Biographies

Ron Fricke

Director & Cinematographer

Ron Fricke is a meticulous filmmaker who has mastered a wide range of skills. He is especially well known for his groundbreaking work with time lapse photography and large format cinematography.

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Ron Fricke

Director & Cinematographer

Ron Fricke is a meticulous filmmaker who has mastered a wide range of skills. He is especially well known for his groundbreaking work with time lapse photography and large format cinematography.

Ron's versatility allows him to carefully sculpt his films during each phase of their development. In his early work as director of photography, co-editor and co-writer for Koyaanisqatsi, a renowned nonverbal art film with music by Phillip Glass, Fricke experimented with many previously obscure film techniques. He used time-lapse, slow motion and optical phase printing to present familiar images from a new perspective. Koyaanisqatsi won a 1983 Filmex Audience Award.

Indulging his passion for 70mm, and determined to make life-affirming films, Fricke proceeded to direct and photograph Chronos (1985), a 45min nonverbal, IMAX format film that won the Grand Prix Award at the first Festival International Omnimax de Paris (1987). Fricke worked on several other IMAX format films including the night sky short Sacred Site (1986) which he directed and photographed.

Baraka, also shot in 70mm, develops the themes of interconnection and transcendence which Fricke began to explore in Chronos. Fricke directed, photographed, co-edited, and co-wrote Baraka. Baraka received numerous festival awards including the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) for Best Picture at the Montreal World Film Festival and was nominated by the A.C.E. for Best Documentary Editing.

Over the last decade, Fricke has directed and photographed national commercials for Isuzu, Jeep, Holland America, Star Alliance and Nokia, among others. He was director of photography on Francis Ford Coppola’s HD experimental feature film project Megalopolis. He was also a second unit director of photography for Lucasfilm Ltd. on Star Wars Episode III.

Ron directed, photographed, co-edited, and co-wrote Samsara. Fricke conceived the film as a guided meditation on the cycle of birth death and rebirth.

Mark Magidson

Producer, Co-Editor, Co-Writer

In the broad landscape of independent film production Mark has emerged as a unique producer who has undertaken artistic projects that are epic in scale, entail great technical complexity and innovation, and transcend an ordinary view of the world.

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Mark Magidson

Producer, Co-Editor, Co-Writer

In the broad landscape of independent film production Mark has emerged as a unique producer who has undertaken artistic projects that are epic in scale, entail great technical complexity and innovation, and transcend an ordinary view of the world.

An inventor and industrial designer with a diverse technical background, and equally comfortable in both creative and producing roles, Mark is a hands on filmmaker who is deeply involved in all aspects of his projects, including concept development, editing, and music, as well as managing production.  In the course of the last 3 decades he has taken crews to over 50 countries in search of profound and one of a kind imagery.

As co-Producer of the IMAX film Chronos (1985) (Grand Prix du Jury Award at the Festival International du Film Omnimax de Paris, 1987) he pioneered a conversion of the film to the new 870 format that expanded its availability beyond the IMAX theater group, a protocol that was later widely emulated.

After the completion of Chronos, Mark and Director Ron Fricke began developing the 70mm feature project that was to become Baraka (1992).  Three years and 24 countries in the making, the critically acclaimed film won numerous awards including the FIPRESCI (International critics) Award for Best Picture at the Montreal World Film Festival.  Mark also received a nomination for Best Documentary Editing from the A.C.E. as well as the Award of Excellence from the U.N.  

In 1995 he produced and directed Toward the Within, a theatrically released feature length documentary about the world music group Dead Can Dance and singer/composer Lisa Gerrard.  Lisa is one of the composers on Samsara.

In 2008 he pioneered a first of its kind film to digital scanning process for the Blu-ray release of Baraka, the resulting Blu-ray described by critic Roger Ebert as “the finest video disc I have ever viewed or ever imagined” and “by itself sufficient reason to acquire a Blu-ray player”.

Samsara has been in production for almost 5 years.

Michael Stearns

Composer, Musical Direction

Michael Stearns is a highly accomplished composer, musician, and sound engineer who combines a diverse range of skills to create music with a deeply resonant and spacious quality very conducive to work with film.

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Michael Stearns

Composer, Musical Direction

Michael Stearns is a highly accomplished composer, musician, and sound engineer who combines a diverse range of skills to create music with a deeply resonant and spacious quality very conducive to work with film.

Michael has a vast collection of sounds he has recorded during his travels which he weaves into his original music to bringing an organic quality to his work.

Michael's credits include: Music and soundtrack production for television, feature films, planetariums, theme parks, twenty two IMAX films and seventeen solo albums.

Michael has created music used for James Cameron’s “The Abyss”, “Titanic” and “Avatar”, Disney Films, HBO, ABC, PBS, BBC, Discovery Channel, and the non-verbal films “Chronos”, “Sacred Site” and “Baraka”.

In addition to his film work, Michael's music has been used by NASA, Laserium, and themed attractions.  He has produced the soundtracks to Universal Studio’s themed attractions “Earthquake” and “Back To The Future, The Ride,” as well the soundtrack to Paramount Picture’s ride film “Star Trek, The Experience” and wrote and produced principle music for World’s Fair/Expos in Korea, Japan and Spain.

Michael works in his music studio and post-production facility “The Guest House”, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His website is at http://www.michaelstearns.com/.

Lisa Gerrard

Composer

"Music is a Place to take Refuge. It's a Sanctuary from Mediocrity and Boredom. It's Innocent and it's a Place you can go to lose yourself in Thoughts, Memories and Intricacies..."

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Lisa Gerrard

Composer

"Music is a Place to take Refuge. It's a Sanctuary from Mediocrity and Boredom. It's Innocent and it's a Place you can go to lose yourself in Thoughts, Memories and Intricacies..."

Over a career that takes in almost two decades with the group Dead Can Dance, a number of award-winning movie soundtracks, and a series of acclaimed solo and collaborative albums, Lisa Gerrard has established herself as one of Australia's most ground-breaking and in-demand artists.

Lisa brings a vision that is both precise and all-embracing to everything she does. She is known for using a idiosyncratic language which she has developed since the age of 12 and helps her to connect with people on a deeper level than words can often achieve.

Lisa'a voice has been described by music journalists as rich, jaw dropping, deep, dark, and mournful but most would agree, incredibly unique.

In recent years Lisa has become one of the most highly sought-after film composers in the world, winning major awards for her scores including a Golden Globe win, plus an Oscar nomination for her work on Gladiator

Lisa contributed music to Baraka in 1992. Since then, among the many other films and documentaries she has scored or contributed to are: The Insider, Whale Rider, Black Hawk Down, Heat, Ali, King Arthur, Tears Of The Sun, The Mist, Salem's Lot, A Thousand Roads, Ashes & Snow, Layer Cake, El Nino de la Luna, Henry Poole Is Here, Solo, and Playing For Charlie & Ichi.

In 2009 Lisa’s score to Robert Connelly’s critically acclaimed film Balibo earned her 4 industry award nominations including Best Feature Film Score at the Screen Music Awards.

More recently, Lisa has completed scores to Oranges and Sunshine, Jonathan Teplitzky’s highly anticipated Burning Man and of course, co-composed the score for Samsara.

Her website where fans can connect is at http://www.lisagerrard.com/

Marcello De Francisci

Composer

Marcello De Francisci is a composer who has provided award winning music for various films, television shows, and video games since the late 90s.

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Marcello De Francisci

Composer

Marcello De Francisci is a composer who has provided award winning music for various films, television shows, and video games since the late 90s.

After settling and working in the industry for a number of years, Marcello started his own music production company, Blue Labyrinth Production Music, in 2003. Through Blue Labyrinth he has provided custom scoring for many projects, including independent films, theatrical movie trailers and television shows. In 2006, he was awarded the GANG award for best music score for his work on the score for Sony's video game God of War.

In 2008, Marcello met Baraka music contributor and renown composer Lisa Gerrard. Upon discovering Marcello’s studio in Los Angeles, Lisa Gerrard joined forces with him to provide the film industry with music. Since then, Lisa Gerrard and Marcello De Francisci have collaborated on six consecutive films and an album titled “Departum”. 

Marcello currently resides in Los Angeles. His website can be found at http://www.bluelabyrinth.net

John Chandler Earle

Associate Producer and Additional Editing

JC Earle studied film at Hampshire College. He has been doing lighting and camera work on documentaries for the past 13 years.

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John Chandler Earle

Associate Producer and Additional Editing

JC Earle studied film at Hampshire College. He has been doing lighting and camera work on documentaries for the past 13 years.

In 1998, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a camera operator for Louis Schwartzberg on the documentary "America's Heart and Soul."  

When Mark Magidson was putting the team together for Samsara, he called Bruce Simballa (camera assistant on Baraka), and asked, "Bruce, who do you know that can work 4 weeks in a row, traveling through countries without many amenities, and keep a positive attitude?"  Bruce said, "JC Earle's your guy."  

 

 

Myles Connolly

Line Producer

Myles Connolly grew up in Southern California, just a stone’s throw from the heart of the film industry. After studying film at the University of California, he spent time working in Hollywood before making the leap to the world of documentary filmmaking.

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Myles Connolly

Line Producer

Myles Connolly grew up in Southern California, just a stone’s throw from the heart of the film industry. After studying film at the University of California, he spent time working in Hollywood before making the leap to the world of documentary filmmaking.

Working alongside some of the best talent in the film business, his efforts have helped garner numerous awards, including four Cine Golden Eagles, the Grand Prix du Festival at the Theater du La Geode in Paris and two Academy Awardnominations in the Short Documentary category.

He currently lives with his wife Jeanette in Laguna Beach, California.

 

Christopher Reyna

Imaging Producer

Christopher Reyna is a technical expert who has extensive experience with the full spectrum of image acquisition, visual effects, mastering, and exhibition of high quality moving images since 1971.

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Christopher Reyna

Imaging Producer

Christopher Reyna is a technical expert who has extensive experience with the full spectrum of image acquisition, visual effects, mastering, and exhibition of high quality moving images since 1971.

Reyna has played a key role in creating over 250 IMAX, 70mm, Digital Specialty films; custom 35mm & 65mm cameras; as well as Theatrical, Museum, World’s Fairs, & Theme Park Attractions. He has helped to pioneer the transition from film to digital toolsets with an emphasis on maximizing image quality. As an appropriate technologist, he has specialized in the development and implementation of ultra high-resolution digital toolsets, workflows, & standards, for the worldwide Digital Cinema Industry.

Reyna currently resides in Paso Robles, California, and works globally.

Michelle Peele

Production Coordinator

Michelle Peele was mission control in Los Angeles, holding the production together while the team was in the field.  She continues to shepard the film through the distribution process.  Her positive attitude and organizational skills have been key to the success of Samsara. 

 

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Michelle Peele

Production Coordinator

Michelle Peele was mission control in Los Angeles, holding the production together while the team was in the field.  She continues to shepard the film through the distribution process.  Her positive attitude and organizational skills have been key to the success of Samsara. 

 

Michelle Peele was mission control in Los Angeles, holding the production together while the team was in the field.  She continues to shepard the film through the distribution process.  Her positive attitude and organizational skills have been key to the success of Samsara.