CLAIRE DANES STARS IN HBO FILMS' TEMPLE GRANDIN, DEBUTING FEB. 6
Catherine O'Hara Co-Stars With Julia Ormond And David Strathairn;
Mick Jackson Directs From A Screenplay By
Christopher Monger And William Merritt Johnson;
Emily Gerson Saines, Alison Owens, Paul Lister, Gil Bellows,
Anthony Edwards And Dante DiLoreto Executive Produce;
Scott Ferguson Produces
"I'm not like other people. I think in pictures"
� Temple Grandin
HBO Films' TEMPLE GRANDIN, starring Golden Globe winner Claire Danes ("Me and Orson Welles," "Shop Girl") in the title role, brings to the screen the story of the best-selling author, animal scientist and autism advocate. Debuting SATURDAY, FEB. 6 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO, the film co-stars Catherine O'Hara ("For Your Consideration," "A Mighty Wind") with Julia Ormond ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," HBO's "Iron Jawed Angels") and Academy Award(R) and Golden Globe nominee David Strathairn ("Goodnight, And Good Luck," "The Bourne Ultimatum"). Directed by three-time DGA winner Mick Jackson ("Tuesdays with Morrie"; HBO's "Live from Bagdad" and "Indictment: The McMartin Trial") from a screenplay by Christopher Monger ("Chica de Rio," "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain") and WGA Award winner William Merritt Johnson (HBO's "In Treatment"), TEMPLE GRANDIN is based upon the books "Emergence," by Temple Grandin and Margaret Scariano, and "Thinking in Pictures" by Temple Grandin.
Other HBO playdates: Feb. 6 (11:45 p.m.), 7 (5:45 p.m.), 10 (11:30 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 14 (10:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m.), 18 (9:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m.), 20 (2:00 p.m.), 22 (3:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m.) and 27 (noon)
TEMPLE GRANDIN paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple's early diagnosis; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she received from her mother, her aunt and her science teacher; and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior. Undaunted by educational, social and professional roadblocks, Grandin turned her unique talent into a behavioral tool that revolutionized the cattle industry and laid the groundwork for her successful career as an author, lecturer and pioneering advocate for autism and autism spectrum disorder education.
This visually inventive film offers a stunning insight into Temple Grandin's world, taking the audience literally inside her mind with a series of snapshot images that trace her self-perceptions and journey from childhood through young adulthood to the beginning of her career.
Director Mick Jackson points out the challenge of bringing Grandin's vision to the world, saying, "Before Temple, nobody had said, 'This is how it feels. This is what day to day, moment to moment, second to second, an autistic person goes through.' And yet through her writings and lectures Temple had done that, and I thought this would be a wonderful and unique opportunity. We could use all the techniques of cinema to try and bring this very different perception of the world to light for other people."
HBO Films presents a Rudy Films/Gerson Saines production of a Mick Jackson Film. Directed by Mick Jackson from a screenplay by Christopher Monger and William Merritt Johnson, TEMPLE GRANDIN is based upon the books "Emergence," by Temple Grandin and Margaret Scariano, and "Thinking in Pictures," by Temple Grandin. Executive produced by Emily Gerson Saines, Gil Bellows, Alison Owen, Paul Lister, Anthony Edwards and Dante DiLoreto; Scott Ferguson produces.
SYNOPSIS OF THE HBO FILM
A teenage Temple Grandin [Claire Danes] tentatively steps off a plane in Arizona and is greeted by Aunt Ann [Catherine O'Hara]. Unnerved by the heat and noise, she cannot understand how people live in the desert climate. While driving to the ranch, they pass cattle in holding pens, which momentarily captures her attention. When they pull up to Aunt Ann's ranch, Temple is asked to get out of the truck and open the gate, which allows her to visually create a design. Temple slowly adjusts to her new surroundings with the support and understanding of her Aunt Ann, who had already prepared for Temple's dietary requirements, panic attacks, quirky but impressive abilities and discomfort with being hugged. In a phone call, Temple's aunt reassures Temple's mother Eustacia [Julia Ormond] that her daughter is doing fine.
At the ranch, it becomes clear that Temple understands animals better than she does people. She identifies with the animal's perspective while observing their behavior. While watching one of the cows being held for an inoculation, the noise sends her into a panic that, in her mind, can be soothed by the restraining machine, and she subsequently discovers that it works like a hug without the human contact. Temple later uses this knowledge when the sign on her door accidentally falls off, causing her to go into a panic. She puts herself in the restraining machine, which does indeed calm her. She and her aunt bond over the incident and the understanding that Temple doesn't feel or express emotions the way most people do.
Having already been entranced by her first experience with the gate at her aunt's farm, she constantly has visions of designs on how to make it work better. Before leaving the farm she designs and builds a gate-opening mechanism, much to the amusement of her mother, Eustacia. Although Ann warns her that Temple doesn't want to leave the ranch, Eustacia is eager to have her daughter take part in "normal" society, and takes her to college.
Flash back to the early '50s to a young Temple [Jenna Hughes] in the psychologist's office. Eustacia is told that Temple suffers from infantile schizophrenia and autism and may never speak. The psychologist's [Steve Uzzell] suggestion that autism is caused when the mother withholds physical affection and his recommendation that Temple be institutionalized fall on deaf ears: The Harvard-educated Eustacia refuses to accept his prognosis and decides to teach her at home.
Back in the present, in an attempt to quell her panic in the classroom, as well as anxiety caused by the cafeteria's sliding doors, Temple builds her own cattle restraint ("squeeze machine"). Deeming it inappropriate, Dr. Spenk [Jim Flowers], the campus psychiatrist, takes it away from Temple and has it destroyed.
Spending spring break back on the ranch, Temple makes a more sophisticated version of the squeeze machine. Insisting she cannot go back to college unless she can take the machine, Temple returns with her aunt to discuss its use with Dr. Spenk. Temple proposes a scientific experiment to Mr. Neal [Joe Nemmers], head of psychology, to prove her point that the machine allows her to interact more easily and concentrate better. She surveys others students' reaction to being in the squeeze machine but becomes overwhelmed by the amount of data she has accumulated and misses the class for presenting the paper. After receiving an "F," she places a frantic call to Dr. Carlock [David Strathairn], her high school science teacher.
Flash back to when Temple and Eustacia meet the staff at a boarding school in New Hampshire. Dr. Carlock sees Temple as a unique individual who would do well there. Some of the other students target her with taunts, but she finds comfort in a high-strung horse named Chestnut, whose eventual death leaves her to wonder where animals go when they die. Dr. Carlock understands that Temple's mind works differently and offers to mentor her, urging Temple to go through the next door and attend college. Because she thinks in pictures, Temple visualizes doors in her mind to help her take her next steps.
In Dr. Carlock's classroom, the class is shown a film about optical illusions and the Ames Room, which is an example of distorted perception. Intrigued by the film and how it works, Dr. Carlock encourages her to try to build her own room and offers extra credit as an incentive. Temple has moments of frustration and begs for a single clue, the last piece of the puzzle she needs to recreate a smaller version of the room. She presents it to the class using two model horses and impresses her classmates.
Back at Franklin Pierce, Temple convinces Mr. Neal to look at her paper, and he assures her it will receive a good grade. She is allowed to stay at the school and will be permitted to keep the machine if her new roommate Alice [Melissa Farman] agrees. Alice is blind and Temple explains to her that the squeeze machine is like a mother's hug. Bolstered by this new friendship and cognizant that she and Alice are different than, but not inferior to, other people, Temple now confidently participates in school.
Fast-forward to graduation: Temple addresses the students and their families and sings a heartfelt rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone."
During a field study at Arizona State, where Temple later completes her Master of Science in Animal Science, Temple is confronted at the Scottsdale feedlot by Don Michaels [Richard Dillard], a grumpy cattle boss. Undeterred by his rudeness, she pays close attention to the cows mooing as they are led into the dip vat and notices a pattern. When a cow dies, Temple shows no reaction, but, as with the horse Chestnut, merely wonders where it goes.
Temple decides to write her thesis on mooing and how it is an indicator of cattle behavior. Though it is initially rejected by Prof. Shanklin [David Born], she convinces him that her autism enables her to understand prey animals and illustrates her observations with drawings in her notebook. She can visualize what causes panic and understands how to prevent it, which can lead to better business.
Needing Don Michaels to sign off on her paper, Temple is faced with another obstacle: Women aren't allowed on the lot. She disguises herself as a man, gets a pickup truck and successfully makes it past the security guard. Enduring the pranks of the other ranch handlers, Temple is befriended by Randy [Barry Tubb], Don's right-hand man. Showing kindness, Randy signs off on Temple's thesis.
Temple goes to the cattle auction and pitches her ideas to Jeff Brown [Steve Shearer], editor of Arizona Farmer Ranchman magazine. She stuns Prof. Shanklin by informing him that the feedlot signed off on her study and she has a published article on cattle agitation in the magazine.
Returning east for Christmas after completing her Master of Science in Animal Science, Temple is overwhelmed by the social scene and has a panic attack. Eustacia reassures her daughter that she loves and respects her.
Back in Arizona and no longer a student, Temple is denied admission to the Scottsdale feedlot. Aided by a press pass and more presentable appearance, the fledgling journalist returns to the lot and writes additional articles. She is hired by Ted Gilbert [Matthew Posey], another feedlot owner, to come up with a design plan for his new cattle dip in five days. Her plan for serpentine curves and other features designed to keep cattle calm is deemed "a masterpiece" by Red Harris [John Rawley] of Cattle Magazine, but her design is corrupted by a clueless cowboy, which causes three cattle to die. Outraged, Temple flees to Dr. Carlock in order to better understand cruelty. He advises her to build her own slaughterhouse. Taking Dr. Carlock's advice, Temple enters the office of a local slaughterhouse, asking to tour the facilities as well as offering her design, but is turned away.
After returning home, Temple learns that Dr. Carlock has died. Though her mother tries to explain the concept of grief, Temple feels nothing and instead correlates it with the last time she said goodbye to him. However, she does show her respect and admiration for him by pinning her prized cattle pins to his shirt at his funeral.
Present day: Temple is in the supermarket, again completely intimidated by sliding glass doors. She is helped by a kindly stranger, Betty Goscowitz [Stephanie Faracy], a fortuitous meeting that proves instrumental in helping her gain access to the slaughterhouses where Betty's husband works.
Temple subsequently pitches her ideas to the board of the slaughterhouses and her designs are adopted. She proudly shares her success with Alice.
TEMPLE GRANDIN ends at the National Autistic Convention in Denver, which she attends with Eustacia. After angry parents argue with Dr. Ladenham [Phil Harrington], an "expert," Temple stands and addresses the crowd, telling them that she is autistic, she'll always be autistic, and that her ability to function in the world today is due to the encouragement of her mother and others who recognized her gift of seeing the world in a new way.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
TEMPLE GRANDIN is truly a labor of love for executive producer Emily Gerson Saines, whose younger child was diagnosed with autism when he was nearly three. She was given Temple Grandin's book "Thinking in Pictures" by her own mother, which helped Gerson Saines maneuver through very difficult early years and eventually became her inspiration for the film. She recalls, "When I read Temple's book it became my singular source of hope. It allowed me to believe that my son could one day contribute something to society."
Hoping to bring her moving story to life, Gerson Saines reached out to Grandin, whose familiarity with the executive producer's work co-founding the Autism Coalition was the ticket to their collaboration.
"Temple's story was that of a woman who didn't overcome her autism, but who used her autism to great effect," explains Gerson Saines. "Temple was incredibly lucky with her support structure, and we tried to celebrate the fact that she had these incredible mentors throughout her life, particularly her mother and Dr. Carlock."
For director Mick Jackson, only Claire Danes could play Temple Grandin. "She was my first and only choice," he says. From Los Angeles, Jackson courted Danes, who was in London, in a two-hour phone call, spelling out the challenges and pitfalls and hard work that lay ahead if she took the role.
Danes attests to the pressure "to represent her as honestly and lovingly as possible." Her experience in becoming Temple was both a visual and auditory exercise. Danes studied Temple's language and way of speaking, as well as her body movements, and watched a lot of her interviews. "Her mind works in a surprisingly wonderful way," comments Danes. "Temple describes herself as a visual thinker and that language is basically secondary for her. I tried to see like that, to render that. Sometimes I would attempt to think the way that she does and I would find myself making sort of visual puns when I was in that mode."
Danes' transformation into Temple Grandin was a result of weeks of reading literature on autism; observing at autistic schools; meeting with a number of autistic teenage girls; working with coaches to reproduce her speech and body movements; and repeatedly viewing her subject in videotapes Grandin sent to the actress. When the two met, Danes recorded some of their conversations, which her vocal coach then broke down into segments for her to download onto her iPod. Through a series of daily drills, Danes quickly adopted Grandin's cadence and speech patterns.
"Her performance is just astonishing," says Jackson. "It is portraying a person who is socially awkward and has rough edges and is gawky and unpredictable and fearful and comic and tragic � all with the most amazing nuance. Claire does not mimic Temple Grandin; she channels her. She has such gifts as an actress."
Gerson Saines, who calls Danes "a revelation," recalls, "I showed Temple some dailies in my room. As soon as she saw Claire and as soon as Claire opened her mouth, she said excitedly, 'That's me, 35 years ago, that's me!'
"I think Temple really believed that Claire was mirroring her thoughts from that time. It moved her so much. In that particular scene with David Strathairn and the dead horse and Claire just staring at the horse, I think it was an overwhelming range of emotions for Temple, because she cares so deeply about animals and at the same time she cares so much about those mentors that had been in her life. Temple sees things very black and white; she's not really able to interpret human emotion in real time. I think she just looked at Claire in that scene, and seeing all of that, was just moved and filled with emotion and I saw her do something I had never seen her do � she cried."
Given her own experience, it's no surprise that Gerson Saines identifies with Temple's mother Eustacia. "Eustacia is a pretty extraordinary woman," says Gerson Saines. "She raised Temple in a period of time in which autistic children were traditionally sent off to institutions, and she wasn't going to accept that. Eustacia was somebody who tackled this head-on. She was a great source of inspiration in dealing with my own child. She did everything by instinct, which is something that I very much have tried to do, and my instincts are the things that have always led me where I needed to go."
Director Jackson, who saw the same determination in Eustacia, notes, "The conventional wisdom at the time was that a child like this with 'infantile schizophrenia' should be institutionalized for the rest of her life. Instead, Temple's mother, who was a very determined, forceful and articulate woman, decided that she would not accept that fate for her child. She decided to take control of Temple's education, to push her out into the world so she would have everything happen to her that any other child would have happen, even though she was autistic."
Temple Grandin says of the production crew, "Mick Jackson and his crew did a fantastic job creating my projects of the gates at the beginning of the film, the Ames' distorted room, the dipping vat and the squeeze machine. In fact, these items were created by using my original designs and photos. The building projects in this film are absolutely authentic. I also loved the animations in the film of how my visual mind works."
Julia Ormond, who plays Eustacia, says, "I think that there is a tremendous lesson that's learned from Temple's journey, that we can help unlock a door for somebody who appears to be quite locked in. I can empathize with Eustacia, who spends so much of her life challenging Temple, pushing her through yet another door, while trying to find the most compassionate, loving environment for her in terms of the right school and the right college."
Reflecting on Eustacia's difficulty accepting the self-made squeeze machine that Temple uses to quell her panic attacks, Ormond observes, "I think it's just too much of a conflict for her that the machine is able to solve something that she, as a mother, can't with her own arms. Plus, there is still that element of protection and wanting to shield Temple from what other people thought of her and her strange machine."
The support structure provided by her mother, along with her aunt and high school science teacher, ultimately enabled Temple to cope and succeed as an adult. What they understood, and, eventually, what the rest of the world understood, was that inside this kind of cage of autism, which Temple refers to as "the far side of darkness," there was an intensely vital, energetic and original mind that could see the world in ways that other people couldn't.
Gerson Saines points out, "Temple not only changed the face of the livestock industry, but she really changed the face of autism. She was able to tell people what it was she was feeling and, to a greater extent, how it made her feel. These observations have given the community and educators a tremendous ability to see inside autism." Grandin's method of thinking in pictures was the catalyst for her unique approach to animals. Says Jackson, "She constructed these amazing ideas for handling cattle in her head, and she almost didn't need to build them. She knew the way that the cattle would react, because she could visualize the whole thing in a very real sense. She could see it from every angle, like having a video in your head."
Danes explains, "Temple argues that autistic people share a lot of qualities with prey animals. They're both very vulnerable and constantly worried about looming threats. They are always looking out for some source of danger and are sensitive to detail. While on the ranch with her aunt, Temple struggled with this kind of anxiety daily. She observed that the 'squeeze chute' that the cows were placed in to restrain them for vaccinations and the like also had a calming effect on the cattle. This allowed her to connect the dots to come up with the idea that a personalized 'squeeze machine' could work for her. The firm pressure allowed her to relax and calm herself, making it easier to interact with others. I think she found herself really identifying with cattle for this reason."
Describing her own experience with the squeeze machine, Danes notes, "It's really very soothing. It's like receiving a hug."
David Strathairn plays Dr. Carlock, a science teacher at the Mountain Country School who one of Temple's main mentors. Describing his character, Strathairn notes, "He strikes me as one of these guys who probably would love the diversity of thought from all his students and it just so happens that Temple Grandin came his way � or he came her way. That was really kind of fortunate. Just to think, maybe if she hadn't had a Dr. Carlock who had seen something special in Temple, who had unlocked her potential, it may have taken her longer for her to feel confident about going out into the world. It was just one of those wonderful things that happened for her in her life."
Today, Temple Grandin is a success story. She has a PhD in animal science from the University of Illinois and over half the cattle in North America are handled in humane systems she has designed. "One important factor in my success was the way I used my visual thinking to design and build projects that other people wanted and appreciated," notes Grandin. "People in the livestock industry started respecting me when they saw the quality of my work. When I showed them my detailed drawings, I got respect."
A full professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, Grandin speaks around the world on both autism and cattle handling. She is also the author or co-author of an array of books, including "Emergence," "Livestock Handling and Transport," "Thinking in Pictures," "Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals," "Developing Talents," "Animals in Translation," "Humane Livestock Handling" and "Unwritten Rules of Social Relationship." For more information on Temple Grandin, please see the enclosed Q&A.
ABOUT THE CAST
Claire Danes (Temple Grandin) has performed on stage, screen and television, making an impressive mark with her starring role in the acclaimed series "My So-Called Life," which earned her a Golden Globe Award (Outstanding Actress) and an Emmy(R) nomination. Her extensive list of films includes the upcoming "Me & Orson Welles," plus "Shopgirl," "The Family Stone," "Evening," "Stardust," "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," "Igby Goes Down," "The Hours," Bille August's "Les Miserables," "Stage Beauty," "Brokedown Palace," "Polish Wedding," "The Rainmaker," "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday," "Home for the Holidays" and "Little Women." She made her Broadway debut starring as Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" opposite Jefferson Mays. She is also an accomplished dancer and received critical acclaim for "Edith and Jenny" and "Christina Olson: American Model," both choreographed by Tamar Rogoff at P.S. 122.
Catherine O'Hara (Aunt Anne) is well-known for her work as a cast regular in such Christopher Guest films as "For Your Consideration," "A Mighty Wind," "Waiting for Guffman" and "Best in Show." Her other film credits include "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," "Surviving Christmas," "Orange County," "Home Fries," "Home Alone," "Home Alone 2," "Wyatt Earp" and "Beetlejuice." Her vocal talents have also brought life to characters such as Judith in Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are," Mom in "Monster House," Penny in "Over the Hedge," Tina in "Chicken Little" and both Sally and Shock in Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." O'Hara has also been seen recently on the TV series "Glenn Martin, DDS" and HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Julia Ormond (Eustacia) co-starred in the Oscar(R)-nominated film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," for which she shared a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nomination for Best Acting Ensemble and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Her other credits include "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl," "Inland Empire," directed by David Lynch, "Che: Part One," "First Knight," "Legends of the Fall" and HBO's Emmy(R)-nominated "Iron Jawed Angels," portraying suffragette Inez Millholland. No stranger to human rights causes, Ormond is the president and founder of ASSET (Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking) and is the Goodwill Ambassador on Trafficking and Slavery to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In addition, she is a well-known activist on issues related to HIV/AIDS and poverty alleviation in Africa.
David Strathairn (Dr. Carlock) starred as legendary CBS news broadcaster Edward R. Murrow in George Clooney's 2005 Oscar(R)-nominated drama "Good Night, and Good Luck," for which he earned Academy Award(R), Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award nominations for best actor, as well as receiving the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. His diverse and far-reaching career also includes "Cold Souls," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "Silkwood," "Iceman," "At Close Range," "Dominick and Eugene," "Matewan," "Eight Men Out," "A League of Their Own," "Losing Isaiah," "The Firm," "Sneakers," "Dolores Claiborne," "Home for the Holidays," "The River Wild," the Oscar(R)-winning "L.A. Confidential," for which Strathairn shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with other cast members, "Memphis Belle," "A Map of the World," "Simon Birch," "Lost in Yonkers," "Missing in America," Michael Hoffman's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and HBO's "The Notorious Bettie Page."
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Mick Jackson (director) is a three-time DGA Award winner for "Tuesdays with Morrie" and HBO's "Live from Bagdad" and "Indictment: The McMartin Trial." He also received Emmy(R) nominations for "Live from Bagdad" and "Indictment: The McMartin Trial," both of which won the Emmy(R) for Outstanding Made for TV Movie. "Live from Bagdad" was also nominated for a Golden Globe, while "Indictment: The McMartin Trial" won the Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for TV. Jackson has directed the pilots of such series as "Numb3rs," "The Practice," "In Justice," "The Handler," "That's Life," "Strange World," "Demons" and "Traffic." His documentaries include the Emmy(R) and BAFTA nominee "The Ascent of Man," plus "Connections," "A Guide To Armageddon," "The Age of Uncertainty." Among Jackson's feature films are "The Bodyguard," "L.A. Story," "Volcano," "Chattahoochee," "Clean Slate" and "The First $20 Million." He has been honored with three BAFTA Awards, for the miniseries "A Very British Coup," which also won an International Emmy(R) for Drama, and for the drama series "Life Story" and "Threads."
Christopher Monger (writer) has written, directed and edited for films and TV. He wrote and directed the films "Chica de Rio," for which he won the Discovery Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, "The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain," which won the Ecumenical Jury Award at the Moscow International Film Festival, "Waiting for the Light," "Crime Pays" and "Voice Over." Monger directed and edited the documentary "Special Thanks to Roy London," and directed the film "Just Like a Woman," episodes of the TV series "That's Life" and the video "A Sense of Wonder." He shared a TV and Cable Program Christopher Award with the other filmmakers of "Seeing Red," for which he wrote the screenplay. Monger is slated to direct his next feature from his script "The Amateur Photographer" in spring 2010.
William Merritt Johnson (writer) won the 2009 WGA Award for television writing, along with his co-writers, for HBO's "In Treatment." He also write the screenplay for the upcoming "Lovelace."
Emily Gerson Saines (executive producer) is the founder and president of Brookside Artist Management, one of the industry's premier boutique management firms. A former vice president of the William Morris Agency, Gerson Saines made her producing debut with the film "The Courage to Love," starring Vanessa Williams, and executive produced "Foster Hall" for NBC with Conan O'Brien. In addition to her entertainment career, Gerson Saines was one of the founders of the Autism Coalition for Research and Education (A.C.R.E), which became Autism Speaks. A.C.R.E raised millions of dollars on behalf of autism for biomedical research, education, and increased awareness. Gerson Saines is the recipient of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Frank O'Connor Memorial Award for her work in the field of music videos and is the author of "Acting: The Guide to Chicago." She is on the advisory board of Northwestern University's School of Communication, has lectured before the American Bar Association, Harvard University, Columbia University and Northwestern University, and remains active within the autism community.
Alison Owen (executive producer) received an Academy Award(R), Australian Film Institute and BAFTA nominations for producing "Elizabeth." The film won BAFTA's Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film, while she shared the London Critics Circle's ALFS Award as British Producer of the Year for the film. Owen recently served as executive producer on "The Men Who Stare at Goats," starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey. Her other film producing credits include "Shaun of the Dead", and through her company Ruby Films recently produced "The Other Boleyn Girl" for Sony and Focus, "Brick Lane" for Film 4, the film adaptation of "Proof" and "Sylvia," and is currently in production on Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe" and Hideo Nakata's "Chatroom."
Gil Bellows (executive producer) has spent time on both sides of the camera as an actor, producer and director. His producing credits include "Kill Kill Faster Faster," "Sweet Land" and the 2003 autism fundraising special "Night of Too Many Stars," for which he was also a segment director. Bellows' extensive acting credits include such films as "Toronto Stories," "Passchendaele," "The Promotion," "The Weather Man," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Miami Rhapsody" and the upcoming "Unthinkable." A regular on the Emmy(R)-nominated TV series "Ally McBeal," Bellows and his cast mates received SAG Award nominations three years in a row and took home the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 1999. He has also appeared on such shows as "24: Redemption," "Infected," "Terminal City," which earned him a Best Actor nomination from Canada's Gemini Awards, "The Twilight Zone," "The Agency," "The Practice" and "Law & Order."
Dante DiLoreto (executive producer) has produced projects for film, television and theater. Currently executive producer of FOX's new hit comedy "Glee," DiLoreto's previous TV credits include the Emmy(R) Award-winning "My Louisiana Sky" for Showtime, in addition to projects for F/X, HBO and NBC. DiLoreto produced the feature films "Die Mommie Die" (winner of the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize), "Viva Cuba" (Cuba's official foreign language selection for the 78th Academy Awards(R)) and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." On Broadway, DiLoreto has co-produced "Glass Menagerie," starring Jessica Lange and Christian Slater, "Festen," with Juliana Marguilies and Ali McGraw, and Sir Antony Sher's "Primo." A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, DiLoreto also holds an M.F.A. from the American Film Institute.
Paul Lister (executive producer) is a former studio executive at Dreamworks, where he was responsible for the development and production of the studio's slate, including the Academy Award(R)-winning "Gladiator," "In Dreams," "The Haunting," "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and "The Last Castle." He recently served as producer for "The Men Who Stare at Goats," starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey, as well as "Vroom," starring Clive Owen and Jim Broadbent, and served as associate producer on "Letter to Brezhnev."
Anthony Edwards (executive producer) is a four-time Emmy(R) nominee, four-time Golden Globe nominee and 12-time SAG Award nominee for playing Dr. Mark Green on the long-running TV series "ER," winning a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series � Drama and four SAG awards in back-to-back wins with his cast mates for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Edwards shared a Daytime Emmy(R) for Outstanding Children's Special for executive producing "My Louisiana Sky," which also won the Andrew Carnegie Medal from the Association for Library Service to Children. His extensive credits also include his memorable portrayal of LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw alongside Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," "Motherhood," "Zodiac," "The Forgotten," "Thunderbirds," "In Cold Blood," "The Client" and "Mr. North." Edwards will next be seen in the film "Flipped." His other producing credits include the films "Die, Mommie, Die!," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "N.Y.H.C.," and, for TV, "Border Line." Edwards directed four episodes of "ER" and the film "Charlie's Ghost Story."
Scott Ferguson (producer) has shared two DGA awards with the directorial teams for "Brokeback Mountain" and HBO's Emmy(R)-winning film "Recount." In addition to "Brokeback Mountain" his producing credits include "Gigantic," "Laurel Canyon," "Palookaville" and David Mamet's "Heist." Ferguson served as an associate producer for "Man on the Moon," "Twilight," "A Family Thing," "The People vs. Larry Flynt," "Heavy" and "Nobody's Fool." In addition to "Recount," he also served as unit production manager on "Adventureland," "Factory Girl" and "All the King's Men." Ferguson is currently producing HBO Films' "You Don't Know Jack," starring Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman and Danny Huston, which debuts in 2010.