Director, Story & Screenplay
Kieth Merrill is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He serves from time to timeon the pre-nominating committee for selected categories of films. He is a member of the Director's Guild of America. He is an award-winning filmmaker with broadexperience in a variety of genres and formats. He is a two time Academy Award Nominee, and Academy Award Winner for his feature documentaryGreat American Cowboy. He is the 3-time winner of the prestigious Western Heritage Wrangler Award fromthe National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He was nominated for an Emmy for his direction of Cowboys in his ten-hour mini series, Wild West for Warner Television. The Los Angeles Times hailed hisfeature film, Windwalker, as "One of the year's TEN BEST FILMS. Windwalker is listed in the top 100independent films of all time. Mr. Merrill's films have garnered an impressive list of international awards, citations and critical acclaim.Three of his films: Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets; (IMAX) Windwalker; (feature) and Niagara:Miracles, Myths and Magic (IMAX) have been listed by Daily Variety on their roster of "film rental champions from independent distribution. ? Grand Canyon: Hidden Secrets has grossed over $400,000,000,and is also listed among the top 100 independent films of all time. Mr. Merrill's successful career spans over twenty years as a writer, producer and director. His diversemotion pictures, television, and commercial films have won scores of major national and internationalhonors and awards. He recently completed the special venue production of the 70mm epic, The Testaments. He both wrote and directed this period drama for which he and his crew created the largest set ever built inthe state of Hawaii. Kieth Merrill has made films with some of Hollywood's most respected producers, including Saul Zaentz(One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeas, The English Patient), Douglas Netter (Sacketts, Babylon Five,Five Mile Creek), and Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall, (Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Sixth Sense, Bourne Identity and Signs). Merrill and Marshall recently completed Olympic Glory, the highly acclaimedmotion picture sanctioned by the International Olympic Organizing Committee.
Ken Kragen Executive Producer
Ken Kragen has produced several hundred hours of top rated network film and television projects, ranging from the ground-breaking "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" on CBS to Kenny Rogers' "Gambler" movies and numerous series, mini-series and films. He has written the best-selling book "Life is a Contact Sport" and has lectured at UCLA, USC, University of Tennessee, and Harvard. Ken Kragen has successfully managed some of the world's most important entertainers including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie, Trisha Yearwood, Olivia Newton John, Burt Reynolds, The Bee Gees and, of course, The Smothers Brothers. He was the creator of two of the most significant charity events in the 20th Century: "We Are The World" and "Hands Across America". More recently he produced Cisco System's "Net Aid". For these accomplishments he was awarded the United Nations Peace Medal. Kragen received dozens of awards including two MTV Awards, an American Music Award and several Emmy nominations. He is the only individual ever elected President of both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music. He serves on several boards and was also named Alumnus of the Year at the University of California, Berkeley.
Sean Covel Producer
Sean Covel, 27, grew up in the ranching town in South Dakota, before earning his undergraduate degree in Entertainment Business and Acting at the University of Nebraska, Kearney and a Masters from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California. While in Stark, Covel produced several short films and spent his final year of study working at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Beverly Hills. Since graduation from USC in 2002, Covel has independently produced two feature length documentaries on the motorcycle subculture and three national television advertisements. Before the feature film, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (in theatres nationally this summer), he most recently produced the short film ACCOMPLICE for HBO's 2003 Project Greenlight director finalist Dagen Merrill. He and Chris "Doc" Wyatt are currently in post-production on their second feature, THINK TANK ? one in a series of feature films dedicated to launching talented young filmmakers. Sean is mentored by mega-producer Arnold Kopelson whose films, including PLATOON, THE FUGITIVE, DEVILS ADVOCATE, DOUBLE JEOPARDY and FIGHT CLUB, have garnered 9 academy awards and have done over three billion dollars in international box office revenue.
Emma Kragen Author
Emma Kragen wrote the text for the book "The Twelve Dogs of Christmas" on the back of a restaurant placemat when she was just seven-years-old. On a whim her father sent it to a publisher he knew and Tommy Nelson Books found itself with a perennial best-seller which is now over 500,000 copies sold. It also inspired a successful line of stuffed animals and in 2004 a live-action, full-length movie. Now seventeen years old, Emma lives in Los Angeles with her parents and is a senior and an honor student at her high school, where she is also a member of the school's State Champion Varsity Basketball Team and the Equestrian Team. She was the Novice Dressage Champion in 2004-5. Emma sang for six-years with the esteemed Los Angeles Children's Chorus, with whom she performed in Brazil in 2004, Alaska in 2005 and in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome in 2006. She also plays both guitar and piano. As might be expected of such a dog-lover, Emma and her family own two dogs (boxers) as well as two horses, two cats, fish, and a bunch of birds!
Steven Paul Leiva Treatment
Steven Paul Leiva's first novel, Blood is Pretty ? The First Fixxer Adventure, was published in 2003 and gathered praise from the likes of Ray Bradbury. Leiva's play, Made On The Moon, had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1996. He produced, directed and co-wrote the theater piece Bob Bergen: Not Just Another Pretty Voice, which received an ADA Award Nomination for Best Production of a One-Person Play. In film Leiva produced the animation for Space Jam, the 1995 hit which brought the great Looney Tune characters back onto the big screen and paired them with Basket Ball legend Michael Jordan. Previously he had produced a critically praised seven minute animated segment for the Warner Bros. film, Stay Tuned, which starred the late John Ritter. Leiva has also had a brief career as an actor having voiced the role of Scott in the multi-award winning animated short, The Indescribable Nth, which was short listed for the Oscar, and which can been seen on AtomFilms.com
Daenen Merrill Producer
Daenen Merrill, 28, received his Bachelors in Communications Marketing from Brigham Young University. Following graduation Merrill headed up an entertainment marketing division for Saatchi & Saatchi in Pasadena, California. Merrill has worked on various films in all areas of production including Academy acclaimed film The Amazon and has has recently produced The 12 Dogs of Christmas. He is currently in development with an independent film entitled The West Desert.
Chris Wyatt Co-Producer
Chris "Doc" Wyatt received his Bachelors in Film Studies from Brigham Young University, and his Masters in Motion Picture producing from the elite Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California. After graduation, Wyatt produced and directed national TV spots for DiMassimo Brand advertising in New York. Wyatt's "Crunch Fitness" ads played during the 2002 MTV Music Video Awards. As an entertainment journalist, Wyatt spent two years as the Associate Editor of Cinescape Magazine, during which time it was the best-selling genre entertainment magazine in the world. Summer 2003 Wyatt and his business partner, Sean Covel, produced their first feature film, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, which is an upcoming release from Fox Searchlight. Wyatt is one of the founding partners of First Frame, a production company dedicated to launching the next generation of film directors. First Frame's debut motion picture, THINK TANK, is currently in post-production. First Frame's second film, CRAWLSPACE, is eyeing a mid-summer start date.
Daegen Merrill Editor/Unit 2 Dir
Roland Sonnenburg Animal Coordinator
John-Kevin Hilbert Original Music
Michael Fimognari Cinematography
Marla Altschuler Production Design
Melissa Skoff Casting
Amy Westcott Costume Design
Steve Costanza Key Makeup Artist
Anthony Molinari Stunt Coordinator
Joe Zicarelli Special Effects
Neil Daly Unit Production Manager
Joe Pew Art Direction