Raised in the hills of Appalachian Kentucky, MARTHA STEPHENS longed to create films celebrating and investigating her native land and people. A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, Stephens’s first feature film, Passenger Pigeons premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, and won Chicken and Egg’s “We Believe In You” Award. Stephens’s second feature film, Pilgrim Song premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival in the Narrative Competition. She won the Best Director Award at the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and her film was awarded Best Southern Film of 2012 by Oxford American Magazine and Best Southern Film at the 2012 Indie Memphis Film Festival. Stephens’s latest feature, Land Ho!, an Iceland-set buddy comedy which she co-wrote and co-directed with Aaron Katz, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to high critical praise. The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and was released theatrically all over the US and Canada.
Critically acclaimed writer, director, and editor AARON KATZ was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, before crossing the country to study filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Immediately following graduation, he returned with five friends to his hometown, where they filmed his feature debut, Dance Party, USA, an Official Selection of the 2006 SXSW Film Festival. Quiet City, his sophomore feature, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2007. Following a successful festival run both home and abroad, the Brooklyn-set romance was selected by Stephen Holden as a New York Times Critics’ Pick and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for the John Cassavetes Award. Katz’s third feature, Cold Weather, opened as a Spotlight Premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and went on to play the Los Angeles Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival, among several others. Released theatrically by IFC Films and dubbed by Indiewire as “2011’s first great American indie,” the genre-bending mystery garnered widespread praise from critics, including Roger Ebert and Manohla Dargis, and ranked on several lists among the best films of the year. Katz’s latest feature, Land Ho!, an Iceland-set buddy comedy which he co-wrote and co- directed with Martha Stephens, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to great critical acclaim. The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and named on several “Best of Sundance” lists. It will be released on July 11, 2014. Katz currently resides in Los Angeles.