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“Odessa is Watching” – Happy Holidays from Maestro Filmworks

This holiday season, our team decided to create a special edition of our Long Story Shorts initiative as our holiday greeting. We decided to take a different take on the holiday spirit and inject some technology into the “Elf on a Shelf” notion by creating a fictional smart IoT device, name Odessa.

Without further ado, we present, Odessa is Watching directed by Bryant Jen.

Happy Holidays from Maestro Filmworks! Thank you to our clients and our people for a successful, creative and collaborative 2019. May the warmth of this holiday season carry over into the new year.

Mom: Jenna Lam
Son: Jack Connolly
Daughter: Julia Connolly
Santa: Bernard Gasiorowski

Written and directed by: Bryant Jen
DP: Weston Fahey
Producer. Rebecca Schwartz
Production Designer: Khadir Cade
AC/Swing: Maria Vattimo
Production Manager: Kate Feher
Editor: Jo Shen
Assistant editor: Asad Bokhari
Composting: Rob Jennings and Andrew Czudak
Art assist: Erik Lu
Special thanks: The Connolly Family


Long Story Shorts: Mind’s Eye


This month’s edition of Long Story Shorts transcended the impalpable wall that separates actuality from reality.  What does that mean?  Considering the need for representation in storytelling, we can accept the easy relationship of real actors joined to their characters, and similarly with the real lesson their stories represent.  Director, Andrew Czudak, a staff animator at Maestro, suggests that we can just as easily digest an inference that any character, metaphorically or actually represented, proposes enough semblance of the form to parallel a truly real contribution to his story.

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Featured below are some Behind the Scenes stills showcasing the craft of this suggestion beautifully at work.  Czudak takes his theme further by building a complex landscape, again through the impression of what we understand our surroundings to contain.  The façade is built from a collection of toys, artfully placed to create the silhouette we identify as an industrial setting.  He adds an ambiguous atmosphere of fog and flickering light to mirror the mystery behind his inevitably misunderstood villain.



[Photograph by Max Grudzinski @maxgrudz]

   There is an epiphany bequeathed to each viewer as we take a hard cut from this imagined land, to the creator in real time:  a young boy who has fabricated the narrative and with whom we identify implicitly.


 “The transition draws in the viewer and invites them to watch over and over again, looking for clues in the surrounding world for the childhood they relate to,” says Czudak.  “It’s not simply about nostalgia, it’s about the essence of imagination. I want the viewer to reflect on the worlds they built as kids.  Because they don’t just create the environment, they also provide the magic of being involved.”  That involvement is the intangible quintessence of childhood play – the otherworldliness that slowly flaked away in adulthood, and which we still crave as artists.



[Photograph by Max Grudzinski @maxgrudz]

Don’t forget to follow @makelongstoryshorts for more!

Nearing The Finish Line For Americano

Nearing the finish line for “Americano”

For those of you that have been following the production of our short political thriller we’ve produced with Consurgo Films, we’re excited to announce that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! Our goal has always been to submit to the festival circuit and we’re a few steps closer to wrapping on post production and begin submitting.

Ed Cipolla, our lead editor on the film, spent countless hours in the edit suite with director Tim Viola to lock picture over the last few weeks so that Tim and producer, Kris Mendoza could head to LA to jump into finishing. Color and VFX were done over at FX Studios and are near completion.

Late night edit sesh for @americanofilm. #maestrofilmworks #consurgofilms

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Upon completion of color and VFX, the film is coming back to Philly for scoring and a final sound mix. Christian Mariano, a Bucks County native now living in Queens, NY is slated to compose original music for the film and the final audio mix will take place at Shake Audio over at Milk Boy.

It’s been exciting to see the film really begin to come alive with all of the final elements coming together. We look forward to circling back and updating our cast, crew, and Kickstarter backers on the road ahead with the festival circuit.

Late night color session on the left coast for @americanofilm.

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Meet Our Summer Interns

Meet our Summer Interns!

Maestro Interns 2017
(Photos: Anjelika Rivera, Maestro Filmworks)

Meet our Summer 2017 Interns! Or as they’ve currently named themselves “Working Title Pictures” for the summer. Eurica (Temple University), Joey (Temple University), and Morgan (Emerson College) have been coming in a few days a week to work on their summer project, which is to produce a short documentary for a non-profit we sponsor, Stay True. (You can read all about our involvement with Stay True over the last 6 years in a recent post.)

From their first day of icebreakers and activities in the office, the three have been hard at work learning as much as they can about production while PA’ing on some film sets and also assisting in the day to day of the office. In order for them to embark on capturing the footage for their summer project, they were tasked to create a short project so they could get familiar with the camera and gear package they would have access to during their time here. They were given one full day to brainstorm a concept and film a short project, and the only stipulations were 1) they had to film in our studio and 2) they had to use as much of the gear as possible. The below is what ensued. We’re proud to present, on behalf of our summer intern, a short film, entitled Void.


by Eurica Yu, Morgan Sage, and Joey Tighue

We’ll make sure to loop back here and update you with their final summer project which will be screening on August 31st at a Gallery Show for Stay True here in our studio.

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Filming “Americano,” the story of an unlikely patriot.

Written by Maddie Allard. Photos by Max Grudzinski.

Maestro Filmworks is excited to be producing the short narrative film, Americano. Teaming up with the Philly-native writer and director, Tim Viola of Consurgo Films, ( our crew filmed for 4 days throughout Philadelphia, from Independence Hall in Old City, to the Racquet Club of Philadelphia in Rittehnouse, to Race Street Pier along Columbus Boulevard, to Gryphon Café in Port Richmond.
Americano 5 1 1024x682 1Focusing on a Syrian refugee, the film follows his journey working for a statesman in order to receive a signed deportation appeal. After being betrayed, he embarks on a mission to find the truth and stay in the country. Written even before the unfolding of the 2016 election, this film touches on the every day struggle of thousands of refugees fighting for their own American dream.

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 On February 1st, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to help fund this campaign. After 28 days, over $20,000 dollars was pledged to the project, surpassing the original $15,000 goal. With a supremely talented cast and crew, as well as a leading man who is the son of a refugee, principal photography took place from March 25-28 with a pickup shoot weekend at the end of April to wrap on the film.

Be sure to keep an eye out for progress regarding this project, as we will be posting more about when we head into post production.

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FIMRC: Project Cavite

We are super excited to share a short film that we just wrapped on, entitled Project Cavite. Our Executive Producer & Founder, Kris Mendoza, documented his experience while on a medical relief mission in the Philippines this past August and produced a mini documentary on his time there. For more on the project, read the short message from Kris and check out the video below!

Every so often, there comes a project that changes you — whether it’s the subject matter, the circumstances the shoot may have endured, a learning moment, or the impact you were able to make along the way. In the case of Project Cavite, it was all of the above.

In August of 2016, my wife, Melodee, my future sister-in-law, Norilene, and I all had the opportunity to go on a medical mission with the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children or FIMRC, a Philadelphia based organization that has a vast global reach with sites in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uganda as well. It was a destination close to home for all three of us, as we got to go to the Philippines for 10 days to help medical and social workers on the ground in the rural provinces outside of Manila.

Our family vacations to the Philippines usually include shopping at malls, visiting touristy attractions, and lounging on the beach with a tropical cocktail, so to come to the Philippines with an entirely different mindset and purpose was refreshing. It was equally inspiring to see the resilience and resourcefulness of the Filipino people and what they are capable of with very limited resources. To visit the impoverished areas and be able to make an impact in our short time there was nothing short of fulfilling and to see another side of the Philippines that we aren’t used to seeing, and still finding the beauty of the country is an unforgettable experience altogether.

I was lucky enough to tag along as a non-medical volunteer and document the daily happenings and be able to tell the story in the best way I know how. The short film below is a culmination of our 10 days onsite, operating as volunteers with FIMRC. I highly recommend the experience to any one looking for global volunteer opportunities, as they really did a great job in organization and local logistics during our time there.

Special thanks to FIMRC for the opportunity, Maureen, our field operations manager on site, and to our Senior Editor, Edward Cipolla for really helping to craft the narrative in the edit room.

-Kris Mendoza, Executive Producer, Maestro Filmworks

To support the great humanitarian work FIMRC is doing, please visit the following link:

Project Cavite from Maestro Filmworks on Vimeo.

Director/DP: Kris Mendoza
Editor: Ed Cipolla
Graphics: Andrew Czudak
Music: Premium Beat

Maestro Filmworks 2015 Reel

Maestro Filmworks 2015 Reel

2015 was a great year for Maestro Filmworks! It was our first full year at our new office and production space in the heart of Northern Liberties and we had to opportunity to collaborate with a lot of great clients, old and new, as we continue to expand. We’re looking forward to what 2016 has in store for us. In the mean time, check out our work from the past year!


Short Corporate film: Deloitte Global CEO 2015 Annual Message

We recently wrapped on a fun short film for Deloitte at the beginning of the year. The Deloitte team wanted to stray away from a teleprompter address for their annual CEO message and produce something really engaging and decided to produce a thought provoking short film and this is what ensued.

From CEO Barry Salzberg on his LinkedIn Blog:

“Earlier this year I sent a special video message to all Deloitte people worldwide, encouraging them to consider how they will make an impact that matters – for clients, our people and society – in 2015. I’m pleased to now share this video externally. A little peek into life (and lunch) at Deloitte.”

We were pretty pleased with the final product and really did feel like it was way more impactful than a teleprompter address would have been. Kudos to the Deloitte team for being innovative and going with something more creative and out of the box. With that said, how will you make an impact that matters in 2015?

Client: Deloitte

Director: Charles Morabito
Producer: Kris Mendoza
DP: Blake Eichenseer
Editor: Ed Cipolla
Art director: Susannah McCarthy
Gaffer: Ashton Harrewyn
Sound mixer: Matt Martin
Music: The Music Bed