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    R#J

    Meet the cast and crew of R#J

    It’s time to meet the team behind the screenlife adaptation of Shakespearean classic — R#J is a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet, featuring a diverse cast and crew. This modern-day take is told on their cell phones in the screenlife format and is a mashup of Shakespearean dialogue with current social media communication.

    Sundance Institute / YouTube

    CAREY WILLIAMS / Director

    Hailed by Filmmaker Magazine as one of 2018’s New Faces of Independent Film, Carey Williams is a director bringing a unique and visually striking cinematic eye to the exploration of the human condition. He recently completed his feature debut R#J, a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and is prepping the feature version of his 2018 Sundance and SXSW Award winning short film EMERGENCY.

    TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV / Producer

    Russia’s top grossing filmmaker, Bekmambetov broke out with Russian fantasy epics Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2005). His directing debut in Hollywood was the blockbuster Wanted (2008) starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Bekmambetov has made his name in recent years by staking on digital filmmaking and technological innovations.

    He is the pioneer of the screenlife films, in which the action takes place on the screens of computers or smartphones. The first film in this format, Unfriended grossed about $65 million worldwide in 2015 and was one of the year’s top ten most profitable film projects by rate of return. Searching (2018), starring John Cho, raked in $75 million. In 2018, the Berlinale and SXSW audience awards went to his political thriller Profile. This summer he signed a deal with Universal to produce five more feature films in the screenlife format. In 2016, Bekmambetov founded the tech startup Screenlife Limited developing products based on AI and deep learning for the mass production of the screenlife content.

    IGOR TSAY / Producer

    Igor Tsay started in the film industry working alongside Russian director and producer Timur Bekmambetov as a stunt choreographer on Bekmambetov’s breakthrough Russian fantasy epic Day Watch (2002) and his U.S. debut – the action film Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy. In 2016, he co-produced the Russian fantasy feature He’s a Dragon, which had its widest release in China and became the highest grossing Russian movie that year by international box office.

    In 2018, he and Bekmbabetov co-produced his first movie in the screenlife format, where the action is set entirely on the screens of the characters’ devices: the tech-thriller Searching, starring John Cho and Debra Messing, was a sensation at Sundance and went on to be released worldwide by Sony Pictures and earn $75 million at the box office. He co-produced Bekmambetov’s screenlife directing debut, the political thriller Profile, which won an audience award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018, and Snap Original Dead of Night, a zombie series shot in the screenlife format for viewing on smartphones. R#J, a screenlife adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” that is set to premiere at Sundance in 2021, is the first major project to come out of Bekmambetov and Tsay’s newly formed production company Interface Films. It plans to spend more than $10 million on screenlife pictures this year.

    ALEX SOBOLEV / Producer, Scriptwriter

    Alex’s previous experience with the screenlife format was the docu-series 1968.digital, produced by Bazelevs and distributed by BuzzFeed. R#J is his second feature film. Before that, he wrote, produced, and directed Piter By Kasta, which featured A-list Russian actors and celebrities.

    DIEGO MADRIGAL / Director of Photography

    Diego Madrigal is a Director of Photography based out of Los Angeles, California.

    Diego Madrigal is a Mexican-American Cinematographer, whose work primarily focuses on underrepresented subjects. He was raised partially in Los Angeles and partially in Mexico, where he studied film at the Centre for the Arts, Architecture and Design (CUAAD) and graduated from The Los Angeles Film School.

    Diego Madrigal was the series Director of Photography for the Emmy winning digital series “Giants” which earned him a nomination for Best Cinematography by the International Academy of Web Television Awards. He has worked full time on a wide array of film projects, including Sephora and Spotify commercials, multiple feature films, documentaries and countless music videos with some of the industries leading talent.

    LAM NGUYEN / Editor

    Lam Thanh Nguyen is from Denver, Colorado. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Video production from the University of Denver. Lam’s film career began with an internship for a Denver based production company working on the set of a feature film; “Ichabod: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” which aired on PBS. Written and Directed by Rick Ramage: (“The Proposition,” “Stigmata,” “Peacemakers (TV Series),” “Haunted (TV Series)”) Lam was hired to edit the film and earned a producer credit. Since then, his editing career has flourished, working with many award winning producers and directors. He has edited five feature documentaries, various short film projects, and television and web commercials.

    Lam continues to embrace working with great storytellers and plans to direct. His most recent works include working on Heaven Sent (2016/Lionsgate/Lifetime) – Dead of Night (2020/Snapchat Original) and The Courage To Run (2021), a one hour documentary featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines on the Discovery Channel and the Magnolia Network. He recently finished editing R#J (2021), a fresh modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet from Timur Bekmambetov’s company Bazelevs/Interface Films.

    DESI AGUILAR / Costume Design

    Costume Designer Desi Aguilar has a decade of experience under her belt. In that time, she’s been fortunate enough to have worked with a wide variety of talents including Ava Duvernay, AJ McClean, Julia Roberts and Channing Tatum. Desi has had a love for fashion and costumes since a young age. Growing up, she was inspired by the fashion spreads of Vogue and the costumes in The Mighty Ducks which influenced her love for combining bold fashion with quirky costume choices. She hopes to one day compete in a pie eating contest.

    EVELYN ELLIAS / Production Design

    Evelyn Ellias (MFA CalArts) born and raised in Cambridge MA is an L.A. based production designer and director for film, television, and commercials. Driven by collective storytelling and the magic of play and the fantastical films of her youth, her work aims to captivate the mystical spirit of the human experience. Ellias’ credits in television include Season 2 of “Crossroads of History” Season 1 of “The Eleventh” and Season 1 of “Total Eclipse“ to name a few. Her film accolades contain, “The Golden Palm – Best Film in All Categories” at the Beverly Hills Film Festival for “Irrefutable Proof,” a Silver Lion at the Cannes Lion Festival for “The Oasis” and “Best Production Design” at L.A.’s Reel film festival for “The Lepidoctor.”

    Her episodes of “Jurassic World”, “Barbie Travel Adventures”, “Barbie Story Box” and “Dolled Up with American Girl” for Mattel have each reached millions of viewers. Currently, Ellias is expanding her life-long passion for unconscious narrative and is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

    RENÉ G. BOSCIO / Composer

    René G. Boscio is an LA-based Puerto Rican composer best known for his unique blend of acoustic Latino instruments with modern, experimental electronics.

    René has scored a variety of productions ranging from psychological thrillers to dramas, comedies and more. He scored the documentary Before We Leave Venezuela from VICE News producer Joe Hill and coming up his music can be heard in The Time Capsule, from Swiss Army Man producer Amanda Marshall. René began his career in music over 20 years ago in his hometown of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. In 2013, he moved to Los Angeles and worked with composer Blake Neely. During the following three years he created additional music for more than 100 episodes of television shows including Riverdale (The CW), Blindspot (NBC) and The Flash (The CW). He has since composed original scores for more than a dozen feature films.

    CAMARON ENGELS / Romeo

    Camaron was born in Los Angeles, California. As a boy, Camaron loved school, dance, architecture, skateboarding, and basketball. After attending a production of The Lion King at age eleven, Cam’s primary interest turned to acting and he soon began training at the Lee Strasberg Young Actors Studio. Roles in both TV and film followed, further fueling his passion for acting.

    While his peers spent summers surfing, Camaron’s school breaks were filled with auditions, along with intensive theatre programs at Brown University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He still managed to find time for skateboarding and dance class.

    Camaron furthered his education by attending Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Theatre, where he graduated with a BFA in Acting.

    In addition to theatre studies, Camaron honed his dance skills while in Boston. Primarily a hip-hop dancer, he also studied tap and ballroom. He worked as the assistant choreographer and Dance Captain for a production of The Cradle Will Rock. Throughout his four years at Boston University, Camaron performed as a member of FUSION, a competitive dance troupe, choreographing several competition winning sets for the ensemble.

    Studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in 2016 was one of the highlights of Camaron’s undergraduate career, as was receiving a diploma in Classical Acting from the Academy. He loved London and looks forward to spending more time there in the future.

    Post Boston College, Camaron has been working on a variety of television and film projects in the USA, Canada, and Australia. He continues to study acting with Patrick Day in LA and can frequently be found in one of several LA professional dance studios refining his hip-hop skills.

    Currently, you can see Camaron in feature films American Pie Presents: Girls’ Rules and Malibu Rescue: The Next Wave. He has just wrapped the Netflix limited series “Clickbait.” Coming soon is the feature film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet titled R#J.

    Close to Camaron’s heart is the ONE Campaign which works toward ending extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

    FRANCESCA NOEL / Juliet

    Francesca Noel is an actress from upstate New York in the heart of Woodstock. Though she grew up in theater, she has since transitioned into film. She is perhaps most well-known for the role of “Amber B.” in Tayarisha Poe’s feature, Selah and the Spades, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The feature received rave reviews and was acquired by Amazon Studios.

    In addition to acting, Noel is a talented screenwriter. She wrote/starred-in the upcoming short film, Redder, along with several spec television and feature scripts.

    In her spare time, Noel is also a classically trained musician and songwriter, specializing in folk guitar, folk singing, and the flute. She wrote and performed two songs in R#J, “On Leaving Home and Other Prospects” and “00:00.”

    SIDDIQ SAUNDERSON / Mercutio

    Siddiq Saunderson currently stars in the Hulu series WU-TANG: AN AMERICAN SAGA, which has been renewed for a second season. In the drama, he portrays Dennis Coles, a loving 19-year-old who would do anything to protect his friends and family. Dennis, aka “D-Love,” also has an untapped talent that helps him grow into the artist Ghostface Killah. Earlier this year, Saunderson completed production on the indie drama ROMEO & JULIET, the film adaptation for Timur Bekmambetov’s Bazelevs in the Screenlife format, directed by Carey Williams. His additional television credits include BET’s BOOMERANG and Netflix’s MESSIAH.

    A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Saunderson splits his time between New York and Los Angeles.

    DIEGO TINOCO / Tybalt

    Diego Tinoco is the star of the hit Netflix series “On My Block.” The show tells the coming-of-age story of four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through the challenges of high school and adolescence while growing up in a predominantly Hispanic and Black neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Diego stars as “Cesar Diaz” a young man trapped in a family legacy of gang life.

    Born and raised in Riverside County, CA, Diego is a first generation American, whose father is Mexican, and his mother is of Colombian & Ecuadorian descent. Bullied as a child for struggling with a skin condition, Diego found his escape at his local skatepark. It was there that he discovered his passion for acting and started making skateboarding videos with his friends, which ultimately led to a sponsorship between him and a local skateboarding shop.

    At 16, Diego started taking acting classes and performing in his high school’s theater productions, and shortly after landed a manager and agent out of a talent showcase. Before graduating high school, he booked a role on MTV’s hit series “Teen Wolf.” Immediately following graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time and just seven months later he booked his first lead role on Netflix’s “On My Block.”

    Since the release of “On My Block” in March 2018, it received a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Business Insider ranked “On My Block” the number 1 Netflix original show out of all 65 shows on the streaming service. Less than a month after its premiere, the show was renewed for another season and won Teen Choice Awards, “Breakout TV Show of 2018.” It was also the #1 most binged show on Netflix for 2018. Season 2 was released a year later and quickly became the most “in demand” original program across all streaming services with an average of 43 million demand expressions.

    The third season of ‘On My Block’ premiered on March 11, 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and quickly became the #1 top title on Netflix and remained for several weeks in the top 10 most watched digital originals in the US across all streaming platforms just behind The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney Plus.

    Tinoco was the Celebrity Guest Speaker at the “Celebration 2018” Graduation Ceremony for High-Achieving Foster Youth at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. He also was awarded the 2018 Horizon Award for outstanding newcomer from The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts in Washington, DC. and graced the December cover of Bello Magazine’s “Young Hollywood Issue” and was featured in the March 2020 Issue 12 of GQ Latinoamerica. He was nominated for the 2019 Imagen Award for “Best Actor – Television” and the 2019 Teen Choice Award for “Choice Summer TV Actor.”

    Cover image: Interface Films

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