Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

Tongaler of the Month

February 3, 2014

It’s me!

Here’s the interview complete with shout-outs to LISA’S ADVICE, Cameron Crowe and plate tectonics.



April 3, 2012

George R.R. Martin, the NYT Bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the fantasy novel series from which HBO’s GAME OF THRONES is adapted, posted our GOT-loving two-minute short SUNDAY IS COMING on his blog. I hope all his fans have as much fun watching it as we did making it!

Thanks GOOD for the Shout-Out on Khaleesi and her Cupcakes

April 1, 2012

About SUNDAY IS COMING, the 2 minute short we made in honor of all your TV premiere night parties this spring, GOOD said: “The New Golden Age of Television is not without its pitfalls, as this great Funny or Die video makes clear.” 

Sunday Is Coming…

March 25, 2012

On Thursday, I made a short about a very important & time-sensitive moment in history… the awesome Sunday TV premieres happening this month.

Conceived (Chris Starr), directed (me!), shot (Dominique Martinez) and cut in 36 hours, we had an absolute blast making the two-minute comedy! We posted “Sunday Is Coming” to Funny or Die on Friday morning and…

Since then, we’ve had more than 15000 views, and “Sunday Is Coming” is appearing on the FoD and Deadline Hollywood‘s homepage. Congrats to the cast and crew! As a fan of GOT and Mad Men, I already loved our little movie, but it’s a thrill to know that more than ten thousand other people do too. If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch, enjoy and share it!



February 15, 2012

Check out this awesome Spotlight interview in the LA Times with Dahvi Waller about UNSCREENED!

Dahvi is one of the four writers (Michelle Morgan, John Whittington and myself) who wrote one-acts for this year’s production.  The writing workshop process began this fall, and since then, I’ve become an even bigger fan of these talented writers and am very honored to have worked with them.

Only a few more performances so get your tickets now!

Guest Moo-er

August 18, 2011

Check out “Honk If You’re Moovelous,” a guest post that I wrote about directing for Moovision’s What’s Moo? blog. I discuss some of my heartfelt philosophies about directing and an ice cream truck that looks like a cow.

Morena Tan, the winner of the GOURMOO COOKOFF cooking show I directed, also contributed to the site with the aptly titled “Tale of a Gourmoo Cookoff Champion.” She published some fantastic shots from set, including a shot of me with the cast and a picture (that I just have to attach here too) of our quadrant-fied monitor which proves that I really know how to get some handsome coverage with four cameras.


AFI Now Needs a Fight Song

July 28, 2011

AFI (the American Film Institute) is my alma mater — Directing Class’05, baby! Woo-whoop!

I have big love for the school and the Directing Program. I learned an incredible amount about my craft in the classroom and on the zillions of AFI sets (mine and other AFI fellows’) that I worked on. I also met of some of my best friends and best collaborators during that harrowing/beautiful two years.

Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter ranked AFI as the #1 Film School in the world.

Repeat: IN THE WORLD. Congratulations, AFI!

We even graded higher than Bejing’s Film Academy, which at number three does sound like a pretty dang cinematic institution considering this byte: “if one film school anywhere in the world has shaped a whole nation, it’s the Beijing Film Academy.” And I thought getting into AFI was tought? Beijing only takes 500 out of their 100,000 applicants.

We also ranked about NYU which is a personal sweetness to me because though I really enjoy much of the work its alumni create and am fans/friends of many of its graduates, I had the worst interrogation experience of my life when they asked me to come into interview as a prospective grad student.

The Hollywood Reporter describes AFI as an unrivaled stomping ground for auteurs. It’s quite a compliment, and I agree with it whole-heartedly. It’s one of the many reasons AFI has always been #1 on my list.

Congratulations Isaac Feder!

July 14, 2010

My friend Isaac is making his movie with Haley Joel Osment (yep, the kid from THE SIXTH SENSE) in the lead role!

Isaac and I became great friends in Northwestern’s Radio/TV/Film program. We remained fans and friends of each others in LA where we both studied directing at AFI one year after each other.  When I read an early draft of Isaac’s SEX ED, he knew he still had work to do, but his passion for making the film was downright contagious… just like Isaac’s positive energy and love for life. I’m absolutely thrilled that his hard work, tenacity and determination have paid off ,and now he’s going to do exactly what he’s suppose to: wow us.

My One Hundred and Forty Seconds in 2009

July 13, 2010

Last summer, I was asked to be one of the directors to contribute to Frank Kelly’s groundbreaking project “140.”  Inspired by mass communication’s newest crush Twitter, “140” was made when 140 people in 140 locations around the world shoot 140 seconds of what connects them to their home. The result – a feature length documentary of poignant moments captured around the world at the same time.

On the date we all simultaneously filmed, I was inspired by my horoscope(s) for the day.  My 140 seconds is now available for viewing here!

As you’d suspect (and as the conceit behind “140” suggests), this all seems so connected… I’m in the midst of directing three awesome branded webseries and just yesterday Twittered about Kickstarter’s film fest of web-financed films it has subsided.  The creator/curator of “140”, Frank Kelly, whom I met and befriended at a film festival three years ago, wrote a piece for Moving Picture magazine in May. An excerpt from that article sums up what I’m getting at: “This kind of Web 2.0 community filmmaking is a new way to make films, and perhaps we will see a different kind of film emerge. I think this is what lies at the heart of Web 2.0. We can find collaborators. We can develop ideas 1,000 miles apart.”

It is a difficult time to be a filmmaker for a the gobs of reasons my colleagues love to remind each other of, but let’s admit it, it’s an exciting time too.  Considering how many and how much I love the films created in the U.S. in the 1970’s as well as the plethora of renowned directors who emerged during (and possibly because of) that revolutionary time (in cinema history),  I have often wondered with awe what it must have been like to be a filmmaker then.  Perhaps one day, filmmakers will look back on these days and wonder the same thing.

Reprint: My SportsFanLive Blog Post

March 15, 2010

On the heels of my trip to the Vancouver Olympics with the APPOINTMENT IN VANCOUVER “crew” (aka Seth Caplan, producer, and Mo Grosser, music sup), I was approached about writing a blog post about the experience for SportsFanLive.

So I did. Chance to gush about my film AND score free PR? Yes, please.

The post is still available here, BUT because I’m cranking out another draft of the book adaptation* today (a pass on the bad girl character… making her badder), and a shiny, new draft of LOSERS was delivered yesterday, I don’t have time to do a fresh blog post. I believe in recycling in real life and in blog life so… I’m publishing my SportsFanLive post here for those who missed it the first time and for those who were to lazy to click this time.

Bonus! I’ll include more pics from the trip than the SportsFanLive people did. Yeah, I got your back.

Director Anna Christopher was in Vancouver to follow skier Casey Puckett, the subject of her documentary, Appointment In Vancouver. The film focuses on Puckett’s life as a world-class athlete, father of two and hometown hero, who was preparing for his fifth Olympic appearance. Here is Christopher’s account Puckett’s latest Olympic experience:

The girls of team AIV got lots of attention for our gear and not being disgusting looking.

We made awesome signs. Amazing signs. Signs that deserved to be on TV. Which was exactly the intention.

After camera-tailing four-time Olympian Casey Puckett for three years and making an applauded documentary about him, my producer, music supervisor, brother (who is in the film) and I scrapped our way to the Olympic Games. With our signs in hand, we were determined to get our film,Appointment In Vancouver, and our favorite skier cross racer, Casey Puckett, some network coverage.

Appointment In Vancouver documents Casey’s dramatic/thrilling/gut-wrenching/inspiring journey to the Games. We capture the challenges Casey faces as an elite athlete competing on the world’s stage and as a father juggling gold-medal dreams while raising kids. The film offers audiences a rare, exclusive glimpse of the mental, emotional and physical trials of a retired Olympic athlete making a comeback at age 37.

Me, our tickets, Mo.

The film was born the moment I met Casey. The IOC had recently named Skier Cross as the “new” Olympic sport to debut in Vancouver. Casey said then that he “had an appointment in Vancouver.” His unwavering faith and determination to compete in the 21st Winter Olympics hooked me. He’d competed on the U.S. Ski team since he was 19, raced in Albertville, Lillehammer, Nagano and Salt Lake City. Never medaled. He retired after his final Olympics. Final? Actually, not so much. That’s one of the reasons his story is so inspiring.

Through a mix of chance, fate, and itch of “unfinished business,” Casey fell in love with the emerging sport of Skier Cross. Before he knew it, he was back on the slopes and dominating the field unlike he’d ever done as an Alpine racer. He’d found his cup of tea, and he was guzzling it down. EvenDaron Rahlves, Casey’s teammate, Alpine racing legend, and co-star of Appointment In Vancouver, admits that Casey was better at Skier Cross than he ever was in Alpine. In the film, Daron says, “My heart pumps a little harder when I line up against Casey because I know what he can do.”

"O Canada" you love red. And Chris Del Bosco.

As the Appointment In Vancouver crew climbed the million stairs to the grandstand on February 21, 2010, we wondered what Casey would do that day. The crowd seemed to be pondering the same thing of all the athletes. An excited but serious vibe emanated from the grandstand as the first heats began. Every race of four-on-four skiers was enthralling but the crashes were brutal, which I think caused the pensive energy in the stands. There was no doubt — this sport was way more electrifying than curling.

Friends have told me the TV coverage made the course appear easy. From our vantage point, it was not. The crowd gave every race its entire attention because if you looked away for a second, you may miss something unbelievable. This universal focus gave bonded all of us in the crowd without words. We were all there for the love of this new sport and the fearless racers who tried to conquer it.

Monster jump after "trouble alley" at the end of the SX course.

In the first couple heats, scary pile-ups unfolded right before our eyes in the last turn to the final obstacle — a monster jump. We started calling that toilet-bowl turn “trouble alley” and worried about how Casey would handle it. I remembered Casey’s perseverance. He fought through seven surgeries to be here. His most recent injury happened in January when on the way to his first World Cup victory. He fell a mere six seconds from the finish and separated his shoulder. In that moment, even he thought the ride was over. However, he pushed through, rehabbed the injury in six weeks, and was here in Cypress on the day Skier Cross was debuting at the Games. No matter what Casey would be a part of history.

And he was. Not with a medal or a massive crash but by laying down a solid race. Because of his

Daron, on the other hand, did crash.

injured shoulder, he came out of the gates slower than he’d like and found himself in fourth place. Despite his best efforts, he stayed in fourth for the whole race.

Casey and I texted after the event. What did I say? I’m not sure. There’s not a go-to phrase for “I’m sorry you didn’t achieve your dream and our dream for you.” I know he was disappointed. So was I. But he gave the race everything he had and that’s all you can ask. The Appointment In Vancouver team remained in the stands until the end of the event, enjoying the spectacle of the sport but without the gusto with which we began. We left our signs in the stands.

The funny thing is that when I returned to Los Angeles, I screened Appointment In Vancouver for a few friends. The film ends just before Casey goes to the Olympics. My friends knew the outcome of the Games, yet they loved the film. Even I still loved it. I realized that Casey didn’t win a medal on February 21, 2010, but the journey that got him to that historic day, his Appointment In Vancouver,was pure gold.


*When am I going to announce the book and the subsequent project news!?!?!?! I’m waiting on a few possible press opps to either play out or to die a cold, ignored death to determine when I sing the news from the blogsphere mountain tops.

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