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Piyush Dinker Pandya, Writer/Director
Graduating from Rutgers University in 1990 with a degree in Computer Science, Piyush Dinker Pandya brings film experience on many levels to American Desi. He has studied filmmaking at New York University, Rutgers, and The New School focusing on directing, screenwriting, and film production. In 1993, he directed and produced the sitcom Under One Roof and was a camera operator on the independent short The Sari directed by J. Palit. He has also worked on the production of New Line Cinema’s Hangin’ With The Homeboys. Piyush Dinker Pandya also maintains a successful career as an independent computer consultant with clients such as Hoffmann-LaRoche and Merrill Lynch.

Renato Falcão, Director of Photography

Having shot more than 20 short films, documentaries, television miniseries, music videos, and three feature films, Renato Falcão has won numerous awards for his work at film festivals around the world. His first short film, "Presage", won four international festival awards and his 1997 short "Dearly Beloved", for which he served as cinematographer, received the Best Short Film Award at Houston Worldfest. It was produced by The Shooting Gallery and starred Eric Stoltz. Falcão has also served as cinematographer for the critically-acclaimed feature "Neptune's Rocking Horse" and has attended workshops with well-known directors of photography such as Laszlo Kovacs A.S.C, Sol Negrin A.S.C, and the Oscar winning Richard Shore A.S.C.

Robert Tate, Line Producer/Editor

A professional film and sound editor, Robert Tate has worked on numerous indie features and shorts including: UNTITLED: NEW BLUE (directed by Paul Schrader for the BBC), MISS MONDAY (Sundance, 1998), THE CALLBACK (Starring Sam Rockwell) and most recently the "fix-it"-editing of the Sundance film, RELAX... IT'S JUST SEX (starring Jennifer Tilly). He and his partner, Robert Roznowski, have collaborated on two feature films and several shorts. Their most recent feature, NEPTUNE'S ROCKING HORSE (for which Tate also wrote the music), has played over 26 national and international festivals to date. Variety called it "beautifully crafted. A stylish character piece with sterling perfs from a stellar ensemble and a charming, well-developed script filmed with panache in Gotham." Films Tate has edited have played some of the world's premier festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Montreal, Rotterdam, Sydney, New Directors/New Films and many others. He is a graduate of Yale University.

Ellen Mendlow, Production Manager

Ellen Mendlow has served in a number of production roles in film and theater, including associate producer for Ketosis, a short comedy, and stage manager for Irvington's A Stage Above Theater Company. When not performing in them, Ms. Mendlow has assistant directed and assistant produced operas and musicals, and is the cofounder of a fledgling Florida based opera company. In other media, Ms. Mendlow has lent her talents to the Web, where she conceived and produced companion sites to major PBS television series including Innovation, Stephen Hawking's Universe, and Robert Hughes' American Visions; and to publishing, where she specialized in creating illustrated companions to films such as Toy Story, The Lion King, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Ms. Mendlow has trained as a production manager with writer/producer/director Jim Hubbard and is developing a script for her own independent feature.

Robert Roznowski, Assistant Director

Rob has directed and written two feature films: Changing Face (Houston Worldfest, Chicago Underground Film Festival and many others - distributed by Out and About Pictures) and Neptune's Rocking Horse (over 26 international festivals including Montreal World Film Festival - distributed by Forefront Films) with his partner Robert Tate. He recently starred and wrote in the short film Ketosis (Princeton Film Festival and Rochester Film Festival "Best of Festival"). As an actor he has appeared in regional theatres including the Long Wharf, Pittsburgh Public, and Goodspeed Opera House. He also appeared in the original cast of the off-Broadway production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and can be heard on the CD of that show.

Heather Robinson, Assistant Director

Heather Robinson has been acting in theatre for over 20 years. In the last 10 years, she has expanded her horizons also working as a director, producer, writer, technical director, literary manager, stage manager, PSM, lighting technician, and scenic carpenter, among others. As a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre, she was the associate producer for the Classics Series, and director & literary manager of the Summer Conference Reading Series for two seasons. She was the Executive producer and technical director for Nepotism Theatre Company. After completing course work in filmmaking at the New School, she is looking forward to continuing her enthusiastic exploration of film with American Desi.

Len Clayton, Art Director

Len is no stranger to the art of film...he began making movies as a child in his hometown of Montreal. As a teenager and newly relocated in upstate New York, he formed a film and video club at school. Later, he returned to Canada to study theatre and film at Brock University in St. Catherine's, Ontario. Len's recent credits include Production Designer for the feature Advising Michael, distributed by Troma Films, and Lead Scenic Carpenter/Key Art Department member for Zoo, a feature starring Paul Bartell, David Carradine and Debbie Harry. Zoo is currently in post-production. This year, Len wrote, directed and produced Shadow of a Man, a 16mm short film depicting the story of Ray, who encounters his own shadow and spends an eye-opening evening in a coffeehouse with him. Shadow of a Man is currently being submitted to film festivals. Len is involved in film and music video work in and around New York City.

Cindy List, Makeup and Hair Stylist

Cindy has fifteen years of experience in the world of beauty as a makeup artists and hair stylist. In the course of that time, she has owned her own salon, traveled the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia on the hair show circuit, and taught classes to other professionals and laypeople. Her work has been published in trade magazines such as American Salon and Canadian Hairdresser, and seen on Lifetime Television and the Jenny Jones Show (before the lawsuit!). American Desi will be her fifth independent film project.
Brian Bongo Davis, Music Supervisor

After attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1985, Brian and his friends formed an acoustic band. They later formed Blindman’s Holiday, a bigger rock band that spent the next six years touring and putting out albums. The band did their first movie soundtrack in 1995 for a student film at Cornell University. After the group disbanded Brian went on to New York City to work as a stage technician and later a stage manager. He has worked for such artists as: Mariah Carey, Paul Simon, David Bowie and The Barenaked Ladies. Brian still plays music and enjoys working at Graham Interactive, a web design firm based in Boston.


Wig, Composer

SRIVA was formed by Wig in the fall of 1999 with singer Ray'a. Wig (J Wigneswaran), a producer, keyboardist, writer and mixer composed, performed and mastered all 9 tracks on the album "Why"- the most recent offering by the group. Wig has roots in Sri Lanka and has done a great deal of studio work as a jazz keyboardist and has studied under Herbie Hancock and Kenny Kirkland. The music is a fusion between smooth R&B, soul, Latin and scattered South Asian rhythms.​