Meet SAGindie’s Usual Suspects.
The SAGindie staff are varied, unique individuals with varied, unique opinions. This comes to their movie opinions as well. Sometimes there’s a movie where our staffers go against the general or critical consensus and love it without shame.
Check our bios for the movies we love that make other people say, “Really?!”
Darrien Michele Gipson
SAGindie National Director
An M.F.A. recipient from the Peter Stark Producer’s Program at USC, as well as a USC President Samples Fellows, a university honors program for Community Service, Darrien was formerly the Vice President of Production for DEF Pictures, where she shepherded such films as Gridlock’d and How to be a Player. Darrien began her career at SAGindie as the Event Coordinator, where she traveled throughout the country to festivals, educating filmmakers on SAG-AFTRA’s low budget contracts and all ensuing budgetary and distribution concerns. She visited more than 25 states, 3 countries, and over 55 festivals to consult with independent filmmakers. Yes, she has a lot of frequent flyer miles. No, she isn’t sharing them.
As the National Director of SAGindie, Darrien is responsible for just about everything – global warming, demoting Pluto, lowering cancer rates. She is also responsible for the strategic planning and oversight of SAGindie, including administration, sponsorship negotiations, national advertising campaigns, and SAGindie.org – the organization’s online resource for independent filmmakers. Darrien is the engine behind SAGindie, pushing it into being the best independent filmmaking resource EVER.
It’s become a “thing” that’s trending lately, but Darrien is the original ‘Grease 2 is better than Grease 1’ person! And, since it’s true confession time, she loves the George Strait movie Pure Country. Yeah, she said it.
SAGindie Manager of Development and Sponsorship
Eliza was born with a vestigial tail! Her parents took her around the world in a traveling show featuring other aberrations, where she was the star. When interest in her died down, she consulted a wise man who told her she would become rich and famous after moving to Los Angeles and becoming involved in film. Looks like he was right! Her duties as Manager of Development and Sponsorship encompass (among other things) traveling to film festivals, speaking on panels and at seminars, and interacting with independent producers worldwide in order to get the word out about the SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Agreements.
There isn’t a day that goes by that Eliza doesn’t mention, quote, or ponder The Brady Bunch Movie. She considers Jennifer Elise Cox as Jan Brady the single greatest comedic performance by anyone ever, man/woman/living/dead. This should surprise no one! BUT for whatever reason this movie – like Eliza’s life or any good joke – requires a lot of explaining. (Like, she’s not going to explain it to you though. Just watch it and if you hate it, you can stop talking to her like the rest of her family.)
SAGindie Communications Manager
Colin McCormack graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit with a degree in Media Studies, and has worked in various capacities as a writer, producer, and editor on projects ranging from features, short films, commercials, and documentaries. Before arriving at SAGindie, Colin managed a filmmaker outreach program for a national animal welfare nonprofit, assisting documentary and narrative filmmakers on production, financial grants, research, and marketing. As SAGindie’s Communications Manager, Colin handles advertising and promotions, social media outreach, filmmaker interviews, and web operations.
Colin has a deep unbridled love for the 1970s-set inner-city-roller-disco coming-of-age-tale starring Lil’ Bow Wow in bell bottoms, Roll Bounce. He may not have been the target demo and can only vaguely remember its initial theatrical release, but once he discovered it he was all in.
SAGindie Office Coordinator
Shefali grew up in Northern California with a bunch of tech nerds, including her parents. She then went on to study Film Production at Emerson College in Boston and eventually remembered that she hated cold and moved back to the West Coast and has been living in Los Angeles since. Shefali has written and directed a few short films and worked in both narrative script development and reality TV casting. She still writes and directs in her free time as well as sings and plays the ukulele with some friends at local venues. She is excited to be working at SAGindie and helping filmmakers and actors have their projects come to fruition. She’s here to help out the team and can answer any questions you might have!
In high school, Shefali’s good friend got her into the participation shows that surround The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was Shefali’s first experience watching the film and is also, in her opinion, the only way to watch it – with a hundred audience members yelling at the screen making fun of it. But because she never had to experience the film in a more normal setting, she’s always really enjoyed it and found herself invested in the story (and the heckling). Outside of these viewings Shefali started really getting into the songs and quotes to the point that if Rocky Horror came up in conversation she would say she really liked it – not just making fun of it – she actually enjoyed its absurd yet entertaining storyline. She still gets a lot of people who tell her she’s crazy and ask why she would ever “really” be into that insane film.
SAGindie New York Consultant
Michael Sladek is an award-winning filmmaker whose recent feature-length films include Con Artist (New Yorker Films), BAM150 (Cinema Guild), and Devils Are Dreaming (Dances With Films, Jury Award). Sladek has also directed and produced multiple shorts, music videos, and web series, including the animated short We Live On Your Street (Slamdance Jury Award). A 2013 Acker Award recipient, he is a screenwriter and graphic artist/illustrator as well as a stage director. A once-and-future actor and member of SAG-AFTRA, Sladek currently serves as New York Rep for SAGindie, helping bridge the gap between indie films and union performers. He has worked as a freelance journalist for publications such as Mean Magazine, served as Filmmaker Coordinator for Tribeca Film Festival, as Talent Coordinator for MTV News, and as Personal Assistant to author Jamaica Kincaid. Hailing from Denver, Colorado and Southern California, Sladek studied theater and actor training in college.
Michael tends to get a lot of “Really!?” from his penchant for “feel bad movies” like Turin Horse and Irreversible. And of course there’s his favorite arthouse hardcore porn classic Caligula; but come on: Gore Vidal, Peter O’Toole, Malcolm McDowell, John Gielgud, Helen Mirren, AND money shots!? How can you hate??