SEAN CASEY - DIRECTOR
IMAX filmmaker and professional storm chaser Sean Casey makes his feature-length directorial debut with Tornado Alley, a film in which he also stars and serves as first unit cinematographer. Over the course of his career, Casey has filmed volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, and the depth of his experience working in severe weather—as well as the impressive library of IMAX tornado footage he has amassed leading up to Tornado Alley’s release—served the production well. “We spent eight years shooting dozens of tornadoes, probably eighteen tornadoes for the film,” he says. “But we also shot hail footage and beautiful storm footage. All this beautiful weather stuff. For me, that’s the main character of the film.”
Casey has directed a number of television documentaries and music videos, including Marine: Earning The Title, The Art of Camouflage, The U.S. Army Ranger, Tonight (Violent Femmes), Machine (Violent Femmes), and Glass Sparkles In their Hair (Pond). He also currently stars in the Discovery Channel’s “Storm Chasers” reality series, which is the number-one rated Sunday night cable show on television.
In addition, Casey is an inventor of sorts, having designed two tornado intercept vehicles, or TIVs, the second of which seems unwittingly poised to be one of Tornado Alley’s biggest stars. After graduating from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1992, with a degree in Film Studies, Casey immediately began working in the IMAX format. His credits include Ring of Fire, Search for the Great Sharks, Africa: The Serengeti, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, Amazing Journeys, and Forces of Nature.
In 2008, Discover magazine named Casey one of the fifty best minds of the year. “You have to really understand your subject matter so that you can film the more amazing parts of it,” he told the magazine. “Going out with an IMAX camera appeals to my sense of hunting and gathering images.”
PAUL NOVROS - PRODUCER
Paul Novros is the vice president of Graphic Films, the oldest motion picture production company dedicated exclusively to the creation of large-format and special venue films. He has contributed his diverse talents to more than thirty documentary and educational movies, and he served as a producer and co-writer on Tornado Alley.
Novros brings a rare combination of creative expertise to the work he has done in the large-screen format. He has worked as a producer, writer, editor, sound recordist, and film scorer on countless films, often taking on several of these roles on a single project. He was the composer for Planet Ocean, Probes in Space, Universe, Great Barrier Reef, Darwin on the Galapagos, Genesis, and The Eruption of Mount St. Helens. His producing credits include Ring of Fire, In Search of the Great Sharks, Africa: The Serengeti, Alaska: Spirit of the Wild, and Amazing Journeys. He was the executive producer of Seasons, as well as its music editor. He also produced and helped write Animalopolis and Forces of Nature.
Novros has received five Academy Award nominations. He has also been honored with numerous national and international awards, including ten CINE Golden Eagle awards and six U.S. International Film Festival awards.
For the last twenty-four years, in tandem with his film work, Novros has been a full-time instructor at the California Institute of the Arts School of Music. He is a recipient of the Community of the Arts medal from the California Institute of the Arts. He is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
DON KEMPF - PRODUCER
Don Kempf is the president and co-founder of Giant Screen Films, which specializes in the production and distribution of giant-screen IMAX films and feature documentaries.
Kempf’s first film release, which he produced and co-directed, was the successful, inspirational giant-screen film Michael Jordan to the Max. He also produced the winning and critically acclaimed large-format films Pulse: A STOMP Odyssey and Wild Ocean, which was selected by the Earthwatch Institute as its Film of the Year in 2009. Kempf co-produced and released both Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs and Dinosaurs Alive 3D in March of 2007. He also served as executive producer on the acclaimed political documentarySo Goes The Nation.
Kempf founded Giant Screen Films together with his brother Steve with a mission to bring enriching and impactful theatrical experiences to audiences worldwide. A former history teacher, Kempf’s decision to devote his career to educational documentary film production was a natural one. In 2009, he founded D3D Cinema, a sister company of GSF that is dedicated to digital 3D theater integration and film production. Kempf received a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife, Kathy, and their three boys, Jack, Tommy, and Hank.