The daughter of two librarians, Alanna Stewart grew up surrounded by words and stories. She and her sister Morgan Rose began collaborating at a young age, writing fantastical unfinished novels. Alanna has led online art-making communities, and has performed as a vocalist in rock bands in Memphis and New Orleans. In addition to her work in the arts, Alanna is an activist and animal rights advocate. She worked on the campaign to end Citizens United and as a cat adoption counsellor at Austin Pets Alive. Most recently, she travelled across the US documenting intentional communities for the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. At some point during the blur of making Concrete, she graduated from Warren Wilson College with a degree in English Literature. Alanna currently lives at the Baltimore Free Farm.
Katherine loves humor, songwriting, and music and has been putting on productions for as long as she can remember. She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in English and Music and has played in a wide variety of musical groups. Her most recent bands include rock duo Free Bleed and a variety ensemble called Fantastic Paths. She also enjoys making comedic videos and delving deeper into the absurd through clowning. Katherine is also involved in healthcare, working with elders who have dementia, and she feels fortunate to gain wisdom from those nearing the end of their lives. She is currently a research assistant for her father Dr. F. Curtis Dohan, Jr., studying the interaction between diet, the leaky gut, schizophrenia, celiac, and autoimmune disease.
Brett Hanover is an obsessive investigator of the underground triumphs of the human spirit, and he can often be found rambling to himself about folk art, fandoms, archiving, and digital culture. His documentaries have been exhibited at venues including the Nashville Film Fest, SF DocFest, and the Austin Film Fest. Brett has worked as a media arts teacher for K-12 students, and has been called the "baby whisperer" due to his miraculous ability to calm even the most disgruntled infant. He graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is now studying for his MFA in New Media at the University of Illinois. He is currently working on a movie about love and furries and mental health with Alanna and Katherine as his assistant directors.
Morgan Rose Stewart has been a brilliant artist from her early days, inventing tales on the kindergarten playground and creating worlds out of construction paper and aluminum foil. After cutting her teeth in community theatre productions by Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe and independent films by Sawed Off Collaboratory, Morgan joined friends and family to work on What I Love About Concrete in 2007. In between winter and summer breaks spent filming, Morgan completed a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing at Warren Wilson college. She's now channeling her love of language and performance into planning elaborate story times for very young children in Boston, Massachusetts. Someday she hopes to be a real live librarian and maybe also a witch.
After Concrete, I resumed my normal life: attending matinees at the Geriatric Theatre (Ridgeway) with other reconstituted teachers, expanding my pajama wardrobe, contemplating why my closet has mostly black garments, killing plants, hammering away on my dulcimer, trying to memorize a poem weekly, plotting how to get to Italy, climbing perpetual mountains every time I go to Dropbox or Facebook or my "devices", and trying to run MAMA (Memphis Acoustic Music Association). As always, the best parts are visits with my daughter and with my former students who now are old enough to call me Judy.
Ryan went to high school with the concrete gang. He was in a play co-written by Molly herself (Morgan Stewart), and soon after he was wading through magic mud with Katherine, Alanna, and the Swan. Now Ryan lives in Los Angeles. Say hi sometime. ryanmasson.weebly.com
Michael Story Neimeyer was born and raised in the city. He learned from the schools of learning until his brain pushed his hair out long from his head, and all of his ideas became reasonable. One thing he loves about concrete is sidewalks from 1957. He is unrecognizable in his photo.
Claire Faulhaber saw the posting for the Concrete audition and came to see what it was all about. Claire was a visual art student at Central High School who had never acted before, but that didn’t stop her from courageously agreeing to be in the movie and bringing the wacky Georgie Woods to life! She studied at Kansas City Art Institute and is currently apprenticing as a tattoo artist.
Markus Seaberry is a Memphis native and a veteran of the Memphis indie film scene. He has always enjoyed performing in front of audiences since his days of giving Easter speeches in church. He is grateful for any opportunity to act. He is also a cohost of the Black Nerd Power podcast. He is still chasing his dreams and heeding the siren call of creativity.
Bill Baker is an actor, social worker, and founder of Our Own Voice Theater Troupe, which he co-directs with his wife Kimberly (Ms. Snorkelwort). Our Own Voice is a non-profit working to empower people marginalized by mental illness, and striving to create a dialogue about mental health. After many years of directing the concrete gang on the stage, the tables were turned and Bill humbly agreed to bring Dr. Cobbe, the disembodied big brother voice of Black Swanson High, to life.
Andy Harper became part of Concrete after demonstrating his charm and talent in numerous plays with Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe, in which he acted with Morgan Rose since they were both in elementary school. In addition to his acting skills, Andy studied film at Ithica College and works in the film and video community in Memphis.
Dana Terle is an actress and former ballet dancer who LOVED the whole process of working with Katherine and Alanna on WILAC! She has lived in Memphis, TN since 2004. She has acted in many local plays, as well as films by directors Morgan Jon Fox and Kentucker Audley. Dana is a paralegal by day and has 3 sons who are her heart.
John Beifuss is the movie critic of the Commercial Appeal newspaper. An admirer of his reviews, Alanna wrote an ode to John Beifuss for Judy Kitts’ 9th grade English class. The poem, “Hey, Mr. Beifuss” became the lyrics to a song by Alanna and Katherine’s band, Scandaliz Vandalistz. John heard about the song and befriended the band. He agreed to act in What I Love About Concrete and was surprised when the movie finally came out, because he thought that the project had been abandoned.
Sara Chiego is no longer a religious zealot. She now spends her days teaching bass and playing with the Memphis and Arkansas Symphonies.
Kimberly Baker is an actor, dancer, and educator from Memphis, TN. She is the co-director of Our Own Voice Theater Troupe with her husband Bill, and has worked with the concrete gang on countless Our Own Voice productions over the years. Kimberly leads the Child Life program at the Church Health Center and teaches in the Dance department at the University of Memphis.
Carole F. Rowland, a longtime actress, came to the What I Love About Concrete audition after seeing the open call online. She graciously came back two years in a row to shoot and then re-shoot the bird ladies scene.
Lisa McLeroy is an actor and singer who came to be a part of What I Love About Concrete after coming to the audition. She plays Pauline McCaw and contributed vocals to "Cement Truck."
Leslie Jacobs is a librarian and a living children's literature and fairy tale encyclopedia. She also happens to be Alanna and Morgan's mom.
Christopher Newman Wheat was born in Memphis in 1989. He attended White Station High School with much of the cast before majoring in English and Classical Studies at Hendrix College, where he was also involved with several theatrical productions, including Aeschylus' Eumenides and Nikolai Gogol's The Inspector General. He earned an MA in Classical Studies at Tulane University, and now teaches Latin at Arlington High School.
Sausage played the role of the dachshund in Molly's home. She was the beloved pet of Jean Rittmueller, her husband F. Curtis Dohan Jr., and their children, Katherine and David. Sausage died on November 27, 2015 at 12 ½ years of age. Her family still mourns her passing.
In his feature film debut, David continued the Dohan family tradition of appearing in his sister's films. He has since retired and moved to San Francisco to get away from the lime light of his acting days. He spends all his newfound time away from the camera making chocolate, reading books, and thinking about how computers can be used to create art.
Lauren Dunn has known Alanna since the second grade. She attended White Station High School and went on to study theater and set design in college. She worked with Brock Terwilleger to design the ingenious and beautiful stork costume. She also performed in the movie, donning the stork costume to grace the screen as the lead stork. She is a roller derby badass and lives in Austin, TX.
Will McElroy is a Memphis musician. He has been in more bands than one can count, but some include: The Barbaras, Girls of the Gravitron, the Magic Kids, and Toxie. In addition to playing the guy on the date at the Hot Wings restaurant, Will supported the production, encouraging the team, and assisting on the score.
Sunny Franklin is a Memphis native who has been lucky enough to know the geniuses behind WILAC since roughly 2001. She enjoyed her time at Black Swanson High School much more than actual high school, and is so happy to have been a part of the film! Sunny currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a Supervising Producer for a variety of reality TV programs you probably don't watch. Her hair has grown substantially since the making of this movie.
Alan Stewart is the real-life husband of Leslie Jacobs (Laura Owl) and the real-life father of Alanna Stewart and Morgan Stewart. He would in fact be pleased and proud to be the real-life father of all of the talented young people involved in this film (though it's probably just as well he's not, since he and Leslie could never have afforded all that college tuition).
Ben Siler is an filmmaker who lives in Memphis Tennessee. He cannot consecrate this ground.
Jeannie Stonebrook is a retired Memphis City Schools teacher who now spends her time pursuing her passions as a Tennessee Master Gardener and painter.
F. Curtis Dohan, Jr. is Katherine Dohan’s father. His role as Mr. Flowers, the science teacher, was an appropriate one since he taught and practiced neuropathology at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center for more than 25 years. He also can be seen on Youtube in another role, that of Polonius in the Do You Know Where Your Children Are? production Hamlet: Something is Rotten on Aisle Nine.
Laylee Safa doesn't know what to write in her bio. She grew up in Memphis but currently lives in Austin, TX. She loves kitties, queer history, and cuddling. She has always wanted to try figgy pudding.
Alice Buchanan is a multi instrumentalist, musician, and music instructor based in Brooklyn, New York. She was born and raised in Memphis, with two musician parents: her father, a band director; her mother, a Suzuki Piano instructor. Her passion for both classical and rock and roll led her to study Music Education at Middle Tennessee State University. After graduating, Alice continued playing in bands and teaching violin, piano, and guitar. During her spare time, you can find Alice teaching Pilates, snuggling with her cat Freddy, and making the most of the city's culinary and music scenes.
Amelia Rice attended middle school with Mogan. She happened to be visiting visiting town during the filming and ended up saving the day by filling in as the stork after Lauren came down with bronchitis. She was also the official seamstress of the production, sewing Black Swanson patches onto Coach Kumquat's red tracksuit. She lives in New York.
Martha Park is a writer and illustrator from Memphis. She received an MFA from Hollins University, where she worked as a teaching fellow and the assistant editor of the Hollins Critic. She was the recipient of the Melanie Hook Rice Award for Creative Nonfiction, and her writing has been published or is forthcoming at Barely South Review, Ghost Proposal, The RS 500, and Terrain. She is the Spring 2016 Philip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University's Stadler Center for Poetry.
Sara Stephens is a teenager in this film. She has since become an adult, gone to a lot of college, and betrayed and abandoned her hometown by moving to Nashville. She teaches high school English and eats about ten York Peppermint Patties per week. She would like to thank the Academy, Jesus, and her loving husband Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Anna Talley is a Memphis native. She attended White Station High with the concrete gang and currently works in education, trying to dismantle everything wrong with Black Swanson High School.
Penelope Gazin is a painter/animator/music/ drums/ dancer/pin designer. You can see more of her work at Penelopegazin.tumblr.com.
Knowing Brock Terwileger's artistic talents, Alanna and Katherine recruited him to work with Lauren Dunn to create the stork costume. He also appeared as a Black Swanson High School student in several scenes. Brock has travelled extensively and lived abroad teaching English in France and Japan. He is currently studying to be an architect. Now the world can benefit from buildings designed with as much ingenuity as that stork costume!
Julian Cartwright is a musician and visual artist from New Jersey. He studied music composition and visual art at Oberlin College. Julian writes music, produces independent records, and plays bass in the band Finchler. Julian contributed a few pieces of music for What I Love About Concrete, including the fictional fight song of the Black Swanson High School marching band, which was played by the White Station High School band.