Celebrity Guests

Every year at the Phoenix Film Festival, we invite celebrity guest to help us celebrate the art of film. 2013 will be no different. This year we have several guests on tap to help us make 2013 special. They include D. B. Sweeney, Natalie Imbruglia, Melora Walters and Teller.  


Hardball PremiereD. B. Sweeney

D.B’s big break came in Francis Ford Coppola’s Gardens of Stone where he played a gung-ho Vietnam enlistee alongside screen legends James Caan, Anjelica Huston, and James Earl Jones.  Sweeney subsequently made a big impression in the classic romantic comedy The Cutting Edge as Doug Dorsey, a tough hockey player who turns to figure skating after an eye injury.  Perhaps his most memorable role was Shoeless Joe Jackson in Eight Men Out, costarring John Cusack, David Staitharn, and Charlie Sheen. Sweeney also starred in World War II thriller Memphis Belle alongside Mathew Modine and Eric Stoltz in the B17 bomber crew on their final dangerous mission into Germany and alongside the great Peter Falk in Roomates.  Some of his many other films include Hear No Evil, Spawn, and No Man’s Land.  Sweeney recently made his debut as a screenwriter, director, and producer with Two Tickets to Paradise. A founding board member of Los Angeles’ celebrated Blank Theatre who has appeared in over forty plays on Broadway and around the country, D.B. enjoys returning frequently to the theatre.


Natalie ImbrugliaNatalie Imbruglia

Triple threat Natalie Imbruglia was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in a small beach town. At 17, the actress/singer/songwriter was catapulted into the public¹s consciousness when she appeared as Beth Brennan on the hit Aussie TV series “Neighbours,” a role she would inhabit for two years (1992-1994). Imbruglia followed her small screen success with a move to London where her music career flourished. Quickly becoming an anthem of the time, “Torn” - Imbruglia¹s first single - was released in 1997 and broke air play records across the globe. Four studio albums followed with Imbruglia selling over nine million albums worldwide to date. Throughout her musical success, Imbruglia¹s passion for acting never waned. In 2003 she appeared onscreen in the British spy spoof “Johnny English,” and she starred in the critically acclaimed 2009 drama “Closed for Winter.” Of her performance in the film, Variety wrote: “Believably expressing what it must be like to live with ungovernable sorrow, the actress proves to have much more than just a face the camera adores.” A global ambassador for charity organization Virgin Unite, Imbruglia splits her time between London and Los Angeles. 


Melora WaltersMelora Walters

 MELORA WALTERS was born in Saudi Arabia. She grew up there, as well as in Holland. She is a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City. Melora is also an actress. She has collaborated with such filmmakers as Paul Thomas Anderson, Taylor Hackford, John McNaughton, and Anthony Minghella to create memorable characters and performances. She most recently starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed series Big Love and this year she was seen in the independent features Case 219 and Missing Pieces as well as on Showtime’s Californication. Her upcoming credits include the independents Lonely Boy, Underdogs and Short Term 12.  She has studied writing with Kim Calder and Chiwan Choi. Last year, Finishing Line Press published her first book of poetry Sonnets and Failures with some of her wood block prints.

On June 21, 2011 Writ Large Press published her two books entitled In the Painting Heraclitus Wrings His Hands Above the World and Appears to be Crying and The Siren. In July Launch LA presented a show that included the original art shown in the books, Lying Chicken Man and the Muse. The Lying Chicken Man series of paintings will accompany her next book, The Man and the Woman.

She lives in Los Angeles with her two children, Tom and Joanna.


Teller has been the smaller, quieter half of renowned magic duo Penn & Teller since 1975.

An Emmy, Writers Guild Award, Obie and Drama Critics Circle winner, Teller with partner Penn Jillette, has enjoyed successful runs on Broadway, sold-out world tours and is the current longest-running headline act in Las Vegas.

In 2008, Teller conceived and co-directed a bloody, supernatural thriller-inspired stage version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” that toured the East Coast to raves from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. In 2010 he co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway hit “Play Dead.” Conceived as an ode to the classic midnight spook shows of the mid-20th Century, he again received raves from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and earned a Drama Desk nomination for “Unique Theatrical Experience.” A filmed version of the play is currently screening on the horror film festival circuit to great acclaim.


Most recently, he consulted on the magic and effects for Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse production of “The Exorcist.”  Teller has starred in his own television series and specials, has written five books and has a prolific career as a magic consultant for live theater, television and films.