Franklin P. Laviola was born and raised on Long Island and is a graduate of Columbia University. He is the co-founder of Nightjar Films, Inc. and the producer of Sketches from Great Gull (2008), a short film narrated by the noted actor Michael Wincott. Franklin is also the author of multiple feature-length screenplays.
Happy Face is his debut as writer-director.
( Director of Photography )
Robby Baumgartner has been working in the film industry for 24 years and the passion and drive that originally pushed him to work on films is still as strong today as it was when he was a PA on his first film.
Robby started working as a Director of Photography early in his career, but quickly changed direction and decided to learn the craft of film lighting in the electrical department. Within a few years he was running the department in the position of Gaffer. This path has allowed him to work with and learn from some of the world’s greatest DPs -- Rodrigo Prieto, Chris Menges, Robert Elswit, Dante Spinotti, Darius Khondji, Janusz Kaminski, and Emmanuel Lubezki. “8 Mile”, “25th Hour”, “21 Grams”, “Babel”, “THE Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada”, and “There Will be Blood” are some of the films that he has lit over the years. Between Gaffing jobs he continually got behind the camera and worked as a Director of photography, operating additional cameras on features, shooting commercials, small films and 2nd unit photography.
The highlight of his career came in 2008 when Robert Elswit won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for “there Will Be Blood”. There can be no higher honor for a gaffer than to have his DP win the award for Best Cinematography. This was also robby’s cue to permanently make the jump to DP.
He was fortunate to meet up with Franklin Laviola on the set of “Indian Jones and the kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which led to the two of them joining forces to shoot “Happy Face”. Robby recalls with fondness the amazing time they both had in making the film. they shot it on a new camera, the ARRI D-21, and the results were remarkable. Robby has since gone on to collaborate with Doug Liman on his upcoming film “Fair Game” starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, which screened in competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. This past summer robby shot 2nd Unit for Rodrigo Prieto on the upcoming “Water for Elephants,” and he just finished shooting a TV Pilot for NBC/MTV that Doug Liman directed.
Now with his eye firmly and forever pressed against the eyepiece he embarks on a new stage of his career. Robby’s dreams and passions for film have only grown stronger throughout the years and he’s looking forward to Franklin’s next project.
Steven Vallone is a composer from Long Island, New York, who resides in Brooklyn. In addition to his work with Nightjar Films, he has composed music for several independent and student shorts, and has been involved in freelance voiceover work. His interests include music therapy, wave propagation and microtonal theory.
( Producer )
Michael Gallart was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts. He has worked in filmed entertainment for 25 years. He enjoys writing sketch comedy and performing long form Improv. Happy Face marks his first collaboration with Nightjar Films. He and Franklin met as they were being asked to leave a bar in New Haven Ct.