MAX HECHTMAN (Co-Director/Co-Producer/Co-Writer/Editor)
Max Hechtman, a graduate of the Film and Media Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), NYC, is a Long Island and New York-based filmmaker. His narrative and documentary work has received recognition at various film festivals nationally. His goal is to use the art of film to bring attention to issues that challenge his and other generations, through subject matter and stories that are relatable and impact our lives.
His films have been selected for screening at film festivals, nationally, including Stories of Strength and Hope: Preventing Youth Suicide, which won Best Documentary at the 2019 Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE). As of January 2024, he is currently in the early stages of writing his first original narrative feature film, tentatively titled The Lens Within Me.
In addition to filmmaking, he has been working as a professional video editor for the past five years. He hopes to continue his work in production and post-production and pursue film projects, including short and feature-length narratives and documentaries that get people to think, question and open conversations about subjects that are difficult, but can lead to change and positive outcomes. An avid enthusiast of musical theatre, he also hopes to adapt Broadway musicals for film.
You can view his work at www.maxhechtmanfilms.com
CHRISTONIKOS TSALIKIS (Co-Director/Co-Producer/Post Production Supervisor)
Christonikos Tsalikis a co-founder of Reel Life Cinematography, one of Long Island’s premiere video production companies. Chris’ 20+ years of experience in production and post-production has established him as a master of storytelling through his expertise in directing, cinematography and editing.
His experience encompasses producing films and videos for commercial and event clients. With an extensive knowledge of cameras and editing software platforms, Chris’s work reflects exceptional skill in elevating the production value of the projects with which he has been involved, as well as his ability to successfully blend traditional and current techniques and trends.
He is also a gifted and natural teacher of his craft, which he has used to mentor a number of emerging filmmakers, including his co-director on Abigail, Max Hechtman.
RICHIE ALLAN (Elmer)
Richie Allan has been the voice and face of hundreds of radio and television commercials, as well as guest and starring roles in TV and Film. Recent appearances include Part 6 of the Showtime mini-series Escape at Dannemora, directed by Ben Stiller, and in the pilot episode of Amazon Prime Video's Golden Globe-award winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
On film, Richie has been seen in Alto, Meet Dave, Pink Cadillac Murder In The First, The Dennis Byrd Story and A League Of Their Own. Other TV appearances include: Law and Order: SVU, E.R., China Beach, JAG, Seinfeld, Married with Children, Growing Pains and many others. He had recurring and featured roles in Santa Barbara, All My Children, General Hospital, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light.
His theatre career includes the west coast premier of Home Games (White Fire Theater), and David Mamet's world premier of The Disappearance of the Jews, as well as regional and off-Broadway musical theatre roles in Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Kate, Damn Yankess and Chicago.
ELVIRA TORTORA (Abigail)
Elvira Tortora is a Brooklyn, NY native and graduate of Baruch College. In her senior year she toured England and Scotland with the musical Once Upon a Mattress. She also appeared in operas and theater productions and television commercials. One of those commercials led to a career in the fashion industry that lasted thirty-five years. Since then, she has done work in print ads, television, theater, student films and independent short films.
LAUREN HART (Woman at Cemetery)
Originally from Washington D.C., Lauren Hart is a New York City-based actress who almost went to law school but decided she would rather play a lawyer than be one. With degrees in Communications and Politics from New York University, Lauren trained as a professional actress at the prestigious William Esper Studio. She is a working actress in film and television, theater, commercials, and she is a professional voiceover actress.
You may have seen her in several national commercials airing for Match.com or in a variety of episodes for The Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum and Monumental Mysteries.
LEILANI MARIE VASQUEZ (The Girl)
A New York-based actress and singer, Leilani Marie Vasquez was born on August 12, 2008 in Long Island, NY. Leilani’s career began in musical theater where she appeared in many community projects, as Chava in Fiddler on the Roof, Gertrude in Seussical, and Young Cosette in Les Misérables, among others. Leilani was a member of The Long Island Children's Choir for several years and has been taking private voice lessons with Hazel Leon, lead singer of Nishul, since 2018.
Her working with co-directors Max Hechtman and Christonikos Tsalikis on Abigail, which marks her film debut, fueled her ambition to become an actor further. Since filming it, Leilani has worked with director Jacqueline Dow, a finalist for the 2018 HBO Acting Fellowship ,and in Jake Rasmussen’s short Climate Change is Real, which won 1st Place in the 2019 Eco-Fest Comedy Video Competition sponsored by the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Leilani has appeared in many short films since then and continues to study acting at The Creative House, where her teachers include Daniel Cosgrove and Alan Gordon. Leilani's Talent Manager is Jenevieve Brewer and her Rep in Los Angeles is Amy Lord at Eris Talent Agency.
JASON K. ALLEN (Co-Writer/Original Story)
Jason K. Allen's writing credits include the feature film Lucky Fritz and award-winning short films American Sock, You Destroy Me, and That Smell. American Sock won Best Short at eight film festivals, while That Smell screened at 82 festivals in 15 countries, including the SAG-AFTRA Short Film Showcase at New York's Robin Williams Center.
Jason has won Best Screenplay honors at the Nashville Film Festival, San Diego Film Awards, and Mountain of Laughs Comedy Fest among others, and is a seven-time finalist of the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. Most recently, his films won Best in Show at the Push Film Festival, Best Screenplay at Video Hackers-Italy, Audience Choice Award at the Flagler Film Festival, Best International Short at the Mestre Film Fest in Venice, and Best Comedy at LaFF-VIN, an annual event hosted by the Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy.
He has also worked on several assignments, including writing an untitled animated feature for Singapore's Egg Story Creative Productions. As a journalist, he has won three Associated Press Managing Editors Awards for feature writing. His writing and photography have appeared in numerous books, magazines and newspapers.
JOE DANIELE (Co-Director of Photography)
Joe “JD" Daniele has been a ‘shooter’ since the days of film as a medium not just a memory. Trained as a film and TV guy, he has won many awards, such as multiple; NY Emmy, ADDY, NORI, BOLI, Telly, Axiem, Cable A.C.E. and others. As a perpetual student, JD is always looking to learn something new, as a teacher and mentor, always sharing his knowledge, and as an artist, always looks to try something new, different, challenging and satisfying to his creative soul.
When asked to handle the creative and technical aspects of cinematography (digital or traditional), JD carefully reviews how a DP can enhance the script with visuals without distracting from the story. JD’s motto is: "I create solutions not problems.”
"As the cinematographer for Abigail, I believe we gave every ounce of time, devotion, creativity and sweat equity we had, and I believe the story and the film show how all involved were a part of a great production.”
JOE DeFELICE (Co-Director of Photography)
With more than 10 years’ experience of freelance video production in New York, Joe DeFelice has a well-rounded skill set in the field including Camera Operation, Production Assistance, Lighting Design, Video Editing and Adobe Premiere Pro. He has had the opportunity to work on a variety of media - such as social videos, music videos, commercials, live events and talk shows - with a range of clients - including Bud Light, Cablevision and CBS.
ALBERTO INNELLA (Assistant Director of Photography)
Originally from Italy, Alberto grew up in Europe, moving between London, Berlin, Rome and Milan. He moved to NYC in 2015. He’s a bicostal award-winning Director and Cinematographer. With 10 years in film and commercial production, his cinematographer credits include documentaries, commercials, narrative films, music video and web campaigns.
Over the past years, Alberto has directed several web campaigns for Rolling Stone in partnership with Harley Davidson, Modelo, Levi’s, Destination Canada, for Elle, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and Vice Media. Alberto has collaborated closely with some of the most talented, award-winning cinematographers and directors in Italy. His extensive experience as a 1st AC allowed him to learn many skills that he holds today as a director of photography.
Alberto’s style can be best characterized by simplicity and lightness, in awe of the human connections and beauty in everyday life.
ANDRÉS SOTO (Composer)
A Costa Rican composer and orchestrator based in Los Angeles, Andrés has written music for 5 feature films, over 25 shorts, 5 documentaries, and one video game, in addition to several concert works that have been performed by orchestras around the world.
Recent feature film credits include ¡He Matado a mi Marido!, Buscando a Marcos Ramírez and Nowhere. As an arranger and orchestrator he has collaborated with two-time Latin Grammy winner
Edín Solís, songwriter Max Vernon in two musicals, violinist Jane Hunt in music that has been featured at the US OPEN opening ceremonies at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY and in Australia's Channel Seven broadcasts of the Australian Masters, among others.
He has also worked in the score preparation department of Ocean’s Eight, the Coen brothers' Hail, Caesar!, Barbershop 3, and as assistant score technician to composer Marcelo Zarvos in the Showtime drama The Affair.