PITSTOP
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PITSTOP FILMMAKERS

 

Melanie McGraw MELANIE McGRAW - Director
Melanie McGraw studied creative writing at Brigham Young University and then became an instructional designer and training consultant before pursuing her dream of filmmaking at age 30. She currently holds a MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she focused on writing and directing with a specialty in sound design. She is the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships, including a grant from The Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors Foundation, the Samuel and Lorenza Gary Memorial Award, the Albert J. Broccoli Foundation Award for Excellence in Production, the National Association of Theatre Owners, and the Tania Trepanier Memorial Scholarship. In June 2008 "Pitstop" won a Student Academy AwardŽ, one of the most prestigious honors for student filmmakers worldwide. Her debut film "Coif" (16mm B&W, 6 min.) has screened at film festivals around the world, including Frameline30 in San Francisco, and in New York City, Austin, Hamburg, Berlin, Toronto, Vienna, London, and Sydney.

While at USC, Melanie worked on over a dozen thesis films in a variety of roles, including editor, production sound mixer, supervising sound editor, re-recording mixer, and production coordinator. In addition, she acted as co-sound editor on "Cinemanifest," a feature-length documentary with Midge Costin, Head of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Sound Department, and held a teaching assistantship in the sound department 2005-2007. In March 2006, she traveled to Amman, Jordan to assist a small group of USC faculty in teaching a nine-day filmmaking workshop, held in conjunction with The Royal Film Commission of Jordan.

Melanie's experience growing up in a conservative Mormon family juxtaposed with "coming out" at age 23, instilled in her a desire to deal with life's uncomfortable moments and nurtured an ongoing fascination with how we can all be broken and beautiful at once. She explores these themes through her work.

 

Dina Gachman DINA GACHMAN - Producer
Born and raised in Texas, Dina Gachman hightailed it to California when she was eighteen, and strangely, the longer she lives away from Texas, the more she loves her home state. Dina graduated with honors from UCLA with a degree in English Literature. She then worked as a film critic in San Francisco for five years, waiting lots of tables along the way. After years spent writing about other people's films, she decided to stop critiquing and start creating, going after what she is truly passionate about. Her USC MFA thesis film, ARCHER HOUSE, recently premiered at the AFI Dallas Film Festival, and she has recently finished adapting a book for the screen which is best described as FIGHT CLUB for girls, set in Tokyo.

 
 

Mary Posatko MARY POSATKO - Producer
Mary Posatko is a third year Graduate student at the University of Southern California School of Cinema/Television. Growing up in Delaware with nothing to do but watch TV and dream, Mary became part culture junkie and part social activist. She went on to study Semiotics and Modern American History at Brown University, moved to LA to be a homeless counselor on Skid Row, then ran a program for gang members on the Westside. She then worked on news, documentary and drama production at NPR station KCRW in Santa Monica, and on several documentaries for HBO.

To date, Mary has produced four Graduate thesis films: Pitstop; Dina Gachman's Archer House (16mm, 15 min); Rain Breaw's Underpass (HD, 15min); Shoes on a Wire (16mm, 12 min); and a special joint project between USC and Julliard, Miss Lonelyhearts (HD, 3 min).

 

Caitlin Millay Taylor CAITLIN MILLAY TAYLOR - Producer
Caitlin Millay Taylor was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI. She attended Yale University, where she received her B.A. and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her short film, Milk, was a finalist at the Ivy League Film Festival. In her spare time, Taylor interned for Michael Moore on his film, Bowling for Columbine, and worked with Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt on their film, The Education of Shelby Knox, which won the award for Best Cinematography at Sundance. Caitlin recently graduated from USC's Graduate School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in film production. She currently works as an associate producer at the Foundation for Documentary Projects.

 
 

Nicola Marsh NICOLA MARSH - Cinematographer
Nicola Marsh grew up in London, England. She first moved to the US to work as a news camerawoman for NBC. After three years of covering burning buildings, household germs and Laci Peterson, she moved to Los Angeles in search of something deeper. Luckily she found USC, where she completed the Masters' Film Production Program. While there, she won a $40,000 scholarship from the David Lean Foundation. In 2006 she directed "Last Exit" which won third place at the PlanetOut Short Film Awards, which is being distributed by Logo Television. In that same year she shot and directed a music video for Bright Eyes' beloved indie hit "First Day of My Life" (Official Selection Outfest '06). She also co-directed a documentary with Pitstop director, Melanie McGraw, for the Victory Fund, profiling Congresswoman Heather Mizeur. She was accepted into the Film Independent's prestigious Project Involve program, and her mentor is the award winning director Jamie Babbit (But I'm a Cheerleader, Alias). She has shot an array of USC thesis films, including the award-winning documentary "Walk in the Light" about a gay black church in South Central Los Angeles.

Nicola currently works in Los Angeles as a freelance cinematographer. Her clients include, CBS (The Tyra Banks Show), TLC, Logo, the Discovery Channel and MTV.

 

Courtney Tuesday Yates COURTNEY TUESDAY YATES - Production Designer
Courtney Tuesday Yates was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. With family ties to the film industry, she has worked on numerous major motion pictures as a Production Assistant since a very early age, with titles including Say Anything, Honeymoon in Vegas, Dream Work's The Ring 2 and Wes Craven's Red Eye.

After spending much of her early twenties traveling and living abroad in such locations as Edinburgh, Scotland and Florence, Italy, she returned home for a scholarship to The California Institute of the Arts, graduating from Cal Arts with a BFA in Theatre Production Design and a year of exchange on full scholarship to the Glasgow School of Art for photography in 2003.

Tuesday worked as the Production Designer on "Indio USA," an AFI thesis film that won the Franklin J. Schaffner award, AFI's top honor, and also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Student Film of the Year. Since then she has designed other short films and music videos that air on MTV. She is currently working at a furious pace as a buyer, set dresser, and floral designer on advertising and editorial photo shoots for such celebrities and companies as Madonna, Tom Ford, and The Gap.

 

Julien Guerif JULIEN GUERIF - Editor
Born and raised in Paris, Julien Guerif (27) worked as cook, mover, documentalist for diverse production companies, web journalist, translator (12 books total, 2 in progress) and script writer for the video games company UBI SOFT before moving to California to study film production at USC. There, he specialized early in editing and worked as an assistant for prestigious faculty members such as Jim Mitchell and Robert C. Jones.

His passion for editing comes from his long experience as a film goer, his wide knowledge of world cinema (he has seen more than 5,000 films) and the mentorship of Jean-Francois Naudon, his uncle, who has worked as a film and television editor in Paris for the past thirty years.

His influences are Walter Murch, Edward Dmytryk, Michael Kahn, Yoshiyahu Yamamure and more recently Daniel Rezende (City of God) and Claire Simpson (The Constant Gardener).