WRITER / DIRECTOR / PUPPET MASTER
Steven first learned Puppetry Arts from Jean-Loup Temporal in Paris in 1980, while studying movement, mime and theater at the L’Ecole Jacques LeCoq. Jim Henson introduced him to film/video work in 1985 in the Puppet Institute in Charleville, France. Later, in Paris, he worked as puppeteer on many video television projects. Back in the USA in 1989, he puppeteered on Batman Returns, Men in Black, Alien Resurrection, Team America, and Muppets Tonight, to name a few. He also performed 2 original puppet shows for young audiences primarily in So. California since 1996—over 900 times. Presently he’s focused 100% on his Classics in Miniature® series.
Beate Ritz was born and raised in central Germany. She moved to the United States in 1989 and has served as Executive Producer to the Classics in Miniature® film series, producing Faust, Quixote and the upcoming The Legend of Joan of Arc. Besides being a producer, she is also a Senior Epidemiologist at UCLA's School of Public Health, where she studies degenerative neurological diseases.
MASTER PUPPET MAKER
Eugene has lived in the Los Angeles area since 1997 after fleeing from his native Moscow, Russia. In addition to making the puppets and operating them on every production of Classics in Miniature®, he worked on Team America (2004) and on several television productions as Puppeteer . He performed his live marionette shows to audiences throughout Europe and many times in the USA. In Moscow, he worked for Obrasov’s Moscow State Puppet Theatre for 20 years.
WRITER / PRODUCER
Lucas Mireles received his BA and MA degrees in 2006 and 2010. His Master's thesis, Cartoon Network's Naughty Sister Station: Innovations of the Adult Swim Network in American Late Night Television Programming, is a current snapshot of adult themes in American television animation. Mireles subsequently received a MFA from UCLA's Film Directing program. His first dramatic short, Hijo de mi Madre (A Mother's Son), made its World Premiere at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival. The comedic short Love Analysis rmade the Official Selection of the 2011 SXSW Festival. He also wrote and directed Playtime (Spielzeit), which made its World Premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was an Official Selection at the 2012 SXSW.
Philip Klucsarits is a director of photography who has worked internationally on narrative and documentary films, as well as commercials and other visual content. His award-winning work has screened at more than 200 film festivals worldwide, including Telluride, SXSW, and Camerimage. He has also served as a professor, visiting lecturer, and instructor, teaching both cinematography and film production. Philip earned his MFA in cinematography from UCLA and also holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech. Philip has worked on narrative, documentary and commercial projects, including the feature film Stealing Summers, which was shot on location in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
ART DEPARTMENT / SCULPTOR
Kindred Gottlieb is a sculptor and lighting specialist who has worked on our puppet shorts Heeep of Sheeep (art director), Lorelei (production designer) and Reunion (co-director). Kindred was the head of lighting for the UCLA Theatre department for 10 years. She sculpted the statues of Saint Catherine and Saint Michael featured in The Legend of Joan of Arc; Saint Michael’s statue is a character of its own in the film.
Annick Vilmain is a native French from the Cahors (the Lot) in South Western France, and longtime friend who not only worked in the prop and art departments but iso also featured as a puppeteer throughout the film.
PRODUCER / UNIT PRODUCTION MANAGER
Tiago Barreiro was born and raised in countryside Brazil. He fell in love with cinema at age five after his mom took him to see Batman Returns in theaters, a film Steven Ritz-Barr worked on as puppeteer (animatronic penguins). Since then Tiago’s dream was to move to LA, graduate from film school and work on movies. He has a B.A. in Television and Cinematic Arts from California State University, Northridge with a specialization in Media Theory and Criticism. He also does voice-over work and fulfilled a childhood dream of being part of a Super Mario Brothers videogame when he was hired by SEGA and Nintendo of Japan to voice the Narrator/Commentator in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, which sold over a million copies worldwide. Back in Brazil, Tiago created and hosted a weekly regional television show about movies, TV Cine, for educational networks, and its companion weekly newspaper column, as well as working as a host for traveling and health shows. Also, as a linguistics enthusiast and polyglot, Tiago worked as a language instructor teaching English and Italian to Brazilian of all ages; he opened the Italian language school CELIS with his Italian mentor when he was eighteen; the school commemorated its 11th anniversary last year. He is a current graduate student in Mass Communications.
Russ Galusha is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the with a BA in Mass Communications, later moving Russ to Los Angeles to work as an editor and graphic designer. In 2009, Russ was an editor, digital image technician and graphic designer on the independent film Obselidia, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Award, Best Cinematography and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. Obselidia was also nominated for two Independent Film Awards. Russ has worked for P. Allen Smith where he was the editor of several television shows, including P. Allen Smiths Garden Home, Garden Style, and Garden to Table.In 2013 Russ won two Emmys for the AETN production Champion Trees, Best Documentary and Best Cinematography, and was the Poster Designer and Co-Editor for the feature All the Birds Have Flown South. Russ currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas where he works as a freelance editor and graphic designer on projects for AETN, The Boys and Girl Club and Local production houses. For the past two years Russ has been working on the PBS show Mineral Explorers as Senior editor as well as traveling with the crew to remote locations in Peru, Spain, Portugal, Mexico and the United States as the Assistant Camera, Assistant Director and Data Wrangler.
Philip White composes music for film, television, interactive media, and the concert stage. Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Philip began studying music by way of classical and Flamenco guitar. He graduated with dual degrees in Drama and Composition from Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music, and later received his graduate degree from the USC Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program. His major television credits include Ray Donovan (Showtime), Agent Carter (ABC), Revolution (NBC), Supernatural (CW), Bates Motel (AMC) and Dallas (TNT), as well as numerous major films, including Identity Thief, HOP, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Disaster Movie, the French thriller La Horde, and the Smurfs Holiday Specials A Christmas Carol and The Legend of Smurfy Hollow. He also produced the scores to Ride Along, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Marmaduke, Adam, and Thanks for Sharing. Philip has also written music for the video games James Bond: Quantum of Solace (Activision), Starhawk (Sony) , The SIMS 3: Pets Expansion Pack (EA) and produced the scores to The Simpsons Game, The Godfather 2 and Red Alert 3. The Los Angeles Master Chorale performed two of Philip's choir pieces, On This Side of the Window and El Niño Mudo. The latter was commissioned by Lesley Leighton and received its world premiere at Walt Disney Concert Hall in April.
ART DEPARTMENT / PUPPETEER
Richard March is an English musician and world traveler - he recently spent time in Cambodia teaching English to Buddist monks - who fought on the side of Joan of Arc and the French during the making of The Legend of Joan of Arc. Perhaps his affinity for all things French - he speaks fluent French and lived much of his teenage years in Lyon - had something to do with it. In Lyon, Richard frequented school with Steven Ritz-Barr’s son, Julian when they were 15. Richard not only worked in the prop and art departments but is also featured as a puppeteer throughout the film, operating Jean, the Duc D’Alencon, in most of his scenes.