Filmmaker Panels

LIVIFF is excited to announce two FREE filmmaker panels taking place in screen at the Odeon Liverpool One.

Off The Rails Panel

Saturday 13th October at 11:45am

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Liverpool born filmmaker Damian Fitzsimmons and the cast and crew of his film “Off the Rails” talk about creative content filmmaking and making his first feature film. The panel includes:

Damian Fitzsimmons - Director/Writer

Raised by wolves, educated by men in black dresses.
Damian has over twenty-five years of filmmaking experience and has worked for himself since 2000, firstly as a screenwriter and then since 2009 as the Creative Director of BRAVEMAN, a video production company based in South Florida. 

Mark Ford - Executive Producer/Writer 

Born in 1950. One of eight. Wrote my first book at 11. Came of age in the 1960s at the height of  Beatlemania. With two close friends, opened a bar in a bad neighborhood in the early 1970s. (In New York, not Florida). Worked there while going to college. Went to Africa with the Peace Corps. Returned to a career in journalism and then publishing. Started a few businesses. Made a movie. 

Ian LaQua - Co-Producer/2nd Unit Director

Ian is a film industry veteran with a decade of experience at the helm of a wide range of projects, big and small.
Born in Minneapolis; he enjoys hockey, snowboarding, and the subtle vagaries of Midwestern passive aggressiveness.  He wisely relocated to Miami a decade ago.
Along with Brave Man, Ian has produced content for South Florida Fair, Karate Combat, Remitly, & Absolut Vodka. Their first full-length feature film, Off The Rails, runs the festival circuit this fall.

Steve Cabrera - Writer

Forty-six years ago, Steve Cabrera was a 22-year old liquor store clerk with no college education, no money, no connections and no prospects.  Working with him at the liquor store were two close friends, Mike and Mark, equally devoid of direction.  The three friends embarked on a crazy scheme to open a bar.  The bar opened, the bar suffered, the bar  succeeded.  Their lives were impacted by the experience in a number of different ways.   Steve and Mark left the bar and went in different directions.  Steve went to college and had a long career as an environmental consultant for an engineering firm.  Mark became a wealthy businessman and author.  Mike passed away in 1984.  Some years later Steve reunited with Mark and they decided to write a story about the bar experience, as a tribute to their departed friend.  With the help of a third co-writer, the story evolved into the film having its premier today, "Off the Rails."

David Gallegos - Actor (Manny) 

David Gallegos’ acting career began when he was approached to join the critically acclaimed theatre company, Ground Up & Rising, while studying in college. He participated in hard-hitting productions such as The Pillowman, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel and many others. David was also part of Miami’s Shakespeare in the Park where he performed in and choreographed fight scenes for Othello, Romeo & Juliet, and Macbeth. Since then, David has appeared in many film, television and digital productions. You may have seen him in 2-Headed Shark Attack, national commercials for Toyota and AT&T and participated in original sketch comedy productions for Buzzfeed, Mitu and Super News Live. He recently wrapped production on an independent film called Mandao of the Dead where he plays a ghost stuck in the spiritual realm, trying to get his body back. David’s ability to find comedy in the darkest of situations and the simplest of mundane tasks has brought him to start spreading his ideas to the social media world in which he writes and acts in his own sketches and covers the occasional Disney song.

James Robert Wood -  Actor (Chris)

James Robert Wood started his acting career while at college, playing such roles as R.P.McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" and Stanley Kowalski from "A Streetcar Named Desire."
From there, he went on to perform in nearly 30 stage productions as well as starring in 10 short films.
A five-time Irene Ryan Nominee/Semifinalist, who later trained & studied master film acting under the late Burt Reynolds in Jupiter.  Aside from landing two very different roles in a couple of America's Most Wanted episodes, James will now be co-starring opposite of Edi Gathegi as the recurring rival character "Jordy" in Sony CRACKLE's 3rd season of StartUp, which premieres this November 1st.
Likewise, his role as "Chris" in Off The Rails marks his feature film debut. 
James is a character actor, a chameleon from role to role. 
An Eagle Scout, a Locksmith, a Libra, a Musician. Born and raised in Port Saint Lucie, Florida/USA. 

Otmara Marrero - Actor (Anna) 

Started ballet at 3, danced for 16 years, graduated high school thinking I’d dance professionally for the rest of my life till I had an epiphany and realized dancing was just a part of telling the story, I needed words! Studied Uta Hagen for 2 years and started calling myself an actor  :( 
Started auditioning for commercials not long after and before I knew it I booked my first 5 and under.. i day played on Ballers, Graceland before I day played on War Dogs which was then called Arms and the Dudes.. Soon I’d do my first feature film where I had much more than 5 lines and after that it was all about taking steps with faith.

Kelly Aishling Gray - Actor (Kelly) 

Kelly Aishling Gray was born in Preston, Lancashire, England with a nomadic heart and at a young age moved to the United States where she quickly enjoyed a burgeoning career as a child model.   She retired from the pint sized human mannequin business at the ripe old age of 15 to focus on her truest passion, the craft of acting.  With her humor, wit and a keen investigative eye she has put on many costumes from empathetic AI robots, gleeful assassins, to teenagers figuring it out (for now).


Short Filmmakers Panel

Sunday 14th October at 11:45am

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We talk all things Short Filmmaking, from its relevance in today’s market place to the craft of a good short. This is a panel not to be missed for any budding filmmaker.


Lucinda Sinclair

Lucinda is an actress and producer, recently appearing in BBC’s ‘Doctors’ and ‘Coronation Street’. Following a six year career break to have her two children, Lucinda returned to acting two years ago and took on the role of producer for the first time on the award winning short film ‘Pretty’, directed by Chris Green. “I was at the stage in my career, and in life, where I had to create my own opportunities”.

NIck Hatton Jones

Nick Hatton Jones is an upcoming writer and director. With his company Grass Roots Media, he has written and directed two romantic comedy micro ­series, The London Affair and The Script and the Rose both were screened by the BBC regionally and the latter was commissioned by the BBC. The London Affair was subsequently made as an online series and was received internationally by over 2 million viewers. Nick has developed the feature film script of The London Affair with guidance from the Head of Development at Icon. Nick has written a number of short films. His short films have screened at Palm Springs International Film Festival, Miami International Film Festival, Heart of Gold, Tres Court, LA Comedy Shorts, Kansas International Film Festival etc.

Edward Windus

Edward was a journalist and an environmentalist in Latin America before working his way up the film industry from an intern at Heyday Films to development work for government funds and production companies including British Screen, Creative Scotland, Irish Film Board, Film Consortium, Rome's Eagle Pictures and Sweden's Filmpool Nord. The short he wrote "Getting Around to Brighton" was broadcast on Meridian South and his full-length screenplays have been shortlisted for numerous international prizes, including Script Pipeline as a finalist and the long list of the Premio Solinas. He has taught on BA and MA screenwriting courses at the London Film Academy, Met Film School and London Film School and is currently module leader at the Central Film School and the University of Worcester. He directed the short Playing Field, edited by Steven Worsley (War and Peace) and is currently writing "The Head of the Race" for Argentina's CEPA and “The Last Anniversary” for IZM Productions.

James Hughes

James Hughes is a Multi-Award Winning Writer Director. His debut short film was an official selection of multiple Oscar qualifying festivals, such as the Calgary International Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival, to name just a few.  Based on this success he was flown to Tuscany to direct a stage show to a live audience of four thousand that was simultaneously broadcast on Italian television.  The following year, he was hired to be a Speaker for the Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles, where he taught a popular class on short filmmaking, working alongside such luminaries as William Goldman.  As a screenwriter, he has sold three feature film screenplays and numerous short film scripts to international production companies, and also worked for a Los Angeles talent agency for a year as a Story Analyst. 

Carsten Woike

CARSTEN WOIKE had studied german philology and psychology, before he started working as an assistant-director and director at a german stage. Since 2007 he has made web-commercials, theater-trailers for german director Falk Richter (at stages like: Burgtheater Vienna, Schaubühne Berlin, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus) and trade-fair-videos (for companies like: interstuhl, Floetotto, at fairs like: imm cologne, CeBIT, Hannover Messe). He has also worked as a second assistant-director for tv-movies (2008: "Death Water / Tod aus der Tiefe" Pro7, Director: Hans Horn (Open Water 2), 2011: "Marco W." SAT1) Until now he has written, produced and directed several short-films:
2010: CAR PARK (Shortlist: "Youtube Play" Guggenheim Museum New York 2010)
2016: ANTENNA (winner: critics choice prize: SHORT FILM COLLECTION 2016, winner: Best Director, Best Short Film: South Texas Int. Film Festival 2017)

Patrick Hopkins

Patrick Hopkins studied Film and English at the University of Cape Town and worked in commercials in South Africa until he moved to London in 2006. There he worked on a variety of television productions before ending up at Working Title Films in 2009. Patrick met Oscar-winning filmmaker James Marsh in 2013 and since then he has worked as his assistant on three feature films: The Theory of Everything, The Mercy and King of Thieves. Patrick was also the second-unit director on King of Thieves. In 2017 Patrick wrote and directed his first short film, Touchpaper, which is currently playing at various festivals. Previously, Patrick assisted director Susanna White during the production of the 2012 BBC/HBO series Parade's End and during post-production on Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang. Patrick lives in London where he is currently writing a range of film and television scripts.

Joe Stucky

Joe Stucky’s work explores the poetics of space and time, grief, and loss, family, and relationships. Born and raised in the Philippines to a missionary family his life and experience has been one of travel, to beautiful places, and a wonderful culture of people who love family. Joe's art is motivated by social issues. Joe studied at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit Michigan gaining a BFA in Animation and has received his MFA from the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at the University of Southern California. Joe’s film Where the Jungle Ends has been selected to screen at festivals in the US and UK, and is winning multiple awards. His film Wheels won an award in the Ann Arbor Film Festival last year and has also been shown in New York. Rainbow Blend a hand-drawn animation was the winner of animated shorts at the Hollywood International Moving Picture Festival. My Habit Lab an informative film in collaboration with the psychology department, has been written up in INSEAD.EDU. Joe’s VR documentary film Community was shown at the United Talent Agency for the First Look Awards showcase.

Natalie Evans

Born and raised in Preston, Lancashire, Natalie graduated from Uclan with a Masters in Film Production then relocated to London to pursue a career in film. Now working as a coordinator in Post Production Sound for Warner Bros, this has opened her eyes to the power of sound in film. In her debut short film ‘Today is a Good Day’, Natalie experiments with all aspects of audio, crossing over between the ‘real’ and ‘gaming’ worlds. Having spent the past four years writing screenplays in her free time, Natalie is now in pre production stages of her first feature length film, as writer/director due to be shot in February 2019.