Director-Writer — Michael Melski
Michael’s first feature as writer-director was the comedy GROWING OP, starring Rosanna Arquette and Wallace Langham, a hit at festivals worldwide in 2008, and theatrically released by Mongrel Media. The film was picked up by Shoreline for international distribution, has sold to over 50 countries and is an enduring hit on Netflix and VOD in the US. Michael’s second feature, the thriller CHARLIE ZONE, distributed by Myriad Pictures, has won multiple awards including Best Feature at the Atlantic Film Festival and Best Dramatic Feature at ImagineNative in Toronto, Canada's largest First Nations film festival. It was also one of eight features selected for Perspective Canada at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. Michael is also one of Canada’s leading playwrights. His Dora-nominated HOCKEY MOM, HOCKEY DAD was a smash hit at Toronto's Factory Theatre, and named one of the Top Ten Plays of The Year by the Toronto Star. His recent play CREEPY AND LITTLE MANSON was a hit at Neptune Theatre in Spring 2016. Michael’s latest feature film, THE CHILD REMAINS, won film festival awards around the world and released in Cineplex Theatres on April 27.
On what drew Michael to PERFUME WAR: “I graduated from the University of King’s College with Trevor Greene and Barb Stegemann 25 years ago and have witnessed this extraordinary friendship throughout the journey. My personal and political beliefs are simultaneous with the ideals that are explored in this documentary. I'm impassioned about the message of this film and firmly believe we can and must find a new way to move toward world peace. Like Barb, I have travelled to many countries in the world and have seen what war and poverty can inflict. It's time for humanity to dedicate itself to change.
Barb’s entrepreneurial vision was formed after her best friend, a soldier, was severely wounded in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was a key to building stability for its people, Barb created a perfume company that sources organic oils from countries (such as Afghanistan, Haiti the Middle East and Rwanda) experiencing turmoil to encourage change and to reverse the effects of war and poverty. This vision was the genesis for PERFUME WAR.
After landing a deal on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Barb has been featured on CNN, CBC and Bloomberg TV and in print media around the world including The Wall Street Journal Magazine and The London Sunday Times. Barb wrote the bestselling book, “The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen” to empower women to flex their buying power to reverse issues of war and poverty and she is a popular keynote speaker on the subject of retail activism. Barb is a hearing impaired woman who educated herself out of poverty to write a best-selling book and create a fragrance line sold around the world.
Brad Pelman—Executive Producer
Brad is CEO of Fremantle Corp and international distributor of Perfume War. Brad has over 25 years of success in the distribution of content. Co-founder of Canada's Maple Pictures Corp. Brad released many Academy Award winners such as Kathryn Bigelow's "Hurt Locker" and Lee Daniels' "Precious". Maple Pictures was sold to Alliance Films in 2011 and since then Brad has served on the Board of Directors of Canada's National Screen Institute, a training organization for new content producers, directors and writers. Brad also provides content production and distribution advisory services, executive production services as well as corporate advisory services to a number of Canadian media companies. He acquired Fremantle Corp. in 2014 with private equity with the intention to acquire and distribute content libraries to broadcasters and video on demand platforms worldwide.
Mike Velemirovich is vice president of Loud Baby Productions, a company focused on films about social justice and philanthropic business. Loud Baby Productions’ first feature film, a documentary called “Perfume War” won numerous film festival awards across Canada and the US including Best Doc, Best Humanitarian Film and THREE Audience Choice awards. Perfume War then released in Cineplex theatres across Canada and was extended due to popular demand. Mike also co-authored an environmental book with Capt. Trevor Greene called “There is No Planet B”.
On what drew him to PERFUME WAR: “After spending 30-years in a corporate culture that puts profit ahead of people, and then being immersed in Barb and Trevor’s shared mission of peace, I knew this is a story that must be told. The notion of doing well by doing good is not only possible, but absolutely necessary.”
Director of Photography—Victor Stegemann
Victor is a director of photography and editor. Victor’s first full-length project as director of photography is the documentary, PERFUME WAR. Victor and Michael worked together when he was director assistant on the Michael Melski thriller, THE CHILD REMAINS and was excited to collaborate with him again on PERFUME WAR. His most recent work as director of photography was on the short film, KING’S CUP, directed by and starring Koumbie. Victor’s directorial debut, a short thriller called PHONE LIGHT is in pre-production. Victor has a unique eye for imagery. At the age of thirteen, he had his first photographs published globally by City Railways of Italy.
On what drew him to PERFUME WAR: “Trevor helped my mum raise me and I still call him Uncle Bubba. Trevor was wounded in Afghanistan on my 11th Birthday; a day I will never forget. We didn’t know if he would live through the night. Over the years, I’ve watched Trevor’s miraculous recovery and my mum’s amazing journey. There was no way I would miss filming this incredible story.”
Graeme is a Halifax-based editor with experience ranging from the Netflix series Trailer Park Boys and CBC’s Land and Sea to documentary and dramatic television to corporate and music videos including Canadian artists such as Ghettosocks, Matthew Hornell, Chelsea Amber, and Gloryhound. Graeme was assistant editor on the Michael Melski feature thriller, THE CHILD REMAINS.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Jennifer Hayes is one of the premier jazz and pop vocalists in the city. Her crystal clear voice and smooth vocal stylings have earned her a respected place on the west coast jazz circuit. Her impeccable swing feel is often compared to both Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald.
Jennifer has shared the stage with many notable talents including the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Michael Kaeshammer, Bria Skonberg, featured vocalist with the Dal Richards Orchestra and live performances during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. She is also an in demand studio singer, working on everything from sports anthems such as the 2015 FIFA World Cup to theatrical shows at the Pacific National Exhibition.
Production Consultant—Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown has been working in the film and television industry since 2003. In 2012 she incorporated her own production company, Peep Media Inc., spearheaded by herself, and award winning writer, actor and documentarian, Jackie Torrens. The two has just completed their first feature length documentary “Edge of East” for documentary Channel and CBC Maritimes. Recent accomplishments include line producing and production managing the feature film “Bunker 6”; producing“Temple Mount” a 3 hour documentary with high end recreations for VisionTV; Season 3 of “TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens” for Shaw Media’s TVtropolis and a 1-hour documentary for Vision TV entitled “The Devil We Know” through Arcadia Entertainment Inc. In 2010 she completed her first 26 episode high definition comedy series “TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens” Season 2 for Canwest (now Shaw Media). In 2008 she produced the high definition documentary “Chasing Wild Horses” (BRAVO, CBC, OASIS HD), which has screened around the world, and has won awards at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival- Best International Documentary), and Worldfest Houston (Platinum Remy Award). Her professional background includes Producer positions on projects such as Temple Mount (VisionTV), Templars Last Stand(VisionTV), I Prophesy (VisionTV), Supernatural Investigator (VisionTV), Go Deep (Seasons 1&2- History Television); short films including You Can’t Do That on Film Anymoreand Flush, and Production Management positions on Freemasonry Revealed, Dreamwrecks, Generation XXL, Cohen’s War, One Hit Wonder, and Come On Down: Searching for the American Dream.