News Desk


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Screenwriter Celena Cipriaso’s New Screenplay SOBER CITY Performed as Part of Film Lab Workshop

The Asian American Film Lab (“Film Lab”) hosted a performance reading and workshop of Celena Cipriaso's new screenplay SOBER CITY on Thursday night.  Members of the Film Lab’s Actor Directory performed a reading of the piece, in which a group of diverse friends struggle to balance the thin line between drunkenness and sobriety in New York City, one of the biggest drinking cities in the world!  The cast included (in alphabetical order by actor name):

Kitty/Alana - B Bastian (

Flex/Handsome Actor/Doctor - Erwin Falcon (

Stage Directions/Marge/PR Lady/Bertha King/Nurse - Jennifer Betit Yen (

Liam - Jeremy Kuykendall (

Big Daddy/Actor/Father McFadden/Max/White Guy - John Newsome (

Alex - John Wu

Martin/Danny - Kevin Kreider (

Christa - Mallory Wu (

Davey - RG Lacoadola (

For more information on the actors:

For photos of the event:

The event took place in Manhattan and was open to the public. Film Lab’s next event, an Industry Spotlight program, will feature a panel on the Magic of Post Production.  Reservations can be made on the Film Lab website:

About the Asian American Film Lab

The Asian American Film Lab (Film Lab) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to the promotion and support of gender and ethnic diversity in film and television through free monthly educational and outreach programming, the acclaimed annual 72 Hour Shootout filmmaking competition, and the brand new production arm, AAFL TV, founded by Jennifer Betit Yen (Film Lab's new tv series, FILM LAB PRESENTS, airs Wednesday nights at 10pm EST on NYCLife).  The Film Lab’s membership has grown to comprise professionals, artists and other talented individuals who all share the common goal of creating great film and promoting all filmmakers of color, with a focus on Asian Americans, and the visibility of their stories and characters in film and television.  The Film Lab is run under the direction of President Jennifer Betit Yen.  The Unfinished Works program is coordinated through Lorna Nowve.  Acting and Advisory Board members include Aaron Woolfolk, Edwin Wong, Daryl King, Aurora Betson, and James Kyson.

The Asian American Film Lab is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Directory membership and all contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. /

About "Unfinished Works"

The Film Lab's Unfinished Works program constitutes its longest running program, ongoing for 15 consecutive years.  Unfinished Works allows writers to workshop, in a structured and constructive environment, unfinished plays, screenplays and television scripts.  It also serves as a bridge between actors, writers and directors of color, particularly Asian Americans.  To submit your screenplay for a free reading and workshop, please email Lorna Nowve at with your name, email, telephone number, logline, synopsis, and a brief statement of why you feel Unfinished Works will be useful to developing and improving your screenplay.  Screenwriters are also encouraged to become a part of the AAFL TV production arm.  More information is online at

About Celena Cipriaso

Celena Cipriaso has written for ABC's All My Children and is currently co-writing with director/producer Diane Paragas of Civilian Studios the screenplays, Frozen, a story about the surrogacy industry in India, and Yellow Rose, which examines the issue of immigration in America. Her pilot "Evolved" was a Quarter-Finalist in the Creative World Awards, and her spec of The Walking Dead, "Little Children" was a Semi-Finalist in the Creative World Awards and also in the top 10% of the Austin Film Festival TV competition. As a playwright, she was member of Peeling, a Pan Asian autobiographical theater group, which produced her theater work throughout various venues in New York City and the Northeast. Outside of Peeling, her short plays "Salesgirl" and "Homecoming" were produced by Despina Theater Company, and "Lola" was licensed for performance by Inner Voices Social Issues Theater at the University of Illinois. Her most recent production will be of her shorts "Language Lessons" at Bindlestiff Studios in San Francisco and “Nanay” by ASquared Theatre Workshop in Chicago in 2014. She's also freelance journalist who has written for, BitchDraft, Arts America, Intel, Film Buff, and


Asian American Film Lab

Unfinished Works Coordinator Lorna Nowve


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Independent Filmmaker And Author Launches Another Gripping Fantasy: The Wolves Of Haltiala

 Robert's book, “The Wolves of Haltiala” is a fantasy novel that follows the heroic journey and love story of Halder Halvfin and Unni Brandrsdottr, as they and their kin, the Svean people of Uppsala, adapt and cope within their new surroundings in the southern reaches of Finland.

The Wolves of Haltiala is available for preorder on Amazon!

For more information, contact Robert Seppälä at 1-248-991-2779 or visit

“Robert Seppälä does a brilliant job at creating tension and suspense that has you clamoring to read more.” - LA HILDEN Best selling author of A Tudor Displaced (Destiny Series Book 3)

As a generation has already passed since the first Svean migration to Finland, complications arise when a young prince, Halder Halvfin finds himself in love with a young maiden during the Midsummer bonfire, Unni Brandrsdottr, whom has already been betrothed to the Tavastian prince, Sampsa of Hämeenlinna. Unni soon finds herself torn between the man she loves and her father, Brandr, King of the Eastfold. Determined to change her father's mind, all of Unni's attempts to reach him are beset by her elder sister, Båra.

Consumed by her jealousy and lust for power, Båra, leads her younger sister, Unni, into a dark forest and unto a hidden pool to commit the ultimate betrayal and seal her allegiance with the deadliest foe of the Tavastians and Sveans alike, the Mistress of Pohjola and Death Goddess, Loviatar, in return for regency over the Eastfold, Hämeenlinna, and the ancient forest of Haltiala. And as Brandr sends his bard, Eilifr, to accompany Unni home to her own wedding celebration, he finds the forest and all of its creatures within silenced, portending to some evil.

In Björkby, the day has come that Halder has both rued and longed for, to see the young maiden he loves once more, only to be wed to another. And as he and his father, Arnbjorn, king of Björkby, along with the great smithy of the north, Seppo Ilmarinen, row north up the Vanda å to attend Unni's wedding celebration in the Eastfold, they find only ruin and a ravenous evil no man has ever encountered before.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Film Lab to Host Production Magic Event Featuring Steven De Castro and Miriam Shamelashvili

Industry Spotlight, the Asian American Film Lab program that  links up and coming filmmakers with industry professionals in a series of panels and workshops, will begin its Fall 2014 programming series on Thursday, September 18, with an interactive examination of  the challenges of sound recording/mixing, editing, cinematography, lighting, location, and continuity in the making of independent film and video.  The panel will take place at 7pm in Manhattan and will be open to the public.

The panel will feature: Steven De Castro:Director and Producer of Fred Ho's Last Year: A Documentary, a featured selection of the 37th Asian American International Film Festival and Miriam Shamelashvili: TV Promo Writer, Director, Producer, Editor and Pre Editor who has worked on projects for the BBC, Lifetime,, and Oxygen among others. The pair will open the discussion with illustrative clips from their work before engaging the audience in a free flowing question and answer based workshop.

Panel moderator and Industry Spotlight Coordinator DJ McDonald said, “In listening to the ‘war stories’ of our award winners and industry judges at our 72-Hour Shootout Screening and Awards event in July, during the Asian American International Film Festival, I kept hearing how critical the 99% invisible parts of filmmaking had become to the ultimate success of the narratives. Steven’s ability to deliver, within an hour, the poignant tale of a jazz innovator and political activist’s heroic final year facing terminal cancer, and Miriam’s skill in engaging an audience within a 15 to 30 second window provide a kind of reverse prism through which the many technical challenges refracting the diverse colors of human experience and expression can be focused.”

The event will be free and open to the public, thanks to AAARI-CUNY.  To reserve a spot, please visit

About Asian American Film Lab and Industry Spotlight

The Asian American Film Lab (Film Lab) began in 1998 as collaborative of New York-based filmmakers whose goals were to hone their craft and to share their knowledge, experience and resources. The membership has grown to comprise professionals, artists and other talented individuals who all share the common goal of creating great film and promoting diverse stories and filmmakers and positively impacting the visibility of minority and female stories and characters in film and television.

The Film Lab’s programming arm, AAFL TV, releases online content as well as the television series, Film Lab Presents, hosted by Jennifer Betit Yen, which airs on NYCMedia and CrossingsTV and provides bold, innovative and diverse entertainment to people of all colors.

The Film Lab's Industry Spotlight program features industry professionals who wish to promote and encourage diversity in film and television and includes filmmaking how-to seminars on everything from cinematography to sound, casting workshops, film screenings, and more. The Film Lab is run under the direction of President and actor Jennifer Betit Yen. Board members include screenwriter and director, Aaron Woolfolk, actor James Kyson, and business man Edwin Wong, among others.  Industry professionals interested in providing a seminar, class, screening, or other Industry Spotlight should contact the program coordinator, DJ McDonald, at

The Film Lab’s programming also includes the famous annual 72 Hour Film Shootout. This annual competition has inspired hundreds of filmmakers by helping nascent talent take brave steps towards a filmmaking career.

The Asian American Film Lab is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Membership and all contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Black Label Filmworks Expands Slate

Black Label Filmworks Expands Slate: Adds “Behind Rebel Lines” by Seymour Reit

Hollywood, Calif.,
 August 27, 2014– Black Label Filmworks expanded its project slate with the intriguing story of Emma Edmounds, the Civil War Spy.  The production company won the rights to the story from the estate of the late, best-selling author Seymour Reit, best known for creating Caspar the Friendly Ghost.

“Seymour Reit was a prolific storyteller with more than 80 children’s books alone,” said producer Charin R Barone of Black Label Filmworks. “We really want to see the story he so eloquently tells about Emma make it to the screen and we are positive the viewing public will find her as fascinating as we do.”

Edmounds grew up in unsettling times. The Civil War had erupted and President Lincoln made an impassioned plea for volunteers. This plucky little lady cropped her hair, donned a man’s wardrobe and enlisted in the Union Army. Her exploits included becoming a slave, a peddler and a washerwoman. Cunning and a master of disguise, she risked her life to answer Lincoln’s call.

About Black Label Filmworks

Black Label Filmworks,   is dedicated to telling thought provoking stories that impact viewers lives using film, television and other digital platforms. BLF leadership share a history in visual and audio entertainment. Charin Barone worked with Norman Lear at Embassy Communications, spent time working with Columbia’s Television Comedy Development Dept. and rejoined Lear’s troupe at Act III. She also worked with Disney Studios and Turner Pictures. Leslie LaPage has a rich history in film, TV, music, videos, commercials and theatrical productions. She has worked with Black Entertainment Television (BET), HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Paramount and Nickelodeon.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Documentary Shares Stories of Holocaust Survivors

 Growth Media Productions announces the release of the documentary "Voices of the Holocaust," to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Poland. The film features interviews with nine Holocaust survivors recounting their stories of heartbreak and hope through the dark days of World War II.

"To the current generation, World War II is ancient history," says executive producer Darla Gaige. "It is something that they read about in their history books, but isn't real to them. Seeing these individuals, hearing their stories, changes that. It takes it out of the realm of abstract and makes it real and personal to them.  And with the trend of denial of the Holocaust, and the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors, it is important that these stories be remembered."

"This was one of the hardest films I have ever done, but also one of the most fulfilling," says Clint Gaige, executive producer of the documentary.  "I look at my kids, and can't imagine what it must have been like to have your childhood marked by one of the most tragic events in human history. And while their stories are heartbreaking, I have never seen a more inspiring group of individuals."

Voices of the Holocaust is currently airing on numerous public television stations across the country, and Growth Media has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds to provide DVDs of the documentary to schools and libraries at no cost.  You can help share these stories with students across the country by visiting

Voices of the Holocaust will be available on in September.  A preview of the documentary can be found at