SYNERGY - the sum of its parts are greater than the whole.
Film and Television is ALL about collaboration and is one of Nicholson's favorite aspects of the medium. We LOVE the SYNERGY of bringing talented artists together to create and share their gifts.
Synergy was born out of the frustration of working within a studio system that dictates when and where you get to work. Tired of waiting for permission to work - we decided to take a more pro-active approach to filmmaking and fully embrace the emerging independent film movement.
Most of the smaller to mid-sized budget features are going to come from the independent film community while the studios will continue to make Spiderman 17. Nicholson firmly believes it's time to get involved and pave your own way. "It was that or exotic dancing and I just couldn't go back to the pole".
Nicholson is thankful and excited to be working with such awesome producer partners, especially his dear friend and mentor, Brian Avery.
BRIAN 'THE LION' AVERY
Brian Avery is a native of Los Angeles, California and attended Loyola High School where he was awarded the Bing Crosby Drama Medal at Graduation and then attended Loyola University on scholarship. He received a B.A. from the Liberal Arts College of Loyola University majoring in English with minors in Philosophy and Languages. Brian’s stellar artistic career began in New York City when he co-starred on Broadway in the dramatic musical of the great John Ford Film, “HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY”. A talent scout for Universal Studios saw him onstage and convinced the studio to offer him a movie contract. He began work at Universal Studios with Harrison Ford and Katherine Ross, also under contract. Harrison and Brian did “JOURNEY TO SHILOH” together and Katherine and Brian were chosen by director, Mike Nichols, to be the wedding couple in his classic film “THE GRADUATE”. Brian is also featured as Diane Keaton’s boyfriend in Woody Allen’s “SLEEPER”, as well as roles in numerous other motion pictures, television shows and theatrical plays.
Upon the release of “THE GRADUATE”, Gregory Peck offered to recommend Brian to the Board of Governors of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for membership in the Actors Branch which then invited him to join. Brian has been a very active participant in The Academy’s activities and has been invited to serve on multiple committees. Brian was initially invited to join The Academy’s Foreign Language Film Committee (FLFC) and thereafter invited to serve on the Executive Committee with some of the most prestigious people in the entertainment business like Robert Wise, Fay Kanin and Mark Johnson. As a member of the Executive Committee of the FLFC he was asked to be the Official Academy Host to incoming directors for The Academy Awards. Among the directors he has hosted are: Ang Lee, Marlene Gorris, Giuseppe Tornatore, Sergei Bodrov, Paula van der Oest, and Walter Salles among others. He served for some years on The Documentary Committee. He now serves on the Executive Committee for The Student Academy Awards which fosters the great filmmakers of the future and the Membership Screening Committee which selects the films Academy members will see from all the films the studios and distributors submit for Academy Award consideration. He also serves as an Academy judge for AMPAS’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition which fosters the screenwriters of tomorrow and which has helped to develop the careers of many of the top screenwriters creating films today. Serving on these committees has put Brian in direct contact with some of the world’s greatest international directors, the filmmakers of the future and extraordinary screenwriters.
The high level of contacts provided by The Academy prompted Brian to transition into producing. He brought “CRASH” to the Yari Film Group where he is based and the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Subsequently, he is credited on “SHORTCUT TO HAPPINESS” starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, “WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS” starring Dave Matthews and “FLASHBACKS OF A FOOL” starring Daniel Craig as an Executive Producer. He is currently producing the screenplay, “LINDA AND HENRY”, which was awarded a Nicholl Fellowship and to which he has attached the director, Paula van der Oest, who wrote and directed, “ZUS & ZO”, the entry from The Netherlands for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003. He is also producing “A MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR” based on The Beatles which the newly reinvigorated, Allied Artists International.
Brian is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Actors Equity Association (AEA) and AMPAS. He is married to Nicole Avery, a psycho- therapist. They have two children, Eric, the co-founder and world-renowned original bassist of JANE’S ADDICTION, ALANIS MORISSETTE and currently NINE INCH NAILS, and Rebecca, a gifted actress and mother of their first grand-child, Henry.
Ellyn Exley is a Producer and Co-Founder of the full service, boutique development and production company, Happy Valley Studios. Happy Valley works with exclusive clientele on projects from development to sales to production to distribution, as well as marketing and publicity in the arenas of feature film, scripted and non-scripted television, documentary, Internet streaming, marketing campaigns, and charity projects. Happy Valley works in association with the Emmy-winning production teams of Watermarc Pictures and Controlled Content.
Prior to the launch of Happy Valley Studios, Exley was the Development Executive, Post- Production Supervisor, and Head of Operations for the production company Blue Collar Productions, Inc. in West Hollywood. Exley oversaw a production and editorial staff of more than thirty, managed new feature and television development, and produced home entertainment and marketing content. Exley completed content on PRECIOUS, MORE THAN A GAME, THE HANGOVER, ANGELS & DEMONS, MARMADUKE and I LOVE YOU, MAN, among many others.
Exley came to Blue Collar Productions, Inc. following her work at Yari Film Group in Creative Affairs. Exley acted as a temporary Co-Head of Production and as a Development and Production Executive, working on films such as THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND, RESURRECTING THE CHAMP, NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, THE MAIDEN HEIST, FIFTY MICE, and THUNDERPUNCH.
Exley spent close to four years in New York and Los Angeles working closely with mentor, filmmaker Doug Liman. Exley was Liman’s Associate on MR. AND MRS. SMITH and Associate Producer on “The Howard Dean Documentary”. She was Liman’s Producer on “The Women’s Commission Documentary for Immigrant Children”. During her time as Director of Feature Development at Doug Liman and Dave Bartis’ company Hypnotic, Exley developed and mentored a slate of writing, acting and directing talent, as well as gained invaluable relationships with the industry’s most powerful players. She also worked as Liman’s Assistant on the TV series “The O.C.” and “Heist”, and as Assistant on the films CRY WOLF and MAIL ORDER WIFE.
Exley was the Assistant to the former Co-President of Physical Production at New Line Cinema, Erik Holmberg, on the studio side of films such as LORD OF THE RINGS, AUSTIN POWERS GOLDMEMBER, THE NOTEBOOK, ABOUT SCHMIDT, I AM SAM, FINAL DESTINATION 2, WILLARD, SIMONE, ELF, THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT, and HOW TO DEAL. Exley was the first hire at Bob Yari’s company Bull’s Eye, where she was Cathy Schulman’s screenplay reader on the Academy Award Winning Best Picture, CRASH, and was actively involved with the films EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, THUMBSUCKER and THE ILLUSIONIST.
Exley studied in Paris where she worked for La TéléSorbonne, the student television station for The Sorbonne University. In France, she organized the Kodak/American Pavilion Celebrity Speakers Panel at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. In the late 90s, Exley worked in graphic design and Internet streaming for Viacom and Showtime Networks, Inc.’s Digital Media department in New York under the mentoring of Producers Chris Lucas and Steven Kolodny.
Exley received a dual degree at The Pennsylvania State University, where she was the President of the Carnegie College, President of Student WICT, and Vice President of Panhellenic Media. Exley’s involvement in Panhellenic allowed her to produce her first national commercial, which later garnered multiple awards in the East Coast region. Exley splits her time between Los Angeles, New York and Pennsylvania, where she shadows her father in the family oil, gas and energy business.
On location in southern Utah with the AMAZING Marshall Bell on the set of THE DRIFTER.
The incredile crew from THE DRIFTER including super producer Andy Nicholson, Ashley Clark and the always hunky, Shawn Patrick Nash
Jeff with his trophy wife and children, whom he built all by himself in the basement.