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 would inform and drive 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 began to create 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 but untested 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. The film was nominated for "Best Social Commnetary" award in it's 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.
Mr. Nishikawa who wrote, directed, and starred in the film, is currenty shepherding the project through distribution. The film is currently airing on Showtime, Netflix and Blockbuster Online, as well as, at numerous community based screenings; including a special screening for the troops stationed in Iraq during Asian-Pacific Heritage Month in 2011.
Creative energy and artistic vision are only part of Ms. Criswell's contributions to Koncept Films. During her 15 year tenure with a top Hollywood film studio, she has worked her way up to the position of 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.
Recent Posts by Karen
AN ODE TO "C" bells, bikes, and trucks bendingmetal joints, creakingtight corners, bated breathsmilitary piper trills, drums in shadesfrost lit revelry melts to mist lavender tulips, relentlessly pressed, eager arms, reluctant sunswans glide, mysterious warning magic, lurking in dank cornershistory seeps through...Read more
After two years the "Chasing Daylight" travel e-book is complete! Here is an excerpt from my adventures in Copenhagen, complete with photographs from Rosenberg Castle. A mix of poetry, prose and photography, "Chasing Daylight" is a delightful...Read more
Whew...I made it through the kinetic, crazy energy of Austin, TX during the season of frenzy which is SXSW! My first trip into that cauldron of creativity; swirling, churning, burning creativity, and I survived! Flying out right in front of...Read more
Cool shadows of tall trees Scattered like splattered paint Across hot concrete streets Ruby red bougainvilleaCascade, innocent, down Plaster wallsPetals fall Drifting on the sultry breezeA man splayed out Lies beside his broken bike An officer struggles to hear his gasping words StoplightCar door opensSpit lands on roadway I...Read more
One of the most insidious problems that we have in this country is that our laws do not protect, judge or sentence equally; people of color. This issue is borne out by statistical facts. Laws may have changed on...Read more