Gena Ellis is founder of Brown Dot Productions and a daughter of Appalachia where storytelling is as old as the hills. She is an award-winning screenwriter and producer, author, journalist, army veteran and has been a background actor. The background of life is where the best stories are mined, so Gena can be found there, digging up stories for her scripts and a novel in progress. Her passion for writing the adaptation led to adapting Alexander Dumas' novel THE BLACK TULIP into ROSA AND THE BLACK TULIP, selected for film festivals such as the London International Filmmakers Festival and a Live Read in Toronto at the Female Eye Film Festival and Runner Up, Best Screenplay and seeking production and investment. Gena even wrote a book on adaptation, ANGELA'S DECISION: A JOURNEY OF ADAPTATION, which contains her own short story set in WV and adapted script for her award-winning film, ANGELA'S DECISION, made in Australia.
Gena learned much about the production process from her daughter and writer-director, URSULA ELLIS. Gena likes to assist filmmaking in lesser known filmmaking states, promoting a positive economic impact. Especially to her hometown in West Virginia where she co-produced Ursula's award-winning film and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grantee, CRICK IN THE HOLLER. And to Huntsville/Madison, Alabama, one of her 'adopted' hometowns, where Ursula is a Bob Jones High School alum and where she filmed FOR GEORGE ON HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY, finishing up post and headed to fests soon.
Gena also experienced film as a background actor while living in Chicago, including TV shows CHICAGO FIRE and SHAMELESS. She was even bumped to featured extra in an Indie film in the Windy City, where she also ran screaming for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON. Gena was even chosen to record extra screams for the film. Gena also worked on the international hit and Bollywood film DHOOM 3. She encourages writers to work on a production as it only enhances the screenwriting process. She even drove hours to work on NASHVILLE.
Gena is from no-woman's land by the lake town of Summersville, WV. A Canvas Grade School alum, she is a graduate of Marshall University and the University of Oklahoma. Besides Brown Dot, view LinkedIn for official business-y stuff, too. She also gives seminars and workshops so if you're interested please contact her.
b. 1990, Nuremberg, GE
Ursula Ellis is a writer/director and recent MFA graduate in screenwriting from Columbia University. A recovering Army brat from everywhere and nowhere with roots in
Appalachia, she is committed to telling stories that explore underrepresented aspects of the American experience.
Her MFA thesis short, CRICK IN THE HOLLER, shot on location in her family home of West Virginia, received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant, as well as the IFP Audience Choice Award and Faculty Jury Honors at the 2017 Columbia University Film Festival. The film had its world festival premiere at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival and is currently on the festival circuit.
Her first feature film script, ANOMALIES, also set in West Virginia, placed in numerous screenwriting competitions, including the 2015 Academy Nicholls Fellowship, and was a nominee for the Humanitas Prize's 2018 David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship.
Presently Ursula is in post-production on her proof-of-concept short film, FOR GEORGE ON HIS 30TH BIRTHDAY, starring esteemed stage & screen actors Michael Esper and Allie Gallerani, as well as developing various feature and TV pilot
In addition to her own projects, Ursula worked for two years as the development consultant at CINE MOSAIC, a production company helmed by acclaimed producer Lydia Dean Pilcher, and has taught story structure to 1st years in Columbia's MFA program under the guidance of screenwriter Andy Bienen.
Check out Ursula's new website after checking out her work here
Ursula on the Crick in the Holler set in Pence Springs, WV