Creative Genius Jennie McGuirk

Jennie McGuirk
Creative Director Jennie McGuirk shot by Christian Thomas

Award-winning creative director Jennie McGuirk represents the perfect dichotomy of creativity and commerce. Under her belt, she has an innumerable list of hugely successful projects for international businesses, publications and agencies. Clients have included: Mercedes-Benz, BP, Ford, WWF, DHL, Kronenbourg, The Westfield Group, Dove, and American Express.

She has an acute vision for artistic and creative detail, yet maintains a clear focus on the bigger picture. Her eye-catching, tailored solutions for trendsetting brands are executed with laser-like precision and have boosted the success of her international clientele.

Before coming to Los Angeles, the Manchester native worked in London for several years where, among other ventures, she assisted agent Charlotte Wheeler and fashion photographer Nick Knight. Alongside projects for Nick’s groundbreaking online platform SHOWstudio, she was exposed to campaigns for major players in the fashion and music industry, such as Levi’s, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Massive Attack.

McGuirk began working in Los Angeles in 2008, and has become one of the most respected names in the world of creative direction. Her stature in the field is exemplified by her recent appointment to the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the AIGA association. AIGA LA is one of the largest, most influential branches of America’s professional association for design.

“AIGA is the world’s largest professional association for design, and it is a great honor for me to be recognized by such a high-caliber group of peers,” McGuirk said. “As Engagement Director, I will be helping to support and develop the Los Angeles chapter and elevating the LA design community on both a national and international level.”

In 2013, McGuirk won the AIGA (Re)design Award for her Creative Direction and Copywriting, a highly-prized honor from the association, which was established more than a century ago and currently represents over 22,000 designers nationwide.

“I’m particularly proud of the AIGA (RE)design Award, as it recognizes creatives who put in the extra effort to consider all impacts of a design project, including environmental, economic, social and cultural,” McGuirk said. “It effectively raises the bar for what constitutes ‘good design.’”

She received that award in recognition for her work on the Small Gestures Campaign for Sunrise Brands, an apparel conglomerate that designs, manufactures and sells both branded and private label clothing. Sunrise Brands’ partnerships with names such as American Rag Cie, Superdry and Melissa McCarthy for Seven7, have made the company a leading name in LA’s renowned fashion scene. She conceived the Small Gestures Campaign to create a sense of community for the company’s employees, while simultaneously encouraging conservation and an environmentally friendly workplace. The campaign was lauded with praise by the esteemed judges at AIGA and had a tangible effect on the community spirit and reduction of waste in the office.

A seasoned veteran in her field, McGuirk’s role sees her working closely with clients to research, plan and implement the creative and visual direction of a brand’s image and experience. She has worked with clients in many industries, and possesses a rare knack for visualizing not just the needs of her clients, but the trends and patterns of their customers. McGuirk is a master of both the ephemeral and the timeless; able to foresee and target consumer trends with pinpoint accuracy, her talents lend a considerable advantage to those she works with.

“I monitor the comparative and competitive landscape, and reference cultural influencers to help inform my concepts. I then define the individual aspects that will set the brand apart. This ensures the creative solution has both relevance and authenticity,” McGuirk said. “I work to make sure the brand messaging is consistent, cohesive and impactful, in order to create that all-important emotional connection with the consumers.”

A versatile and innovative creative, McGuirk has a particular affinity for the fashion industry and has recently dedicated her talents to developing the brand identity and ecommerce experience for West Hollywood boutique, TAGS. Part of the Sunrise Brands portfolio, with which she was well-acquainted from her prior work, TAGS’ massive inventory of affordable luxury brands features the latest styles from Zimmermann, A.L.C., IRO, Vince and Theory, among many, many more of the most up-to-the-minute designer fashions. Since tapping McGuirk as the Creative Director for TAGS last year, the company has had an undeniable surge in site traffic, record Holiday sales, and content-driven marketing campaigns are flourishing. More importantly than the immediate sales growth however, is the way McGuirk has managed to create a recognizable online presence for the company, making them a go-to designer boutique for shoppers around the globe.

“I have been writing about the incredible offering of brands that the store carries for several years,” McGuirk said. “In 2014, I initiated and directed the brand development, content creation and ecommerce site redesign… The company aesthetic is now more in line with the amazing roster of brands that it carries and I’m continuously working to direct site content and enhance the user experience design.”

In a city like Los Angeles, it takes a tremendous amount of talent to stand out among the creative community. McGuirk has become one of the most recognized figures in design, employing innovative and adaptive styles and campaigns to bring national attention to her clients. Her growing list of clients have benefited immensely from her astounding vision, both creatively and fiscally, and her successes have made her one of the most sought-after icons in an industry that begins at the crossroads of aesthetics and economics, beauty and business.

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Canada’s IT Girl, Model Shiva Negar!

Shiva Negar
                             Model and actress Shiva Negar shot by Cameron Rab

If you haven’t yet heard of Shiva Negar by name, you’ve surely seen her face. Perhaps it was on a commercial, or a billboard or in a magazine ad. While you might not be able to place a finger on it, upon seeing her again you may think to yourself, “I’ve seen her before.”

Such is the fleeting nature of the advertising industry, attaching beautiful faces to commonplace commodities. As a model, Shiva Negar has lent her image to many of these brands and products. While the products she represents may be disregarded, however, a beauty as distinct as Shiva’s is seldom forgotten.

It is for this reason that Qatar Airways selected Shiva as their hallmark model in 2012, and for this reason that she has been the face of the company ever since. Advertisements with Shiva representing the company have been distributed worldwide.

As demonstrated by Qatar Airways, when a company is able to convince Shiva to be their model, they don’t want to let her go. The same was true for the Listerine brand, which used Shiva’s face for two years on a billboard campaign for their pocket packs.

Shiva was also selected as a Stoli model for Stolichnaya Vodka, and in addition to print modeling for the brand, she modeled at most of the events Stolichnaya hosted in Canada. Through her long-term relationship with this company, Shiva again has confirmed that her desirability only increases with time.

Shiva has presented many products and brands as a model at live events as well. Some of the most notable of these include shows for Porsche & Fiat automobiles, the Grand Prix, WIND Mobile, Carls Jr., and Nespresso by Nestle.

Additional brands that have featured Shiva in their international magazine advertisements include Apple Computers and Walmart. Shiva has also been featured in print ads for Top Choice Magazine, Dream Body Fitness, and Deca Professional Cosmetics to name a select few.

To complement her tremendous body of work in print, Shiva has also developed an extensive amount of experience in commercial acting. Some of the international commercials in which she has appeared include campaigns for: Doritos, Corona, Itel Pasta, Molson Beer, Zantac, and Cosmo TV a branch of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

While simultaneously working for internationally recognized major brands, Shiva also has the perfect look to fit more artistic and character driven projects. In 2013 she was featured on the cover of the novel “Breath of Iron: a Novel of the Clockwork Agents,” a steampunk/fantasy novel written by Kate Cross and published by Penguin.

Building a bridge between modeling and acting, Shiva Negar was cast alongside Kelly Clarkson in the music video for her smash hit, Behind These Hazel Eyes. The song and music video both went on to win awards on MTV, Much Music, and the Teen Choice Awards. She has also had principal roles in music videos for bands such as Our Lady Peace and Young Empires.

Extending beyond her experience acting in music videos, Shiva has appeared on a variety of television shows and films. In 2011, she was cast as a guest star in the leading role of Lucia on the Disney Channel’s My Babysitter’s a Vampire. The show was a huge success garnering the 2012 Shaw Rocket Prize for Best Program and a Writer’s Guild of Canada Award, as well as a Gemini Award nomination and many others.

Negar has also had single-episode appearances on Combat Hospital, Alphas, Murdoch Mysteries, Covert Affairs, and Hemlock Grove, and a recurring role on Super Channel’s TV show 24 Hour Rental. She has also had many prominent roles in film, most notably, as a leading actress in the feature film Lost Journey.

When considering her comprehensive body of work in film, television, and modeling, Shiva cannot fail to impress even the most skeptical of audiences. As she continues to accept leading roles and top-tier modeling contracts, the world will only become more familiar with her face and name as time goes on.

From Behind the Glass & On the Stage, Andrew Kesler is a Musical Swiss Army Knife

Andrew Kesler
                   Musician and Producer Andrew Kesler shot by Von Wong

Andrew Kesler’s multi-faceted skills as an instrumentalist, singer and engineer have undeniably made him a valuable asset to the Grammy Award winning producers (Al Schmitt, Tommy LiPuma) and independent artists (Milan Boronell, Justin Dunlop) he’s worked with.

The Canadian-born music producer has married art and science to become a virtual Swiss Army knife in the studio. He’s learned to play seven instruments, including bass, drums, guitar and piano, since he picked up his first, the ukulele, when he was two years old. But it’s been his ability to create music from concept to finished product that’s set him apart.

“Part of what makes me unique is my versatility and experience,” Kesler said. “I don’t think it is common to find someone who plays a lot of instruments proficiently, writes, arranges and engineers music.”

Kesler’s worked with some of the industry’s top producers such as 21-time Grammy Award winner Schmitt (Quincy Jones, Steely Dan, Natalie Cole), three-time Grammy Award winner LiPuma (Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Barbra Streisand) and Grammy Award nominee Greg Wells (Adele, Katy Perry, Aerosmith).

Because of his reputation, Kesler was brought in to be the recording engineer for Al Schmitt in a session he was producing. After the session, Schmitt urged Kesler to move to Los Angeles, where he said his skills and personality would be a “breath of fresh air.”

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native moved to L.A. in 2015 with an already impressive portfolio under his belt, and multiple projects underway. His work with some of North America’s brightest young talents has spanned across a wide variety of genres, ranging from classical to indie-pop.

His album “Dragon Suite” with Homzy/Kesler Duo partner Aline Homzy won Best Contemporary Classical Album at the Independent Music Awards in 2013. He played on Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Dunlop’s album “Black Bay Nocturnes,” which was nominated for a Hamilton Music Award in 2015. Kesler produced Montreal native Milan Boronell’s self-titled EP, which was released in February, and is currently working on the debut album of Mario José, who was featured on NBC’s hit show “The Sing-Off.”

Boronell, an accomplished singer, songwriter and guitarist, needed the skills of an experienced producer for his EP, so he called on Kesler. The pair spent countless hours together to ensure they were on the same page before production started.

“My approach when producing is to do whatever it takes to make sure the artist’s vision is realized,” Kesler said. “It’s never about adding my footprint to their music, but rather understanding who they are, what the message is and using my skills to present it loud and clear.”

Kesler used his talents as a producer and a musician to bring their concept to life. His chemistry with Boronell was so good that he played a vastly larger-than-normal role in the EP’s production. Not only did Kesler produce, but he also played instruments, hired additional musicians, arranged parts for strings and background vocals, engineered the recording sessions and mixed tracks.

“I wouldn’t normally suggest to an artist that I be the one to fill all these roles,” Kesler said. “However, Milan’s music resonated with me and he really liked my contributions, which lead to me shouldering most of the load.”

The deep musical bond he shared with Boronell was a great example of Kesler’s approach in the studio.

“To achieve my best work as a producer, I have to find something about the artist I can invest in. I have to develop a connection with them,” Kesler said. “If I think my skills can contribute to helping them create the music they hear in their head then to me that’s a perfect fit.”

The time he spent with Boronell in pre-production was typical of his workflow. But Kesler showed his flexibility when he produced Dunlop’s latest single “Into the Cold.”

Kesler wanted to capture the roots musician’s “creative vibe” rather than record a “perfect performance,” so they spent just thirty minutes playing through the parts and crafting the song’s arrangement before recording. A few hours later they had recorded the entire song, including the vocals, overdubs and beds.

“Because I know Justin’s style, I knew what kind of contributions I could make that would be fitting for his music,” Kesler said. “Knowing this we were able to achieve a ‘live off the floor’ feeling with nuanced performances and interaction. I try to bring this approach to the pop productions I do as well.”

Along with José’s debut album, Kesler is currently producing the second album for his a cappella jazz group Accent. The group will guest-speak at the EG Conference in Monterey, California in May, and is planning to tour Germany in November. He is also producing the sophomore album for his indie-pop group Holy Oker, which is planned for release in 2016.

DJ Kiraz, Bringing Female DJs into the Spotlight

Despite electronic dance music’s quantum leap in popularity in recent years, success for female DJs in the male-dominated industry has been scarce. But Swedish-born DJ Elin Ekdahl, known to most of the world as DJ Kiraz, has successfully carved a niche for herself in the EDM “boys club.”

EDM DJ
DJ Kiraz shot by Andy Thien

DJ Kiraz has played some of the biggest venues in the world such as ageHa in Tokyo and Exchange LA in Los Angeles. Though she’s established herself in the business, the well-travelled DJ is not content with her male counterparts dominating the dance music scene.

“I love seeing other female DJs killing it on stage,” Kiraz said. “I think we need to stick together and support each other more. We need to show that we can, and that we want to, be a part of it, too.”

Music has been a part of DJ Kiraz’ life for as long as she can remember. EDM became her favorite style of music when she was 13-years-old; but it wasn’t until she saw a female DJ take the stage at Club Atom in Tokyo that she wanted to learn the craft and become a DJ as well.

“I was so excited, as it was the first female DJ I had seen there,” Kiraz said. “However, her music selection was completely different from the club format, and she seemed to have a guy helping her out in the DJ booth.”

The experience filled her with determination. She recalled, “That’s when I knew I wanted to prove that girls are equally capable of being great DJs.”

Kiraz went back to Europe to learn the art of the club DJ. She studied under some of the most successful European DJs such as Swedish DJs Mikey Mic and Havin Zagross, and U.K. DJs John Taylor and Graeme Lloyd. Two years later she was on stage at the biggest clubs in Japan including Warehouse702, Club Asia and ageHa.

The gig at ageHa, Japan’s largest nightclub, took Kiraz’ career to new heights. The club’s 2,500-people main stage had been previously played by world-renowned DJs such as Armin van Buuren and Paul van Dyk. DJ Kiraz stood in their footsteps and shined.

“It was nerve wracking, but so much fun,” Kiraz said.

Kiraz has played all kinds of EDM from deep house to hardstyle. But trance has been her true passion.

“Trance makes me happy,” Kiraz said. “It makes sad. It gives me goosebumps. It makes me feel something.”

The loyalty to her joy has clearly served Kiraz well since her move to the U.S. She’s played alongside internationally renowned DJs Simon Patterson, Sean Tyas and Headhunterz at Exchange LA in the heart of Downtown L.A.’s thriving club scene.

The similarities between L.A. and Tokyo took DJ Kiraz by surprise.

“I was told that it would be so different and that I would need to change my style of DJing,” Kiraz said. “But honestly, if we are talking electronic music crowds, I don’t think that they are all that different. They all dance, they all rage and they all have a true passion for the music.”

Kiraz’ ability to heat up the dance floor all over the world has earned her a loyal fan base, too.

“There aren’t enough female DJs out there that can play the way that Elin can,” fan Kelly Sandgren said. “She really knows how to bring great energy to a set and I haven’t seen many other DJs, male or female, who can do it as well as she can.”

But DJ Kiraz’ gender has been just a small part of her story. Her time in the genre as both a fan and DJ, and her love of and loyalty to trance has earned her spots at major league clubs on both sides of the Pacific.

“My style of music is unique, especially for a female DJ,” Kiraz said. “I have a lot of experience in the industry, and I have been able to closely observe the evolution of electronic music from three completely opposite sides of the world for the last decade.”

Outside the club, DJ Kiraz has hosted her bi-monthly podcast on SoundCloud since October, 2013 at www.soundcloud.com/kiraz-1.

The Spanish Actress to Watch, Ainara Landon!

Ainara Landon
                                                      Actress Ainara Landon shot by Russell Thomas

The versatility of Spanish actress Ainara Landon has dazzled European and American audiences alike. Landon is trilingual, internationally recognized for her devotion to her craft, and her work has won prestige on both sides of the Atlantic. Her incredible talent can be seen in major projects such as The Avatars, a Disney production. The show, which is set in New York, filmed in Spain and airs in Italy on the Disney Channel, is known for drawing a huge number of viewers.

The Avatars takes the adaptable Landon back to high school, where her character Jana wins the heart of Robbie, played by Kirk Bonacci. The Avatars centers around a band of teenagers – one of whom is Robbie – whose musical skills have been underestimated because of their young age. In the series the group decides to form an online, pseudo-anonymous band to avoid the judgment of record executives and to prove their talent isn’t limited by their youth.

In the first season Robbie develops a crush on Landon’s character, a romantic dynamic that builds anticipation until the two finally go on a date, which, although ends in catastrophe, doesn’t stop Robbie from trying to win her heart in the second season. Landon described the project as both challenging and rewarding, and said the opportunity to work with an entertainment giant like Disney really helped her grow in her craft.

“Playing a younger character is always a challenge, and going back to high school is definitely a big challenge,” Landon said. “Disney shows are very fast-paced, so it was a really good experience.”

Adept as both a dramatic and comedic actress, Landon’s work has won over audiences and critics in both the U.S. and Europe. Notably, her role in the romantic comedy Stuck to Your Pillow, which earned a Goya Award nomination, the most prestigious award available in the Spanish film industry, and one that is comparable to the Oscars in the U.S. and the BAFTAs in the United Kingdom. Her extraordinary talents in Spanish and Italian productions caught the attention of filmmakers in the States, who have cast her in 8th House, a cerebral drama, which examines the psyche of a woman struggling to recover from heartbreak.

In the upcoming feature 8th House, Landon’s dramatic talents will be on full-display. She plays Paulilu, the lead character’s best friend and editor. Paulilu struggles to help her friend Salome, a poet played by Andrea Goldman (The Sonnet Project, 1/20), after she suffers a nervous breakdown. The film follows Salome as she travels to France in an attempt to win back her married lover. During her journey, she meets eight women who reshape her views on love, femininity, and independence.

8th House is directed by Marem Hassler (House of Saddam, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) and co-written by both Goldman and Hassler. It is a co-production of Viscus Films and FleenKat Films, the creative groups behind several exciting upcoming projects including DU-O and Sprouting.

In Dig Deep, Landon gives an amazing performance in the starring role of Jessica. Jessica finds herself at the center of a love triangle, but the audience soon discovers that the men she’s torn between are brothers. The brothers haven’t seen or talked to each other in years, and when they realize they are both falling for the same girl, the movie swiftly turns from romance to drama as it examines the complicated nature of love and the baggage each character carries with them.

Her international and cross-cultural appeal have made Landon one of the most sought-after actresses in the business today. Her sophistication, ability to adapt to filming on location across Europe and the U.S., and her natural talent for becoming the characters she portrays have endowed her with a Midas touch. Landon strives to gain insight from every performance she delivers, and believes each role she’s played and each genre she’s worked in has taught her more about the art form.

“I think it is important for an actor to show versatility. You always find yourself more secure in one genre or character, but you grow more when it’s a challenge,” Landon said. “I think as an actor you are always learning. You learn from every role.”

Incredible skill and a proven track record for bringing the very best qualities to her characters across every genre have made every project she’s been a part of shine like gold. Ainara Landon will no doubt be a household name internationally as she continues to take the American and European continents by storm.

Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert Connoisseurs the Perfect Cut

Marta Bonet de Gispert
                                                  Film Editor Marta Bonet de Gispert

Hailing from a family of lawyers, Barcelona native Marta Bonet de Gispert left law school to pursue her creative passions in the film world, a move that has delighted international audiences and filmmakers alike.

Marta Bonet de Gispert went on to attend the prestigious School of Cinema and Audiovisual de Catalunya (ESCAC). About switching professions, Bonet de Gispert recalls, “I started my law degree following my family’s tradition in law. But after a few years, I felt unfulfilled. I had to face my mistake and find a better path. Even though I knew it was a difficult industry, I chose film school. Something inside me told me it was the right thing to do.”

Now an award-winning film editor, it is clear that Bonet de Gispert made the right choice. Her exceptional talent and painstaking attention to detail is apparent in every frame of every film that she’s done so far. Her extensive international resume includes the films Soldados (Soldiers), Padre Modelo (Role Model Father), Devil May Call, as well as many others. She was also the editor on the television shows Latino Dub and Califorma.

It may seem like quite a drastic change to switch from law school to film school, but in truth, both professions require a person who possesses a strong eye for details and an immense understanding of the technical intricacies of their craft. Even more critical in each though, is a person’s ability to use that perceptiveness and knowledge to adapt to a client’s needs—something Bonet de Gispert has accomplished, proven by the sheer number of awards her films have won over the years.

Temporada 92-93 (Season 92-93), one of Bonet de Gispert’s first credits as editor, was a resounding success at international film festivals. Set in Spain where for many fútbol is a religion, Temporada 92-93 tells the comedic story of two inseparable friends united in their love for soccer. One is celebrating his child’s birthday as both split their attention between the festivities and a historic soccer match playing over the radio.

“We had to be careful in selecting the takes we would use,” explains Bonet de Gispert. “Also, as in all comedy, finding the right rhythm was essential. Jokes don’t work well if they’re not on the right pace.”

Winning a staggering 44 festival awards, Temporada 92-93 was incredibly well received by judges and critics alike. Among the honors was the Best Editing Award from the Film Festival Terrassa, an incredible achievement for Bonet de Gispert, whose career had only just begun.

It is the editor’s job to thoroughly understand the director’s vision, to see the story as the director imagines it. Then, with that understanding, the editor uses the footage to turn an intangible idea, concept or even a feeling, into the story that unfolds before us.

Able to seamlessly shift from one genre to another, Bonet de Gispert’s work shows that a great editor doesn’t rely on a film’s subject so much as they rely on the vision of the filmmaker.

In Devil May Call, Bonet de Gispert’s ability to convey that vision was once again put to the test, and once again she surpassed everyone’s expectations with flying colors. What had once been just a nightmarish idea, Bonet de Gispert transformed into a physical manifestation of sheer, unadulterated horror.

Not for the faint of heart, Devil May Call is centered on Sam, an operator for a phone counseling hotline. Sam, played by award-winning actress Corri English (Planes: Fire & Rescue, Holliston) is training her replacement on the night shift; but when one of her regular callers, who happens to be a serial killer, hears that she’s quitting, he cuts off power to the building and traps Sam and the other employees inside. Devil May Call was filmed in Los Angeles and debuted at the 2013 Marches du Film event in Cannes, a dream for many filmmakers.

Bonet de Gispert also recently finished the films El Otro Lado and Gored. El Otro Lado, or The Other Side, is one of three films premiering as part of the Summer Of Shorts event, featuring films from three Spanish filmmakers bringing their work to American audiences. El Otro Lado is about a lawyer who finds himself losing his sense of morality as he goes from laundering money for the cartels to an even darker path. An even greater testament to the fact that she chose the right path by embarking on a career in film, Bonet de Gispert also directed El Otro Lado in addition to working as the editor. Produced by renowned production company La Panda, the film is scheduled to premiere in the U.S. this summer.

Gored, is a documentary about, fittingly, the bullfighter that holds the record for being the most gored in Spanish history. In a fascinating approach to a subject that hasn’t seen much coverage since Hemingway, the film follows Antonio Barrera as he grapples with the decision of a lifetime: whether to leave the ring and join his family while he’s ahead, or to commit himself to a glorious death against his lifelong adversary. The film will debut later this month at the Tribeca Film Festival where it has been chosen as an Official Selection, and is set to screen at several more festivals over the course of 2015.

For Jay Kim, Acting is an Avenue for Endless Exploration

Jay Kim
Actor Jay Kim shot by Jonathan Vandiveer

As a young boy, South Korean-born actor Jay Kim wanted to be a police officer, a Jedi and a myriad of other occupations one could simply not accomplish in one lifetime.

He recalled, “In the 6th grade, I had an epiphany and realized I that could be all those things if I became an actor. Over the years, the reason I kept to this path has changed, but that was the initial starting point.”

After serving his country as a Korean Special Forces commando, Jay Kim went on to become an actor, an occupation that, even if only for a few months at a time during the shooting of a film, has allowed him to fulfill a wildly diverse range of professions through his characters.

The young actor is absolutely devoted to his craft, and he has continued to prove his ability to blend into any role he is cast with natural ease. His work on both the stage and screen over the past decade has also put him alongside some of the most prestigious names in the business.

In his latest film, Purgatory, Kim gave a truly heart-wrenching performance. The film takes place in purgatory, and follows a man who was killed in a horrific car crash. Kim’s character Tod was an addict, a man with a hard habit and a harder life whose suicide brought him to the realm of repentance. Kim said the challenge of playing such a tormented character was an experience that was equally as dark as it was fulfilling.

“I loved the part and fought hard to get it. It was dark, and ‘getting inside’ the character required a lot of unpleasantness,” Kim said. “The character was miserable, but it was intriguing to attempt to really, really live in Tod’s shoes.”

Several years before Purgatory, Kim worked with award-winning Greek stage and screen actor Yorgos Karamihos whose credits include Without Borders, Beware of Bear, Matomena homata, Tale 52, Bang-Bang Wedding!, El Greco, Fugitive Pieces and over 30 other film and television shows.

Not only were Kim and Karamihos costars in past projects, but Karamihos also had a huge impact on Kim’s development as an actor in the early stages of his career.

After seeing Kim’s performance as Tod in Purgatory, Karamihos said, “Dark stuff, and I absolutely enjoyed watching. Amazing, superbly organic and truthful, disturbingly beautiful to watch… I feel honored for having been [his] teacher once, and I am looking forward to watching [his] new film.”

Kim’s prior work with Karamihos included the gripping film Maestro, in which Kim played Ken, the “tough guy” and right hand man to Karamihos’ character, the titular “maestro.”

About working with Karamihos, Kim recalled, “I learned an incredible amount from him, not just acting technique-wise, but how all aspects of life apply to acting… I truly looked up to him and admired his knowledge, so it was a thrill to work alongside him.”

Maestro was a thrilling, fast-paced story of manipulation, greed, and backstabbing.

“The film was about a conniving, snake-like ‘maestro’ who stole his colleague’s lover and work clients,” Kim said. “Luis Fernandez-Gil also starred in the film and he was a fantastic actor to watch. The intensity he brought was genuine and proved that his talents are of the highest caliber.”

In 2014, Kim’s talent caught the attention of esteemed playwright and actor Tim McNeil, who cast Kim in The Straight Bozo, a one act play about a Wall Street man with a secret which gradually comes to light as the audience follows him in his commute from Long Island to Manhattan.

Other plays on Kim’s impressive list of stage works include Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo, Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding, and Bertolt Brecht’s The Irresistible Rise of Arturo Ui.

Kim’s upcoming releases include Purgatory and The Dragon’s Lair, which is set to finish production later this year. Audiences should brace themselves now, because the world will soon be seeing a lot more of this young phenomenon’s face.