Tonia Kempler is a multi-hyphenate Producer/Director/Screenwriter, who splits her time between Vermont and New York, though her roots run deep in a rural south still steeped in the occult traditions of the Gullah Geechee and the animism of the Cherokees. Surrounded and empowered by the lore and practices of these mystical cultures, Tonia leans toward macabre worlds with isolated, damaged, yet capable and empathic female leads. This personal connection drives her concentration on supernatural horror/thrillers, and dark comedies, including features, pilots, shorts, web series, podcasts, and graphic novels.
Her approach to storytelling and understanding audience engagement is fortified by a career in the Music Industry, including concert production and managing Grammy-Award-Winning producers, engineers, and songwriters. “No Scrubs” for TLC and “Survivor” for Destiny’s Child are among over 100 Billboard Chart Topping songs created by her previous clients.
Tonia is the Founder of Bellem Entertainment, a full-service entertainment company with a stable of award-winning Filmmakers and Screenwriters delivering content in all formats across all genres. Bellem Entertainment’s production company specializes in world-building and character development. Current projects include an Unscripted Docu-Reality TV Series and a Coming-of-Age Thriller in pre-production. Buffalo 8 has joined Bellem Entertainment with their Found Footage Horror Feature The Leatherface Lady.
Tonia’s accomplishments include over 200 awards, including a Top 10% Academy Nicholl’s script, Top 1% on Coverfly, inclusion in Gotham Week and Sundance Collabs, a No. 1 best-selling comic, multi-award winning short films, placement in Stowe’s TV Writer’s Room/Producer Lab, Cinestory, Page Awards, Austin Film Festival, and the ScreenCraft Fellowship among others.
Bellem Entertainment sponsors fellowships for both Stowe Story Labs Vermont Retreat and Cinestory’s Television Retreat. In addition, Tonia spearheads the Diversity Scholarship for Roadmap Writers. She is an inspired Top Tier Roadmap Writer and a 51/50 international workshop member with the Academy of Film Writing. She is an industry script reader for the Austin Film Festival, Stowe Story Labs, and Cinestory, among others. Tonia is currently organizing a film festival in Rutland, Vermont.
Bulent immigrated into the US in 1997 when he was 21. Shortly after, he joined the United States Army and served in two tours to Iraq.
Bulent became a Border Patrol Agent in 2006 and a Customs Officer in 2008. He served 11 years under Customs & Border Protection as a federal agent.
In 2018, he joined the cast of Naked & Afraid and has 4 challenges, 21 episodes with the Discovery Channel.
In 2020, he wrote and shot his first award-winning action short and joined Tonia Kempler with Bellem Entertainment in 2020.
Projects are genre agnostic, spanning everything from action to horror, and Rom-Coms to thrillers. Their portfolio includes shorts, features, episodic series, unscripted reality shows, web series, graphic novels, and podcasts.
Bulent has shot and completed several award-winning short films and an unscripted reality pilot. His work is currently making the rounds in the festival circuit.
Bulent's scripts are influenced by his own life experiences: from being very poor in a third-world country, immigrating to a new country with a new culture and new language, his experience as a US soldier in another third-world country, and his journey through immigration, enforcing immigration law and fighting with human traffickers and drug cartels.
Many of his projects focus on real-life events and land in the action/drama genre.
The Opez group provides production and creative services in film, television, interactive medium, websites, and corporate video. Passion leads to creative design, design leads to performance, performance leads to success.
"Our creative crew & technical staff will assist in transforming your vision into reality. Together we‘ll bring your project to a successful completion."
Jana Zinser writes stories about people fighting against all odds.
Versed in both TV, features, and books, her background is in politics, public policy, and the media.
She was chosen to participate in the Stowe Story Labs in 2021.
She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire School of Law and received her Masters in Journalism from the University of Iowa.
Some of her past work includes serving as Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader in Iowa, Program Principal at the National Conference of State Legislators, Press Secretary to a Congressman in Washington, DC, and Communications for The Children’s Diabetes Foundation.
Her historical fiction book THE CHILDREN’S TRAIN: Escape on the Kindertransport won Silver in the Benjamin Franklin Awards and first place in the 2016 CIPA EVVY Awards. Her most recent book FLY LIKE A BIRD was awarded second place for multicultural fiction and third place for
women’s fiction in the 2020 CIPA EVVY Awards.
"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." Langston Hughes, an American poet, novelist, and social activist (1901-1967).
FLY LIKE A BIRD: https://www.amazon.com/Fly-Like-Bird-Jana-Zinser/dp/1945448245
THE CHILDREN'S TRAIN: https://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Train-Jana-Zinser/dp/1939371856
James graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Marketing and Music Business. Between the Carolinas and Georgia, he spent the majority of his early life in the South, before moving to NYC in 2022. He spent his first years out of school building digital marketing plans for brands such as Intel and Jack in the Box before finding an opportunity to get back into entertainment by working with Hulu. His passion remains in Music/Film and he’s excited to continue his work started in Athens, GA of promoting Artists. James aims to narrow down the exact niche for each body of work then use the most cost-effective methods to spread the word.
3X Grammy award-winning producer, turned filmmaker and Influencer Agent, representing talent with more than 90+ million followers.
Al Finocchio comes to screenwriting from freelance technical writing for science publishers and biotech & pharmaceutical companies. He recently turned his creative pastime of screenwriting into a dedicated pursuit, and in the last couple of years has written and co-written several scripts that have been recognized on the contest and festival circuits.
Al usually writes in the crime and action genres, often with a dark comedy flavor. His stories are typically populated with colorful misfits not always aware of the absurdities of their universe. Both Al and his characters reside at the beach in the fictional state of Southern California.
Tony Ferrendelli is a Colorado native and relocated to Southern California because it does not snow. There are other reasons, but this is the short version of his bio.
With a background in comedy, there’s usually a strong element of humor that leans toward observational or sarcastic and is present in everything he writes. Tony’s stories are character-driven and generally include people uncomfortable with themselves. He puts them in a situation where they must change themselves and/or their environment to move forward. He sees himself in his characters, both good and bad, and tries to infuse some of his life experiences in their dialogue and actions.
Finally, and much to the dismay of his 4th grade English teacher, and Mom, he can’t conjugate a sentence to save his life. Tony doesn’t know what a dangling participle is but knows it sounds painful. Luckily for him, screenwriting allows a little leeway in that area.
Tony’s screenplays (features, pilots and shorts) have won or placed in multiple screenplay competitions including the Austin Film Festival, Page, Screencraft, WeScreenplay, Southern California Screenplay Competition and CineStory TV Fellowship.
Despina was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. Defying her parents, she came to the US alone as an undergraduate to study political science and, funny thing, learned a few other things, too. Like how to catch flying swords, when she performed as a Magician’s Assistant at Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess nightclub. Or, how never to trust Americans bearing ‘brownies’, or eat five of them in a row. Lucky her mother never found out any of that especially because Despina went on to become a serious person.
Despina has received an MA in International Relations and another MA in Criminology from the University of Toronto. She has worked in the New York State Legislature as Chief of Staff/Legislative Director for two New York State Senators, and in Canadian TV as Writer, Associate Producer, and On-Air Anchor. She’s a second-degree Black belt. Basketball Coach. Proud mother of two amazing daughters. Lives between Thessaloniki and New York. Despina loves bullet-points because they make everything look more impressive.
Despina writes stories that explore love, feminism, and religion, featuring independent female protagonists in complicated family dynamics who seek to live life on their own terms. Cinema is escapist and that is why she gravitates toward Fantasy. She also loves to write Action and Comedy and anything that results from growing up in Greece, the myths she adored as a kid, or being a Greek in America.
An optioned writer, Despina is a Stowe Story Labs alum, a Top Tier member of Roadmap Writers, and a 51/50 international workshop member with the Academy of Film Writing.
Despina has placed Top 4% on Coverfly and Top 15% at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships. Her scripts have placed in numerous competitions such as Story Pros, Austin Film Festival, LA Femme International Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival, Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards, Los Angeles International Screenplay Competition, Shore Scripts, London Greek Film Festival, Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, the Filmatic Script Competition, International Women’s Film Festival, and Cinestory.
The first short Despina wrote and produced was shot in San Diego this spring starring the legendary Lainie Kazan (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Lucas Hassel (The Blacklist). Despina is currently in pre-production for a short film she wrote which she will be directing at the end of February in Albany, NY.
Joshua Russell is a resourceful, customer relations-oriented, IT professional with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and hits every project with a desire to elevate the characters and their worlds. He comes to the team with over 6 years of experience building exposure for brands in multiple fields.
Nikkia Daniel is a veteran photographer with for over 25 years in the field. Nik’s unique approach results in wonderfully vibrant and catchy images. Her key to great photos is focusing on the details – those small things that announce the actors and crews personality to the world. She captures the behind-the-scenes photos needed for PR and the like.
Nikkia is also an avid storyteller, Nik aims for her characters to leap off the page and her photos are more than just pretty pictures. They capture moments in time, connect you to the past, and they speak loudly to the power and character of a brand.
Kristen McNaule is a screenwriter and filmmaker from Ottawa, Canada. Her interest in International Development has taken her to Sierra Leone to produce a documentary about youth entrepreneurship in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding. She believes in cinema as a way to shed light on mental illness, civil rights, and other important social issues. In 2018, her feature script “Alphabet City” was a semi-finalist in Austin Film Festival’s prestigious script competition. Her short films have been official selection at several international film festivals, including “From Sarajevo” which was also acquired for broadcast by CBC.