To help us make RISING STAR, our company has put together a team of young film professionals, many with credits on both major studio movies and television shows, and smaller, independent projects. Take a look at the group we’ve assembled.

Marty Lang, Writer/Director/Producer

“I want to tell stories for a living. My favorite filmmakers are writer/directors who have a unique view of the world, and I’d love to start creating work like that to share with audiences.”

An award-winning filmmaker and journalist, Marty has directed eight short films, including CHEAP AS HELL: A CHRISTMAS STORY, which won “The Precious” at the 2005 New Haven Underground Film Festival.

Marty has produced 11 films, including BEING MICHAEL MADSEN, starring Michael Madsen, Virginia Madsen, David Carradine, Lacey Chabert and Daryl Hannah, FIELDS OF MUDAN, a qualifier for the 2006 Oscar for Best Short Film, and THE PLUNGE, which won a 2003 Student Academy Award.

He is the Assistant Director of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program, a nationally-recognized workforce development program that has run since 2008. He is also Educational Director at the Connecticut Film Festival, an annual film festival in Danbury, Connecticut.

Marty holds an M.F.A. from the Florida State University Graduate Film Conservatory and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Connecticut.

Marty is also available at:

Gary Ploski, Producer/Lead Actor “Chris”

“The creation of collaborative art… Epic win ! I could do this for a living. Ahem.”

Gary is a Prospect, Connecticut native, and has over 10 years of stage experience with an MFA in acting from Sarah Lawrence College.

He has worked with the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program in 2008 and 2009, acting in the 2008 film GAMERS, and the 2009 film TIME’S UP. Gary is an Education Organizer and speaker for the 2010 Connecticut Film Festival.

Gary’s most recent work has been online, in the web series CAST TO CURTAIN, and on stage in Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE.

Gary is also available at:

Jennifer Arzt, Co-Producer/Unit Production Manager

Jennifer Arzt holds a MFA in Film, Television, and Recording Arts where she pursued writing, directing, and producing. Her films have appeared in festivals around the country. She made her parents proud when she won the Directors Guild of America Student Film Award and placed first at the Palm Beach International Film Festival student showcase for her short film CAKE.

After film school, Jennifer worked on projects—both big and small—in LA before taking over as program director for the nonprofit event Script Frenzy in Oakland, CA.

Now, she is happily working to get the writer/director hat on her head for her first feature film.

Prior to falling in love with making movies, Jennifer considered careers in lion taming, SCUBA diving, dictionary rewriting, and time traveling.

Jennifer is also available at:

Ginger LaBella, Production Designer

“I’m up to 1,472 uses for gaff tape.”

Ginger graduated from the 2008 CT Film Industry Training Program in Props/Set Dressing. Work since that time includes Props PA for HBO series BOARDWALK EMPIRE pilot, as well as several regional jobs as Graphic Designer, Art Director or Production Designer.

Ginger is a member of IATSE Local USA829 as a Computer Artist, and has over 20 years of experience as a graphic designer.

Rachael Levine, Director of Photography

Rachael Levine was born and raised in the New York Metropolitan area. Introduced to photography in high school, she knew aspects of photography would always be a part of her life. Rachel continued to study photography and communications while attending the University of Delaware.

She received honors for her cinematography at the 2004 Cannes International Film Festival for a short she shot entitled Home. Rachael continues to passionately pursue still photography while bringing her creative insight in cinematography to new and aspiring filmmakers.

Some of her operating credits include: Gracie, We Own the Night, P.S., Roger Dodger and Thumbsucker.

Rachael is available at:

Ben Barker, Location Manager

Ben is a Location Manager and Location Scout who graduated from the 2009 Connecticut Film Industry Training Program in Locations.
He has worked as a Location Manager on the independent feature SENSORY PERCEPTION, as well as a Location Scout for the feature film PRISONERS, and the television series LAW AND ORDER and BANK OF MOM AND DAD.

Chris Daddio, 1st Assistant Camera

“Where’s that damn auto focus switch?”

Christopher is a recent graduate of the “CT Film Industry Training Program ” in the Camera Department. He spent the last 20 years working in the audio visual field specializing in large event production.

His technical knowledge of lighting, sound, and video has made for an easy transition into this field. Since graduation he has worked on a 48hr film project as a CO DP, electric, and sound, a camera operator for “A Portrait of a Fireman, The Steven Valazquez Story” and is currently the DP for “Cause this How we get down” a local cooking show in here in Hartford. He is looking forward to adding “Rising Star” to this list and to his reel.

Zachary Polhemus, 1st Assistant Director

“Because what you learn here, if you learn anything, is that you will never be great. But with a little heart, some perseverance, and a loud constant speaking voice, you can fool anybody.” – Ryan Adams

Zak is a graduate of the 2010 CT FITP Assistant Director Program. He won won best Comedy with his short film Taking the Plunge at ECSU Campus movie fest, going on to win Best Special Effects at the Tribeca Film Festival Branch of Campus Movie Fest. Zak aspires to make his own films and wants to be a DGA 1st AD as well. Until then he’s a freelance AD.

He also loves playing Soccer and bartending.

Magda Grover, Co-Producer

Magda is a 2008 graduate of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program, training in the Locations department. She has worked as a Production Assistant on THE APPRENTICE, LAW AND ORDER, and LAW AND ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT.
She is an Assistant Director of Education for the Connecticut Film Festival. She is also Director of the Silk City Flick Fest, an annual film festival in Manchester, Connecticut.

Matt Giovannucci, Producer

“I produce films so that I can share my joy of film-making with the cast, crew, and audience.  Without the producer none of this would happen.”

Matt is a Producer on feature films. His latest work has been on the two Connecticut-based independent feature films DITCH and SENSORY PERCEPTION, both currently in post-production. He also produced the short film THE SILVER KEY, based on an H.P. Lovecraft short story.  Matt is currently working on the feature film Rising Star with Marty Lang & the Short “Firefly Jar” with Gary Fierro.

Matt holds a certificate in Directing from the Maine Media Workshops & College, and he is a 2008 graduate of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program, training in Production Management. He also holds a B.A. in Media Production / Communications from Quinnipiac University.

Ali Berman, Eco/Sustainability Planner

“On a film set, between the food and drink, the transportation and the throw away culture, the waste can be massive. Art and environmental responsibility can go hand in hand with a bit of planning and creativity. I can’t wait to work with the cast and crew to make Rising Star as eco friendly as possible.”

Ali Berman works as a humane educator for HEART teaching children about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. She’s thrilled to be a part of Rising Star and can’t wait to green that baby up!

Ali is also a writer and is available at:

Tom Varga, Composer

Tom is going to be working as composer on Rising Star. He has worked as composer on the short films TIME’S UP and TO DYE FOR, and has worked as sound mixer on the Academy-Award Best Picture nominee PRECIOUS, as well as the major releases EVERYBODY’S FINE, with Robert DeNiro and Drew Barrymore, and THE BACK-UP PLAN with Jennifer Lopez.

Linda Ginter, Art Director

Linda graduated from the 2009 Connecticut Film Industry Training Program in Props & Set Dressing.
She has worked as Prop Master, Art Director, & Art Dept. PA on several Feature & Short films in Ct., including Sensory Perception, American Jubilee, Leave Day.

She is also a professional Artist & Picture Framer.

Jackie Zbuska, Makeup Artists

“We aim for perfection, but we achieve excellence” – a quote from David Carradine to me after finishing his makeup

Jackie (Jack) specializes in Makeup Artistry and Special Effects Makeup, using only products that are cruelty free.  She realized her dream of being a Makeup Artist in 8th grade after staging a bloody nose to get out of French class.

After high school she attended Complections International in Toronto.  Since then she has had the pleasure of working on numerous projects with the stipulation that “as long as you have a floor for me to sleep on and give me my artistic freedom, I will create for you.”  Films include Being Michael Madsen, The Other Side of the Tracks, a 48 Hour Film Project, and countless independent shorts.

Aaron Miller, Sound Mixer

“Sound is tough.  It’s half the movie and we do it with what, a crew of maaaaaaybe 2 or 3 people?”

Aaron is a two-time graduate of the Sound program of the Connecticut Film Industry Training Program (2008 and 2009).  Since graduating from Quinnipiac University in May of 2009, he has been busy working in the media world as a Sound Mixer and Boom Operator in various forms including feature length films, shorts, television reality shows, and corporate video.  Feature films are his favorite format however, and Rising Star will be number 10 on his list as a Sound man since his first feature last September.

David McRorie, Boom Operator

“Let’s tell a story; let’s make a movie.”

David McRorie is a recently graduated film student from Quinnipiac University and a graduate of the 2009 Connecticut Film Industry Training Program. He currently works as a freelance filmmaker, as well as a boom operator for sound mixer Aaron Miller. David has worked with Aaron on short films and independent features such as “College Musical” and “Herman & Shelly.”

David is also a native from the great state of Alaska. It is still under debate whether or not he is part polar bear. But we do know that he likes sushi, camping, and long walks on the beach. David is an Aries.

Rebecca Schwab, Script Supervisor

“I hate umbrellas!” “I’m old Schwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaab!”

Rebecca is currently a Freelance Script Supervisor in NYC. She graduated from Southampton College, LIU with a BFA in Communications Film and Theater. After which, she participated in the 2009 CT FITP for Script Supervision.

Since then, Rebecca has worked on 6 features, several shorts, a documentary, and 2 reality television shows. She is currently working on the pre-production of a new feature in NYC and hopes to make union by this summer.

Bob Paré

“Keep it safe, Make it fast & have some fun.”

Bob Paré is a Grip / Electrician living in the Hartford, CT area. He has been a professional still photographer since 1990 and a licensed electrician for nearly 10 years. Bob is also a FITP alumnus who brings a strong work ethic, attention to detail and a fun loving spirit to the set.

He has worked on several features, shorts, television commercials and music videos. His background makes him a great fit as Gaffer, Key Grip, Dolly Grip or Best Boy Electrician.