ANDY FORTENBACHER is a native to Grand Rapids, Michigan and is currently attending graduate school for his MFA in film directing at Columbia University in New York City. He is building his portfolio with films that exemplify rich stories about people that overcome their personal and external difficulties. Andy is mostly interested in telling stories that are dramatic, suspense/thriller, and comedy. MELON HEAD is Fortenbacher's 7th short film. His previous films have received awards and have screened at film festivals around the world.
In addition to his directorial projects, Fortenbacher is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE - Local 600) and has worked as a union camera assistant on several feature length films. He has also worked as the Director of Photography on several short films, commercial productions, and web series throughout Michigan, New York City, and LA.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Fortenbacher spent several years doing audio production which complimented his passion for music. When he is not working behind the camera, he enjoys working as a post-production sound designer and sound mixer. www.AndyFortenbacher.com
CRAIG HARMER works as a professional motion picture/television cinematographer on projects ranging from cable TV and theatrical media spots to independent experimental cinema. Filming across the Midwest and East Coast, Harmer has worked everywhere from Chicago to Detroit to Raleigh, exploring new styles and formats with each destination. He is a longtime collaborator and passionate advocate for a meticulous, deliberate craft of filmmaking. Harmer shoots all formats, but loves film the most.
From growing up in southeast Michigan, CHRIS KOTCHER went from shooting videos in the backyard to earning his bachelor's degree in Film Production from Grand Valley State University. Over the past 8 years he has produced, directed, shot, edited, acted in, and crewed on dozens of film/video/commercial projects all over the Midwest. From shorts to features and everything in between, he continues to collaborate on larger and larger backyard projects.
His last directed/produced short film SPRINGFIELD AND SUMMER SAUSAGE has been screened, nominated, and awarded at numerous festivals around the region. As a producer, his collaborations have lead to even more acclaim at festivals across the country. In addition to MELON HEAD this year, his work will spread across 3 more short films, a comedy pilot, one play, a feature-film, and a couple of big projects in development for 2013. He enjoys not writing bios and is a connoisseur of fine cereals & ice creams.
DUNCAN BLICKENSTAFF is a Los Angeles based film composer who received his MFA at Columbia College Chicago under the direction of Andy Hill. Blickenstaff is currently working as a composer assistant for Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen. He has had the opportunity to work on such films as Life of Pi, Moneyball, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, as well as provide additional music for the films and shows World Without End, Girl Most Likely, Battleground, and The English Teacher.
A bright new talent on the “ones to watch” radar, ZAC PAGE’S distinctive style and progressive vision has been expressed in more than fifteen short films adding numerous awards to his resume. His scripts have garnered attention from New York to L.A. His most recent short AMERICAN CHEESE has gathered much attention while touring the film festival circuit, and is presently in development to become a feature film with a New York production company. Page has been praised for his clear sense of style, collaborative spirit, and professionalism. He is a man of words, plays croquet in his spare time, and prefers not to water ski.
ROB CRISTIANO is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker. His credits include the upcoming indie features MY FIRST KISS AND THE PEOPLE INVOLVED (Co-Producer) and THE MEND (Prod. Coordinator), as well as the Broadway-themed web series UNDERSTUDIES (Producer). Cristiano has produced eleven short films that have screened in more than seventy film festivals in twenty different countries. They include PENNY DREADFUL (Audience Prize - Clermont-Ferrand Int'l Short Film Fest), MELON HEAD (Atlanta Film Festival), THE PAINTER AND THE WIFE (Best Comedy Short, Bare Bones Film Festival), and THE GLITCH. His upcoming film, THE KING'S PAWN (dir. Jonah Bleicher), was recently awarded a grant by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Cristiano was selected to participate in the 2013 Making Waves producer's workshop at the Berlinale. He was recently awarded the prestigious Debra Hill Fellowship for emerging producers from the Producer's Guild of America. Prior to receiving his MFA in Producing from the Columbia University Film Program, Cristiano spent five years at MTV, where he produced DVDs of the most successful franchises in the history of the channel, including BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD, THE STATE, and JACKASS.
BENJAMIN RUBIN is an independent film producer based in NYC. He has produced a over a dozen acclaimed short films and an upcoming feature. He is currently enrolled in the Creative Producing Program at Columbia University's Graduate Film program. Prior to Columbia, he ran a student-based production company at the University of California and worked in communications for political campaigns.
JOHN OTTERBACHER is a film, television and new media producer specializing in independent film/tv and work for non profit organizations through his company Orange Chair Productions Ltd. His award winning-films such as RIFFRAFF and ROOFTOP WARS as well as Emmy-nominated tv show GAME TIME DINE have been viewed in theaters, at festivals, on television screens, at corporate events and on the Internet. MELON HEAD is his 5th collaboration with Andy Fortenbacher. Beyond narrative filmmaking, John is a faculty member at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy and is directing a feature-length documentary, Officially Limited.
AARON BANNASCH is a graduate of Grand Valley State University’s Film & Video program. He is currently continuing his education at GVSU, pursuing a Masters in Communications. Bannasch values the creative process and enjoys using any form of media available to help others share their stories, in turn helping himself craft his own. vimeo.com/bannasch