PRESS NOTES


TIGER WITHIN PRESS NOTES 

Available on Laemmle Virtual Cinema on December 18th 

Publicity Contacts

MPRM Communications  

Sylvia Desrochers, sdesrochers@mprm.com

Kimberly Gutierrez, kgutierrez@mprm.com 

Katie Jo Ash, kash@mprm.com 

Run Time: 98 minutes 

SYNOPSIS 

A young punk who thinks she knows it all. An old man who knows he doesn’t. They strike up a conversation, it becomes life-changing. A deepening knowledge occurs as they walk the  streets of LA.

He is a Holocaust survivor; she a massage-parlorworker on the run and a Holocaust  denier, though he doesn’t hold any of that against her.

Newcomer 14-year old Margot  Josefsohn plays angry but stunningly naïve Casey, living from hand to mouth on the streets  of LA fending off the frightening advances of men, having nowhere to go. She trusts no one.  Samuel, played by the sublime (multiple Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner) trusts  only a few.

She tells him she hates Jews, he asks her if she needs a place to stay.

The two form  an unexpected friendship, which gradually blossoms into a new family unit – him providing  her the support and guidance that was lacking in her life, and her offering him the glimpse  of the fatherhood that was torn from him many years prior. 

A fresh micro-budget “underdog” entry into the Awards Season, that sparks larger  questions of ignorance, fear, lies, family, love, forgiveness, and our divided world at large – from Sundance Award Winning director Rafal Zielinski (FUN, GINGER ALE AFTERNOON),  written by Gina Wendkos (THE PRINCESS DIARIES, COYOTE UGLY). 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT 

Rafal Zielinski 

Many wise men have said, we are like droplets of water from one big sea of water, and after we die, we will return to the same sea (the pool of light, energy and love, that the universe/god is). 

Buddhist masters such as Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) believe that in forgiving we have to just  as much forgive ourselves as others – it is a form of unburdening ourselves from the pain of  the past – and we are able to become light and free and to move on… 

I intuitively feel that the theme of this film relates globally and timelessly – even more today than ever, as the world seems to be in an ever more precarious state. The more we can make it relate, the more power it will have to illuminate, enlighten, transmute and whatever else it can do (if you believe, as I do that cinema has such a power). 

I feel that I am both an outsider and an insider, which gives me a unique and more objective  point-of-view, which I feel is necessary for this film to work on the highest level possible. 

I was fortunate to leave Poland at a very early age and travel the world – my father working as a Ford Foundation consultant, with projects all over Asia and the Middle East. I spent most of my youth in many countries in the region, the longest residency being in India, and I  was exposed to many Eastern religions. Following in the footsteps of my mother, I became  fascinated with various mystical practices and systems, which gave me a global perspective and enabled me to break out of the confines of simply the Judeo-Christian systems of  thinking and explore many other ways of thought and belief. 

My high school years were spent in Europe, primarily England focussing mainly on Art and History, eventually leading to a degree from MIT, where I explored how technology can be harnessed towards art and media — and that is where I discovered film, at first  documentary, then drama.

I don’t feel a filmmaker should be a spokesman for any particular point of view – more a mirror for the audience to reflect their thoughts and in the process – hopefully provoke,  inspire, and illuminate, but I do feel the power of forgiveness and faith embodied in all  religions of the world can serve as a healing force with the potential to bring all of us closer together and make the world a more peaceful place… 

Showing hate and division against the other is a war against oneself, because water is at war with water! 

One of the biggest tragedies in the misuse of love, the most powerful force there is. 

Loving oneself, family, group, race, country (narcissism) and being incapable of loving the other, equally, as oneself is the misuse of love, it breeds hate.  

That is the message, I feel in this film – Samuel overcomes hate for this girl and shows her unconditional love. 

It’s the greatest gift anyone can receive on this earth, and he keeps his promise, he once  made to his wife, – “to forgive all before he dies”. 

DISTRIBUTION 

Written by Gina Wendkos (“Coyote Ugly”, “The Princess Diaries”), and directed  by Rafal Zielinski (whose two earlier films, “Fun” and “Ginger Ale Afternoon” premiered in competition at Sundance), Tiger Within enters this year’s awards race  as the ultimate underdog. 

Shot guerilla-style on the streets of LA following Mr. Asner and Ms. Josefohn as they  navigate their life stories, their hate and acceptance. Costing less than $200,000 to shoot, this film captures the realism of inner-city homeless life, where the young  meet the old, and in this case protect one another. 

We are hoping that between now and then a bigger distributor will pick up the film,  and if not, we will release it ourselves on iTunes, Amazon and other platforms in January, as a “six-pac” together with the Zielinski’s previous 5 indie films (Hey Babe,  Ginger Ale Afternoon, Fun, Bohemia, Age of Kali) – which can currently be seen at FilmArtMovies.com

A fundraiser is running on GoFundMe to raise funds for the marketing costs of  the awards campaign. 

The film is also in the running for the Golden Globes, Spirit Awards and SAG Awards (the two leads Ed  Asner and Margot Josefsohn, and the two supporting actors Diego Josef and Erica Piccinini

THE PREPARATION – TO FORGIVE OR NOT 

In preparation for the film, the MIT graduate and filmmaker Rafal  Zielinski researched forgiveness by interviewing numerous thinkers and religious 

leaders, starting with Rabbi Yitzchok Adelstein of the Museum of Tolerance, who  felt the film would inspire meaningful discussion and encouraged it to be made, as  well as a priest – Rev. Alexei Smith , Venerable Chao Chu, – a Buddhist monk from  LA Buddhist Union, Rejean Obomsawin – Native American council member, Prof.  Najeeba Syeed – a professor of Islam/Muslim studies at Loyola Marymount, Prof.  Shlomo Sher – a philosopher of ethics at USC, as well as Stephanie Riseley,  certified hypnotherapist who specializes in past life regression. 

Also, hundreds of people, especially the young, were asked on camera what  forgiveness meant to them on the streets of Los Angeles, and New York, as well as high school students at schools. 

These interviews and videos of our journeys can be seen on the films’s official website: TIgerWithin.info, including materials related to an earlier incompleted Kickstarter campaign (that did reach its $100,000 goal). 

Everyone inevitably believed in the healing power of forgiveness, but differed greatly in its method, definition, and result, ranging from unconditional, to a measured forgiveness, a transaction with something expected in return, to issues of  power, pride, honor, karma, cause and effect. 

“It shows how divided we really are, we all really want to forgive, and unburden  ourselves, but our human nature and upbringing intercepts us.” 

HOLOCAUST DENIAL AND YOUTHFUL IGNORANCE 

Coincidentally, film has just become more relevant and topical, in how Casey explains, that the “six million” is a lie, because a study just came out, as published by  the Guardian on September 16th

Almost two-thirds of young American adults do not know that 6 million Jews were  killed during the Holocaust, and more than one in 10 believe Jews caused  the Holocaust, a new survey has found, revealing shocking levels of ignorance about  the greatest crime of the 20th century. 

According to the study of millennial and Gen Z adults aged between 18 and 39, almost  half (48%) could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during  the second world war. 

Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they believed the Holocaust was a myth,  or had been exaggerated, or they weren’t sure. One in eight (12%) said they had  definitely not heard, or didn’t think they had heard, about the Holocaust. 

More than half (56%) said they had seen Nazi symbols on their social media platforms  and/or in their communities, and almost half (49%) had seen Holocaust denial or  distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online. 

It has always been Gina Wendkos’ long dream to go around the high schools with  this film.

Holocaust themed films are many, and a genre in itself, and we did not want to be pigeonholed. We see the story as a universal “human love story” of two extreme  opposites, both lonely souls, uniting to form a “family” and the film resonating one a wider scale, beyond race, religion, geography, age. 

The story could be taking place in many parts of the world as we speak, in our  divided world, and in the end Samuel likens the Holocaust to many human war tragedies that have plagued this planet ever since mankind set foot. 

The subject of forgiveness, in context of a Holocaust themed film, might raise some eyebrows, and the filmmakers were very careful not to specify what forgiveness  Samuel is offering, but leave it up to the audience to interpret. 

Why Samuel has numbers tattooed on his chest, unlike the common arm branding,  was a piece of research we found about Auschwitz – at the beginning numbers were  “stamped” with an evil looking instrument with removable plates with needles,  consisting of specific digits. A single blow with an inked stamp to the chest was able to permanently impress the entire number – it was used on Russian Prisoners and a  few Jews, but only a handful survivors remained with this type of tattoo. 

We hope the film will provoke some digging into the facts, as not only only the majority of youth do not know the history, but many Jews do not know it as well. 

MASSAGE PARLOR WORKERS

Having a teenage sex worker, played by a real 14-year-old might also raise some eyebrows with women’s groups. The filmmakers felt it was necessary to show this truth of our world, where teen workers are currently working in this trade in this country and around the world. 

Having a child play these scenes, mean we had to follow strict guidelines set by SAG  and the various child labor laws, and we made extra sure she was well protected, and felt comfortable at all times, and was not on the set where any sexual activity  was shown. We used doubles, in any scenes where this was implied. 

THE CASTING 

Ed Asner who turned 91 this November 15th, and holds a record for Emmys  (nominated 20 times, 7 wins, most honored male performer in the history of Primetime Emmy Awards), but has never been honored by the Academy. 

Margot Josefsohn, beat out hundreds of actresses vying for the role in a highly emotional audition, but the filmmaker admitted he cast her prior to her audition by  spotting her and her mom sitting in a waiting room, and being smitten by her piercing eyes. “The eyes caught my attention instantly, before I even looked at the face, and was drawn to her – to me she was Casey, with no doubt about it. 

The audition (in the presence of myself, the casting director, the writer and the executive producer) blew us away – in a key emotional scenes tears flowed like buckets on her face, and it felt like someone who was much older than her age, and a deep soul was laid bare in front of our eyes. 

I was pressured by everyone, including SAG, to cast an 18-year-old, but I believe in authenticity, and like with my earlier Sundance award-winning film Fun, I wanted to use the real thing, and fought hard for her.” 

In casting Casey’s romantic interest, the Supporting Role of Tony, after a lot of  deliberation, went to Diego Josef

Diego is like a Latino James Dean, super handsome, with an undeniable charisma  and probably the best and most natural actor I have ever worked with. He needed no direction at all, we just rolled the camera and sat there speechless with the magic  that unfolded. 

The Supporting Role of Casey’s mom Marge went to Erica Piccininni. This was the  most difficult role to cast. Our casting director Brad Gilmore worked hard to present us with actresses who could display so many conflicting characteristics in  any single moment. She nailed it. 

THE SHOOT 

Mr. Asner has a sharp and brilliant mind and wit – you can talk to him about any subject and his memory is impeccably striking for someone of his age.

We loved picking his brain and him telling us many wonderful stories about his experiences in the business, life and his activism.

He transcended challenges of health, age, fatigue and rose beyond the occasion, beyond anyone I have even met of his age.

“It was  deeply touching, and sometimes I would tear up at his commitment to keep on going, against all odds, even late into the night” 

He was very brave and was taking a huge leap of faith, in his belief in the movie and it’s message.” 

It was always a race, each day, and rehearsals were pretty much out of the picture,  we would just film the rehearsal, and often it was the best take. As the 5-hour deadline would approach, the studio teacher would be gracious in allowing us to keep the camera rolling without cutting and move into tighter shots or takes. Sometimes we shot whole scenes, with multiple takes and different camera setups/angles, without cutting, so we would not lose time resetting for each shot. That  way we were able to squeeze a few extra minutes, but then had to scramble to get Margo out of wardrobe and makeup, off the clock just seconds shy of the 5-hour deadline, so as not to break any child labor laws. 

Zielinski had directed a number of ultra-low-budget films for Roger Corman, whom he considers a mentor, as well as Richard Leacock, a founder of “cinema verité”, 

whom he’d studied under at MIT. Having come from a documentary film  background was part of his arsenal used in making Tiger Within. 

Zielinski’s work with Helge Gerull on a previous film (“Downtown: Street Tale”), about homeless kids, was shot in New York in guerrilla verité 35mm, and this was  key to the overall look and feel of the shoot. 

DIVERSITY 

The story is as much about race, as it is about forgiveness. There are derogatory comments about Jews as well as the appearance of the ‘N’ word. We debated, but in the end felt it was important to show this, because there is so much hypocrisy.  People may write or say one thing in public but in private and in their thoughts and  feelings, they say the opposite. 

The universe is all energy when we break it down into the its minutest, thoughts and feelings have power to move the word, just like the orbit on as asteroid can affect a planet, or Eward Lorenzs’ Butterfly Effect, where even the flapping of a butterfly’s wing can affect the world on the other side of the planet.  

As Hollywood makes attempts to diversify, hopefully not only on the surface, but  from the inside where the real power lies, a new generation of filmmakers of all kinds of diverse worlds, religions, cultures, races, and future generations, will be able to pass through the golden gates, and tell their stories. It will enrich storytelling, the divided world and bring us all closer together. 

In the spirit of diversity, we tried to fill the cast with the widest group possible… we have a transsexual, African Americans, Latinos, an Arab teacher, an Indian principal.  Behind the camera team, people are from various nationalities: – the  Executive Producer Mike Penia was gay Mexican-American, the Co-producer/line  producer team was Chinese, Russian and Israeli, the Director of Photography, Helge  Gerull a German, the Assistant Director an Italian, the editor Lea Vrabelova was from Czechoslovakia, the composer Mark Tschanz is Swiss and the Director was born in Poland. 

At the beginning of the production we signed a manifesto to have 50% women on the crew and came very close to that number. 

We had to be extra careful, I felt the women were watching every word and  every look, every second.

I love working with women, it’s a much more holistic environment, and I hope all  films adopt such inclusiveness. 

THE DRAWINGS 

In the last week of shooting I spied one of the wardrobe assistants making a drawing  in a beaten up diary which must have been several years old. It was an expressionist self portrait and looked so much like Casey. She allowed me to flip  through the dozens of pages filled with self portraits and drawings – it was like the soul of a teenage girl – showing all the joys, sorrows, fears and angst of a rebate girl  – full of writings, poems and scribbles.  

I instantly asked her if we could make it part of the movie and miraculously she agreed and Casey turned into an artist. Whichever scenes were left to shoot, I would incorporate the drawings, including the opening in her bedroom where we filled her walls  with sketches. 

I commissioned Clara to create additional drawings during the shoot. 

My wife who is an Artist and a Set Designer at a major brand design firm took the concept of the sketchbook and used the Brushes and Procreate app (favorites of  artists like David Hockney). These apps record each brushstroke and export it as a  movie, creating instant animations of the artist’s work. 

Vally developed numerous animations to embellish key emotional moments in Casey’s journey starting from the portrait at the opening and arriving at a series of  dazzlingly beautiful animations at the climax of the movie, of Samuel and the family. 

The movie is embellished by numerous illustrations and animations done by Vally  which have become part of the storytelling and inner emotional life of Casey.

After Samuel dies, Casey dreams of the images from the concentration camps and the two twin daughters that Samuel lost. We imply that Samuel showed her books about the Holocaust and might have taken her to the Holocaust museum. 

We felt that by showing it mostly in drawings rather than all through historical footage, made the scene more poignant and powerful and showed us Casey’s growing empathy to the history she did not know and denied it at the beginning, as reflected in the recent studies that the majority of the youth of today know little of the Holocaust and even think it was myth. 

THE TIGER 

The script called for Casey to go to a zoo and sneak up to a fence and stick her hand into the tiger’s cage. The Tiger growls and pounces, then stops and licks her hand enveloping it in his big tongue. This would have cost as much to create with the CGI effects and location costs as our entire shooting budget of $200,000. 

I came up with the idea of Casey drawing the tiger and meditating eye to eye with  the Tiger. I sent Clara to the zoo two hours ahead of time and produced a series of  studies and a finished full color portrait of the Tiger. Two hours later we arrived and shot the scene with a pocket still camera. 

Gina was disappointed we could not shoot the scene as she wrote it, it was one of her favorite scenes in the script. 

But the result we achieved with minimalist means was probably just as powerful and perhaps even more so, because it was true to our no-frills movie. 

We also had Clara do a version in Brushes afterwards and we used both the film,  the ink and color, as well as the digital animated one. 

THE MUSIC 

During the preparation and the forgiveness documentary phase, music was donated  by Claire Boucher (“Grimes”). I reached out to Claire when I read a story in a  local newspaper in Montreal, where she was attending McGill University and heard her first garage band style album Geidi Primes, in Montreal many years ago, and  was hoping she would score a dream sci-fi project, yet to be made. We would meet backstage at various concerts for a few years afterwards and exchange emails to continue the conversation, about scoring films, and when this project came around she graciously allowed us to use her music, in the documentary clips,  fundraising videos, and promos. These can be seen on the film’s website. 

As promised I reached out to her to score Tiger Within, but couldn’t get hold of her  anymore, probably because in between then and now, she became a huge pop star.

We went through three talented composers, each of whom delivered a different  interpretation of the emotion, but it was Mark Tschanz who delivered just the right sound. We wanted it to be pure, emotional, yet not overbearing like a big movie, yet minimal and true to the naturalistic, handheld, documentary style of the film. 

The placing of the music also required a lot of tinkering. I wanted to make sure that the music would not lead the emotion, or even mirror it or reflect it, it was rather allowing the audience to feel emotion come from the performance of the actors, and only then the music would take that emotion and uplift it to other dimensions, like jazz. I would move the music a fraction of a second earlier or later and screen the  film and watch my emotions clinically like a surgeon, checking that it came just at  the correct milli-second. 

For the songs we reached out to local college radio station KXLU 88.9FM and  engaged one of its Radio Personality/DJs Anthony Knox, who specializes through his “No More Heroes” show in Punk and Up-and-Coming local Los Angeles Rock ‘Roll  bands. 

All the bands featured, including a live performance by Terminal A, are local LA  bands – the soundtrack has tracks from Jane Machine, Band Aparte, Luckyandlove, Plasmic and The Tissues. We wanted to give some of the local bands a voice in the film. 

The opening song “One You Want” however, is from a new band out of Montreal – Sorry Girls, where the director’s parents live. We licensed a total of 24 songs, some of which did not end up in the movie, but are being featured in 24 promos that we will be posting on the web, in support of the release of the film, being created by the Mike Penia, our Executive Producer, who is multi-talented and has an advertising background. 

POST PRODUCTION 

The film was shot in the summer of 2018, and Margot celebrated her 15th birthday on the last day, but the post production took 2 years, much longer than any of my  other movies because the editing and music scoring had to be just right. The great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovski called cinema “sculpting in time”, this film for me was more like sculpturing in emotion. 

I must have gone through a hundred cuts, and lengths ranging from 120 minutes to  90 minutes, tinkering back and forth with the pacing, and the emotion it delivered. I  wanted the film to still have a rough-around-the edges feel and certain imperfections to stay true to the way it was shot and its indie, outsider-art type of  roots. 

At audience screenings, people have commented, the film slows down as I often show Samuel laboriously walking from point A to B (in our fast attention span universe such transitions are usually left on the editing floor) – I wanted for us to feel the pain along with Samuel.

As Buddha stated in Four Noble Truths, the suffering of old age, the deterioration of our bodies, is a suffering all creatures have to go through. We avoided using make up on Mr. Asner to show the beauty of old age skin, in juxtaposition of the flawless skin of a teenage girl – and as Holocaust survivors die off, memories fade away and so few are left to preserve the memory of such a human tragedy, skin texture,  carries symbolism for me. 

MICRO BUDGETS, INDEPENDENT FILM, OUTSIDER ART 

Tiger Within enters this year’s awards race as the ultimate underdog and could  provoke some serious controversy. It cost less than $200,000 to shoot, “possibly less than some Hollywood players’ cars they drive,” as the producers proudly state, and is competing against much bigger films, without yet having been seen by any  distributors, or exposed in any film festival. 

Our budget was originally $100,000, but as the film was being shot the budget  increased close to $200,000 up to completion of principal photography, and then  another $50,000 was spent on post-production. 

It was financed by home-equity credit line and credit cards. 

I am so grateful for Vally Mestroni, my wife for allowing me to continue, and offer  support along the way. I’m incredibly lucky to have such an amazing partner, for all  my life. There were long stretches of time – years – when I was unemployed, and she  had the regular job at various design firms, and put her fine art career on hold. It  was a serious leap of faith as we were dipping into my son’s college money. Tiger  Within is the fifth film I have self financed on loans, and I do hope finally the sale of  this film will pay back for all five. 

As a filmmaker in Hollywood, I find myself at this point very much an outsider  working totally outside any system. I do not have an agent, manager, or a lawyer. The crew and the people working on the film are a lot of newcomers that I tried to  incorporate. 

My Executive Producer without whom I couldn’t have made this movie, and to  whom I am immensely grateful to, was my Uber driver. He is Mexican, gay and not  part of any Hollywood system, and all his life has tried to break into the film  industry. 

Yet his diverse background in many industries, as engineer, software developer,  Olympic athlete trainer, comedian, actor, writer, filmmaker, coffee shop owner,  concert promoter, social-media marketer, comedy club/comedy film festival festival 

creator and his humanity, intelligence and wisdom surpassed any studio head, big time producer, or top agent in this town, I have met. 

Perhaps this film is my own form of forgiveness to some players and gatekeepers in Hollywood, who I felt shut the door. The low budget genre films were my film school, but I wish I had the opportunities to make some of the dream projects, with much larger budgets and the support of the Hollywood system.

I keep them loaded on my website FilmArtPlanet.com, to keep reminding myself and to keep the dreams alive as I get older and there is less and less time to make them happen.

There is a whole new generation of filmmakers out there (and future generations) from all kinds of diverse backgrounds, and gender whose voices hopefully can be heard. It only enriches storytelling and enlightenment of the human race, and world peace. 

I feel Hollywood has a lot of soul searching in this regard. I hope the gates will  open more easily for them. 

Also, I do not consider this film to be an “independent film”. What used to be  independent films, are now big budget productions done without the studios but  with major financing often cobbled together from many sources. The film festivals,  unlike the time when “Fun” and “Ginger Afternoon” were in the competition, have become mainstream, influenced by money, power, the agencies, and  Hollywood gatekeepers. 

There is a whole new cottage industry that has sprung up of filmmakers working  totally outside the system, with the help of digital technology and the web – I consider Tiger Within very much an “Outsider-Art-Film”, not an “Independent  Film”.  

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS 

RAFAL ZIELINSKI – Director  

Rafal Zielinski, director, producer & writer is best known for directing several award winning independent films such as “Fun” (Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award),  “Ginger Ale Afternoon” (Sundance), “Hey Babe!” (Toronto), “Downtown: A Street Tale” (AFI  Fest), “Hangman’s Curse”, “National Lampoon’s Last Resort” and the Roger Corman’s  produced “Screwballs” and its several sequels. Born in Poland, his childhood was spent in  Europe, Far East, Canada and high school at Stowe School in England. He graduated from  MIT with a degree in Art and Design where he concentrated on documentary film and was  mentored by Richard Leacock, one of the pioneers of Cinéma Vérité. 

GINA WENDKOS – Writer  

Gina Wendkos is a writer and producer, known for Coyote Ugly (2000), The Perfect  Man (2005) and The Princess Diaries (2001). 

HELGE GERULL  – Director of Photography 

Known for Bang. Bang. (2019), Extortion (2017), American  

Streetfighter (1992), Puncture (2011) 

MARK TSCHANZ   –  Composer

After studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston and driving to LA to continue guitar  studies with Jazzman Joe Diorio, Mark spent a few years in LA during his early twenties  playing live shows as a composer/ songwriter. He composed a ballet for Mozart’s  Bicentennial at the Lincoln Center – the evening shared with his fan, the late composer Michel Colombier. Mark also contributed songs to films Michel scored. 

A three weeks holiday in London turned into 14 years during which Mark remained in  Britain with manager John Wadlow *( Seal ), signed with WEA as a solo artist and spent the next few years writing as an EMI songwriter, as well as scoring films and a large body of  commercials, and on occasion, contributing songs to films (Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty…) 

Since his return to LA, his filmic style and love for songwriting and guitars (including a  contribution as guitarist on Danny Elfman’s score for “50 Shades of Grey”), sparked the  birth of Chillbillyman, billed as the first electronic album for Hillbillies – possibly the first  instrumental “roots-electro” album. Currently Mark is scoring new films (Devil has a name – Tiger within), audio-visual installations (StillMovies) , and working on a new Album of  songs. Films are being scored with his ever-expanding catalog and a second Chillbillyman  album is in the cards as well. 

MICHAEL A. PINA – Producer  

Born in Phoenix, Arizona Michael Pina grew up in the Dupa Village Projects by a single  mother. Born from a father who migrated from Nogales when he was 2, and a mother whose  family came from New Mexico and lived there before New Mexico became a State. Michael  and three of his brothers of a family of five, all graduated from Arizona State University, he  did so with an engineering degree, and a degree in Physical Education. Mike also was a  gymnast at ASU and helped coach the ASU Gymnastics Team to its only Men’s NCAA  Championship in 1986. 

ABOUT THE CAST 

ED ASNER – SAMUEL 

Ed Asner

Ed Asner is a television legend, the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards (which puts him  tied with Mary Tyler Moore, both of whom rank second to their “The Mary Tyler Moore  Show (1970) Show” co-star, Cloris Leachman who has nine). In all, he has been nominated  20 times for an Emmy Award, with 17 nods for a Primetime Emmy and three for a Daytime  award. (All of his wins were for Primetime.) 

As well as being one of the most outstanding and most respected actors of his generation,  equally adept at comedy as he is at drama, Asner also made a name for himself as a trade  unionist and a political activist. He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild,  from 1981-1985, during which he criticized former SAG President Ronald Reagan, then the  president of a greater concern, for his Central American policy.

MARGO JOSEFSOHN – CASEY 

Margot Josefsohn

Newcomer Margot Josefsohn edged out hundreds of young actresses to secure the role of  Casey, the lead opposite Ed Asner in the Indie Feature ‘Tiger Within’. The feature was  written by renowned screenwriter Gina Wenkdos, who wrote Coyote Ugly and also The  Princess Diaries which is credited for launching Anne Hathaway’s career. ‘Tiger Within’ was  directed by multiple award-winning director Rafal Zielinski, who discovered Alicia Witt  among other young stars. Margot’s passion for acting and ballet started with numerous  roles in local theatre. A natural in front of an audience, Margot also had a captivating turn on  the runway for Ralph Lauren in New York and was then introduced to The Partnership  management, who snapped her up and secured Osbrink Agency for theatrical and  commercial representation. Margot has also had roles on Nickelodeon’s “Game Shakers” and  Awesomeness TV’s “Foursome” before securing the edgy role of Casey in ‘Tiger Within’. An  animal lover and world traveler, Margot studies at Zak Barnett Studios and The  Groundlings. 

DIEGO JOSEF – TONY 

Diego Josef

For Diego Josef, every character is a new challenge and every project, a new adventure.  Born in Burbank, California, he began his career in various print campaigns and national  commercials for iconic brands like Reebok, Sprint and AT&T. However, this wasn’t Diego’s  vision; the 17-year-old has always had the heart of an artist, with a passion for acting and  tackling profound roles. In 2013, at the young age of 13, Diego landed his first lead role in  the inspirational feature “Ugly Benny.” From there, he shined as the love interest in the  critically acclaimed “Girl Flu,” starring opposite Jade Pettyjohn and Katee Sackhoff. His quiet  intensity as a young actor is also reflected in the film “Message from the King,” which  debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and had a stellar cast including Luke Evans, Alfred  Molina, Teresa Palmer and Chadwick Boseman. 

Diego’s acting career quickly elevated and gained traction when he booked a lead role in  “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” as young Jeremiah. The young star really holds his own and  gives an amazing performance as a gullible adolescent reluctantly taken on by Lefty Brown  (Bill Pullman) when they run into each other on the trail. The beauty of the film is the  unexpected wonderful friendship that ensues during this treacherous journey. Diego spent  a month in Montana filming the feature alongside the award-winning cast including not only  Bill Pullman, but also Peter Fonda, Tommy Flanagan, Jim Caviezel and Kathy Baker. “The  Ballad of Lefty Brown” premiered at SXSW Film Festival and opened in theaters nationwide  in December 2017 with stunning reviews from major outlets about Diego’s performance  and how the young actor is poised for stardom. 

Diego can be seen in the upcoming second season of Amazon’s Original Series & Golden  Globe winner, “Goliath” where he plays young Julio Saurez opposite Billy Bob Thornton. 

In his spare time, Diego enjoys giving back to the community. He’s a passionate animal  activist and supports charities around children and homelessness.

FRONT CREDITS

FILM ART PLANET

presents

ED ASNER

introducing

MARGOT JOSEFSOHN

DIEGO JOSEF

ERICA PICCININNI

JAMES VICTOR

JENNIFER CHRISTOPHER

JONATHAN BROOKS

JADE WEBER

MIKUL ROBINS

TAYLOR NICHOLS

PAT ASANTI

casting

BRAD GILMORE

production design

LEAH MANN

VALLY MESTRONI

art director

EVAN WELCH

drawings & animation

CLARA COLLINS

VALLY MESTRONI

costumes

RYAN ROSEWALL

hair & make-up

BRANDON MADSEN

music score by

MARK TSCHANZ

opening song by

SORRY GIRLS

music supervisor

ANTHONY KNOX   KXLU

with songs by

JANE MACHINE

PLASMIC

THE TISSUES

LUCKYANDLOVE

BAND APARTE

with performance by

TERMINAL A

editing

LEA VRABELOVA

consulting editor

MONIKA LIGHTSTONE

executive producer

MICHAEL PINA

co-producers

TOMER ALMAGOR

line-producer

JOYCE LIU

associate producers

GINN ANDREWS

JULIE COHN

camera

HELGE GERULL

written by 

GINA WENDKOS

produced by

RAFAL ZIELINSKI

directed by

RAFAL ZIELINSKI

END CREDITS

With Special Thanks

for all the

Words of Wisdom 

from:

RABBI YITZCHOK ADELSTEIN 

Simon Weisenthal Center

RT. REV. ALEXEI SMITH  

Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs  

Los Angeles Archdiocese

VENERABLE CHAO CHU 

Los Angeles Buddhist Union

PROF. NAJEEBA SYEED

Islamic Studies, Claremont School of Theology

REJEAN OBOMSAWIN  

Council Member, Abenakis Nation of Odanak

PROF. SHLOMO SHER  

Philosopher and Ethicist, U.S.C.

STEPHANIE RISELEY 

Hypnotherapist, Regression Therapist, Author

and everyone on the streets of 

Los Angeles and New York

in our search for the meaning and the effects of

FORGIVENESS.

CAST

Samuel ED ASNER

Casey      MARGOT JOSEFSOHN

Tony        DIEGO JOSEF

Marge ERICA PICCININNI

Linda        SARAH FRENCH

Bill       JONATHAN BROOKS

Eddie   JAMES C. VICTOR

Linda   JENNIFER CHRISTOPHER

Zoe      JADE WEBER

Stephie            KAYLE CURTIS MURPHY

Heather           RYLEE LEIGH MURPHY

Amber HELENA ASNER

Skinhead in Club         JESSE SALER

Skinheads

MIKE HEGER

LIAM FOUNTIAN

ESTHER GOODSTEIN

BOBBY NICKELS

Tattooist         FRANK MIRANDA

Young Bum     MARK DIPPOLITO

Landlady               SIN

Sleezeball          MICAH FITZGERALD

Homeless Drunk           CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL

Skateboard Kid Thief        NOAH ZIELINSKI

Canters Waitress #1   DAPHENE BOELSMA

Canters Waitress #2   LINDA RICH

Hasidic #1         HESHI HERSHEI

Hasidic#2          RONALD MISHIYEV

JDL Collector   VICTORIA GOODHART

Jewish Man #1             LEE LAWRENCE

Jewish Man #2   BOB MIRET

Tim          MIKUL ROBINS

Hooker RYANN SIMANTEL

Seth         LUKE EISNER

Homeless Kid #1         KELLEN WATTS

Homeless Kid #2         JACK SCHEINBAUM

Body Double Casey       HANNAH NICHOLSON

Massage Parlor #2        JEROME WILLIAM

Latino Family

ANGELEE VERA

ALEJANDRO MAYEN

PABLO SERRATO

MERIC VERA

Amber HELEN ASNER

Teacher           LIZA ASNER

Registrar         ERICA GREEN

Jack        SAM THAKUR

Saleslady         JULIE DOLAN

Clinic Receptionist      JULIE COHN

Doctors           ZACHARY MOOREN and LORI TALLEY

Nurse  CHAREE DEVON

Massage Customer      PAT ASANTI

Rocker SEBASTIAN NEUDECK

Passenger        JAMES “JD” DISTEFANO

Hector JOEY DEDIO

Samuel Body Double  

TODD HOFFMAN

MICHAEL A. PINA

Punk Club Dancers

TINA MCCRORY

RYAN ROSEWALL

JASMINE GILMORE

Punk Club Bouncer     STEPHEN KIMBROUGH

Background

ANIKA BOLTON

CHAREE CUTHRELL

ANDREA MYERS

VICTORIA GOODHART

ANDREW MASLEY

LORI TALLEY

PABLO SERRATO

ANGELEE VERA

REUBEN BOYD

CHRISTOPER FERNALY

CLARA COLLINS

KALEEN WATTS

Stunts

NOAH ZIELINSKI

MICHAEL A. PINA

Terminal A – band members:  

COLIN PETERSON, Vocals

LEE BUSCH. Guitar

ANTHONY KNOX, Keyboards

CREW

Director & Producer   RAFAL ZIELINSKI

Screen Writer GINA WENDKOS

Executive Producer     MICHAEL A. PINA

Co-Producers

TOMER ALMAGOR

MIKHAIL MAKEEV

Line Producer  JOYCE LIU COUNTRYMAN

Associate Producers   

GINN ANDREWS

JULIA COHN

Location Manager       KEVIN SHIPLEY

Cinematography         HELGE GERULL

First Assistant Director           MATTIA FERRANTE

Second Assistant Director        EDWARD TAHUKA-NUNEZ

Production Designers

LEAH MANN

VALLY MESTRONI

Art   Assistant  ANDRES HAMMER

Editor LEA VRABELOVA

Consulting Editor        MONICA LIGHTSTONE

Graphics Editor           FLORENCIA MARANO

Assistant Editor           DARREN KWAN

Production Assistants

MARA FERRANTE

ANDRES HAMMER

JOE NARDELLO

JESSE EMMANUEL

Casting Director          BRAD GILMORE

Extra Casting Director JOCELYN JONES

Stunt Coordinator       MELISSA TRACY

Assistant Stunt Coordinator   ANITA CLAY

Makeup & Hair           BRANDON MADSEN

1st AC  GASTON RICHMOND

2nd AC HORACIO MARTINEZ

Key Grips         

ANTONY SU

RYAN EMANUEL

KEATON BAYNE

JUAN MANUEL GUITERRES JR

Grip and Electric / Swing        ZANDER EDELMAN

Script Supervisors

HEATHER DETWELLER

MICHAEL A. PINA

Art Director     EVAN WELCH

Set Dresser      HUGH BLEWETT

Set Costumer  DEENA

Costume Design          RYAN ROSEWALL

Art Department          HUBERTINA MANSVELDERS

Production Management       LOA ALLEBECH

Production Coordinator         EDWARD TAHUK-NUNEZ

Concept Art     VALLY MESTRONI

Drawings & Animation

CLARA COLLINS

VALLY MESTRONI

Costume / Production PA         IRINA STOROZHENKO

Sound Department       MANUEL LOPEZ CANO

Camera Electrical          JUAN MANUEL GUTIERREZ JR.

Key Grip            HORACIO MARTINEZ

Second Assistant Camera       TATSUYA OUCHI

Makeup Artists           

BIANCA APPICE

ANA BOONE

KOURTNEY KUROKI

HANNAH SCHENCK

RACHEL OLSON

Ed Asner PA  / Driver  NICK GRANADAS

Driver  STEPHEN KIMBROUGH

Still Photographer       NOAH ZIELINSKI

Caterers

GROUPSIE CATERING

IT CATERIN

Assistant Editors 

KATIE McCLELLAN

JOEL CHRISTIAN GOFFIN

Colorist           ERIC YALKUT CHASE

Music Supervisor        TONY AUGELLO

Studio Teachers 

DAPHENE BOELSMA

ALEJANDRO MAYEN

KELLEN WATTS

ERIK WINSTON

VALERIE PRITZLAFT

J. SPROTT

Special Thanks to everyone 

who helped or tried  

to get this film made 

over the years:

CLAIRE BOUCHER (“GRIMES”)

for contributing her music

MARTIN LANDAU

SUSAN SHAPIRO

STEVEN SIEBERT

DAVID SAUNDERS

LINNE RADMIN

PAUL SAHAI

SARA ROSE

KEN GORD

DANIEL SOLLINGER

JASON BRUBACKER

CARMEN CUBA

TARA NIAMI

SEBASTIAN COWAN

PATRICK QUINN

GINN ANDREWS

KATIE FRANKENBACH

REBEKAH ESTEY

NICOLA ROWLANDS

CAMI STARKMAN

JEREMY SHER

ASHPHORD JACOWAY

ANNA JACKOBY HERON

LILLY MASSEE

ALLEN BLOOMFIELD

IDA ZIELINSKA

JEREMY CLEM

DEBORAH CLEM

CELINE ORDIONI

JIM GOYER

MARK POLITI

CHRISTI JEZIORSKI

ROBERTO ZORFINI

ALEX WEINER

LAURENCE COHEN

MELISSA PELLICIO

IRIS VENTURINO

JAMIE LORENTE

HANNAH MURPHY

MATT GIBSON

BRIGITTE MUELLER

KENNETH GOFFARD

STEVE SAVITZ

DENISE MEDINA

UZMA KANG

NAV KANG

CAROLE SABOURAUD

my mother

CZESLAWA ZIELINSKA-BYCHOWSKA-HAIMOVITZ

who always believed in this project 

and encouraged me to make it

and my wife VALLY MESTRONI

who tolerated and supported me 

as we took out loans and used 

credit cards to make this film

everyone at SAG and WGA     

SINAI TEMPLE

DREAM HOUSE APARTMENTS            

HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETARY

CLINICA MONSENOR OSCAR A. ROMERO

BAMBOO INN  

SKIPTOWN PLAYHOUSE          

RINCON CHILENO

AMTRAK

METRO TRANSIT

Camera and Lenses

CAMERA DIVISION      

SONGS

“ONE YOU WANT”

Courtesy or Arbutus Records

Written by Dylan Obront, Heather Kirkpatrick

Performed by Some Girls 

“ANIMAL (Wanna See You)”

Written by Lucky and Love (ASCAP), 

Published by Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP)

Performed by Lucky and Love

“SUMMERTIME FROLIC”

Written by Lucky and Love (ASCAP)

Published by Lynx Technique, Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP) 

Performed by Lucky and Love

“RED LIGHT”

Written by Jerrold Balcom, Kristine Bustos, Biana Ayala, Tara Edwards

Published by American Satellite (ASCAP)

Performed by The Tissues      

“MEDICINE WOMAN”

Written by April Eleyce Latragna, Loren Gillum 

Published by Lynx Technique, Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP)

Performed by Lucky and Love   

“ST. ANTHONY”

Written by Colin Peterson, Lee Busch 

Published by Meathaus (ASCAP) 

Courtesy of Devour Records 

Performed by Terminal A       

“IT’S A MISTAKE”

Written by April Eleyce Latragna, Loren Gillum 

Published by Lynx Technique, Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP)

Performed by Lucky and Love   

“DANGEROUS RUNAWAY”

Written by April Eleyce Latragna, Loren Gillum 

Published by Lynx Technique, Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP)

Performed by Lucky and Love   

“SISTER”

Written by Lauren Lusardi 

Published by Lauren Lusardi (BMI) 

Performed by Plasmic

“TELEKINESIS”

Written by April Eleyce Latragna, Loren Gillum

Published by Lynx Technique, Oilxice Publishing (ASCAP)

Performed by Lucky and Love   

“VISIONS OF LOVE”

Written by Erica von Trapp

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine  

“GALAXY EYES”

Written by Erica von Trapp    

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine  

“RADIO”

Written by Brian Mendoza 

Published by Brian Mendoza 

Courtesy of Devour Records

Performed by Band Aparte     

“DEATH”

Written by Brian Mendoza

Published by Brian Mendoza

Courtesy of Devour Records 

Performed by Band Aparte     

“GRAVITY’S RAINBOW” 

Written by Brian Mendoza

Published by Brian Mendoza Courtesy of Devour Records

Performed by Band Aparte

“BABY MACHINE” 

Written by Lauren Lusardi

Published by Lauren Lusardi (BMI)

Performed by Plasmic

“WORLD WON’T STOP” 

Written by Brian Mendoza

Published by Brian Mendoza Courtesy of Devour Records

Performed by Band Aparte

“BOUQUET”

Written by Brian Mendoza 

Published by Brian Mendoza Courtesy of Devour Records

Performed by Band Aparte

“SUM OF MY EMOTIONS” 

Written by Erica von Trapp

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine  

“OVERZEALOUS” 

Written by Erica von Trapp

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine  

“CHILL BOY”

Written by Erica von Trapp 

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine

“BAD SPEAK” 

Written by Erica von Trapp

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine

“PURPLE THOUGHTS” 

Written by Erica von Trapp

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine

“TREMBLE”

Written by Erica von Trapp 

Published by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine

“SAND SQUID” 

Written by Erica von TrappPublished by Erica von Trapp (ASCAP)

Performed by Jane Machine

except from “Bohemia

starring Troy Garity and Klara Issova, 

with music by Iva Bittova, 

courtesy of Film Art Movies

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