Winner of the LA Film Grant for 2009

SHAKESPEARE HIGH Producers Brad Kopenick, Lori Miller, and Alex Rotaru, and Director Alex Rotaru”

“Shakespeare High”, is a feature-length documentary about a group of teens in Southern California whose lives are profoundly changed by learning, and then performing Shakespeare in the 90th Annual DTASC Shakespeare Competition. The film follows several students – mainly underserved, and from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, and explores how their dedication to drama provides them the purpose and passion to overcome great challenges.

Amongst the teens chronicled include Tosh from East Los Angeles, a former gangbanger whose discovery of drama rescued him and diverted him to follow his passion, stay in high school, and get good grades. In the high desert town of Hesperia, African American football stars twins Galvin and Melvin found Shakespeare after their father murdered their mother during an acrimonious divorce. They are drawn to the violent nature of Othello because it helps them release repressed traumatic feelings in ways they didn’t think possible. Nicole – earnest and wise-beyond-her-years – is consumed by her drama studies. Her mother suffers from a terminal disease, and her family is broke. She can’t afford to go to a four-year liberal arts college to pursue her dream career, and despairs that she’ll never get out of her small town.

These are but a few of the thousands of stories of Southern California high school students who compete in the DTASC Shakespeare Festival. After we meet and hear these inspirational and emotional tales, we follow our protagonists to the competition and watch as months of arduous preparation culminate in a single, frantic day – when performances are judged by an expert jury/verdicts rendered/dreams ended/prizes won – and careers begun…

Contact: Lori Miller, Producer


Chad A. Stevens, aspiring Appalachian filmmaker, is the recipient of the 2009 Roy W. Dean New York Film Grant, “one of the largest film grant competitions in the world.”

The film, The Coal War, directed and produced by Chad A. Stevens, is the story of a symbol: one mountain destined to be destroyed by the coal industry and one woman’s struggle to save Coal River Mountain by creating the first sustainable energy project in the Appalachian coalfields, the Coal River Wind Farm. The film follows the story of Lorelei Scarbro and the Coal River Wind Campaign through to the final showdown – protests on the mountain, in a court of law, in the state legislature, in the governor’s office, and in the national offices of the EPA. As Scarbro says, “This is a David versus Goliath story. I know what we are doing is right, but just because you are right doesn’t mean you’ll win.”

The grant, which funds “films that expose and bring important information to light,” awards recipients an array of products, services and consultations from these New York area sponsors:

$500.00 free budgeting consultation with Norman C. Berns
30% discount on original music by John Keltonic
$5,000 in studio and editing for a 5 minute promo tape from Metro Access.
$3,000 in Equipment rental from: Abel Cine Tech Inc.
$2,700 in rentals including a light package from: Unilux Inc.
$1,600 value / sound mix session from: Silver Sound.
$1,500 in services from Analogue Digital Intl, Inc., NY. Editing when available or duplication, you provide tapes.
$1,400 audio equipment rental from: AAA Communications.
$1,000 in voice over services from Claire Papin
$750 value of fundraising consultation from: C’est Fou!
$500 in tape stock from Edgewise Media.
$500 new web site by Silke Mayer
50% off ($400 value) for a story structure consultation with Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor.
25% reduction in legal fees from Hal “Corky” Kessler, producer/attorney
$279 in free storyboarding software from PowerProduction.
$149 ProductionPro Budget program the only tool designed for the non-studio filmmaker and packed with power demanded by pros. Includes the industry’s only drop and drag rate book!
7 Day free rental of Panasonic AGDVX 100 Camera From DCTVNY”