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Shane O'Neill is a writer, performer and video maker living in Brooklyn, NY. His writing and videos have been featured in the New York Times, The Huffington Post, Refinery29 and ARTnews. He works in the video department at the New York Times, where his editing work on the POV collaboration Who, Me? Biased? earned him an Emmy nomination and an Online Journalism Award. He is also a member of the Upright Citizens Brigade's "Characters Welcome" house team and appeared this fall in the fashion label Opening Ceremony's dance story Changers, directed by Spike Jonze. He has a boyfriend named Dusty, a cat named Wanda, and a lovely family—both chosen and by blood—in the great Midwest, all of whom he loves a great deal.
Shane traveled to Nashville for the first ever Defy Film Festival to share the documentary Sisters of the Wicked Wig.
Benjamin Kaplan is a St. Louis-based multidisciplinary artist who works in film, sound, light, installation, performance, and flat stuff on paper. His latest collaborative project is That Fatal Gift of Beauty, a re-imagination and reconstruction of all of Beethoven's nine symphonies. Currents, his collaboration with sculptor Jill Downen, is part of the permanent collection of the Center for Creative Arts in St. Louis, and his dual-channel video installation Living Like Kings was recently exhibited at the World Chess Hall of Fame.
Living Like Kings played in the headphone room at the first year of Defy Film Festival, and Ben traveled to Nashville to discuss the film. In 2017, Ben came back to Nashville to moderate the Q&A for the closing film of the festival.
Tristan Scott-Behrends's film Curtain Down made its World Premiere at the inaugural Defy Film Festival in 2016. The Los Angeles resident has been working in the film industry for the past decade as an actor, producer, writer, director and wardrobe stylist, appearing in feature films such as Electric Slide and Pester. Most recently, the short he produced, Parker, premiered at the prestigious Outfest Film Festival.