Entertainment Magazine

Pretty Persuasion

 

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Marcos Siega (Director, co-producer), also an accomplished series television and award-winning music video director, made his feature film directorial debut for Miramax with the action comedy “The Underclassman” starring Nick Cannon and Shawn Ashmore, which is set for release in 2005.  He is next attached to direct the musical feature “Time After Time” for Universal Pictures with Matthew Weaver and Carl Levin, his partners in production company Prospect Pictures, set to produce.

After establishing a name for himself directing music videos, Siega got his start in series television directing episodes of “Fastlane” and “Oliver Beene.”  He went on to create, direct and Executive Produce VH1’s “Rock The House.” This past fall, Siega directed episodes for two new television series: ABC’s “Eyes” and UPN’s critically acclaimed “Veronica Mars.”

Always interested in filmmaking, he began developing his own style creating short films. Siega directed his first music video for the song “Can’t Wait One Minute More” by a group named C.I.V.  The song and video was released by Atlantic Records, and soon after the video appeared on MTV as a “buzz clip”, going on to win Best Rock Modern Video of the Year for Billboard.  Siega went on to direct numerous music videos, including Crystal Method’s “Murder and Name of the Game,” Jurassic 5’s “The Influence, Blink 182’s “Man Overboard,” “All the Small Things” and “What’s My Age Again?,” and P.O.D.’s “The Rock Party, “Southtown” and “Satellite.”  He has consistently been one of the most nominated directors at the MTV Video Music Awards and won the MVPA Best Music Video award for System Of A Down’s “Chop Suey.”

Some of his additional credits include videos for Rooney (“Pop Stars” and “Blueside”), All American Rejects (“Swing Swing”), Vanessa Carlton (“Pretty Baby”), Kelly Osbourne (“Papa Don’t Preach”), Pete Yorn (“Strange Condition”), Hoobastank (“Crawling in the Dark”), and Everclear (“Rock Star”).

Earlier, Siega was a member of a New York punk band called Bad Trip, and when they weren’t touring, he worked in production on numerous television shows and films including “Sleepless in Seattle.”

Skander Halim (Writer) spent a year in Los Angeles interning for production companies reading scripts and writing coverage.  During this time he wrote “Pretty Persuasion,” a script he hoped would get him some attention, but which he was convinced would never actually get made.

In the meantime, Halim wrote for children’s television: NBC Saturday morning and ABC Family shows, including “I Was a Sixth Grade Alien,” “The Zack Files,” and “Strange Days at Blake Holsey High.”

He is currently developing his feature directorial debut, a horror movie entitled “The Perfect Ghost,” as well as a drama series with 20th Century Fox Television.  As a director, Halim has made a number of short films.  His most recent short, “Guest Room,” played to acclaim on the international festival circuit, including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. 

Matthew Weaver (Producer) began his career directly out of high school at Walt Disney Studios as a production assistant under the tutelage of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Marty Katz.  At Disney he worked in a number of different production departments on such films as “Down and Out In Beverly Hills,” “Dick Tracy” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

After three years at the studio, he joined The Badham/Cohen Group working as an assistant to the principals on “Bird On A Wire” and “The Hard Way.”  Following the completion of these two projects he moved to Buena Vista Pictures, where he worked as a staff production coordinator on a number of films including “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.”

Anxious to step out on his own, in 1993 he formed Lord/Weaver Productions with producer Tony Lord.  They quickly signed a first look producing deal with Davis Entertainment with projects that include “The Harlem Globetrotters Story” being developed at Columbia with Penny Marshall attached to direct, “The Ice Queen,” a thriller also in development at Columbia, and “Confucius Brown,” a Martin Lawrence comedy in development at Universal.  In 1996 Lord/Weaver signed a first look producing deal with Columbia Pictures.  This yielded the studio projects that include “Billy Carter” about the nation’s most famous first brother and “The Village People Story” to be written and directed by the team that wrote “Ed Wood,” “The People Vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man On The Moon.”

In 1999 Weaver and Tony Lord left Columbia to produce “Chain of Fools” for Warner Brothers.  The film, directed by Traktor, stars Steve Zahn, Salma Hayek and Elijah Wood. 

His most recent producing venture, “My Baby’s Daddy,” starring Anthony Anderson and Eddie Griffin was released by Miramax in 2004.  Prior to that, he produced the documentary “Searching For Debra Winger,” directed by Rosanna Arquette and starring Meg Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Whoopi Goldberg.  The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.  Other film projects include the Sarah Jessica Parker comedy entitled “Life Without Dick,” and “Sol Goode.” Weaver also served as Executive Producer for the VH1 reality series “Rock The House.” 

Carl Levin (Producer) began his career in Hollywood as a child actor.  He quickly leaned that his skills would be better suited behind the camera and embarked on a path in writing and producing.  In late 2003, Levin partnered with Matt Weaver and Marcos Siega to form Prospect Pictures, a creatively driven production company with several television and film projects in active development.  Prospect recently sold a musical feature entitled “Time After Time” to Universal Studios, which Siega is set to direct.  “Pretty Persuasion” is Prospect’s first independent feature.

Prior to forming Prospect Pictures, Levin worked as a talent manager guiding the careers of television and film actors.  Previous to his stint as a manager, he had a successful run on Wall Street as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley & Co.  While at Morgan Stanley, he worked with such media and entertainment clients as Martha Stewart, eBay, USA Interactive, Expedia and Real Networks.  Levin is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a law degree and MBA in finance.

Todd Dagres (Producer) recently retired from the firm Battery Ventures, where he worked as a venture capitalist pursuing investments in the media and communications markets. His focus was on the convergence of content and technology including cable TV, CGI/animation, video gaming and digital content.  In 2003, he was recognized as one of the top venture capitalists in the United States when he was ranked #14 on the Forbes Magazine “Midas Touch” list.

Dagres currently sits on the boards for Arbor Networks and Cedar Point Communications, both provide voice and video services to various media.  He is also on the Board of Directors of London-based film and television company Ealing Studios, a principal investor with Prospect Pictures, and started his own film, television, and multi-media development company, Begyle Entertainment, in 2003. 

Prior to joining Battery, Dagres worked at Montgomery Securities, where he was a Principal and Senior Technology Analyst focusing on the networking industry.  Prior to Montgomery, he was a Senior Technology Analyst and Vice President at a division of Smith Barney. He holds an MS in Economics from Trinity College, Hartford CT, and an MBA from Boston University.

Paul Oberman (Production Designer) is a Los Angeles commercial and music video Production Designer, whose long association with Marcos Siega, has resulted in their first feature film collaboration.

After attending film school at Los Angeles City College, he founded an independent production house called Spanish Kitchen, which provided stage and editing facilities to independent filmmakers.  During his nine years at Spanish Kitchen, he worked for various art directors and was soon art directing himself.  As a Production Designer, Oberman has also worked with directors Roman Coppola, Hype Williams and Josh Taft.  Music artists, whose videos he has designed, include Weezer, System of a Down, Blink 182, Everclear, Jurassic 5, The Strokes, Missy Elliot, and Kelly Osbourne.  Most recently, he opened Kung Pao Kitty, a hip Chinese restaurant in the heart of Hollywood, where he lives with his wife Judith Parker.

Ramsey Nickell (Director of Photography) started in the film industry as a production assistant.  He rapidly rose through the ranks as an electrician, best boy and gaffer to the director of photography.  He was mentored by some of the most in the field including Wayne Isham, Bill Pope and Sam Bayer.  With the latter he gaffed on approximately 50 music videos including Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

In the eight years since Nickell became a DP, he has worked on numerous award-winning commercials and music videos. In 1999, he was the recipient of the Music Video Producers Association/Panavision Award for Best Cinematography for The Crystal Method’s “Comin’ Back.”  

In the past two years, Nickell expanded into narrative work in film and television. He shot the pilot for “FastLane” with long time collaborator, McG and the pilot for the Warner Bros. Television drama “The Mountain.”  He shot 2nd Unit on the soon-to-be-released “The Underclassman,” directed by Marcos Siega.

Danny Glicker (Costume Designer) was recently named by “The Hollywood Reporter” as "One of the most hard-working and imaginative prodigies the industry has to offer" in their inaugural Next Generation Crafts Issue (Feb. 9, 2004). A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design’s Industrial Design program, Glicker got his start in the entertainment industry as a teenager by assisting costume designers on Broadway shows and at the prestigious New York costume house, Barbara Matera, LTD.

While a student at RISD, he took a leave of absence to join the costume team of Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show” as production assistant to the film’s costume designer Kathy O’Rear.

He has gone on to earn praise for his evocative costume design work on projects that include Michael Cuesta’s “L.I.E.,” and the Polish Brother’s “Northfork” starring Nick Nolte, James Woods, Darryl Hannah, and Anthony Edwards.  Recent and upcoming projects include Craig Lucas’ eagerly anticipated “The Dying Gaul” starring Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, and Campbell Scott; Greg Harrison’s experimental thriller “November” starring Courtney Cox; and “Transamerica,” Duncan Tucker’s transgender road movie starring Felicity Huffman as a male to female Trans woman who meets the son she never knew she fathered.

Nicholas Erasmus (Editor) is originally from South Africa, and came to the United States six years ago.  He has worked internationally in London, Turkey, and the Middle East.

Erasmus was the Special Sequence Editor for New Line Cinema’s “Dangerous Ground,” and on Grammnet Productions’ (Kelsey Grammer’s production company) “Good Humor Man.”  He was also the Assistant Editor on the feature film “Death Dance,” and was Editor on the short “In the Afternoon.”  He has edited several short films for NBC’s Minute Movies, which include “Severance Pay,” “Knacker,” “Cackodyl,” “Hoe-cake,” and “Chittagong.” 

Erasmus’ additional editing credits include the documentaries “No Map For These Territories” and “Tangles and Locks,” and he has worked closely with Marcos Siega for the last five years on commercials and music videos. 

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