The Team + Magicians
Nelson Cheng - Director / Producer | nelsoncheng.com
“The Magic Life”—Nelson Cheng’s first film— is something of a microcosm of his own decision to leave a lucrative career in technology product development and marketing to pursue his passion in documentary filmmaking. After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Princeton University, Cheng went on to work as a product manager and product marketing manager for Google and Amazon.com. Following a number of exhilarating years at Google (the company grew from 800 employees to 15,000 by the time he left), Cheng moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and directing. His web series, “The Consultants”, was a 2010 Producers Guild of America competition finalist, and was presented at Dartmouth’s Tuck Media & Entertainment Symposium. When not acting or directing, Cheng serves as an advisor to a number of startups, including Signpost, Three Day Rule, Starbates, Pogoseat and Slated—a startup building a technology platform for independent film financing. He’s previously been a judge for Harvard Business School’s alumni new venture competition and Tech Coast Angels’ Fast Pitch Competition.
Erik Dugger - Editor
Erik’s work has explored topics ranging from innovations in stem-cell research, to the UN’s landmine removal mission in Lebanon. Recent projects include “Blood, Sweat & Gears,” featuring a professional American cycling team, and “Adam Blank Gets a Vasectomy,” a first-person documentary dealing with issues of masculinity. Erik’s films have screened at a number of film festivals and received honors including “Most Innovative Documentary” at National Geographic’s Showreal Asia awards, and a finalist medal at the New York Festivals. His work has also been featured on the Discovery Channel, A&E Biography, the Sundance Channel and PBS’s POV series.
Chun Ming Huang - Cinematographer | chunminghuang.com
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chun Ming’s passion for photography – especially nature photography – led him to cinematography. Since then, he’s worked on a wide range of projects covering topics from cooking to skiing. His work has screened at numerous film festivals, and one of his films was featured in “American Cinematographer”. They have also been shown on TLC, CMT, truTV, and the Oprah Winfrey show. He is a graduate of the University of Denver and is fluent in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and English.
Andrew Barkan - Composer | andrewbarkan.com
Andrew Barkan is a composer for film and television. His award-winning documentary, short, and feature film scores have played on four continents. He has contributed music and audio to media institutions such as Sony Pictures, ABC, Sesame Workshop, Hulu, and Comedy Central. Andrew regularly writes music for commercials through Antfood Music + Sound Design including Marble Halls, the classical theme for Sprint’s 2008 broadcast advertising campaign. Andrew holds an MA in Composition for Film and Multimedia from NYU and a BA in Orchestral and Jazz Composition from Amherst College.
Michael Friedland - Magician | thevirtuoso.com
Michael is an accomplished close-up magician originally from New York City where he studied and collaborated with magicians including David Blaine, Frank Garcia, and Harry Lorayne. After graduating from Tufts, Michael continued to pursue both his passion in magic and a career in business — eventually owning a commercial real estate company and graduating from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He most recently moved to Los Angeles where he owns several small businesses and performs magic regularly.
Yang Yang - Magician
Yang Yang is a 17-year-old magician from Beijing, China who has temporarily relocated to the United States to study at the Chavez Studio of Magic. He’s a multiple award winner in magic, including winning Gold at the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ Stage Competition.
Matthew Noah Falk - Magician | matthewnoah.com
Matthew Noah Falk is an accomplished magician — a regular performer at the Magic Castle as well as a street performer throughout Los Angeles.
Dale Salwak - Magician | dalesalwak.com
Dale Salwak is known as “The Gentleman of Magic”. As a performer, he’s performed in dozens of countries and been nominated three times for “Stage Magician of the Year” by the Academy of Magical Arts. He has also served as the director of the Chavez Studio of Magic since 1978, a school that trains aspiring magicians to become world class performers.
Juliana Chen - Magician | julianachen.com
Juliana Chen is one of the most highly decorated female magicians in history. In 1997, she won the world title for Manipulation (sleight-of-hand) at The World Congress of Magicians in Dresden, Germany. She was the first woman, and the first magician of Chinese heritage, to win a world title for a solo act in the 50-year history of The World Congress of Magicians. Since her win, she has been on the cover of MAGIC and The Linking Ring as well as on specials on ABC and NBC.
Jonathan Levit - Magician | jonathanlevit.com
Jonathan is a multi-dimensional entertainment professional. As an actor, he’s appeared on such shows as FOX’s “The X-Files” and ABC’s “Flashforward”. He’s also been a television host on Discovery and VH1 — including their magic competition show “Celebracadabra”. As a magician, he’s been performing for over 30 years and can frequently be seen at the Magic Castle. He has also served as a magic consultant to numerous television shows and feature films.
Yigal Mesika - Magician | yigalmesika.com
Yigal Mesika is a magician, inventor, and entrepreneur who is most well-known for magic involving levitation and telekinesis. Some of his best selling products include the Spider Pen, Tarantula, Loops, and Electric Touch. As a magician, he has traveled the world, visiting over 40 countries, and has performed at venues including the Magic Castle, Blackpool, and FISM.
Richard Turner - Magician | richardturner52.com
Richard Turner is one of the world’s foremost card mechanics / technicians. He’s been featured on dozens of television programs including “That’s Incredible” and “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not”. His sense of touch is so refined that he is a touch analyst for USPC, the manufacturer of the Bicycle and Hoyle playing cards. The legendary magician, Dai Vernon, described Turner thusly, “Having seen countless numbers of card experts execute for over eighty years, I consider Richard Turner to be by far the most skillful…. He does things with cards that no one in the world can do – no one.” Richard has been inducted into The Magic Castle’s Hall of Fame.
David Gabbay - Magician | gabbaymagic.com
David Gabbay is a top young L.A. magician who is a regular performer at the Magic Castle. He is a multiple award winner and earned himself the First Place Award for Close-Up Magic at the prestigious TAOM convention.