Annabel was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Houston, TX when she was nine years old with her family. She grew up in Texas and Maryland. She studied philosophy at Boston University on a Melville Scholarship and political theory at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar.
Annabel’s life experiences include working with inner city children, management consulting, writing and directing theater, and combining new media and political activism. She won The Cameron MacIntosh Award for her playwriting at Oxford University and was selected as a fellow for Film Independent’s Filmmaker Lab in 2005.
In 2007, Annabel was the national coordinator for the 121 Coalition, organizing a historic grassroots effort to successfully pass U.S. House Resolution 121, also known as the “comfort women” resolution. Her 2010 film 9500 Liberty has won three film festival awards: the “Breakthrough Filmmakers Award” at the Phoenix Film Festival, the “Best Documentary” at the Charlotte Film Festival, and the “Audience Award” at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Eric Byler was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his debut feature Charlotte Sometimes (2002), hailed by film critic Roger Ebert as a breakthrough for Asian American filmmakers. His films have won 15 international film festival awards, and paved the way for a new generation of Asian American filmmakers.
Eric’s second feature Americanese (2006) was acquired by IFC Films and won both the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at the South by Southwest Film Festival. His third feature TRE (2007) won the Special Jury Award at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival before being released theatrically by Cinema Libre Studio in 2008.
Eric was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in Northern Virginia and in Hawai’i. He majored in film studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut where his senior thesis film Kenji’s Faith (1994) went on to become a finalist for the Student Academy Awards, screen at the Sundance Film Festival, and win six film festival awards. Other Charlotte Sometimes accolades include a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Jacqueline Kim at the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards, the Audience Award at South by Southwest, and the Special Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival.
Chris Rigopulos is a seasoned business professional with more than ten years of strategic management consulting experience, with particular expertise is in the media and entertainment industries.
In addition, Chris has spent more than five years over two tours of duty working in both product development and business strategy development with Harmonix / MTV Games, the creators of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band videogame franchises. In his spare time, Chris is also the lead guitarist for the Boston-based rock quartet Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives. 9500 Liberty represents his maiden voyage into the realm of film production.
Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.
Alex Rigopulos is the co-founder and CEO of Harmonix, developers of hit the music games Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In 2008, Rigopulos and Harmonix co-founder Eran Egozy were listed in the TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of “the 100 most influential people in the world.”
Rigopulos graduated with an BS in Music and Theater Arts in 1992 and an MS in Media Arts and Sciences in 1994 from the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jeff Man grew up in Rockville, Maryland and attended the University of Delaware where he received his degree in English with a concentration in journalism. Before joining 9500 Liberty, Jeff worked as a production assistant for Retirement Living Television where he received a Capital Emmy for his contribution on the news magazine program Viewpoint.
Michael Brook is a world-class guitarist, composer, producer, and recording artist, perhaps best known for his sonic contribution to U2’s record-selling 1987 album “The Joshua Tree” in the form of his invention, the Infinite Guitar. He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1996 for his production work and as a co-artist on Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s album Night Song.
Michael’s film score credits include Al Gore’s Oscar winner An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car?, Sugar, Affliction, and Sean Penn’s Into the Wild, for which Michael was nominated for a Golden Globe. Michael’s acclaimed solo albums include Hybrid, Cobalt Blue, and RockPaperScissors. 9500 Liberty is his fourth collaboration with director Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes, TRE, and Americanese).