CREATIVE

 

BRIAN LUCKE ANDERSON DIRECTOR/PRODUCER

Brian Lucke Anderson is an American director and producer from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A graduate from the University of Florida, Brian honed his creativity with music, film, and photography. He began his career as a cinematographer and quickly transitioned to directing and producing documentaries, short films, and commercials through his own production company, Stained Glass.

 

Brian’s passion for philanthropy and storytelling has linked him with organizations that tell stories all around the world. His work and travel are a huge influence on his narrative film work. Bringing heartfelt stories to the screen is evident in his directorial feature debut, East of Middle West, a story of an Iowa teenage runaway and a widowed father, each fighting to take matters into their own hands to redeem their dark past.

 

Brian’s development of great scripts and characters is apparent in his collaboration with actors and crew on set. Brian leads his productions by working closely with others, giving them the opportunity to express their interpretation of the script. From pre-production to post-production, Brian collaborates and trusts each team member’s expertise to bring a unified vision to the screen.

 

Brian and his long-term writing partner and collaborator, Mokotsi Rukundo, are currently developing Zamrock, a film that takes place in Zambia, post independence, when psychedelic rock infused with Zambian music. Brian now lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, children, and dog Banjo.

MOKOTSI RUKUNDO WRITER/PRODUCER

Mokotsi Rukundo is a screenwriter, producer, and entrepreneur. Born in Mbabane, Swaziland, Mokotsi moved to Iowa when he was 10 years old. As a screenwriter, Mokotsi draws inspiration from observing moments with his charismatic family and friends, and translating them to his screenplays. Mokotsi’s motto is, “Write who you are. Write what you observe. Write characters who are believable.”

 

He jumped in full force when writing his feature film screenplay, East of Middle West. Mokotsi believes that every artist needs a childlike naivete when creating a new project, and maturity happens once you’re in it. Mokotsi’s maturity kicked in when he became a producer on the film. Filming in Iowa gave him the opportunity to give back to his community, while staying true to his vision of the script.

 

His passion for storytelling drove him to Los Angeles where he studied and wrote scripts for several years. Mokotsi has written and produced a number of short films, and he is currently pitching a feature film, Pump Fake, and a historical fiction drama for television, Kinfolk. Although he continues to be a kid at heart, his voice has matured. Listening to and observing people from different cultures and backgrounds inspires Mokotsi to write about the complex nature of human connection.

 

A former stand-up comic, Mokotsi draws on his sense of humor and dramatic-inspiration from the strong women in his life. “I have the most amazing mom and sisters. As the only boy in the family, I have stories for a lifetime to draw on! But it’s a beautiful madness to be in." The comfort and support of his family reinforces his strong belief that kindness is a currency we can all be wealthy in.

 

Mokotsi’s next feature length screenplay, Zamrock, takes place in Zambia post independence from the United Kingdom. A rebellious, yet submissive teenager finds himself through music during the era when African, independent rock bands began to emerge. Mokotsi pays homage to African culture and hopes to bring a part of his world and perspective on humanity to the screen. Mokotsi currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

CAST

 

CARSON MACCORMAC AS CHRIS

Carson MacCormac is an actor, producer and writer who has been performing since the age of eight. Carson’s career began with lead roles in musical theater productions before transitioning to acting for camera, focusing on film and television projects, and training under prestigious acting coaches such as director Brian K. Roberts, Dean Armstrong, Andrew Magarian, and notable director Gil Junger.

Carson’s feature credits include supporting roles in the DC Comics superhero movie Shazam!, the indie feature Giant Little Ones, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and opposite Madison Iseman in Riot Girls. Also, notably, Carson’s first professional performance was playing the lead in the short film Cold Hands, based on a true story about sexual assault directed by Eric Bizzarri. Cold Hands has gone on to earn the status of official selection at several film festivals and is now streaming on Revry.tv. Most recently Carson wrapped the lead role in the gritty independent drama East of Middle West by director Brian Lucke Anderson.

Carson also recently completed producing and starring in his first short film Thinly Veiled and continues to have other active projects in various stages of development.

Notable television credits include Carson’s starring role in Big Top Academy for Pop TV which is in association with the world renowned Cirque du Soleil; opposite Anna Paquin in Bellevue for CBC; in a supporting lead in Lifetime’s TV movie Zombie at 17; and most recently a major recurring role on the Netflix series October Faction.

Carson is also a Grade 8 Royal Conservatory Vocal graduate and has won numerous #1 placements in provincial competitions. He is a singer/songwriter and won first place at the 2018 Ontario Vocal Artists Festival. Carson plays guitar and song writes during his down time. An avid athlete, Carson played competitive baseball, retiring at the Major Elite rep level. The discipline and collaboration required for the sport is something that he has carried with him into his work as a performer.

 

Carson is also a ski instructor, golfer, work out enthusiast and rabid basketball fan. Extremely competitive, Carson loves playing video games and basketball with his younger brother, Braeden. Carson is based in Toronto with his dog Kiefer.

JORIS JARSKY AS DENNY

Joris Jarsky is a versatile actor whose work over the last 20 years has taken him all over the world. He most recently landed a leading role in the independent film God’s Country starring opposite Thandie Newton.

Some of his noteworthy accomplishments include being nominated by the Canadian Screen Awards for 'Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Limited Series’ for his role in First Response.

 

In 2008, Jarsky had three films screen at the Toronto Film Festival:  Toronto Stories, The Green Door, and Blindness.  For Toronto Stories, he was nominated for an ACTRA Toronto Award for ‘Outstanding Performance.’

 

His feature work includes Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk, and Saw V.  His work on television includes roles in ABC's The Good Doctor, Bad Blood, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Wynonna Earp, The Dead Zone, as well as the Netflix series October Faction.

Upon Jarsky’s graduation from Canada’s National Theatre School, he was cast in The Awakening  which earned him a Dora nomination (Toronto’s theater award) for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male.’

SCOTT MCCORD AS BILL

Scott McCord is an award-winning Canadian actor, voice actor and musician based in New York. A versatile performer known for his boundless character work, his career has spanned over three decades in theater, film, television, radio and animation. He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio. 

 

Selected film and TV credits include: the upcoming indie feature East of Middle West, Blood Honey, Shoot ‘Em Up and 16 Blocks, Netflix’s upcoming superhero origin series Jupiter’s Legacy, The Blacklist, The Deuce, Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, and Hemlock Grove.  In Canada, he played researcher James Joy for three seasons on the Genie Award winning The Eleventh Hour (CTV). 

 

He is known for his voice work in animation, including the hit series Paw Patrol, the Total Drama Island universe (as popular characters Owen and Trent), Camp Lakebottom, Hotel Transylvania the series, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Inspector Gadget, and Justin Time (Canada Screens Award Winner, Best Performance in an Animated Series) Scott has voiced various roles in the animated studio features The Nut Job and the upcoming historical drama Charlotte about the painter Charlotte Salomon. 

 

He recently played Mike Pence in the award-winning podcast series The Oval Office Tapes for Blumhouse Productions. He has voiced the popular video games Red Ded Redemption 2 and Far Cry 5 and has been a featured animation guest at Armageddon Expo in Australia, New Zealand and Toronto COMICON and FanX. 

 

He was recently nominated for two independent theatre awards for his portrayal of Casmir Rolinski in Mark Borkowski’s two-hander The Head Hunter. 

SOPHIE HOYT AS AMY

Sophie Hoyt grew up in New York with the call of Broadway and theatre all around her. Her passion and talent for acting was evident in her acceptance at LaGuardia Arts High School, recognized widely as the inspiration for the film Fame, where she studied theater. She began acting at an early age and continued to move forward in the industry that she loves. 

 

Throughout her childhood, Sophie performed with the off-Broadway theater company, Royal Family Productions, in various cabaret shows and concerts including a birthday performance for the acclaimed composer, Marvin Hamlisch. Before graduating, Sophie was awarded Honorable Mention in Spoken Theater by the National YoungArts Foundation, which allowed her the opportunity to perform in a devised production of Peter Pan directed by Jay Scheib.

 

Sophie transitioned to film and television appearing in a number of national commercials and soon landed notable roles on television such as Soundtrack, starring Jenna Dewan and in the acclaimed NBC series Chicago Med. Sophie’s feature credits include playing the role of Valerie in the comedy-drama Come As You Are and Allasandra in the drama Soul Sessions, which explores the timeless nature of love. Sophie will soon be seen on the big screen as a Supporting Lead in the independent drama East of Middle West, directed by Brian Lucke Anderson.

 

Sophie grew up competing in alpine ski racing and now enjoys spending her downtime in the Catskills with her family. The biracial daughter of a graphic designer and a musician, Sophie learned to explore her racial identity through visual, literary, and theatrical mediums. This path led her to specialize in multiracial and African American literature at the University of Chicago, where she holds a degree in English with honors.

 

Sophie credits her strength and love of the arts to her parents who always encouraged her to follow her passion with a steadfast work ethic. Sophie now resides in Chicago.

CREW

 

ANDREW SHANKWEILER DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

From an early age, Andrew Shankweiler has been captivated by visual storytelling. Cultivating this passion took on many shapes and forms throughout the years, but it wasn't until he studied film and media arts at Temple University did it really provide an outlet. He discovered cinematography and decided to pursue this path relentlessly. He gained a great deal of experience as a Gaffer working in Philadelphia and New York, but in 2011 decided it was time to move to Los Angeles and study cinematography at the American Film Institute.

After graduating from a successful campaign at AFI, Andrew launched into the industry and began shooting narrative, commercial, music video and documentary projects. While Andrew is based in Los Angeles, his work has taken him internationally to over 25 different countries, working on feature length and short form projects throughout.

GLEN MONTGOMERY EDITOR

Glen Montgomery cut his teeth over a decade of experience in the commercial world, editing spots for brands such as Best Buy, Dominos, Hulu, and T-Mobile. He continued to showcase his storytelling expertise working on a number of narrative and documentary short films. This led to him collaborating with Paul Hunter (director) on the miniseries, Vital Signs, starring Dr. Dre, Sam Rockwell, and Ian McShane.      

         

After editing the short film, By & By with director Brian Lucke Anderson and writer Mokotsi Rukundo, the dynamic duo pursued Glen to edit their feature film and passion project, East of Middle West.​ ​Glen left his position at Arcade Edit to pursue his first love of long form editing. The deal was cemented in a Pasadena pub over Brian and Glen’s love of soccer as they cheered on the miracle comeback of Liverpool Football Club against Barcelona in the Champions League. ​Glen and his wife, Alyssa, have two young boys and reside in Los Angeles, but are currently on a COVID-exchange trip in rural Minnesota. Glen believes that editing is as technical as it is poetic; the right cut, at the right moment, can move mountains. Jesus Christ is his executive producer.

KEENAN O'REILLY 1ST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Keenan O’Reilly is a writer & director based out of Los Angeles. His unique visual style is marked by precise, calculated choices and grounded characters. Keenan’s talent in storytelling and his keen eye for detail can be seen through  the narrative and visual appeal of his short films. While working frequently in commercials and music videos, his main focus and passion is long-form narrative.  Keenan’s films feel like they are cut with a razor blade, not garden shearers.  He believes that stories well-told have the ability to change people for good.

Keenan brings his expertise, inspiration and dedication to every film. Especially, in his latest collaboration as 1st assistant director for the feature film East of Middle West, which is currently being submitted to the film festival circuit. Keenan is continually writing new material and is currently in development for his feature directorial debut, Hunting Blind. He is represented as a director by Two Bridges Films and Rezistor Studios.

MISTY BLANK COSTUME DESIGNER

Misty Blank works in film with a primary focus as a costume designer and makeup artist. A four time Emmy nominee, her work has been seen in feature films, music videos, political campaigns and network television with clients including: NBC, FOX, CNN, ABC, BET, ESPN and The Late Show. Celebrity clients have included: Kevin Costner, Steve Martin, Gordon Ramsay, Bob Costas, Martin Short, and Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin. Blank fuses her career in film as a makeup artist and costume designer with runway collections that pushes the envelope with every show.

 

Her experience on Broadway shows including: The Book of Mormon, The Sound of Music, Les Miserables, and Motown has allowed her a new level of skills that she carries over to every project. Blank recently began a teaching position as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa in the Theatre department. She enjoys spending her down time at home with her two boys Maddoc and Gunnar.

BEHIND THE SCENES

 
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SPECIAL THANK YOU

 

Sweets Auto | Dellis Miller | Solon Community Center | Salt Fork Kitchen | Christopher Harris | Don Kabela | Jack Bucklin | Santino Longo | Kelli Miller | Tim Meade | Travis Meade | David Petsel | Heather Hopson | Todd Brewington | Kathleen McCoy | Coach Tyler Meade | Clear Creek Amana High School | Iowa City Public Library | Matt Heflin | Tammie Richards | Scott Birney | Brittany Anderson | Bernadette Mikaele | Spencer Paige | Caleb Brown | Marian Clark | Iowa State Fair | Del Rich Pawn Shop | Cord Overton | Kathryn Byrne | A.J. Shapiro