Monster's Ball : About The Filmmakers


Marc Forster was born and raised in Switzerland. In 1990 after completing his Swiss Maturity degree, he moved to New York and studied film at NYU, graduating in 1993. He stayed in New York to complete two documentary films for European television: "Silent Windows," an intimate look at teenage suicide, and "Our Story", a touching exploration of the lives of child burn victims. Then Forster was offered the opportunity to direct "Loungers," which was completed in 1996 and won the Slamdance Audience Award. Shortly after, he began collaboratively writing and set out to direct "Everything Put Together," which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival in the dramatic competition and earned him the Movado Someone to Watch / Independent Spirit Award.

WILL ROKOS (Screenwriter)
Will Rokos, 36, was born and raised in Hickory Flats, Georgia. He graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in literature. His adaptation of Walter Van Tilburg Clark's novel "The Ox-Bow Incident" was produced Off-Broadway at The Little Theater in New York City 1989 and at the Missouri Rep in Kansas City in 1992. He acted in both productions.

His original play "Most Wanted" was produced in Stockholm, Sweden in 1992.

His original screenplay "Bleeding Heart," the story of a Korean American vampire living in New York City, was filmed in NYC in 1992 and featured at Asian American Film Festivals in New York and Los Angeles in 1993. Another of his original screenplays, "The Swedish Job," is being produced by Janet Yang and is scheduled to film in Stockholm next year.

As an actor Will has appeared on Broadway in "The Tempest" with Frank Langella in 1992, many Off-Broadway and regional productions; as Marty on the soap "All My Children," and Officer Mike Briggs on "One Life to Live" in 1993 and 1994.

MILO ADDICA (Screenwriter)

Born in 1963, Milo Addica grew up in SoHo, Manhattan. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he studied theatre before coming back to the city where he acted in numerous plays Off-Broadway. In one of these plays he met Will Rokos whom he later collaborated with on Monsters Ball. He studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Acting and took a playwriting course at Hunter College where he wrote his first play and saw it produced Off-Broadway at The Little Theatre. Moving to Los Angeles in the early 90's working in television on numerous shows including "thirtysomething," "LA Law" and some movie of the weeks. Monster's Ball was written in 1995. During Monster's Ball's production period, Milo co-wrote a script for Warner Bros. , "Man-Made. " Since then, he has adapted two books, "One Foot off the Gutter" for Oil Factory Films and "Mack Bolan" for The Firm. He is currently working on a script for director James Marsh with the Film Four Lab and his own work, which he plans to direct next spring.

ROBERTO SCHAEFER (Cinematographer)

Roberto Schaefer photographed Marc Forster's two previous films, "Loungers" and "Everything Put Together. " In addition, he has photographed Christopher Guest's classic "mockumentaries," "Best In Show" and "Waiting for Guffman. " Schaefer has also shot a number of television shows, as well as dozens of music videos and TV commercials.

MONROE KELLY (Production Designer)

Monroe Kelly is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Trained as an Architect, he began his career in the film industry as a set designer, art director, and production designer. He works on feature films, television movies, television series, and international, national and regional commercials. He has also provided art direction for music videos and still photographers.
He has worked as a set designer, art director and production designer on a variety of projects including "Interview with the Vampire" starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, "The Pelican Brief" starring Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, "Double Jeopardy" starring Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd, "Last Dance" starring Sharon Stone, "A Murder of Crows" starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. , "Heaven's Prisoners" starring Alec Baldwin and "Tempted" starring Burt Reynolds. He was the art director for the series "Orleans" and production designer for MTV's "Real World New Orleans. "

MARK URMAN (Executive Producer)

As President, Feature Projects, for Lions Gate Films, Urman was responsible for the acquisition and development of "Monster's Ball" and oversaw the production of the film, serving as its Executive Producer.

Urman joined Lions Gate in 1998 as Co-President, Lions Gate Releasing. Prior to that he served as Senior VP of Dennis Davidson Associates, an international motion picture p. r. firm where he headed the company's domestic division.

Before joining DDA in 1989, Urman spent nearly six years as VP of East Coast Publicity at Columbia Pictures. From 1982-1984, he was head of marketing at Triumph Films, the specialized film distribution division that Columbia created in partnership with Gaumont. Previously, he worked for several years in the International Marketing department of United Artists.

In August of 2001, Urman left Lions Gate to head the New York operations of ThinkFilm, a new film distribution company based in Toronto.

MICHAEL PASEORNEK (Executive Producer)

Michael Paseornek, President of Lions Gate Films Productions, started the U. S. operation of Cinepix Film Properties (CFP) in New York almost six years ago. When the indie producer/distributor was purchased by Lions Gate Entertainment two years ago, he was named President of Lions Gate Films Productions. In that role, he is a key member of the management team that greenlit a series of acclaimed films.

In 2001, those films included, in addition to "Monster's Ball," "Frailty," "The Cat's Meow," and "Get Well Soon. "

In 1999, three Lions Gate productions received festival and critical acclaim. "I'm Losing You" (executive produced by Paseornek and starring Rosanna Arquette, Andrew McCarthy and Frank Langella)) was invited to the Toronto and Telluride Festivals. "Dog Park" (Natasha Henstridge, Janeane Garafolo) was the Opening Night Gala at Toronto, and "Hi-Life" (executive produced by Paseornek and starring Eric Stoltz, Campbell Scott, Katrin Cartlidge and Daryl Hannah) premiered at the Vancouver Festival. "Vig" (Peter Falk, Lauren Holly, Tim Hutton and Freddie Prinz Jr. ), produced by Paseornek and Miguel Valenti, was sold to HBO.

Paseornek also served as executive producer for Lions Gate on Mary Haron's "American Psycho" (Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon, Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Jared Leto) and "Prisoner of Love. " This winter, Lions Gate will shoot "Salami Man" in London followed by Academy Award-winner Roger Avary's "Gala-Dali. "

Two of the films he greenlit were in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, one that he executive produced, "Buffalo 66" (starring Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci and Anjelica Huston), and another, which he produced with Elinor Reid, "Jerry & Tom" (starring Joe Montegna, Sam Rockwell, Ted Danson, Charles Durning and purchased domestically by Miramax). In addition, a film Paseornek produced with Karen Severin and Karen Weaver, "Johnny Skidmarks" (starring Francis McDormand, John Lithgow and Peter Gallagher), was honored with a special Sundance screening, marking three Lions Gate films premiering at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

Paseornek began his career after graduating from New York University in 1974 when he became the writing partner of former National Lampoon editor Michel Choquette. He then became a humorist-speechwriter for some of the nation's leading business executives. He also co-wrote the film "Stitches," was a writer on the ABC series "Omni," script-doctor a number of film projects, and landed development deals with Warner Bros. and Paramount.

In the late 70s, Paseornek met CFP's Canadian co-founders John Dunning and Andre Link and developed the sequel to their comedy hit "Meatballs. " He went on to rewrite their Twentieth Century Fox production of "The Vindicator" and adapted several novels they had optioned into screenplays. Dunning and Link financed his award-winning AIDS documentary "Safe" in 1987 and his directorial debut, "Vibrations," acquired by Miramax for their Dimension label.

LEE DANIELS (Producer)

Lee Daniels began his career in the entertainment industry as a casting director. After two years he started his management company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, quickly establishing an impressive roster of both pedigreed and up-and-coming talent and has continued to do so so for the last fifteen years. In the past, he has managed the likes of Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Morgan Freeman, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and rapper Foxy Brown. His current client list includes Wes Bentley and actress/super model Amber Valletta. Monster's Ball is his debut as a feature film producer.

ERIC KOPELOFF (Line Producer)

Kopeloff recently served as the production executive/associate producer on the film "Get Well Soon" for Lions Gate Films starring Courtney Cox and Vincent Gallo. Other recent credits include associate produced/ line produced "Perfume" starring Jeff Goldblum, Rita Wilson, Mariel Hemingway, Paul Sorvino, Omar Epps, Amber Valetta, Peter Gallagher and Michelle
Wilmonstersballs. The film Premiered at Sundance 2001. Lions Gate is releasing "Perfume. " Kopeloff line produced the independent feature "Ropewalk" starring Peter Facinelli, Fred Ward, Lena Headey, Nathan Bexton and Max Perlich. Kopeloff also associate produced/ line produced the film "Home Sweet Hoboken" starring Ben Gazzara, Aida Turturro, Jayce Bartok,and Issach
deBankoe; produced an Eric Bogosian monologue, "The Wedding Toast," directed by Bob Balaban, airing on Showtime; line produced the feature film "Need of Hell" starring Robert Burke and Nick Sandow; and co-produced "Eventual Wife", a short film starring Tommy Crudup, production designed by Mel Bourne and directed by Brian Bantry airing on HBO and Cinemax. Kopeloff served as the New York executive for the now defunct BlackWatch Releasing, the Canadian distribution company that released all Sony Pictures Classics and Shooting Gallery's films in Canada including "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

In 1997, Kopeloff produced the opening of the Sundance Film Festival starring Al Pacino, Laura Dern, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro and directed by the award winning commercial directors Amy Hill and Chris Reiss. Kopeloff has line produced commercials for Tony Kaye Films, H. S. I, Epoch Films and for clients such as American Express, Volvo and Dunlop. In 1998, "Nathan Grimm," a short film directed by a student Academy Award winner, which Kopeloff produced, was selected as the winner of the Hollywood Film Festival and was chosen to compete as one of 100 films for the 1998 short live action Academy Awards. Additional experience includes consulting on project development for Paramount Pictures; assisting Woody Allen's editor Susan Morse on "Bullets over Broadway," "Don't Drink the Water," "Mighty Aphrodite," "Everyone Says I Love You" and "Deconstructing Harry"; served as one of the editors for the films in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; developed and produced a one hour documentary on the Jazz musician Erroll Garner; associate produced twelve mini-documentaries aired on CNN Europe. He received his undergraduate degree in film and masters degree in international business from Emerson College, Boston. Eric is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA).

Author : Lions Gate Films