the audience, to lift up their spirits and to bring a sense of freedom to their minds."

Phil DaRosa

Growing up on MarthaÕs Vineyard, Phil had easy access to creative outlets as well as unconditional support from his family and social surroundings to pursue, for the most part, whatever he wanted. The freedom to follow his passions has led him to music. Now residing in the Northampton area of Western Massachusetts, Phil is spending most of his time in the studio working on a new solo debut to be released this Fall.

DaRosa began his love affair with music at a young age taking up the saxophone in elementary school. The musician began writing his own songs while attending Keene State College, where he received a bachelorÕs degree in music theory and composition. His early tunes were a product of his journal entries. DaRosa began rhyming verses in his diary, then setting them to music.

After years of playing and composing music with a host of musicians, DaRosa has decided to channel his efforts into pursuing his solo career. His debut solo album is slated to be released in early September, after which DaRosa will embark on a tour of the Northeast, holding release parties in Northampton, Boston, New York and elsewhere. The up-and-coming solo artist has been gearing up, promoting the new solo release and planning tours throughout the Northeast and MidAtlantic regions in the '07-'08 season.