Message in a Bottle: About The Filmmakers

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About the Filmmakers...

LUIS MANDOKI (Director), a native of Mexico, began his career as a student successively at the San Francisco Art Institute, the London International Film School and the London College School of Film. Following several award-winning short films, "Motel" marked his directorial feature film debut. Mandoki received international acclaim (and actress Norma Aleandro received an Academy Award nomination) for "Gaby, A True Story," a poignant study of a woman suffering with cerebral palsy and her remarkable relationship with her caretaker (Aleandro); Mandoki also wrote and produced the film. His first American film was "White Palace," starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader. He next directed the Garson Kanin classic "Born Yesterday," with Melanie Griffith, John Goodman and Don Johnson. He most recently directed "When a Man Loves a Woman," a drama about a marriage between an alcoholic and her caring husband, which starred Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia.

DENISE DI NOVI (Producer) is considered one of Hollywood's top producers and has been instrumental in bringing to the screen the work of several of today's most imaginative filmmakers. Di Novi counts among her producing credits such diverse motion pictures as "Heathers," "Little Women" and a number of films during her producing association with Tim Burton, including "Edward Scissorhands," "Batman Returns," "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "Ed Wood." More recently, she served as producer on "James and the Giant Peach" and "Almost Heroes." Her most recent release was "Practical Magic," based on Alice Hoffman's bestselling novel and starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing.

Di Novi began her career in journalism, rising from copy editor at the National Observer (a Dow Jones weekly) to staff writer for "Canada AM" in Toronto. Her writing skills and extensive experience with the media prompted her segue into the film industry, where she began as a unit publicist.

In 1980, she became a principal in the Montreal-based production company Film Plan, acting in various production capacities on nine major studio releases, including "Visiting Hours" and "Of Unknown Origin." In 1983, Film Plan relocated to Los Angeles and merged with Arnold Kopelson's Film Packages. Di Novi served as associate producer on "Going Berserk" as well as David Cronenberg's "Videodrome."

Di Novi next joined New World Pictures as executive vice president of production. She later shifted into an overall deal as an independent producer and developed six projects. From 1989-1992, Di Novi headed Tim Burton Productions and, during that time, was responsible for producing several of Burton's most successful films including "Batman Returns" and "Edward Scissorhands." She set up her own production company, Di Novi Pictures, in 1993 at Columbia Pictures, producing "Little Women" and, for Turner, "Almost Heroes." She recently signed a long-term deal with Warner Bros.

Academy Award-winning producer JIM WILSON (Producer) is a graduate of Antioch College and the Berkeley Film Institute. Wilson's first directorial effort was 1983's "Stacy's Knights," starring Kevin Costner in his first leading role. Wilson served as associate producer on "Revenge" then, in 1988, partnered with Costner to form Tig Productions. In 1990, the duo produced the epic "Dances With Wolves." The film garnered seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Wilson produced other pictures, including "The Bodyguard," "Rapa Nui," "Wyatt Earp" and "The Postman." He served as executive producer on the eight-hour documentary "500 Nations." Wilson's latest directorial outing was 1997's "Head Above Water," starring Harvey Keitel and Cameron Diaz.

KEVIN COSTNER (Producer) - see "About the Cast" section.

Award-winning writer GERALD DiPEGO (Screenwriter) has been earning nominations and awards for his scripting skills for over two decades. His current credits include the upcoming feature film "Instinct" with Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding, Jr. and "Executive Search," which is in development at Fox. Previous film credits include the recent John Travolta-starrer "Phenomenon," "Born Innocent" (which earned him a Writers Guild Award nomination), "Sharky's Machine," "The Four Feathers" and "I Heard the Owl Call My Name." His television and cable projects include "Nothing Lasts Forever," "One More Mountain," "Keeper of the City," "The Little Riders" (which was nominated for a CableACE Award) and "A Family Upside Down" (which received a Writers Guild Award nomination).

DiPego also has five published novels, including Cheevey, Keeper of the City, Shadow of the Best, Forest Things and With a Vengeance.

The writer grew up on Chicago's south side, working in the family grocery store. He attended Northern Illinois University and the University of Missouri, majoring in journalism, and eventually turned to writing after working as a reporter and teacher.

NICHOLAS SPARKS (Author) is the author of The Notebook, which was a New York Times bestseller for more than a year and eventually sold more than 850,000 hardcover copies. Also the co-author of Wokini: A Lakota Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding, he lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.

GABRIEL YARED (Composer) received an Academy Award for Best Original Score, as well as a Golden Globe Award and a Grammy nomination for his composition for "The English Patient." In 1993 he received France's Cesar Award for scoring "The Lover" and, in the same year, received an Australian Film Institute Award nomination for his work on "Map of the Human Heart." He earned three more Cesar nominations, for "Camille Claudel," "Agent Trouble" and "Betty Blue."

Yared has scored more than 50 motion pictures in Europe, particularly in France; those that have received English-language distribution include "The Moon and the Gutter," "Hanna K.," "Betty Blue," "Beyond Therapy," "Clean and Sober," "Camille Claudel," "Wings of Courage," "Vincent & Theo," "The Lover" and "Map of the Human Heart." His most recent work was the score for the international hit "City of Angels," starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.

CALEB DESCHANEL, A.S.C. (Director of Photography) has received numerous award nominations throughout his prestigious career, including Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography for both "The Right Stuff" and "The Natural." For the 1996 film "Fly Away Home," he was nominated for an Academy Award and also for Achievement in Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers. He received a nomination for best photography by the British Academy for "The Black Stallion" and received the National Society of Film Critics Award for cinematography in 1979 for his work on both "The Black Stallion" and "Being There."

Deschanel also photographed the recent "Hope Floats," "It Could Happen to You," "The Slugger's Wife," "More American Graffiti," the documentary "Let's Spend the Night Together" and John Cassavetes' "A Woman Under the Influence" (together with Mitch Breit).

He directed the feature films "Crusoe" and "The Escape Artist." In television, he served as director on several episodes of David Lynch's acclaimed series, "Twin Peaks."

After attending Johns Hopkins University, the University of Southern California Film School and The American Film Institute, Deschanel started his career in feature films as an apprentice under award-winning cinematographer Gordon Willis ("The Godfather" and its two sequels).

Academy Award-nominee JEFFREY BEECROFT (Production Designer) has been working for eight years to create some of Hollywood's visually singular films. His feature film credits include "The Game," "Head Above Water," "Twelve Monkeys," "Pontiac Moon," "The Bodyguard" and "Dances with Wolves" (for which he received an Academy Award nomination). His television credits include "The Wizard of Loneliness," "Kojak: The Price of Justice," and "The Equalizer."

STEVEN WEISBERG (Editor) most recently edited "Permanent Midnight" (starring Ben Stiller, Elizabeth Hurley and Janeane Garofalo) and "Great Expectations" (starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow). His other recent credits include "The Cable Guy," "A Little Princess," "Miami Rhapsody" and "The Color of Evening." Additionally, he worked on the telefilms "Last Light" and "Mrs. Cage," on the feature "Mistress" and a segment of "Vietnam War Story: The Last Days."

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