Welcome to our amazing lineup of Judges for the 21-Day Filmmaking Competition and the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival!
Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Aaron was inspired from an early age by his mother’s passion for creating and teaching art in her private studio. Aaron combined that passion with an already extensive background in music and film and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his education in the film arts at the University of Southern California.
Soon after, a fast paced animation career was off and running. Starting in 1994 at Walt Disney Feature Animation and continuing to Warner Bros. Feature Animation until 2002, Aaron worked on such films as The Iron Giant, Osmosis Jones, and The Scooby Doo Movie.
The next opportunity for Aaron was the multi-media film production The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie. Upon completion of SpongeBob, Paramount and Nickelodeon Movies offered Aaron to executive produce and complete Steve Oedekerk’s CGI Feature, Barnyard the Movie.
Aaron’s producing career has focused on the art of mixing live-action, traditional animation, and CGI animation. Aaron has recently formed his own production company, Main Street Pictures, and continues to work with Paramount Pictures and other independent animation companies.
As the CEO of Stereo D, Aaron is the visual effects executive producer of a number of productions including Gulliver’s Travels, Jackass 3D, and The Last Airbender. His upcoming visual effect productions include Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and The Green Hornet.
Deborah Twiss was born in Philadelphia, PA and now resides in Brooklyn, New York. Her work as an actress and director has been seen all over the world, namely during her silver screen performance as Mrs. Zane in Kick-Ass. Deborah has also appeared in hit shows including Fringe, Gravity, White Collar, As the World Turns, and Law & Order: CI, to name a few. Her critically-acclaimed film A Gun for Jennifer won “Best International Film” at Fant-Asia Film Festival.
In addition to her commercial success, Deborah has dedicated countless hours to charitable causes. Her most recent contribution involved starring in a short film called Choose, directed by Robbie Bryan, which is a true story about a couple that need to choose between life and death of their unborn child when cancer strikes the pregnant mother. The film, to be released in 2011, was shot in order to honor those who have lost their battle with cancer and to raise money for cancer charities.
James Rolfe is the founder of Cinemassacre Productions. He has created more than 300 films in his career, and has become an icon in the gaming world with his hit web series The Angry Video Game Nerd. James is a graduate of the University of the Arts Philadelphia.
Known for its hilarious reviews and retrospectives of pop culture phenomena, his website Cinemassacre.com is extremely popular. He is one of the most viewed Directors of All Time on Youtube, with over 500,000 subscribers and 250,000 Facebook fans. James creates content for Spike.com, GameTrailers.com, and MTV, and was the winner of Mashable’s Best Web Series of 2009 for The Angry Video Game Nerd.
James’ other popular series include Board James, and You Know What’s Bullsh*t? He is currently in pre-production of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie.
(photo by John DePasquale)
Joe Simko’s artwork is a hybrid of childhood influences ranging from underground comics and horror films to popular 1980’s Saturday morning cartoons and kitschy cereal box art. Born and raised in Bucks County, PA, Simko currently resides in NYC and has become a fixture in the city’s developing low-brow art scene. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts, he held a full time position as a television commercial storyboard artist for leading design company GEM studios based in Manhattan, NY. Joe eventually began designing artwork for the music industry, creating visuals for the largest traveling rock festival The Vans Warped Tour, he was creative director for Japan’s MAGMA Real Rock Festival and created artwork for such bands as GWAR, Misfits, Sonic Youth, and many others.
His work can be seen in a variety of other places, from horror film magazine Fangoria, to tattoo designs for tv reality shows, to graphic novel series as co-creator with Stephen Baldwin. He is also an illustrator and joke writer for the current Garbage Pail Kids and Wacky Packages trading card series.
Simko’s latest projects include being the illustrator/author of the eccentric children’s book series The Sweet Rot, and has released his own cult hit trading card series Cereal Killers under his new company Wax Eye, founded by himself and his wife, June Gonzales. Joe’s work can be viewed at www.sweetrot.com
Jon or JDR, was born in Camden, New Jersey. Jon co-wrote songs on Jennifer Dixon’s debut album, “JELLICO”, to be released by the Fall of 2010. He has appeared in many independent films such as “StrataVita”, “Scarfeet”, “Self Evident”, & more.
In television, Jon is perhaps best known as the host for 80 episodes of “It Takes A Thief”. He also worked on shows like “Sex & The City”, “Rescue Me”, “Law & Order” & others. Jon wrote & starred in the teaser “FREE KAIRO”, produced by his company OFG Productions. “FREE KAIRO” is currently in discussions with AMC Network.
OFG & Ningun are slated to shoot music videos for Jennifer Dixon this summer.
In the business for over 30 years now, Pollack was born and raised in South Philadelphia, though he has done his fair share of traveling. Leonard attended Parson’s School of Design in New York, and since then has done work in Hollywood, Barcelona, Paris, and London, to name a few, each locale influencing his painting, photography, and costume design.
Leonard worked in Studio 54 in New York, where some of his fondest memories were made. Through the years, Leonard has worked with a number of well-known talents such as Elton John, Tina Turner, and David Bowie. Some of his Costume Design credits include Tommy, Candyman, Hellraiser III and Tooth and Nail.
Mike L. Mayfield is an animator, writer, director, and comedian in Los Angeles. His shorts, under the name “Citizens Against Safety Goggles”, have received acclaim in international film festivals as well as heavy web circulation. Mike directed 3 episodes of “The Cleveland Show” (FOX) and a Cleveland-themed music video for “Earth Wind & Fire”.
In 2010, he wrote, produced, and performed in a Comedy Central pilot with André Hyland and Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show, Breaking Bad). He’s worked on “King of the Hill” (FOX) and commercials for brands like Guinness and Snickers (Moo Studios). He was an Assistant Director on “American Dad!” (FOX), including the Emmy-nominated “1600 Candles”. Mike co-created “Boogies”, a pilot for Warner Brothers with Tom Kenny (Mr. Show, SpongeBob). Mike has performed for FuelTV (The Daily Habit, Stupidface); in satirical groups, including “bLoNd cHiLi” and “Tracy, Dean, and Jesus”; and recently on-stage with Bob Odenkirk. Mike produced four “Uncle Hell” segments for FuelTV, and was Lead Animator for Olivier Gondry’s “Vineyard” Berringer Wine commercial. He directed a music video for the band “Why”, and created four shorts for HBO’s “Funny or Die Presents” with T. Sean Shannon (SNL, The Tonight Show, In Living Color).
He recently worked on two FOX pilots; storyboarding “Flyin’ with Brian”, by standup Brian Regan; and directing “God Parents”, by Brad Neely (Super Deluxe, South Park). Mike is currently directing 6 episodes of “China, IL”, an upcoming Adult Swim show created by Brad Neely.
Mike’s work can be viewed via YouTube: www.youtube.com/MikeLMayfield
Robbie Bryan attended Rider College in Lawrenceville NJ, where while obtaining a marketing degree, he appeared in many theatrical productions. Upon graduating, he had the wonderful opportunity to play the role of “Hally” in The McCarter Theatre Production of MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS. It was after this body of work that he began to pursue an acting career in New York, where he studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory and HB Studios.
In 1997, he formed his own film company, GOOD TO BE SEEN FILMS, with partner Christie Botelho. The company soon after completed its first feature, THE STAND-IN, which Bryan wrote, produced and starred in, along with Judith Ivey, David Ogden Stiers, Lou Myers and Kelly Ripa Co-Host of Live! With Regis and Kelly. The film premiered at The San Diego International Black Film Festival co-chaired by FOX Studios exec. Roland McFarland, and was released on DVD in retail stores by Ventura Distribution and IndieDVD. In 2006, he was hired to Co-Produce the feature film, Man From Earth, starring Tony Todd, William Katt, John Billingsley and Alexis Thorpe. The film was one of six films nominated for a 2007 Saturn Award, for Best Sci-Fi DVD release of the year and was released on home video globally by Anchor Bay.
In 2008, Robbie made his directorial debut on the feature iMurders, which stars William Forsythe, Gabrielle Anwar, Tony Todd, Billy Dee Williams, Charles Durning and Margaret Colin, which he co- wrote. The suspense/thriller/horror film was released through Anchor Bay/Starz in October of 2009 and distributed in 13 countries. In addition, he was honored to Co-Produce the Gilda’s Club sponsored, The Grief Project, a short film designed to help those dealing with the loss of a loved one through terminal illness.
The end of 2010 saw Bryan tackling cancer with his provocative “Choose”, a short film starring Deborah Twiss (Kickass) and Carter Roy, which has already raised $5,300 doing private fund raising screenings for Susan G. Komen and The Lustgarten Foundation and was selected to screen at the Academy Award Qualifying Festival, LA Shortsfest.
Bryan has two projects on tap for GTBS Films in 2011, including his sophomore feature directing effort with the family-friendly The Mighty Misfit Kids, from his World Fest Houston Silver Remi-Winning screenplay, as well as the Little Miss Sunshine-esque, Wrong In All The Right Ways.