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Modern Family : The Saddest Boy in the World

Cast & Crew Bios

Jamie Travis

Jamie Travis Writer, Director, Producer, Production Designer

Jamie Travis has built a strong reputation in Canada’s independent film scene as a director of precise vision. His short films have consistently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, travelled well on the international film festival circuit, won prestigious awards and aired nationally on television. Comparisons have ranged from Peter Greenaway to David Lynch to Alfred Hitchcock. Recurring themes of childhood frailty and self-conscious suspense—alongside his painstakingly designed interiors—have established Jamie as “an indie auteur-to-watch.”

Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner (2003), his graduating film from UBC, screened at over sixty international film festivals, aired on the CBC and PBS and earned him numerous awards, including the 2004 Leo Award for Best Production Design in a Short Drama and the 2004 Golden Sheaf Award for Best Script. For Patterns (2005), Jamie was awarded the Vancouver International Film Festival’s top short film prize—for Best Western Canadian Director of a Short Film.

Jamie’s new films—The Saddest Boy in the World, Patterns 2 and Patterns 3—all had their world premieres at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Darker, clearer and more extravagant than his previous efforts, the films represent a creative launching pad to his first feature. Based in Vancouver, BC, Jamie is currently working on his first feature script.

Amy Belling

Amy Belling Producer, Director of Photography

Since graduating from UBC with a double major in Film Production and Theatre, Amy Belling has established herself as an accomplished producer and cinematographer. Her graduating film, Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner (2003), premiered to great acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sixty film festival screenings later, the film has aired on CBC, The Comedy Network and PBS. Amy has since produced three short films—the Citytv short Once a Fish (2005); Regarding Sarah (2006), which premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival and will air on CBC; and The Saddest Boy in the World (2006), for which she also served as director of photography. Amy’s television experience includes working as production manager and cinematographer for the first season of Bravo’s documentary series On Screen!. She is the associate producer of the new feature film Mount Pleasant (2006), which premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival and will be distributed throughout Canada in January.

AJ Bond

A.J. Bond Associate Producer

A former child actor, A.J. Bond has worked in the Vancouver film community in various capacities for the last decade. In 2003, A.J. graduated from the UBC Film Programme, where he wrote and directed the short film Repeat. For his graduating project, A.J. served as producer and editor of the award-winning Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner, which played at over sixty film festivals worldwide. Numerous editing projects followed, including the short film My Old Man (TIFF 2004), based on the works of Charles Bukowski, and two short, behind-the-scenes documentaries for Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama. In 2004, A.J. incorporated Modern Family Productions with Jamie Travis and Amy Belling; and the trio began developing their second short film, The Saddest Boy in the World. Meanwhile, A.J. produced and edited Patterns, the award-winning first installment of The Patterns Trilogy. While attending the 2005 Editors’ Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, A.J. edited the short comedy If I See Randy Again, Do You Want Me to Hit Him with the Axe? (TIFF 2006). Most recently, A.J. brought The Patterns Trilogy to a close, completing Patterns 2 and Patterns 3 for their Toronto International Film Festival premieres. A.J. is currently in post-production on a short film of his own, The Sad Sack, and he is developing The Circumcision, a short dark comedy about a boy and his foreskin.


Jason Schneider Editor

Jason Schneider is an accomplished filmmaker and musician. For The Big Charade (TIFF 2003), he was given the award for Best Editor of a Short Film at BC’s Leo Awards. Other editing credits include Jesse McKeown’s short film Vancouver (TIFF 2005) and the David Hewlett feature A Dog’s Breakfast (2006); in addition, Jason has worked as an assistant editor on the television productions Stargate SG-1, DaVinci’s Inquest and Cold Squad. His own project Weiner, for which he served as co-writer, co-director and co-editor, aired nationally on the CBC in 2004. Its sequel, Weiner II, premiered at Vancouver’s Cinemuerte horror film festival.


Alfredo Santa Ana Composer

A graduate of Missouri’s Truman State University and a current PhD student at UBC’s School of Music, Alfredo Santa Ana has a wide array of instrumental and electronic music to his credit. During his time as an undergraduate student, he received third place in the MTNA national competition for the song cycle Llegó en la Noche and saw his orchestral revolt premiered by the Truman State Symphony Orchestra. While working toward his graduate degree at UBC, Alfredo was selected to participate in readings with the Vancouver and Victoria Symphony Orchestras; and his one-movement work, Manifold, was in 2006 premiered by the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. His second collaboration with director Jamie Travis, Patterns 3, marks his bold first stab at the musical genre.


Miguel Nunes Sound Designer

Miguel Nunes works in Vancouver as a sound designer, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer. The winner of a 2003 Gemini Award for the CBC series Da Vinci’s Inquest, Miguel has built a sturdy reputation in Canada’s post-production sound scene. Genie Award-nominated for his work on the feature films Last Night (2000) and Emile (2003), Miguel has also been nominated for a total of eleven Leo Awards in sound editing and overall sound—and he has won three. Other recent credits include the recently released feature An American Haunting, starring Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. Miguel is currently working on the highly anticipated CBC television series Intelligence. Recently he ventured back to his roots, composing music and sound designing an Air Jordan commercial for Nike.


Benjamin B. Smith as Timothy Higgins

Benjamin B. Smith comes to the The Saddest Boy in the World with more experience than the average ten year-old. He has appeared in numerous commercials, television series, short films and feature films. Most prominently, he appeared as a lead in Disney’s 2005 feature Bob the Butler, in which he plays the son of Brooke Shields and the young charge of Tom Green. The TV pilot Eureka, in which Ben plays a young genius, has been picked up for thirteen episodes by NBC. When asked about the role of Timothy Higgins, Ben replies – “It wasn’t too hard keeping a sad face for all those scenes. Timothy and I are both serious. But that’s really the only thing we have in common. I am definitely happy!”

Kirsten Robek as Barbara Higgins

Kirsten Robek is a BFA graduate of York University and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. She has been working in theatre, film and television for the past decade. She is the recipient of two Best Actress awards—she won the Leo Award for Kevin Shortt’s The Watchers and a New York City Independent Film Award for the short film Evirati. Other selected film and television credits include The Void, Mindstorm, Cats and Dogs, 14 Hours, Godiva’s and The Collector. Kirsten has also received three Jessie Award nominations for the plays Jericho Pier, Stone and Ashes and Fall of the House of Usher. She recently performed as Harper Pitt in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and toured Eastern Canada with the Electric Theatre Company’s presentation of Brilliant.

Babz Chula as Dr. Judith D'Angelo

Babz Chula is a legend of Vancouver stage and screen. Winner of numerous awards for her work in film and television, Babz most recently won the Best Actress Gemini Award for CBC’s dramatic series These Arms of Mine. Her collaborations with acclaimed Canadian director Bruce Sweeney—in Dirty (1995), Live Bait (1998) and Last Wedding (2001)—have made her a fixture of the international film festival scene. Other feature film credits include Sandy Wilson’s My American Cousin (1985), Joel Schumacher’s Cousins (1989), the 2004 Sundance hit Seven Times Lucky and The Accused (1988), with Jodie Foster. Babz was a series regular on the television series Madison and on ABC’s The Commish. Women in Film and Video Vancouver voted her “Woman of the Year” in 1996.

Hailey Conner as Isabelle Higgins

The Saddest Boy in the World marks Hailey Conner’s first acting role. A trained tap dancer, Hailey proved herself a natural actor. “I want to be a professional dancer,” she says, “because I think dancing is the funnest thing in the world.” When asked which scene was her least favourite to film, Hailey replies, “The scene where I had to eat cereal over and over again because I get sick of eating cereal really fast.”

Jerocko Harder as Robbie

“Ever since I knew how to talk I was telling my mom that I wanted to be on television and in the movies.  Finally when I was five years old my mom took me seriously.  I’ve been performing in commercials and films ever since.” As Robbie the bully, Jerocko got to play a character opposite to himself—”In real life I like to help the kids that are being bullied.  I’ve stopped lots of fights at school.  But that’s the fun part about acting, becoming a different character.” Jerocko aspires to direct his own feature film.

Paige Martin as Leah the Twin

A swimmer, a baseball player and a skiier, Paige Martin had one of her first acting roles in The Saddest Boy in the World. When she grows up, Paige wants to be an actress, a dentist or a policewoman. About the audition process, she explains—”Before we went into the auditioning room, I told my sister not to screw it up and she didn’t. I was proud of my sister.”

Danika Martin as Amanda the Twin

The Saddest Boy in the World is one of Danika Martin’s first acting jobs. She and her twin sister Paige have much experience in background work. When asked how she got the part, she responds, “My sister and I auditioned and we did our best.” What does she want to do when she grows up? “I want to be an actress because it’s fun and I like meeting new people. If that doesn’t work out I’d like to be a dentist, just like my Uncle Steve.”

Colton Boreen as Randy

Colton Boreen’s previous acting experience includes the lead role in director Jamie Travis’ Why the Anderson Children Didn’t Come to Dinner (2003). For his work as Godfrey, Colton won the award for Best Actor at Freshly Brewed Productions’ Student Film Festival in Vancouver. A model airplane enthusiast with future plans to be a meteorologist, Colton, when asked who his hero is, responds, “Dad, for being there for me when times are rough. And mom for loving and caring for me too.”

Megan McKinnon as Maria

An actor since the age of four, Megan McKinnon has worked on over thirty-five independent and student films. For Samantha’s Art (2005), she was nominated for a 2005 Young Artist Award in Hollywood for Best Leading Performance in a Short Film. Other credits include The Bully Solution (2005), Crazy Late (2005) and a role in the Antony and the Johnsons video for Cripple and the Starfish.

Garnet Barrett as Jordan

Garnet Barrett studies acting at the Vancouver Youth Theatre. Previous roles to The Saddest Boy in the World include the short film 24/7 (2005). An aspiring inventor, Garnet’s hobbies range from Lego to reading to making Sculpy figures. Who is his hero? “Big round yellow things. Because they’re big and round and yellow.” When asked how he compares to his character in Saddest Boy, Garnet responds, “I am different because I wear glasses and I don’t go to people I don’t really know’s parties.”

Michael Wu as Jiang Li

An avid badminton and video game player, Michael Wu’s acting experience includes a number of commercials. The Saddest Boy in the World marks his first role in a fiction film. With plans to do more acting in the future, his ultimate career plans can be best summed up by Michael himself—”I want to be a principal so I can get kids in trouble.”

All content copyright Modern Family Productions.