Dawn Westlake (director/writer/producer/narrator)
Dawn is president of Ron de Cana Prods., Inc. in Los Angeles. This is her 18th short under her Ron de Cana banner. Her work has played on all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica) and won 51 awards, including honors from Canon USA, Inc. and JVC-Tokyo. Dawn is also an actress/writer/producer and has been on the jury of the SediciCorto Film Fest in Forli, Italy, the ECU Film Festival in Paris, France, the Chicago Shorts Film Fest jury in Chicago, Illinois and the Red Rock Film Fest pre-selection committee in Moab, UT. She speaks English and Spanish fluently and is proficient in Italian and Portuguese. Dawn graduated first in her class with a B.S. degree in Radio-TV-Film from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She has been married for 27 years to Bruce Rheins, a retired producer and bureau chief for CBS News. In 2013, she directed “Look Who’s Stalking”, a series for the BIO Network at NBCUniversal in Los Angeles. It aired in March & April 2013. Dawn has been honored with retrospectives of her work in London, Rimini (Italy), and at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, California. www.dawnwestlake.com
Donald G. Westlake (author)
Don grew up in the village of Elburn, IL during the Great Depression and
World War II. After graduation from Northern Illinois State Teachers’ College
(now Northern Illinois University) in 1950 and a short stint as a high school
math teacher, he became an analytical chemist at Argonne National Laboratory
outside of Chicago. He was there only briefly before he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.
Following his military service, he got his Ph.D. in metallurgy from Iowa State University. From 1959 to 1984, Dr. Westlake conducted basic research at Argonne National Laboratory and published more than 120 papers on his specialty—metal-hydrogen interactions. He was an invited lecturer at conferences and universities all over the U.S., Western Europe, Israel, and Japan. In 1981, he was named a Senior Scientist at the Laboratory. After his retirement in 1984, Don entered into a second career—specializing in human relations. He and his wife of 62 years, Helen Gum Westlake, collaborated in writing two textbooks for use in high schools and junior colleges: Child Development & Parenting EMC Publishing ©1990 and Relationships and Family Living EMC Publishing ©1992. In 1989, Don published his first book of poetry Elburn: 44 Miles to Chicago. Ten years later, it won the Studs Terkel Humanities Award. In 2003, he starred in and narrated his daughter Dawn Westlake’s film ”A Life of Death”, based on one of the poems from his award-winning book. The film played in over 100 festivals and venues worldwide, was translated into sever- al languages, and won 9 awards. Don’s letters-to-the-editor can be read on a monthly basis in various Chicago newspapers, and he is currently writing his memoirs. In 2015, his memoir “Through the Pane” was made into a short film in which he starred. It has played in over 20 festivals and won a Best International Director award for his daughter Dawn at the San Roque Film Festival in Spain in 2016.
Pol Carrizo-Vilarroig (DP/Editor/VFX)
Born and raised in Barcelona, Pol has always been fascinated with all things audiovisual. In 2008, he completed studies in 35mm photography, and then immediately entered film school where he majored in digital photography, television and film. While still in school, he began producing personal and professional projects and graduated from an advanced course in sound mixing with superior grades. Pol continues to expand his knowledge in all aspects of filmmaking using Adobe After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and Cinema 4D and incorporating them into his workflow. While in film school, he had an internship with Barcelona TV, working in the departments of sound, camera, and as an assistant in ENG (electronic news gathering). As a freelancer, he is working on still photography and video projects for private citizens and large corporations. The majority of his work is in his hometown of Barcelona, but he’s also worked in other parts of Spain, and on location in France, England, and the United States. Pol has also traveled and photographed extensively in South America, Asia, and Africa. Even on personal journeys, he’s never without his camera. Pol is a founding partner in Imatge Barcelona, a production company dedicated to cinematic and still photography. http://imatgebarcelona.com/inici/
GC Johnson (composer)
In 2009, composer and instrumentalist GC Johnson began the musical youtube
project Acoustic Labs as a personal challenge to write and perform new material every month and to focus on the guitar, exploring different sound through effects and techniques. Six years later, the Acoustic Labs channel has grown significantly, with over
40,000 subscribers and 100 videos produced, which have been viewed a total of
7 Million times. The channel has become a platform, not only for guitar com-
positions and covers, but also for GC Johnson's exploration of atmospheres
and film music. Incorporating instruments such as the erhu, ronroco and gui-
tarviol, Johnson has created his own signature flavor of instrumental music.
GC Johnson's atmospheres can be heard in major television and film produc-
tions such as HBO's "Newsroom", Tom Tykwer's “A Hologram for the King” starring Tom Hanks, and Steven Ruzowitzky's "Patient Zero". He has scored many shorts with award
winning filmmaker Dawn Westlake, receiving a Peer Raben Music Award nomination at SoundTrack_Cologne in Germany for their 2015 collaboration, “Through the Pane”, and he recently completed scoring the full-length documentary "Back in Time" - a retrospective of Back to the Future -featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, Bob Zemeckis, and Michael J Fox. To hear more of GC’s music:
Nefertina Lizárraga (DONNA)
Nefertina is happy and grateful to make her film début, starring as DONNA, whose act of love conquers hate. Nefertina is the daughter of artists/animators/authors, GrissyG and Dismas. She is also very excited about starting Kindergarten. Nefertina loves to play, and learn, and is a creative, bright, outgoing kid with an enormous interest in singing and creating art. With all the love and moral support from her parents to encourage her creativity and imagination, there is never a shortage of classical and digital art materials for Nefertina to experiment with. She loves to work along side her parents in their art studio, learning the trade. Nefertina has already acquired her first credit for digitally coloring several frames from "Ongher's Snow Gial," an animated short produced by her mom and dad.
GrissyG (ADULT DONNA)
GrissyG is an artist, animator, author, and mother, born in Corozal Town, Belize, Central America. She moved to Sunny California to fulfill her dream to be an artist in 1998. In 1999 she met her soul mate, Dismas, at Los Angeles Mission College where they were students. At the college, she also tutored for animation and multimedia, assisted in coordinating the multimedia art exhibit, and graduated with an Associates degree in both Art and Multimedia. In 2003, GrissyG and Dismas, established GrisDismation, a signature to represent their collaborative work to produce art, animation and books. In 2004, she married Dismas to continue their creative career in art, and 7 years later, GrissyG became the mother of a beautiful daughter, Nefertina. Since then, GrissyG has produced series of paintings, over a dozen short animations, and co-authored two books, "Legends of Belize Creature Book” and “Legends of Belize, A Series About Mythical Creatures That Dwell In The Jungles And Waters Of Belize." GrissyG has presented at universities and schools in California and in Belize. GrissyG has also produced a range of projects, including a commercial for Archie Comics and an animated music video with award-winning producer Garth Bacon. In 2015, GrissyG was featured with her husband in a documentary titled "Boogeymen, Tata Duende," about a Belizean mythical jungle gnome, produced by CMJ production II. She enjoys experimenting in different mediums and has a special interest in nature photography and film. Always motivated to expand her creative avenues, GrissyG is happy to step into her first acting role as ADULT DONNA. http://www.grisdismation.com
Dismas (MR. SHEELEY)
Dismas is an artist, animator, author and a father. He was born in Corozal Town, Belize, Central America, and is currently living in California. Dismas is inspired to produce art in various mediums including paints, digital, sculpting, animating, writing songs, playing guitar and creating synthesized music. After graduating in 1993 from Belmont High school in Los Angeles, Dismas interned at Motown Animation for a few years and then went on to work as a general illustrator for a company at Showtime Networks. He decided to attend Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC) in 1999 where he met his love and art partner in life, GrissyG. At LAMC, Dismas assisted with the multimedia art exhibit for 3 years in a row then graduated with his Associates Degree in Art. In 2003, Dismas established GrisDismation with GrissyG to be a signature for their artistic endeavors. Dismas married GrissyG in 2004 and continued his passion with a career in producing art, animation and books. In 2011, he became the proud father of Nefertina. He has produced over 20 short animations that have regularly screened at Hollywood Shorts in Los Angeles and presented at schools, colleges and universities. Additionally, he has produced animated music videos (one with award-winning producer Garth Bacon) and a commercial for Archie Comics 65th anniversary. In 2013, Dismas co-authored two books about Belizean mythology and was featured in the newspaper, radio and TV in the US and Belize about his collaborative art with his wife. He was a guest and interviewer in a documentary titled "Boogeymen-Tata Duende" about the mythical jungle spirit in Belizean culture produced by CMJ Productions II, Inc. It aired on the Travel and Escape Channel in 2016. To further expand on the Belizean mythology, Dismas and GrissyG are producing a feature animation titled “Tata Duende, Don’t Go Into The Jungle.” This is Dismas’ acting debut as MR. SHEELEY. http://www.grisdismation.com
The Mighty Kong, born in 2006, a rescued male Yorkshire terrier dog, was adopted in 2007 by Dale McRaven, a retired legendary comedy TV writer, creator, producer, photographer, and artist. Kong lives with a multi-generational family of 3 adults, Dale, GrissyG, Dismas and their daughter, Nefertina. He is a little dog with enormous personality and spunk. Every morning he starts his day off with the big chase, breaking up pigeon congregations in the yard and running the squirrels up the trees. Despite his tough guy spunk he is a loving, friendly, happy little fellow that has no fear. His favorite activities are long walks with Dale through the neighborhood and meeting new people. Kong has a huge motivation in his little life, food. Half an hour before his mealtime, with a stern stare down, he will make sure you never forget feeding him. He loves food so much he licks the food scent out of the air when he can, and given the opportunity, he would probably be a much bigger dog. Kong enjoys playing chase and tug of war, but he will not fetch. He will cuddle, hang out and keep good company. Kong is also the ultimate guard dog. Late at night, he makes it a point to change his sleeping locations through out the house to secure the perimeter. In case of unusual sounds, even if it's just the water pipes making noise, he maintains on high alert to protect the family, living up to his name, the Mighty Kong.
Bruce Rheins (OLD MIKE DICHTER)
Bruce is now retired after a 34-year career in television news as a producer, writer, and bureau chief. He worked for ABC News in Chicago and NYC, WMAQ-TV (NBC 5) in Chicago, KGO-TV in San Francisco, and for the last 21 years at CBS News in the Los Angeles bureau. His work took him all over the globe, including to the North Pole once and the South Pole, twice. Along with producing pieces for “CBS Evening News”, “CBS This Morning” & “48 Hours”, also while with CBS News, he ran the coverage of the Michael Jackson molestation trial in 2005, the Michael Jackson funeral in 2009, the Royal Wedding in London in 2011, and he spent the first 3.5 months of 2003 running war coverage from Kuwait and Iraq. He is now learning his first musical instrument, the plectrum banjo. http://www.brucerheins.com