EMMY ROSSUM (Alexa Walker)
Roger Ebert has called her “a phenomenal talent.” David Ansen of Newsweek wrote “Emmy Rossum is a heart-stopping presence.” Jack Matthews of the New York Daily News wrote: “Her voice is like fine crystal and every moment while she’s singing is something special.”
Twenty year old Emmy Rossum is a gifted young actress and an accomplished musician. Nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2004 for her starring performance as Christine in the film The Phantom of the Opera, she won the National Board of Review’s Best Female Breakthrough Performance Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Best Young Actress Award in 2005. She also starred in the hit action film, Poseidon in 2006, as well as the global warming blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow with Jake Gyllenhaal, in the Clint Eastwood directed drama Mystic River, and in the independent feature, Songcatcher, which won the Special Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble at Sundance in 2001. Rossum’s acting performance in Songcatcher earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of Best Debut Performance. Her television credits include guest starring appearances on “Law and Order,” and “The Practice.”
Most recently Rossum completed Dragonball, FOX's $60 million action adventure comedy slated for 2009 release. Rossum plays the female lead Bulma, a scientist and weapons expert who is the very tough/sexy/feisty comic relief of the film.
In 2007, Rossum recorded her first album for Geffen records, “Inside Out”. Using her classically trained voice as the primary instrument, she is writing and recording all her own songs. Currently Rossum is working on her second album in between film roles. Rossum began her theatrical career at the age of seven when she began singing the children’s roles at the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. Between the ages of seven and twelve she was trained there in stagecraft and classical vocal technique and performed in five languages in 20 different operas.
Rossum is the Youth Ambassador for the international organization Youth AIDS, which works to educate young people in sixty countries on the prevention and treatment of AIDS. Rossum travels internationally raising awareness of the pandemic by speaking at schools, universities and government forums.
Rossum was born in New York City in 1986 and attended the Spence School until 1996. She earned her high school degree through Stanford University’s Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) and Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD).
ZACH GILFORD (Johnny Drake)
Zach Gilford plays Matt Saracen on NBC's critically acclaimed drama, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. The show will be going into its Fourth Season on NBC/Direct TV and this will be Gilford’s last season.
Gilford will next be seen in Fox Searchlight’s Post Grad in which he plays the love interest to Alexis Bledel. Gilford also stars in the upcoming The River Why, from director Matt Leutwyler and writers Thomas A. Cohen and John Jay Osborn. He will play “Gus Orviston” in the film adaptation of David James Duncan’s novel of the same name – the first novel published by Sierra Club Books in 1983.
Gilford made his feature film debut starring in Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter – nominated for a 2008 Gotham Award for Best Ensemble. Other credits include GREY’S ANATOMY, and LAW & ORDER: SVU and the feature film Rise: Blood Hunter opposite Lucy Liu.
Gilford graduated from Northwestern University where he starred in productions of “Equus” and “The Laramie Project”. A Chicago native, Gilford spends his free time leading backpacking, ice climbing and diving expeditions in Alaska, New Zealand and Australia. (return to cast)
ASHLEY SPRINGER (Ben Berger)
Ashley Springer was born and raised in NYC. After graduating from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, he was cast in The Secret, Anamorph and Assassination of a High School President. He also appeared in Tom McCarthy's The Visitor. Springer’s first lead role was in Mitchell Lichtenstein's Teeth. (return to cast)
ROONEY MARA (Courtney)
In addition to DARE, Rooney Mara just completed filming the lead female role in the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street for New Line and Platinum Dunes. She also stars in The Winning Season which was also in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Other upcoming films include Youth in Revolt (Dimension), Tanner Hall (2009 Toronto Film Festival) and Dream Boy (2008 Berlin Film Festival). Her work has been seen on television with guest roles on “ER”, “The Cleaner”, “Women’s Murder Club” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Rooney founded and directs the not-for-profit organization Faces of Kibera which provides much needed care and assistance to poverty stricken orphans in Kibera, Kenya (www.facesofkibera.com). She resides in Los Angeles with her dog Oscar Pinkerton. (return to cast)
ANA GASTEYER (Ruth Berger)
Ana Gasteyer has appeared in the films Reefer Madness, Mean Girls, What Women Want, Dick, What's the Worst That Could Happen, and The Women. She is a former member of LA’s comedy troupe The Groundlings. Spent six seasons on “Saturday Night Live” - popular characters included music teacher Bobbi Moughan-Culp, NPR’s Margaret Jo, and impressions of Martha Stewart and Celine Dion. Other TV credits include “Frasier,” “Just Shoot Me,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” "Mad About You," “Seinfeld” and “Law & Order.” Guest hosted “The Late Late Show,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and others. On Broadway, she will she next star in "The Royal Family" opposite Rosemary Harris and directed by Doug Hughes. She received rave reviews as 'Fosca' in Gary Griffin's production of Sondheim's “Passion” (Jefferson Award nomination) at The Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Prior to that, she earned raves as Elphaba in “Wicked” (Broadway & Chicago, Jefferson Award nom). Broadway: “The Threepenny Opera” (with Alan Cumming and Jim Dale), “The Rocky Horror Show.” Off- Broadway/Regional: “Kimberly Akimbo” (MTC), “Roulette,” “The Vagina Monologues,” “Cinderella” (NYC Opera), Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” (Pittsburgh CLO) and Mary Zimmerman’s “The Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci.” Recordings: the Grammy-nominated “Hair” (Actor’s Fund), “Reefer Madness.” Gasteyer continues to perform her musical evening “Let It Rip!” around the country. (return to cast)
ALAN CUMMING (Grant Matson)
Actor of stage and screen Alan Cumming trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and quickly found fame in his homeland for both his television work and stand-up comedy. The theater gave him his biggest break when he appeared in Manfred Karge’s Conquest of the South Pole in Edinburgh. The play transferred to the Royal Court in London’s West End and Cumming was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer Olivier Award.
U.S. film audiences were first introduced to Cumming in Circle of Friends, and he went on to appear in many varied films including Bryan Singer’s X2:X Men United, Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids trilogy, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Goldeneye, Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, Titus, Emma and Sweet Land (for which he received an Independent Spirit Award for producing).
Alongside friend Jennifer Jason Leigh he wrote, produced, directed and starred in the acclaimed The Anniversary Party, which won a National Board of Review award and two Independent Spirit nominations. In 1998, Cabaret opened on Broadway and Cumming was heralded for his stunning performance as the Emcee. He won the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, FANY, Theatre World and New York Public Advocate’s awards for his work. He has continued to earn accolades on Broadway in The Threepenny Opera, Design for Living, and Off-Broadway in Elle (which he also adapted) and The Classic Stage Company’s The Seagull opposite Dianne Wiest. He returned to the British stage in 2006 in Martin Sherman’s Bent, and most recently appeared in the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Euripides’ The Bacchae, which opened the Edinburgh International Festival and toured Scotland, transferred to London and then to the Lincoln Center Festival. Cumming won the Herald Archangel award for his work as Dionysus.
On television he has appeared in “Sex and the City,” “Frasier,” “Third Rock From the Sun,” “The L Word,” “Reefer Madness” and most recently in Sci-Fi Channel’s record-breaking “Tin Man.” He is also the host of PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery.”
His second feature film as actor/director, Ghost Writer, was released in 2008. He has been selected to star as the Green Goblin in Julie Taymor’s Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark on Broadway in Spring of 2010, and will also be seen in the upcoming films, Dare, Boogie Woogie, Riverworld and The Tempest opposite Helen Mirren. His debut album, I Bought a Blue Car Today will be released September 22nd of this year. Taken from his one-man show of the same name, Cumming belts out celebrated hits alongside little-known gems accompanied by his musical director, Lance Horne. It’s a musical journey peppered with material by Frank Sinatra, Dory Previn, Kander & Ebb and Cyndi Lauper, to name only a few.
”Alan Cumming: I Bought A Blue Car Today” premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City in February followed by a March run in Sydney, Australia, and will next be seen in London’s West End in early September followed by NY dates and a West Coast tour. It has garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. The New York Times claimed Cumming “exudes the fabulousness of a brash showbiz kid,” while Time Out called the show, “A little piece of Vaudevillian wonder packaged up in one hell of a sexy Scotsman.” The show is based on Cumming’s experiences living in the United States for the past 10 years.
Cumming’s activism and charity work for civil rights and sex education causes have earned him several humanitarian awards including two Human Rights Campaigns awards, GLAAD’s (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) prestigious Vito Russo Media award and The Trevor Project Hero Award. In 2005, he was awarded an Icon of Scotland and in 2006, received an honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Abertay, Dundee. Most recently, he was appointed an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list honored for services to film, theater and the arts and to activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community. He is also the author of the book, Tommy’s Tale, and has launched a successful fragrance and body line. For more information, please visit www.alancumming.com. (return to cast)
SANDRA BERNHARD (Dr. Serena Mohr)
An accomplished comedienne, actress, singer, and writer, Sandra Bernhard truly embodies the spirit of the Arts. Breaking down perceived boundaries between entertainment, social commentary, and performance art, Bernhard defies neat categorization. Described by The New York Times as “a living breathing bonfire,” Bernhard has been challenging fans and critics with her knife-edged humor, satire and emotive performances for the past 25 years.
Bernhard’s live performances, which are part comedy, part social satire, and part cabaret, showcase her astonishing range of talents. Her recent show “Everything Bad and Beautiful” galvanized audiences in the United States and Great Britain. Her critically acclaimed Broadway hits, “I’m Still Here… Damn It!” toured nationally and was filmed for an HBO special, which has achieved legendary cult status.
You can currently catch her on tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of her classic hit show “Without You I’m Nothing.” The show toured the world and lead to a Grammy nominated album and feature film of the same name.
Since she first appeared in 1983 in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, Bernhard’s numerous films include Inside Monkey Zelterland, Hudson Hawk and more recently, Dinner Rush.
Her television appearances include a regular role on “Roseanne” from 1991-1996, and guest starring roles on “Ally McBeal”, “Chicago Hope”, and “Will & Grace”. She has appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman”, as well as “The Tonight Show”, “Rosie O’Donnell”, “The View” and “Chelsea Lately”. She hosted the season premiere of “MadTV” and in 2001 hosted her own talk show, “The Sandra Bernhard Experience” for A&E television.
Her publications include Confessions of a Pretty Lady, Love, Love, and Love, and May I Kiss You on the Lips, Miss Sandra? Her essays have been published in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker. (return to cast)
ADAM SALKY (Director)
New York City filmmaker Adam Salky makes his feature film directorial debut at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival with Dare, an official selection in the dramatic competition category.
Salky has directed several award-winning short films, including a short version of Dare in 2003, on which the feature film is based. It screened in over 50 festivals around the world, garnered six ‘best of’ awards, and was picked up for distribution by Strand Releasing. In 2007, Salky filmed Recruiter, a documentary short film, which was a finalist for the 2008 Student Academy Awards. Things That Go Bump In The Night, a short comedy that Salky wrote and directed, won a special jury prize at the 2005 Palm Beach Film Festival.
A creative writing major, magna cum laude graduate of Emory University, Salky completed his MFA with honors at Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts Film Division. His work at Columbia was recognized by three prestigious prizes: The Kodak Cinematography Speaker Series grant, The Panasonic Kids Witness News Fellowship for his work teaching filmmaking to under-privileged inner- city kids, and The James Bridges Award, a production grant, one of the highest honors in the Columbia Film Division.
Salky currently lives in Los Angeles. (return to filmmakers)
DAVID BRIND (Writer, Co-producer)
Philadelphia-born filmmaker/theater director David Brind has directed three short films, including Twenty Dollar Drinks starring Sandra Bernhard and Tony-Award winner Cady Huffman, which premiered in competition at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
Additionally, David wrote and produced the award-winning short film DARE, which, after playing over 50 film festivals worldwide, was picked up by Strand Releasing as part of Boys' Life 5, a successful series of gay-themed short films, available on DVD nationwide and currently airing on MTV’s LOGO network.
Returning to his theater roots, David directed Sandra Bernhard in her one-woman show titled Sandra Bernhard: Everything Bad and Beautiful, which ran for four months off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theater in 2006. Brind restaged the show at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in January 2007. He also participated as a director in the summer 2006, 2007 and 2008 benefit performances of “The A- Train Plays” at New World. Brind directed Cady Huffman in her first one-woman show, which premiered at the Ars Nova Theater and later played at Birdland Jazz Club in 2007. And most recently, he directed a reading of playwright Jerome Kass’ “Love Song” that featured Matthew Broderick and Alan Cumming.
Brind received his B.A from Yale University as a double major in Theater Studies and American Studies. He received his MFA in Screenwriting from Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program. Upcoming projects include a screenplay adaptation of William Wright’s non-fiction book Harvard’s Secret Court (St. Martin’s Press.) (return to fimmakers)
MARY JANE SKALSKI (Producer)
In addition to DARE, Mary Jane Skalski also produced the 2009 Sundance Spectrum entry Against the Current, Peter Callaghan’s drama starring Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk and Elisabeth Reaser.
A New York-based producer whose work is consistently critically acclaimed and financially successful, Skalski produced one of the few independent hits of 2008 – Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor. In one of the season’s strongest performances, Richard Jenkins stars as a college professor who becomes embroiled in the lives of a young immigrant couple living in New York and stumbles into an unexpected romance as a result. Jenkins was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.
Skalski previously collaborated with director Tom McCarthy on The Station Agent, which premiered in Dramatic Competition and garnered the Audience Award, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and a special acting award for Patricia Clarkson at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. At the San Sebastian Film Festival, The Station Agent received the Special Jury Prize. The film also received three Independent Spirit Awards, a BAFTA for Best Screenplay and three nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, including Best Ensemble. The Station Agent appeared on numerous ten best lists,
including that of the National Board of Review.
Skalski also produced Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin, which premiered at the 2004 Venice Film Festival and screened at the Toronto, Sundance and London film festivals. It was cited on over 70 ten best lists in the US (including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times) and received a Gotham Award nomination for star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a Spirit Award nomination for Araki.
Skalski received the IFP Producer Award in 2004 and appeared on Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch” the previous year. She is an assistant adjunct faculty member in Columbia University’s Graduate Film Department. From 1993 to 1999, Skalski was part of the New York production company Good Machine, where she acted in various capacities, including VP of Creative Affairs. (return to filmmakers)
JASON ORANS (Producer)
New York City-based producer Jason Orans was nominated for the 2009 Independent Spirit/Piaget Producers Award. His most recent film is Goodbye Solo, from writer/director Ramin Bahrani, winner of the Fipresci International Critics Prize at the 2008 Venice Film Festival. Goodbye Solo is currently in theatrical release by Roadside Attractions and will be released on DVD by Lionsgate. on August 25. He just wrapped on the Sundance Lab project Night Chases Us starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington.
Orans co-founded Gigantic Pictures with producing partner Brian Devine. Their other films include Goodbye Baby (Slamdance 2008), The Toe Tactic (New Directors/New Films 2008), Year of the Fish (Sundance, 2007), Flannel Pajamas (Sundance 2006, Dramatic Competition) and Satellite (Tribeca 2005) as well as several features for PBS, including Nisha Ganatra’s Cosmopolitan and Julia Solomonoff’s The Suitor. (return to filmmakers)
MICHAEL FIMOGNARI (Director of Photography)
Michael Fimognari, an ASC honored cinematographer, two-time Emmy Award winner and member of the International Cinematographers Guild, has traveled the world to light and lens motion pictures. His work has screened at honored venues including the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and Camerimage Cinematography Film Festival in Lodz, Poland. In addition to DARE, Fimognari’s recent feature credits include Yonkers Joe (Chazz Palminteri), The Neighbor (Matthew Modine) and Black Irish (Brendan Gleeson). Among his awards and critical praise, Fimognari received the Eastman Kodak Award for Best Cinematography at the 2004 Hamptons International Film Festival for Fighting Tommy Riley and an Honorable Commendation for the 2001 Robert Surtees Heritage Award from the American Society of Cinematographers for Issaquena. (return to filmmakers)
JENNIFER DEHGHAN (Production Designer)
Iranian-American production designer Jennifer Dehghan began her career as an art director for BBDO, NY where her campaigns received several awards including a NY ADDY gold, Creativity Annual’s award of distinction and multiple citations for Ad Week’s spot of the week. Drawn to the art of storytelling, Dehghan moved into designing for narrative films. Her first notable project was art directing the Academy Award-nominated The Squid and the Whale. The Lost Cause, directed by Oscar- winning writer Jim Taylor followed. She went on to production design Thanksgiving, premiering at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, Kettle of Fish (2006 Tribeca Film Festival) and On the Road with Judas, which premiered in Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2007. In 2008, Dehghan returned to Sundance with Michael Keaton’s directorial debut The Merry Gentlemen. Dehghan is currently working with Robert Legato on the psychological thriller Choose. (return to filmmakers)
DUNCAN SHEIK (Composer)
In addition to writing the music for “Spring Awakening” (2007 Tony Awards for Best Orchestrations and Best Original Score, 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album), Duncan Sheik’s other theater credits include: “Nero (Another Golden Rome)” (currently in development), “The Nightingale” (currently in development), “Whisper House” (currently in development). Recorded works include: “Whisper House” (Sony/Victor 2009), “White Limousine” (Rounder 2006), “Daylight” (Atlantic Records 2002), “Phantom Moon” (Nonesuch 2001), “Humming” (Atlantic Records 1998), “Duncan Sheik” (Grammy Nomination “Best Male Vocal”) (Atlantic Records 1996). Film Scores include: Harvest (2009), Little Spirit: Christmas in New York (2008), Capers (2007), The Cake Eaters (2007) and A Home At The End Of The World (2004). Producer credits include: “Holly Brook” (forthcoming CD 2009), “Micah Green” (2008), “Spring Awakening Original Cast Album” (Universal 2007) and “Chris Garneau” (2006). (return to filmmakers)
DAVID POE (Composer)
David Poe is a performing musician, songwriter and composer for film, dance and theatre. He has released three studio albums and two live albums; his next effort will be released in 2009. Poe’s songs and scores have been featured in numerous film and television projects, including Transamerica, Capers and Little Spirit, as well as Sam Shepard’s play “The Tooth of Crime,” and “The Copier,” a dance installation commissioned by New York’s Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. He lives in Manhattan. (return to filmmakers)