||JOE GILLIS (Director of Photography, Screenplay, Producer and Director) Bringing imaginative images to the sound of the popular Groovie Ghoulies music videos "'Til Death Do Us Party" or "Running with Bigfoot" comes easily to Joe Gillis, who as a filmmaker has been fascinated with images that can inspire, motivate and entertain since he first took up the camera at the age of 9 in his home town of Citrus Heights, California. Since he was able to express himself he knew that moving images held a special place for him. By the time he was 10, he was sure it was to be his career.
Joseph Wayne Gillis was born October 11, 1973. His parents did not realize that in naming him after his grandfather and uncle, his name already "belonged" to one of the great movie characters of all time, played by actor William Holden in Billy Wilder's "Sunset Blvd." Like Holden's role in the film, the real life Joe Gillis started at an early age to dream up films and plays that he would write out to full scripts, ready for the cameras, that in this case, would roll.
As a young actor in commercials, he was able to observe how the production side of creative image making was done. In 1980, during the production of "Windwalker", the story of Native American life with Trevor Howard, Joe was able to see first hand all the elements that went into feature film production. Written by his cousin, Blaine Yorgason, he found himself surrounded by the props of the production and watching the dailies. He was learning the art firsthand.
His own first film production was an homage to silent screen comedy shorts. 1995's "9 Items or Less" was shot entirely in glorious black and white, and has been a success in numerous film festivals from Canada's Hollywood North Underground Movie Festival to San Francisco's FAF (Film Arts Foundation) Film Festival.
In 2002's "Voices from the High School", Joe took on the challenge of bringing to the screen New York playwright Peter Dee's tale exposing the reality of high school life, in an unvarnished authentic manner. "Voices" continues to make remarkable sales on DVD and video to libraries and learning institutions.
At home with several new film concepts and scripts, Joe prepares music videos and other forms of visual media. Accompanied by his wife and two kids, he has an un-ending enthusiasm for finding ways to make the screen reach and grab the audience in new, innovative ways.
PETER DEE (Playwright) Peter Dee was born in Winchester, Massachusetts. He attended Winchester High School and graduated from Boston College with a BA Degree in English. He served in the United States Navy. He graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He lived in New York City until his death in 1999.
Peter Dee’s first writing success was an essay on The World Health Organization that won him a trip to the United Nations and Radio City Music Hall when he was a senior in high school. He began writing plays in high school, continued through college and Yale School of Drama. His first play, A MILITARY ISLAND, was performed at St. Clement’s Theater in New York City. This was followed by A SEA OF WHITE HORSES performed several times in New York City and published by Samuel French. Mr. Dee became a member of two writing organizations in Manhattan; New Dramatists and the Circle Repertory Theater Playwright’s Lab. Productions of more plays followed with publication by Samuel French, Inc. of New York.
In 1982 Mr. Dee was commissioned by Baker’s Plays in Boston to write a play for teenagers. The play VOICES FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL was published and continues to be a top selling play for the company all over the United States. It has been performed in Canada, England and South America. It has been performed twice in the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland as have two other of Mr. Dee’s plays; VOICES 2000 and THE SKIN THAT COVERS US was performed in a combined production of seven high schools on Staten Island in February 1996. He has been awarded the International Director’s Medal for this work.
Mr. Dee began reading his poetry in the mid eighties. He conducted readings on Long Island, in Scotland and in December 1994 performed an evening of his poetry under the title ED’S BENEFIT with Julie Harris, Remak Ramsay and Delores Martin at Primary Staqes Theater in New York City. In October of 1995 he was Guest Artist at the Mid York Annual Dinner for Librarian Trustees.
He had one of his dreams come true when a month before his death one of his favorite actresses and friend, Tony award winner Julie Harris, starred in his play AMBER PATCHES with co-stars Alan Toy and Maryanna Karanik.
DAVID HOUSTON (Score) David Houston has been in the music business for over 30 years, starting out playing guitar for PUBLIC NUISANCE. He has been called the "songwriter's songwriter.” And with a gold record, studio stints with the likes of Todd Rundgren and members of the Temptations and production credits that read like a local Who's Who. David Houston has worked steadily to establish himself as one of the area's foremost producers.
After PUBLIC NUISANCE’S hope for a label deal eventually faded and Houston returned to Sacramento where he continued to play, occasionally visiting LA to record. Such ventures, however, were costly and Houston hit upon the idea to record at home. Using an eight-track machine, Houston built a makeshift recording studio in his mother's back yard where he recorded not just his music, but helped finance the cost of the equipment by working with other bands. In due time, the enterprise moved out of the yard, evolving into Moon Studios where Houston went on to work with such names as Club Noveau, earning a platinum record for his engineering work on Club Noveau's smash hit "Lean on Me”, and Tony, Toni, Tone.
After Moon Studios ran its course, Houston worked at another local studio before he decided to set up shop again-once again in his mother's back yard. "I actually had a vision-or a visionquest," he says now. "I saw my old recording studio in my mother's back yard and me working there and I just sort of woke up one morning and said 'I'm doing the wrong thing. I need to be doing this. I need to stop working at this other studio and rebuild the old location and work with artists that I want to work with'."
Over the years those artists have come to shape the local pop music community, as we know it today. From Kevin Seconds, Anton Barbeau and Caron Vikre to Natalie Cortez & Ultraviolets, Grub Dog & the Amazing Sweethearts, Her Six Daughters and the Pilgrims, Houston's work is virtually synonymous with the quirky "Sacpop" sound.
David Houston came to the project after Dave Baxley and Kevin Seconds had to back out do to time constraints. Kevin had asked David Houston to write some pieces for the film back when he was still a part of it which he handed over to Joe Gillis around the time Kevin had to back out. Joe loved the material he had written, all of which is still in the film, and asked him if he’d like to take over scoring the rest of the film. David accepted.
KEVIN SECONDS (Songs “Lotion Stuck” and “Nearly Perfect”) Kevin Seconds has been a staple in the punk community for over twenty years with his band 7 SECONDS. In addition to 7 SECONDS, Kevin has formed such bands as DROP ACID (DEFTONES drummer Abe Cunningham was the drummer during the 46th & Teeth E.P. era), 5’10” (with DROP ACID’S original drummer Brent Spain and wife, Allyson Seconds), GO NATIONAL and his solo stuff as KEVIN SECONDS. Currently he is busy as ever running TRUE LOVE COFFEEHOUSE, which he owns with his wife, Allyson, along with, writing and performing music for 7 SECONDS, GO NATIONAL, UMPTEENTH and solo.
DAVE BAXLEY (Additional Music) Dave Baxley first worked with Joe Gillis when he wrote the score to 9 ITEMS OR LESS. After David Houston was done scoring VOICES FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL, Joe went to Dave and asked him to score some additional pieces for the film which Dave came back after the weekend with over twenty minutes of music. His pieces are the Title Card, Romeo’s Theme, Juliet’s Theme, Bo and Patti Various (all but Carbon by David Houston which is over the “Burns with a Blue Flame” speech), End Theme and End Credit Music. Also, his version of “Good King” and his very personal “One Life (Orchestral) Extended” along with “The World’s Eyes” Composed by Dan Marshall and Performed by Dan Marshall, Baxley, Ron Lanford and Marc Pieruccini, all appear in the film.
BOBBY JORDAN (Additional Pieces) Bobby Jordan wrote the intro piece, Charlie and Ann piece and Psychologist’s office intro piece along with the song “This is my heart you’re playing with” for the film. He also appears as the vocalist on THE KNOCKOFFS “Never Fall in Love” and as the bassist on all THE KNOCKOFFS songs. Currently he is bassist and vocalists for THE KNOCKOFFS, guitarists and singer for RED STAR MEMORIAL along with other projects.
ACTORS (Various) VOICES FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL was the acting debut for Kyle Ian Jones (Barry), LaShay Smothers (Wendy), Desiree Mann (Alyson), Skinner Davis (Stephen), Mark Bernard (Teacher), Robin Bernard (Psychologist), Jason Hobbs (Wes), Natasja Mazza (Catherine), Renee Beck (Deana), Ben Serkin (Joe), Gary Olson (Old John), Melissa Greenley (Manager) and Alex Gillis (Child). The rest of the actors had only appeared in high school plays, except Kellie Odneal (Patti) and Gabriel Montoya (Bo), before they made their film debut in VOICES FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL. Kellie appeared in 9 ITEMS OR LESS and Gabriel appeared in the short film TACO HEAVEN along with acting together at B STREET THEATER and other venues. Most of the actors are in college and are still acting