Oscar Nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor JAMES WOODS is the narrator of “First Contact.” He’s appeared in such films as “The Onion Field,” “The General’s Daughter,” “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Contact” and earned a best actor Academy Award nomination in Oliver Stone’s gripping movie “Salvador.” James’s incredible acting talent brings intelligence and gravitas to this unique story and invites the viewer to explore the topics presented in “First Contact” with open-minded curiosity.
DARRYL ANKA – writer-director- producer - has been in the film industry for over 30 years, specializing in special effects miniatures, design, storyboards and effects production. As CEO and Supervising Producer, Darryl’s experience as a special effects crew manager will be used to oversee all phases of production and direct the films produced by Zia Films. Darryl has also produced, written and directed two feature films, “Dearly Departed” and “First Contact” and has had other scripts produced and optioned by Nu Image Entertainment, AMI Productions and the Mutual Film Company. Darryl’s encounters with UFOs is also the subject of the documentary “First Contact” and he’s acted as the channel for the ET entity known as Bashar in seminars all over the world for the past 33 years.
ERICA JORDAN – producer - began her career as a dancer and went on to become a dancer, choreographer or actor in such film and television projects as “Staying Alive” with John Travolta, “S.O.B.” with Julie Andrews, “Appointment With Fear,” “Jailbird Rock,” “Adventures in Dinosaur City” and “Baryshnikov in Hollywood” with dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov. She wrote and published a novel, “Robin’s Nest,” and is currently writing a book of short stories. Erica co-produced “Dearly Departed” and “First Contact” and is participating in the development of additional Zia Films projects.
APRIL ROCHELLE – producer - is an entrepreneur, personal transformation consultant and an accomplished inter-species communicator. She's been a founder and CEO of Bashar Communications since 1999 and is responsible for bringing the messages of Bashar, channeled by Darryl Anka, to the world through public events, printed media and various digital internet technologies. Under April's guidance, the organization has created a leading-edge source of information for understanding the nature of reality along with unique, practical methods of self-empowered life change. She's also developed and leads transformational workshops that incorporate swimming and communicating with dolphins and whales in the wild. In creating Bashar Communications, April incorporated skills acquired during her 22-year career in banking and finance, business consulting, a private practice in psychological counseling as well as a 15-year teaching position at Pepperdine University Business School.
April holds a BA degree in Psychology from Tulane University and received both an MBA and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, graduating with distinction in both degrees.
JAMES ANKA – art director - has an extensive and varied background in film effects, art & design. He began at some of the top effects houses and scenic companies in the industry, from Apogee and Digital Domain to Jet Sets and Tribal Scenery, working on such films as Die Hard, Apollo 13, Batman Forever, Pirates of the Caribbean and Spiderman 2, and on various commercials for Nike, CocaCola and Mercedes Benz. He has experience in graphics, fashion illustration, gaming development, industrial and concept design, and has developed his own interior design and landscape architecture business over the past twenty years in Los Angeles.
MONTY ROWAN – director of photography – has used his talents on such films as “The Blind Side,” “A Simple Plan,” “The Quick and the Dead,” “Bad Teacher,” “Betsy’s Wedding” and “Dark Water” as well as several TV shows, including “The Red Shoe Diaries” and going all the way back to the classic sci-fi series “The Invaders.”
CRAIG CAMPOBASSO, CSA – casting director - Craig found himself working behind the scenes for four years on Frank Herbert’s Dune. The father and daughter producing team, Dino and Raffaella De Laurentiis, and director David Lynch, were Craig’s mentors into the business of filmmaking.
Raffaella later hired him as a casting director on the popular Christmas movie Prancer, starring Sam Elliott after he apprenticed as a casting associate on Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories. Craig has been casting for more than two decades and was nominated for an Emmy for casting David E. Kelly’s Picket Fences. He is also an acting coach in the Los Angeles area.
Craig Campobasso's directorial debut "Stranger at the Pentagon" won Best Sci-Fi Short Film at the Burbank Film Festival in September 2014 and won a Remi award for Best Sc-Fi Short at the Houston International Film Festival in 2015.
LESLIE TONG GACHE – editor - Grammy Award winning editor, Leslie Tong is a twenty-year veteran with credits in scores of documentaries, network and cable specials and series.
Nominated for an Emmy for her work on “Kelsey Grammer Salutes Jack Benny,” Leslie is best known for her work on television and music documentaries. She worked closely with Yoko Ono as Co-Producer and Editor on “Gimme Some Truth: The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine Album” which won the Best Long Form Video Grammy in 2000.
Having worked on some of the most highly successful and highly rated specials such as “NBC’s 75th Anniversary,” “CBS: The First 50 Years,” “Elvis: The Great Performances,” Emmy nominated special “The Very Best of The Ed Sullivan Show,” and the highly acclaimed 10-part series “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” but her true love is documentary.
In addition, she has edited for Peter Jackson’s The Making Of King Kong. Leslie has been lead editor on “Ultimate Adventures: Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Alaska,” “The Hunt For Amazing Treasure”. Leslie prides herself on her ability to weave a story together and to continue to learn from each project she approaches.
BILL MEYERS – music composer - created the original music for the “First Contact” soundtrack. Bill has arranged, composed or conducted songs and/or recorded with performers such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Earth, Wind & Fire, Whitney Houston, Patti Austin, Al Jarreau, Rod Stewart, Justin Timberlake, Sheryl Crow and Neil Diamond among many others.
JOHN HELLER – visual effects supervisor – has created visual effects for many popular films over the past two decades, including A Walk in the Woods, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Bourne Legacy, The Cabin in the Woods, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Star Trek: Insurrection, The X-Files and Titanic.
ALEX FERRARI – post production supervisor - has been in the film industry for over 20 years and has worked on over 1,000 feature films, shorts, commercials, music videos, network promos, documentaries and webisodes. As a director, his personal films have been screened in over 500 festivals around the world.
He recently created the company Indie Film Hustle to share what he’s learned over the years as a writer, director, producer and post production/vfx supervisor.