It all began in the fall of 2010 when two Northwestern University students decided that they wanted to push the boundaries of student filmmaking. Sarah Jane Inwards and Alec Ziff embarked on a mission to make a feature-length film (90 minutes or longer) and choose a charity that would receive all of the proceeds. While the process would be strenuous, that did not stop them. Applause for a Cause was born.
With the help of NU Channel 1, Inwards and Ziff led a team of 70 students (from freshman to seniors) who acted in, wrote, produced, edited, and directed Applause for a Cause's first feature. Over 300 moviegoers attended the red carpet premiere of RUΣH on May 20th, 2011. Applause raised over $1,500 for the Ronald McDonald House near Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
But that was only the beginning.
In 2012, Applause for a Cause became self-sustaining with more students involved in production, a larger budget, and its own equipment. Applause's second feature, Experience for Beginners, raised $1,900 for the Illinois Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation from the red carpet premiere weekend, May 18th-20th, 2012.
Applause for a Cause is here to stay, currently in production on its third feature, Summer's Winter, the proceeds from which will benefit Connections For The Homeless. Applause has its biggest budget to date and is excited to make Summer's Winter its greatest success yet!
Throughout the past three years, Applause’s vision has remained the same: students have the power to create professional, industry-quality films while doing so for the greater good.
Applause For a Cause 2012-2013 exec board
Cast & Crew
Crew of Summer's Winter
Sarah Jane Inwards
Sarah Jane Inwards has directed three features and is excited to have Summer's Winter be her fourth. SJ is a senior, RTVF Major, proud Minnesotan, and gastroschisis survivor. She wants to thank her endlessly supportive parents and her co-everything Alec. She is excited to work with returning Applause members and to work with all of the new members in order to raise as much as possible for Connections for the Homeless. We're makin' a movie!
Alec Ziff is a senior film major at Northwestern University hailing from Leonia, NJ. Alec spent the past summer interning in Los Angeles at the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. While not writing screenplays or directing, Alec loves playing hockey and rooting for his teams, the New England Patriots and New Jersey Devils. Alec is very excited to co-direct Applause's 2012-2013 feature film, Summer's Winter, and couldn't be more excited to work with the talented cast and crew!
Shivani Chanillo…How do you begin to describe Shivani Chanillo? Shivani Chanillo is flawless. Her hair is insured for $10,000 and she produces movies that win awards…in Japan. Her favorite movie is Varsity Blues. Once, she met Chet Haze at the Keg and he told her she was pretty. If Shivani could do anything besides producing for Applause, she would be a sophomore RTVF major, a proud member of Kappa Delta, an avid Macklemore fan and a lover of all things considered hipster. Oh wait, she already does all of that. Shivani Chanillo basically does it all.
Oh yeah Shivani?
Emily Ryles invented flawlessness. Her hair is insured for $11,000 (which is just a little bit more than $10,000) and she produces movies that win awards in Japan AND China. Emily Ryles gave birth to Chet Haze. OMG JK A haiku about Emily
is from California
Ellie Schultz is a member of Northwestern's class of 2014 and majoring in Psychology and Communication Studies. She hails from Dallas, TX and couldn't be happier to now be in a place where there are four distinct seasons. Ellie is PUMPED to return to Applause for a Cause as an Executive Producer and is super excited for this year's film, Summer's Winter. WAHOO helping others!!!
Hailing from the Boston area, Brian is a sophomore who is super pumped to be working with the budget and finances for this film. He still has really no idea what he wants to do with his life after college, so don't ask (but ideas would be appreciated). Brian is an obsessive fan of reality T.V. and much to the dismay of pretty much everyone, he love talking about it, so call him maybe!
Nicole Borden is a sophomore Radio/Television/Film major from Hewlett, New York. She was an Associate Producer for Applause's 2012 film, Experience for Beginners, and is so excited to be a part of the Applause team for another year. She can't wait to raise money for Connections for the Homeless and make a movie!!
Kate Leggett is super excited to be working with Applause for a Cause for the first time this year as Co-Locations Producer. She is a freshman Communication Studies major who hails from the tiny town of Calhoun, Georgia. She loves theatre, passionfruit teas, and purple (good thing she went to Northwestern, because it has all of those things).
Director of Photography/Editor
Sam is a Junior Film Major from New Jersey. He wants to be a writer and director in Hollywood. In high school, he decided to quit the sports teams and direct, write, star in, and edit a two hour action movie, which he eventually screened for a bunch of people at the end of his senior year. Summer's Winter is the fifth feature film of which he an editor.
Unit Production Manager
Maxwell Kelley is a Senior Radio/Television/Film major and Business Institutions minor from bright and beautiful Orange County, California. He is proud to be working with Applause for a Cause for the second time. There are few things he loves more than producing student projects which are limited to eating, playing basketball, sitting on the couch, and anything that has to do with Kobe Bryant. Max has the strange desire to wear a suit, sit in an office, and make lots of money. He's super stoked to be back with SJ and Alec doing something special for the community.
Lindsay is a junior pursuing a Communication Studies major and Business Institutions minor. She was on the Promotions team last year, and is delighted to return to the Applause clan for 2013. Though she hails from Houston, TX, Lindsay can often be found pretending to fit into the Midwestern scene by trying to act like she's not freezing cold and eating a lot of cheese.
Rabail is a freshman Radio/Television/Film major and is super excited to be working with the Applause for a Cause team this year. Other than a short film featuring hedge clippers, an axe and Rabail as victim number 5, this is the first murder-mystery movie she's working on and she can't wait for filming to start!
Savy has loved working as a production designer and art crew member for many projects in the past, mostly because it usually means she gets to make and then eat a lot of blood while on set. As the prod designer, Savy can't wait to make all of the prods for this movie look really designed.
Lisa Wiznitzer ia a sophomore studying Theater and Political Science at Northwestern University. Lisa spent this past summer interning for O' Connor Casting Company in Chicago. She is very excited to be the Casting Director for this feature and has loved working with the whole team. Other than working with Applause For A Cause, Lisa is the Business Manager for a theater group on campus called Purple Crayon Players and is a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity.
Rashaad Spence is a theatre major turned Television/Film major who's ecstatic about his position as Casting Assistant for Applause for A Cause. Passionate about screenwriting, Rashaad likes to stay on the pulse of current television and can often be spotted around campus watching hits like Murder, She Wrote or Tru Calling. When Rashaad's not studying, casting, watching TV or writing, he's either massaging his joints or talking about why New York is better than every other city in the world.
A humble child of the Midwest, Joe Deng has ambitious goals. There’s far too much to see to stay put for too long. For now, he is studying psychology and pre-med at Northwestern University. But who knows what’s next.
David is from the Bronx, NY and came from Chicago in pursuit of not becoming jaded and cynical. He speaks Portuguese. He's on the editing team for the second year, and is super excited to help out the homeless. That's all you need to know.
Cory Ryncarz is a sophomore Radio/Television/Film major from Houston, Texas. This is his second year with Applause for a Cause. When not editing philanthropic feature films, Cory enjoys reading (Game of Thrones), watching good movies and TV shows (Breaking Bad) and playing sports. Cory also tutors local Evanston kids and can't wait to get started working with the other wonderful people of Applause to benefit the Evanston community's homeless and make a great film in the process.
Megan is Minnesotan by birth and lifestyle. During her ruthless pursuit of Art History and Communication Studies majors, she has found the RTVF kids to be an omnipresent bunch. Though she isn’t per se a connoisseur of movies, she figures “if you can’t beat them, join them.” And thus she submitted herself to the dynamic entity that is Applause for a Cause, joining the publicity squad behind Experience for Beginners. As a publicity beginner, her experience was hella fab—and Summer’s Winter seems equally promising, if not more!
Amy Reed is a senior studying Radio/Television/Film and Creative Writing for the Media. She is excited to be the beneficiary relations chair this year! Other than working with Applause, she is a member of Northwestern's Studio 22 and NUWFA executive boards, and is on the Titanic Players team Floozy Newt.
Raised in South Florida, Taylor Dabbah has made peace with the winds and snow and has loved coming to Evanston to study theatre. Applause for a Cause is one of her first experiences with film on campus. She is thrilled to be assisting in the production of this incredible project with such a wonderful team.
Kerry Driscoll is a freshman math major and proud Connecticut native. In her spare time Kerry enjoys quoting "Friends" and consuming substantial amounts of chocolate. She is thrilled to work on her first film set with Applause for a Cause.
Mei is a freshman RTVF major who lived the first 15 years of her life in Beijing, China, went to high school in California, and finally found her way to Applause for a Cause, the first feature-length film she will be working on (yeah, she's sorry about this excruciatingly long answer to the simple "where are you from," it's life, kid). Not much production experience yet, but Mei is extremely excited to be part of the family and is intent on being useful in ways other than looking like Yoko Ono.
Katie is a junior, and a new transfer to Northwestern. She has spent the past two years in Vermont and is SO excited to be back in her native Evanston, and to be joining Northwestern and the Applause crew.
Kristen Wiseman doesn’t even go here! She hails from the land of 10,000 lakes more specifically, Rochester where the city’s only lake is more goose poop than lake water. Kristen went to high school with the infamous Sarah Jane Inwards and even made a few home videos with her back in the day. She put her studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA on hold so that she could devote herself to campaign life and be a part of defeating the marriage amendment in Minnesota. Kristen has always had a soft spot for the cinema and couldn’t be more tickled to have the opportunity to help out with this film!
Sean is currently a junior at Northwestern studying Computer Science. He made the website you're looking at. He's known to sometimes dress up as a cow or wear a pizza hat.
Cast of Summer's Winter
Kelly Engler is a sophomore theatre and psychology double major from Houston, Texas. She is thrilled to be cast in Summer's Winter and to be able to work with such brilliant artists. She would like to thank her friends, family, and cats for their unconditional love and support. Peace and blessings.
Katherine Seldin is a Sophomore Theatre and Psychology double major. Thus far, most of her acting experience has been on stage so she could not be more excited to be a part of Applause For a Cause. She aspires to pursue acting in her future and has a lot of dreams about food.
Matt Kuyawa is a senior theatre major and a part of the Music Theatre Certificate Program. He has most recently been seen on the Northwestern stage in Machinal and a staged reading of Yellow Face. Matt was born and raised in the Chicago area and this is his first feature-length film. Thanks to his family and everyone involved in the project!
Hailing from San Diego, Michael Silberblatt, a current junior at Northwestern University, is pursuing studies in RTVF, Theatre, Business Institutions and is a member of the Musical Theatre Certificate program. He is a two-time English Speaking Union Regional Shakespeare Competition Finalist, a recipient of the 2010 NFAA YoungArts Silver Award in Theatre, and one of twenty 2010 Presidential Scholars in the Arts from across the nation. He enjoys dancing, surfing, traveling, and believes that video game entertainment is becoming one of the most compelling mediums of visual art and interactive storytelling. Michael hopes to one day voice act for video games.
Brett Vail is brand new to Chicago. He spent his entire life on the West Coast and L.A., where he performed on stages at The Groundlings, Acme and the Comedy Store, on camera in numerous films including Gregg Araki’s seminal feature The Living End, and doing VO work for commercial and agency clients. When not performing he produces short form film & video as the principal behind Escaped From LA Films.
Jeanne T. Arrigo
Jeanne has been a Chicago actor off and on for over 15 years, though in the last three years has put her film and theatre pursuit into high gear. She earned her BA’s in Theatre and Psychology at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA; and her M.Ed. in School Psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. In the film world, Jeanne recently worked on the indie feature, “Oranges” (CradeMadeEntertainment) in Madison, WI; shot a number of student shorts; and has been cast in another pending feature length student film, “Blame.” Additionally, Jeanne is a singer/songwriter with two CD’s to her credit.
Wilson is a sophomore at Northwestern University from the proud Commonwealth of Kentucky. He loves acting, brownies, caramel, a good face mask, a fully charged iPhone, and the idea of jogging. He’s thrilled to be doing his first film ever and that it’s with Applause for a Cause; he can’t wait to see how the process turns out.
Jamie Birkner is very excited to have the opportunity to participate in this Applause for a Cause production. She originally hails from Oklahoma City, OK, but refuses to let this prevent her from considering Chicago her home. Jamie gained her stage experience mainly while at Knox College, and after several years’ hiatus, recently decided that a full-time job as a marketing professional plus two grade-school children, a husband, dog, and a home weren’t keeping her busy enough, so she began to audition again. She has been fortunate enough so far to be cast in several other film productions.