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Election Night, an award winning dramedy

A politician’s family waits in the green room on election eve – will the speech be a celebration or a concession? The last 350 votes have yet to come in, and the nerves rattle the family into a comic whirlwind of wild theories, long-held secrets, and a revelation that nobody saw coming. 



election-night-laurels-allELECTION NIGHT has been selected by extraordinary festivals around the world and has won awards, which include: Cannes Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the American Pavilion, DC ShortsFest, Florida Film Festival, Hollyshorts, International Festival of Women – Jakarta (Award of Excellence), Los Angeles Comedy Festival, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival, Seattle ShortsFest, Toronto Inside Out, USA Film Festival (Special Jury Award).


Chosen as one of eight projects to participate in AFI’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women, the film was directed by Tessa Blake and was written by Blake & her husband, Ian Williams, Produced by Catherine Dent (The Shield) & Grace Santos (that’s me!), and stars Peri Gilpin (Frasier).



Catherine Dent!

Thankful to Catherine for bringing me onto another amazing project.  Our first project was Silk – more info about that project here:

Here’s a pic of Cat and I at Hollyshorts representing Election Night.


Theatrical Release!

A short film could obtain a theatrical distribution deal!?! 🙂

Shorts HD put together 7 short films and called it “Stars In Shorts: No Ordinary Love”. Election Night is paired up with shorts starring Julia Louis Dreyfus, Dick Van Dyke, Matthew Modine and more!

Here’s the press release on Deadline:

ShortsHD Kicks Off One-Week Theatrical Showcase Of Short Films Featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus & More

And a photo of Election Night actor Caitlin Zambito and me at the cocktail reception:



Crowd Funding!

Crowdfunding ielectionnight-photo-indiegogo-1s a great way for the community to help artists.  I’ve used kickstarter and indiegogo on other projects and it is usually months of hard work.  But this is the first time that I worked on a project that reached its goal and even more – $20,000 – within ONE (1) week!

Tessa Blake and Ian Williams are amazing – check out the cute video and campaign they put together:

They are a great team to work with.  No wonder so many people wanted to give to the project right away.



Indiewire Project of the Day!

Also the first time I worked on a production that was named Indiewire’s Project of the Day 🙂



My first time with a project at the Cannes Film Festival American Pavilion Emerging Artist Showcase!


Here’s a picture of Tessa and I at a Cannes party overlooking the water at sunset 🙂 #CannesFilmFestival #FrenchRiviera #LaCroisette


And fun times walking through the crowded red carpet and up the beautiful white staircase:



More film festivals!

We were blessed to attend several film festivals.  Here are two pics from the LA Comedy Fest, with Ian Williams (Tessa’s husband, Election Night co-writer, behind the scenes producer, and so much … he and Tessa are totally a #PowerCouple ) and Dyami Kerr (one of my best friends and was Key Set PA on Election Night but is now producing his own films).  During this Q&A, Ian told the audience that he usually starts writing by thinking of an intense situation and then it takes off from there.

election-night-at-la-comedy-1   election-night-at-la-comedy-2


Some Behind the Scenes Photos!

Of course the Millennium Biltmore Hotel would have such a fancy sign for filming:


Hat, sneakers, sunglasses … ready for posting filming notices around downtown Los Angeles:


More of our cute actors:


Ellen and me bossing the crew:


With writer/director Tessa Blake:





Starring Peri Gilpin, Jake Johannsen, Caitlin Zambito, Cole Jensen,

Melissa Tang, Noel Arthur, Aedra Ho

Directed by Tessa Blake

Written by Tessa Blake & Ian Williams

Story by Ian Williams

Produced by Catherine Dent & Grace Santos

Co-Produced by Stasia Droze

Consulting Producer – Cynthia Granger

Associate Producer – Brent Austin Knight

Cinematographer – Jim Jost

Editor – Cristina Rackoff

Production Designer – Shamim Seifzadeh

Costume Designer – Deanna Marie Saul

Costume Consultant – Victoria Auth

Casting Director – Lisa Zagoria

First Assistant Director – Li Lu

Second Assistant Director – Allan Aguilar

2nd Second Assistant Director – Jeremy Chang

Script Supervisor – Cheryl Starbuck

Camera Operator – Jason Goebel

First Assistant Camera – Lex Rawlins

Second Assistant Camera – Christy Friers

DIT – Michael Hubbard and Colleen Marshall

Still Photographer – Stasia Droze

Gaffer – David Klassen

Best Boy – Kyle Behrens

Electrician – Chad Buning

Key Grip – Anthony Yamamoto

Grip – David Libertella

Grip / Driver – Eric Hunter

Make-up Department Supervisor – Jennifer Zide-Essex

Key Make-up – Laura Monteleone

Key Hair – Dana Kelley

Assistant Editors – Yuri Chernykh and Sophie Worm

Digital Colorist – Derek Hansen

Sound Editor and Designer – Laurent Kossayan

Re-recording Mixer – Elliot Tyson

Production Sound Mixer – Scott Stolz

Boom Operators – Michelle Guasto and Dyami Kerr

Art Director – Heather Shephard

Prop Master – Paulina Bugembe

Costume Assistants – Sandra Wasche and Joyce Tom

Assistant to Director – Jack O’Shea

Office PA – Ellen Esling

Key Set PA – Dyami Kerr

Production Assistants:

Alberto Mazzotta, Connor Falson, Courtney Klembara,

Eleonora Mozzi, Jessica Jazayeri, Marco Fabbro,

Stephanie Acosta, Tanya Gillette, Toyin Giwa

Studio Teacher – Amber York

Catering – Full Moon Pickles, Jen Smith, Steve Saenz

Craft Service – Gary Matosian

Background Performers:

Samy Abdulahad, Stella Ademiluyi, Dila Andersen,

Sophie Avedikian, Camille Banville, Beau Bassewitz,

Ricardo Benavides, John Bohan, Haley Brown,

Morgan Cavanaugh, Chia Yu Chen, Nikki Cicurel,

Drew Wheeler, Armond Dorsey, Jessica Escobar,

Adrian Gomez, Mike Graham, Jeanette Hattan,

Blake Hubler, Ephraim Hui, Leslie Ivy, Cate Jo,

Veronica Johnson, Doug Kiphut, Sarah Klein,

Gabriel Lawrence, Stina Lundberg, Gabriela Macera,

Michael Martin, Natasha Maslova, Lena Maslova,

Kanika Mehta, Molly Moore, Catherine Pineda,

Nicolas Quinten, Geraldine Ramos, William Rabiej,

Kalyn Rivers, Dana Robie, Suellen Romani, Hiair Salvador,

Terra Scott, Annie Sims, Greg Sims, Shaniece Smith,

Kayla Sokolowski, Suvi Sola, Jessica Strong, Mariela Ticas,

Jenny Torgerson, Marian Wer, Emily Yan, Joel Zegna,

Ty Anaya, Rene Bremond, William Carson III, George Clarke,

Gretchen Dickason, Debra Eckloff, Winifred Elam, Gigi Glynn,

Jonesey Harp, Ramiro Huerta, Piankhi Iknaton, Houston Isabelle,

Laura Juilly, Kaisli Kaprielle, Dominic Lee, Melissa Monroy,

Angelica Neece, Rhoda Pell, David Perez, John Rodiger,

Jay Suzara II, Magaly Varela


Big Sky Edit – Chris Franklin, Cheryl Panek, Agnes Gunawan

Mark Gethin, Amanda Ornelas and MPC

Michele Gan and Serves You Right Catering

Poleng Hong, Caron Haley, and the Millennium Biltmore Hotel

Anthony Medina, Deb Aquila, Geoffrey Nauffts, Cynthia Silver

Monica Nordaus, David Petrarca, Jason Lyon, Lucy Blake-Williams,

Noah & Colette Jost, Debbie Merlin, Rob & Gaby Greenberg,

Daisy von Scherler Mayer, Salem Suber,

Patty West, Trilby Beresford, Joe Petricca, Chris Schwartz, Nicole Ettinger, Terra Abroms,

Denise Brassard, James West, Robert Myrtle, Robert Vaughn, Justin La Forge, Zach Moller

The Directing Workshop for Women 2014

Edited on an Avid

HD Equipment courtesy of Sony Corporation of America

Lenses courtesy of Clairmont Camera

Camera Dollies by Chapman / Leonard Studio Equipment Inc.

Grip and Electric Equipment by Castex Rentals Inc.



Courtesy of APM


Written by Linda Worsley

Performed by Rosewood Studio Orchestra

Courtesy of Redmesa Music


Written by Ian Williams

Performed by eastcoast

Courtesy of Strike Music

AFI Directing Workshop for Women

Funded by:

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

Jean Picker Firstenberg

Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment

Nancy Malone

The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation

Sony Corporation of America

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation

Roz Wyman

And other generous corporations and individuals committed to providing

opportunities for women in the media arts

© copyright 2015 American Film Institute


Election Night Patrons:

Amy Barrett & Jonathan Lethem

Emma Hewitt & Jason Isaacs

Jason Lyon & Tim Hartley

Election Night Angels:

Sandra T. Blake

Louis & Sophie Girard

David Petrarca

Richard & Carole Williams

The rest of the wonderful indiegogo donors in no particular order:  

Eileen Funke, Kaz Brecher, Jen Chambers, Shark Adelic, Amy Heidt,

Jace Alexander & Maddie Corman, Liz Tidy, Emma Hewitt & Jason Isaacs,

Peter Rukavina, Lucy Blake-Williams, Dan Helias, Ted Ridgeway, Debbie Rubenstein,

Neil Reimann, Dan Etheridge, John Hawbaker, David Curtis Smith, Steve Ducey,

Joey Xanders, Stacey Hawkins, Penny Franks, Diana Coatney, Silvia Spross,

Kimberlee Smith, David Sampliner, Garret Savage, Lauren Meltzner and David Fox,

Heather Holst-Knudsen, Susan Comfort, Patrick Breen, Sam Stephenson,

Ilana Levine & Dominic Fumusa, Peter Hirsch & Cusi Cram,

Michael Angelo Stuno, Claire Campbell, Mere Berg, Nar Commerce,

Stasia Droze & Jim Jost, Katharine McFarland & Luke McGowan

Sean & Jordana Williams, Martha Egger, Salem Suber, Sharon Ben-Meir

George & Laurie Gilmore, Parker Bent, Stephanie Barish & Scott Chamberlin

Dave & Lari Cabanilla, Tony Brackett & Robert Speiser, Jordan Imbrey,

Scott Bullock & Danielle Cheriff, Henry Stevens, Donna Obeid, Paul Marcarelli,

Cynthia Birdsill, Jeffrey Lieber & Holly Long, Alec Guettel, Alex Yong,

Rick Maechling, Marty Stonerock, Mary Rachel Dudley, Colette Ballou,

Michael Maren & Dani Shapiro, Catherine Dent, Heike, David and Leo,

Susan Hoffman Hyman, Laura Guzik-Cohn, Mary Ellen Klee,

Amy Barrett, Alyssa Newman, Kevin Coggins, Geoffrey Nauffts,

Mark Freund & Trice Koopman, Bliss Broyard, David Petrarca,

Alberta Nassi, Elizabeth Trundle, Diana Coatney,

Quinn, Jana & the Kofford Gang, Doug & Kristine Christensen

Jennifer Hatfield, Ben & Kara Weber, Laurie Winkler Thurtle

Amy Scott, Seth Shelden, Louis & Sophie Girard, Dennis McFarland & Michelle Blake,

Chuck Price, Sam Polk & Kirsten Thompson, Monica Nordhaus,

Jason Lyon & Tim Hartley, Sam King, Margaret Boyer, Dana & Lindsay Bowen,

Katie Kosma, Lars Lucier, Jodi Kantor & Ron Leiber, Ehren Gresehover,

Tammy Oler, Catherine Corpeny, Richard & Carole Williams, Betsy Cadel,

Caitlin Reed, Kelly Wachowicz, Sean Patrick Williams, Oz Benamram & Gali Freedman,

Steve Williams, Jamie Block, Gaby & Rob Greenberg, Andrew Erlichman,

Betsy Peyton, Lorraine Tobias & Alex Draper, Sandy T. Blake,

Todd Walker & Inge Kautzman, Shannon Worrell, Chris Chapman,

Virginia Heffernan, Joy Huang, Michelle Williams-Vaden, Pippa Bianco, Patty West








I hope you have as much fun watching our videos at the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) as we had attending / working at the fest.


GS (1/2 of Grace Squared)

Disclaimer:  Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer (or past employers or future employers) 


What is BFF?

The Bentonville Film Festival’s mission is to provide a commercial platfbff-2016-poster-2orm for female and diverse voices.  It’s the only festival that I know of that guarantees distribution to the winners on all platforms – theatrical (through AMC), digital and television (through ARC, Anchorbay/Starz, TV1, or Lifetime), and home video (through BFF’s founding sponsor Walmart and the other sponsors previously mentioned).  It was co-founded last year by Academy Award Winner Geena Davis and Hollywood Exec Trevor Drinkwater.


Why is it in Bentonville, Arkansas?

We work most of the year out of Los Angeles but last month was my first time visiting Arkansas in my life! Geena Davis explains on Jimmie Kimmel:



Awesome Panels!

BFF offers tons of awesome educational panels.

For example:  “In Control Of Her Own Destiny.  Friday, May 6, 11:30am, Crystal Bridges Museum.  Moderator bff-2016-panel-geena-meg-ryanAlex Cohen (NPR); Panelists: Geena Davis, Kimberly Paisley, Nia Vardalos, and Meg Ryan.  For an industry that offers so few opportunities for women and minorities, increasing numbers of talented women are pushing back by taking control of their own interests rather than depending on the powerful commercial studios. This panel will feature celebrities who have taken control of their destiny by starting their own production companies and making their own films.”

There are a lot more panels, but I had to mention this one.  Being a female and minority and coming from a middle-low income immigrant family with no family connections in the entertainment industry, it’s been a bit challenging to obtain acting and directing roles.  So I decided to attend law school and obtained production certifications in order to produce my own work.  I am thankful to also be working for a company that helps others like me in the industry! #ILoveBFF


Who/What is Grace Squared?

Grace Chong (GC) heads Finance and Grace Santos (GS) heads Business & Legal Affairs.  Together we are GRACE SQUARED.  GC: “We’re both Asian and have a selfie stick” 🙂


We visited Jared (who is BFF’s Volunteer Coordinator), introduced a few films, and walked around downtown:



How we negotiated our terms with a television executive to get a tv show for us:



Brian was supposed to be our Crystal Bridges Museum tour guide:



GC explained to Brian and I what NWA means and it is not with attitude:



And of course we had to visit Walmart, BFF’s founding sponsor:



I’m trying to work on last minute contracts for the fest but GC and her snapchat:


We don’t just have videos, we also took lots of photos!

bff-2016-g2-sun bff-2016-crystal-bridges-1 bff-2016-crystal-bridges-2 bff-2016-g2-love




Lots of great places to shop in Arkansas too (according to GC, she’s the fashionista and shopper of this duo and I just follow around with a cam):



The Films!

We met Joey Lawrence (“whoa!”), Catalina Rodriguez, and Candice Barley of “Saved By Grace” at 21C:


And also got to hang with wonderful Geena Davis Institute’s Social Media Manager Christy Lee Hughs and filmmaker Anna Elizabeth James of BFF’s showcase film “Emma’s Chance”:




A League of Their Own Reunion Game!

BFF’s co-founder Geena Davis starred in the awesome “A League Of Their Own” so BFF has a reunion game every year with the actors of ALOTO and the original real life players.

Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnel at last year’s fest.

Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnel at last year’s fest.

Would be soooo great if Rosie and Madonna attend next year!!! Talk about amazing entertainers!

Would be soooo great if Rosie and Madonna attend next year!!! Talk about amazing entertainers!

I’m posing with BFF Co-Founder Trevor Drinkwater. Grace Chong left the day before so only half of Grace Squared this time.

I’m posing with BFF Co-Founder Trevor Drinkwater. Grace Chong left the day before so only half of Grace Squared this time.

If you ever need an amazing operations leader, hire Dave West!

If you ever need an amazing operations leader, hire Dave West!

Amazing local BFF team Courtney and Brad Lawless. We were trying to get a jumping photo hahaha

And amazing local BFF team Courtney and Brad Lawless. We were **TRYING** to get a jumping photo while they were clearing the field hahaha




Either I’m a loser with no friends or I am super VIP showing up to the Darius Rucker concert in this by myself:



Sold out show!



When we went to BFF’s music events at The Meteor, we caught ARC Entertainment’s General Manager, Scott Moesta working on his laptop lol:


Meet Scott and Vinko of ARC Entertainment and also Rodney – BFF’s Director of Research:

bff-2016-g2-scott-rod-vinko-the-meteor bff-2016-g2-vinko-the-meteor


Artist Patrick Hunter is so talented!  He paints a portrait to clips of music and it is timed perfectly!  This time, he chose to paint Prince to Prince music at the Opening Party of the Festival.  I cried.  #RIPPrince



I also met jazz musician Marcus Johnson at BFF’s Opening Party.  He’s like me – not just an artist, but also has a law degree and attended the University of Miami!  We’re posing with M&M’s (one of BFF’s sponsors is Mars) and on the white carpet (one of BFF’s sponsors is Clorox … get it white instead of red carpet?)



The Box Office!


Awesome supporters!

David Lightfoot and Pam Lightfoot are so freaking cool!  Always supporting BFF in so many ways!  The day after the festival, they invited a few people still left to yummy barbecue at their place.  Here’s a pic I took of David, Paul Prado (BFF’s awesome Director of Filmmaker Relations), and you know Brian.


How I became both staff and filmmaker at BFF

Thank you Olivia Lerner for hiring me!  Our Alchemy LLC was the largest independent distribution company in the United States and managed legal and accounting for BFF.  Last October 2015, she hired me and here’s a picture of some of the business and legal affairs department at the company holiday party: Olivia, Aaron, Trevor Morishita, and me.  It’s unfortunate that companies go out of business, but I’m thankful for the friendships I made at Alchemy and for that company bringing me to my BFF family.

Also thank you Catherine Dent and Tessa Blake for bringing me into the AFI DWW family!  More about that program here.  I produced Silk (link here) and Election Night (link here) and Election Night screened at BFF 2016 so I got to be both a BFF Staff Member and BFF Filmmaker!  🙂



Thanks for reading/watching my journey!  Hope to see you at the festival next year and also at our smaller events throughout the year in Los Angeles, New York City, and Bentonville (probably more cities soon!)

The professional videos and pictures of the VIP are here: – – – –

Posing at our Los Angeles office when I first joined BFF in 2015, with Wendy Guerrero (head of Programming), Gina (head of Sponsorships and Marketing), Courtney Lawless (Gina’s right hand pal & wonderful BFF social media!), GC (head of Accounting/Finance and ½ of #GraceSquared)