Enter the Killer Shorts Horror Short Screenplay Competition today

In the past few years horror shorts have become a goldmine for Hollywood. Feature films such as The BabadookLights OutMama, and Saw originated as proof-of-concept shorts. Shorts like WhisperThe Burden Behind Sweet Tooth, and Milk were discovered by producers like James Wan and Sam Raimi and are now in development as features.

It all starts with the script.

The Killer Shorts Horror Short Screenplay Competition was created to discover inspire and promote emerging screenwriters around the world as they dig up the freshest new voices in horror. 

Killer Shorts is passionate about horror and all its subgenres. Horrifying monsters, psychological terrors, hilarious horror comedies, creepy creatures: whatever your dark & twisted mind can imagine! If you love and make horror, you should definitely enter their contest this Gothtober.

Call to entry info and fees

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October 15th, 2019

November 15th, 2019

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Follow this ghoultastic screenwriters prize on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


HYPE MAGAZINE - 'Killer Shorts' press release coverage

POP HORROR - 'Killer Shorts' press release coverage

INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITERS ASSOCIATION - Listed the 'Killer Shorts' screenplay competition


A transgender teen bonds with four other adolescent outsiders in Justin Ward’s “Relish,” which utilizes a classic Hollywood plot device ― the road trip ― to deliver a powerful message about inclusion. HuffPost got an exclusive sneak peek at the drama, which premieres Friday at the Burbank International Film Festival in California, via the clip above.

In it, the character of Kai (played by Tyler DiChiara), who identifies as trans, is racked with emotion while viewing himself in a mirror with his chest bound.

The film follows Kai as he escapes from treatment facility with four additional patients: social media influencer Aspen (Hana Hayes), drug-addicted athlete Levi (Mateus Ward), bipolar Theo (Rio Mangini) and alien-obsessed Sawyer (Chelsea Zhang). Together, the members of this motley crew head to the fictional Dreamland Music Festival and, along the way, learn a few things about perseverance.

DiChiara’s performance as Kai has already generated significant buzz, given the scarcity of openly transgender actors in trans roles in both television and film. Ward told HuffPost he and the movie’s casting director spent four months auditioning hopefuls before selecting DiChiara, who recently won a Young Artist Award.

“Before I wrote the script, [producer] Terry Nardozzi and I discussed “Relish” being about five teenagers who need inclusion in their lives to survive,” Ward said. “I knew this was a character I had to handle with care ... [Tyler’s] tape was raw, over-the-top, and it was clear he had very little experience, but man, did he get it! His choices were clear, smart and real. He was Kai.”

The filmmaker was adamant that Kai be set apart from other transgender characters in that he had “other interests and quirks ... that existed beyond [his] gender identity.”

“This character would be wild, the life of the party, confident,” Ward said. “Flawed? Absolutely, just as much as the rest of the teens, but not the victim. [He’s] a strong character who loves life and wants to make the most of it.”

“Relish” debuts Sept. 6 at the Burbank International Film Festival.


POST MAGAZINE - Authored piece on composer Rio Mangini

FILM THREAT - Film review

POP CULTURALIST - Interview with actor Mateus Ward


Sometimes the most inspiring journeys that teens can embark on are the emotional ones that allow them to learn about the powerful bond of friendship, and that their differences are what make them special. Actress Hana Hayes is leading a compelling young cast in the new drama, ‘Relish,’ which emphasizes the importance of young adults learning to rely on others to help them deal with their personal demons. In honor of the movie gearing up to have its World Premiere at the 2019 Burbank International Film Festival, ShockYa is exclusively premiering the latest trailer from the feature.

‘Relish’ was written and directed by Justin Ward. In addition to Hayes, the drama also stars Mateus Ward, Rio Mangini and Chelsea Zhang, and introduces Tyler DiChiara.

The following synopsis has been released for ‘Relish’:

Five teenage outcasts escape a private treatment facility in hopes of attending the infamous Dreamland Music Festival. Led by a rebellious transgender male, Kai (DiChiara), and with help from Aspen (Hayes), a social media influencer; Levi (Ward), a football player addicted to opioids; Theo (Mangini), who suffers from bipolar disorder; and Sawyer (Zhang), an alien obsessed nerd, the five embark on the journey of a lifetime.

The movie brings a level of authenticity to the heart-wrenching struggles and challenges faced by modern teens, especially by the transgender community. DiChiara just made history at the 40th Annual Young Artist Awards as the first transgender Best Actor Recipient of the Academy.

‘Relish’ will be in competition when it has its World Premiere at the Burbank International Film Festival. The premiere will be held on Friday, September 6 at 8pm PDT at the Burbank AMC 16 Theaters (125 E. Palm Ave, Burbank, CA 91502).

For more information on ‘Relish,’ visit the feature’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.


SHOCK YA! - Interview with director Justin Ward and actor Tyler DiChiara

QUEERTY - Posted an exclusive clip

GETTY IMAGES - Red carpet premiere photos


Producing team Adam Neutzsky-Wulff and Pauline Inda announced on Wednesday the official launch of their new production company Courageous Content, focusing on thought-provoking, timely and political indies.

Courageous Content has wrapped production on two new features. “All The Little Things We Kill” — a controversial hostage drama about the gun control issue in the U.S., — is seeking the festival route and distribution. The film stars Elizabeth Marvel (“Homeland”), Danielle Brooks (“Orange is the New Black”), Casey Cott (“Riverdale”), Jessica Sula (MTV’s “Scream”) and Scott Cohen (“The Americans”). And “You Are Here” — a drama about a young scientist who rounds up his dysfunctional family in a Malibu mansion to tell them he has terminal cancer — starring Peter Vack (“Mozart in the Jungle”), Anna Popplewell (“The Chronicles of Narnia”), and William Baldwin (“Northern Rescue”).

They currently have two more films in development: a controversial project about a political scandal in Kenya and another feature about police brutality in the U.S.

“One of the main focuses of Courageous Content is inspiring change by amplifying voices that don’t get heard,” says Adam Neutzsky-Wulff. “At the heart of it all is a deep need to be human and inspire change. We are issue-driven and designed to promote social responsibility. And we always make an effort to set a diverse and inclusive cast and team.”

Hailing from an artistic family in Copenhagen — with his father being a prolific writer — it was no surprise Neutzsky-Wulff would go on to pursue a career in film. He started off directing short films that won awards at international festivals, and expanded his experience to massive music video and commercial work, which led him to focus on narrative storytelling in the form of four national Danish TV shows. Inda was born in Kenya and moved to New Jersey to attend college. Afterwards, she enjoyed a very successful career in finance in New York City, a world that couldn’t have prepared her better for the film business. With her love for numbers and structure, coupled with Adam’s creative expression, they producing team is poised to make their mark.


BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH - 'The Vast of Night' film review

BLOODY DISGUSTING - Posted an exclusive clip

NO FILM SCHOOL - Interview with director Andrew Patterson


'The Vast of Night': Film Review | Slamdance 2019

Andrew Patterson conjures a period perplexer of paranormal proportions in his cannily conceived debut feature.

Commercials director Andrew Patterson mines New Mexico's rich history of supposed UFO sightings, ET visitations and alien abductions in The Vast of Night, a throwback to '50s sci-fi anthology TV shows. By turns intriguingly odd and frustratingly obscure, this is confidently quirky material that nonetheless boasts superior production values with style to spare.

Patterson presents the film as an episode of the fictional Paradox Theater TV show, a series similar to the original Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. In the opening scene, the camera tracks in on a TV set as the program begins, with the announcer solemnly intoning "You are entering a realm between clandestine and forgotten. Tonight's episode: 'The Vast of Night.'"

A long scene-setting shot dominated by impressively fluid camerawork introduces high school student Fay (Sierra McCormick) and recent graduate Everett (Jake Horowitz), the late-night DJ at AM radio station WOTW in fictional Cayuga, New Mexico. Working the nighttime shift at the town's telephone switchboard office, Fay tunes in to Everett's radio show before taking a call from an unidentified woman, who tells her in a panicky voice that there are three large objects hovering above her house before the line disconnects. Meanwhile, the WOTW signal keeps getting interrupted by a strange audio transmission that sounds like dozens of faint voices mumbling through heavy static. Fay picks up the same sound on one of the switchboard lines and patches it through to Everett, who puts it on air live, asking listeners to phone in if they recognize it.

It's not long before Fay transfers a call to Everett from a man who identifies himself only as Billy (Bruce Davis), a disabled veteran. Everett puts him on air and in a long, rambling account, Billy describes his domestic Air Force service, which involved several clandestine assignments, including one at a remote desert location digging tunnels that were intended to conceal something resembling a large aircraft. He says that the same type of transmissions that Fay and Everett have identified interrupted military radio communications at the site. When he and others on the secret mission came down with undiagnosed illnesses, Billy concluded that the buried craft might not have been of earthly origin.

Shortly after Everett broadcasts Billy's unsettling experience, Fay gets a call from Mabel Blanche (Gail Cronauer), an elderly woman who says she has a "companion" account that also involves the mystery transmission, but significantly pre-dates Billy's military service. By now the coincidental events in Cayuga are starting to suggest a pattern, but Mabel has something far more sinister to reveal that will send Fay and Everett on a quest that will radically change their perceptions about the Cayuga cluster of paranormal occurrences. For all their very public visibility however, these incidents taper off inconclusively by the end of the film, returning the town to its placid equilibrium.

The relationship between Everett and Fay also remains frustratingly tranquil. Although they're caught up in momentous events, they develop very little personal conflict, always pursuing the same objectives without disagreement or hesitancy, but there's never a hint of romance either. McCormick and Horowitz are charismatic enough as a team, but when they're rarely separated neither seems to project much individuation onto their characters.

Despite the film's aesthetic affinities for classics like The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, co-writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger have crafted a script far more akin to a radio drama than the demands of a sci-fi feature. In particular, several very long conversations dominate the film, constraining the action with fixed shots and unvaried locations that weigh on the pacing. Although the final third fulfills some of the movie's higher ambitions, these developments arrive too late and end too abruptly to convey much excitement.

When the camera is moving however, either tracking or mounted on a drone, Patterson and DP M.I. Littin Menz achieve a heightened sense of reality that's noticeably missing from many other scenes. Production designer Adam Dietrich was clearly allotted a good chunk of the shooting budget and the settings (mostly Texas locations), props and classic autos all clearly convey a mid-'50s vibe that's strongly reinforced with period wardrobe selections.

Venue: Slamdance Film Festival (Narrative Feature Film Competition)
Cast: Sierra McCormick, Jake Horowitz, Gail Cronauer, Bruce Davis
Director: Andrew Patterson
Screenwriters: James Montague, Craig W. Sanger
Producers: Andrew Patterson, Melissa Kirkendall, Adam Dietrich
Executive producers: Caleb Henry, Marcus Ross, Eric Williams
Director of photography: M.I. Littin Menz
Production designer: Adam Dietrich
Editor: Junius Tully
Music: Erick Alexander, Jared Bulmer

84 minutes


SALT LAKE MAGAZINE - 'The Vast of Night' film review

VARIETY - Slamdance curtain raiser

THE YOUNG FOLKS - 'The Vast of Night' film review


Sundance Dispatch: Beats and The Vast of Night


Sundance 2019 is nearly half over and so far I haven’t seen any narrative fiction films as exciting as two I saw in Slamdance, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the alt-Sundance. Over the years the funky festival at the top of Main Street has become a bit more savvy about projection and, while its headquarters are hardly glamorous or of any use to star gazers, there is a sense of creativity at the place—as if a film festival isn’t just about deals or networking. Although Steven Soderbergh got his big break in 1989 when sex, lies, and videotape played at Sundance (that year it was still called the U.S. Film Festival) he has always been supportive of Slamdance, which this year honored him with its Founders Award and put his photo in a bewitching long gray wig in the lobby—I guess so that no one would recognize him when he showed up in person. Soderbergh is the executive producer of one of the two terrific films I saw at Slamdance; Brian Welsh’s Beats, and he tipped me off to the other, Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night.

Although I’m pretty resistant these days to straight-white-boys-coming-of-age films, Beats is so tender in its depiction of the friendship between two working-class teens living in a wretched town in Scotland in 1995 and finding freedom through the rave scene, and is so accomplished in its storytelling—it’s not only the boys who escape their imprisoning lives in a druggy, mind-blowing, eye-opening, open-air, law-defying rave, but the film itself, in a third-act breakout that has the nerve not merely to sample the delirious experience of hundreds of kids coming together through music, but to sustain that delirium long enough to override conventions of how the climax of a film should be shaped—that I wanted to find out how and why it was made.

Welsh was 13 in 1995 and rave was his life. He became a DJ, did a lot of drugs and therefore wasn’t much of a student, but at a technical college he discovered that he liked to write and edit film. His work as a documentary editor led to the London Film School accepting him on an editing track, but he ended up directing a feature. “Just a student film,” he says, but it made it possible for him to get funding for what he considers his first film, In Our Name. What caught Soderbergh’s attention was his direction of the Emmy Award–winning final episode of the first season of Black Mirror. It helped, he says, that he didn’t know the rules of television and that he had a producer who didn’t care about that.

We talked in the Slamdance offices where Welsh had just arrived after an overnight flight from the Rotterdam Film Festival. Among the things he told me in a very few minutes was that, although he had been an editor, this film wasn’t found in the editing. Rather, it was fully storyboarded and it was the prep that allowed him to take the risk of the time-expanding rave sequence. The most difficult part was the casting. It wasn’t just finding the right actors for the two adolescent boys; there had to be chemistry between them. We have to believe that although they are polar opposites, their friendship is deep and necessary. He wanted Lorn Macdonald to play the volatile, wildly demonstrative boy, but finding an actor who could be his counterpart was so difficult that Welsh thought he might have to cancel the film. But Macdonald suggested that he see Cristian Ortega, who was in fact his friend, and it proved the perfect match. I think that Macdonald will get a lot of attention, and he should, but it is Ortega, who never seems to change his facial expression for the entire film, who draws you into the experience of finding freedom through music. It is a unique, even Keaton-esque performance, as true as it is strange, funny, and very touching.

The Vast of Night

Among the many things that can be said of The Vast of Night is that its director Andrew Patterson does the ’50s without a trace of David Lynch. Patterson, who’s in his mid-thirties, lives and works in Oklahoma and acquired his formidable technical skills through making commercials and promo pieces. He wrote and discarded many scripts before he arrived at The Vast of Night, which he describes as falling through a rabbit hole into an episode of The Twilight Zone, not as that piece of nuclear-panic Americana is ironically remade or reframed today, but as it gives the period and its representations, then and now, the seriousness it deserves. For me, The Vast of Night was the kind of discovery that one comes to Park City for, a display of visionary moviemaking intelligence equal to that of my most memorable Utah experiences; Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko or Shane Carruth’s Primer, or for that matter, Christopher Nolan’s Following, which also premiered at Slamdance. The Vast of Nightis an alien invasion film in which the aliens are kind of heard but never seen. When I asked Patterson if there was a metaphor in the film for the terror about disenfranchised human beings crossing the Southern border, he said the film was not conceived in that way, but it was a fine interpretation. More about Patterson and his brilliant debut feature when it’s released.

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From last week's walkout at Google to the upswell in women's voices calling for gender equity in tech, Silicon Valley women have had something of a reckoning over the past few years. While actress Amanda Crew may not literally work in the tech industry, she portrays someone who does: Monica Hall, her plucky character on the HBO sitcom "Silicon Valley." Though fiction, "Silicon Valley" tackles Silicon Valley's sexism problem through the lens of satire; hence, Crew's character has become a vehicle for the trials and tribulations of thousands of real-life women who work in the tech industry, and who see her as a vehicle for what it's like being a woman in Silicon Valley.

Besides being a dynamic actress, Crew is a voice for those who suffer with eating disorders — which includes 30 million Americans of all ages and genders. Crew got involved with Project Heal, which assists those with eating disorders in accessing treatment, when she realized that being silent about her eating disorder in her early twenties was only hurting her self. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, and she believes there remains a lot of stigma around this mental illness. In this interview, Salon spoke with Crew about her activism in the body image field, misogyny in the real Silicon Valley, and more.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Nicole Karlis: I’d love to hear your thoughts on Silicon Valley. In the show, there aren’t many lead female characters either except for yours, Monica Hall. How do you think your character fits into the national conversation around misogyny in Silicon Valley — and the tech industry — right now?

Amanda Crew: The show is satirizing the industry, and sometimes the feedback is, “there should be more women on the show.” And it's like, well, that’s not an option because in the industry, there are more men than women. So, I like that they've stuck to keeping it as a man's world because that is what it is. With Monica, we get to see the weird uncomfortable awkward situations of just being a woman around a bunch of dudes all the time in this industry. So many women have come up to me and commented on how like “Oh my God, I do what Monica does. I've been in those situations like [having my office] outside the men's bathroom." I've gotten to know more people, more women in Silicon Valley, and again, it's another space where it's so disheartening and shocking to see that culture and that world and what these women are up against.

How do you think satirizing the excesses of tech, as done in "Silicon Valley," contributes to the overall conversation about the tech's excesses in our society?

I think they've touched on how this can be a really dangerous and damaging thing, and sometimes it's done in a subtle way, and sometimes it's done very overtly. It can really make you think — like, what they have done with Fiona, this guy is in love with this robot. It’s like that's a real thing, and that can feel like where our world is headed.

Can you share with me how you got involved with Project Heal and what that experience has been like for you so far?

I had decided that I wanted to align myself with an organization that was doing work in the field of body image and specifically eating disorders because I had an eating disorder in my late teens and early twenties. I had never really shared that publicly and had realized that I had been kind of keeping that a secret because I felt ashamed, even though I had recovered and I was healthy again.

I know there's the stigma surrounding eating disorders. There's a misunderstanding around them and I fear that if people knew this about me that they would miss label me as the self-obsessed actress who wanted to be super skinny and took it too far. That's the stigma is so damaging to people who are struggling with this and, who are keeping it a secret and are suffering in silence, when they don't need to. I realized by not speaking out about my journey that I was just furthering that narrative. And so last year I decided that no I didn't want to keep that a secret anymore and I wanted to use my platform for good, and that I wanted to speak out about this.

When I spoke with Kristina [Saffran], who's the CEO of Project Heal, and heard what they were doing I just knew that they were the organization that I wanted to work with. I felt that they had a fresh perspective on it. It wasn't this sterile, medicinal look at [eating disorders]. It’s something that has been so fulfilling for me to give back in the space, and that has been helpful to me too.

That's so inspiring. I'm happy that you found an organization that you really connected with and that seems like it's been life-changing for you. You said you were silent about your eating disorder for a while, was there something specific that prompted you to really want to share your story last year?

I felt just like the political climate last year, and with women's rights and just the energy in the world, you really just saw a lot of women stepping up and not being quiet anymore about a lot of different things. I was also waking up to that realization of like “Oh wow, you've really been silencing yourself about this out of fear of judgment. And that's not helping anyone. And it's not helping you.”

It was an empowering thing to myself. It felt almost like the final step in my recovery in kind of having this compassionate, loving moment of almost like apologizing to myself. It was a release.

In society, we just want—for example, on social media—to try and show all the good stuff that's going on. That’s the image that we often project to our friends and our jobs and everything. And so we were taught that anything that's dark about ourselves to hide it, and that no one wants to know about it, and that no one wants to see it. We just want to feel happiness, and so like we push that s**t down, and we dismiss it and diminish it. This felt like a way for me to know and honor that part of me because that is who I am, and that has made me the person that I am. Getting through that and recovering is part of who I am.

It sounds like self-acceptance has been a big part of your recovery process. Can you share more about that?

I think it's especially something that women struggle with, I think men have their own version of it, but especially with women and especially with women in the film and television industry. From a young age, everyone would always tell me, “Don't forget you have a shelf life, once you turn 30 or 35 your career is over so start thinking of a backup.” And so you're just constantly made aware that you’re only valued for the way you look.

It’s an awful idea. Magazines only have super young skinny white girls on the cover. Disney movies are about the princess being saved by a guy. All of this messaging says that your worth is based on your outside image, and I was just on autopilot for a while. I never questioned it until later in life which I think is the case for a lot of women. I'm so grateful for the world we're in now because I think younger girls are being raised with a deeper awareness and different perspectives on all of this. And even media is changing, yes there's a lot of work to do, but it's at least changing and shifting and I'm grateful for it. I’m excited for the younger generation because they're growing up with a different narrative or at least another narrative going on. But that wasn't the way that I grew up.

I was really skinny as a kid and had older women praise my prepubescent body, which is a really disturbing thing. They would say, “oh my God, you're a bottomless pit, you just keep eating and you're so skinny, I wish you could eat as much as you and be as skinny as you.” Looking back, it was so damaging, because the message I received was “you're skinny, I wish I was skinny, you're lucky.” And once you lose that, being skinny, you're nothing. When I started to go through puberty and my body started changing it really freaked me out and I felt like I was losing what people valued about me.

Like you saiddo think the narrative is changing for young women today, but with social media there is this pressure to post these perfect photos of yourself.

I'm conflicted on social media because there are also so many of these incredible pages for girls with body positivity messages, and showing them a different narrative of acceptance and demystifying all of those Cosmo headlines. On the other side of it, there are these really influential influencers and celebrity models. They're like 18 and they're getting fillers and they're getting injections, and then photoshopping those photos.

More women are running for office, which is very exciting. I’m curious what you think can be done at the legislative level for people who have eating disorders?

It’s so great to see more women running, because the only way that we're going to have women's health recognized is with more women there. The most alarming thing to me since getting involved with Project Heal is to see how unrecognized the [eating disorder] space is as far as funding, and the level of seriousness that people take it. I think again there is a stigma around it, that it's a choice, that it's just kind of a woman's vanity issue when in fact it actually affects — a third of people affected by eating disorders are men, and that's also something that like I can't imagine how hard it is for men who struggle with eating disorders.

There’s a stigma that it's a woman's issue. So what guy is going to come forward and say, “I'm struggling with this.”  Also, for women of color it's it's really not recognized either. They say that it’s a white girl's problem, and that's not true. It doesn’t discriminate [for] gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background or any of that. This affects 30 million Americans, yet only 10 million dollars is being raised each year collectively for these organizations.

For director Justin Ward, when it came time to cast the transgender role in his independent feature "Relish," "It never crossed my mind," he said, not to use a transgender actor. "In this day and age, you would never cast a white man to play a black man. This is the way to look at (transgender casting) now."

PHOTO: Tyler DiChiara in the film Relish. Zusha Goldin/Ohana Films
Tyler DiChiara in the film Relish.

Ward cast novice actor Tyler DiChiara, 18, who immediately fell in love with his character, Kai, one of five teens outcasts who escape a private treatment facility.

"The thing with this character, he’s not victimized," said DiChiara, who is transgender. "He’s a strong independent man."

He continued, "Kai is the life of the party. Other than his issues of being trans, he’s just a man who happens to be trans. I felt like I went through everything that Justin wrote in this script...fear of the future...getting into relationships. The only thing different about Kai is that he is trans."

Ward just wrapped post-production and is looking for a distributor, but already the cast was featured in Variety. And DiChiara has found his calling. At a recent audition, he went for the part of a cisgender man.

"I was just a gay man, a regular man," he said. "That actually made me tear up. I'm going for a cis role. It's crazy how this world is changing."

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 10.44.50 PM

Film News Roundup: Dermot Mulroney, Melora Walters Join ‘Hard Luck Love Song’



ManM Productions and Ohana Films have wrapped post-production on “Relish,” a drama starring Tyler DiChiara and directed by Justin Ward.

The film tells the story of five teenage outcasts who escape a private treatment facility. Led by a rebellious transgender male (DiChiara), the group embarks on a wild, life-changing road trip – ultimately discovering they have a lot more in common than they ever imagined.

DiChiara endorsed Scarlett Johansson’s recent decision to drop out of her role as a transgender man in “Rub and Tug.”

“I think trans people should have the opportunity to play trans people, just because we get so few opportunities to get hired as actors,” said DiChiara, “I love what Scarlett Johansson did.  She gave the trans community a voice finally. She is helping us be seen. I also want to thank the trans community for standing up and speaking out.  We need the trans youth – more now than ever – to see more of us in films, in professional careers, and doing things beyond negative stereotypes and projections. “Relish” is about inclusion and acceptance, and I am honored to have played a leading role in it.”

Ward’s credits include “The Meanest Man in Texas.” MANM Productions’ Terry Nardozzi is on board as producer – her first feature film following her involvement with a string of Broadway productions.

“We did a nationwide search for a real transgender person and found DiChiara, who is a tremendous actor and human being,” says Ward, “At its core, this is a story about unity and acceptance, and the freedom to be yourself.”

Other “Relish” cast members include Mateus Ward (“Murder in the First”), Hana Hayes (“Insidious: The Last Key”), Rio Mangini (“Bitch,” “Everything Sucks!”), and James Morrison (“24”). Mateus Ward is co-producing and Brad Wilson is the consulting producer, who formerly operated Robert Duvall Productions.


BRIEF TAKE - Interview with Emily Bett Rickards

FILM THREAT - 'Funny Story' film review

PARK CITY TELEVISION - Interview with director Michael Gallagher, Emily Bett Rickards, Matthew Glave, and Jana Winternitz




NEXT BEST PICTURE - Interview with Michael Gallagher, Emily Bett Rickards, Matthew Glave, and Jana Winternitz

HAMMER TO NAIL - 'Funny Story' film review

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY - Sundance Portrait Studio





THE YOUNG FOLKS - Interview with Emily Bett Rickards

PASTE MAGAZINE - Interview with Michael Gallagher, Emily Bett Rickards, Matthew Glave, and Jana Winternitz

NO FILM SCHOOL - Interview with director Michael Gallagher



THR’s at-a-glance look at the week in representation news

Who got signed, promoted, hired or fired? The Hollywood Reporter’s Rep Sheet rounds up the week in representation news. To submit announcements for consideration, contact

Gunning for Hollywood
NASCAR Cup and Daytona 500 champ Kurt Busch has signed with ICM Partners as well as Orlando-based Livewire Entertainment for management. “We are thrilled to be working with a premier talent such as Kurt and believe he has a long and great future in television ahead of him,” ICM’s Matt Sorger and Lou Oppenheim said in a joint statement.

Said Livewire founder Joe Mulvihill in a statement, “I am thrilled to be a part of Kurt’s team and to help elevate his career in and out of the NASCAR world where he has already made a big splash.”

Mexican star Cecilia Suarez has signed with manager Byron Wetzel of Wetzel Entertainment Group. The Mexico-born actress actually began her career at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre before becoming a box-office draw in Latin America with films such as Tales of an Immoral CoupleElvira, I Will Give You My Life but I’m Using It and Blue Eyelids. In 2009 she became the first Spanish speaker to receive a best actress International Emmy nomination, for HBO’s Capadocia. Suarez also has received accolades for stage productions such as Teatro de los Insurgente’s El curioso incidente del perro a media noche, La Rama del Teatro’s Hermanas, Teatro Juan Ruiz de Alarcon’s Otelo and the Goodman Theatre’s Electricidad. She has been seen on Netflix’s Sense8, NBC’s Medium, ABC’s Boston Legal and Lifetime’s For the People, where she was a series regular. Suarez currently recurs on the Disney Media Latin America series El Cesar and will soon be seen on Netflix’s La Casa de las Flores and MGM’s Overboard remake.

Wetzel also has signed Belgian actor Ronald Guttman, who plays Denis on AMC’s Preacher. He’ll next be seen in BBC/Netflix’s The Forgiving Earth and Focus Features’ On the Basis of Sex, where he plays a former professor of a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones). His other credits include The Good WifeMad Men and Mildred Pierce on television; NinaGirl Most LikelyPawn13Green CardThe Hunt for Red OctoberAvalon and Danton in film; and Picasso at the Lapin AgileBauer and Master and Margarita on stage.

CAA has promoted 10 trainees to agent or executive:

  • new TV lit agent Austin Denesuk in Los Angeles
  • new music agents Bennett Beckner and Madison Lee in Nashville and Joseph Harris and Joe Mott in Los Angeles
  • new CAA Foundation executives Callie Rivers and Maddy Roth in Los Angeles
  • new CAA Golf executive Beth Enstrom in Jacksonville
  • new CAA Sports talent sales agent Tee Stumb in New York
  • new speakers agent Erik Telford in Los Angeles

Paradigm has promoted Margaret Bushart to general manager of the Nashville office, where her responsibilities will include liaising with the Music City community and serving as primary point of contact for the agency’s local public relations and charitable initiatives in addition to continuing to oversee office administration. “In her five years with us, Margaret has proven herself immensely capable and a true leader on our team,” Nashville office head Jonathan Levine, whose desk will continue to be managed by Bushart, said in a statement. “She’s the heart of our Nashville office and will do us proud as the face of Paradigm’s operations, alongside our extraordinary agents, to the wider Nashville community.”

Scale Management has promoted Kai Gayoso from talent coordinator to junior talent manager. He began his career in the UTA mailroom and worked for digital/branding agent Sarah Early, UTA Marketing principal David Anderson and digital media head Brent Weinstein before moving to ID-PR and working for vp digital strategy Natalie Bruss. “I am so excited to watch Kai continuously grow and continue to further the development of his career within Scale Management,” partner Kyle Santillo said in a statement. “He comes from an extraordinary background within the entertainment industry and I am thrilled to see him building out his own roster. With the help of Kai and his knowledge of the media space, we are excited to continue the growth of the organization and further bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”

New year, new companies
Big Frame manager Byron Austen Ashley has formed his own management/production company, Settebello Entertainment, but will maintain a strategic partnership with his former employer, including a first-look digital deal with Big Frame’s parent company, AwesomenessTV. The Canadian native, 27, was one of Big Frame’s earliest employees and over nearly six years became its senior-most executive, helping digital talent transition to roles on traditional platforms including Netflix, Game Show Network, BET, the U.K.’s Channel 4 and Canada’s Family Channel. Ashley, who recently executive produced digital projects for New Form and Lakeshore’s Off the Dock, as well as the Streamy-nominated Vimeo original film Bad Night, currently is executive producing Wes Armstrong’s Facebook series Couples Night.

Former Big Time PR publicist Mitch Swan has formed Millennial PR, which will represent narrative features, documentaries and short films accepted into festivals, as well as web series and shortform content. The veteran publicist has worked on more than 100 film campaigns and represented projects at Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Los Angeles Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival, as well as the 2016 Emmy-nominated web series Her Story.

New year, new gig
Strategic communications consultant of 42West, Alexandra Stabler, is joining Endeavor’s global partnerships team as a senior account manager, where she will lead strategy for client Imperative Entertainment (All the Money in the World).

On the stage and the page

Actor Erik Liberman has signed with Vanguard Management Group for theater, TV and film. This year he appeared on Broadway in the original musical War Paint, starring Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, and last year he was in the acclaimed Off-Broadway musical The Band’s Visit, starring Tony Shalhoub. Liberman, who penned a piece for this summer about Jayne Mansfield, is co-author of the upcoming book Luminous Life: How the Science of Light Unlocks the Art of Living, out next year via New World Library. His screen credits include HBO’s Vinyl, Cinemax’s The Knick and A&E’s Unforgettable. Liberman continues to be represented by Abrams for commercials.

Others on the dotted line
Katz PR has signed Abigail Savage, who as Gina Murphy on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black has shared three straight SAG awards for best ensemble and is again nominated for a fourth. She continues to be represented by Meg Pantera Agency and The Green Room.

Portrait PR has signed Lesley-Ann Brandt, who stars as Mazikeen on Fox’s Lucifer. She continues to be managed by Matt Luber at Luber Roklin.

42West has signed actress Bojana Novakovic, whose current credits include I, Tonya and CBS’ upcoming James Patterson drama Instinct.

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