MICHAEL J. CRITELLI brings over 30 years of business experience to GYRE Entertainment. He discovered the story of Catana Starks and the TSU Men’s Golf Team over six years ago and has been dedicated to bring it to the screen ever since. He has been a leader in communications (as CEO of Pitney Bowes for 11 years and Chairman for 12) and diversity (as member of the National Urban League board of trustees from 1997 through 2010 and Chairman from 2002 to 2007), as well as a seasoned entrepreneur, chairing one start-up business (the Dossia Service Corporation) and acting as a hands-on board member or investor in several others. GYRE Entertainment is one of several recent forays into the entertainment industry.
PIERRE BAGLEY brings over 35 years of entertainment industry experience to GYRE lifelong entrepreneur himself, in 1978 he and a partner created one of the nation’s first state-of-the-art post-production facilities servicing the Arizona/California market (clients included CBS, ABC, Footlocker, Proctor & Gamble, and Chrysler), and in 1980 he founded First Tuesday Productions Inc. in Dallas, which has garnered a national reputation for creating captivating works in film and video (clientele range from TIME Inc. to Muhammad Ali to Oprah Winfrey). He wrote, produced, and directed his first feature film in 1995, The Message, which was nominated as a Grand Jury Finalist in the 1998 New York Urban World Film Festival and the 1999 Hollywood Black Film Festival. Recent projects include two critically-acclaimed documentaries (A Legacy of Leadership, hosted by Sidney Poitier; and LAPD… Transforming the Dream, commissioned by Police Chief William H. Bratton) and one feature-length documentary (The Fat Man Walking) that has yet to be released. From the Rough is his second major feature film.
ROY L. BRANNON has 20 years experience in all facets of marketing, and has become known for his innovative strategies in general and multicultural markets. Brannon opened his own multicultural ad agency in 1997 (The Brannon-Cottrell Group) and a year later launched the first ethnic entertainment marketing company as a division of Brannon-Cottrell called UEM (Urban Entertainment Marketing), to bridge the gap between Hollywood and multicultural consumers. His current firm is called R.L. Brannon Media & Marketing, and he currently serves as Managing Director and EVP for the Multicultural Division of Camelot Communications.
JIM STEELE is an industry veteran who specializes in “film” distribution technologies and traditional film production and distribution. Most recently a senior consultant for Reliance Mediaworks, Steele helped one of the largest post-production, distribution, and exhibition concerns in India design a US and European theatrical exhibition strategy as well as a complementary digital distribution technology interface. In 1987, Steele co-produced the award winning Greasy Lake, and in 1988, Steele joined Hemdale Films as a vice president of business affairs and foreign sales, where he was involved in such films as Last Emperor and Platoon. In 1992, Steele became VP of Production & Acquisitions at Working Title Films, where Steele was involved in films including Romeo Is Bleeding and Bob Roberts, and later produced Working Title’s black western Posse, directed by Mario Van Peebles. Between then and his recent work with Reliance, Steele continued as a producer or co-producer on several high profile projects, and became an industry leader in the developing digital cinema movement with Filmray Inc., a consulting firm in digital cinema and film he founded in 2004.
MONTE RUSSO is a proven sales leader with more than 26 years of experience, a history of entrepreneurial success and strategic initiatives, as well as a background in industries ranging from emerging technology to produce and grocery chains, manufacturing to advertising. He has an extensive domestic and international business network from his work in both Fortune 500 and start-up environments; companies include Verizon, Dinec, Oridean, SCS, Glenavre Technologies, and Pitney Bowes. Monte is also the founder of Super Frog International, a company whose mission is to level the playing field for small, emerging companies by providing low cost, low risk consultation on how to strike into new markets.
BRIAN O’HARA has over 20 years experience in design, fifteen of which were spent in film, television, and commercials. He has done work for Universal Studios, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers Pictures, and Lionsgate films, and was nominated for an ADG award for Best Production Design for his role as Supervising Art Director on Frost/Nixon. Brian is also a Principle of O’Hara Design Group, a private firm located in Santa Monica, CA. Drawing influence from art, film, and literature, Brian brings his unique perspective to the company's many specialties: architecture, interiors, furniture, lighting, graphics, branding, and product design. He holds a BA in Fashion Design from the American College and has studied at both design and film at UCLA.
MICHAEL A. CRITELLI is a screenwriter and playwright based in Los Angeles. Originally from Darien, CT, he wrote and directed three short plays (In the Name of the Father…, Commitment, and Life Sentence) locally before heading west to attend the University of Southern California. There, he learned screenwriting, and also held staged readings of excerpts of his first full-length play, This Funny Business. He graduated Magna Cum Laude. From the Rough is his first feature screenplay to be produced.