“Safety Not Guaranteed” stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Derek Connolly, the film is produced by Marc Turtletaub, Peter Saraf, Stephanie Langhoff, Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. Executive Producers are Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, John Hodges and Michael B. Clark.
In “Safety Not Guaranteed,” three employees of Seattle Magazine head to the scenic, seaside community of Ocean View, WA to find and profile the man behind a bizarre and hilarious classified ad looking for a partner to travel through time. Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned live-at-home college grad, spending time on his loveseat recliner (external), who interns at the magazine. Along with her fellow intern Arnau (Karan Soni), a studious Biology major working at the magazine to diversify his resume, and their hard partying boss, Jeff (Jake Johnson), the threesome set out to discover and write a story about the mysterious person behind the preposterous ad.
The mismatched trio land in Ocean View with no more than a PO Box number to guide them in their investigation, but no sooner have they checked into their hotel than Jeff abandons the job to track down a long lost love interest who lives in the beach community. Darius asserts herself as the lead reporter and finds their subject, Kenneth (Mark Duplass) – an offbeat character – stocking canned goods at the local grocery store. Darius’ disaffected attitude serves her well, perhaps for the first time ever, and she quickly endears herself to Kenneth as she poses as a candidate to accompany him on his mission. Kenneth is leery of Darius’ motives and is not entirely convinced that she isn’t working for the “secret agents” that are tracking his every move, but through a series of training exercises she begins to gain his trust. And while the absurdity of their mission is without question, the dedication and skill that Kenneth puts into his preparations are no laughing matter.
Jeff meanwhile tracks down Liz (Jenica Bergere), his fling from his teenage years, and though she does not embody his fond memories, they reconnect. He opens his heart to her, and is ultimately surprised at her response. As Darius gets pulled further into the strange world of Kenneth, Jeff begins to realize his regrets, and does everything he can to make sure Arnau doesn’t let his youth slip away. Changing the past, preventing the future, altering the present – the mission is different for everyone, but the power to hope for something better is universal.
The genesis of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED derives from this mysteriously simple ad above, which appeared in the survivalist magazine, Backwoods Home in the mid–90’s. The ad was rediscovered by someone and posted online where it became an internet sensation. In 2007, when writer Derek Connolly stumbled across it, he immediately imagined the characters, story line, general set–up, and title for a film. He initially envisioned a male–bonding story. However, when he saw FUNNY PEOPLE with Aubrey Plaza, it all clicked – he was going to write a character specifically for Plaza, whom he didn’t yet know but hoped he could interest in the story.
By the time Connolly saw the ad there were many jokes, parody songs and videos circulating online. “My first thought was what if the guy who placed the ad was sincere and really wants to go back in time, yet everyone is making fun of him,” recalls Connolly. “There was something really sad about it all. What if he is really lamenting something from his past that he wants to go back and fix. That’s what drew my attention. The title was perfect, tying the whole idea together.” Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow had been writing partners for a number of years, having met while both were studying at N.Y.U. and interning at Saturday Night Live. Connolly gave Trevorrow a first draft of the script, which they then developed together. “I thought it was a really inventive way to approach a time travel movie and the emotional needs that would cause someone to want to time travel, so we decided to try to track down the author of the ad to hopefully get the rights to use it,” says Trevorrow. They found the ad’s author, a writer living in the mountains of Oregon, and after gaining his trust over a period of years, he granted the filmmakers the rights to use his ad.
“Derek is a true writer. He looks at a blank page and gets excited. Although I too am a writer, I look at a blank page and am filled with dread. That’s what makes us a good team – we have a different, yet complimentary set of skills,” says Trevorrow. With script in hand, the duo got it to Plaza, and she immediately accepted the role of ‘Darius.’ She remembers, “I was sent the script and told it was written specifically for me. I didn’t know the writer or director but I really liked the story so said OK. The transformation that my character goes through is what really spoke to me.”
As with Connolly, Jake Johnson and Trevorrow met and became friends while attending NYU, and had often talked about working on a film project together. With “Jeff,’ Trevorrow hoped that he finally found the right piece of material and got the script to Johnson, who quickly came on board.
One thing that attracted Johnson to the script was Kenneth’s belief in time travel. “Jeff acts like he doesn’t believe, but deep down he does. I like to think that time travel could exist. My character is really a jerk but deep down before whatever happened to him, I don’t think he was a bad person. I can relate to him because sometimes it feels so good to say what you’re feeling, not to care, to know that you’re saying the wrong thing in certain moments, and to celebrate that.” He continues, “My character thinks he’s the coolest guy ever. I think he understands the deeper values in life but they’re not his goal. In this film he does get turned around when he realizes there are more important things than an Escalade car. It kicks him in the face a little and he remembers who he is.”
With Darius and Jeff cast Connolly and Trevorrow now had to find their “Kenneth” and they reached out to Mark Duplass, who was already familiar with the classified ad, “Long before I had been sent the script, I had been emailed an internet parody video of the ad. I thought it was great but then forgot about it. I had a pile of scripts on my desk but the title SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED caught my attention although it took me a moment to make the connection.” Duplass had been a fan of Plaza and Johnson’s but had not met them prior to this film. “Jeff is gregarious, sweet and amenable. Darius is much more of a puzzle. Those big brown eyes that come get you yet you’re not sure what she’s thinking.”
“The script struck me as a great underdog story,” says Duplass, who in addition to playing the role of ‘Kenneth’ came on board to executive produce the project. “Two of my favorite films are ROCKY and AMERICAN MOVIE. They share protagonists who the world seems to be against but they have purity and passion of heart in the way they go about doing things. Kenneth has that, but has it in a way that is at once heartwarming and ridiculous. It was the combination of the absurd and the heartfelt that drew me into his character.” Added Trevorrow, “Kenneth’s character could have been silly and goofy, but we thought making him more grounded, a more real human being that was doing preposterous things would make the film more balanced.”
“We connected with Derek’s script immediately,” says Duplass’ producing partner, Stephanie Langhoff. “His characters are simultaneously funny and fragile, and it is hard not to root for them as they seek happiness, each in a different way, over the course of their journey. Colin’s vision of how to tell the story and the attachments of Aubrey and Jake made us only more excited to get involved with the project, and we couldn’t have asked for better partners in making the movie than we found in Big Beach.”
Duplass comments, “This role is unlike any I’ve played. It was a big challenge for me and was one of the first roles that I really researched and spent time trying to figure out who Kenneth is and what makes him operate in the way that he does. Ultimately I discovered that the connection I had to this character was a spiritual one. Kenneth is a believer. I love cracking jokes and making fun of things, but at the end of the day I want to believe that things I can’t intellectually understand are possible.” Further, “What’s great about Kenneth is that he can sit in a room with 1,000 people and they can all tell him empirically why time travel will never happen. And he’ll then look them in the eye and say, ‘yeah, when you’re thinking with your brain that makes sense, but when you’re moving through the world with your heart, I still want to believe.’ That speaks to me. I want to live in that world, and that’s what connects me to Kenneth.”
In many ways Darius is her own worst enemy whose insecurities prevent her from taking chances. “In the beginning of the film she’s kind of closed off and doesn’t know who she is. She has defense mechanisms and really low expectations of the people around her,” says Plaza. “I like portraying flawed characters that are insecure because I relate to that and I know a lot of people like that. I think it’s always good to put those kinds of characters on screen to honor them.”
The character of Darius is a departure from Plaza’s previous roles. “I’ve never had to deal with a big loss like Darius has so I don’t know what that feels like,” she continues. “This was an extremely important learning process for me as an actor. Dramatic parts are scary for me but I learned a lot and want to keep doing more dramatic roles,” she states.
With the three principal cast members in place, Duplass and his producing partner Stephanie Langhoff approached Big Beach to produce and finance the picture. “What we discovered when we read the script for Safety was a truly unique story that explores the emotional and physical aspects of time travel that feels all together familiar in its trappings but completely original in its journey. The fact that the Duplass Brothers were attached to produce and there was this really exciting, fresh cast with a great new voice at the helm made us seize upon the opportunity to become involved.” said John Hodges of Big Beach.
The search for intern ‘Arnau’ was challenging. Karan Soni auditioned early on and the filmmakers knew there was something special to his take on the character but he had no experience. With a first time feature director it seemed wise to look for a more experienced actor. While they continued to audition actors for the part, no one compared to Soni and everyone realized that the path to wisdom was to cast the best actor regardless of his resume. “Karan was surrounded by great actors and improvisers, and he rose to the occasion,” states Trevorrow. “Karan, Aubrey and Jake became somewhat of a family unit with a strong bond of camaraderie and it is felt on screen.”
Soni had just graduated from college when landing the role. “It still hasn’t sunk in which is a good thing because it helps me focus on the work,” he says. “There were points when I was extremely nervous and Jake and Aubrey helped me through not understanding the feelings. My character is a fish out of water and that’s how I felt – art imitating life!”
Soni knows first hand what it means to be an outsider, having himself moved to the U.S. for college after growing up in India, “My character is definitely weird but because he has a journey though the film I think audiences will see him more as a real person rather than just a strange guy. This journey helps pull him out of himself.”
In addition to the terrific principle cast, and in a testament to the strength of the material, Kristen Bell, Jeff Garlin and Mary Lynn Rajskub joined the ensemble for a day or two each for the Seattle shoot. All three brought something new to their parts that helped elevate the story and those around them. “The grounded nature of all the performances helps us dance around different tones,” says Trevorrow.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED was shot in 32 locations over 24 days in Seattle and surrounding areas. The production was on the move every day (external). “Usually a film of this budget has 3 — 4 locations, but we wanted it to have scope and to feel, as the film goes on, bigger and bigger,” says Trevorrow.
The film was separated into thirds stylistically. The beginning has a more energetic, independent feel to it with hand held shots. The middle of the film is where the characters begin to relax into themselves, and in the last third it becomes very grand and cinematic using a lot of crane shots. “That was a conscious evolution,” notes Trevorrow. “We did the same thing with hair and makeup on everyone. The film grows in scope as the characters immerse themselves deeper in the fantasy island.”
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED was shot on the Sony F3 using old Panavision lenses, which gave the film a desired “Hal Ashby look,” as Trevorrow says. “It looks like a film from an earlier time which makes me very happy. This camera had incredible flexibility which allowed us to make it go from feeling like a modern hand–held video to more like 35mm cinemascope,” says Trevorrow. For Trevorrow, part of the film’s surprise and where it ultimately goes is that you’re watching a grounded and real humanistic character study of a time travel movie.
In working with Trevorrow, Plaza felt safe. “He was great at giving the right amount of direction. He’s such a visual director that we didn’t have to worry about how we looked. But he also has the story down. He’s paying attention to every detail which is really important.”
Trevorrow turned to Guster band member and Vermont neighbor Ryan Miller to create the beautiful original soundtrack. “Although he didn’t really have experience in this area, I had every bit of faith that he was going to deliver something incredible.”
Miller recalls that other than Guster’s music, Trevorrow hadn’t heard anything else “I hadn’t read the script, and he hadn’t heard any of my stuff, so it was really blind faith that we were both going to like each other’s work.”
In line with the film’s crescendo–ing movement, the score starts off simply with an acoustic guitar and piano, but builds throughout, ending with a full symphony orchestra. “We were in Burlington in a local recording studio with one violin, one cello and one viola,” notes Miller. “We’d re¬‐record and layer those instruments over and over each other to create the sound of a big orchestra. It was a conscious effort to make sure that the music developed over the course of the film the same way the story and characters developed.”
“The bulk of my musical experience comes from being in a band where it’s about song and the song being great. The score has a personality but not too much to call attention to itself. I don’t know much about scoring so I relied heavily on intuition and my musical instincts. Colin and I established a great rapport early on and that definitely was very helpful for me.”
The film features almost forty minutes of original music. “Ryan can write such different and eclectic sounding music that it feels like we have all of these contributors. He also wrote an original song which Mark plays at the campfire. It’s a beautiful song,” says Trevorrow.
In addition to the original soundtrack there are songs by Arctic Monkeys, Guster, Wye Oak, and Summer Fiction, as well as an unreleased song by Trevorrow’s father who had a country rock band in the early 80’s called Hearts on Fire. For the song Big Machine, which has original music and lyrics by Miller, Duplass plays the Zither and sings the vocals as Kenneth in the movie and the song was then re–recorded in the studio to be played over the end credits. Duplass is an accomplished musician, who was signed to a record deal before segueing into acting.
While SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED was Trevorrow’s directorial debut, he had spent the past ten years writing screenplays and learning to be a storyteller. He never lost sight of the story as a whole throughout the filmmaking process. “I think I was able to do that from my experience as a screenwriter. I was able to not be so precious with the work; I was able to slash and replace things, cut and paste as needed. A script is malleable. It’s a stack of paper. It takes a whole lot as a writer to be able to see it that way because as a writer you usually love what you write. But I don’t, so I can easily change it over and over until it seems real. But this isn’t just my voice – it’s a combination of the actors, Derek’s writing style and the way the characters communicate. In the end, what the film says to me is that we’re all a little nuts, it’s just finding someone that’s nuts like you, or someone that’s hurt like you to march through time with.”
The cast and creative team’s beliefs in time travel runs the gamut: Trevorrow says, “On the science side, the great inventions don’t always come from someone working at a big corporation – they could come from that crazy lunatic building things in the garage. Don’t underestimate the lunatic who really believes he sees things differently than the way the rest of us do. This applies to whether it’s time travel or a crazy invention.”
Duplass says, “I’d really love to believe that we could get into a machine and travel through time, but I don’t. Then we see films like PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED and SOMEWHERE IN TIME where you enter an altered state of consciousness and go back to a certain time and place and live in it in some shape or form. For me, I want to believe in that.”
For Plaza, “I believe in spells, witchcraft, ghosts. I also believe in time travel although haven’t seen it with my own eyes, but am sure that it happens. If I could time travel I would go to London in 1969 and find Judy Garland and hang out with her!”
Soni believes in other lives, “I don’t believe that this is our only life. I believe that all the things we do in this life will affect what happens in other lives. Reincarnation in that way is like a weird form of time travel.”
And finally, Connolly says, “Even though that would be my one wish if I was given one I’m kind of a science nerd and from what I understand from pretty much all of the top physicists it is completely impossible to travel backwards in time and practically impossible to travel forward in time. Not a romantic answer but that’s kind of the crux of the movie, balancing fantasy and romance with the reality of life.”
Aubrey Plaza (Darius) Actor, writer, and comedian Aubrey Plaza is quickly becoming one of her generation’s brightest young talents.
Plaza currently stars in the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation as ‘April Ludgate,’ ‘Ron Swanson’s’ underachieving assistant. The series, from the creators of The Office, is a half–hour mockumentary that looks at the world of local government. Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones co–star. The show was just nominated for an Emmy in the “Best Comedy Series” category and will return for a fourth season in September.
She will next begin production on Roman Coppola’s new film A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III. The independent film produced by Youree Henley stars Charlie Sheen as the title character, a successful graphic designer whose fame, money and charm have made him irresistible to women. When his girlfriend breaks up with him, his life swirls into a downward spiral of doubt, confusion and reflection. Through delirious fantasies involving his many failed romances, he begins the hard road of self–evaluation to come to terms with life without her. Plaza will play Marnie, a producer who works with the protagonist at his company, Swan Design.
She will next be seen starring in the The Handjob as a high–school grad who makes it her mission to gain more sexual experience before heading off to college. Written and directed by Maggie Carey, the film is being touted as the female version of Superbad. Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, and Rachel Bilson co–star.
Plaza will also be seen in Jamie Linden’s Ten Year opposite Channing Tatum. Plaza plays the role of ‘Olivia,’ the wife of Brian Geraghty’s character. When the couple goes to his ten–year reunion, Olivia realizes that he is a very different person than he was in high school and that she doesn’t know as much about him as she had initially thought. The film also stars Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Kate Mara, and Lisa Kudrow. The film premiered at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival and will be released spring 2012.
Plaza will also be seen in Sony Pictures Classics’ Damsels in Distress, director Whit Stillman’s first film since 1998’s The Last Days of Disco. Greta Gerwig and Adam Brody will star. The film will be released in spring 2012.
Plaza was recently seen as a guest star in the new IFC comedy “Portlandia”, an original comedy series that illustrates the people and values of Portland, Oregon and stars Fred Armisen of “Saturday Night Live” and Carrie Brownstein from the Portland band Sleater–Kinney.
Plaza was last seen in Edgar Wright’s action–comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World with Michael Cera, Jason Schwartzman, and Chris Evans. The film is an adaptation of the critically acclaimed, award–‐winning series of graphic novels by Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley. ‘Scott Pilgrim’ (Cera) is a wannabe–rockstar who must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil ex–boyfriends in order to win her heart. Aubrey stars as ‘Julie Powers,’ an obnoxious antagonist to ‘Scott.’
Plaza was seen on–screen in Judd Apatow’s Funny People starring opposite Adam Sandler, Leslie Mann, and Seth Rogen. The film follows a seasoned comedian who takes an up–and–coming performer under his wing when he has a near–death experience. Plaza played ‘Daisy,’ the love interest for Rogen’s ‘Ira.’
Her additional credits include the hit online series “The Jeannie Tate Show”, ESPN’s original web series “Mayne Street”, as well as a guest–appearance on 30 Rock. Plaza has been performing improv and sketch comedy at the Upright
Citizens Brigade Theater since 2004.
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Plaza is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Mark Duplass (Actor, Executive Producer) (Kenneth) Mark Duplass is a writer, director, producer and actor who first made a name for himself when he starred in, co-wrote, and co-directed a string of award-winning short films, including This Is John and Scrabble, which premiered at Sundance in 2003 and 2004, respectively.
He and his brother Jay also wrote and directed the 2005 Sundance breakout hit The Puffy Chair, which went on to win the Audience Award at SXSW 2005 and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. The film was released theatrically by Roadside Attractions and Netflix in 2006. Baghead, their next feature film, was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance 2008 and received an international theatrical release that year. Fox Searchlight recently released Mark and Jay’s first studio feature, Cyrus, starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei, which garnered rave reviews. Mark and Jay’s next film is Paramount Vantage’s Jeff Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segal, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and Judy Greer.
As an actor, Mark co-starred in The Puffy Chair, Joe Swanberg’s 2007 Hannah Takes The Stairs from IFC Films, and 2009’s breakout Sundance hit Humpday from Magnolia Pictures. Mark also appeared opposite Ben Stiller in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, which Focus Features released in March 2010. Currently, Mark can be seen on the small screen as the lead in FX’s “The League,” a semi-scripted comedy about a fantasy football league. The show will begin its fourth season later this year. Mark will also be seen this year in Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt and Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion opposite Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Richard Jenkins and Dianne Wiest.
Mark has produced numerous films including The Freebie, Lovers of Hate and Bass Ackwards, all three of which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. He also wrote and produced Black Rock, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and stars Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth.
Mark resides in Los Angeles with his wife Katie and their daughter.
Jake Johnson (Jeff) Jake Johnson, known for his scene stealing abilities, has quickly positioned himself as one of the go to young actors in Hollywood. Johnson was born in Chicago and graduated from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2004, Johnson has worked extensively in the entertainment industry as both an actor and writer. As an actor, he has worked with David Mamet, Larry David, Bob Odenkirk, John Landis, Ivan Reitman, Nick Stoller, and Adam McKay.
In 2009 Johnson starred in Nick Jasenovic’s Paper Heart alongside Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera. 2010 saw Johnson in the Apatow production, Get Him to the Greek, as the hilarious mustached ‘Jazz Man’ working at Sean Combs’ record label. Last year Johnson co–starred in Ivan Reitman’s No Strings Attached with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. The romantic comedy generated close to 150 million dollars in the box office. This past April Johnson starred in Max Winkler’s Ceremony opposite Uma Thurman and Michael Angarano.
Johnson can currently be seen in the fall’s hottest new comedy, “The New Girl.” The show has recently been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series. Johnson is also appearing in the long awaited remake of 21 Jump Street, which features an impressive cast of great young stars such as, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Dave Franco and a cameo by Johnny Depp. Aside from acting, Johnson also recently sold a show to FOX with his writing partner Max Winkler. Jake Johnson currently resides in Los Angeles.
Karan Soni (Arnau) Karan Soni grew up in New Delhi, India, where he began acting and studying drama at the age of 15 at The British International School. After performing in several plays and with the support of his college counselor, Soni was accepted into University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Theater, where he recently graduated with a B.A. in Theater. While in school, Soni began auditioning for film and television projects. Aside from his starring role in Safety Not Guaranteed, he has started building a variety of television credits including a TV movie for MTV titled “Worst.Prom.Ever,” and guest star and co–star roles on “The Protector” (Lifetime), “Are You There, Chelsea?” (NBC) and Kiefer Sutherland’s new FOX drama “Touch.”
Derek Connolly (Writer) Derek grew up in Miami before attending film school at NYU and moving to Los Angeles. He has since written for both television and film with longtime friend and collaborator Colin Trevorrow. Safety Not Guaranteed is Derek’s first produced screenplay.
Colin Trevorrow (Director) Born and raised in Oakland, Colin attended NYU where he met Derek Connolly while both were interns at “Saturday Night Live.” His first short film, Home Base, has received over 20 million hits since it first appeared online in 2002. As a screenwriter, Colin has written for Dreamworks, Sony, Paramount, Disney and Warner Bros. He lives in Vermont with his wife and son.
Peter Saraf (Producer) Peter co–founded Big Beach with Marc Turtletaub in 2004 and has served as a producer on all of the company’s films. His most recent credits include Our Idiot Brother, Jack Goes Boating, Sunshine Cleaning, Away We Go, and the 2006 Academy Award® winning Little Miss Sunshine.
Marc Turtletaub (Producer) Marc has been a producer for eleven years through two production companies. In 2004 he co–founded Big Beach with Peter Saraf and has served as a producer on all of the company’s films. His most recent producing credits include Our Idiot Brother, Jack Goes Boating, Sunshinse Cleaning, Away We Go, and the 2006 Academy Award winning Little Miss Sunshine. Marc’s feature directing debut, Gods Behaving Badly, is currently in post–production.
Stephanie Langhoff (Producer) Stephanie Langhoff is producing partners with the filmmaking team of Jay and Mark Duplass. Together they have worked on the upcoming films Jeff, Who Lives at Home, which Paramount Vantage will release in March, and The Do–Deca—Pentathlon, which is currently in post–production. Before teaming with the Duplass brothers Langhoff was an executive at Revolution Studios in New York where she served as a producer on Perfect Stranger, American Girl on the Home Front, and An American Girl Adventure. Prior to her career in film, Langhoff worked as an investment banker after graduating from the University of Virginia.
Ryan Miller (Composer) Ryan Miller was born in Lubbock, Texas. He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Religious Studies. He has been the lead singer of the band Guster for the past 20 years; the band has sold over a million records cumulatively. Ryan has also written for numerous commercials including Target and Time Warner and Guster’s songs have been featured in films including Wedding Crashers, Martian Child, The Big Year and Distrurbia. He lives in New York City and Vermont. One day, he’d like to go to space.
Ben Kasulke (Cinematographer) Ben Kasulke is an award winning Director of Photography based in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York. He graduated from the Northfield–Mount Hermon School and received his BS in Cinema Production from Ithaca College following additional study at the Filmová a Televizní Fakulta Akadmie Muzickych Umní in Prague.
Ben’s professional experience includes employment as an Instructor at Seattle’s Northwest Film Forum, a film archivist with The Image Treasury, programmer with London’s Raindance Film Festival, and projectionist with the Olympia Film Society. While employed as the staff cinematographer for the Seattle based Film Company, he began running collaborations with award winning filmmakers Guy Maddin and Lynn Shelton. Kasulke has also worked in music video and performance documentation with various acts including Einsteurzende Neubaten and Built To Spill.
In 2006, he received two awards for his Cinematography on Shelton’s We Go Way Back from the Slamdance and Torun Film Festivals. The Seattle Stranger shortlisted Kasulke for its Genius Award in Film in 2007. In 2009 Ben lensed the Sundance Special Jury Prize winning Humpday which went on to win the John Cassavetes Award at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. He was honored to shoot Marie Losier’s The Ballad Of Genesis And Lady Jaye, which was awarded both the Golden Teddy and Caligari Prize at the 2011 Berlinale. Also in 2011 Ben was invited by the Sundance Institute to join the Feature Film Director’s Lab as a Director of Photography. Ben Was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award in 2012 for his work on Megan Griffiths’ The Off Hours. Kasulke’s work has been screened at multiple film festivals including the Toronto, Berlin, Sundance, and Cannes Film Festival Director’s Fortnight. His feature film work has been released by IFC Films, Magnolia Pictures, and The Criterion Collection.
Duplass Brothers Productions Jay and Mark Duplass formed Duplass Brothers Productions in 2003. They wrote, produced and directed their first feature film The Puffy Chair in 2005 and their second, Baghead, in 2008. Jay and Mark teamed with producing partner Stephanie Langhoff for the company’s third feature effort, The Do–Deca–Pentathlon, which is currently in post–production. Additionally, Jay and Mark wrote and directed the films Cyrus and Jeff Who Lives at Home.
Big Beach Founded in 2004 by Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf, Big Beach is a New York–based company that produces and finances independent films, documentaries and works for stage. Big Beach strives to create meaningful, life–affirming projects that inspire, engage and entertain.
Big Beach’s most recent release is Jesse Peretz’s Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer. Other films include Sam Mendes’ Away We Go, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, Sunshine Cleaning, Is Anybody There? and Academy Award winning Little Miss Sunshine.