Dawn is president of Ron de Cana Prods.,Inc. in Los Angeles. This is her 15th short under her Ron de Cana banner. Her work has played on all 7 continents (yes, even Antarctica) and won 48 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 and the ECU Film Festival in Paris, France. 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 24 years to Bruce Rheins, a producer and bureau chief for CBS News. She recently directed “Look Who’s Stalking”, a series for the BIO Network at NBC Universal in Los Angeles. It aired in March & April 2013. www.dawnwestlake.com
Emanuele was born in Sardinia, Italy, and has an eclectic professional education. His career started as a concert pianist; after graduating at the Conservatory of Music in Cagliari, his hometown, he continued piano training with Gyorgy Sandor from The Julliard School and later attended the Vienna Music Academy in Austria.
He has performed for President Bill Clinton and collaborated with legendary tenor Placido Domingo, after being invited by Maestro Domingo himself. After winning several national piano competitions in Italy, Emanuele steered his career toward acting.
He has worked in off-Broadway theatre, on TV serials like ABC's “Loving” and NBC's “Undercovers”, and he has been in films directed by Kuzuhiro Soda, Leslie Smith, Joe Bologna, and he had a supporting role opposite Tom Hanks in Ron Howard's “Angels & Demons”. Emanuele can be seen alongside John Krasinski, Rosemary DeWitt, and Dylan McDermott in Lena Dunham's film “Nobody Walks” which won the 2012 U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing at Sundance. Emanuele is now being seen in Italy in the Commercial Spot FASTWEB, with George Clooney. www.emanuelesecci.com
David is a co-founder of Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, and he was a cast member of ten Second City revues where he created and performed material with Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello and Jeff Garlin, among countless others. David is an adjunct faculty member of California State University and was Artistic Director of Second City Los Angeles for 8 years. He worked with Steppenwolf Theatre in 2005 on BALM IN GILEAD for the California State Summer Arts Festival and again in July 2008. David directed two of the Amsterdam-based Boom Chicago Theatre productions, which were remounted for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He also directed WHAT’S WRONG WITH GETTING LAID and DAIRY FARM for The Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson. David is the recipient of the 2010 INNY Award for Best Improv Coach. He can be heard interviewing comedy legends like Edie McClurg and Stephen Colbert on his weekly podcast “A.D.D. Comedy Podcast with David Razowsky” on iTunes. www.davidrazowsky.com
Susan Messing is a director, actress, comedian, author, and teacher living in Chicago. She is best known for her ensemble work at The Annoyance Theater and iO Theater as well as being regarded as one of the forefront teachers of improvisational comedy. Susan graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in theater and was a performer on The Second City mainstage and Chicago's iO Theater where she also taught.
As an ensemble member of Annoyance Theater, she performed in “The Real Live Brady Bunch” as well as directing “What Every Girl Should Know... An Ode to Judy Blume” (based on the work of Judy Blume).
She has performed on NBC's “Late Friday” and Comedy Central's “Premium Blend” along with her puppet Jolly after showcasing at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. Her critically acclaimed improvised show, “Messing With a Friend”, is in its fifth year, currently playing at the Annoyance every Thursday night.
She also teaches improvisational comedy for DePaul University, The University of Chicago and Loyola University.
As a writer, her essays have been published in The Second City Almanac of Improvisation and in Charna Halpern's book, Art By Committee.
Brandon is a filmmaker, video editor, photographer, and musician. Raised in Louisville, KY, Brandon began making movies with his father's video camera at an early age, which led to his pursuit of cinematic, visual, and musical arts. While attending the University of Louisville, he dropped out during his sophomore year to tour internationally and make records singing and playing guitar with the rock band Christiansen. After several years of playing music, Brandon returned to the university and received his BA in photography in 2005. After relocating to Portland, Oregon, Brandon was lead vocalist for the progressive rock band Sharpening Markers. A move to LA brought him eventually to full-time as head of the video department with Industrial Color in Culver City. He just recently bought a home in Portland and is returning to his freelance DP and DIT work. www.brandonbondehagen.com
Gregory moved to Los Angeles from his native Philadelphia after winning a screenplay award for his feature script “Shredding Steel” in late 2001. Greg is one of a new breed of finger-style guitar players that have been redefining the acoustic guitar--how it's played and the sounds it can make. Greg is now enjoying a career in both film composition and screenwriting. He is writing an animation project and several feature projects with FX directors for Warner Bros. He is also a session musician with Johnny Klimek for the music cues on HBO’s “The Newsroom”. Gregory won the award for Best Score on Dawn Westlake's A LIFE OF DEATH at the Inventaunfilm Festival, Lenola, Italy in May 2006. www.youtube.com/acousticlabs
Ezra was raised in New Mexico and Southern California, but gained fame musically in Portland, OR with Brandon Bondehagen in the band Sharpening Markers. He returned to Los Angeles to carve out a career as a freelance 1st AC in 2011, and he’s been working steadily ever since, including a stint with notorious indie filmmaker and artist Larry Clark on his latest film, “Marfa Girl”. He was fresh off the set of “Sons of Anarchy” before working on “The Martini Effect”.
ABDUL MALIK ABBOTT
(Associate Producer/BTS Still Photographer)
Abdul earned his creative reputation first as a music video editor, then made his way up the ranks at the helm of music videos, directing many of Jay-Z’s first videos, including, “Ain’t No…” and “Dead Presidents”, both going to #1 on MTV and BET. He also directed new and established artists, including Jazz Legend Abbey Lincoln, Rap Legends; Notorious B.I.G, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-1 and Will Smith, also directing Foxy Brown, Kenny Lattimore, Hezekiah Walker, Dave Hollister, Saigon, Trey Songz, country singer Bonnie Paul, R&B icons, the Pointer Sisters and int’l pop star Leki, just to name a few
Abdul directed, co-wrote & edited the Platinum-selling, music video-mini-movie starring Jay-Z entitled “Streets is Watching”. It earned a #1 slot in Billboard. Abdul also directed the hip-hop infused gangster drama entitled “State Property” (Lionsgate), starring Beanie Sigel & Jay-Z. Soon after a brief theatrical release, the modestly budgeted movie was released on home video and DVD and rose to be the 10th top selling video in the U.S. on Videoscan & Billboard and has grossed over 10 million to date.
Abdul has recently been shooting for BET, E! and several other networks and has completed a slate of music videos as well as directing; “Artist Found in Port Washington Flat”, a multimedia production for Oscar Nominated actor/writer Burt Young. Abdul directed the first four episodes for a web series entitled “Who Da Man?”, and co-wrote & produced an independent feature film in entitled “My Normal”, (Wolfe Releasing).
Abdul is currently a member & Co-chair of the DGA’s African American Steering committee as well as a member of SESAC and the WGA(w). http://www.abdulmalikabbott.com/