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MEET THE FILMMAKERS

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CHRISTIAN DE REZENDES - Director, Producer, Editor, Co-Writer & Narrator

Through his company, Breaking Branches Pictures (est. 1996), Christian de Rezendes has produced critically acclaimed feature films including 41, a documentary about the youngest victim of the Station Nightclub Fire, Getting Out of Rhode Island, a fully improvised dramedy feature, Alzira's Story, the family inspired documentary, and Raising Matty Christian, a documentary feature about a man born without full limbs whose accomplishments inspired thousands.  The film received 10 festival awards and can be seen on Amazon. 

Christian's other notable works include several short films, such as Memories for Sale, Revealed: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface, Cat Scratch, Zach: A Film About Epilepsy and Fred and Emile, a short about the first LGBTQ couple of be married in Lowell, Massachusetts, which aired on WGBH Boston, as well as music videos for musicians Eric Barao, Stefan Couture and Ed Sweeney.  To date, his work has received more than 40 filmmaking awards. Many of his twenty plus directing credits have been broadcast on PBS and screened internationally at film festivals. 
 

In the fall of 2022, after 11 years of production, the first half of his documentary series Slatersville: America's First Mill Village premiered on Rhode Island PBS and now streams internationally on the PBS app.  Slatersville was honored with two Regional Boston/New England Emmy® Nominations for Outstanding Documentary and Outstanding Musical Composition, which it won.  The series also received a Gold Telly Award for Documentary Series and three film festival awards from the Mass Indie Film Fest, Block Island Film Festival and the LifeArt Festival.  The second season (episodes 6-8) is now in post-production and will premiere in the Fall of 2024.

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PAT HORN FERRON​ - ​Co-Producer
Pat Horn Ferron is a graduate of Assumption College were she received a BA, double majoring in Social & Rehabilitative Services and Fine Arts and later an MA in Rehabilitative Counseling. She spent a summer season as an intern at Trinity Repertory Company working in their scene shop and as an assistant stage manager. She is one of the founding members of the Rhode Island Stage Ensemble (RISE) and is the longest seated member of its Board of Directors, currently serving as Vice Chairwoman. Pat was Production Coordinator on the documentary ​41​, about the youngest victim of the Station Nightclub fire, Nicholas O’Neill. She received a certificate for completing a Scenic Art Intensive Program at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam CT. She is a breast cancer survivor and proud mother to Michael, Steven and Tim. She lives in Smithfield, RI with her husband Rich.

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GAIL DENOMME​ – ​Co-Producer

Raised next door to an old cemetery, Gail Denomme’s interest in history began when she became curious about the stories behind each tombstone. Her questions turned into a passion for detective work in 2009 when she became a cemetery historian for the Town of North Smithfield, Rhode Island. Her accomplishments include transcribing for Ancestry.com’s database, Ancestry’s World Archives Project and online databases for research and local libraries. She has also maintained memorials for Ancestry’s link ​Find A Grave and has photographed and catalogued graves throughout southern New England. Gail works with the North Smithfield Heritage Association in several roles, but she has mainly worked in maintaining the integrity of their memorials on ​Find A Grave​, by telling their stories. She has mapped out three historic cemeteries and is currently photographing and cataloguing burials for the RI Veterans database project. Gail has transcribed and researched historic documents, films and photos for "Slatersville: America's First Mill Village​."

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STEPHEN GILBANE​ - ​Composer & Emmy® Winner
Stephen Gilbane has been a composer for film and musical theater, as well as a music director and teacher of music for improvisational theater. He has scored several short films (​Bit Parts, Memories for Sale, Fred and ​Emile and ​It Might Be Me​), eight frantically-composed 48 Hour Film Project scores, music for the web series ​Staying In Boston​, and many short projects for comedy groups and documentary projects around town. He has accompanied hundreds of shows at ​ImprovBoston​, where he is a music director and teacher, essentially playing film scores “on the fly”. He has written original music for a number of musicals, including 10 ​Gorefest​ Halloween productions. He studied jazz with Charlie Banacos and Film Scoring at Berklee College of Music. Stephen is continues to work on the original score for the historical documentary series ​"Slatersville: America’s First Mill Village​", for which he received his first NATAS Boston/New England Emmy® for original music composition/arrangement in 2023.

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JOEY LA NEVE DEFRANCESCO​ – ​Co-Writer for Episodes 1 through 7
Joey La Neve DeFrancesco is a public historian based in Providence, RI. He has worked for years with the Slater Mill Museum, and has created and presented public history programs at institutions including Brown University, RISD, John Brown House Museum, Newport Historical Society, Block Island Maritime Institute, Warwick Public Library, and more. He received a National Parks Service grant to create Slater Mill’s labor history program, and has received RICH grants to create the programs “Rethinking the Gaspee Affair: Rhode Island, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution,” and “A People’s History of 18th Century Rhode Island.” In 2019, he received the Rhode Island Labor History Society’s award for his public history contributions. In 2019, he worked as a fellow with the Newport Historical Society.

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ALLISON HORROCKS - ​Co-Writer for Episodes 8 through 11

Allison Horrocks is a public historian and park ranger who lives in Lincoln, RI. Allison completed her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 2016. She currently works as a Park Ranger at Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park in Pawtucket, RI. Allison has been an interpreter and tour guide at a number of historic sites. For five years, she was the co-host of a podcast about American Girl, history, and pop culture. Allison is the co-author of Dolls of Our Lives: Why We Can't Quit American Girl (2023) and a forthcoming book on labor history. 

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BRIAN HEIL​ – Graphic Design
With over thirty years of experience in advertising and communications, Brian Heil brings a natural capacity for developing creative that works and client relationships that last. He has applied his award-winning creative touch in fields as diverse as hospitality, health care, pharmaceutical consumer goods, retail, fitness and publishing. Brian has directed creative projects from brand positioning to corporate identity, utilizing print, broadcast, direct mail and online media. He took the lead role in creating highly successful campaigns for ​Bank of America, Standard & Poor's, Energy Star, Gold’s Gym International and the ​ASPCA​. Brian was also instrumental in the creation and launch of Monster.com. Brian is a three-time past president of the Southeastern New England chapter of the American Marketing Association. He is also an avid photographer and bass musician.

 

In 2013, Brian stood on a roadway two miles from his house staring at the wreckage of what once was his daughter’s car. A year later, determined to not let sadness sink into his heart, he started a Pay-it-Forward campaign called ​Share For Shannon​, challenging people to take the negativity and do something positive in Shannon’s name. Today, ​Share For Shannon is a global movement that has evolved into ​The Fueling Fierce Foundation.​ Through scholarships and grants, ​Fueling Fierce invests in young people who embody the same attributes that Shannon had and reminds the world the impact created by simple acts of kindness. Today he is proud of where that change has lead his life and the lives that have been forever altered because of one kind, compassionate, audacious 18 year old - his fierce daughter Shannon Heil.

We invite you to see the award-winning short documentary Fueling Fierce: The Shannon Heil Story.

JUDY TENCZAR BEAUCHEMIN – Photo Restoration
Bio coming soon

CANDACE SMITH – Curriculum Development
Bio coming soon

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