by Lee Cipolla
Adapted from the book “The Ringleader” by Bonnie Lanthripe
Family | Adventure
Logline: 13-year-old Patrick and his buddies are exploring a neighborhood drainage culvert when they find frightening evidence of something impossible alive inside. Obsessed with identifying what it is and how it got there, the group discovers that many dangers lurk in the culvert and elsewhere.
Bio: Born in Maspeth, NY, and raised in the small town of Pine Plains, NY, Lee Cipolla started making movies at the age of five using his parents VHS recorder. His parents both excelled in the arts, his father a writer and musician, and his mother being a singer.
The family moved to Miami, Florida, where, in high school, Lee Cipolla underwent intense theatrical training at Dr. Michael Krop High School Magnet School for the Arts. After writing an award winning one act place his freshman year, he switched to the TV/Film Magnet school. He graduated in 2002 on an NFAA Scholarship (National Foundation of the Arts), the only one that year in Florida to receive such an honor in TV/Film Production, then pursued a bachelors degree in film at the University of Central Florida.
While finishing his degree, Lee directed his first feature film, “Harder They Fall” a tale of two Miami martial artists who compete for a kickboxing title. He made it for a mere five thousand dollars he had saved up and used his parents camera. The film would go on to screen at thirteen film festivals, competing against the likes of multi-million dollar features with major stars. The film generated a major buzz in the Miami film industry, thus leading Lee to his next endeavor, a chance to direct “Know Thy Enemy”, a heartfelt drama about a young hop hop artists’ ventures into the music industry. This was also shot on a shoestring budget for 15k.
Know Thy Enemy and Harder They Fall were bought and distributed by Lionsgate Films. Shortly after the deals, Lee established his independent film company “Fieldlight Films, LLC” in Los Angeles which specializes in the production of feature films, webisodic and all forms of short form media. In January 2012, he was hired to direct the medical drama “The Shift’, starring Danny Glover. The film premiered to a sold out house at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in April of 2013, where it later took home the audience award for Best in Florida.
In August of 2013, Lee directed a short film titled “Reflection” which was selected as a finalist for Ron Howard’s prestigious “Project Imagination” Film Contest. Lee is currently directing for two webisode series, “Make it Happen” and “Crossfit Hollywood” as he develops his next feature film, “The Next Contender”, an action packed but character driven look into the world of MMA fighting.