Monday, February 9, 2015

First Round of Presenters Revealed for the 6th Annual Indie Series Awards


An all-star lineup of celebrities will take the stage as presenters for the 6th Annual Indie Series Awards, show producers Roger Newcomb, Kevin Mulcahyr Jr. and Susan Bernhardt, announced today.

This year's presenters will include ISA nominees Anthony Anderson (Anacostia), Jillian Clare (Acting Dead), Ashli Dowling (We Are Angels), Andrea Evans (DeVanity), Lilly Melgar (The Bay), Mhairi Morrison (Feathers and Toast), Becky Kramer (Jewvangelist), Jen Lilley (Youthful Daze), Minae Noji (Love Midori), Alisha Spielmann (Producing Juliet), Jason Stuart (Mentor), Corsica Wilson (L.A. Macabre) and Colleen Zenk (Thurston).

Additional presenters will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The 6th Annual Indie Series Awards ceremony, hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Eric Martsolf (Days of our Lives), will be held on Wednesday, April 1 at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.

The Indie Series Awards celebrate the best in independently produced, scripted entertainment created for the Web. Click here for a complete list of nominees.

PRESENTER BIOS

Anthony Anderson
Anthony Anderson is the creator, writer, executive producer and actor of the critically acclaimed series Anacostia, currently in its fourth season with two-time Emmy Award winner Martha Byrne reprising her role as Alexis Jordan. Already causing its viewers to shed tears this season, Anacostia promises that this season will be unlike any other with a top secret season finale that is sure to be the talk of the industry.

Anderson's numerous other credits include guest appearances in Pretty and The Cavanaughs, as well as serving as a guest host for a special Smithsonian epsode of We Love Soaps TV. He will next serve as executive producer of the reality series City Boyz which chronicles the lives of seve diverse LGBT males from the Washington DC area as they strive to achieve their individual goals while dealing with each other. Anderson is a three-time Indie Series Award winner.

Jillian Clare
Born in Portland, Oregon, Jillian Clare has appeared on both the big and small screen in numerous projects including her double award winning portrayal of pre-teen Abby Deveraux on NBC's Days Of Our Lives and guest appearances on ABC's Castle and Suburgatory, plus Victorious on Nickelodeon. Recent films include starring roles in The Kitchen, alongside Bryan Greenberg and Laura Prepon, plus the newly released, faith-based holiday feature, By God's Grace. Miss Clare also stars in Alien Abduction by famed producers Lawrence Bender and Mike Fleiss for IFC - their highest grossing film to date. No stranger to the stage either, Clare's background includes lead roles in musicals, original pieces, an extended run as Scout in "To Kill A Mockingbird" at just 11 years old and an appearance as Nuna in the groundbreaking Eve Ensler play "Necessary Targets" as a Bosnian refugee. Last fall, she was cast in "Delusion, touted as the “single greatest live event in LA”, in the lead role of Ruth during the Lies Within interactive theater experience.

In early 2010, Clare joined the ranks of New Media and began producing and starring in the multi-award winning teen series Miss Behave, a role that won her “Best Lead Actress in a Drama” at the 2011 International Television Festival and Indie Series Award nominations for Best Lead Actress three years in a row. In 2012, she expanded her web experience to the north starring in the Season Two finale of the award winning Canadian female fatale series, Clutch, which earned her the title of Best Supporting Actress in a Drama at the 2014 Indie Series Awards. Jillian currently stars in Acting Dead, a dark comedy about Hollywood and Zombies, recently earning July 2013 brought a new dimension to Jillian's career when she created Teenage Wonderland (teenagewonderland.com), a fashion and beauty blog, that has since grown to thousands of subscribers. Creating partnerships with brands from all over the globe, Miss Clare is also the editor of the popular blog.

Andrea Evans
Born and raised in Illinois, Andrea Evans' professional life began at age ten with a modeling career in Chicago. Her entry into acting was a job as an extra in Brian De Palma's The Fury, which ultimately became a featured role. She was still living in Chicago when she was cast in the television mini-series The Awakening Land, and her performance garnered the attention of ABC casting executives which led to her being cast on the ABC daytime drama One Life to Live. Evans played the role of the devious Tina Clayton, dubbed by People magazine as "Daytime's Diva of Dirt," on One Life to Live for four years before joining the cast of the CBS' The Young and the Restless in March 1983 as Patty Williams. Two years later, ABC asked Evans to rejoin the cast of One Life to Live and recreate her original role, which she did for five more years. Evans earned a Daytime Emmy nomination and Soap Opera Digest Awards nomination for her work. In the late 1990s, she portrayed Tawny on the CBS' The Bold and the Beautiful and later starred as Rebecca Hotchkiss Crane on NBC's Passions.

An accomplished actress, Evans has played a wealth of characters on television, including a recurring guest role on ABC's Capitol News. Her film credits include Opposite Sex, starring Kevin Pollack and Courteney Cox and a major supporting role in Paramount Pictures' Low Down Dirty Shame, starring Keenan Ivory Wayans. Evans' many theatre credits include starring in the world premiere of "Candles," an original play dealing with the lives of five women who find the "can" in cancer, the performances of which benefited the Huntington Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in California, and her professional return to Chicago theatre to star in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the Apollo Theater in 2002. In 2003, she broke into a new medium when she starred in two episodes of The Twilight Zone radio series. She earned an Indie Series Award nomination for her work in DeVanity. Find out more about Andrea Evans at andreaevans.com.

Evans' charitable interests include The City of Hope, for which she has served as their Celebrity Ambassador for their Walks for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer for the past seven years, and a number of animal rights' organizations.

Ashli Dowling
Ashli Dowling was born and raised in Groton, Massachusetts. At the age of three her grandmother placed her in a ballet class to help overcome her shyness. She became serious about ballet at eleven-years-old and attended several ballet programs across the country including Boston Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, Miami City Ballet School, and The School of American Ballet in New York City. After graduating high school, Ashli was accepted to study ballet at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where she was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship. During her freshman year, Ashli enrolled in her first acting class and fell in love with it. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet, Ashli retired from ballet and headed to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actor. 

Ashli has trained with Art Cohan and Allen Barton of The Beverly Hills Playhouse and has been involved with numerous stage and screen productions. Some of her credits include NBC’s The Event, We Are Angels, and the feature films Celeste and Jesse Forever, Good Grief, The Poor Boys and The Longer Day of Happiness, to name a few.

Becky Kramer
Becky Kramer's stage debut came at the age of six, when she was cast as the Littlest Daughter in The King and I. After performing in musical theater for years (including at Emory University, where she earned a B.A. in English), Becky discovered her love of on-camera acting while studying at the William Esper Studio in Manhattan. Her proudest career achievement to date is making Jewvangelist, a quirky comedy series released on YouTube in 2014.

After so many years of focusing solely on acting, it was extremely satisfying to be involved in every aspect of making the series, from casting to location scouting to developing the script. Becky recently signed across the board with Central Artists, and is very excited to see what 2015 will bring!

Jen Lilley
Jen Lilley plays the deliciously devious Theresa Donovan on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Jen previously starred as Maxie Jones on General Hospital. She was also in Weinstein's critically acclaimed feature film, The Artist, winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. But don't let this soap star fool you, Jen is no stranger to comedy. She's guest starred on tons of sitcoms and was a series regular on MTV's improvised comedy series, Disaster Date. Other recent projects include the films Crossing Streets, The Book of Esther, Turnaround Jake, Revelation Road, The Olivia Experiment, The Back-up Bride, and One Small Hitch, as well as television appearances on The Crazy Ones, Castle, Two and a Half Men, Rules of Engagement, Criminal Minds and iCarly.

Born in Roanoke, Virginia, Jen didn't start acting until college (University of VA) when she played the lead in an indie film called The Loss of Life. After that, Jen fell in love with acting and averaged six indie films a semester. In addition to acting, she is also a talented singer and comedian, performing in many improv casts including the Upright Citizens Brigade. She is active in various charities and garnered the National Educators Award for her work in Guatemala. She is known for advocating for children's rights, and supports charities that focus on protecting children against physical and sexual abuse, human trafficking, and the world water crisis. She is currently a celebrity ambassador for the child abuse and treatment organization Childhelp, an advisory board member for the Innocent Justice Foundation, and a school tour speaker for Thirst Project. Find out more about Jen Lilley at jenlilley.com.

Lilly Melgar
Melgar is best known for her leading role as the first Latino couple alongside Ricky Martin in daytime history on General Hospital. She went on to play Claudia Cortez on The Bold and the Beautiful, and back to GH for a short stint as Marcella. Currently she can be seen on the Emmy nominated web series, The Bay, and her weekly radio show, Soap Box with Lilly and Martha. Melgar and Martha Madison were named best hosts of 2014 by Soaps Uncensored. Melgar began her career as a music video host on Univision’s “Tu Musica”. With multiple television credits to her name, Melgar was led to pursue a career in films, which includes, Seasons of Life, Last Call, Americanizing Shelley, Hollywood Familia and the upcoming bi-lingual romantic comedy Tongue Tied, to be released summer 2015. Additionally, Melgar produced her first feature film, Black Cobra, distributed by Lionsgate. Her directorial debut was the opening video for The Spice Girls Reunion Tour whereby she has continued directing video content for major concert tours, most notably short videos played throughout the Britney Spears Femme Fatale Tour. Melgar, one of daytime’s Most Beautiful Women, has graced the covers of Latina Cosmopolitan and several soap opera magazines.

Earlier this month she was announced as the brand spokesperson for The Organic Face™, and will act as the spokesperson, collaborating in various marketing and public relations activities including personal appearances, digital and social media campaigns. A billboard ad featuring Melgar will run above Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan from February 12-15, 2015.

Mhairi Morrison
Mhairi Morrison is a Scottish/American actress who studied at the Royal Conservatoire in Scotland and Jacques Le Coq School in Paris. She formed a clown company in Paris and worked extensively throughout France before moving to London and working in film, television and theater.

Her credits include Young Adam (dir.David Mackenzie, with Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton), Wilbur Wants to Kill HImself (dir.Lone Scherfig), Green Street Hooligans (dir.Lexi Alexander) O Jerusalem (dir. Eli Chouraqui with Ian Holm and JJ Feild), Casualty (BBC), Emo (Channel 4) and Missing (ITV).

Since moving to Los Angeles she has performed stand up comedy and created and stars in the web series Feathers and Toast. Find out more about Mhairi Morrison at  www.mhairimorrison.com.

Minae Noji
A rare Hollywood, California native, Minae Noji found inspiration in such legends as Lucille Ball and Jerry Lewis. As a young girl, she noticed the lack of Asian role models in the industry, but realized “the only way I could change that was to take the reigns and go into the business.” Noji worked as a child actor in television, toured South America and Asia as a recording artist at 16, and appeared on Star Search as a vocal semi-­‐finalist, enabling her to meet her childhood crush, Ed McMahon. She attended the University of California, Irvine and graduated with a BA in Sociology. Noji decided to take a year off from college when she was chosen from among thousands to be one of the female cast members of the first national touring company of "Miss Saigon," the critically acclaimed musical that enjoyed a long Broadway run. More success followed with numerous film and TV credits including a memorable performance as the yoyo-­‐wielding, schoolgirl assassin Kinki in Bitch Slap, Steven Spielberg’s Memoirs of a Geisha, MGM's Get Shorty sequel Be Cool with John Travolta and film festival favorite Instant Trauma. Her TV credits include Spin City, The Bold and the Beautiful, and a six year run on the iconic daytime drama General Hospital, playing Dr. Kelly Lee, a brilliant sex addicted gynecologist. Noji also starred on the primetime spinoff, Night Shift.

Noji is also an accomplished voice over artist, lending her talents to numerous video games and animated television shows such as Disney’s Star Vs. The Forces of Nature, BoJack Horseman with Will Arnett, Doraemon, X Men, True Crimes, Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 and World of Warcraft. Noji’s ambitions also extend to producing and charity work. Intent on bettering the world around her, she’s partnered with fellow GH alum Kent King, under the banner Mink, empowering others to "Face Their Fears" through videos, live events, and a TV show currently in development. Most recently, Noji could be seen on the big screen in Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She plays the kickass, ninja fighting baddie, Karai, second-­‐in-­‐command to Shredder. She supports a number of charities, working most prominently with Childhelp, a on-‐profit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. Find out more about Minae Noji at minaenoji.com.

Jason Stuart
Jason Stuart has been in over 175 films and TV shows. He created the web series Mentor with Paul Elia, both co-wrote, produced, acted and made his directorial debut. As an actor, some TV appearances include Sleepy Hollow, Real Rob, House, Entourage, The Closer, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Everybody Hates Chris and George Lopez.

On film, he’s been featured in Home Invasion, Lost & Found, Gia (with Angelina Jolie), A Day Without A Mexican, Coffee Date, Vegas Vacation and Kindergarten Cop. Next up are James Franco’s Holy Land, Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Ira Sachs' Love Is Strange opposite Marisa Tomei, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, Tangerine from the Sean Baker & Duplass Brothers, and Dirty.

As a comedian, he has performed all over the country and had his own hour cable special Making It To The Middle and CD "Gay Comedy With Out A Dress." Find out more about Jason Stuart at jasonstuart.com.

Alisha Spielmann
Alisha Spielmann was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and received her BA in Music and Theater from St. Olaf College. She can currently be seen starring in the streaming series Producing Juliet by Writers Guild of America Award winner Tina Cesa Ward. Alisha has also been a part of the New York Theatre scene for quite some time and has been in over 20 full length theatrical productions both Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway (many award nominated) and numerous readings and workshops. Highlight productions include August Schulenburg's "Jane the Plain" and Johnna Adams’ "Sans Merci" both with Flux Theater Ensemble, Mac Rogers’ "Blast Radius" with Gideon Productions, and Off Broadway in "The Runner Stumbles" with Retro Productions.

She is a Creative Partner with Flux Theatre Ensemble and a Company Member of Retro Productions. Find out more about Alisha Spielmann at alishaspielmann.com.

Corsica Wilson
Corsica Wilson was born in Terceira, Azores. She grew up in a Navy family, seeing most of the world before she turned 15. She started doing local improv in New Hampshire at the age of 12, and continued to pursue acting from that moment on. She attended Florida State University, working closely with the Film students as well as starring in several independent feature films including Claire, directed by Dan Ast, and Dead Season, now airing on the Syfy channel.

In 2010, she moved to Los Angeles, where her acting knowledge and experience helped her to land a memorable role in the Sundance feature, In a World..., as well as a co-starring role in Wiener Dog Internationals, releasing this spring.

In addition to her film acting, Corsica has been featured in national commercials for Taco Bell and AllState Insurance, as well as guest roles on TV series including CSI: New York and Comedy Bang! Bang! She loves horseback riding, traveling, music, and has a fascination for all things macabre.

Colleen Zenk
Colleen Zenk is a three-time Lead Actress Emmy nominee best known for her portrayal of fashionista-diva-evil-bitch-mother-from-hell Barbara Ryan on CBS' As the World Turns, a role she continuously (and deliciously) played from 1978-2010. A Barrington, Illinois native with a background in musical theatre, she made her television debut at five dancing (and winning) the Little Stars competition show on NBC. Through high school and college she trained with internationally renowned Gus Giordano and performed with his company, Giordano Dance Chicago. In 1975, after majoring in theatre at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Zenk moved to New York City where she still resides. Her film credits include Libby (title role, L.A. Film Fest, Best Comedy nominee), Annie (original, dir. John Huston), Women on the Ledge, You'd Better Watch Out, and the upcoming Scout (with Ellen Burstyn) and Line to the Wall. Zenk's theatre credits include "Bring Back Birdie on Broadway (opposite Chita Rivera, Donald O'Connor), Off Broadway's "Winter Rhythms," "Afternoon at Bergdorf's," Odyssey: The Epic Muiscal," "Marry George Clooney," and regional productions of "Looped" (as "Tallulah Bankhead"), "Follies," "Hello, Dolly!" "Auntie Mame," "Love Letters" (20+ productions), "Can-Can," "Where's Charley?" "They're Playing My Song," and many more. She also developed the solo cabaret show "Still Sassy." On the web, Zenk stars in Thurston (Indie Series Awards Lead Actress nominee), Milgram and the Fastwalkers, and the Emmy-nominated Tainted Dreams.

A two-time oral cancer survivor celebrating her six-year milestone, Zenk is the national spokesperson for the Oral Cancer Foundation and has been honored with numerous Humanitarian Awards for her activism. She also serves on the Board of Directors for CAP21 Theatre, Board of Governors for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and was one of many producers of the Broadway revival of "Godspell" (starring Corbin Bleu).  She is mother to a blended family of 4 girls, 2 boys ages 33-21. Find out more about Colleen Zenk at colleenzenk.com.

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