Owner, KONCEPT FILMS
With a basis of knowledge steeped in theatrical and performance art, Karen Criswell, Producer/Director of KONCEPT FILMS, brings to the table a vast background in visual media. Her experimentation with the genre began during her tenure as Production Manager for the non-profit, San Francisco based, West Bay Opera Company, where video projections and visual special effects were used in place of costly scenery. From these creative sojourns it was an easy leap into the world of film. Her background in political and socially charged theater, working with such companies as the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Asian American Theater Company informs and drives the content of the films that she chooses to pursue.
Relocating to Los Angeles, Ms. Criswell, was partner in an independent film production company and Executive Producer to several projects, including LIBERTAD, written and directed by Miguel Najera. This project began an incredible working relationship and friendship with the lead actress of that film, Renee Victor. Ms. Victor won a “Best Actress” award at the Wine Country Film Festival for her portrayal in LIBERTAD; and the film went on to be broadcast on WGBH-PBS in Boston.
Eventually, Ms. Criswell decided to strike out on her own and created her company, Koncept Films. She gathered her resources and directed her landmark short film about crack cocaine abuse, LIFE'S BLOOD, starring Michael Horse, Alan Tafoya, and introducing Tschetan Santana Esser. In this project, she developed what has become her base creative model with inclusion of talented and innovative writers, crew and original musical composition. Furthering her belief in nurturing young talent that sprang from her days as the Jury Chairperson for Taos Talking Pictures Short Film Award, she brought together and created an atmosphere for new talent to explore their craft. This film was nominated for the "Best Social Commentary" award in its first festival; screened before LA MISSION at American Indian Film Festival Opening Night 2009, and received critical accolades from substance abuse representatives for both Phoenix and Walden House.
Demonstrating a deep commitment to educational and historical film, Ms. Criswell, worked with long time collaborator, Lane Nishikawa, and his production company, Mission From Buddha Productions, to produce a series of films on the 100th/442nd Japanese-American soldiers who fought in World War II for the United States. This series culminated in the feature film, ONLY THE BRAVE, starring Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Tamlyn Tomita, and the late, Pat Morita. Ms. Criswell brokered a deal with Universal Studios that enabled them to effectively create this period film set in France for the modest budget they possessed. The film appeared on Showtime, Netflix, Blockbuster Online, and is currently available on Amazon.com. It also continues to be viewed at numerous community based screenings; including a special screening for the troops stationed in Iraq during Asian-Pacific Heritage Month.
Creative energy and artistic vision are only part of Ms. Criswell's contributions to Koncept Films. During her extensive tenure with Dreamworks Studios, she oversaw a vast array of projects as Vice President of Operations. The wealth of operational and managerial knowledge accumulated during her time at the studio provides significant benefit to the success of Koncept Films.
Currently, Koncept Films is in production on SHIFT FORWARD, CITY OF CROWS, and finalizing music videos for the recent release of ZEITLOS; an album from KFilm's composer, Michael Jost.
Check back for further project development, screening, online, and event dates for all KArt projects!