I grew up on Long Island with a single mother and one brother. Growing up multi-ethnic (my mom was born in Trinidad of Indian descent; my father's side is Sicilian with a touch of Austrian -- bet you didn't guess that when you looked at me), I had the privilege of never fitting in, which meant always feeling a bit out of place but also unable to be put in anyone else's box. Often an outside observer of people and their stories, I fell in love with movies very early on as a child. I can't quite pinpoint a moment in my childhood when I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker; it is simply a desire that has always been there. I began writing stories at age five and attribute my interest in visual storytelling in large part to watching movies of very wide variety with my mom at a young age. Watching "The Twilight Zone" marathon every fourth of July was a family tradition and I credit that as a huge reason for my interest in screenwriting. I wrote my first screenplay, or what I thought was a screenplay, at age nine. I knew my love for movies was something bigger than just an interest when a video camera was first placed in my hands at the age of 13. It was from that point forward that my passion in life was clearly defined. In high school, I attempted to make two "feature films" with a cast of friends and a crew of one, but those never quite panned out. After high school, I took a year off and honed in on my writing. I won a couple of online video contests and put the money towards funding my first big project. I enrolled in Hunter College in 2008 and made my first independent short, "Do Over," a psychological thriller, the summer after freshman year. I graduated with honors with a BA in Film Production & Studies in 2012.
Filmmaking & Community Leadership
I am now a New York City based Writer/Director and the Founder and Team Leader of CongestedCat Productions, LLC. I shot my first feature film, SUMMIT, a Horror-Drama, in 2013. It premiered at the 2015 Manhattan Film Festival and was awarded Best Horror Film. I won Best Director for the film at the 2015 Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival (Vortex Genre Fest); and the film also screened at the 2015 Scare-A-Con Film Festival, 2015 Unreal Film Festival, and 2016 Macabre Faire Film Festival. It is available on Amazon Prime, Vimeo on Demand, and VHX. Shortly after wrapping production on SUMMIT, I directed and produced the comedic web series 'Kelsey,' which premiered on blip.tv in September 2013 to rave reviews and consistent press coverage, including as a Critic’s Pick and named one of the 19 Best Comedy Web Series of 2013 by Indiewire.com. It has over a quarter million hits online and has screened across the country as part of an LGBT Web Series Panel tour, most notably at Outfest. It is now available on Vimeo and Youtube.
I turned my desire to foster collaboration and engagement in the local film community into IndieWorks, a monthly film screening series showcasing and supporting the work of other independent filmmakers in New York. Each month screens 4 or 5 shorts and consistently has over 45 people in attendance. It is currently starting its 6th year and has gained name recognition of its own.
My work often has a focus on character exploration. I have an affinity for ensemble pieces and quick-witted dialogue. I love exploring social issues through humor and horror. My other credits as Writer, Director include a dozen independently produced (read no-budget and community supported) narrative shorts that have made official selection at film festivals across the country. I am currently on the festival circuit with with my second feature, a comedy titled About A Donkey, written by and co-produced with 'Kelsey' collaborator Kelsey Rauber, as well as in post-production for a new horror short. Silent Night, my feature horror-comedy screenplay that I hope to be my third feature, made the Quarter Finals of the 2016 Slamdance Screenplay Competition. I was selected as one of the 10 to Watch Filmmakers in 2018 by Independent Magazine, as well as selected for the prestigious 2018 NYFF Artist Academy. Touring with About a Donkey and exploring funding options for Silent Night make up my mission for 2018!