Dawn Westlake

Dawn Westlake

Director/Producer/Co-Director of Photography

This is Dawn’s fourth short under her Ron de Caña Productions banner. Her first film, MINI DRIVER PROJECT, made in Portugal in 2000, has won 8 international prizes and played somewhere in the world once or twice a month for three years. In April 2002, it played 3x per week on the jumbo-tron in Times Square. Her second film, DOTTIE: THE LITTLE GIRL WITH THE BIG VOICE ©2002, was her first foray into animation. It won the Grand Prix for Animation at the Kinder Film Festival in Tokyo, Japan; the Best Digital Animation Award at the Downstream Film Fest in Atlanta, GA, the Society of Broadcasters Award in Romania, and Special Jury Prizes at the Fano International Film Fest in Fano, Italy, the Festival Internacional de Biarritz, France, the Reel Woman Film Fest in Los Angeles, CA, and the Audience Award at Divercine in Montevideo, Uruguay.

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILI, an anti-war comedy, is Dawn’s third film. It premiered at Cinespace in Hollywood, CA on March 4, 2003. Since then, it has been invited to participate in film festivals all over the world, and it won the Special Jury Prize at the Fano Int’l Film Festival and Best Short at DiGit! Film Fest in Upstate NY. It has received rave reviews from Larry David (co-creator of “Seinfeld”) and former President Bill Clinton, among others. Westlake won the Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1987 for an interview with former President Jimmy Carter on the subject of human rights violations and was named a Platinum Filmmaker by CANON USA at DV Expo/West in Dec. 2002. She has also won an award for self-expression from JVC in Tokyo for her fifth film, THE PAWN. This film has won 8 other awards in the U.S. and Italy. Her latest film is GOD'S GOOD PLEASURE (2006) which has won 2 awards, in Italy and Australia.


Donald Westlake

Donald G. Westlake

Poet

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. Since his retirement in 1984, Don has entered into a second career—specializing in human relations. He and his wife, Helen Gum Westlake, have 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. "A Life of Death" is one of the poems from that award-winning book. Don’s letters-to-the-editor can be read on a monthly basis in various Chicago newspapers. He makes his theatrical debut in this film.


The Moser Brothers

The Moser Brothers

Editors/Animators

Thomas and Joel Moser have been making films since they shared a bedroom in the small town of Moultrie, GA. This is their third project with Ron de Caña Prods., Inc. They first collaborated with Dawn Westlake as animation directors on her DOTTIE: THE LITTLE GIRL WITH THE BIG VOICE. They were also the editors/graphic designers on her anti-war comedy, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILI, and they directed her film THE PAWN.

Since then, they’ve been named “Filmmakers to Watch” by ifilm.com for their award-winning, live-action short "The Fountain", and they won awards in three categories for "The Pitch", a short produced through the prestigious 48Hr Film Project. As animators/writers/directors, they have worked for “Ill-ustrated” (VH-1) and “Bad Vlad” (Revolution Studios).


Bruce Rheins

Bruce Rheins

Co-Director of Photography

Bruce is a producer for a network news organization. Assignments have taken him all over the globe, from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica; California to Fiji! Before moving to Los Angeles, Bruce was an Emmy Award-winning producer for KGO-TV (an ABC O&O) in San Francisco. In Chicago, he won 5 Emmys, 1 UPI and 2 AP awards as a field producer, working closely with legendary broadcast journalists Max Robinson, Ron Magers and Carol Marin at WMAQ-TV (a NBC O&O). He’s also worked in New York with Joan Lunden for ABC Entertainment’s "Good Morning America".

Bruce spent 3.5 months at the beginning of 2003 covering the war from Kuwait City, and he also went briefly into Southern Iraq. In 2007, he won a Genesis Award from the Humane Society of the U.S. for a report on the brown bears of McNeil River, Alaska.


Gregory Johnson

Gregory Johnson

Composer/Guitarist

Gregory moved here from his native Philadelphia after winning a screenplay award for his feature script “Shredding Steel” in 2001. In a short period of time, he's already become an eminent figure among instrumental guitarists in the city. 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. People who’ve seen him perform have been astounded at the raw speed and the sheer dexterity of his fingers, which are a blur most of the time. Greg is now laying the groundwork for a career in both film composition and screenwriting. He splits his time between LA and Sydney, Australia where he has several feature projects in the works with directors based there for Warner Bros.


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