"Girl Action Hero" - InDublin Magazine
"Rarely does a debut film exhibit such
DeSales is a great storyteller whose fantastic style speaks to the MTV
generation. She is a cutting-edge director who is redefining the
Palm Springs International Short Film Festival :: California
America's Largest Short Film Festival
Prep Hall of Fame
kalin's prayer reviews
Not bad...for a girl.
"She came out of nowhere with one of the most raw and powerful films I've
ever seen on screen - student or professional. She has a style unlike any
filmmaker before her - a completely original way of making movies."
Steve Garfinkel, Kodak Motion Picture Imaging :: New York
"A striking debut by the up-and-coming New
York director, DeSales, who establishes herself as a director of great
sensitivity and courage - stylishly shot, superb performances!"
Elliot Grove, Director, Raindance
Founder, British Independent Film Awards :: London
unforgettable film in a fascinating style from a talented new director."
Paul Murnane, Director : Mardi Gras Film Festival :: Sydney
"DeSales sees the
final frontier as the human spirit - and that is the ultimate
vision in her
Celia Gilcrest, CineNews :: New York
On the kalin's prayer set with Samuel Ball, Kris Carr and Robert
Acero. Sam went onto act in Hollywood and Kris onto Broadway to work with
Arthur Miller and Peter Falk.
: The Right Brain :
DeSales is a former championship athlete/coach turned D.C. civil rights
attorney/music manager turned progressive media entrepreneur and multi-award winning filmmaker
out of New York University Graduate Film School, one of the premier film
schools in the world, whose alumnae/i include Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger,
Hidden Dragon), Oliver Stone (JFK), Martin Scorsese (Taxi
Driver), Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing), Jim Jarmusch (Stranger
Than Paradise), Todd Solondz (Welcome to the Dollhouse)
and Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan).
DeSales’ debut film,
(30min, 16mm/Hi-8, color/B&W), which she wrote, directed, produced,
sound-designed, art directed, music supervised, edited and shot 2nd
camera, is now one of the most successful film’s in NYU’s history - it's
been invited to 128 film festivals in 31 countries
and been awarded 50 honors around the world for its
story, universal themes, naturalistic acting and innovative cinematic/sonic
At NYU, DeSales
won the highly-coveted Warner Brother’s Award, a #2-ranking out of 36
directors and two consecutive Full-Scholarship Teaching Fellowships for her
films. She also was honored with the
NIA Award for "exceptional
achievement for utilizing education and talent to enhance the African
American, Latino or Asian Community."
Prior to NYU, DeSales clerked for two federal judges and then opened up her
own solo civil rights firm on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C.,
where she had
a successful litigation career representing victims of gender discrimination
and sexual harassment against corporations (and their mammoth corporate law
DeSales left the law in 1995 to get to the root of social injustice -
society's hearts and minds - by making meaningful, technologically-innovative film, tv, music and new media
in which girls and women get to take the hero's journey and boys don't have
to be macho to be cool. In 1998, DeSales founded the planetarily responsive
insite, dedicated to making
the world a better place through pop culture. insite is currently
developing its first feature film event,
Rock the Planet.
videoing two of the
most talented and
artists working in NYC today, dancer Alex
at Alvin Ailey
Nathan is the choreographer for
Rock the Planet,
and both he and Alex will dance in the movie.
DeSales also is founder of the
first online worldwide grassroots production company,
MoveOn.org gone pop), which will offer the "ordinary" (outside of
elitist Hollywood/New York Indiewood) person an opportunity to invest in and share
the profits of insite's movies. TheMoviement.org also will bring
together creative talent from around the world to participate in insite's
films. Rock the Planet will be insite/themoviement.org's
kick-off feature film event.
If DeSales’ passion as a
been sports, she surely would’ve been a musician. She took guitar
lessons and played in folk masses, but gave up music to focus on sports. While practicing law in
D.C., she was again able to pursue her love of music by managing the rock group the Gadget
White Band, which won the Battle of the Bands hosted by 94.7FM Classic Rock/washingtonpost.com and an opening spot for Bad Company at the MCI Arena in
1999. GWB also have opened for Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Steppenwolf
and Patti Griffin.
In front of the Met
Opera House in NYC with
Manager Ave and Lead Singer Eric of
House of Games,
one of Eastern Europe's hottest new bands - they even
have an ice cream named after them! DeSales recently
was in the studio with the band and their producer in NY,
Kevin Shirley, of Led Zepplin/Aerosmith fame.
DeSales executive produced GWB's first album - hiring producer Paul Mahern
of the Lodge in Indiana (John Mellancamp, Iggy Pop, Lisa Germano, Juliana Hatfield/Blake Babies),
co-writing one song with Gadget and singing background "woo, woo, woos" on
another (NOT DeSales’ idea). With a voice compared to Joplin and Etheridge,
Gadget (not DeSales) was nominated in 1996 for a
(D.C.’s version of a Grammy) for
Best Alternative Female Vocalist.
DeSales also participates in the music vibe through insite's video
VideoMyGig, where she creates improv,
in-camera video art of bands and dance around the world (see below).
New York playwright
Sabura Rashid (Queens
of Heart, Greener Grasses) after attending
Christal Brown's new work
Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
DeSales currently pays the bills as Artistic Director of insite's new
electricalsoil web shop, which,
with the help of her partner, Danielle Jablonski, she's turned into one of the most popular underground
design firms in the East Village. Completely self-taught, DeSales and
Danielle develop organically
stylish sites for indie artists and businesses, and have created sites for the
award-winning Miramax film,
The Station Agent,
(Oscar-winner Fog of War),
woman-owned alternative energy company) and for up-and-coming bands, actors
dancers. With no marketing other than posting flyers in the Village
and listing on the web, electricalsoil has attracted great word of mouth and
created sites for clients from all over the States, including California,
Florida and Chicago. More sample sites can be seen on the electricalsoil website.
Lead actor Kris Carr as
powerful and disturbing film with great production values, wonderful
acting and surrealistically expressionistic visuals -
Florida Film Festival
:: kalin's prayer ::
such films are rare in the context of such large, hedging-our-bets
festivals as Sundance or even our own Seattle International Film
Jamie Hook, The Stranger ::
kalin’s prayer’s 50 awards
span a broad range from the mainstream to the cutting-edge to the socially
conscious, as it has received
acclaim for its meaningful story,
naturalistic acting and innovative cinematic/sonic form.
Most importantly, even
though it featured a lesbian protagonist, had a non-linear story line and
dealt with some "tough" issues, such as incest, crack addiction and the
oppressiveness of the modeling industry,
kalin's prayer has been enthusiastically received by a wide spectrum of
audiences around the world for its universal emotional themes and intense
style (it's won 5 Audience Awards).
On location in the
Tulsa, Oklahoma bar, TNT's, where
DeSales used to hang while clerking for Federal Judge Stephanie K.
Seymour, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
(after hours of course...). Marc Warner, 1st AC
extraordinaire checks the gate!
Giving new meaning to "It's got legs!", kalin's prayer began
its festival tour in Fall 1998, winning the Graduate
Filmmaker Award at the prestigious Hamptons Film Festival (it was still
a "fine cut" then), and won its 20th First-Place award in April
2002 at the Arlene Grocery Picture Show. Its
also include SXSW, Sao Paulo,
Leeds, Dublin, Palm Springs, New Zealand, Nashville, Chilean Int'l, Cork,
Uruguay Int'l, Raindance and the LA and San Francisco International Lesbian
& Gay Film Festivals.
Shot in 1996-97, and to the horror of her film profs, DeSales was integrating 7 different film stocks and numerous filters before
Traffic made it Hollywood fashionable. She owes her ability to
experiment to Mr. Tiffen at Tiffen Filters and Steve Garfinkel at Kodak
Motion Picture Imaging, both of whom graciously supplied free equipment
and film she wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.
:: Hot Shot Director to Watch ::
At first, I didn't know
what I thought of the film. The reaction wasn't immediate. Maybe
that's a good sign. Maybe that is what film is supposed to do in a
time when many blockbuster movies are so predictable, so easily
digested, so comfortable,
that even laughs seem to fall just right and all too easily."
David D. Robbins, Editor
ArtisticEyeReview.com (Cinevegas Film
on kalin's prayer, DeSales was named a "Hot Shot Director to
Watch" at the
Raindance Film Festival
in London by Elliot Grove, director of the festival and founder of the
British Independent Film
won the Athena Award for "Best Director" at the Indiekino International
in Seoul, South Korea.
kalin's prayer set in Manhattan with producer Melissa Hammel (in
her ear) and cinematographer Wendy Bednarz, back.
DeSales was chosen for Directors Showcases for "exciting new
directors" in Sydney, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., and was
featured on WVVH-TV in New York, WBAL-TV in Baltimore and on radio
stations in Berlin, Dublin, Sydney and Utah. DeSales
additionally was one of the first directors chosen for the "Filmmaker Spotlight"
on the internet's largest movie channel Hollywood.com.
kalin's prayer's success also
attracted the attention of Steven Spielberg's Pop.com, Film Four (UK),
Millivres Multimedia (UK) and The Donners' Company (Usual Suspects,
The subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles from around
the world (sans publicist), DeSales and kalin's prayer
was also featured on New York Cable's TED-TV and picked as one the top
films at the Arlene Picture Show by The New York Post and The Onion
DeSales on the kalin's prayer set
in Times Square, NYC
puts you in a trance that
doesn’t let you go."
Guilio Scalinger, Director
Arizona International Film Festival
"Utterly transcends its
gay context and speaks to the eternal human condition in a way most
works of art only hope to."
Stephen H. Segal
"A strong and powerful piece that should be seen by the widest
George T. Marshall, Director
Rhode Island Int'l Film Festival
On kalin's prayer set in Collinsville,
Oklahoma with cinematographer Wendy Bednarz and 1st AC Marc Warner.
DeSales on location in Beijing with Chinese rock star & insite artist Leilin.
Electric where she'd like bounce in kalin's prayer, on set
in Baltimore, Maryland
East Village, NYC
St. Petersburg, Russia
protest the Iraq War
Kris Carr, awesome lead
of kalin's prayer, lets the
director know who's in
charge here. The director,
of course! Right...
:: Behind the Camera ::
French Tap Artist
''A rare female presence in the male-dominated world of tap,
Ms. Butterfly has it all: looks, charisma and talent."
Gia Kourlas, The New York Times
"When I first saw her
of my performance, I understood that DeSales had the kind of talent I
had long been looking for, and which few of the well-established artists
I have collaborated with possessed--she got inside the drama of the
dance with as much depth as the music itself...with the spontaneity of a
jazz-improviser in full control of her craft. She literally paints
with her camera." - Roxane Butterfly
At NYU (and contrary to her cinematography professor's wishes ;),
DeSales experimented with as many film stocks, filters, film processes
and cameras as she could in order to create the widest palette of
"feelings" to best support the emotion of the scene before
She served as Director of Photography for the 16mm short films
Wanderlust (directed by Melissa Hammel and aired on the
Sundance Channel), The Suitcase and All Good Things.
She also co-DPed her 16mm documentary Paula..., for which
she received the incredible honor (it was only the second film she'd
shot) of being asked to serve as judge for Best Cinematography &
Lighting at the Documentary Emmy Awards in 1997, 1998 and 2002, after the
Chair of the judging committee saw its cutting-edge look and feel. DeSales also was recruited to serve as gaffer
on numerous other NYU films for her lighting touch.
Scene from 16mm Wanderlust, shot on Long Island, NY
Check out DeSales' video montage capturing the enormous energy of the East Village
music scene, edited by DeSales for the Rock
the Planet DVD Promo >
(1.5MB - all effects are
In order to stay on the cutting-edge of music, DeSales has videoed live music performances -
singer-songwriters, rock bands and orchestras - in the States and
around the world for over 13 years. She started out in NYC as
the official videographer for Fragglerock, which has showcased women rock
bands at the Acme Underground and Meow Mix since 1992. DeSales is favored by performers
because of the funky special effects she improvises in-camera during the
performance, which one artist
described as "not just documenting, but capturing the soul of, my
performance." DeSales prefers her trusty Hi-8 camera to DV because
of the superior color of analog.
In 2003, DeSales videoed a dance for a friend and ended up
collaborating regularly with two of the most cutting-edge and socially
progressive choreographers of our time: Nathan Trice, founder of
Nathan Trice-Rituals (also the choreographer for Rock the Planet)
and Bessie Award-winning French-Moroccan Tap Artist Roxane Butterfly,
founder of Worldbeats.
true tap virtuoso" by the
New York Times and
one of the most innovative tap-dancers of her generation,
Butterfly is a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow (Sister!), the only woman tap-dancer ever to receive a Bessie Award
(for Outstanding Creative Achievement in 1999), was named one of
Dance Magazine’s 25 Best and was chosen a member of UNESCO’s
International Dance Council. Butterfly
allso has collaborated with some of the world's legendary dancers and musicians, including
Gregory Hines (Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk)
urban tap sensation Savion Glover, Argentinian tango great Pablo Veron,
and jazz legends Les Paul, Stanley Jordan, Ron Carter and Ravi Coltrane,
to name a few.
Butterfly also was featured in
the BBC special, Fascinating Rhythm.
After seeing DeSales' first
video of her performance in 2003, Butterfly asked DeSales to co-direct, video and
edit a biographical short film of Butterfly's work, Artist
in the Making..., which she now uses
to book international gigs.
It recently was selected to screen at the Monaco Dance Forum
in France and
Ahead in Dusseldorf. Germany. In 2005, Artist
became part of
which features one of the world's
most celebrated tango dancers, Argentinian Pablo Veron, who starred in
Sally Potter's award-winning film,
The Tango Lesson
(for which Butterfly coached him).
DeSales also videoed Butterfly's two sold-out performances of her
2004 show, Improvizions,
which combines globally-aware spoken word, live jazz, and various forms
of dance including break, African and, of course, tap.
insite Films will be producing the Roxane Butterfly DVD in Spring 2005.
drama, charm and wit
with a reality that leaves no waste. "
-Jennifer Dunning, New York Times
Nathan Trice's soul-shattering
Their Speech is Silver, Their Silence
is Gold (below) is the dance that
turned DeSales onto dance (besides the dance she loves to do at clubs!).
This Alvin-Ailey star wowed DeSales from the first time she met him (through his dance), and she asked
him straight-away to be her choreographer for
Rock the Planet.
More info on Nathan is on the Rock the Planet
site under Imaginers.
Alex Torres stars in Nathan Trice's amazingly intense and empowering
dance about the psychological, physical and emotional rape of women and
their search for authentic identity in a patriarchal society.
DeSales also shot the SFX shots in
kalin's prayer on her
trusty Hi-8 and later transferred them to 16mm film. These shots help
the special "emotional feel" for
which it was so popular.
DeSales also has served as
grip, sound mixer, boom, dolly grip and first AC on numerous short
films and as a PA on the Hype Williams Grammy-nominated Busta Rhymes
music video, Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See (the
one with the live elephant...:( ).
DeSales also enjoys videoing
protests and other rabble-rousing events.
2004 United for Peace &
Justice March at
the Republican National Convention in NYC
:: Behind the Soul ::
Kris showing the director who's boss on
kalin's prayer set in Baltimore, Maryland
Although she loves out-there technology
and eye and ear candy, DeSales fancies herself an
"actor's director" because she thinks actors are incredibly courageous
and that working with them is the best part of the job. After all, it's
all about people.
She has studied
acting herself with two of the top acting coaches in the US - as Ana Strasberg’s teaching assistant
at NYU/Lee Strasberg Institute and as one of the few directors allowed to work with
American Place Theater
Founder Wynn Handman at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Handman has coached Michael
Douglas, Johanne Woodward, Richard Gere, Denzel Washington, John Leguizamo
and Mira Sorvino, among others.
kalin's prayer was highly praised for its naturalistic acting.
:: Behind the Desk ::
As for the film business side of the show, DeSales worked as a
Development Intern at the Emmy-Award winning HBO-NYC and as a Marketing
Intern at Artistic License, an arthouse film distributor in New York
On the music end, DeSales worked as a Sales & Marketing Assistant at
Knitting Factory Records -
one of the leading avant-jazz labels in the world with 400 titles - and has worked sales at the
Knitting Factory NYC Merch Store. The Knitting Factory is
known worldwide as New York’s most avant music venue and now has a hot
new club in, dare we say...Hollywood.
for some Rock
action in Appalachia, VA
Rock the Planet ::
DeSales is presently developing her first feature film,
tHe PLaNet - a Lord of
the Rings meets
Rent meets Good Will Hunting meets The Corporation
- about a brilliant young neuroscientist from the First World Planet
Urizen who comes to restore spirituality to Earth by studying a
self-destructive rock singer and the Carnegie Hall opera coach who
helps her face her family demons and battle a record label.
The rock star lives with a group of charismatic young musicians from
around the planet, including China, France, Estonia, Denmark and the
USA. DeSales has traveled to all these countries and come back with
not only great talent, but great friends!
To see more of the global
casting craziness, go to the
Rock the Planet
website and then click on Global Casting.
DeSales is also writing her second feature,
CyberStar, the sequel to
Rock the Planet, about Jessie Star, a girl action hero
who has to save the
Earth again in the year 3535.
The Left Brain
: DC Law
kicking her right brain into high gear, DeSales made a living crunching her
left. After graduating Order of the Coif from the University of Maryland
School of Law - and with its senior award for Outstanding Scholarship and
Leadership - DeSales clerked for two highly respected federal judges - The
Honorable Frederic N. Smalkin, a moderate conservative district judge for
whom she served as the "loyal opposition" and The Honorable Stephanie K.
Seymour, a liberal appellate judge, who authored Brown v. Board of
Education II (the appeal of the landmark school desegregation case) and
who was later on Clinton’s short list for the Supreme Court.
then won a highly coveted
Georgetown Law Center Women’s Law & Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C., where she
worked as a staff attorney for
People for the American Way
(a First Amendment watchdog founded by Norman Lear), lobbied in Congress for
the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and authored
The Civil Rights Act of 1991: A Section-by-Section Analysis for the
Although courted by white shoe law firms (and much appreciative of the $100
lunches, front row theater tickets and chauffeured rides to softball games),
DeSales opted to hang out her own shingle on Connecticut Avenue in order to
litigate cutting-edge issues in gender and race discrimination. She
successfully fought the likes of corporations such as G.E. and Marriott -
with their 200-plus lawyer defense firms in tow - on behalf of blue-collar
and professional workers, students and teachers.
DeSales ended her litigation career with a victory over a powerful law firm
defended by the late Charles F.C. Ruff, President Clinton’s White House
Counsel who defended him in the Senate impeachment trial. Mr. Ruff called
DeSales "a rising young star" and subsequently offered her a job, saying
that after litigating against her, he wanted her on his side. DeSales,
however, was headed to NYU. Mr. Ruff, of course, was soon to be headed for
The Left and Right : Sports
As a kid,
DeSales went to the all-girls’ Maryvale Prep School in Baltimore, where she
led the Lions to multiple championships as captain and leading scorer in
field hockey, basketball & lacrosse, and was named the first-ever female
WBAL-TV Athlete of the Week. Yet, a severe knee injury as a junior dashed
her hopes of a spot on the Olympic basketball team.
DeSales returned to her alma mater as a coach in 1982 and turned around its
losing program – ending her last year at the ‘Vale with a 36-2 record, a
basketball championship and an undefeated lacrosse team. DeSales then picked
up a bike in 1987 and was soon picked up herself by Peugeot’s U.S. Cycling
Team, with whom she trained for the 1988 Olympics until a career-ending
(6th) knee operation.