Gill Holland, Executive Producer

Gill Holland Executive ProducerSpirit Award nominee for Producer of the Year, Gill Holland produced Hurricane Streets, the first film ever to win the  3 top prizes at Sundance. He  has produced 100+  independent films as credited on IMDb- Internet Movie Database.

His filmography includes other Sundance favorites FLOW: For Love of Water, Spring Forward, Loggerheads, Catechism Cataclysm, It Felt Like Love, the FOX sitcom Greg The Bunny, the Spirit Award winner and first carbon-neutral independent film Sweet Land, Al Gore’s 2008 Reel Current Award winning doc Mountain Top Removal, SXSW audience prize winner Maidentrip and the Emmy-nominated doc Dear Jesse.

Gill introduced Alani to the independent community in New York. He was the co-producer of Alani’s first feature David & Layla, a Jewish- Muslim cross cultural love story, years ahead of its time.

He produced three volumes of cineBLAST! short film compilations. He is partner at The Group Entertainment, the KY/NYC management/production company, and former adjunct professor at NYU Graduate Film School.  Gill worked at the French Film Office and has been on the jury for shorts at Sundance and selection committee for the Academy Awards, Student Division.

Gill Holland and his wife Augusta were instrumental in turning an economically depressed and run-down east downtown Louisville area into NuLu – a thriving arts/design and sustainability district.  Holland coined the term NuLu and serves as President of the NuLu Business Association. 5 years ago, Holland opened NuLu’s flagship arts center “The Green Building”, the only LEED “Platinum” commercial building in Kentucky.

Continuing to produce 4 to 6 indie films per year, Gill is also working on developing Louisville’s Portland district, in a ‘green’ manner- to be echo friendly and sustainable.

J.J. Alani, Writer / Producer / Director

imageBased in Los Angeles, J. J. Alani aka J. Jonroy Alani also works in New York and Paris. Feature Film Director, Directors Guild of America (DGA) member and a Writers Guild of America (WGA) member in New York since 1996, Alani is the Writer/Producer/Director (as Jay Jonroy) of David & Layla, a political romantic comedy. (He dedicated David & Layla to the “Layla”s of the world and to his family members lost in genocide.)

His latest Written/Produced/Directed feature Beyond Paradise, a drama cross-cultural love story is distributed in North America by MarVista Entertainment; and World-wide by Cardinal XD..

Beyond Paradise was nominated for two Imagen Awards 2106: Best Actor Ryan Guzman) alongside Antonio Banderas and Mario Casas, and also for Best Actress Francia Raisa) alongside Juliette Binoche and Morena Baccarin.

See the genesis of Beyond Paradise story inspired by true events at

Alani tweets about World Cinema on Twitter @FilmFavorites. With thousands of followers, the site posts the Trailer plus a few hints of the uncommon recent & classic must-see movies of the world.

Official Selection at 28 international film festivals, David & Layla won 8 Awards, including Mons Festival International du Film D’Amour’s Grand Prix du Public against La Vie en Rose, 2 Days in Paris and Lady Chatterley. ( )

David & Layla received notable praise from the Nobel Laureate, Oscar nominee Screenwriter and acclaimed Playwright, Harold Pinter: “A bold, politically relevant film made against impossible odds.” Plus, critical reviews in the New York Times, Variety, Washington Post, LA Times, etc.

Alani is the Executive Producer of Margreet, a story about the legend of Mata Hari set in Paris. It was officially selected to have its World Premiere at Cannes Film Festival 2015 Short Corner. Margreet is produced by Alani’s PA Zoya Skya who also costars with Riley Smith in the film. [Iconic Hollywood star Greta Garbo played Mata Hari in the classic movie Mata Hari in 1931. ]

Alani is in development on a future independent movie entitled Amorous and two epic films inspired by man’s first written epic poem, the 5000-year-old historical allegory Gilgamesh as two screenplays: Gilgamesh: Man’s First Epic and Gilgamesh: In Search of Immortality.

He studied at The UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (Adult Education), and at the USC School of Cinematic Arts (Advanced Screenwriting Practicum) in Los Angeles, 1985-1989.

Hollywood’s largest studio, Time Warner/Warner Bros, as well as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Turner Classic Movies, etc., continue distribution of David & Layla. Its music score is on 60+ international music sites, including on iTunes.

Following Creative Photography studies at the London Camden School of Arts, Alani worked briefly as a Fashion Photographer in London and Paris. He continues his interest in photography on Twitter @1PhotoDaily, and on Pinterest at J.J. Alani- Fashion Glam + Free Style + Haute Couture.

In Paris, he studied at the Sorbonne University, 1990-1994, receiving a “Diplôme Supérieur de Langue et Civilisation Françaises.”

In New York, he coached graduate students at the Graduate Department of New York University Film School- Tisch School of the Arts on their final thesis projects, 1996-2000.

He served as volunteer Acting Coach at the Circle in the Square Broadway Theater School in New York, 1995-1999.

Earlier in England, he received a (B.Sc.) Bachelor of Science with First Class Honors in Science and Sociology at Leicester University, (D.I.C.) Diploma of the renowned London Imperial College (the oldest science college in the world), and (M.Sc.) Masters Degree in Cybernetics at London University.

In London, as a Marketing Executive with ICL, he worked with the creators of the Monty Python TV series, while at night he studied ‘Acting, Speech, and Movement’ at the ‘City Lit’- the City Literary Institute.

A member of The Royal Photographic Society (U.K), Alani is also an amateur Art collector and a Patron of World Music Institute in New York.

He is the founder of “Human Rights For All- No Exceptions!” featured on Facebook and on Twitter @HRights4All, each with thousands of followers. These sites focus on female empowerment, equality, justice and equal human rights for the oppressed nations and the minorities of the world, including LGBT- Lesbians, Gays…

A dual American and British citizen, J.J. Alani was born in the Middle East. Fluent in English and French, he understands and speaks Spanish & Portuguese, as well as a few Middle Eastern languages, making a total of seven languages. He has lived and worked in Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gill Holland




Matthew Lessall, Casting Director

Matthew LessallBorn in London but raised in New York, casting director Matthew Lessall has made a solid name for himself, chalking up an impressive list of casting accreditations, memberships, titles and casting films that result in award wins and official selections at the World’s most prestigious film festivals.

He studied at DePauw University. Matthew’s casting experience is diverse, casting major network series as well as having held the position of Director of Feature Film Casting at 20th Century Fox and on the indie front, as in-house casting consultant for the Fox Searchlab Writer/Director Program.

Matthew’s credits include Sundance Film Festival standouts, Rocket Science, Mean Creek, as well as the NetFlix Find Your Voice winner Almost Kings. In 2011, he chose to join the tech revolution and became go-to casting for Warner Premiere; Warner Bros. new media arm, casting the mega-successful web series, Mortal Kombat, follow up Mortal Kombat 2 and season 2 of Wonderland Sound & Vision’s Aim High. His Bait 3D (a/k/a “Shark”), garnered an Official Entry at the 2012 Venice Film Festival and this same year also saw him with two films at the inaugural edition of Paris’ Champ d’Elysees Film Festival, including the Liam Neeson starrer After Life.

After University, Matthew then lived for several years in London, before making Los Angeles his home. His dual nationality (USA/UK) affords him the broad vision imperative to cast in today’s global market. He has cast productions and co-productions for Canada, Germany, Holland, Italy and Mexico. Matthew is a member of BAFTA and a board member of the Casting Society of America. He is currently based in Los Angeles.

Sandra Valde-Hansen, Cinematographer / Associate Producer

S_Valde_72dpi-960Sandra shot the indie guru Gregg Araki’s latest feature White Bird in a Blizzard (a French-US production) starring Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Angela Bassett, Shiloh Fernandez. and Christopher Meloni. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2014. Magnolia Pictures will release it in autumn 2014. Previously Sandra shot Araki’s Kaboom which was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival 2010, Sundance Film Festival 2010 and released by IFC in 40 cities in the US.

Sandra’s narrative work has been seen in festivals spanning across the world from SXSW to Cannes. Her critically noted films Fly AwayActs of Mercy and Christmas in Compton are in release via VOD.

Sandra continues to shoot powerful stories in the realm of independent social and political narrative, as in Beyond Paradise, a drama cross-cultural love story executive produced by Gill Holland (Sweet Land, Hurricane Streets, FLOW: For Love of Water, Spring Forward, Loggerheads…) Beyond Paradise is directed by J. J. Alani (David & Layla.)

Sandra is also on the faculty for the American Film Institute Cinematography Department.

Sandra shot the last season of the popular MUN 2 Reality show, The Chicas Project, which brought Sandra across the country. Her camera has allowed her to be part of the political and socially conscience filmmaking of the “Brave New Films. ” Her work on Street Knowledge 2 College was shown by

Sandra has been able to travel the world shooting in such locations as Paris for the relaunched MTV House of Style and Mexico for PBS Voices “Tales of the Masked Men” co-produced by Latino Public Broadcast and ITVS. Some of her other clients include Al Jazeera America, USC, MAX Films, TED, and Mastercard.

She got her start in documentary, working for an Emmy-award winning documentary cameraman, Tony Foresta, who taught her beauty of the image is found in simplicity.

After seven years as a camera assistant and operator, Sandra Valde decided it was time to pursue a full-time career as a cinematographer. She applied to the prestigious American Film Institute and was accepted into their MFA program in Cinematography.

While at AFI, Sandra honed her craft in the art of visual storytelling, learning from the master cinematographers and deepening her knowledge of light and composition. She has had the invaluable opportunity to mentor under Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Steven Poster, ASC, Larry Parker, and Alan Caso, ASC.

Since graduating from AFI, Sandra has been able to take her passion of cinematography throughout all mediums of storytelling.

Jennifer Nash, Music Supervisor / Music Editor / Associate Producer

Jennifer Nash photoJennifer Nash’s first project was The Rich Man’s Wife starring Halle Berry on which she was the assistant to music editor Abbey Treeloggen. She soon moved into music editing on major motion pictures including ANTZ, Lords Of DogtownPearl HarborIn The Valley Of Elah, R.E.D, and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower.

She began her musical journey at age 12, quickly becoming more and more entranced by playing the piano and singing. As a teen she developed an interest in how film scores can cast a spell over an audience and decided to pursue a career in film music. She moved to Los Angeles, initially working as a post-production mix tech before taking on the world of film music as a Music Editor.

Beyond Paradise has given Jennifer a unique opportunity to expand her skills as Music Supervisor as the film features on-camera musical performances which required her guidance during pre-production, production, and post production.

It also introduced Jennifer to the classical music and poetry of Persia. She worked closely with the director to combine European and Iranian classical music to help tell this complex, cross-cultural love story.

She worked with the director to select music for the characters to perform and dance to; as well as commission original material for the lead character Shahrzad (a songwriter/pianist like Jennifer herself) to sing and play on screen. She supervised the technical aspects of on-set musical performances and continued into post-production to select, record, edit, and pre-mix music for the edited footage.

In another close collaboration with the director to meet pressing deadlines, she designed and edited the music score for the movie’s 2-min. Trailer and the 30-sec. TV  Spot Promo.

She has also written and produced two albums of original music as well as performing and touring with her band. Given such a diverse career over the last 18 years, Jennifer naturally gravitated towards Music Supervision and began supervising independent films, including American Violet and Crusade in Jeans. Both films gave Jennifer an opportunity to create original music with her husband, composer and music educator Dan Ostermann.

Executive produced by Gill Holland (Sweet Land, Hurricane Streets, FLOW: For Love of Water, Spring Forward, Loggerheads…), and directed by J.J. Alani (David &  Layla), Beyond Paradise is Jennifer’s first credit as Associate Producer.

Mark Kilian, Composer

mark-kilian-music-composerSouth African born composer Mark Kilian has had a successful and eclectic film scoring career spanning over two decades. Although he is best known for his ethnic-flavored scores such as the Oscar-winning TsotsiTraitor, and Rendition, he has also received acclaim for his work in a wide variety of genres.

His most recent work includes the hit musical comedy Pitch Perfect (for which he has a platinum album for soundtrack sales), Bless Me, Ultima, John Carpenter’s The Ward, HBO’s documentary 41 (a portrait of George H.W. Bush), Seal Team 8Parts Per Billion, and Repentance.

Mark’s TV series work includes Don’t Trust The B— in Apartment 23Body of ProofDaybreakKitchen Confidential, and Jake in Progress.

He has also written music for numerous TV ad campaigns for Apple, Toyota, Budweiser, American Express, and Microsoft. Additionally, Mark has three albums out under the name ‘The Gravy Street’ which has received airplay.

Mark currently works and resides in Los Angeles.




Neguine Sanani, Editor

Neguine-editorNeguine holds a B.F.A. from the USC Film and Television department in Filmic Writing, and an M.F.A. from AFI in Directing. As a director, she preferred to write with the camera, sculpting the story both as she filmed, and in the edit room. This talent led her to editing.

Early on in her career as an editor, she worked with directors Tamra Davis and George Huang through the IFP program Project Involve, and soon after contributed to the editing of several Lionsgate productions.

Neguine edited the IMAX film Hurricane on the Bayou, which documents the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Other feature film work includes The Grey, which won the American Jury Prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival; and Flip the Script and Love and Other 4-Letter Words, both of which premiered on the B.E.T. Network.

Her film, Bloodworth, starring Kris Kristofferson, who wrote an original song for the film, had its theatrical release May of 2011. Her latest film, The Ghost and the Whale, directed by Anthony and James Gaudioso will hit the festival circuit in 2014.

Phillip J. Bartell, Editor

Phillip-Bartell-editorPhillip J. Bartell edited the 2010 Sundance Award winner Undertow (Contracorriente.)

He edited  such critically acclaimed films as Robert Cary’s Ira & Abby and Save Me, Q. Allan Brocka’s Boy Culture, Patrik Ian Polk’s TV series Noah’s Arc, and Tribeca Film Festival winner, Spork.

His edited documentary I Am Divine recently premiered at South By Southwest, and feature film G.B.F. premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Fest.

Phillip has worked with many established directors, serving as additional editor on Curtis Hanson’s In Her Shoes, Bill Paxton’s The Greatest Game Ever Played, and the Russo Brothers’ Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney produced, Welcome to Collinwood.

He has worked in editorial departments on films by Spike Jonze, Gus Van Sant, Robert Altman, Sean Penn, Diane Keaton, Vadim Perelman, and Adam Shankman.

Crew + Companies

For the names of the entire crew, companies and vendors of this movie’s pre-production, production and post-production, please click IMDbPro (Internet Movie Database Pro.)

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