Grand Street

Edited by: Caroline Laskow
Produced by: OVO
Music by: Jason Crigler

Camera Assistants: Caroline Laskow, Hillevi Loven, Esther Pan, Vera Scanlon, Karen Sorensen, Chris Talbott, Mary Wigmore

Director Ian Rosenberg filmed the corner of Grand and Pitt Streets from 7AM to 7PM to document the changing face of his Lower East Side neighbourhood in New York City. The result is Grand Street, an experimental non-narrative documentary in which the 12 hours of footage are transformed into an epic six-minute movie.

Grand Street premiered at the Lotus Club in July 2006 (as part of New York Stand Still, a joint show of Projected Photography and Video by Ian Rosenberg and Mark Mann), and screened at: Makor/92nd Street YAnthology/New Filmmakers (New York); the Aurora Picture Show (Houston); and theWashington Jewish Film Festival

All You Can Eat Las Vegas

Director and Producer: Natasha Schull
Co-director and Cinematographer: Hillevi Loven
Editors: Till Ostlerland, Natasha Schull, Matthew Bird
Produced in association with OVO

Thanksgiving weekend, Las Vegas: a camera journeys through Sin City's all-you-can-eat buffets and finds a kaleidoscope of characters behind the food - from tireless chefs preparing gargantuan bowls of ambrosia, to servers who bus endless plates, to hungry diners in search of a culinary jackpot and a portion of the American dream.


The World's Best Prom


Distributed by Matson Films and now available on DVD at or on netflix.

The Epicenter of Prom Genius
--Ira Glass, This American Life

Best Documentary, Wisconsin Film Festival 2001

A short and feature documentary film by: OVO
Short version directed by: OVO, edited by Ari Vena and Hillevi Loven
Feature version directed by: Ari Vena and Chris Talbott

A small post-industrial city nestled between Chicago and Milwaukee, Racine takes its prom celebration very seriously. Once a year for over fifty years, prom-mania infects the entire population. The city's extravagant celebration includes a rowdy parade that converges at Festival Hall, where students battling for the most outrageous mode of transportation can be seen arriving in trolleys, fire trucks, and even on the back of an elephant. Prom participants enter the party via a red carpet accompanied by the flash of cameras, live television crews, and approving screams from bleachers filled to capacity. If the Academy Awards were to suddenly move to the middle of the country, this is what it might resemble.

The short documentary's fast-paced treatment of flashy entrances and prom-day Cinderella transformations earned it the Best Documentary award at the Wisconsin Film Festival, and a wide spectrum of national coverage ranging from The Jenny Jones Show to NPR's This American Life.

Through intimate, complimentary stories of two girls' prom experiences, one black and one white, the feature documentary brings to life an American right of passage taken to the extreme, while providing a vivid portrait of a beleaguered city with a proud history struggling to reinvent itself for the sake of its teens.


"What does your life cost?"

A short film directed by: Ian Rosenberg
Written by: Mark Emerson
Cinematography by: Hillevi Loven
Additional Cinematography by: Carly Jacobs and Caroline Laskow
Edited by: Mark Mann
Original Music by: Brian Bristol
Starring: Ruben Carbajal, Ian Rosenberg, Chris Talbott, Ari Vena, Jason Hill, Jessie Hutcheson, Allen Hutcheson, Caroline Laskow, Mark Emerson, Klara Leopold, Mojie Crigler, Jeff Peters and Erik Lochtefeld
Produced in association with OVO

In this mockumentary short film, a struggling director tries (and fails) to get a diverse collection of thirtysomething New Yorkers to answer one question -- what does your life cost? The unsuccessful results are strange, dark and hilarious.

"Overhead" premiered at The Arlene's Grocery Picture Show (5th Annual Film Festival) in April 2005.

Get Out the Vote


A short film produced and directed by: Hillevi Loven
Produced in association with OVO 

An honest, inspiring portrayal of Florida's black community fighting for their right to vote. Hillevi Loven made several trips to Florida in an effort to document their experiences of disenfranchisement, and instead discovered a confluence of voices determined to utilize their hard fought right to vote.

Informative and lyrical, the short film is an emotional document of the struggle for freedom.

The Gifted Program

                                                                        Postcard designed by  Nick Stone , illustration by  Joey Talbott .

                                                                        Postcard designed by Nick Stone, illustration by Joey Talbott.

You saw The Breakfast Club and Heathers. So why see Ruben Carbajal’s revisitation of the war between high-school burnouts, popular people, and dorks? Because Mike Shapiro’s direction crackles, Joey (Brenton Popolizio) is one sexy nerd, and the outrage of Lester Suh (Aron Yoo) at his dungeonmaster’s misuse of elves will convulse anybody who has ever known a D. & D. obsessive. Carbajal’s humor alternates between lacerating and indulgent, and never slackens.”
— The New Yorker
That ‘80s Show meets Revenge of the Nerds. . . . Endearing and witty.”
Staff Pick”
— The Leonard Lopate Show

A play by: Ruben Carbajal
Directed by: Mike Shapiro
Produced by OVO
Starring: Darren Bos, Jeffrey Emerson, Hillary Ketchum, Shawn Modica, Brent Popolizio, Jeremy Schwartz, Ari Vena, Mary Wigmore, Aaron Yoo
Center Stage, New York City
February 2003

Set in a Wisconsin high school in 1985, the play centers on four maligned sophomores, refugees from a defunct program for gifted and talented students and the last remaining members of the Dungeons & Dragons club. When one of them is revealed as the infamous radio call-in Lothario who has courted the school's most popular girl, their simple pursuit of an education becomes a fight for survival.

An outstanding ensemble cast and inventive direction propelled word of mouth and critical attentions, leading to sold-out audiences and publication in Dramatists Play Service. In 2005, The Gifted Program was anthologized in The Best Men's Stage Monologues of 2005, published by Smith & Kraus.

Love Research: A Theatrical Experiment

Postcard designed by   Nick Stone .

Postcard designed by Nick Stone.

An ongoing public art project by Karen Sorensen

Using New York City as her laboratory and its inhabitants as her subjects, Karen Sorensen (the woman Time Out New York dubbed the "Love Research Lady") creates a growing, kaleidoscopic record of the most mysterious and fascinating human emotion. Setting up a mobile "Love Research Station" around the Big Apple, Sorensen invites total strangers to answer intimate questions about love in exchange for a flower. The candid, insightful and surprising answers are recorded on digital audiotape, archived and presented in a wide array of venues, including art galleries and theaters, and in her book, "Love (luv) n." available now on Amazon.

Love Research productions presented by OVO include:

Love Research: A Theatrical Experiment

Conducted and Performed by: Karen Sorensen
Directed by: Ian Rosenberg
Produced by OVO
Collective Unconscious, New York City
November 2002

In this performance– a synthesis of her recordings, monologues and a nightly on-stage interview– Sorensen revealed the results of her first year of research.

Love Research: Phase II

Conducted and Performed by: Karen Sorensen
Directed by: Ian Rosenberg
Produced by OVO
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, New York City
November 2003

In her second annual Love Research presentation, Sorensen conducted a series of live on-stage Love Research interviews with brave audience volunteers.

Remarkable, revealing...”
— Tampa Tribune

The Asthma Conspiracy

"Everything we own was made by some kid in Laos. What are we supposed to do, burn down the house?"

A play with songs, book and lyrics by: Chris Talbott
Music by: Tim Robert
Directed by: Caroline Laskow
Produced by Theater for The New City in association with OVO
Starring: James Engel and Ari Vena

Theater for the New City, New York City
November 2001

JJ is an asthmatic temp waging an underground fight against the corporate powers that assault his mind and body. 

Tim Robert's driving power-pop, the electrifying energy and chemistry of James Engel and Ari Vena, and Caroline Laskow's razor-sharp direction of this funny exploration of corporate culture and radical chic kept audiences rocking in their seats.

The Asthma Conspiracy was co-produced with Theater for the New City and supported with a grant from the Jerome Foundation.

The Gospel of Cyrus According to Cyrus

                                                                                                                              Postcard designed by   Nick Stone  , photograph by   B  etsy Seder  .

                                                                                                  Postcard designed by 
Nick Stone, photograph by Betsy Seder.

A folk operetta, book and lyrics by: Chris Talbott
Music composed and performed by: Rowland Stebbins
Directed by: Laramie Dennis
Produced by Theater for the New City in association with OVO
Starring: Jesse James LoCorriere

Theater for the New City, New York City February 2000

An exiled backwater spiritual leader makes his final stand in the lonely cabin where he was born, his bloodthirsty former followers at his heels. As the final moments of his life tick away, he recounts his life in rousing songs and rhyming couplets that resound with wit, defiance, and sex.

One actor and one musician propel this tour-de-force of language and song that probes the boundaries of the sensual and spiritual. Showcasing a fierce and powerful performance by LoCorriere and toe-tapping brilliance by Stebbins, this two-man show proved to be a watermark OVO production crackling with an energy more often found at rock venues.

The Gospel of Cyrus According to Cyrus was co-produced with Theater for the New City and supported with a grant from the Jerome Foundation.



"I resign myself to sleep in beds, real ones, from this point on..."

A play by: Ruben Carbajal
Directed by: Ian Rosenberg
Produced by OVO
Starring: Will McCormack, Mary Wigmore and Ari Vena

Suite 710 Theater, New York City
October 1999

Ed, a young man adrift in life, moves in with Li, his ex-lover, in a small apartment in Portland, Oregon. Ed's strange encounters as a hotel room-service waiter punctuate the ambiguous intimacy with Li, as their murky past and true feelings become clear. A spare, tender meditation on the indivisibility of love and loss, Portland is sad and funny in equal measures.

Ian Rosenberg's evocative direction and graceful performances by Will McCormack and Mary Wigmore made this an OVO event to be remembered.

OVO's production of Portland earned OVO a grant from the Frankel Foundation.


"White ghetto... Black magic."

A play with songs, book and lyrics by: Chris Talbott
Directed by: Chris Talbott and Ian Rosenberg
Produced by OVO
Starring: Ari Vena, Mary Wigmore, Gioia Marchese and Sanjit Da Silva
Music by: Phil Van Scotter

Access Theater, New York City
July 1999

Rubberville is a hard-knock Midwestern neighborhood circa 1982, the unlikely site of the ominous birth of a girl prophet. As burnout teens, lonely drunks, a ragged Vietnam vet and a raging single mother battle ghosts real and imagined, does this mysterious newcomer offer salvation, or is she the pied piper of the apocalypse? OVO's first full-length production was a raucous theatrical feast of dance, heavy metal, projections and puppetry.

HOLD and The Man Who Pulled A Gun Out of His Ass

                                                                                                 Postcard design by  Nick Stone .

                                                                                                 Postcard design by Nick Stone.

"Shiela: He isn't the first lover I killed.
Kevin: Well, you're not the first killer I loved..."

Two short plays by: Ruben Carbajal
Directed by: Ian Rosenberg and Chris Talbott
Produced by OVO
Starring: Will McCormack, Chris Talbott, Ari Vena, Mary Wigmore
With special musical guest: John Gold

Center Stage, New York City
February 1999

"HOLD" Directed by Ian Rosenberg
A desperate man seeking aid from a mental health hotline is instead sent into a surreal automated phone system purgatory. This suspenseful comedy with laser-sharp performances and fast, fluid staging left audiences eager for more OVO.

"The Man Who Pulled A Gun Out of His Ass" Directed by Chris Talbott
Squirting blood, fake noses, wigs, and gunshots fly in this wild and unsettling story that introduced audiences to OVO's brand of no-holds-barred theatricals.

Bridging the two short plays, musical guest John Gold's understated but shimmering rock brilliance held audiences in sway for the entirety of his tight and brooding set, icing on the cake of OVO's inaugural production.