JOHN ALARIMO JR. - Star
John Alarimo Jr. worked in show business form 1950-1978. Though his dream was to be an actor, he was always behind the scenes. He fought in World War II in the Pacific and was stationed in Nagoya during the Occupation of Japan. Upon returning to the states he attended NYU (1946-1948) and USC (1948-1950) as an early film student -- a full twenty years before those schools turned out Lucas, Coppola or Scorsese. After college, Alarimo studied acting in 1950s New York with acclaimed teacher Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg. During the summers between 1951-1955, Alarimo appeared on stage with Mae West and Charlton Heston during the halcyon days of the Princeton Summer Theater. In 1956 he applied for a Fulbright Scholarship and won. He was the only American to receive a Fulbright in filmmaking that year. He sailed to Rome, intending to stay for twelve months: he ended up staying twenty years. Finding himself squarely in the middle of the Hollywood film industry’s love affair with Rome, he became the unlikely second assistant director on the biggest cinematic blockbuster of its time, Ben-Hur. Working directly with star Charlton Heston and director William Wyler, “Johnny”, as he was called, was an integral part of filming. Like most subordinates of the time, however, his name never appeared in the film’s credits. Through a combination of charm, humor, talent and luck, Alarimo would go on to work on numerous Hollywood and European films through which he formed short-lived, yet intimate relationships with many of the 20th Century biggest icons including Rock Hudson, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Gore Vidal, Charlie Chaplin, Vincent Price, Gina Lollobrigida, Jeanne Crain, Kirk Douglas, Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Gloria Vanderbilt, Mia Farrow, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, and more, all of which he photographed or catalogued.
His filmography includes Ben-Hur, Come September, The Reluctant Saint, Von Ryan’s Express, Nefertiti, Rage of the Buccaneers, Cast a Giant Shadow, Hurricane, the Valachi Papers, Firestarter and others. In the early 1970’s, Alarimo moved back to New York and helped Italian producing giant Dino De Laurentiis open his film company in New York.
JOE FORTE -- Director, Producer, Editor
Joe Forte is a mutli-disciplinary artist whose areas of interest include filmmaking, painting and writing. As a filmmaker, Forte is best known as the creator and writer of Firewall, the 2006 thriller starring Harrison Ford. As a painter, he is known for his solo shows Wonder (2008) at Bergamot Station’s James Grey Gallery and Opening Day (2007) at the Regent Gallery in LA’s downtown Art District. Based on baseball cards from childhood, Wonder and Opening Day explored iconic male archetypes through pop art imagery.
A graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, Forte began his career at Scali, McCabe, Sloves in New York. While a copywriter at Scali he created advertising for Nikon and Volvo, was nominated for a Clio and began to explore concepts of storytelling, identity and the image. After a three year stint, Forte left advertising and moved to Los Angeles where he began his career as a filmmaker with the sale of Soviet Cowboy to Jodie Foster and her nascent film company Egg Pictures. He went on to create and sell projects in both film and TV for Paramount, Warner Brothers, Fox, New Line, Sony and others.
A father, husband and mentor, he is also an avid photographer and baseball coach.
The Man Who Saved Ben Hur is Forte’s first documentary, first film as a director and was selected as a 2013 participant in the Film Independent Documentary Directory’s Lab through which Forte is now a fellow.
MELINDA ANN FARRELL - Producer
Melinda has dedicated her career to collaborating with unique writers, directors, visual artists and inspiring individuals to create memorable stories, from the real to the imagined. Melinda has produced and directed projects for The J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Otis College of Art and Design, California Film Commission and The Braille Institute. Melinda’s documentary work includes “Angels of the Night,” a film about the Servants of Mary, Ministers to the Sick, where she was provided unfettered access to shadow a Catholic religious order of professional nursing sisters who have been caring for underserved individuals free of charge, in their homes regardless of illness, race or religion. She is also the producer and director of “Becoming Harald Szeeman” about the life of the legendary curator, considered one of the most influential, independent voices in modern art.
She is the Founder of Sustainable Media Studio, a student-led documentary collective which provided creative and practical production opportunities to students of Los AngelesCommunity College District. Melinda is credited as Executive Producer on the Touchstone Pictures feature film, “When in Rome” which is based on her original idea. In her studio days, Melindawas President of Production at Hyperfilms at Universal and held senior creative production posts at Paramount, Disney and Warner Brothers. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, a multidisciplinary arts organization that provides free after school arts programming to underserved communities in Northeast Los Angeles.
Melinda is honored to have played a creative role in Joe Forte’s whimsical, unvarnished look at the life story of his mercurial cousin, John Alarimo, Jr., “The Man Who Saved Ben Hur.”
CHUCK GRAEF - Composer
Chuck began composing at six and wrote his first orchestral piece at eleven. A restless and distracted piano student, he went on to spend years in the downtown New York art world creating work that combined music with conceptual art, performance, and theater. From his first experiences scoring for film and tv he felt at home. His music has since appeared in series, documentaries, and shorts, as well as in films for Calvin Klein and the CFDA fashion awards. In 2013 he was commissioned to create a sound environment in Lincoln Center’s ballet theater for the ELLE Magazine | Next runway show. His orchestral work Symphony 1 is available on iTunes.
JORGE ALARCON-SWABY - Editor
Jorge has been an editor for the last five years working on both short and feature length documentary projects. After moving to Los Angeles from the Cayman Islands in 2010, he attended the Cinema program of Los Angeles City College for a few semesters before beginning his working career for two years as a full time editor and cinematographer at a documentary production studio.
Since then as a freelancer he has worked on many projects, including feature length documentaries and short pieces for Getty Museum, LACMA, MOCA, West Hollywood Design District, the City of Santa Monica and Pasadena.
His first and only directed film, a 2009 short documentary titled "Not Worth Water" became a big news story on the nationally broadcasted TV show Maria Elvira Live, prompting a four piece investigative reportive documentary series. The film focused on a group of Cuban refugees who were denied food, water and shelter by the local government when they stumbled upon the Cayman Islands.
JONNY CONVERSE - Associate Editor
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Jonny is a 26-year-old editor/assistant editor who resides in Los Angeles, CA. After receiving a BA in Government from the College of William and Mary, Jonny went on to achieve a MFA in Film Editing at American Film Institute Conservatory in 2013. Over the course of his studies at AFI, he edited 9 short narratives and assisted on several others. While in school, he further worked as an assistant editor on Lucy Walker’s latest feature documentary, The Crash Reel, which premiered at Sundance in 2013. Since graduating he has edited two short films and been the lead assistant editor on 3 feature films, two narrative and one documentary. The Man Who Saved Ben Hur marks Jonny and Joe's first collaboration.
DAN WETHERBEE - Trailer Editor
Dan Wetherbee is an award winning veteran of motion picture advertising with more than 35 years of experience. His trailers and TV spots include five Star Trek films, the original Star Wars trilogy, Alein3, Casino Royale, Basic Instinct, Terminator 2, The Cove and The Kings Speech to name a few.
RYAN DAVIS - Graphic Designer
Graphic designer by trade, advertising art director by profession, Ryan's always looking to push the boundaries of creativity for his clients while maintaining a keen eye for detail. Ryan was educated at Savannah College of Art and Design where he earned a BFA in graphic design. As an art director he's managed large scale ad campaigns for clients including Dolby Surround Sound, DC Shoes, and CVS/Pharmacy. Currently, Ryan is putting his education and experience to good use as a creative consultant and freelance designer.
Contact @ RAD904@yahoo.com
BEATRIX COLES - Impact Producer
Beatrix runs ScreenHerd (@screenherd) -- a consultancy that provides social media support and online audience engagement to screen projects.
She has previously worked for organizations including the London Film Festival, the Edinburgh Film Festival, Film Victoria Australia, Eyeworks Film & Drama, The Peters, Fraser & Dunlop Group and the 37°South Market at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
She is passionate about new distribution techniques, crowdfunding and independent film and can be found discussing all of these at @beatrixcoles.
LINDA GOLDSTEIN KNOWLTON - Consulting Producer
Currently directing one of the new six, one-hour documentaries for the PBS MAKERS: Women Who Make America Series, Linda is a Director and Producer best known for the award-winning documentaries Code Black (producer), Somewhere Between (director/producer) and The World According to Sesame Street (co-director/co-producer). She is also the producer of the feature films Whale Rider, directed by Niki Caro, The Shipping News, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, Mumford, directed by Lawrence Kasdan and Crazy in Alabama, directed by Antonio Banderas.
RON VIGNONE - Consulting Producer
Filmmaker Ron Vignone is best known for his 2006 film Say I Do, a seminal film in the now popular "found footage" movement. He is currently finishing his latest film Garner, Iowa while concurrently being a creative partner with Independent Film pioneer Henry Jaglom. Ron got his start working in the editing room under such international directors as Fred Schepisi, Paul Verhoeven, and Jocelyn Moorehouse.
LINDSAY DEVLIN - Story Consultant
Lindsay Devlin began her Hollywood career as a development executive for director Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In the Line of Fire) and producer Jordan Kerner (Fried Green Tomatoes, Smurfs), before segueing into a writing career. Her first film, Devil's Due, was released in January from 20th Century Fox. She also recently adapted the YA science fiction novels REBOOT for Fox 2000 and BETA for ABC Studios. Lindsay lives in Los Angeles.
DON KNOWLTON - Webmaster
Contact @ email@example.com
SARA LAFLEUR-VETTER - Intern