Levity : About The Filmmakers

ED SOLOMON (Director/Writer/Producer) makes his feature directorial debut with Levity. His screenwriting credits include Men in Black, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (both of which were co-written with Chris Matheson) and Leaving Normal. He's also worked as a script doctor and has contributed both credited and uncredited to many other Hollywood films. Also for television, Solomon served as supervising writer for Showtime's It's Gary Shandling's Show. He lives in Santa Monica, California with wife Cynthia, son Evan and daughter Olivia.

RICHARD N. GLADSTEIN (Producer) is the head of the Los Angeles-based motion picture Production Company FilmColony, Ltd. Founded by Gladstein in May of 1995, FilmColony is committed to working with a broad range of distinct filmmakers and telling compelling and unique stories. Gladstein is currently in post-production on J. M. Barries's Neverland, starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslett, Julie Christie, and Dustin Hoffman. Directed by Marc Forster, the film tells the story of how J. M. Barrie was inspired to write the play "Peter Pan" through his relationship with four fatherless boys and their mother in turn-of-the-century London. The film was shot in London this past summer, and will be released by Miramax in summer 2003.

Also in post-production, Gladstein is the Executive Producer of the Danny Devito directed film, Duplex, a satirical black comedy about a young couple (Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore) who buys a duplex in Brooklyn, only to be tortured by their elderly upstairs tenant. Miramax will release the film Christmas, 2002. The Bourne Identity, a spy thriller released by Universal Pictures this past summer, is produced by Gladstein, directed by Doug Liman and stars Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper and Clive Owen.

Gladstein is most proud of having produced The Cider House Rules, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 2000, including one for himself for Best Picture. Michael Caine won an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actor" and John Irving won for his screenplay adaptation of his own best-selling novel. The film was directed by Lasse Hallström and stars Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo, Paul Rudd and Michael Caine.

January of 1999 marked the release of She's All That, a high school romantic comedy produced by Gladstein, directed by Robert Iscove and starring Freddie Prinze, Jr. , Rachael Leigh Cook, Anna Paquin and Matthew Lillard. Hurlyburly, starring Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright-Penn, Chazz Palminteri, Garry Shandling, Anna Paquin and Meg Ryan, was produced by Gladstein and released by Fine Line Features in December of 1998. The film was adapted by David Rabe, based on his own play.

Gladstein was also the producer of Mark Christopher's 54 and Executive Producer of Quentin Tarrantino's Jackie Brown. Prior to the formation of FilmColony in 1995, Gladstein served as the Executive Vice President of Production of Miramax Films, where for two years he supervised the company's motion picture development and production. While there, he was the Executive Producer of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Sean Penn's The Crossing Guard and John Duigan's The Journey of August King. He also supervised the productions of Robert Altman's Ready To Wear, Wayne Wang's Smoke and Blue In The Face, David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster, Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk 'Till Dawn, Gary Fleder's Things To Do In Denver When You Are Dead and Four Rooms, the ensemble film from writer/directors Alison Anders, Alex Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino.

Prior to joining Miramax, Gladstein was Vice President of Production and Acquisitions at LIVE Entertainment. During those years, he was involved in the production and acquisition of such films as Bob Roberts, King Of New York, Light Sleeper and The Bad Lieutenant, as well as Executive Producing Reservoir Dogs. Prior to that, Gladstein was the Director of Acquisitions and Distribution for Angelika Films in New York. Previously, he served in various physical production capacities on both television and film productions in New York. Gladstein and his wife Lauri, a musician, currently reside in Los Angeles with their son Milo.

ADAM J. MERIMS (Producer) Adam J. Merims is in post-production on Shattered Glass, writer/director Billy Ray's first feature starring Hayden Christensen, Peter Saarsgard, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson, and Hank Azaria. Lions Gate will finance and release.

Adam co-founded Baumgarten Merims Productions with Craig Baumgarten in the fall of 1999. The company recently completed Brian Helgeland's Sineater with Heath Ledger for Fox. Among their current projects in development are Park It Here and Sex, Drugs, And Rock & Roll at Disney and The Tenth Master, If The Shoe Fits and Smoke Jumpers at Sony.

In the television arena, Baumgarten Merims produced The Lathe of Heaven for A & E/Alliance Atlantis and currently have Naked Warriors at TBS and The Richard Luttrell Story at HBO/Alliance Atlantis in development. Before Levity, Adam produced Love Stinks, starring French Stewart, Bridgette Wilson, Tyra Banks, and Bill Bellamy, which was written and directed by Jeff Franklin, executive produced by Craig Baumgarten.

He was Co-Producer on Sony Pictures' Universal Soldier: The Return, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Michael Jai White and WCW champion Bill Goldberg, directed by Mic Rodgers, produced by Allen Shapiro and Craig Baumgarten, and Executive Produced by Mike Rachmil and Dan Melnick.

He produced with Dan Halsted and Craig Baumgarten Cold Around The Heart starring David Caruso, Kelly Lynch and Stacey Dash, which was written and directed by John Ridley, executive produced by Oliver Stone, and was released by Twentieth Century Fox. Prior to partnering with Craig Baumgarten, he was Co-Producer on the HBO Premiere project Freeway starring Kiefer Sutherland and Reese Witherspoon, which was written and directed by Matthew Bright, executive produced by Oliver Stone and produced by Brad Wyman and Chris Hanley. From August 1993 till November 1994, Adam J. Merims was Producer and Head of West Coast Operations for Nickelodeon Movies. At Nickelodeon, Adam was responsible for managing the start-up of a Nickelodeon features office in Los Angeles and with identifying and developing projects suitable for motion picture production in the family entertainment arena in conjunction with both Twentieth Century Fox Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Supervising a staff of three creative executives, he developed 10 feature projects which are in varying stages of development. He was also responsible for keeping his Viacom New Media colleagues abreast of feature division developments and was extremely involved in the strategic planning for the translation of the Nickelodeon animation brand and other trademarks into the feature arena.

Before Nickelodeon, Adam J. Merims worked as VP, Production at Lobell-Bergman Productions from April 1990 through July 1993. At Lobell-Bergman, Adam was responsible for all development at the company, working with all literary agencies and a host of writers and directors. He was also Associate Producer on: Honeymoon In Vegas, which was directed by Andy Bergman and produced by Mike Lobell and starred Nicolas Cage, James Caan, and Sarah Jessica Parker; Undercover Blues, which was directed by Herbert Ross and produced by Mike Lobell and starred Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid; and Little Big League, which was directed by Andy Scheinman and produced by Mike Lobell and starred Timothy Busfield. Before working at Lobell-Bergman, Adam was a production executive at Buena Vista Pictures from January 1989 to March 1990, working on a variety of projects but primarily on WHITE FANG, which was directed by Randal Kleiser and produced by Mary Kay Powell and which starred Ethan Hawke and Klaus Maria Brandauer. From 1984 to 1989, Adam was a freelance producer, production manager, and assistant director. He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1986. In these capacities, he was involved with a number of projects, most notably, the original mini-series Lonesome Dove. Adam graduated from Williams College in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Philosophy and Economics. He was also a graduate of The Collegiate School in 1979.

LORI McCREARY (Executive Producer) co-founded Revelations Entertainment with Morgan Freeman in early 1996 out of a commitment to produce films with integrity and commercial viability. McCreary first teamed with Freeman on the critically acclaimed Bopha!, which she co-produced. The film, released by Paramount Pictures in 1993, starred Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard and was greeted by wide critical acclaim.

Under McCreary's leadership, Revelations has four projects completed and two additional projects scheduled for 2002. Revelations' first production was the NBC telefilm, Mutiny, which aired in March 1999, chronicling the worst stateside military disaster of World War II. In 1999, Revelations also produced Under Suspicion, a remake of the French film Garde a Vue, teaming Freeman with Gene Hackman, Thomas Jane and Monica Bellucci. The edgy update was written by W. Peter Iliff (Patriot Games, Varsity Blues) and directed by Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2 and Fox TV's 24). Sony Pictures released the film in the fall of 2000. In 2001, Revelations executive produced Paramount's Along Came A Spider, starring Morgan Freeman and Monica Potter. Upcoming projects include A Day No Pigs Would Die, starring William Hurt and Morgan Freeman, and directed by Martha Coolidge (Rambling Rose, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge) and Circle William, a timely international thriller to be produced with Paramount Pictures and starring Morgan Freeman. McCreary is one of the rare film producers who is also an expert in groundbreaking technology and new media. She is producing the visual effects driven feature rendezvous With Rama, an intellectual science fiction epic based on the popular Arthur C. Clarke novel of the same name. Freeman will star, internationally renowned illustrator Moebius will design and acclaimed director David Fincher (Panic Room, Seven, Fight Club) will take the helm.

FRED SCHEPISI (Executive Producer) is an acclaimed and honored director born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Schepisi's Australian films have included The Devil's Playground, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith and A Cry in the Dark. In the United States and England, he's directed a wide range of motion pictures, among them Barbarosa, Iceman, Plenty, Roxanne, The Russia House, Mr. Baseball, Six Degrees of Separation, I. Q. , Fierce Creatures and most recently, Last Orders.

DOUGLAS MANKOFF (Executive Producer) has been the manager of Echo Lake Productions since founding the company in January of 1997. Mankoff recently produced Things Behind the Sun, written and directed by Allison Anders. As producer of that film, Mankoff won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for the film's "searing exploration" of the consequences of rape. He executive produced and helped arrange financing for both David Riker's award-winning film The City (La Ciudad) and Jill Sprecher's Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, starring Matthew McConaughey and John Turturro. Mankoff is the Chairman of Yearlook/Camp TV, a school and camp video production company he founded in 1987. After receiving his BA from Duke University in 1985, Mankoff attended New York University Film School. In 1995, Mankoff earned his MBA from Harvard University.

ANDREW SPAULDING (Executive Producer) -- Prior to joining Echo Lake Productions, ANDREW SPAULDING was Vice President of the independent company founded by veteran producer A. Kitman Ho (Ali, Platoon). Spaulding was involved in the development, production and distribution of Kathryn Bigelow's The Weight of Water starring Sean Penn and Elizabeth Hurley, and Jill Sprecher's Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. Spaulding has previously served in an executive capacity with several organizations including the production companies of director Antonia Bird, actress Faye Dunaway and writer Patricia Cornwell. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and a former Film Commissioner for the State of Virginia.

IRENE LITINSKY (Co-Producer) is President of Production for Muse Entertainment Productions. When Litinsky joined Muse Entertainment in 2000, she brought over 20 years of production experience with her. Her television credits include, among others, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, Savage Messiah, Redeemer, Dr. Quinn: The Heart Within, All Souls, The Audrey Hepburn Story and Million Dollar Babies. Throughout her career, Litinsky has collaborated with some of the industry's top producers, including Jodie Foster, Richard N. Gladstein, Robert Greenwald, Bernard Zukerman, Ivan Reitman, Linda Reisman and Robert Altman. Her feature credits include Kart Racer, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Map of the Human Heart, Waking the Dead and Jacknife.

ROGER DEAKINS (Director of Photography) is one of the most heralded artists in his field. Deakins' most recently shot Intolerable Cruelty for the Coen Brothers. Recent triumphs were Ron Howard's Academy Award winning A Beautiful Mind and his sixth collaboration with the Coen Brothers, The Man Who Wasn't There, starring Billy Bob Thornton. For the latter, Deakins received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography, and garnered honors from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), American Society of Cinematographers, British Society of Cinematographers, American Film Institute, Golden Satellite Award and several film critics groups, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. The Man Who Wasn't There represented Deakins' fourth Academy Award nomination, having received previous nods for Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption, the Coen Brothers' Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Martin Scorsese's Kundun. Other honors bestowed upon Deakins throughout his distinguished career include awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics for Barton Fink; the American Society of Cinematographers Award for The Shawshank Redemption; an Independent Spirit Award win, and ASC and BAFTA nominations for Fargo; the National Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics Circle Awards, as well as an ASC nomination, for Kundun; and both BAFTA and ASC nominations for O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Deakins' numerous credits also include Steppin' Out, Blue Suede Shoes, 1984, Return to Waterloo, Defence of the Realm, Sid and Nancy, White Mischief, The Kitchen Toto, Stormy Monday, Pascali's Island, Mountains of the Moon, Air America, The Long Walk Home, Homicide, Thunderheart, Passion Fish, The Secret Garden, the Coen Brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy and The Big Lebowski, Dead Man Walking, Courage Under Fire, The Siege, The Hurricane, Anywhere But Here, Thirteen Days and the telefilm Dinner With Friends. Deakins was born in Torquay, Devon, England.

FRANÇOIS SéGUIN (Production Designer) has won Canada's Genie Award for his work on Jean-Claude Lauzon's Leolo, Jean Beaudin's Souvenir Intimes, Robert LePage's Possible Worlds and Francois Girard's The Red Violin. Seguin, one of Quebec's foremost production designers, received a D. E. C. (BA) in Theatre Design from College Lionel Groulx in Montreal. His numerous other credits have included Denys Arcand's Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, Alan Rudolph's Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle and Afterglow, Voices From A Locked Room, Allison Anders' Grace of My Heart, Keith Gordon's Mother Night, Love! Valor! Compassion!, Almost American and Paul Schrader's Forever Mine.

MARIE-SYLVIE DEVEAU (Costume Designer) has excelled in features, television and
theatre. Her film credits have included Phil Alden Robinson's recent action-adventure The Sum of All Fears, Peter Chelsom's Serendipity and The Mighty, Luis Mandoki's Angel Eyes, Rob Cohen's The Skulls, Mike Newell's Pushing Tin, Guillermo del Toro's Mimic, Carroll Ballard's Fly Away Home, Billy Madison, Open Season and Urban Legends 2. Deveau's TV work has included the telefilms Harrison Bergeron, Dark Eyes and Thicker Than Blood, the series Matrix, Top Cops and Friday the 13th, and the pilots Gangsters and Moments of Truth. On stage, Deveau was set and costume designer for Mon Ete 42 and Le Placard at the Conservatoire de Montreal and assistant designer for Mario and the Magician at the Canadian Opera Company and Tectonic Plates at the du Maurier World Stage under the direction of Robert LePage.

PIETRO SCALIA (Film Editor) won his second Academy Award last year for Ridley Scott's epic war film Black Hawk Down. Previously, Scalia won an Oscar, BAFTA and Eddie Awards from the American Cinema Editors for his work on Oliver Stone's JFK. He also received Oscar and A. C. E. nominations for editing Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting, and another Academy Award nomination for Scott's Gladiator. He also worked with Ridley Scott on both G. I. Jane and Hannibal. Scalia has also edited Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha and Stealing Beauty, and Sam Raimi's The Quick and the Dead. Among his other credits as editor are Playing By Heart and The Big Hit.

Italian-born Scalia moved from Switzerland to the U. S. to pursue a filmmaking education and received his MFA in Film and Theatre Arts from UCLA in 1985. He began his career as an assistant editor for Oliver Stone on Wall Street and Talk Radio. He went on to contribute as an associate editor on Born on the Fourth of July and as an additional editor on The Doors.

MARK OLIVER EVERETT (Music) -- By the time he was 20, "E" was obsessed with writing songs and recording them on his used 4 track cassette recorder. He wrote and recorded virtually every day of the next seven years. Stifled by the lack of inspiration and creative community in his Virginia neighborhood, E packed up everything he owned into his car and drove 3,000 miles to Los Angeles, where he knew not one person. He moved in above a garage in Atwater Village and resumed his anti-social routine of waking up, writing and recording 4 track cassettes, going to one of many shitty jobs that he hated, coming home, writing and recording, and going to sleep. As time went on, from the time he started his obsessive songwriting, the quality of the songs and production of his tapes slowly improved. Eventually someone heard some of his songs and asked him to record for a record label. In 1991 E signed a contract to record two albums for Polydor Records. This was a great relief for him, as it meant he could now devote all his obsessive energy to writing and recording. The first record "A Man Called E" came out in 1992, and yielded the top ten alternative rock hit "Hello Cruel World". E went out to open for Tori Amos on her first american tour. Then, in 1993, Polydor released E's second album "Broken Toy Shop. "

From 1993 to 1995 E recorded most of what became the "Beautiful Freak" album. The single "Novocaine for the Soul", having been recorded and mixed in 1993, was eventually a number one alternative rock hit in 1996. In 1995 E decided to work under a different name. Having grown more adventurous musically and lyrically, and tired of the logistical nightmares of going by one letter, he formed EELS, an ever-changing project for his songs, with a live band to present them in concert. Drummer Butch (aka Jonathan Norton) and bassist Tommy Walters joined and they played many of the songs E had recorded around town. With the release of "Beautiful Freak" (Dreamworks Records) in 1996, the EELS band toured throughout America and Europe. The striking "Novocaine for the Soul" video clip of the band seemingly flying through their day was nominated for several MTV awards. They had a second top ten hit in Europe with the song "Susan's House. " They continued to tour, concluding with a stint on the 1997 Lollapalooza tour. After collecting a Brit Award, presented to E and Butch by Spinal Tap, (Butch soon turned it into a cymbal stand, to illustrate that it was actually worth something), and giving director Wim Wenders the song "Bad News" for the soundtrack to his film "The End of Violence," E experienced what he thinks of now as a period of great artistic growth. At 19, E found his father dead. His troubled sister, Elizabeth, commited suicide in 1996. And now his mother was terminally ill with lung cancer. That was his entire family. He ultimately decided he could not ignore these things artistically, feeling that anything else would be an act. So he set about the writing and recording of an album that was inspired by, and that would deal with the tragedies in his life, but only if it could offer a new point of view, and a positive resolution.

It was a challenge that E rose to on "Electro-Shock Blues", the critically acclaimed record, released in 1998. Although a glance at the track list on the back of the cd jewel box often makes people assume the album is "depressing", E calls it "probably the most positive record i will ever make. " The album, one of the critical albums of the year, can at first prove to be a difficult listen, but soon reveals a life affirming heart. The album included collaborations with E's neighbors and friends, Mike Simpson (Dust Brothers), Mickey P. , Grant Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo), Jon Brion (Aimee Mann) and T-Bone Burnett.

After making more MTV nominated videos for "Last Stop: This Town" and "Cancer for the Cure", the new EELS, with ace bassist/guitarist Adam Siegal, hit the road for a 4 month theater tour of Europe and America. Soon after returning home, E went down to his basement to write and record the sequel to "Electro-Shock Blues". Less than 6 months after the release of "Electro-Shock Blues", "Daisies of the Galaxy" was finished. Not released until Feburary 2000, "Daisies of the Galaxy" picked up where "Electro-Shock Blues" left off. "The challenge was to figure out where one can go from 'Electro-Shock Blues', and I wanted to go up. I wanted to make a record that was fun and in love with life, but reflected life realistically," says E. R. E. M. 's Peter Buck guested on the album, and co-wrote one track. The first single, "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues" was a hidden song on the album. The video for the second single "Flyswatter" featured Butch as a clown on a stake-out in front of E's home. Shortly before the release of "Daisies of the Galaxy", Butch ate a large pizza before he went to bed. That night he dreamt of a concert where he was playing timpani with "The EELS Orchestra". There were strings and horns and they even played an overture of EELS songs. The next morning Butch called E and told him about his dream. They agreed that they had to make Butch's dream a reality.

Starting in January, The EELS Orchestra 2000 toured throughout Europe, America and Australia. The six piece band featured saxophone, trombone, trumpet, banjo, guitar, violin, upright bass, piano, melodica, clarinet, and, yes, timpani. Each band member, including multi-instrumentalist/recording artist Lisa Germano, had to play an average of 3-4 instruments each night. And they played the EELS Overture, just like in Butch's dream, (an idea that the legendary Brian Wilson emulated, much to Butch's chagrin, for his late summer 2000 Pet Sounds tour). It was a vast change from the 3 piece rock band they were a few years ago. (In the spring E also toured solo with Fiona Apple in the U. S. ). Winding up the tour with an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, they returned home to start the next chapter.

After recording "Christmas is Going to the Dogs" for "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", work began on the next EELS record, the wildly genius "Soul Jacker. " There are many things to come from E, Butch and company in the future. Some of it may surprise you. Some of it may delight you. Some of it may sicken you. But know that they are having a wonderful time making things down in the basement.

Author : Sony Pictures Classics