Talisman Wins 2 Awards at the New Jersey Web Fest

Talisman made its final appearance at the highly regarded New Jersey Web Fest on Saturday, September 18, 2021. The New Jersey Web Fest is a Web Series World Cup Event and one of the best reviewed festivals in the world.

Talisman creator and director, Wayne Cella, addresses the NJ Web Fest where Talisman took home awards for Best Director in a Science Fiction or Fantasy Series and Outstanding Science Fiction Series.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a festival that had so much quality content. Every show was amazing and it was an honor just to be selected.” Talisman creator Wayne Cella said.

In addition to screening at the beautiful Vanguard Theater in Montclair, Talisman was also nominated for three awards at the festival. James Yoder, who played Ryan Silva, was nominated for Best Performance in a Science Fiction Series. Series creator Wayne Cella was nominated for Best Director in Science Fiction or Fantasy Series and finally, Talisman was nominated for Outstanding Science Fiction Series.

On Sunday evening, the New Jersey Web Fest held its annual Awards Gala at The Manor, a stunning venue in beautiful West Orange. Guests were treated to drinks, fine dining and a top notch event put on by the staff of The Manor and the amazing team behind the New Jersey Web Fest.

After dinner, the awards ceremony began, hosted by NJ Web Fest founder, Neem Basha. Talisman took home the award for Outstanding Science Fiction Series and Wayne Cella took home honors for Best Director in a Science Fiction or Fantasy Series.

“I am so lucky to have worked with the people I did. Everyone in this room knows that it takes a village to make anything…” Cella said during his acceptance speech for Outstanding Science Fiction Series. “It takes so much audacity sometimes to even get to a point where we’re able to make something. Congratulations to everyone here because you all had the balls to make something. Whether we win or we did not is of no consequence. Everyone is here because they created. So congratulations to everybody. Thank you so much!”

Talisman concluded its festival run with 8 selections, 20 nominations and 4 awards. The Covered Sun team couldn’t be prouder that the last run of Talisman Season 1 was in their home state of New Jersey at a truly creator focused and exceptional event.

Introducing the Cast of Insignificant

Covered Sun Films has completed casting for its upcoming teen drama pilot Insignificant, which is set to begin production in early August. Insignificant is set in the 90s and revolves around Wes Connelly, a 16 year old, and his friends as they each face their own struggles in dealing with love and friendship.

“At its heart, Insignificant is a story about relationships. More specifically, how those relationships affect and shape you when you’re young.” Wayne Cella, writer and director on the project recently shared.

Actor Drew Margolis will play Wes Connelly. Drew is a New Jersey native with a background in musical theater and a role in the short film There’s Something Wrong with Paul. Drew is excited about the role and can’t wait to tell this story.

Drew Margolis will play Wes Connelly in the forthcoming project Insignificant.

“It’s important to have actors who connect with the character and the story. Drew and I talked about the role before he even read for it, and something told me that he’d be perfect for it. And he is.” Cella said of the Margolis casting.

Playing Wes’s best friend, Miles, will be social media personality Keith Pichardo. Keith comes to Covered Sun all the way from his home state of Arizona. Keith recently wrapped another project and is ready to get to work. “Beautiful things happen when preparation meets opportunity. My role in Insignificant is a perfect example of that.” Keith said recently.

“Keith is an intriguing choice for us. We really felt like the message of Insignificant and the message that Keith puts out to his followers on social media aligned very well. When we learned that Keith wanted to act, it seemed like a perfect match. Keith is a bright and dedicated young man. He is as nice and genuine in real life as he portrays himself on social media. We’re very lucky to have him onboard.” said Wayne Cella of the casting.

Social media personality Keith Pichardo will play Miles.

Emily Jayne is a New Jersey based actress who will play Izzy Isler, another of Wes’s best friends. Emily has appeared in some commercials and has a long list of theatrical productions on her resume.

We asked Emily why she was drawn to Insignificant. “I am beyond excited to be a part of Insignificant, I think the story is really relatable to a lot of teens. Personally, the character of Izzy really speaks to me and I feel a deep connection with her, so getting to portray someone as free spirited and deeply caring as her is super exciting.”

Emily Jayne has been cast as Izzy Isler.

“Emily really seemed to cut through to the heart of Izzy in her audition. It was one of those moments where we knew we’d found the right person for the role.” Cella said of Emily.

Insignificant will also bring back some familiar faces to Covered Sun’s latest production.

“We need to have members of the LGBTQ+ community represented better in TV and movies. The beauty of this story is the authenticity. Having a real story told in a way that makes each character relatable no matter your gender, race, sexuality, or age is a beautiful thing and I’m happy to be apart of it!” Actor and Musician Collin Roach said of the upcoming project. Roach will play the character of Anthony Marshall in Insignificant, but is no stranger to working with Cella and his team. Roach starred as Jimmy Gardner in Covered Sun’s Award Winning web series, Talisman. Roach has also appeared in the book trailer for Kate In Waiting by writer Becky Albertalli and in a safe driving ad campaign for the Delaware Office of Highway Safety.

Collin Roach will star as Anthony Marshall and also helped write the pilot episode.

The cast will be anchored by Tricia Sullivan, who plays main character Wes’s mother. Tricia is another familiar face, having turned in an award nominated performance in Talisman as Virginia Silva. Opposite Tricia will be New York actor Paul Forrest Quinn who plays Wes’s father.

Tricia Sullivan and Paul Forrest Quinn are set to star as Helen and Ray Connelly.

Other cast members include Matt Ingemi, Alex Joseph Theis, Evan McCrane, Trish Leney, Jennifer Micofsky, Kylee Ann Agnello, Erica Soder and Jessica Gollin.

“This is by far the largest cast I’ve ever worked with.” Cella stated recently. “Every person on this cast is very talented and very excited to tell this story. Getting to know some and reconnecting with others has been all my pleasure. We think we have a story that people will connect to and relate to and we can’t wait to get to work.”

Top: Evan McCrane as Kevin, Bottom Left: Alex Joseph Theis as Tyler and Bottom Right: Kylee Ann Agnello as Dana Palmer

Insignificant begins production on a pilot episode on August 8, 2021. The Pilot episode was written by the team of Wayne Cella and John Manning & Collin Roach.

Covered Sun Films Starts Casting Process for Upcoming Project Insignificant

After a year of working on various music videos and community outreach projects, Covered Sun Films has set production dates for its new project, Insignificant.

Insignificant is a teen drama pilot that focuses on the character of Wes Connelly, a 16 year old whose world is about to be completely turned upside down. The series was created by Wayne Cella and the pilot episode was written by Wayne, John Manning and Collin Roach.

“This project will be completely different than Talisman. Insignificant is more of a study in what it’s like to try to find acceptance in your life as a teenager.” Writer and director Wayne Cella said recently. “I think Insignificant will have a little bit of something for everyone. I think just about anyone will be able to relate to at least one of these characters, if not all.”

Insignificant follows Wes, who has endured a trauma, as he navigates the twists and turns of life as a teen. Wes is surrounded by his dysfunctional parents and his best friends, Izzy and Miles.

“Miles is kind of the friend that everyone would want. He’s kind, supportive and funny. Izzy is more of a straight shooter who appears to have it all together, even though she’s got some skeletons in her closet. Much like any teenager, these characters all have something that they’re hiding or trying to work through.” Cella said. “I think as people, we all struggle with feeling like we’re insignificant from time to time.”

Covered Sun Films is in the early stages of casting the project with an eye toward production starting in August of 2021.

Talisman Garners 9 Nominations and Wins Best Science Fiction at the Asia Web Awards

Talisman was released on May 21, 2020 during a global pandemic. Needless to say, it hasn’t been a traditional year or festival season for films and series. Nonetheless, Talisman was announced as an Official Selection of the Asia Web Awards on November 21st.

The nomination ceremony was held on December 7th, and Covered Sun Films and Talisman were honored to pick up a total of 9 Nominations:

Best Special/Visual Effects

Best Editing (Wayne F. Cella)

Best Screenplay in a Sci-Fi, Thriller or Animation (Wayne F. Cella and John Manning)

Best Creator in an Action or Sci-Fi (Wayne F. Cella)

Best Director in a Thriller or Sci-Fi (Wayne F. Cella)

Best Ensemble Cast in a Thriller, Sci-Fi or Horror

Best Actress in an Action, Sci-Fi or Horror (Tricia Sullivan)

Best Science Fiction

Best Series (All Genres)

“Being nominated for anything is always an honor. I’m incredibly proud of the team and couldn’t be happier that their work is being recognized.” Series writer and Director Wayne Cella said of the nominations.

The Awards ceremony took place in Seoul, South Korea on December 12th and Talisman took home the award for Best Science Fiction. Covered Sun and the cast and crew of Talisman were honored to pick up the award.

“It couldn’t be more appropriate that Talisman won a team award.” Cella said after the win. “It literally took a team to make Talisman a reality. There’s no way it would have been possible without the efforts of every person on this incredibly talented cast and crew.”

“Seeing the work that went into this project and the love that everyone put into it, it’s amazing and an honor to see Talisman win an award such as this.” said Talisman star Collin Roach.

In addition to the Asia Web Awards, Talisman was also nominated at the Bilbao SeriesLand event in Bilbao, Spain, and The Web Series Festival Global in Hollywood. Talisman has also been an Official Selection at the Manahttan Rep’s STORIES Film Festival where star, James Yoder picked up Best Actor honors. Talisman has screened at Lift Off Global Network’s Online Extravaganza and is an Official Selection of 2021 New Jersey Web Fest.

Congratulations to the cast and crew!!!

Talisman snags SemiFinalist Laurel in Hollywood!

Talisman Season 1 was selected as a Semifinalist at the Web Series Festival Global in Hollywood, California.

Talisman was named a Semifinalist in the Web Series Festival Global in Hollywood. This is the first selection for Talisman as a series. The Pilot episode of Talisman was selected in a few festivals in 2019, with James Yoder taking home Best Actor Honors at Manhattan Rep’s STORIES Film Festival in Manhattan for his role as Ryan Silva.

The Web Series Festival Global is still planning the final details for their event as we grapple with a health crisis. We will keep you updated with more details as they become available. Hope to see you in Hollywood!

Talisman Season 1 Episode 1 – “Pilot”

Ryan struggles with the loss of his grandfather, while his mother, Virginia, offers him comfort and remembrance by giving Ryan his grandfather’s necklace. While Ryan and his friends Jimmy and Connor gather to watch a meteor shower in Pop’s honor, they venture into the woods to investigate a once in a lifetime occurrence. New enemies, familiar and strange, begin to reveal themselves.

Watch the rest of the series on Amazon Prime Video, The Reveel Network, or The Fantasy Network.

Talisman – The Series Season 1 Trailer and Premiere Date

It’s been a long time coming, but we are proud to announce that Talisman – The Series will premiere on Thursday, May 21, 2020 on the Covered Sun Films YouTube channel. Episodes will debut every Thursday at 8 PM EDT. We hope you enjoy the series and the tale of Ryan and his friends. For now, here is the Season 1 Trailer. Enjoy! See you on 5/21.


Talisman – The Series Season 1 Trailer

Talisman Production Update #3

They always say that you need to be prepared for anything on a film set. And while my past shorts were relatively controlled environments, I’ve already learned that you can never be prepared for everything.

We shot Talisman on a Monday and Tuesday in what’s been one of the rainiest summers in recent memory. When we began putting this idea together and scouting locations, we had been in the middle of a dry spell at the beginning of Summer. I’d written Talisman with a very specific location in mind. It was perfect. A wide open field that backed up to thick woods, with an access road that ran through the middle. That road would be perfect for us to have the space we needed to set up.

On Sunday, the day before the first day of filming, I decided to take another walk to my perfect location. What had been an ideal spot was now swampy and completely overgrown. Worse yet, was that it was also tick infested. I knew at that moment I was in trouble.

On Monday, day 1 of production, we took another walk with the crew and made a final decision. Our “perfect” location was a no go. So we pivoted and drove to a local park. We walked deep into the woods and found the ideal spot to film. It was literally perfect and better than what I had initially envisioned. We ran through everything and finalized the choreography. On Tuesday evening, we would return to shoot it. Crisis averted

Or so we thought.

We returned Tuesday night, after having shot all but the woods scene and one final scene. We had fallen behind schedule on day 1, but thanks to the preparation of the cast, we were able to make up ground and get back on schedule. We filmed a quick scene, then loaded the gear and headed back to the park, ready to finish this thing up.

As I pulled into the parking lot for the park, my heart sank. It was a Tuesday night in August and there were people everywhere. As I got out of my car, I realized we’d driven into the middle of a jazz concert in the park. There were police everywhere. I knew we were sunk.

Of course we’d be able to finish the film at some point. But it wasn’t going to be tonight. And since we were already approaching our budget, adding a shooting day would have destroyed the budget.

I walked to where the director of photography, Danny Gevirtz had parked. Danny carried a huge light and some other gear in his hand as he walked passed the police officer. I saw him stop and exchange some words with the cop and then continue walking. I looked at him and he waved me on.

I ran back to the car and got the rest of the gear and gathered the rest of the cast and crew. We drew some strange looks as we walked past the crowd, but we made it. We were going to get our scene in.

I later found out that the cop had asked Danny what we were doing. Danny told him we were making a movie. The officer had asked if it was a prank video, and Danny told him no. He then let everyone pass. It wasn’t easy getting clean audio in the middle of a jazz concert, but we waited until between songs and then we’d roll. It was unorthodox and took a long time to get our shots, but we were getting there… until the rain came.

It goes without saying that film gear and rain do not mix well. It started as a light mist, which didn’t scare us off. But as the rain intensified we reached a point where we knew we had to shut it down. We stood to lose thousands of dollars in equipment if we didn’t.

We pulled what equipment we could under the canopy of the trees and set up a make shift shelter out of fall mats for the rest. And then we held our breath and waited. I constantly checked the radar on the weather channel app on my phone. It looked like the worst of it was yet to come. I was so disgusted, I couldn’t even speak. I had tried to prepare for everything, but on this night, Mother Nature had bested me.

Just as we were ready to sprint from the woods with the equipment, I checked the radar one more time. Danny yelled to me that there seemed to be a break. And the app on my phone that had seconds before shown dark greens and reds and yellows on the radar was now showing clear.

We shot the final scenes and packed up. Somehow, we had gotten it done. It was an exhilarating feeling that I won’t soon forget. An hour or so later, we wrapped the last scene and production was complete. I got to yell “that’s a wrap” on my first production as the cast and crew gathered to watch a secret scene that wasn’t in the original script. It was an incredible feeling. Despite the obstacles, Talisman was complete.

Talisman Production Update #2

As the shooting date for Talisman drew near, we decided to get the cast together to do a table read. We wanted to make sure the script was right and that the dialogue didn’t come across clunky. It was also a great way to meet the cast in person.

Our Director of Photography, Danny Gevirtz was away working on another project, and Jack Ligenza, who will play Connor in Talisman was starring in a production of Footloose three hours away. While there wasn’t much we could do to have Danny in two places at once, we were able to Skype Jack into the table read.

The cast arrived, along with producers John Manning and John Magee. It was great to finally get to meet everyone in person and also to see what kind of chemistry they had together. Hearing the cast deliver the lines that we had written was a strange yet exhilarating experience. And deliver they did. The cast did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. Even through Skype in Jack’s case.

After a couple of small tweaks to dialogue and some clarifications, we ran through the script a second time. And that was even better. After, we had some snacks and refreshments and got to talk and discuss plans and answer questions. It struck me that we were really lucky to have chosen a cast that is talented, but also made up of great people.

The morning of the table read, I couldn’t shake a feeling of doubt. Not doubt in the cast that we had chosen or even the script… rather, it was doubt that I’d be able to pull this off. That maybe I’d bitten off more than I could chew. In reality, as a writer-director, I’ve only really shot 3 short films. And Talisman, by far, is the most complicated of them. A funny thing happened though… after going through the script and meeting everyone, my nerves calmed and the doubts went away. It was clearer than ever to me that we were on the right track. And even more so, that we had chosen the right actors.

Talisman is now only a few days away from beginning production. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. As I write this, we are busy moving furniture, hanging posters and turning a home into a film set. Final preparations are almost complete. Stay tuned for some behind the scenes looks and hopefully more posts on the making of Talisman

Talisman Production Update #1

In January, I began working on a short film that I was hoping would serve as proof of concept for a web series I’ve been developing since 2015, called Event344. I had an idea for a story that centered on three friends who have an incredible experience one night while they gather to comfort their friend, who’s just lost someone very close to him.

The idea was solid, but I really wanted to inject some humor and snappiness to the dialogue. When I let John read my first draft, he really liked it. Inspired by a recent conversation/fun argument we’d had, he set about capturing the spirit of our argument and used it as the backdrop for these characters. All of the sudden, the characters popped.

Responsibilities and obligations in the real world often prevent me from pursuing what I love most — crafting stories and then turning them into films. With this really fun script sitting there collecting dust, I decided I wasn’t going to continue stalling. It was time to go after the dream instead of hoping I could find time.

I published a casting call and we began to take video auditions. We were incredibly fortunate to get to watch amazingly talented actors perform the lines we had written. It was an overwhelming experience and a tremendously difficult decision picking between such talented people. After much lamenting, we had our cast.

They’re beyond talented and even better people, which only makes us more excited to get this project off the ground.

Recently, we added Director of Photography Danny Gevirtz, a Philadelphia area native, to the project. Danny brings a host of experience with him and has even worked with James Yoder, the actor who will play one of the leads.

With everything falling into place, there’s only one thing left to do… make the movie. And we can’t wait to get started and to bring you a fun, energetic story that will introduce you to the Event344 universe.

This is only the beginning. We hope you’ll follow along with us as Covered Sun Films gears up for Talisman, which films in August.

Stay tuned for behind the scenes photos and updates.

James Yoder, who will be playing Ryan in Covered Sun’s new short film, Talisman.

The Final Confession

What if the Allies hadn’t won WWII?

As the fighting of WWII makes it to the US mainland, a sinner enters God’s house in 1947 Philadelphia looking for forgiveness… Instead, he finds a priest in an unusual condition. The two men share stories, a jug of wine and their final confessions.

This short was written and directed by a good friend of Covered Sun Films, John Caruso and features CSF’s own Wayne Cella in the lead role (for better or worse). While it’s not technically a Covered Sun production, we wanted to share it with you.

Written and Directed by John Caruso
Starring Wayne Cella, Paris Ahrens-Nichols and John Caruso

Filmed March 19, 2017