From left to right: Chani Schwarcz, Jozsef Kardos, João Pedro, Todd Bollinger, Estrella Tamez, Angela Hoover, Ryan Mitchell & Lauren Moreno. Lower center: Era Milyte.
As a filmmaker, my goal is to inspire a better future by exploring humanity through stories. Films have the power to unify us while offering new perspectives.
Growing up in a family of story-tellers, songwriters and musicians really shaped me as a child. As a second generation Mexican American girl born in Los Angeles in the 70s, I was the typical American kid who loved watching television and getting swept away in cinema. Los Angeles offered a multitude of access to theatre, cinema and television which I experienced with family members. Films like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, Terms of Endearment, Star Wars and Indiana Jones were among the many that fueled my dreams of acting and creating stories of my own.
After two decades of pursuing my place in the arts, the need for more Latina women in Hollywood in front of and behind the camera has fueled my desires and abilities to create, write and produce projects.
With a diversely rich cast and crew, Todd, Lauren and I have collaborated to bring you a poignant story about a diverse couple and their journey of finding forgiveness and peace following a tragic event.
Thank you for supporting our film and voices.
Mil gracias, Estrella
“You are not lucky to be here. The world needs your perspective. They are lucky to have you.” Antonio Tijerino, CEO Hispanic Heritage Foundation
PIECES is a short film written and produced by Estrella Tamez and Todd Bollinger, directed by Lauren Moreno and shot entirely on an iPhone. In this story, we explore a relationship changed by tragic events.
Like pieces of shattered glass, our characters sift through the emotions of love, pain, hope, forgiveness and healing. Alicia and Joe are flawed and on a journey that they will either travel together or alone, but one they must complete nonetheless. PIECES represents all of us.
Thank you for your interest and support in our film.
We began writing this film in 2019. By the time we were given the green light by SAG-AFTRA to begin shooting we had one day of shooting completed before the pandemic lock down orders were given in Los Angeles. Thinking it would only be temporary we waited... hopeful that we could get back to shooting within a few weeks. And well, we all know what happened in 2020.
Finally, when stay at home orders loosened, we were able to complete filming while continuing to be physically distant. What's making a film without at least one big glitch? Because we were not able to film the last scene safely, we needed to re-write it. With our revised script, we were finally able to finish production and send it off to the editor. The short film that we thought would take a couple of months to shoot became a year endeavor.
Though passion projects are not always easy, we had one huge goal in mind... to finish the film and make it the best film it could be.
We have a story to share and with such a diverse group of people involved we knew that our story was important. Life is beautiful, messy, tragic and unexpected. How our characters cope with the change thrown at them is an exploration of the human spirit. We hope you'll come along on this journey with us.
Estrella Tamez (Alicia/Writer/Producer)
With over two decades of experience, Estrella will next take on the role of Barb in the indie horror flick Reflecting the Void (production beginning in late 2021). In addition to Pieces, she co-writes, co-produces and co-stars as the wacky Destiny in the webseries In the Zoom Room.
During the 2020 pandemic, Estrella was invited several times to perform with New York City’s Theatre Breaking Through Barriers (via Zoom and streamed live on YouTube and Facebook). She returns in March and May 2021 as an actor, writer and director with TBTB on the virtual platform. Other credits include: General Hospital, Passions, Without a Trace, NYPD Blue, Commander in Chief, and The Practice, as well as various stage productions.
Estrella is a second generation Mexican-American. She holds a degree in Criminal Justice from NMSU, and has studied over a decade with esteemed acting teacher Arthur Mendoza (Stella Adler/Stanislavski). Currently, she studies with director John Swanbeck (The Big Kahuna).
When she isn’t creating, she spends time with her husband, children, and enjoys hiking with her two rescue dogs.
Todd Bollinger (Joe/Writer/Producer)
Todd grew up in the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay, CA, spending most of his time outdoors either in the mountains, at the beach, or riding horses which helped fuel his creativity to this day. Todd first stepped on stage as a bassist in a local Bay Area band, and after moving to Santa Barbara, he discovered a passion for acting. He worked with acting instructor Jeffrey Meek who is known for theatre, TV, and film. After performing in a number of plays including Black Comedy playing Brinsley Miller, A Christmas Carol playing Nephew Fred, and Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander playing Corky Oberlander, Todd moved to LA to pursue film and TV. Working with on-camera instructor John Swanbeck has been instrumental to his on-screen presence. Since moving to LA, Todd has been cast as Detective Stephenson in the indie action/drama film Filthy Animals releasing in 2021, and excited to co-write, co-produce, and co-star in the short film Pieces.
Todd enjoys building relationships with industry professionals and strives to refine his craft and deepen his character development.
It has been a privilege to work on this film with such a talented and diverse cast and crew. I am grateful to share the passion of filmmaking with our crew who have sought this career coming from all points of the globe, lending culture, and knowledge contributing towards a single goal. Working alongside artistic women who have led this project has been a rewarding experience in itself. I appreciate your contribution in bringing this film to life, we couldn’t do it without you!
Gail Silver (Rose)
Gail Silver studied and was a member of the New Works Ensemble Acting Company at the St. Nicholas Theatre Company in Chicago, founded by David Mamet, Steven Schachter, and William H. Macy. She originated the role and co-starred with William H. Macy in the world premiere of David Mamet's play, "The Water Engine" at the St. Nicholas Theatre Company (John Mahoney's first acting part). Gail has performed in four David Mamet Films: "Phil Spector," "Spartan," "Homicide," and "Things Change." Gail's film and television credits include: Transparent, Late Bloomers, Phil Spector, Livin' the Dream LA, PIT: Paranormal Investigative Team and Buds for Life among others.
Born in Chicago, Illinois from Jewish immigrants; her father from Poland and her mother from Latvia. They both spoke English but Yiddish was the language at home. Gail graduated with a BFA from Goodman School of Drama (now The Theatre School at DePaul University) in Chicago.
Her first love is the theatre. She has performed in and around Chicago and in regional and summer stock.
Ryan Mitchell (Steve)
Ryan Alan Mitchell is an actor and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. His most recent credits are "Caribbean Queens" (2017), "West World" (2018), and "Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G." (2018). Since arriving in L.A., he has worked with some of the top acting studios and teachers in the city, including Aaron Speiser, Ron Burrus, and Richard Seyd, to develop his craft. He has training in various accents and dialects to broaden the types of roles he can play.
Ryan is the oldest of four children, was born in Newark New Jersey and raised in Maplewood New Jersey USA by Henry and Michelle Mitchell. He attended school in the Maplewood/South Orange New Jersey school system, where he first started to explore his artistic interests. He played Saxophone for 7 years, before choosing to pursue athletics over art, and got involved with school politics and social outreach programs as well. Being socially and politically interested in the community is part of his DNA, but acting has always been his obsession. After spending a couple of years trying to balance corporate life with training and the pursuit of a film acting career in New York, Ryan decided to move to Los Angeles to focus on his life's work.
Ryan has been a student of Jeet Kune Do and Kali-Escrima for the past 4 years and has recently started studying stage combat, as well as weapons and swordplay for the film. He also pops in and out of different dance and voice classes when he can and is an avid weight trainer.
Angela Hoover (Beth)
Angela Hoover is an actress and comedian, most notably from America's Got Talent, Season 8 where Howie Mandel is quoted as saying "You are the best celebrity impressionist working today."
Angela has been seen on Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer, Hulu's Casual, Pop's Impress Me and HBO's Insecure. She was a recurring character on Disney's Walk the Prank for 3 seasons, and Guest Starred on the hit show Lucifer. Angela has also written 2 sold out one-woman shows, one at the Lex in Hollywood and one at the Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson recounting her family's move from Las Vegas during the housing bubble while both she and her husband were unemployed. She performs in LA, as well as clubs and private organizations around the country.
To see more impressions like Kris Jenner, Celine Dion, Nancy Grace and Kim Kardashian, visit her YouTube channel TheAngelaHooverShow. Her website is www.angelahoover.com.
Lauren Moreno (Director/Cinematographer)
Lauren is an actress, writer, producer and filmmaker originally from the San Fernando Valley. Her debut short film, Last Call, premiered at the HollyShorts Monthly Film Screenings and the Official Latino Film Festival in 2018, where it was nominated for "Best Drama." Lauren is a mighty force when it comes to cinematic filmmaking on her iPhone. A true pioneer in the evolving era of iPhone filmmaking and a force to be reckoned with.