2016 Special Guests

Anthony Michael Hall


Anthony Michael Hall (Friday & Saturday Evenings @ 7pm) – Actor/ Producer / Director   Anthony Michael Hall’s early 80’s films with director-screenwriter John Hughes shaped his career with roles in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science.

Hall diversified his roles joining the cast of Saturday Night Live and starred in films such as Out of BoundsJohnny Be GoodEdward Scissorhands, Six Degrees of Separation, The Dark Knight, and Foxcatcher, . He had the leading role in the USA Network series The Dead Zone, from 2002 to 2007. During its run, the show was one of the highest-rated cable television series.

His next big project is an upcoming film with Brad Pitt (War Machine).

Stephen Tobolowsky


Stephen Tobolowsky (Thursday & Friday Evenings @ 7pm) – Actor/ Writer /Author / Musician   Stephen has been in over 200 films and television projects.  He is known for film roles such as annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day and amnesiac Sammy Jankis in Christopher Nolan‘s Memento, as well as such television characters as Commissioner Hugo Jarry (Deadwood), Bob Bishop (Heroes), Sandy Ryerson (Glee), Stu Beggs (Californication) and The Goldbergs (Principal Ball).

Stephen has a monthy audio podcast, The Tobolowsky Files of autobiographical stories of his acting and personal life.  He has also authored The Dangerous Animals Club and Cautionary Tales based on these original stories.

Mr. Tobolowsky was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play for the 2002 revival of Mornings at Seven.

Hawk Koch


Hawk Koch (Saturday Evening @ 7pm) – Producer/ Assistant Director and a former President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

After his time in the music business, Hawk Koch turned to filmmaking in Hollywood, working as assistant director for a number of directors on such film as The Way We Were (dir. Sydney Pollack, 1973), Chinatown (dir. Roman Polanski, 1974), Marathon Man (dir. John Schlesinger, 1976), Heaven Can Wait (dir. Warren Beatty and Buck Henry, 1978)  and later as a producer. Hawk produced such notable films as The Other Side of Midnight (1977), Gorky Park (1983), A Night in Heaven (1983), The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984), Wayne’s World (1992), Wayne’s World 2 (1993), Primal Fear (1996), Frequency (2000) and Collateral Damage (2002).

Mr. Koch served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2012 to 2013 and President of the Producers Guild of America from 2010 to 2014.

William Klayer


William Klayer (Saturday afternoon @ 2:30pm) – Director/ Cinematographer/ Additional Photography   Bill Klayer is a NYC film maker. An accomplished cinematographer, he has shot for many of the best shows on television, including, 30 Rock, Jessica Jones, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Following and Person of Interest. As DoP,
his film That’s What She Said, premiered at Sundance in 2012. As a director he has worked of the television shows Daredevil and Law & Order. Under A Stone is his first short film.

Lisa Ann Walter


Lisa Ann Walter – Actress/ Writer/ Producer/ Comedian (Saturday Afternoon @ 2:30pm) –Lisa has worked on such notable films as The Parent Trap where she played Chessy ( the nanny), Bruce Almighty where she played Debbie (Jennifer Aniston’s best friend), Shall We Dance (with Richard Gere), War of the Worlds (with Tom Cruise), and such tv shows as Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Exes, Emeril, Nip/ Tuck, Breaking News and The Odd Couple. Lisa can be seen in the romantic comedy Dependents Day. Lisa is also an established stand up comedian and accomplished author.

Rainy Kerwin

RAINY KERWIN is the award-winning, writer-director-producer of the romantic comedy, THE WEDDING INVITATION.
She also plays the lead role in the film. Fed up with the lack of funny roles for women, she penned TWI. She then went on to shoot the film with an all-female crew to increase the low numbers of women working in Hollywood. The film has 2 wins and 2 nominations.
Rainy is the founder of It’s Raining Films & BuyWomen.com– a site that drives audiences to films by women. Rainy’s next film, Dead Between LA & Vegas, a dark comedy, will shoot in 2017.

Maria Scavullo


As an actress Maria has also appeared in projects such as Carrie Preston’s film That’s What She Said (2012), The Narrow Gate and the original short film version of Jesus Henry Christ (2003). Her one-act plays have been staged off-Broadway in NYC. Her work as a painter/illustrator is on display at mariascavullo.com

Michael David Lynch


MICHAEL DAVID LYNCH grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and moved to Chicago with his wife where he attended Columbia College Chicago. Today, he makes his long awaited feature film directorial debut with two incredible projects: “Dependent’s Day” and “Victor Walk.” Two very different films that cover very different territory, showing the versatility and heart of a talented director who is sure keep telling stories. Lynch served as Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor of DEPENDENT’S DAY , his award winning narrative comedy feature film, which will be available Oct 18th on VOD in North America.

Johnathan Ade


JONATHAN ADE is a writer, director and editor with a deeply-held passion for creating uniquely-held, cinematic narratives. He earned his BFA in Film Production at Emerson College, where his Senior Thesis film, “Through and Away”, won the Jury Prize for Best Film at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. In the field of comedy, Jonathan was the co-creator of the hit mashup trailer “Brokeback to the Future”, an early blueprint for the viral video. From 2010-2013, Jonathan wrote and directed a series of short films entitled “Meditations”, in which each short focuses on an introspective moment of everyday life.  Jonathan is the Writer/ Director and Editor of LAY IN WAIT

Dr. Anthony Adah


DR. ANTHONY ADAH is an Associate Professor in the School of Media Arts & Design, MSU Moorhead where he teaches in the Film Studies program.

Joe Kessler


Joe, (producer/actor of THE WOLF)  co-founded Uptop Films and is a gifted storyteller and communicator. For over 15 years he’s acted in commercials, film and TV, as well as toured the country performing improv and stand-up. His success lies in his ability to connect with an audience, whether it’s an audience of thousands or just one. This translates into an easy-going and relatable directorial style that gets the best from professional actors and non-actors alike—resulting in highly approachable films that connect with audiences everywhere.

Ryan Grams


As an award-winning filmmaker, commercial cinematographer, and co-founder of Uptop Films, Ryan (cinematographer of THE WOLF) is truly an artisan of the moving image. Whether he’s serving as cinematographer, director, editor or all three at once—Ryan’s work reveals an incredible ability to make the intimate feel spectacular and the spectacular feel intimate. From short-films and documentaries to commercials and other branded content.

Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson


Kyja Kristjansson-Nelson (director of LOOK OUT POINT and THE FISCAL CLIFF) Kyja”s films have screened at festivals in Asia, Europe, North America and Australia, at venues such as the Walker Art Center, the D.C. National Museum for Women in the Arts, & the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. Her work has received awards, including the ICDOC Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography, Ann Arbor Film Festival’s Griot Editorial Best Editing Award, and the UFVA Award of Merit for Documentary Filmmaking.  The Carnegie Foundation named her the 2014 Minnesota CASE Professor of the Year.  K-Nelson is the Chair of the School of Media Arts & Design at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Alan H. Johnson

ALAN H JOHNSON Art Designer SCARE-APY and HELP DESK , is a Graphic Designer and Photographer and has been working in Advertising for 25 years. He has had a passion for classic and independent film for as long as he can remember. He has been fortunate enough have been on the crew for several film projects in the Twin Cities over the last couple years, as Graphic Designer and Photographer.

Dan Cleberg

DAN CLEBERG (creator of Alien Showdown in Rock n Roll City) is a co-owner of the Red Rooster Coffee House in Aberdeen and the Director of the Fallout Creative Community; an arts nonprofit that makes creative experiences accessible to people who tend to be marginalized.  Through the Fallout he founded and plays guitar for the band Better Ride which is a musical outlet for dozens of people with developmental disabilities.
Along with the cast, Dan will be representing the film Alien Showdown in Rock n Roll City, which received Best Film, People’s Choice, Best Soundtrack and other awards at the Fischgaard Short Film Project 2016.

Ryan Swan


RYAN SWAN (sound designer PERCIPIENT) is Minneapolis filmmaker who started in post production and has branched out to producing, directing and writing. This is the second time attending the SDFF. In 2013 Ryan had “City Boots” in the fest. This year he is excited to show SDFF “Percipient” a film he won Best Sound Design for at Zfest in Minneapolis.

Harmony Blakeway

HARMONY BLAKEWAY, Executive Producer of VERITAS is excited to be attending her first South Dakota Film Festival.

Stephen Kane

STEPHEN KANE, Writer/Director of VERITAS completed film school in Minneapolis, and has been producing media with his colleagues in 1 Light Films, ever since. 1LightFilms.com has a narrative feature, two feature documentaries and numerous music videos, shorts, corporate and commercial work under its belt. Stephen also has a part time gig at Skydive Twin Cities, and likes to teach others how to skydive, or take them along for the ride as a tandem instructor.

Tucker Lucas


TUCKER LUCAS is a television producer and filmmaker from Moorhead, MN. He is currently a producer for Poker Night in America, which can be seen every Monday night on the CBS Sports Network. Tucker has also been an ensemble member with Theatre B of Fargo since 2007. He is the co-producer and editor of A PERFECT RECORD

Zach Thompson


ZACH THOMPSON, 22, was born in Willmar, MN. Attending New London-Spicer High School. Zach is currently pursuing a career in Animation with a Music Technology minor at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Zach has taken a rare opportunity to work with one of his best friends in the world to produce a collaborative film. “MAY THE PRICE BE WITH YOU” was originally created for an introductory film course at MSUM. Zach serves the film as director, camera operator, and cinematographer. Zach is honored and privileged to be apart of the South Dakota Film Festival