Filmmakers

Doug Blush
Consulting Editor

Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer whose recent credits include this year's Academy Award nominated THE INVISIBLE WAR as Editor and Associate Producer, and the 2013 Sundance and theatrical hit TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM as Supervising Editor.  His film OF TWO MINDS, co-directed with his wife Lisa, is an intimate look at three people living with bipolar disorder that has played across the US and Canada, winning both the 2013 Prism and Voice Awards for excellence in films on mental health issues, and is now in release by Docurama/Cinedigm on DVD and digital.  

Previous editorial work includes the crossword-culture hit WORDPLAY; the Academy Award shortlisted national debt primer I.O.U.S.A.; THESE AMAZING SHADOWS, a wide-ranging appreciation of the National Film Registry; HBO's SUPERHEROES, an on-the-street documentary tracking the adventures of real life crime-fighters; the Emmy nominated OUTRAGE with director Kirby Dick; and the Eugene Jarecki-directed segment of FREAKONOMICS.  He has also edited, supervised and/or produced over a dozen other feature documentaries, and has been nominated five times for Best Editing at the Sundance Film Festival.

Doug and his wife and film partner Lisa Klein own MadPix, Inc, an independent production, post production and film consulting company in Los Angeles.    www.facebook.com/madpixfilms
Paul McGuire
Producer/ Camera

With over 15 tears experience of independent film and broadcast television, Paul McGuire has directed and produced content across multiple genres. Now specializing in series producing observational documentary television series for National Geographic, NBC, Discovery International and the Smithsonian, Paul cut his teeth in the burgeoning independent film scene in the late 1990s. As a 14 year old, Paul once visited Coney Island on a cold Easter morning and, after relocating in 1998 to New York, had a deep connection to it's faded charm and magnetism. On hearing about the threat to this unique part of the city he felt impelled to capture on film the key figures of the fight to save the Coney Island so many people knew and loved.
Alessandra Giordano
Director/Producer/Camera/Co-editor

Alessadra has a degree in film production and photojournalism from Guildhall University, London. She began her carrier in England as a free-lance photographer, and then made a leap to television. She now lives in the US and works as a free-lance shooter producer on documentaries and reality TV shows. She has recently worked as field producer for “The First 48”, an American documentary television series on A&E, focusing on the real-life world of homicide investigators. She ended up in Coney Island by chance on a breezy summer day of 5 years ago and immediately fell in love with its raffish charm and unforgettable characters. What began as a short film turned into her first feature documentary.
Peter LiPera
Producer/Camera

Peter LiPera has a Bachelors Degree in Film Production from Syracuse University and a Masters degree in Documentary Filmmaking from City College of New York. He is the creator and producer of "American Gypsies", a docu-series that aired on National Geographic Channel about the secret life of a powerful NYC Gypsy family. Currently Peter is developing a television series for Netfilx with the award winning Production Company, Suite Spot. Peter has always been interested in the fringes of society and felt right at home on the shores of Coney Island. He is proud of the nickname, 'Curly Pete', given to him by the locals of Coney Island.
Susan R. Roberts
Camera

Susan Roberts' work has been exhibited in the "Humanity" show at The Big Top Gallery and in the group show “Light on Music” at the Darkroom, New Orleans Center for the Photographic Arts. After growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River in Iowa, a series of coincidences and curiosity moved her to New Orleans where her love of photography and the healing arts were fused into appreciation of the human spirit and form. It became evident that her two passions directly influenced and perfectly complimented one another.

She traveled to Senegal for a non-profit photography project, produced and shot a very short doc on photographer iconEditta Sherman and was a videographer on Konechne’s “Woven from the Land: Women, Prairie, Culture”. Susan's love for the Coney Island that created local and world-wide enchantment and her support for grassroots activism propelled her to work on this project. She lives in NYC and still believes progress is only possible through humane routes.
Jennifer Hartzog
Editor

As one of the editors for Dreams for Sale, Jennifer Hartzog has previously edited and filmed on 3 documentaries, "Dig In! A Conversation about Organic Food and Farming," "Drug Court Works! 20 Years of Success," and "Finding Johnny." She also has worked on over 100 other video projects including concerts, sporting events, court trials, ceremonies, commercials, and PSAs. Currently, she enjoys her work as an Associate Producer and Field Producer for the reality TV series The First 48. And she loves Coney Island.
Robert Neilson
Editor

Rob Neilson is an award winning DP and Editor born on Long Island NY and is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts. He has since relocated from Brooklyn NY to a fortified compound somewhere in the Houston TX area where he plans to continue making films, and become the leader of a fringe cult. If you would like to see some more of his work please check out his website www.robmneilson.com.
Robert Meany
Composer

Rob Meany is an award-winning singer-songwriter and composer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
He is the lead singer, songwriter and keyboard player for pop-rock group, Terramara.  Over the past decade, the band has released three albums of original songs, garnering a loyal following among smart-pop lovers worldwide.  He is also an active solo artist and is currently working on a new album of songs.

His songs have won several national songwriting contests and have been featured in many television programs such as Supernatural (CW), Making The Movie: The Watchmen (UK), Animal Planet, and Biography (A & E) among others.
As a composer, he has scored soundtracks for several national television programs, independent films and documentaries for clients such as the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic.  He has also composed music for countless television, radio and web-based commercials, with clients such as Best Buy, 3M, Mayo Clinic, United Healthcare, Cox Communications, Wellpoint and many more. www.robmeany.com
Skylar Graham
Composer

Originally from a small town in Northern Alberta, Canada, Skylar Graham who also performs under the name Skyllark, spent the greater part of her youth longing to escape the bizarreness that is small town suburban life...

For the last seven years she has been working and living as a freelance musician in Montreal, composing songs for various independent films throughout Canada and the United States. Skylar is delighted to have her song "Collection Of Mishaps" included in such a poignant and thought provoking documentary as "Coney Island: Dreams For Sale."
Skip Sams
Composer

At the age of twelve, Skip Sams began writing songs with lyrics that were self-affirming to counteract the words of the bullies which made fun of him because he loved to tap dance.  Little did he know that these songs of affirmation would lay the ground work for an exciting life journey and an amazing career in music.  

Skip entered the Dick Grove School of Music to study Jazz composition and it was here he was able to attend lectures by some of Hollywood's greatest film composers, such as Bill Conti and Henry Mancini.  It was at the University of Miami that he began scoring music for film while working on his Masters of Music: Media Writing and Production. In 2010 he scored the Bonus March, which received a honorary mention at the Columbus Film Festival.  Sams received a 2012 International Davey Award for I Have A Voice, a short film he produced and scored.  Today, Skip is reclaiming his passion for tap dance and is studying under Tony Waag at the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City.  Yes, Skip is still writing his songs of affirmation and gets to travel the world sharing them with his fans . . . some of whom were once known to be his childhood bullies.
Cesar Santalo
Animation

César Santaló was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1970. Since early childhood he has had an interest in the arts earning many prestigious regional and national awards. He studied drawing in painting at Pratt Institute where he received his B.F.A in 1994. After working as a Designer and illustrator for the software industry he took his talents to Univision Network where he is Senior Designer for the Entertainment Division. Cesar is and adjunct professor at the University of Miami and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He has won Best of Show at the Lowe Art Museum, 2003(Juror: Bernice Steinbaum). In 2004, he received the Adobe Innovations Award from the University of Miami and won best of show "Imagination", Juried Exhibition of Still, Kinetic and Interactive Fine Art and the Mann Grant for Outstanding Teaching Assistant. In 2005, one of his collages was purchased by the State Department of Florida, by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. He was also commissioned to illustrate the poster for CubaNostalgia in 2006, 2009 and in 2012. This year his work was selected to be part of an exhibit entitled, “Reclaimed Miami” at the distinguished Zadok Gallery. His collage was featured as the signature look for Premios Juventud 2009 for Univision Network. The artist has also illustrated and animated video content for the Latin Grammy’s for artists such as “Calle 13”, Pedro Fernandez, Cirque du Soleil and Juan Luis Guerra. Later in 2010 his illustration was chosen for Univision s FIFA World Cup poster South Africa. He, his wife, and their three beautiful children, reside in South Miami. www.cesarsantalo.com

Director Statement

There are many reasons I felt inspired to pick up a camera and follow this story.
The first time I stepped foot in Coney Island, one  summer  afternoon of 5 years ago, the city of New  York seemed to vanish,  replaced  by a chaotic, unpredictable, and fascinating world.

Iconic rides, an old fashion wooden boardwalk crowded with people from all walks of life, colorful shady concessions selling a wild variety of merchandise, from stuffed toys and cigars to florescent pina coladas, the beach, the ocean breeze, the screams, the laughter, and yes to top it off, an authentic freak show!

I was immediately captivated by the raffish charm of the place and its extravagant characters seemed to rightfully belong to a movie set. And there was something else, something intangible – perhaps the spirit of Coney Island's glorious history still lingering in the air.

At the same time it was also apparent that the once magnificent "playground of the world" had been neglected. I couldn't help but noticing the empty lots and rundown buildings, the piles of trash and the sinister real estate signs posted at every street corner. 

While walking around, I stumbled upon Gangster Cigar and struck up a casual conversation  with Anthony. He had a lot to say on what was going on in Coney Island and It was enough to capture my curiosity. I returned the following day with a cheap camera, little experience, and a lot of enthusiasm.
 
The plan was to shoot a short film over the course of the summer, exploring the quirkiness of this unique amusement park and the reasons for its most recent state of neglect.
  
However, as I began spending time in Coney Island I realized that the story at hand was much bigger  and complicated than I had imagined. In the last few years, CI had transformed into a battle ground between New York City and a real estate mogul in search of big profit. Caught in the middle was a community of amusement aficionados and business owners like Dianna, owner of Lola star Boutique, Dick founder of CI USA, and Anthony.
A summer transformed into a journey of 5 years.

At every turn I was faced with more and more complex questions such as: what is the best use of our limited land-space? How do we make sure that all parties are equitably represented in that discussion? Where do we draw the line between the inevitable necessities of  “progress” and the insatiable demands of unchecked capitalism?

What kept me going during times of hardship was the love and admiration for Coney Island and its  community, especially people like Dianna, whose courage and determination in the face of adversity is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.

Both simple and complex, this is a fascinating and timely story about the journey to preserve an American icon and an entire way of life.

Furthermore, it is an important story as it shows how seemingly powerless citizens and small business owners can band together through grass roots activism in a political arena increasingly dominated by corporate influence in order to gain a democratic compromise that satisfies all parties. 

The battle for the future of Coney Island has provided the park and the surrounding neighborhood with a much needed facelift. New, shiny rides and glitzy storefronts have emerged on every corner, replacing the old and often run down structures, and attracting thousands of new visitors. But at the same time, the new zoning has created an opportunity for major national chains such as Applebee's to take root, and for an increasingly corporate environment to flourish – creating the risk for yet another unique historic and outlandish neighborhood to be forever lost to gentrification.