Q&A moderated by Alice Waddington (“Paradise Hills”) with Short Block 3 filmmakers, free event on Saturday, August 8th 12 PM PT / 3 PM EST. Learn more about the films.
The Q&A will be featured on our Seed&Spark festival page and is free and open to the public. Tune in here.
Alice Waddington – Short Block 3 Q&A Moderator
Alice Waddington was born in a rural area of Bilboa, Spain. At 16, she began working as an assistant to well-known director of photography, Quique López (Sótano, Ander). She studied advertising at the Public UPV University and started shooting promotional stills and directing fashion films for the Spanish editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Neo2, and others. She worked as a creative producer and video editor at top advertising agencies, Leo Burnett Iberia and Social Noise, specializing as a storyboard and concept artist.
In 2014, with the help of Mexican producer Yadira Ávalos, she spent a year writing and pre-producing her first short film, Disco Inferno (2015), which became a breakout hit and was nominated for awards in 67 international film festivals, including Palm Springs, Fantasia and Sitges. At Fantastic Fest, Waddington was awarded Best Director and Silver Feature Film Project at the festival’s film market. Twelve additional international festival wins ensued. Disco Inferno is still touring Japan, China, the United States and Canada, with several “Best of the Fest” showcases.
Following the success of Disco Inferno, Waddington returned to Fantastic Fest to pitch Paradise Hills to industry insiders with a hand-crafted presentation she created herself to help buyers visualize the concept of the film. There, she met Guillermo del Toro, who introduced Waddington to her now manager and agent. They, in turn, introduced her to producers Nuria Valls and Adrián Guerra at Nostromo Pictures (Penny Dreadful, Buried) who took on Paradise Hills. Alice brought on Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal, Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial) to co-write the project, along with writer Brian DeLeeuw (Daniel Isn’t Real).
Waddington spent a few months in Los Angeles sleeping on friends’ couches when she met Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), who was the first actress to sign onto the film. Soon, Emma Roberts, Awkwafina, Eiza Gonzalez, Milla Jovovich and Jeremy Irvine were locked in for the cast as well. Paradise Hills became the second Spanish film to be screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. International genre festivals such as Fantasia, Sitges and Mórbido followed suit.
Most recently, Netflix signed Waddington to helm Scarlet. Based on Waddington’s original idea, Scarlet is produced by Aggregate Film’s Jason Bateman, Michael Costigan and Roxie Rodriguez.
Luana Di Pasquale – Keep Mum
Luana Di Pasquale is an award-winning genre film writer/director who has currently her short film KEEP MUM running up the festival circuits. KEEP MUM is a short film pilot for Luana’s debut feature Film MY ENEMY WITHIN a psychological thriller/horror set in the UK, currently in development.
After completing a Diploma in Fine Art and Architecture at Liceo Artistico R. Sanzio in Pavia, a Diploma in Humanities Studies at Liceo Artistico Primo di Brera in Milan (Italy), Luana moved to London in 1999 and completed a BA Honours in Film and Video Production at the London College of Communication, University of Arts London (UAL), in 2005.
Since then, Luana has had years of experience writing and directing TV talk shows, commercials and short-form content (including documentaries) for a range of brands/clients, cultural events and organisation including, among others, Vladivar Vodka, Rock Fuji Festival and International Women Arts Festival etc.
In 2018, Luana founded Lunadipas Films, an independent company dedicated to the development and production of a slate of genre films very personal to her: female-driven stories that are fresh, current and relevant, journeying deep into the human psyche and pushing the boundaries of perception. Luana is officially one of the Cut-Throat Woman, a database of women working in horror film around the world.
Weronika Maria Szalas – Curiouser and Curiouser
Weronika Maria Szalas is an actress and a writer. Her journey with art started in Krakow, Poland, where she was born, and when in London she found freedom, she understood how acting is not only her dream and passion, but also the key path she wants to follow in her life. Her first steps in screen acting were during her training at The Oxford School of Drama (2016-17).
In 2019 Weronika started a 3 years BA Acting, Collaborative and Devised Theatre course at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Where she is enjoying the process of creating and developing her own work as an actor as well as a director and a writer.
In March 2020, due to COVID-19 her training moved online. And instead of devising a new piece of theatre as part of her course, Weronika rose to the creative challenge of being in lockdown spent in London and wrote and directed her first independent short film: ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’.
Weronika never stops and always follows her heart. She slowly, but steadily chases her dreams. Always ready and willing to respond to new circumstances with her limitless curiosity and creativity.
Xiwen Miao – Me & Myself
Xiwen Miao is an award winning Chicago based director born and raised in Hefei, China. She moved to the United States in her High School years, and has lived there ever since.
Growing up in an Eastern culture and being influenced by Western culture gives her a unique understanding of the relationship between society and individuals. Her global experience makes her extremely sensitive to the human condition and what makes us who we really are. Her films explore social issues and people’s true nature, behind closed doors, and among the ones who love you the most.
She is currently completing her MFA in Directing at Columbia College Chicago. Her thesis short film takes place in Italy, China, and the United States, and it is a story about two women who defy their families’ gender expectations.
When she is not working you can find her walking around the city capturing stills of real life.
Carolina Di Lazzaro, Giorgio Ghiotto – FENICE | Running for Life
Carolina Di Lazzaro (Milan, Italy) and Giorgio Ghiotto (London, UK), are two directors and cinematographers specialized in adventure travels, documentaries, and branded content.
They connected through Instagram a couple of years ago, and they suddenly discovered some unique and common traits, that allowed them to work together on several projects.
With their natural energy, creativity and their ability to connect with people, their aim is to awaken people’s consciences about environmental and humanitarian issues, telling stories from all around the world through their projects of “Visual Journalism”.
Christiana Laine – Petal Push
Christiana Laine (Beckley) has worked as a freelance artist in many disciplines for over 7 years. Her focus has remained in film since her education at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles in 2013, though she has played many roles on set – including Art Direction, Set Design, Wardrobe Styling, and Acting.
The short film “Petal Push” is her Directorial Debut.