Every day, across all corners of the globe, hundreds of thousands of users log onto Second Life, a virtual online world not entirely unlike our own. They enter a new reality, whose inhabitants assume alternate personas in the form of avatars—digital alter egos that can be sculpted and manipulated to the heart’s desire, representing reality, fantasy, or a healthy mix of both. Within this alternate landscape, escapism abounds, relationships are formed, and a real-world economy thrives, effectively blurring the lines between reality and "virtual" reality.
Director Jason Spingarn-Koff digs deeply into the core of basic human interaction by assuming his own avatar and immersing himself in the worlds of Second Life residents, whose real lives have been drastically transformed by the new lives they lead in cyberspace. In doing so, he manages to create an intimate, character-based drama that forces us to question not only who we are, but who we long to be.
-from the Sundance Film Festival Film Guide
Jason Spingarn-Koff (Director, Producer, and Editor) is a New York-based documentary filmmaker who specializes in science and technology.
“Life 2.0” is his first feature, following a decade of work in television documentaries and journalism. He created and co-produced NOVA’s “The Great Robot Race” (PBS/BBC), about a dramatic competition to build robotic vehicles and race them across the Mojave desert for a $2 million prize. Other projects include: Development Producer for the Emmy- winning PBS mini-series “Rx for Survival”; producing/directing the first-person “Heart of Berlin” for FRONTLINE/World; producing/directing the lead story for the PBS/NOVA science pilot “Science Investigators”; and producing/directing two 1-hour documentaries for MSNBC, hosted by Forrest Sawyer (“Nature’s Weapon: The Hidden Plague” and “The Next War”).
His Masters Thesis documentary “Robofly,” about the quest to build the world’s first robotic fly, aired on PBS and won a national Student Emmy. His journalism has appeared in national publications such as Time Magazine and Wired.com, and his experimental short films have shown in festivals and galleries. He is a graduate of Brown University and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
Stephan Paternot (Producer) is the co-founder and Chairman of PalmStar Entertainment, an independent film production company focused on literary and biographical adaptations, including a Gus Van Sant developed story called the “Golden Suicides”, and “Lunar Park” by Bret Easton Ellis.
Stephan also sits on the board of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP.org), the largest national non-for profit organization dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers. He is also general partner of the Actarus Funds. Founded in 2001, these angel investor funds provide seed capital to Internet 2.0 start-ups.
Prior to this he cofounded one of the first Internet community sites, theglobe.com in 1994. The company set stock market history when it went public in 1998 with a record setting IPO pushing the company valuation to over $1 Billion. Over a six-year span the website became one of the top thirty sites in the world with over 17 million users.
In 1999 Stephan won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and in 2001 published “A Very Public Offering”, a non-fiction business book detailing his experience at theglobe.com. Before founding the company Stephan attended Cornell University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Stephan currently resides in New York City.
Andrew Lauren (Producer) began his film career as an actor, and has performed roles in several movies including Sweet and Lowdown directed by Woody Allen and Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts.
Lauren moved to producing in 1998, establishing ALP’s first office in Los Angeles. Lauren conceived of the story behind ALP’s second feature G which premiered at the inaugural TriBeCa Film Festival in May of 2002. Andrew then went on to executive produce the critically acclaimed film The Squid and the Whale. The film was nominated for an Oscar and went on to receive six Independent Spirit Award nominations in addition to three Golden Globe nominations. Most recently ALP produced the documentary This Is Not A Robbery which premiered at the 2008 TriBeCa Film Festival. Andrew currently resides in New York.
Jonathan Shukat (Co-Producer). After the short off-Broadway run of Jonathan’s one act play Inturrium, he attended Columbia University where he majored in Film Studies and English/Comparative Literature.
During his senior year, Jonathan directed-produced the documentary short Only Seconds Left which screened out of competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. During his tenure at GreeneStreet, he assisted the producers on several productions including Tenderness starring Russell Crowe, Gary the Tennis Coach starring Sean William Scott, and Meet Bill starring Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba. Currently, Jonathan is a producer at PalmStar Entertainment.
Shannon Kennedy (Additional Editor) is an award-winning documentary film editor, whose credits include “A Walk in the Sea,” which won the Teddy Award at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival and the NY Loves Film Best Documentary Award at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; “The Trials of Daryl Hunt,” an official selection of the 2006 Documentary Competition at The Sundance Film Festival, recipient of the DuPont Award and short listed for an Academy Award. She was Additional Editor of Natalia Almadaʼs “El General,” which won the Documentary Directing Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Dan Krauss (Director of Photography, Consulting Producer): Cinematography credits for PBS, HBO, National Geographic and the BBC, among others. He is also an Academy Award-nominated film producer and director, involved primarily in non-fiction movie projects. He is currently producing a feature for DreamWorks/Paramount based on his documentary “The Death of Kevin Carter,” which aired on HBO.
Composer Justin Melland’s ability to rapidly create rich, poignant music and his masterful command over a wide array of musical styles has quickly placed him among todays most sought after film composers.
After finishing his Master’s Degree in music composition at UCLA and UC Berkeley, one of his first composing positions was to write an original score for “The Death of Kevin Carter, Casualty of the Bang Bang Club” which was nominated in 2006 for an Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is distributed by HBO. He has also written the scores for the feature film Under Our Skin, shortlisted for a 2010 Oscar, and the feature film Life 2.0 which is screening at Sundance 2010.
With over 30 feature and documentary film credits to his name, Justin has become known for his wonderfully eclectic scores and his constant use of LA’s finest studio musicians, which always elevate his music to the highest level of quality. This has made him the favorite of a growing number of award winning producers in both the live action and documentary film worlds which has created a very demanding but deeply rewarding composing environment.