Cast & Crew

Producers 

David Healey (Executive Producer-Lead Producer/Writer& Rebecca Healey (Executive Producer)

David and Rebecca are proud to present “Leaves of the Tree” as their first feature film. Filmed in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, the hometown of Mr. Healey’s maternal relatives, and the Healey’s hometown of Houston, Texas, this film is an homage to family and faith. The film was developed from Mr. Healey’s book, “Kindness for the Damned: A Novella of Intrigue, Love and Redemption in Sicily”, through many versions of a screenplay that ultimately won awards in the U.S. and Europe. The movie is a work of love and the Healey’s legacy to their children and cousins.

The Healeys’ celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this year. Their older daughter, Hillary, has been actively promoting the finished film through her social media firm. Their younger daughter, Sarah, plays  “Danielle” in the film. Hillary is a junior at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business and Sarah is a junior at Clements H.S. in Sugar Land, Texas.

Mr. Healey has been a practicing lawyer for 30 years, specializing in antitrust and patent law. He has contributed to various books and published dozens of times as well as addressing audiences at many speaking engagements. He is recognized as being among the best lawyers in America and has been rated among the top lawyers in Texas as well as listed among the world’s best intellectual property lawyers. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and a 1982 graduate of Brown University. Mrs. Healey has a degree in accounting from University of Texas at San Antonio, and largely ran the accounting function of the film as well as kept the morale of cast, crew and everyone involved together through a long year of hard work. Mrs. Healey has been active in charitable organizations and run major events for them. That experience gave her the talent and ability to pull together both business and personality to produce a wonderful movie.

Together they are bringing this beautiful film to the public. The film is dedicated to their mothers, Margaret Rita “Gogi” Leibowitz and Sebastiana Buffa Healey. 

Marc Jacobson (Executive Producer)

Executive Producer and Production Counsel Marc Jacobson grew up in a household surrounded by entertainment industry professionals.  His uncle was a movie producer, Broadway producer and television producer. His sister was a successful actress and now writer/producer. His father invested in Broadway plays and his cousin was a successful actor as well.  In law school, he determined early on that entertainment law could be a fertile ground for his future. As Founding Chairman of the New York State Bar Association Section on Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law, Marc developed a broad business and legal background and built his practice by focusing on two passions: film and music. Today, while still handling sophisticated music publishing and recording transactions, Marc also handles all legal aspects of filmed entertainment. He did legal work for films such as “Conviction” (2010) with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, “Texasville” (1990) with Jeff Bridges and Cybil Shepard and “All’s Fair” (1989) with George Segal and Sally Kellerman. He is currently Production Counsel to forthcoming films, “Back In The Day,” “Inversion,” “Dining with Alex,” “The Enigma of Benito Cereno” and is Executive Producer and Production Counsel for  “Confidence Game.”  As an Executive Producer, he helped create films like “Junction” (2013), which was included in the Top Ten Indie Films for 2013 and “The Last Film Festival,” Dennis Hopper’s last live action movie. He has extensive experience in international matters in both the music and film industries.  To his knowledge, he is the only lawyer in the US licensed to practice in NY, CA and FL. 

Donna McKenna, CSA (Producer/Casting)

Donna is an international casting director with 15 years experience casting and producing Award Winning Independent Feature Films, Shorts Films and Web Series’ that have been invited to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Milan Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.

Her ensemble casts consists of critically acclaimed actors from film, television and Broadway as well as new upcoming talent. In 2013 she proudly discovered teen newcomer Sara Sebastaina while producing the feature film “Leaves of the Tree” and cast her alongside Eric Roberts and Sean Young. Some of Donna’s Casting & Producing credits include: “Excuse Me for Living”, “Tammy”, “79’ Parts”, “The Networker”, “Anonymous Content”, “West End”, “A Cry from Within”, “Milo & Annie” and “This Shinning Night”. Most recently Donna put together an All Star Cast for the comedy “I Do, I Do”, and she is presently casting the films “Saturday in the Park” and “The Next Page”.

In addition to casting and producing, Donna tours the Globe teaching film and acting classes. In 2013 she was invited to teach a one day workshop at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She is a longtime guest teacher for the SAG-AFTRA NYCAP program and a speaker on many industry panels, at Film Festivals, networking events and Conventions. Donna is extremely passionate about every project, workshop and panel she is involved in.

She has built a reputation for her successful negotiating abilities and is respected for her critical and creative thinking, problem solving abilities and recruiting skills. These essential skills and valuable abilities combined with her team player attitude have made her an asset to any production and have garnered her wonderful relationships and trust with all industry personnel.

She is a proud member of the Casting Society of America, a voting board member for both the Nassau County Film & Television Foundation and the Suffolk County Film and Television Commission and an honorary member of NY Women and Film. Donna’s genuine likable personality mixed with her vast industry knowledge makes her a casting director and producer that many want to work with again and again.

Joanna Lu (Producer)

Joanna Lu is a Producer, Line Producer and Location Manager for the upcoming mystery-thriller Leaves of the Tree, filmed in Sicily, starring Eric Roberts, Sean Young and Armand Assante. She has developed a myriad of invaluable experience in the industry over the course of her almost two decade career on projects including, “Law & Order: SVU” (5 Seasons), “Blue Bloods” (4 Seasons), “Forever” (Current Season), “The Other Woman”, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, and “30 Years to Life”. Joanna has successfully navigated her career with a wealth of industry knowledge, values, standards and the innate ability to streamline synergies between budget, schedule, logistics, and creative support.

The eldest of four children, Joanna was born in Peekskill, NY to immigrant parents from Taiwan. In her early childhood adventures, typically curious, she stumbled upon the set of the feature film The Toxic Avenger and was instantly mesmerized, it was an otherworldly experience that left an indelible mark on her psyche. Her continued desire to be part of the film and television industry became more apparent as she was exposed to productions frequently on the streets of her new neighborhood in New York City.

Joanna continues to focus her creative talents on developing unique projects as a Producer.

Perla Montemayor (Producer)

Perla Montemayor, is a first generation Mexican-American, native Houstonian. She was born September 18, 1974. Perla is a Producer and Assistant Location Manager, known for “Leaves of the Tree” (2014). Her deep Texas roots fuel her passion to film, create and produce quality films in her own backyard. Perla’s Texas connections, community relations, Spanish and English speaking skills are an asset to film production. 

Early in Perla's career, she served as a Youth Minister and Christian Speaker for teens and women; for both English and Spanish events. Leaves of the Tree storyline drew her in with its faith-filled words and continuous theme of loyalty, truth and kindness. “Leaves of the Tree” is Perla Montemayor's first full-length feature film to produce and she was thrilled to premiere it in her hometown of Houston, Texas.

Ante Novakovic (Producer) 

Ante Novakovic directed, co-produced and co-wrote Leaves of the Tree. His short film, “The Fix” in which his brother, Kresh Novakovic starred opposite Assante, was nominated for Best Short Film at the Long Island International Film Expo, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the Sarajevo Film Festival, the SoHO International Film Festival, and won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in 2013.

In addition to “Leaves of the Tree” and “The Fix, Ante has directed the short, “Tammy”, which starred actress Cathy Moriarty and Kresh Novakovic. Ante also directed three episodes of the “Redrum” television series.

Born in the Bronx and raised by immigrant parents, Ante’s first encounter with the arts occurred while listening to the New York Philharmonic during practice sessions at Lincoln Center. Inspired by the musicians and their ability to find a common rhythm, he began to focus his own talents on storytelling through writing and illustration. As a voracious reader, he was also heavily influenced by literature through such works as Eli Wiesel’s Holocaust novel, Night, Jean-Paul Sartre’s, Nausea, and Albert Camus’ The Stranger. He was fascinated by each author’s ability to communicate the human condition in either a biographical or existential sense. Later, while attending New School University in New York City, where he graduated with a degree in writing, he wrote and directed “The Immigrant’s Son”, “A Room Full of Nothing”, and “Poems Taught”, character and theme-based plays that were performed off-Broadway.

Ante began his career in the film business as actor Harvey Keitel’s assistant, an association that would last fifteen years. Keitel became his principle mentor, and Ante was able to learn the film business from the inside out – harvesting an enormous amount of technical and practical knowledge that would inform the craft of his own film projects. He went on to work with the prominent Irish actor Colin Farrell, an association that has been an integral part of Ante’s development as a director. Given an opportunity to share his writing, and finding a kindred artistic soul in Colin’s innate ability to provide invaluable feedback, Ante ventured into his first film works with confidence.

Ante has 60 credits as an assistant to Kietel and Farrell, including: From Dusk Till Dawn, Eyes Wide Shut, U-571, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, and Saving Mr. Banks.

Kresh Novakovic (Producer) See bio in Cast listings below.

Claudio Colomba (Co-Producer)

Claudio Colomba of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, is co-producer of “Leaves of the Tree”. He was also the second unit director, and the unit production manager in Sicily. He recently cast and managed over 1000 extras for a major feature “The Big Splash”, filmed on Pantelleria, an island between Sicily and Tunisia. “The Big Splash” stars Ralph Feinnes, Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton. Claudio runs CICI Films.

Claudio co-founded "Zeroeuro Produkscion" (ZEP) in 2007, which produced many short films in Sicily, and now from its Milan base, has done commercials for McDonald’s and other major corporations. In 2008, Claudio and ZEP, were selected by Oliviero Toscani to be part of his project “Terremoto”. With Toscani, Claudio worked on numerous other projects, including 200 episodes of the series, "Close-up", focused on cinephile Youngman Kim's collection of over 50 thousand independent films, which lead to the creation of CICI Films.

CICI and Claudio worked on production of videos in Sicily for the “Museum of the Mafia”, which were screened in 2010 at the "Venice Biennale". CICI has since then has managed other productions in Sicily, projects for national, regional and local governments in Sicily, and the annual PLAS Festival. Claudio is managing for CICI, Project "Hologramme", a transnational Italy-Tunisia project for the enhancement of archaeological sites, including Segesta, Sicily, and Carthage, Tunisia. (See CICI Films entry).

Claudio’s latest works are "Villa Rosetta", a short film made in Rome as part of the 48 hours film project, and “Oh Ma” music video for the famous singer Aida Satta Flores. Claudio recently signed a contract to write a new series on Italian TV. Claudio has a master’s degree in filmmaking from the National Academy of Cinema in Bologna, Italy.

The Cast

Eric Roberts (Patrick Messina)

One of Hollywood's edgier, more intriguing characters running around and about for decades, Eric Anthony Roberts started life in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is the son of Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights. His siblings are actors Lisa Roberts Gillan and Julia Roberts, and he grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He began his acting career at age 5 in a local theater company called the "Actors and Writers Workshop", founded by his late father. After his schooling at Grady High, he studied drama at age 17 in London for two years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, then returned to the States and continued his studies at the American Academy in New York. He made his NY stage debut in "Rebel Women" in 1976 at age 20 and appeared in regional productions, once playing the newspaper boy in a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring Shirley Knight and Glenn Close.

After appearing in such daytime soaps as “Another World” (1964) and “How to Survive a Marriage” (1974), his career began to shift fast forward when he scored a leading role in “King of the Gypsies” (1978), based on Peter Maas' best-seller about a fracturing dynasty of New York City gypsies, he made his debut alongside an intimidating roster of stars including Judd Hirsch, Susan Sarandon, Shelley Winters and Sterling Hayden. Young Eric held his own expertly (winning a Golden Globe nomination) while his burning intensity and brooding charm marked sure signs of star potential. After this, he won the lead opposite Milo O'Shea in the 1980 stage production of "Mass Appeal". He suffered serious injuries in a car accident during his nascent film career but lost no fans by the time he returned to co-star with Sissy Spacek as a small-town stranger in “Raggedy Man” (1981). It was, however, his stark and frightening portrayal of two-bit hustler Paul Snider, the cast-off boyfriend who slays Playmate-turned-movie starlet Dorothy Stratten (played by Mariel Hemingway) in “Star 80” (1983) that really put him on the movie map and earned him a second Golden Globe nomination. A wide range of fascinating, whacked-out roles were immediately offered to him. He played another dangerous streetwise hustler type in “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984) opposite fellow rebel Mickey Rourke; a cocky soda pop sales exec in the Australian comedy “The Coca-Cola Kid” (1985); appeared with more charm and restraint opposite Rosanna Arquette in the offbeat romantic comedy “Nobody's Fool” (1986) and topped his prolific period off with an Academy Award nomination as a young prison escapee hiding out with Jon Voight aboard an out-of-control train in the ultra-violent, character-driven action adventure “Runaway Train” (1985). Good things continued to happen when he was a replacement lead in the original run of "Burn This" and won a Theatre World Award for his 1988 Broadway debut. 

Eric's undeniable, unconventional talent would occasionally mesh with the perfect role. At the Sundance Film Festival in 1996, he received critical applause for his starring role as a man dying of AIDS in the uplifting and emotional film “It’s My Party” (1996) and earned more honors as a writer marked for murder in the mob-themed story “La Cucaracha” (1998). He was also perfectly cast as one of the cold-blooded killers in the Emmy-nominated TV adaptation of Truman Capote's true crime chiller In Cold Blood (1996). Eric continued to appear sporadically on TV in such dramatic series as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2001), while sometimes showing a fun side as well in comedy “The King of Queens”. His own series work included “Less Than Perfect” (2002) and, more recently, and in the cult program “Heroes” (2006) where promise for a longer participation ended with his character's death.

Sean Young (Sweetness Messina)

Internationally acclaimed star of Screen, Television and Stage, Sean Young has starred in over three dozen feature films, including such box office hits “Blade Runner”, “No Way Out”, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”, “Cousins”, “Wall Street” and “Dune”. She has been fortunate to have worked with some of the most accomplished directors in the industry including Robert Altman, Harold Becker, Roger Donaldson, James Ivory, David Lynch, Gary Marshall, Ismail Merchant, Carl Reiner, Ivan Reitman, Ridley Scott, Tom Shadyak, Joel Shumacher, Oliver Stone and Gus Van Sant.

Young was born as Mary Young in Louisville, Kentucky November 20, 1959, the daughter of Lee Guthrie, a screenwriter, public relations executive, and journalist, and Donald Young, a television news producer and journalist. She attended Cleveland Heights High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and then transferred to and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. In 1990, Young married Robert Lujan, with whom she has two children, Rio Kelly and Quinn Lee. The couple divorced in 2002.

Young began her film career in 1980 in the film “Jane Austin in Manhattan”, followed by a small role in the 1981 film “Stripes”.

Her body of work established her versatility and exhibited her chameleon capability in her leading roles: from an other-worldly replicant in “Blade Runner” opposite Harrison Ford, to the lusty mistress in “No Way Out” with Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman, to Michael Douglas trophy wife in “Wall Street”, to the gracious wronged-woman in “Cousins” with Ted Danson, to the ass-kicking, military helicopter pilot trading barbs with Nicolas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones in “Firebirds”, to playing twin sisters in “A Kiss before Dying” with Matt Dillon.

Sean's comedic skills were highlighted in “Fatal Instinct”, under the direction of Carl Reiner with Armand Assante, as well as “THE PROPRIETOR” which she starred with the incredible Jeanne Moreau. She played a woman seeking a husband in F. Scott Fitzgerald's “Under the Biltmore Clock” for American Playhouse, and the teenage movie star in “Tender is the Night”, with Mary Steenburgen and Peter Strauss.

“….the most successful acting turn is by Young, who gives a full-bodied, fully-felt performance as Christine but never allows anything to spill over the edges. Her self-containment here is impressive!... Sean Young has found herself as an actress, rediscovering her is, again, one of the definite pleasures of this little movie.”  - Joe Baltake (Sacramento Bee 1/19/04) 

“The Amati Girls” (Jan 19, 2001), ensemble cast includes, Cloris Leachman, Mercedes Ruehl, Dinah Manoff, Lee Grant. Paul Sorvino, and Mark Harmon for Triple Axel Productions/Tricor Entertainment (Sean was awarded the Scarlett Award for her performance Marco Island Film Festival, and Best Actress Award – The Sarasota film Festival) “Sugar and Space” (Jan 2nd 2001 - #5 on Box Office weekend) directed by Francine McDougall, produced by Oscar winner Wendy Finerman (Forest Gump) uncovers Sean as Mena Suvari's mother for New Line Pictures. “POOR WHITE TRASH”, in which she stars as a white trash mother, Linda Bronco, who becomes a burglar to accumulate money for a college education for her teenage son (winner “Best Actress” Cleveland Film Festival).

No stranger to television, Sean has starred in such highly rated and significantly acclaimed Movie of the Week's as the award-winning legal drama, “Witness to the Execution”, “Blue Ice”, with Michael Caine, and the mini-series “Blood and Orchids” with Kris Kristofferson. She also starred in “Everything to Gain”, one of CBS’s highest-rated Movie of the Weeks.

She has an extensive dance background and graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, which served her during her critically acclaimed performance in “Stardust” with Toni Tennille and Hinton Battle, a musical review of songwriter Mitchell Parish. She performed with Gregory Hines at a special benefit for the American Tap Dance Orchestra where she sits on the Board at their New York City headquarters.

Sean completed two movies for the Lifetime Channel, “Home for the Holidays”, released Christmas 2005, and “The Protégée”, released in 2006.  Next up was a starring role in My Network's series "The Art of Betrayal". The series featured a 65-episode story arc in hour long episodes which aired Monday through Friday over the span of 13 weeks.

Then back to the big screen she appeared in “The Drop” with John Savage, “The Garden” and “Living the Dream” released 2006. Then in 2007, Young finished work on “The Man Who Came Back”, “Haunted Echoes”, “Sea Change” and “Dating in L.A.”. More recently Sean finished “Harvest Moon” and “Parasomnia” in 2008 and “Signal Lost” with Tony Denison in 2009.

Armand Assante (Joe Buffa)

Mr. Assante has distinguished himself as one of the most elusive and yet prolific Actors of his generation. Internationally he is sought in the Film sector as much as he has been the guest of leading industrialists and leaders around the world. 2014 marked the addition of the Creative Achievement Award presented to Armand in Italy at the Maratea Film Festival, as well as Belarus, where his award winning short documentary film was presented for a Russian-Kazakh Audience at the 2014 Listapad Film Festival at Belarus, in Minsk. The film focuses on the crisis Kazakhstan endured at Semipalatinsk after the detonation of 469 Nuclear Weapons between 1949 and 1989 under the former Soviet Union.

This past November he received The Christopher Columbus Publishers Award from the Italian Tribune as well as being officially honored by Italy’s Carabanieri during the same tribute.

In Argentina in 2013, he co- produced and Acted in Diego Rafeca’s “Ley Primera” (First Law), a film focusing on the disappearance of the Chaco Indians from Latin America. 2013 also marked the third Lifetime Achievement Award for Armand, this time from the Golden Door Film Festival in the State of New Jersey. As well as the launch of Assante's own brand of legacy product know as "Ora Vivo." Having been sought by the International sector to represent companies for years, he has finally created his own.

The Actor was awarded in 2012 Best Documentary Short at the Gasparilla International Film Festival, in Tampa, Florida for his film “Dialogue From the Steppes” written and directed by himself and is, in his opinion, why Kazakhstan should be recognized as a nation that has been a significant leader in the Global Peace Initiative. In Kazakhstan that same year, Assante Co-Produced and Starred in “Whole World at Our Feet”. In Serbia in 2012 Armand joined the Dragan Bjelogrlic’s acclaimed Film “Montivideo Taste of a Dream” focusing on the historical birth of the World Cup.

Federico Castelluccio (Doctor Ferramonti)

Federico Castelluccio is a driven and talented individual maintaining two careers as a professional artist and established actor. As an actor, Federico is best known for his role as Furio Giunta--imported hit man and object of Carmella Soprano's affections--on the HBO TV series “The Sopranos”.

Born in Naples, Italy, Federico moved with his family to Paterson, New Jersey, in 1968. In 1982 he was awarded a full scholarship to the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he earned a BFA in painting and media arts.

Federico began his career as an actor in 1986. Some of his film credits include “Made” (2001) with Jon Favreau, “Fire” (1996) with Robert Klein and “Diary of a Hitman” (1991) with Danny Aiello. In television, Federico's credits include “NYPD Blue” (1993). Debuting at the Sundance Film Festival, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (2006) received two awards - one for best dramatic directing and best dramatic ensemble headed by Robert Downey Jr., Chazz Palminteri and Rosario Dawson. Federico's recent film projects include the biographical _”Cantante, El” (2006)_ starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez; “Aftermath” (2002), a crime-thriller starring Anthony Michael Hall and Chris Penn and directed and written by Thomas Farone; “Dark Illness” (1990), filmed in southern Italy, a short film that Federico executive-produced and in which he acted; “Capers” (2008), a comedy, is due for release in 2007 and stars Danny Masterson. “Lucky Days” (2006) recently completed filming in New York City. In television, Federico was seen as the lead role in “Dragon Dynasty” (2006), which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Castelluccio is a serious artist. His fine-art paintings have drawn praise for their high level of technical ability, finding influence in the Renaissance and 17th-century Italian and Dutch baroque masters. Over the years he has exhibited his paintings in galleries in New York City, Washington DC and Santa Fe, New Mexico. His works are held in the collection of the Yale Fine Art Museum and Kresge Art Museum as well as private collections throughout the United States, South America and Europe. In 2006 Federico and Paul Sorvino were privately commissioned for artwork to be donated for permanent installation to a new wing of the Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida.

Kresh Novakovic (Hank)

Kresh produced “Leaves from the Tree” on location in Sicily, with his brother, Ante. Their previous collaboration – the short film “The Fix” – in which Kresh starred opposite Assante, was nominated for Best Short Film at the Long Island International Film Expo, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, the Sarajevo Film Festival and the SoHO International Film Festival. Most recently, Kresh was a featured player opposite Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Colin Farrell in the upcoming mystery-thriller “Solace”.

A native of the Bronx, New York, Kresh attended Mt. Saint Michaels High School in Mount Vernon, and loved playing soccer. Although he later attended Fordham University as a business-communications major, he gravitated toward theatre and screenwriting. He credits director Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets” and “Raging Bull” as seminal influences, and he was inspired by the chemistry elicited by Andy Garcia and Ellen Barkin in the 1988 television action-thriller “Clinton and Nadine”. For Kresh, the world of movies was definitely an escape from the harsh realities on the mean streets of the Bronx. It also allowed him to hone his emotional instrument for his first stage performances at the Common Basis Theater, working with his teachers, Marcia Haufrecht, and Greta Seacat. Influenced by his love for Scorsese films, Kresh’s first three experiences in the movie business were films that starred Robert DeNiro. He made his big screen debut as a featured extra in “A Bronx Tale”. He played a 1950s gangster in “Analyze This”, then scored a small part as an airport policeman who encounters DeNiro in “Meet the Parents”.

He made his television debut as a Phoenician Sailor in “The Odyssey”, and has since appeared in Blue Bloods, Alpha House, and Pride: The Series. His additional feature credits include: “The Man Who Came Back”, “Breaking Point”, “The Night Never Sleeps”, “Dead Man Down”, “Send No Flowers”, “The Family”, “Mikeyboy”, “Charlie Mantle”, and the upcoming “Geezer”.

Marisa Brown (Roberta Ryan)

Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Marisa began her acting career studying at the Young Actor’s Institute and working at Stage One Children’s Theatre. She has since worked and studied at the University of Kentucky, then in Los Angeles, and at The New School in New York City. You may have seen her working on TV shows such as MTV’s “One Bad Choice”, “Do No Harm”, “That 70’s Show”, “Boston Public”, “Las Vegas” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” or in indie lms like “Funny Bunny”, “The Suspect”, “Patric” and “Blink”. She has also appeared in numerous commercials, such as Campbell’s, Jiff, Kraft, Pennsylvania Lottery, KFC, Pampers, Dodge, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Jell-O, to name a few. She loves the stage and her favorite role to play was Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Marisa is thrilled to be a part of “Leaves of the Tree” and had a magical time lming in Sicily; a place that is now near and dear to her heart. She couldn’t do any of this without the love and light of Pete, Otis, and Lola!

Sarah Sebastiana (Danielle)

Sarah makes her debut as a lead in “Leaves of the Tree”.   She has been training in acting, singing, dance, and film since age 3.  She has been in the short film “Ghost Stories”, and also the lead in “Vampire Problems”, which premiered at the downtown Tyler Texas film festival in 2013.  She has studied at T. Schreiber Studio and will participate at UCLA’s acting program this summer.  Sarah has been to Sicily many times with her family and loves the people and the land.  She is a junior at Clements H.S., a member of the Thespian Troupe, and worked as cast and crew on numerous productions.  She is Danielle Messina, science prodigy, a lead role in “Leaves of the Tree”.

Patrick Gorman (Father John Callahan)

Patrick is a veteran performer starting at the age of three. Whether it’s General Hood in the films, “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals” or Jacques Du Bois, the arrogant French fencer in “Happy Days”, he plays people to contend with.  The patriarch, judge or expert, with perhaps a touch of the poet - that’s what he does. Seen as Reverend Knapp in “Sleepy Hollow” and mistaken for Cullen’s ‘father’ on “NCIS: LA”. He’s been a proud SAG member since 1955. He plays Father Callahan in “Leaves of the Tree.  His motto is, “It’s always now and it’s never too late.”

Tyler Hollinger (Tom Max)

In the past few years, Hollinger has proven himself to be one of the most vital presences on the New York stage"-off off online. Best know for his work on 4 seasons of the hit ABC hidden camera show "What Would You Do?" and the recent indie release “Old Fashioned” which grossed over 1.5mil at the box office becoming the best selling faith based film under 500 screens. TV: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, “What Would You Do?”, “How to Make it in America”, “Taxi: Brooklyn”, “Dateline NBC”,  “In Between Men”, “All My Children”, “Colors” (directed by Joel Schumacher) FILM: “Trust Me, I’m a Lifeguard”(EP/Creator) (Tribeca Film Festival), “Leaves of the Tree”, “Lies I Told My Little Sister”, “Black Dog Red Dog” (dir. James Franco), “Old Fashioned”, “Excuse Me For Living”, “Brothers Keeper”, “Witches of OZ”, “Slavery By Another Name” (Sundance), “Devoured”, “Girls Named Pinky” (SXSW), “Jezabel” (Cinequest Winner) and many more. Tyler’s films have become Official Selections and award winners at such film festivals as SUNDANCE, SXSW, TORONTO and many more… THEATRE:  “Fools In Love” (The Public, BAM, Manhattan Ensemble Theater), “Sex & Violence” (Mint), “Committed” (TheaterRow), “Glass Menagerie” (Triad Stage), “As You Like It” (OSF), “Last Sunday In June” (Speakeasy). Tyler is the recipient of 2 IRNE awards, 1 mustache award for Best Actor. He currently resides in NYC.

Gaetano Sciortino (Don Pedro)

Gaetano was born in a little Sicilian town called Bagheria. He was lucky enough to gain a scholarship at the well-know National School of Theatre in Genova to study acting. During school he managed to gain theatre works with ARIA Productions in France, so he was well equipped to start his acting career by the time he graduated in 2002. Since then he has garnered acclaim as a successful actor working for some of the top production companies in France, Italy, UK and US.

Colin Walker (Lord William)

Colin is a Los Angeles-based film and theatre actor. He is a graduate of Vassar College, where, in addition to acting, he was trained in directing, editing, screenwriting and cinematography. Colin has starred in many new and award-winning plays in New York, and independent films across the country. “Leaves of the Tree” has taken him even farther abroad, to Sicily, where he portrays the 19th-century Lord William. Currently, Colin is involved in some exciting upcoming film and television projects in Los Angeles.

Ozman Sirgood (Don Diego)

Ozman is a veteran of the industry, working on Film and Television projects on both sides of the Atlantic. Ozman was born as Osman Soykut in Ankara, Turkey.  He moved to California in 1984 and began his acting career in 1998. In 2001, he started training with Milton Katselas at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, continuing until Milton's death in 2008.Ozman found early success in his native Turkey, where he has worked on over 100 episodes of various high profile TV shows.  On the other side of the pond, Ozman has played in productions including “Charmed”, “Alias”, “The Bold And The Beautiful”, “The Hot Chick”, “Art School Confidential” and many others.Currently, he is playing the Sufi mystic "Ibn-i Arabi" in the hit period drama "Dirilis - Ertugrul" in Turkey.Ozman is followed closely by a loyal fan base spread across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

Sewell Whitney (Doctor Nathan)

Sewell is thrilled to have been able to work with such a wonderful group of people and so many talented actors. He has over 100 credits on IMDB, and his contact info is there. He's always happy to play.

Jackson Drake Fordyce (Young Ferramonti)

Jackson is a seventeen year-old actor from Houston, Texas. Fordyce, a Scottish last name from his father's side and born of a Mexican-American mother, Jackson Drake appreciates the diverse culture Houston has to share. Jackson began his career as a child extra on the Conan Brothers film, “True Grit” (2010). Jackson has also starred in several local short film projects, one of them being; “Ghost Story Chronicles” (2013). 

A Junior at the Northland Christian School, Jackson has gained international film credit with the film “Leaves of the Tree” (Italy-2014). Traveling the world, working with talented cast, crew and directors is a passion that Jackson aspires to continue. Jackson lives out his love for film by writing, directing and starring in his own short films with his friends. Jackson calls Houston his home along with his Mom, Reagan-his dog and his best friend...15 year-old sister AlliRose. 

Production Team

Ulysses Guidotti (Editor)

Before working as Editor on a number of projects including “Crimson Winter”, “Love Magical” Home” and now “Leaves of the Tree”. Ulysses was an accomplished assistant editor on the hit films “Unbreakable” “25th Hour” “The Village” “Michael Clayton”, “Pride and Glory”, “The Taking of Pelham 125”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and ‘Lee Daniel’s “The Butler”’, among many other film and television projects.

Randy Edelman (Composer)

Randy grew up in Teaneck New Jersey, where he studied piano at an early age giving many recitals locally.  After high school graduation he enrolled at the Cincinnati Music Conservatory where he majored in piano and composition.  While in Cincinnati he began freelancing as a music arranger at James Brown’s King Records, and also wrote original music for regional theater. 

Upon graduation Randy headed back to New York where he signed on as a staff writer at CBS April Blackwood Music.  He also began playing piano in Broadway pit orchestras and continued his interest as a music arranger.  He went out on the road as Music Director for many entertainers.  It was while traveling that Randy began writing both his own music and lyrics with an eye toward doing his own albums.  It was the beginning of a decade of producing and writing his solo albums. 

The albums led to Randy’s appearances as an opening solo act to such diverse groups as The Carpenters and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.  His songs began being recorded by such popular recording artists as Barry Manilow (“Weekend In New England”), Olivia Newton-John, Patti LaBelle, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, Jackie DeShannon, Blood Sweat and Tears, Kool & The Gang, Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA), and Bing Crosby to name a few.  Subsequent success of his records in the United Kingdom led to appearances on the Top of the Pops, concerts at the London Palladium and Drury Lane Theaters, and tours throughout Europe, Japan and Australia.

It was shortly after arriving in Los Angeles that Randy became interested in using his background as a classical musician and arranger to pursue his interest in film scoring.  In between his album recording he began scoring several television and feature films.  His tv scoring work included “MacGyver”, “Maximum Security”, “Mr. Sunshine”, “Brisco County Jr.” to name but a few.  Children’s projects included PBS “Wonderworks”, “The Care Bears” album and several award-winning After School Specials. 

After dealing in the “short form” of pop songs Edelman found the film work liberating and decided to devote his full time to pursuing composing music for motion pictures. He has now composed over 100 scores for film and television. His scores have been performed by such symphonies as Boston Pops, Charleston Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra, to name a few. His score from "The Last Of The Mohicans" was nominated for both the British Academy Award and the Golden Globe. His movie themes have become a backbone of sports broadcasts. He has written the “NBC’s NFL Football” Theme, ESPN's “Sports Century” documentary series theme, and the on-air Olympic theme for NBC. His scores have opened the Super Bowl and closed the Olympic broadcast for which he received an Emmy Award. In 2003 Randy received BMI's highest honor, the Richard Kirk Award for Outstanding Career Achievement.In June 2004 Randy Edelman was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. He received the Ph.D along with 3 other distinguished honorees from various fields, including Coretta Scott King. In 2005 Randy had his biggest chart record with Nelly's "My Place." It reached #1 on Billboard's Rap and Hip Hop charts, and #4 on the Pop chart. In 2007, Edelman was nominated by the IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association) for "Best Original Score For Television" for ABC's mini-series "The Ten Commandments." He scored Disney's live action "Underdog," Focus Features "Balls Of Fury," Fox's "27 Dresses," and Universal's "Mummy 3, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." Randy's song, "Weekend in New England," was featured in the smash hit film "Paul Blart, Mall Cop."

In 2010 he completed scoring “Leap Year” in London starring Amy Adams.  He has traveled this summer doing film scoring seminars in Tel Aviv,Israel, at Spain's Ubeda Music Festival (where he conducted his Dragon Trilogy) and at the Sundance Institute chaired by Robert Redford. In 2011 he was awarded the Gold Spirit Award, named in honor of Jerry Goldsmith, for "Leap Year," as Best Comedy Score. His album of new original songs "The Pacific Flow to Abbey Road" has been released by Cherry Red Records in the UK and Varese Sarabande Records in the US.

In January of 2013, Edelman conducted a concert of many of his film scores with the CCM Philharmonia Orchestra. Before the concert he was presented with the 2013 Kautz Alumni Masters Award by President Santa Ono for being this year's Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Cincinnati. At long last Warner Records is releasing Randy Edelman's songs that he produced for Dionne Warwick. He recently helped soundtrack label Varese Sarabande celebrate their 35th anniversary at a Halloween Gala concert in which he conducted the Golden State Pops Symphony in several original concert pieces.  Also, amongst others was Edelman's own "The Call to Adventure" from the Mummy 3, which, coincidently, closes the new 35th Anniversary CD from Varese of recent great movie scores from the last few years.

In 2014 Randy scored the new Universal thriller, "The Boy Next Door", starring Jennifer Lopez. He also celebrated the 20th anniversary of NBC's use of his on air theme for the Olympics, with the Winter Games from Sochi, Russia. The round the clock broadcasts, on both the NBC network and their many affiliated cable stations 24hrs a day, are seen all over the world for a 2 week period with each new Summer or Winter Games. He was awarded the 2014 BMI Spotlight Award for this theme. 

John Velasco (Music Supervisor)

John has been in the entertainment industry for over thirty five years. From Stage Manager at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London –Press Rep for Peter Sellers, Dirk Bogard, Sammy Davis Jr and Barbra Streisand - Formed Jimmy Webb’s publishing Co, became U.K. head of E.H. Morris, Shows including Grease and Hello Dolly. He formed a music division, signings included Yes, Black Sabbath, Medicine Head and Gentle Giant – Was head of United Artists Music U.K (Abba and ELO among many signings), he ran the first UK Publishing house for Bertelsmann Group (BMG) - Represented Tina Turner in the U.K and both management and publishing for Tommy Boyce, Hal David, John Denver, Davy Jones, Randy Edelman, Tom Paxton and Marvin Gaye. He produced albums and soundtracks for Disney, American Greetings, Parker Brothers and Tom Paxton. Produced the first major music tour of India - Assisted Parker Brothers into European entertainment market. Hit music/film projects included Care Bears and Cabbage Patch Kids. CBS Songs appointed him as V.P., he moved to New York –Managed Joe Raposo (songwriter/co-creator of Sesame Street, formed a children's music company, signed DC comics, Marvel, Archie and Care Bears. The company was responsible for themes and underscores of many productions including: Shining Time Station (Thomas the Tank Engine), the Emmy award winning series of “Madeline” for DIC/ABC, “Pippi Longstocking the Movie”. John was Consultant for American Greetings, Hearst Entertainment, Cherry Lane Music, Altman Films, Zomba Entertainment, International Music Factory, Digicast, Televerse and METV. VP Acquisitions, Ten Strike/Sonopress, a Bertelsmann Company. Chairman of the Times Square Arts Center.

John is currently CEO of Direction By Appointment, (www.DBAent.com)

A voting member of The National Academy of Popular Music, The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammy), Ex Chairman of the charity; RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) and is proud to work with the world’s largest children’s charity, Variety.

Nicola Sferruzza, (Production Designer; Sicily)

Nicola was born in Castelbuono, Palermo Province, Sicily. He received a bachelor's in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo in 1995. After graduation, he worked to expand his knowledge and expertise by working in different environments, including laboratories, workshops and theater. Later in the 1990s, Nicola opened the laboratory specializing in stagecraft in Cinsi, outside of Palermo. He is specialized in the processing of polystyrene, and often is asked to create giant sculptures for private use, cultural associations, municipalities, theaters and the cinema.

He works as a set designer, painter, sculptor and toolmaker for Italian and foreign directors, for both theater and film, as well as television programs and advertising. Nicola has worked with directors Emma Dante, Roberta Torre, Peppuccio Tornatore, M. Cuticchios, E. Crialese, P. Sorrentino, Pasquale Scimeca, V. Aranda, R. De Maria, Ante Novakovic and others.

In recent years he has also made set designs for museums and exhibitions, such as the Museum Pitre of Palermo, Classe Morta in Spoleto, and Museum of the Mafia in Salemi. His exhibit from Museum Salemi was presented by V. Sgarbi at the Venice Biennale at the Italian Pavilion, which Nicola re-constructed there.

He has given lectures and courses of stagecraft and scenography of Film for the Academy and the Region of Sicily. Recently, he has held two professorships, one of the History of Set Design and the other in Materials for Scenography, in a course of vocational training for young people.

Nicola also writes for the screen and works closely with the filmmakers D. Ciprì and F. Maresco.

Samuela Cirrone (Costume Designer),

Samuela was born in Palermo in 1970 and lives in Palermo and Rome. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, she has worked for renowned Italian directors Faenza , Bellocchio, De Maria, Castellitto and many others. Her latest films are "Laurus" directed by E. Termine, "The Crossing" directed by S. Cuccia, "De Serpentis munere" directed by A. Leone, and, of course, "Leaves of the tree" directed by Ante Novakovic.

Julia Wagener (Makeup Department Head)

Julia Wagener is a multi-platform makeup artist whose work can be seen in print, film and theater.  Her career began in 2007 after being one of five artists chosen nationally to train in Los Angeles with renowned special effects artist, James Ryder (known for The Cell” and “The Salton Sea”).  Soon after, she traveled to Milan building a fashion portfolio which led to agency representation in Texas and New York.  By 2009 her work was featured in such publications as Glamour, Seventeen and Details Magazine as well as several national commercials.  Building on a diverse body of work, Julia became makeup director and prosthetics designer of several theater productions, including five Gilbert and Sullivan operas performed at Houston's prestigious Wortham Theater.  It was this work that caught the attention of "Leaves of the Tree" director Ante Novakovic.  In particular, Julia's work in old age character makeup.  Vital to the story, daily age makeup was needed to help bring Federico Castelluccio's character, Dr. Ferramonti to life.  Through collaboration with both Ante and Federico, Julia was able to create a subtle yet convincing character makeup that was imperceptible under the rigors of HD film.  It was this quality that led to an invitation to join the team on location in Sicily, Italy.  As the only original crewmember from Texas, it was both an honor and privilege to represent the Texas crew abroad.  In her free time, Julia enjoys exploring cultures through travel and outdoor adventure, recently completing the ancient pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, walking solo 900k from the French Pyrenees to the Atlantic ocean in Galicia, Spain.  

Gerry Robert Byrne (Post Production Supervisor)

Gerry is a Producer, Production Manager and Actor. Upon Graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he began producing and directing documentaries for PBS's National Program Service. Upon moving to New York City, and a brief stint on “As The World Turns”, Gerry began his career in feature films. He is best known for “The Firm”, “Nobody's Fool”, “Brokeback Mountain”, “Gangs of New York”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “The People vs Larry Flynt”, and “Lee Daniel's The Butler”, as-well-as HBO's “Recount”, “Temple Grandin” and “Phil Spector”.

CICI Films (Production Partner)

The International City of Independent Cinema was founded in May 2009, as part of "Project Earthquake" by the City of Salemi. CICI was created originally to manage one of the richest collections of independent cinema in the world, 50,000 titles, donated to Salemi by the Korean cinephile, Youngman Kim. Today, CICI supports independent film production in Sicily, manages government cinema projects, promotes cinema through its annual PLAS Festival, and curates film collections.

CICI is managing the Hologramme Project (Harmoniser les Opportunités liées aux nouvelles Orientations pour la Gestion des Ressources archéologiques Méditerranéennes et la Mise en réseau des Expériences), co-sponsored by the governments of Italy and Tunisia. This project aspires to apply cinematic arts to promote the archeological heritage of the ancient Sicilian city-states (including Segesta) and ancient Carthage (Tunis), among other goals.

CICI’s annual PLAS Film Festival in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, takes 10 young filmmakers, gives them 5 days, and support and access to the wonderful locations of Castellammare del Golfo, to create short films each September.

CICI manages projects for Regional, Provincial and Local governments in Sicily, currently: TODAY WE ARE, part of "Young Art and Culture For Social Economic and Environmental Development Of Urban Contexts", sponsored by the Regional Family, Social Affairs and Labor Department, in collaboration with Arcidonna and the City of Salemi; and, BETWEEN THE SIDES, a week dedicated to public art, film and photography in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily.

Recently, CICI Films worked with Gogi Productions LLC on its independent film “Leaves of the Tree”, filmed in and around Castellammare del Golfo, Erice, Trapani and Segesta, starring Eric Roberts, Sean Young and Armand Assante. CICI also recently cast and managed nearly 1000 extras for the film "A Bigger Splash" by Director Luca Guadagnino, shot on the island of Pantelleria off of the coast of Sicily, starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, and Ralph Fiennes.

Hillary Healey (Social Media)

Hillary supervises the creative marketing, social media, and publicity for Leaves of the Tree. Hillary is a creative marketing, computer and media prodigy.  She is a sophomore at the prestigious University of Texas at Austin in the McCombs’ School of Business.  She has been working with and coordinating among the film’s publicists, social media management, graphics media, and other advertising functions to make the family business a success.