Welcome to my world. I'm an actor who hates waiting for shit to happen... So I create... One of the projects I'm most proud of is my Streamy award winning series I co-created and starred in called The Bannen Wayfor Sony's Crackle.com.
So browse around - check out latest projects, videos, photos, news, blog posts and connect with me on the interwebs.
Neal Bannen wants to get out of the criminal lifestyle forever… but he owes $150,000 to the notorious prison gangster Sonny Carr. After failing to triple his money and losing all his money in a poker game, Bannen’s forced to do one more job.
Buy Bannen on Amazon
My new photography site is up and running. You can check out all my new photos as well as order limited edition, signed, and numbered giclee prints.
Past Events 2011
Dexter episode airs on Showtime
New series Once Upon by YouTube genius Myster Guitar Man launches. New episode every Tuesday.
We are asking for your support in raising funds so that 60 students, ages 13-18 can participate in a 2-DAY LEADERSHIP EMPOWERMENT TRAINING course called Momentum Teens for Leadership.
We don't have much time: we need to raise over $6000 by JULY 21, 2014. Please support us in any way that you can by making a contribution. Thank you so much for your help!
WHO ARE THESE YOUTH:
We will be servicing 60 students at the Luskin Academy. Here is some information about the type of students we will be servicing:
- The school has 271 students - 74 are African American - 1 Native American - 194 Latino - 2 White - 262 Are Socioeconomically Disadvantaged - 131 are English Language Learners - 14 are students with Disabilities - On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) Luskin Academy is ranked a 4 Statewide - According to the Safety by Zip Code website on a scale of 1-100 (100 being the least safe) Luskin Academy is located in a zip code ranked between 74-94.
We are what is wanted and needed to touch move and inspire the students of Luskin Academy. We can make a difference in this community that so desperately needs change.
WHO WE ARE:
We are the first Momentum Leadership team in Los Angeles, and we're excited about sharing this amazing opportunity with you to help change lives, particularly the lives of "at-risk" youth.
Our team recently participated in the adult version of this powerful course and can guarantee that it will change lives. We were so inspired by this transformative, groundbreaking work that we are 100% committed to providing this opportunity to our youth.
WELCOME TO MOMENTUM TEENS FOR LEADERSHIP (MTFL):
Momentum Teens for Leadership (MTFL) empowers youth to be responsible, authentic, contributing leaders. Momentum Teens for Leadership, founded by Robin Lynn, provides workshops and ongoing programs designed for 13-17 olds to enhance communication and empower new discoveries and conversations of choice, responsibility, trust, cooperation, contribution, integrity, and team. Programs led by expert trainers provide practical tools and hands-on experiential learning to support teens in being responsible leaders in their families, schools, communities, and the world. Participants leave MTFL with practical skills and enjoyable memories to last a lifetime. Are there young people in your life that you'd like to invite to Choose, Commit, and Create extraordinary results in their lives NOW?
GOALS: Give these teens the proper tools to overcome personal obstacles so that they can thrive in their communities and live healthier, happier lives in pursuant of their their dreams
GUARANTEED RESULTS: Momentum Teens for Leadership has served over 800 participants year-to-date 50% of our participants increased their grade point average by one letter grade in a 3-month period. 100% of our graduates with GPA’s of 90% or more have maintained their averages or increased their averages by 5 grade points. 71% of our participants increased their hours of service in their communities and school by 20 hours per month 75% of our participants improved family relationships 84% of our participants changed their health habits by exercising and eating nutritionally 90% of our participants return to serve as peer mentors to new participants 100% of our graduating high school seniors go on to college
Since its inception in the year, 2009, the crowdfunding organization known as Kickstarter has claimed to have raised over one billion dollars in donations to fund more than one hundred thirty-five thousand projects of artistic ventures of various sizes. There have been many success stories and many recent ones include the Veronica Mars motion picture. The latest success story involves an ambitious and very talented couple whose list of credits in the entertainment industry is stunningly impressive. Heather and Jeffery Wang have worked on a number of impressive projects which include "Justified," "Breaking Bad," "Lone Survivor" and "A Million Way to Die in the West."
The talented duo started a Kickstarter campaign in order to direct and produce a short horror film entitled, "Lifeline." The short film is based on a story written by Jeffery Wang of which he has also just completed directing on June 1st. I was given details of the project by actor, producer, writer and director, Mark Gantt who is one of the leads in the short. This interview took place after the short film's principal photography wrapped and the two were able to catch their breath after a whirlwind filming schedule.
Oscar: I have read the information on your Kickstarter campaign pitch and have viewed your video. I am impressed! Your influences are well stated in your campaign. Will you be trying to create a similar visual quality that many of the horror film of the 80's had?
DREAD CENTRAL: Exlusive Photos from the set of THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY
We told you recently that production has kicked off on The Night Visitor 2: Heather's Story, the sequel to The Night Visitor; and today we have a gallery's worth of exclusive stills and behind-the-scenes images from the shoot to share.
The film is directed by Brianne Davis (The Night Visitor, "True Blood," Prom Night) and produced by Blanc/Biehn Productions and Lony Ruhmann in association with Give & Take Productions. Caitlin Carmichael, Mark Gantt, Chip Coffey, and Jennifer Blanc-Biehn star.
The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story was written by Kevin and Bradley Marcus and Mark Gantt. Executive producers include Lony Ruhmann, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Michael Biehn, and Brianne Davis. The film is produced by Mark Gantt and Dylan Matlock.
Thanks to Oscar Benjamin and Mike Skillsky for the photos.
Synopsis: The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story is a sci-fi thriller that runs parallel to the original The Night Visitor, telling the story of Heather (Carmichael), a special young girl who must protect her family and the planet from the same other-earthly being. The sequel delves deeper into the mysteries that plagued the Stevens family and their son, Ricky, with the help of psychic and medium Daniel (Coffey).
EXAMINER: Brianne Davis, Mark Gantt and Gary Cairns II unleash "The Night Visitor"
One of the many pleasures of attending a film festival like the recent Another Hole in the Hole Film Festival is discovering films in a theater setting that you may otherwise not discover on your own. This Examiner.com columnist had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Brianne Davis, Mark Gantt and Gary Cairns who are three of the principal actors and producers of the independent horror and science fiction film known as The Night Visitor.
The Night Visitor chronicles the tell of an estranged couple as played by Brianne Davis and Gary Cairns who solicit the help of a spiritualist to help them resolve their marital issues. The spiritualist suggests that they begin to film themselves in order to help them rediscover their love. In the process, the couple discover that their son is in communication with an unseen entity whose intentions are unknown. The Night Visitor also marks the directorial debut of actress and now director, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.
The interview began with an explanation of the title and how it relates to the story of The Night Visitor. Co-executive producer, Mark Gantt begins, "Lony Ruhmann who is our executive producer came up with the story idea along with Night Visitor 2 and 3 and 4. Lony is very interested in the story of these kids being able to communicate with beings from another planet and for him this is very real-it is something he believes in. This is something that happens at night to these children and he is trying to explore that in these four movies." Gantt continues, "what happens to these children that are overtly sensitive as they communicate with these beings."
The Night Visitor was very well received at the film festival and once again demonstrates how successful a Kickstarter funding campaign can truly be. Once again, Mark Gantt has thoughts on the subject. Mark speaks, "it is a great way to build a grass roots audience and a fan base that sometimes just comes to help. What is exciting is that within a year there will be a bill passed by Congress that allows us to basically do Kickstarter witheveryone getting a piece of the pie. Instead of donating money, a person can be an actual investor in the movie." Excitement continues to build in Mark's voice. Gantt further explains, "independent filmmakers can go to the public and explain their budget and state to those that are putting up money that they will all be owners in the film. Hollywood does not want it because it is going to give us the power!"
The star of the film is Brianne Davis who impressed this reporter and so many with her head turning performance in Among Friends. She has the task of shouldering a fair amount of screen time in The Night Visitor. Her performance in The Night Visitor cements her in this columnist's head as being more than a strikingly beautiful woman. She creates a character in Jen who is on the edge of turmoil and the subtle performance delivered by Brianne is truly one of the highlights of the film. Davis addresses this and replies, "There is so much turmoil going inside my character of Jen that I have to go through so many things. Being concerned for my child, holding my marriage together and trying to decide if we stay or go. I hope I did a great job. As an actress I am my own worst critic, but I feel really lucky to have done it and I am really excited to be directing the second one!"
The other major starring role in the film belongs to that of Gary Cairns II. The actor was given very little prep time which reflected the hectic and breakneck pacing of the filming which caused the actor to explain, "you are as great as you with! It was actually pretty smooth for me. If it was a bunch of amateurs it would have been very painful and I wouldn't be here right now! The hardest thing was just figuring out what we going to do with the cameras. One of the cameras is a character in itself!" Brianne Davis further adds, "working with that camera was a new experience for the both of us, especially Gary who had to act with the camera many times."
Producer, Mark Gantt has had the good fortune of being part of low and rather extravagantly budgeted films throughout his career as an actor and producer. His observations on the dynamics and chemistry of a film crew is fascinating and very illuminating. Gantt explains, "you are like a family-immediately! You don't know anybody else! You automatically bond. I was doing one of Jennifer's(Blanc-Biehn) films-Hidden in the Woods and one of the actors hated the fact that as he has gotten bigger, they put him up in a separate hotel from the cast and crew. This actor basically wanted to be with everybody so then we he went out to eat he could bond with the other actors, the DP and the AC. When we are on set, we are looking at each other and we are in a vibe and we are a machine!" Mark continues, " on The Night Visitor, we all got along immediately and had a great time. It was such a small crew and nobody sat around waiting for something to happen. Gary would move a light there and everybody was doing their jobs and other jobs also!"
The Night Visitor is the first of a proposed series of films about possible visitations and abductions by aliens from another world. It was announced that actress, Brianne Davis is going to take over directorial duties for the second film. Davis discusses the exciting news. Brianne begins, "I am very excited! When Jen(Blanc-Biehn), Mark and I were talking about the second one I said I could do this and I have been working in movies for a long time. I got to watch Jen directing the kid and I really loved it. I know the story, I know everybody on the set and I know how it works and I can direct it!" Davis continues, "you learn from every director that you work with! You get to a certain point where you know how to tell a story."
There appeared to be an interesting theme throughout the interview and that was of opportunity and individuals daring to run with opportunities! The Night Visitor allowed actress Jennifer Blanc-Biehn to continue to grow not only as an actress but now as a director. The sequel will now be Brianne Davis' directorial debut. Perhaps the individual running with the ball the furthest is actor, photographer and producer, Mark Gantt. Gantt is the epitome of the classic character actor that can always be counted on to deliver a solid performance that many times will elevate the film that he has been cast in. Mark Gantt is more than a handsome face as he explains his progression to being a reliable producer. Gantt speaks, "as an actor waiting for my career to happen that was not happening basically I started creating my own projects. I found that I could put people together-how do I get that DP with that director and how do I get this together. I feel like I am good at it and it definitely comes easy for me. I have worked behind the camera in every department-from being an actor, a prop guy, a grip, electrician, photographer, assistant director and production assistant. It really gives me the advantage over another producer because I know the language and I could do everybody's job!" Mark concludes, "I really want to continue to do this because I love doing this. I love working with talented people. Directors or actors-I love putting people together!"
Films like The Night Visitor represent a growing decentralization of the film-making process away from familiar mega studio brands such as Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures. Although movies released by these aforementioned studios will continue to dominate the film landscape for the conceivable future, there can be no argument that the independent film funded from diverse sources will continue to capture the imagination of the movie loving public. Passionate and intellectual film creators such as Jennifer Blanc-Biehn, Brianne Davis and Mark Gantt continue to demonstrate that imagination, enthusiasm and sheer confidence will trump wanton and sometimes reckless expenditure of money. Brianne Davis and Mark Gantt will continue to realize their visions under their production company called, Give & Take Productions. Their next film to be directed by Mark Gantt is called, A Place Apart which was written by J.L. Blakely and will star Brianne Davis. This columnist looks forward to discovering the further visions to be found in The Night Visitor and am quite confident many more will also be of the same mind set as further films are released.
Shooting Top-Of-Show Guest-star on TNT's MAJOR CRIMES
Shooting begins on LIFELINE opposite Kathleen Gati(General Hospital)
Begin filming THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY starring Mark Gantt, Jennifer Blanc, Caitlin Carmichael, Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Hudson Pischer and Chip Coffey. The film will be directed by Brianne Davis.
THE NIGHT VISITOR screens as part of the ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FESTIVAL in San Francisco.
Shooting Los Angeles portion of THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT
Mark begins shooting lead role in THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT, written and directed by Antoni Sole. Shooting in Barcelona, Spain.
Attending AMONG FRIENDS screening at Universal City
Shannen Doherty honored for Best Individual Performance from the 2012 Webby Awards in the SUITE 7 episode "Company" that Mark directed. Episode was written by Yuri Baranovsky and stars Shannen and Wilson Cleveland.