Sergio Martino (b. 1938 in Rome, Italy), an icon of Italian genre cinema of its golden decades arrives to Helsinki to present four of his classic features, none of which have been shown on the big screen in Finland before. A pioneer of the giallo genre, Martino directed a total of six of its tentpole features: The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Case of Scorpion’s Tail (1971), All the Colors of the Dark (1972), Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key (1972), Torso (1973) and A Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975). The Violent Professionals (1973) is his equally significant contribution to the poliziotteschi genre and one of the key features to lift Luc Merdenda to the status of an icon of the Italian crime and action films of the 1970s. When post-apocalyptic sci-fi became one of the hottest sub-genres of the 1980s, Martino came up with 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983), unquestionably one of the wildest genre exports to ever emerge from Italy.
There hardly is a genre in which Martino has not proven his solid skills as an exceptional artesan of filmmaking. His extensive filmography spanning over six decades includes solid Westerns (Arizona Colt, 1970, Mannaja, 1977), sexy comedies (Sexy Relation, 1974), fantasy adventures (The Island of the Fish Men, 1979) as well as one title of the infamous Italian genre of cannibal films (The Mountain of the Cannibal God, 1977).
The American director legend Jack Sholder (b. 1945 in Philadephia, USA) arrives to Helsinki with three of his genre masterpieces from the 1980s. His first feature as a director, Alone in the Dark (1982), is a slasher classic and one of the first hits of the emerging genre cinema powerhouse New Line Cinema – and a film that was banned altogether in Finland at the time of its initial release. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) is the first sequel of New Line Cinema’s favourite horror franchise and still one of the best sequels in the series. Many consider Sholder’s third feature The Hidden (1987) as his most significant contribution to the 80s genre cinema. An energetic mix of science fiction, action and horror, The Hidden also features one of the breakthrough roles of the Twin Peaks star Kyle MacLachlan.
Sabina Friedman-Seitz arrives to Helsinki to present her magnificent lead role in Juan Ortiz’s absurd black comedy Fingers to the Night Visions audiences. Friedman-Seitz holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the Actor’s Studio Drama School and splits her time between NYC and LA. Film and TV credits include The Florida Project, Book Club, The Boy Downstairs, Blacklist, the Facebook series Turnt, and the upcoming feature Lorelei.
A San Francisco native, David Marmor studied computer science at Harvard and directing at USC. His award-winning short films have screened at more than 60 festivals worldwide and aired on television on IFC and CBC. Most recently, he created the interactive web pilot A Week in the Life of Milly for Eko and Virgin Produced, and his feature screenplay Invariant is in development at Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures. 1BR is his first feature.
Alok Mishra arrives to Helsinki to present David Marmor’s first feature, the psychological horror thriller 1BR, on which he worked as one of the producers. Prior to his emerging career as a producer, Mishra worked in film market research for 18 years. He worked in both film and trailer testing and he worked in recruitment, analysis, focus group moderation, and client services. Alok worked for Nielsen NRG, OTX Research, IPSOS, and The Motion Picture Group. Alok’s clients included 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Walt Disney, Dream Works, Sony, and Warner Brothers. In addition to delivering actionable market research to studio execs Alok also worked very closely with many legendary filmmakers to help them improve their films from an editorial perspective; Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Milos Forman, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Lee, Ron Howard, Wes Anderson, Michael Bay, Robert Zemeckis, Spike Jonze, Ang Lee, the Coen Brothers, and Richard Linklater to mention a few. Additionally, Alok has worked with many talented prolific producers including Brian Grazer, Jason Blum, Scott Rudin, Neil Moritz, and Jerry Bruckheimer.
Juan Ortiz was born in the South Bronx, but fell in love with cinema in Warwick, New York, at a local drive-in. He later moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida, then Orlando, where he attended Valencia College’s Film Program. His first dive into independent filmmaking was Jennifer Help Us.
He’s worked various jobs on many productions. It’s on those jobs where he met the team who helped make his latest effort, Fingers. He currently resides in Central Florida.
Dominic Saxl arrives to Helsinki in the capacity of one of the three main producers of the brand new Christmas horror anthology Deathcember. Saxl has earned his living as advertising creative since 1999. He has created dozens of commercials (some of which are actually quite good) and won numerous international awards. Saxl is also the writer and co-director of the serial killer short film Zielgerade (2005) and a freelance writer for Deadline, one of Germany’s biggest film magazines. He hosts an underground film club in Frankfurt that screens lost and obscure genre gems. Dedicated Christmas horror fanatic – who probably had to come up with the idea to Deathcember at some point in his life.
Born in a little town near Milan, Simone Scafidi has been writing and filmmaking since he was 19 years old, when he created his first very low budget shorts, which were shown in several Italian festivals of independent cinema. In 2003 he directed Cos’è l’amore, which was shown in the most important Italian theatres, together with the homonymous play by Franco Branciaroli and his company, “Il teatro degli incamminati”.
Between 2004 and 2007 he directed his first professional feature film, Gli arcangeli. This movie, which won to Scafidi the attention of the most important Italian reviewers and was screened in Italian cinemas from January 2008, was selected by several Italian Festivals and certified as a ‘Film d’essai’. Andrea Riva, the protagonist, won the award for the leading role at Milan International Film Festival in 2007.
In 2008 Scafidi directed his second movie, the docudrama Appunti per la distruzione, a biopic about Italian writer Dante Virgili, published on dvd. The movie was featured in the selection of several international festivals, from Festival de Cine de Punta del Este to Mi-Cine of Buenos Aires.
In 2012 he directed his third feature film La Festa, released from October 31th 2013 in 10 episodes, one every week, in free streaming on the main international platforms, DailyMotion and Youtube. In 2014 he directed Eva Braun, inspired by the recent sex and political Italian scandals. The movie has been released in 20 Countries.
His fifth movie is an Italian and Argentine production, Zanetti Story, a docufiction about Javier Zanetti, the captain of Inter Milan football club. The film, distributed in Italy by Nexo Dital, had his theatrical release in February 2015, and it scored the first position at the box office on its release date.
He shot several commercial movies, backstages and videoclips.
He is the youngest director that received a personal tribute by the renowned Cineteca Nazionale (National Cinémathèque) in Rome.
He has studied visual storytelling at London Film School and screenplay writing for kids at The YCM of Malaga.
Since 2004 he has been leading cinema workshops for students and young adults.
Since 2014/2015 he has been teaching cinema at The School of Cinema in Milan “Luchino Visconti”.
Ivo Scheloske comes to Helsinki as one of the three main producers of the brand new Christmas horror anthology Deathcember. Scheloske has been working as a product manager at independent film label Anolis Entertainment since the turn of the millennium. He has produced a number of documentaries as bonus materials for the label’s releases. He was also in charge of press relations and film festival partnerships for Anolis‘ self-produced features Tears of Kali (2004) and Masks (2011), and he also acted as an associate producer for the latter title. Scheloske is a long-time professional horror geek – and loving it.
Kirill Sokolov was born in 1989 in Leningrad, Russia. In 2012 he got master degree of solidstate physics in St.Petersburg State Polytechnic University. During the education he spent few months working in a “clean room” in Joensuu, in the University of Eastern Finland. He started filmmaking in 2011. In 2013 entered The High Courses of Scriptwriters and Film Directors, which he successfully finished in April 2015. “The Flame” is the diploma film. In 2018 he made his feature debut Why Don’t You Just Die.
Frank Vogt is not only one of the three main producers and creators of the brand new Christmas horror anthology Deathcember. He is also Deathcember’s resident post-production magician and COO of Magna Mana Production, founded in 1996 as a full-service production company for feature films, advertising, TV and digital media, event and service companies. For more than 10 years, Frank produced the trailers for Germany’s most important genre film festival Fantasy Filmfest. His company offers the complete range of services pertaining to film production, post-production, and digital image editing, and Frank himself offers veteran genre fandom.