Actress Francesa De Luca to star in upcoming film ‘Café Mnemosyne’

Originally from Hammersmith, London, Francesca De Luca knew she was meant to perform at the age of six. At the time she was dancing, but she realized the stage was her home. She knows what it is to connect with her audience, to make them feel something they didn’t know was there. She brings everything she has to every performance she does, and this is what makes her such an outstanding actress.

Throughout her career, De Luca has risen to one of England’s top actresses. She has worked alongside extraordinary talent like herself, including Producer, Writer, and Director Francis Ford Coppola, known for many award-winning films including The Godfather trilogy. He is also one of De Luca’s idols.

“He reminded me of my grandfather with his warmth and he told me I reminded him of his daughter Sophia. I spoke about my Italian heritage and it felt like I had known him for years,” she said.

With a busy upcoming couple of years, De Luca will once again appear on the big screen in several new films. One of these is Café Mnemosyne, set to be released in 2019. The film will be directed by a prominent director, who approached De Luca knowing he needed her to make his film a success, and that she would be perfect for the role. This was four years ago, and now, the film is finally coming to fruition. De Luca immediately was on board.

“I’ve seen this director’s previous work and love the script and think he will be a nice guy to work with. I like working with talented, nice people, and it’s important to feel relaxed on set,” she said.

Scripts are extremely important to De Luca. She wants to read a script and feel compelled by the story, and if she is, that is when she will take on a role. Café Mnemosyne is one of those films. It is set in a strange diner where a young girl shows up with an odd dilemma, throwing the regular café occupants into a panic. The suspense is evident while she finds out what the café really is and what will happen to her next. De Luca will be playing the role of Carrie, who is one of the main characters in the diner. The film is expected to make its way to many of the world’s most prestigious film festivals.

“The filming will be in New Jersey so it will be an opportunity to spend time in New York again and spend time with my cousins and friends. I love New York as a city and I love the directness of the people. Also, I love playing Italian America New York characters, so I enjoy people watching while I am there and picking up traits that I can later bring to my characters,” said De Luca.

There is no doubt that De Luca will help make the films a success. She is known for working on acclaimed projects, such as the docudrama Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. De Luca played the role of Margot Fonteyn in the film, a true Prima Ballerina. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and was subsequently selected for the prestigious Hamptons Film Festival and the Key West Film Festival. Earlier this year, it was released in theatres across the United States and Canada, receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, with a score of 82 per cent “Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. It was released on iTunes in July of this year, and went straight to number one in the documentary chart and top ten in independent movies.

“I am proud to have been part of such a successful film,” said De Luca, speaking of Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent.

De Luca saw similar success with the film Passports. The film follows Tanya who returns after six wild years of travelling. Once home, her mother and grandma make her join an online dating site and go on a date. The date is a visit to a psychic. During the visit, unexpected events occur and the guy hits on the psychic secretively sliding to her a piece of paper reading ‘Call Me.’ The psychic ignores him and tells Tanya her fortune and after Tanya shows the psychic a ‘new’ game of magic in which she makes her date’s car keys disappear. From then on things get heated between the three. This film is a dramedy with beautiful cinematography and interesting characters. De Luca plays the pivotal role of the psychic. Passports went on to win several awards at many prestigious international film festivals.

“During Francesca’s audition for Passports, we decided to cast her immediately because of her commanding stage presence and the many unique details she brought to her acting. What makes her special is her uncanny ability to perform at the drop of a hat, improvisation skills especially with dialogue, and her capacity to do numerous accents from all over the world. We are currently in the development stages of our first feature Midnight Daughter, filming to start early 2018, and are casting Francesca in one of the primary roles of the film. Her vast skill set allows Francesca to fit into different characters. Overall, Francesca’s dedication to the craft of acting and her easy-going attitude are two of the many reasons why we like working with her,” said Jeremy Pion Berlin, the Director of Passports.

Audiences have a lot to look forward to with De Luca gracing their screen presence so frequently in the coming years. She has recently been working with Mark Myers of CSP Management, who also plans to cast the actress is roles with his production company Citizen Skull over next few years. She is also looking forward to working on various roles in US television programs. She is definitely one to watch out for.

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Actress Michelle Howarth to share important world issues in TV show ‘Hummingbird’

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Michelle Howarth

Growing up in South Africa, Michelle Howarth started acting as a way to express herself. The country has eleven official languages, and communication barriers often arise. Being on stage, she found she was able to transcend this obstacle and connect with her audience no matter what language they spoke. The arts, she found, can relate to any person. Film and television are enjoyed around the world, in every culture. This reality got her hooked, and her natural talent and creative instincts are what allowed her to rise to the top of her field, making her one of the best actresses to recently come out of South Africa.

“I wanted to be a professional actor because I knew I was obsessed with the craft and wanted to mold it into my career. I wanted to specialize and fine tune my acting and creativity to the point that I am able to create films and performances that resonate globally. I was big into physical theatre growing up, and that medium especially is able to communicate across transnational borders and cultures. I wanted to be able to do this on a global scale through film and television and tell stories that would otherwise go unheard. I wanted to be a professional actor to be a part of an artistic process that initiates conversation, understanding, empathy and insight across the globe,” said Howarth.

The twenty-five-year-old actress has done just that. Through her work in several successful projects, she has captivated audiences around the globe. She has had a leading role in films and television series such as Just Animals, Parenthood, Talk Stew, Shameless, King Krule, and Jackson and Randall, as well as stage roles in Angel Academy, Chicago, Ivy, and Hanamichi. Howarth consistently impresses not only audiences, but her colleagues as well. Sonja Smit, the director of the touring play Villian in which Howarth was the star, says the actress’ performance greatly contributed to the success of the play.

“Michelle has the rare ability to truly inhabit a character, always merging naturally into the character’s personality without losing any of her inherent “star power”, an ability that was on full display in her extraordinary lead performance in Villain. It is this exceptional quality that has allowed her to become one of the most exciting new faces in theatre and independent cinema over the past several years, and there is no doubt in my mind that her career will only go from strength to strength,” said Smit.

Despite such success, the highlight of Howarth’s career comes from her work in the highly-anticipated new television series Hummingbird. The series tells the story of a group of American teenagers that go missing in the United States. Detectives look into the disappearance of these teenagers and see that, although they disappeared independently of one another, there are similarities between the cases. After further investigation, one detective in particular notices a thread between each case. Each one seemed to be very active online and in each case met a member of an extremist group in Syria, and went over to Syria to do their Jihad and join ISIS. The show reveals the psyche of each individual and the process of their decision to now be a part of ISIS.

The story is incredibly timely, given the war against ISIS and terrorism that is taking place around the world, with such divisiveness on how to handle people that make these decisions. Not only is the show based on true events, it will be shot in a realistic way, and each actor knows the responsibility they carry with their portrayal of their characters. Howarth wanted to do her part to enlighten audiences on such an important issue.

“It is an important story that needs to be told, and I am proud to be a part of a show that is didactic as well as entertaining. I believe the show will shed light on socio-religious and economic issues and help initiate conversation and critical thinking around said issues,” she said. “I believe it can create a basis for conversation and debate around the subject matter on a global platform. I also believe it will give insight to a world far removed from most people and hopefully offer understanding of that culture and religious practice.”

In Hummingbird, Howarth plays the pivotal role of Cassandra, one of the American teenage girls who goes missing. It is later discovered that she met an older man online and after falling in love with him, was flown over to Syria to do her Jihad and join an extremist group. She is one of the girls who they are able to find. However, unlike the other girls, Cassandra refuses to come back to her family and the United States. Cassandra is strong willed and happy in her decision to convert to this new religion and live this extremist life.

Howarth’s portrayal of Cassandra will allow the audience to witness such a journey and possibly understand the reasoning behind it. Cassandra reveals the extremities and consequences of social media and online interactions. She shows the journey through the psyche of a young teenage girl who goes to extreme lengths for the man she loves. Through her portrayal of Cassandra, Howarth will allow viewers to witness the practices of the Jihad and life in Syria, as well as what it would be like for a female member of an extremist group such as ISIS. The role of Cassandra is vital to helping reveal why these girls made the decisions they did and how their lives ended up.

The show is expected to be an instant hit, and Howarth’s portrayal of Cassandra is a large part of that. The story is something viewers around the world want to know more about, and Howarth will help audiences gain insight into such troubled mindsets.

“In today’s world, there is much turmoil regarding this subject matter, and this series dives into these issues. The story is important because it may help one experience and understand a world we are removed from and its practices and realms,” she concluded.

Audiences have a lot to look forward to from the South African native. Beyond Hummingbird, be sure to check out Howarth in the upcoming film Madness Descending, which will be released next year.

Aiming For a Dream, Producer Angel Cassani Strikes it Hot in Hollywood with the UFC

Producer Angel Cassani
Producer Angel Cassani

“While working in financing I dreamt of myself one day working in films in the famous Hollywood, California,” says Angel Diego Cassani, a Latin American expert financier who is conquering Hollywood today.

Angel is a veteran financier with more than 15 years in the field of financing and filmmaking. He started Global Capital Markets Group in Chile, Colombia and Peru, a big multi-national client portfolio including BellSouth, Motorola, Avon, and more. He has now brought his expertise in financing to his true passion – film making.

The film business operates in the creative sphere, but first and foremost it is a business. So, in 2008 Angel Cassani, who understands both entertainment and financing, came up with a brilliant idea to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of the UFC at that time. The UFC was and is still today, the highest growing sport in the world, and was featured that year on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Prize fighters and show business have been drawn to each other through history. Jack Dempsey, a heavyweight champion during the movie explosion of the roaring 20’s did not defend his title for 3 years, instead he headed to Hollywood with his actress wife Estelle Taylor, and made a dozen films while the leading contenders kicked their heels. In 1952, Sugar Ray Robinson retired from boxing after unsuccessfully challenging for the light heavyweight title, the great fighter put his skills to good use and went on tour as a dancer, earning $15,000 a week at that time. Robinson had parts in movies alongside, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando, and many others.

Angel had the brilliant idea of using the popularity of the UFC and began approaching heavy-hitters, and Hollywood players, as well as the studio Lionsgate, which immediately jumped at Angel’s out-of-the box creativity of and signed a six picture deal with him and his partner Hector Echavarria, a famous world martial arts champion, and film and television star from Argentina.

There are clear parallels between the life of an actor and the life of a prize fighter. The structure of the two industries is almost identical at the top of the tree.

“An elite few are well rewarded,” says Angel. The titles that Angel was crucial in closing these deals with the famous Hollywood studio. This joint venture led to pictures like “Confessions of a Pit Fighter” with famous movie star Armand Assante, as well as “Death Warrior,” “Unrivaled,” “Never Surrender,” and “Chavez Cage of Glory.”

Film Poster for "Never Surrender"

These films not only started the cinematic career of UFC prize fighters Quinton Jackson and Georges St-Pierre, aka GSP, who would both later on be cast in giant Hollywood projects like the remake of “The A-Team,” and the “Captain America” series, but also generate millions in profits for Lionsgate who invested a small amount in the pictures that yielded a tenfold return on investment.

That is when Angel Cassani began to dream even bigger. Other Hollywood studios approached him to do the same deal with Lionsgate but Angel turned them down and decided to move on and produce big Hollywood pictures. Angel and his partner, Hector Echavarria, then teamed up with iconic Hollywood legend, Ronald Shusett, whose movies, which include titles such as “Alien,” “Total Recall,” and other hits grossed over 1.5 billion at the box office.

Over the years of acting as a financial manager, Angel managed a number of due diligence engagements, such as acquisitions, disposals and debt restructuring projects and was often involved in assisting foreign investors in identifying and understanding the differences between Argentine GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), IAS (Internal Accounting Standards) and U.S. GAAP depending on the origination of a target business. Angel also manages acquisitions, merger, sales, debt rescheduling for companies like Super Canal, Grupo Uno and Multimedios in Latin America. All of these companies related to the entertainment industry.

“It was there that I realized that my dreams one day may be a reality,” says Angel.

Now Angel is working with other A-list Hollywood directors and actors and is ready to launch his own Hollywood studio. Angel is currently producing three Hollywood films including “Last Tango,” “Hit man’s Funeral” and “Hunter.” “Last Tango” will be directed by Steven Campanelli who was the cameraman for Clint Eastwood for more than 20 years on films like “Million Dollar Baby,” “Sully,” “Grand Torino,” etc. Campanelli also directed “Momentum” with Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. “Hit Man’s Funeral” was written by TJ Mancini who also wrote “Find me Guilty” for Vin Diesel and produced films like “Riddick” and the Sundance Film Festival nominated film, “Stray.”

“Hit Man’s Funeral” is an Irish gangster story– think “The Usual Suspects” meets “Reservoir Dogs,” offering a peek inside the gritty world of dangerous hitmen, where no one can be trusted and everyone’s a suspect.

“My goal in film is to work with the best people in the industry and create a piece of work I can truly be honored by, which is incredibly difficult but it’s the challenge and risk that makes it so exciting,” says Angel.

Producer Angel Cassani has secured himself as a top producer in the international entertainment industry; and the formation of his new Hollywood film studio has brought the attention of the Hollywood elite to him. Angel is one of the few people in the world that can say that he did everything he dreamt of doing in his life and being part of the Hollywood history is one of his biggest accomplishments.

Editor Peter Hein digs into the emotion of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’

As an editor, Peter Hein does not begin his work until later in the process. He doesn’t figure out how it is shot, who will play what part, or what costumes they will where. He doesn’t stand behind the camera, looking for the right angles to frame a face. His role is much more nuanced. He does not write the story; he finds its heart and soul. During editing, he sees the emotion in each scene, and tweaks the storyline to truly hit home with its viewers. Whether it’s to make people laugh or cry, he gets every frame just right to connect with his audience. As an editor, he is responsible for the story coming together, and he is brilliant at it.

Hein is known in the United Kingdom for his exceptional work on many popular television programs. The Denmark native has worked on shows like X Factor and First Dates, as well as award ceremonies like The BAFTA Awards. He uses his extensive knowledge to glue audiences to their seats, ensuring they watch every moment of a show, feeling connected to the cast they see on screen.

This is perhaps most exemplified with his work on Britain’s Got Talent. The editor has been part of the show since its second season, and is consistently asked to come back due to his substantial contributions. Sophie Coen, the Senior Producer of the talent competition, says that Hein’s work is incredible, and he plays a large role in the editing team.

“Peter is a real team player and always goes the extra mile. He is a dream in the edit. He is creative, decisive, and hugely experienced. He is always positive and upbeat, even when presented with a very tricky story, and with incredibly tight deadlines he manages to make it work. He is a real joy to work with,” said Coen. “On Britain’s Got Talent, Peter would often be the editor that the show would depend on to make a story work. His passion drives his talent. He is one of the best editors I have worked with. He understands narrative, humor, and emotion. Peter is able to draw upon his varied experience to make the edit work. He is a lead editor – he can inspire, direct, and lead others. Peter thrives under pressure and always delivers amazing work.”

The Got Talent format has been extremely successful in many countries, and the United Kingdom is no different. Hein’s work is what makes auditions so captivating, and even those not living in the UK have been privy to his talents. Many of his videos from the show have gone viral, including the iconic Susan Boyle audition, which has tens of millions of views on YouTube alone. The video starts in a comical way, with the audience laughing at the unassuming singer. By the end, viewers are in tears by her talent and the judges’ reaction.

This is what Hein does with every scene he works on. During the audition process, he spends weeks sifting through footage for seven minutes of the show, but it is worth it. As the show progresses into live shows, he works to edit videos of the talents’ journeys prior to their performances. His work is what makes viewers root for different contestants.

Britain’s Got Talent is one of the two hardest shows I’ve ever worked on. The days were very long in the earlier series because the show was still finding its feet. But the teams on that show have always been great, and the success and team effort makes it worth working on it. You get given a story and you try and make it the best you can, bring something to it nobody thought of before, whether that be the style or music choices. Anything to make it ‘pop’,” said Hein.

With Hein’s work, the ratings have grown substantially each year, and now it is one of the most successful television formats in the world. Hein brought his own sense of comedy and emotion to the show, resulting in such a feat. The show’s third season final was the highest rated television show that year, when Susan Boyle won the show. It even won a BAFTA award.

Despite his accolades, Hein finds working on the show to be a team effort. He loves who he works alongside, and finds everyone pulls together to make the best show they possibly can.  The show has been on for eleven years and still entertains audiences with the same format, and that is because of the stories they are sharing with the world; stories that Hein plays a large hand in telling.

In the beginning, Hein wanted to work on Britain’s Got Talent because it was a new and growing format that would provide a different editing experience. At the time, he was extremely grateful for the opportunity. He still is today.

“I still find it incredible when people love what I do. It’s a real compliment to know that after all the years on the show I can still surprise and entertain people with how I edit. Britain’s Got Talent has a special warm feeling about it, it has always had that, and I feel like I done my part to give the show that well-loved feeling,” he concluded.

Maria Akpan Scouted by Mark Anthony for Prince Revelation Tribute Show

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Maria Akpan

When most parents ask their children what they’d like to be when they grow up, they expect to hear answers like professional “actor” or “dancer” and simply hope that the novelty will wear off with age. This, however, was not the case for Maria Akpan’s mother and father. From a very young age, Akpan knew that she had a gift and over the years, she has been determined to share that gift with the world. The talented dancer and choreographer is passionate about not only keeping the art of dance alive, but ensuring that it remains fresh, engaging and entertaining. She has creativity soaring through her veins and is eager to continue shedding her greatness before aspiring dancers everywhere.

Only a small fraction of human beings can confidently say that they get to do what they love for a living, and Akpan is one of those few people. In living out her dreams, Akpan has built a strong career full of invaluable experience. Her exceptional reputation has earned her a vast amount of achievements. For instance, Akpan performed as a lead dancer for the production Thriller Live, where she was tasked with taking the audience on a journey through Michael Jackson’s childhood and career. She has also appeared in a number of hit music videos, like Funky Twinz featuring N. Kay’s video, Entertain You, where she choreographed each dance number and subsequently acted as the lead dancer in the video. Her exposure to high quality productions and performances has allowed her to showcase her skill set before the eyes of several major production companies and fellow dancers. As a result, she has been recognized for her talents and even won an award in 2014 when Shirlene Quigley, a former dancer for Beyoncé and Rihanna, was looking for a dancer that wowed her enough to donate $500 toward a scholarship for the Broadway Dance Centre in New York. Unsurprisingly, Akpan blew her away and won the competition by a landslide.

One of Akpan’s most notable career highlights was when she choreographed and danced in a lead role for Mark Anthony’s, Prince Revelation Tribute Show. When Anthony was looking for talent to not only choreograph dances for the show, but also star in the show alongside him, he demanded that Akpan come on board. He was astounded by her natural affinity for choreography and dance when he stumbled upon her website online. Akpan was thrilled to be able to lend her talents to the show, as Prince was one of her favorite artists. The job allowed her to dance in well-known venues all over England and she thoroughly enjoyed all of the various aspects that the job entailed.

“Working on this project was so awesome. Contributing my skills and work to this show made it feel like my own. It was even more fulfilling when crowd members would approach us after the show to let us know that they thought Prince would’ve been proud watching it. It was surreal doing the festivals because you knew people had travelled miles to be there just to see the show. The energy coming from the audience was addicting and Twitter views were at an all-time high after each show,” recalls Akpan.

20170607_174958Akpan is no stranger to the world of choreography and her unique delivery and storytelling are what set her above her competition. She has had to fight for every opportunity she has accomplished thus far in her career and has developed a certain strength through her perseverance, a strength that every dancer sticks around long enough to develop. It is a grueling profession, but it is one that Akpan excels in. Her unprecedented skills as a dancer are the reason that she is a perfectionist, holding herself to the highest standard possible, as she knows what she is capable of. In stressful situations, she thrives and her drive is at an all-time high.

Lucie Camelo, who was fortunate enough to dance alongside Akpan in the Prince Revelation Tribute Show, witnessed first-hand Akpan’s profound ability to take a production or performance to the next level. She knows of the quality of work that Akpan is capable of delivering and considers herself lucky to have worked with such unparalleled talent.

“Working with Maria was definitely uplifting and enlightening for me. To be able to work closely with someone of her caliber was intense and just to get a glimpse into what it takes to be successful in this industry was a blessing in itself. She is a true inspiration to many. Her drive, commitment, and discipline for her work is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Working with her left me inspired,” says Camelo.

So, what is in store for this extremely talented dancer? Akpan created her own dance class called “#LinesNsaucewithmimi” which is taught in heels and has earned her great success so far. She also teaches children’s dance classes and continues to audition and perform for productions that interest her. On top of that, she is often called upon to teach private lessons for individuals of all different levels, from beginners and non-dancers to professional artists. In future, she hopes to dance with iconic artists like Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Madonna, Usher, and Christ Brown. So long as she is teaching, choreographing, and dancing, she will be content and motivated to continue along her successful path.

Meet Jemima Penny, the Costume Designer Behind some of the World’s Most Striking Music Videos

Costume Designer Jemima Penny
Costume Designer Jemima Penny. Photo by Shireen Bahmanizad

Modern music videos are huge productions with many of them having budgets comparable to that of a feature film. From Gwen Stefani’s “Make Me Like You” video coming it at $4 million to Madonna’s $5 million video for “Express Yourself,” and who can forget Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” which cost a whopping $7 million back in 1995, millions of dollars go into creating the visual stories and elaborate worlds we see in popular music videos. From expensive lighting to ornately designed sets, a great deal of effort goes into making these stories as memorable and visually striking as possible, and one of the key elements in all of this is costume design.

UK costume designer Jemima Penny is the one they call in to design the wardrobes for many of the high-dollar music videos. Over the years, Jemima has done it all. From working on the music videos for Sir Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight” featuring Natalie Portman and Mackenzie Crook, and designing Lily Allen’s “LDN,” Roots Manuva’s “Buff Nuff,” Juliette Lewis and the Licks’ “Got Love to Kill,” and countless others, Jemima has designed for some of the most famous artists in the world.

Compared to film, costume designing for music videos brings with it a unique set of challenges in terms of turnaround time, which require Jemima to work quickly to source the costumes, sometimes even fitting the cast and making alterations on the same day as the shoot.

“Prep periods and the shoot are very quick when working on music promos and commercials, and my team and I need to source and fit costumes within days… As such we need to create an instant vision for the song,” explains Jemima. “There is less emphasis on the intricate details and character work and instead I concentrate on designing a look for the video that immediately captures the audience and tells the story.”

In the same way that no two videos are alike, the wardrobe Jemima designs for each video she works on is completely different from the next; and with well over a decade of experience in the industry, the costumes she’s designed span the gamut. She says, “In some instances, for example the Klaxon’s ‘Golden Skans’ video, these costumes need to be totally fantastical and abstract, and for others, including Calvin Harris’ ‘Sweet Nothing’ it is about creating a complete world in moments.”

 

As the costume designer on the music video for  Calvin Harris’ hit song “Sweet Nothing” featuring Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, the wardrobe Jemima designed was essential to creating the video’s seedy underworld environment full of strippers, call girls, their pimps and depressing looking clientele.

Directed by Primetime Emmy nominee Vincent Haycock, the “Sweet Nothing” video was a massive success airing on popular music channels all over the world and garnering well over 200 million views on YouTube.

For the costumes in the video, Jemima drew her inspiration from eastern European gangsters, streetwear worn by gangs in London’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods and styles from the 80s skinhead movement, which set the dark and grimy tone for the video’s overarcing story of a woman (Florence Welsh) dealing with an abusive pimp boyfriend.

She explains, “We shot the video on location at an old, rough working man’s club, and the fight scenes over-night in an alleyway in the East End of London, in torrential rain. Often there is not time to fit all the characters in costumes prior to the shoot so I sourced multiple options for the costumes for each character and then my team and I put together looks and decided on what costume feels best for each character on the day.”

Coming up with the final costumes for the cast of the caliber of music videos Jemima designs for on the same day as the shoot is as high pressure as it sounds; however, her background as a fashion stylist for magazines such as Vogue, ID and Dazed has endowed her with the unique ability to come up with killer looks on the fly by mixing fashion styling techniques into her work as a costume designer.

Jamie Clark, the producer behind “Sweet Nothings,” says, “I love working with Jemima. She has a unique talent for producing super stylish costumes. The cast and crew always respond to her really well, and her costumes are spot-on.”

Another area where Jemima’s tried and true talent for blending her fashion styling skills into her work as a costume designer is in the world of commercials, where turnaround times can be just as fast paced. A sought after figure in the industry, Jemima has costume designed commercials for leading brands across the globe including Johnnie Walker, Kellogg’s, Absolut Vodka, Microsoft, Cadbury’s Chocolate, Mastercard, Virgin Media and countless others.

Jemima explains, “My experience pulling together costumes for music videos and commercials together with my fantastic team of makers and buyers, assembled through years of working on different theatre and opera productions, means that I’m able to not only produce creative designs for a brief very quickly and with confidence, but facilitate the entire process from original design, to sourcing of materials and costumes, and oversee full costume makes from scratch.”

One commercial where these carefully honed skills were paramount to the success of the production was the ITV promo for the hit BAFTA Award winning series “The X-Factor” featuring series judges Cheryl Tweedy, Simon Cowell, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw. Set in futuristic science laboratory, Jemima designed original costumes for the entire cast featured in the lab from the bespoke lab coats worn by the celebrity presenters, which featured a splash of gemstones shining from the lapel, to Cheryl Tweedy’s unforgettable ‘Fembot’ costume with the angular neckline.

“I wanted to create an outfit for Cheryl that showed off her great figure, and was futuristic and sculptural,” She explains, “The whole feel had to be poppy, youthful, fashion forward, stylized and work with the feel and ethos of the TV show itself.”

Cressida Ranfield, the producer of the promo, explains, “When I saw the brief for this job, and realized that it was hugely reliant on strong costume aesthetic, I knew that I wanted Jemima to design it. She is a consummate professional, and has that rare combination of being able to deliver excellent costumes and an innate sense of style that means she is able to work with celebrity clients with ease.”

Aside from being a sought after designer for music videos and commercials, Jemima has made a prominent mark in the film industry through her work as the costume designer on films such as “20,000 Days on Earth,” “Minimus” and “In the Dark Half.” She recently wrapped production on the upcoming films “Stella’s Last Weekend” directed by Polly Draper, “Slumber” directed by Johnny Hopkins, and the music documentary “The Quiet One,” which follows the life of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman.

If all that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Jemima Penny is currently a guest Fashion Editor for the popular fashion-focused publication Luxure Magazine as well.

Producer Katie Horbury is essential for Disney channel hit

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Katie Horbury

When Katie Horbury decided to pursue a career as a television producer, she knew that she had her work cut out for her. Amidst fierce competition, grueling hours, and unpredictable schedules, she would have to come out on top. The now esteemed television producer knows that if she were to go back in time and share with herself the key to her success, it would be to make her dream her number one priority, and to make sure that she stops at absolutely nothing to make it her reality. Early on in her career, she moved away from family and friends and worked odd hours, oftentimes sacrificing weekends and holidays to gain as much experience and knowledge in her field as possible. Fortunately, it all paid off. In the entertainment industry, reputations are paramount and as a result of her unwavering drive, Horbury’s is world-renowned.

As Horbury became more established in her career and took on more prestigious roles, her name became a staple in television production. Having lent her talents to hit television shows like Big Brother, Don’t Tell the Bride, and Come Dine with Me, Horbury is well-versed in producing high quality content for reality television. Her job requires her to take an idea from a script or a project outline and bring it to life. She needs to be able to capture the emotional response that her audience is intended to feel and communicate it to them creatively and meaningfully.

“In pre-production, I must be able to visualize the final product, plan how to achieve it, and be able to communicate that to my team to ensure that everyone is working toward the exact same goal. During production and shooting, I have to create a buzzing but professional atmosphere to allow the entire team to function confidently and to the highest standard possible. This usually has to be done under harsh time constraints, so I have to keep the momentum up for the duration of the project. Finally, the edit is where the magic happens. Everything I envisioned in pre-production, and hopefully even more, comes together here when myself and my editor wrap up our work,” stated Horbury.

Horbury considers the highlight of her esteemed career to have been in her lead production role for Disney Channel Vlog. The show’s tremendous success is a reflection of Horbury’s natural affinity for producing. Horbury, who is no stranger to producing for large audiences, was particularly humbled by Disney Channel Vlog’s 3.5 million views and 300% increase in viewership since she took over the role of Director and Producer. For the first time in her career, Horbury was working with a very small team and had the opportunity to showcase her ideas and her ideas alone. For a producer used to working with hundreds of team members, she was pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed managing a smaller, more intimate group of individuals. To date, she has been the mastermind behind 52 episodes of the hit show, each littered with her ideas, scripts, edits, and more.

Disney Channel Vlog airs weekly, featuring two teenage hosts and targets children between the ages of 8 and 16. The Vlog has three segments and shows all of the latest Disney channel shows, DIYs, spoof music videos, comedy skits, hosts that talk about issues concerning teens today, and more. During pre-production, Horbury generates all of the concepts behind the show’s content, ensuring that every segment promotes the Disney Channel in a natural, compelling way. She has the distinct pleasure of creating and pitching a series of ideas to Disney and writing each script from start to finish. During production, she composes and decorates each set to appeal to her audience and appear fun, colorful and engaging. She then produces and directs the talent and camera crew while shooting. Once production concludes, Horbury masterfully edits all material gathered to make sure that only the best footage is kept. She adds her finishing touches in the form of after effects, visual and sound effects, graphics, etc., and the result is profound. Viewers are eager to tune in again on a weekly basis and consume whatever great content Horbury has to offer them that week.

In addition to Horbury’s satisfied viewers, she is used to receiving positive feedback from her co-workers. She differentiates herself by her ability to inspire her crew and make them feel at ease when they work with her, keeping them up to speed with her visions and addressing any questions or concerns they have along the way. Heather Nair, who works closely with Horbury on Disney Channel Vlog, witnesses Horbury’s remarkable talents on a daily basis for the show and considers herself lucky to work with such an unprecedented producer.

“Working with Katie is an absolute dream. She knows exactly what she wants, is decisive, and very knowledgeable in her field of work. She has such a magnetic personality with a fantastic sense of humor. She is so good at what she does because she is incredibly sharp and on the ball. She is also extremely creative. On this show, not only does she script and direct each shoot, but she comes up with all of the ideas for each segment,” said Nair.

For Horbury, working for Disney Channel Vlog has been a dream come true. Not only does she get to do what she loves, she has the satisfaction of knowing that she has been a positive influence in the lives of young viewers. She hopes to continue to inspire children to pursue their dreams as feverishly as she has through the content she creates for them and takes pride in knowing that 10-year old Katie Horbury is living her dreams to their fullest extent.