All photography provided by Apricot Films
Gwen is a Director, Producer, and Screenwriter and Stage Director working in dramatic features, documentaries, and theatre. Her directing and producing career highlights championing emerging writers, designers and filmmakers telling untold, provocative and taboo stories marginalized in our culture.
Wynne recently produced Director Pamela Tom’s festival award winning documentary feature debut "Tyrus" with her production company Apricot Films, LLC. A two-decade journey, Gwen and her production company championed the Director and helped to bring Tyrus Wong’s story out of obscurity to the public. "Tyrus" had its World Premiere at the "2015 Telluride Film Festival". Tyrus broadcasts on PBS’s "American Masters" in Fall, 2017 with a limited theatrical distribution in the United States prior to its television broadcast.
The feature-length documentary "Tyrus" explores the life, art and enduring impact of the pioneering Chinese American artist, Disney Legend, and Warner Bros. production illustrator, Tyrus Wong. Despite Tyrus Wong’s artistic significance and legacy bringing a Chinese aesthetic to American cinema and culture, Tyrus Wong has remained largely unknown. The documentary reveals how Tyrus’s concept art created the look for Disney’s "Bambi" and such classic Warner Bros.’ films like "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Wild Bunch".
Before completing "Tyrus", Ms. Wynne directed, produced and wrote film festival award winning drama "Wild About Harry" (aka "American Primitive"); this was her feature film debut. The story set in 1973, Cape Cod reveals two teenage girls growing up with a gay Dad when it was considered illegal.
Notably, "Wild About Harry" was created before Marriage Equality for Same Sex Partners became federal law in the United States. At its premiere "Wild About Harry" was cited by Tom Gregory in The Huffington Post as “an indie gem… the ‘why’ that drove early activists like Harvey Milk and the Stonewall demonstrators to demand equality…”
"Wild About Harry" won "Best of the Fest" at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival and played in festivals throughout the United States and the world garnering recognition and awards. Ensemble cast included Tate Donovan, Adam Pascal, Susan Anspach, Josh Peck, Danielle Savre, Anne Ramsey, James Sikking, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Stacey Dash and Johanna Braddy.
Wynne began her career on Broadway at Circle in the Square Theatre scouting for new plays. From there she co- founded and served for six years as Artistic Director of The No-Neck Monsters Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. There she directed new plays and forgotten classics plus developed an after-school drama program for inner city children. The company was also given special recognition at The White House for this drama program for at-risk youth by Hillary Clinton.
One of Wynne's more successful and radical ventures was directing one of the first rap musicals ever produced, "Sanctuary, D.C." by Ralph Brown and composed by Scott Davenport Richards, about runaways and homeless youth in D.C. which became an underdog hit production in D.C. NPR, MacNeil/Lehrer, The Washington Post including other news stations across the country reviewed and ran the story about the musical and its creation nationally. "Sanctuary, D.C." was nominated for three Helen Hayes Awards including Best New Musical and Best Actress in A Musical.
Other plays and productions included Bloomsbury Publishing’s acclaimed British novelist Stuart Browne’s "ANGEL", also nominated by the Helen Hayes Awards for Best New Play, an epic drama capturing the political and environmental upheaval of the 20th century first developed by Joint Stock Theatre Co. in London. Wynne’s theatre company also cast emerging talent (like Jeffrey Wright before his Tony winning starring role in "Angels in America" on Broadway) in ANGEL and the classic, rarely produced play by Tennessee Williams’, "Kingdom of Earth."
Funders of her company included The National Endowment for the Arts, D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Comic Relief, The Rockefeller Foundation, Comic Relief, The Annenberg Foundation and many others.
Wynne received her B.A. from Brown University double concentrating in Theatre Arts and Literature & Society and later received her MFA from University of Southern California's (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Wynne is a Directing Member of the Directors' Guild of America (DGA). She serves on the DGA’s Women’s Committee promoting change in the entertainment industry's hiring practices towards women and minorities. She is married to fellow USC Cinematic Arts graduate, Bob Bell. Bob has made a career at Apple Computers engineering the greatest software in the world.
Shana has worked on various projects with Apricot Films including "Tyrus" and the company's upcoming documentary feature and series "MOST SECRET: Agent 0017." For the last twenty years, Shana has photographed Oscar and Emmy winning documentary and narrative feature films, shot countless hours of non-fiction and reality based television, filmed many commercials and has worked with such distinguished filmmakers as Michael Apted, Jessica Yu and Lynn Novick. Her work includes the Oscar winning Breathing Lessons, eleven Sundance Film Festival selections including "Queen of Versailles," "Shakespeare Behind Bars" and "After Innocence", and many other docs including "Food, Inc.", "Last Call at the Oasis" and "This Film is Not Yet Rated." Hagan was chosen to DP at the prestigious Sundance Filmmaker’s Lab in 2003 and has been nominated for an Emmy for her work on Survivor: China. She has shot four seasons of "Survivor", three of "The Apprentice", commercials for Ford, Toyota, US Army, Kodak and others, and on a number of ongoing documentary projects including Mr. Apted’s "Married in America" and Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s "Vietnam Project". In addition to her documentary work, Hagan shot the pilot and four seasons on the Emmy-nominated NBC hit comedy "Parks and Recreation."
As the newspaper print professes: Tyrus Wong painting at home...
Other filmmakers at large working with Apricot Films and our sister company include these cinematographers, line producers, production designers, sound designers, actors, writers, directors, and artists: Amanda Ooms, Christopher Chomyn, Donna Casey, Jaki West, Jon Oh, Leo Chiang, Frida R. Oliva, Frances Chang, Olly Riley-Smith, David Van Slyke, Suzann Crowley, Tony Armatrading, John De Meo, Anton Gold, Marcus Sudac, Sarah Victoria Smith, George Sanchez, Sarah Levy, Helena Korner, Seth Edelstein, Jenny Jules, Ralph Brown, Tim Craig, James Egan, Pamela Tom, Joanne D'Antonio, Nina Menkes, Carol Shine, Erik Dellums, Tom Miller, Alastair Duncan, Jody Hassett Sanchez, Jay Jackson, Jodi Cahn-Wasserman, Scott Davenport Richards, Kim Culotta and many others.