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Provocative Comedy about Bullying, Running with Sharks

From New Production Shingle, Eyes Up Here

NEW YORK, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Producers Nilou Safinya and Nancy Vitale announce the formation of Eyes Up Here Productions to develop great stories for stage and screen in collaboration with artists they believe in. Their first production, Running with Sharks, is a short comedic film for anyone who has ever felt judged in a swimsuit. It is slated for production in May 2013.


Running with Sharks is about a woman on the first day of a health kick. She encounters resistance from unlikely bullies, but she has a surprise for everyone in the end. The script is loosely based on the producers' own experience at an Upper East Side gym.

Writer Nancy Vitale says, "From day one, it was clear that we were on someone else's turf, and we stepped lightly. After being mocked by gym patrons and told by the instructor 'this ain't your grandma's water aerobics,' I had to stop laughing/being scared and start writing."

The film will be helmed by Director Suha Araj whose short film, The Cup Reader, has been accepted into this year's Tribeca Film Festival. She is joined by Cinematographer Meg Kettell. Casting will be announced soon.

To fund production, Eyes Up Here has launched an Indiegogo campaign offering rewards including massages, health coaching and water aerobics DVDs. Partners providing promotion include Body Space Fitness and Body Beautiful Wellness among others. Following production, Producers Nilou and Nancy will submit the film to festivals such as SXSW and Sundance, pitch the concept for television development and explore licensing the concept for branded content.

For more information about Eyes Up Here Productions or Running with Sharks, contact Nilou and Nancy at [email protected]. Additional information available on Facebook, Twitter (@RunningWSharks) and online at


Nancy Vitale (Writer/Producer)
Nancy is a founding member of Eyes Up Here Productions, and the writer of its first production, Running with Sharks (Spring, 2013). She has worked in TV development (TV Land) and in film (Emerging Pictures, Columbia Film School). In theatre, she is the Producing Artistic Director of Noor Theatre, which co-produced Food and Fadwa in May, 2012 (New York Theatre Workshop). Past theatre includes: Williamstown Theatre Festival (Resident Dramaturg/Literary Manager), McCarter Theatre (Literary Assistant/Copywriter), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Literary Associate) and Passage Theatre (Resident Dramaturg/Artistic Consultant); she developed productions at NYTW, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Araca Group, New Georges, Arab-American Comedy Fest, Columbia University SoA and Carnegie Mellon SoD. She holds her M.F.A. in Theatre (Columbia University School of the Arts) and her B.A. in English (Oakland University).

Nilou Safinya (Producer)
A founding member of Eyes Up Here Productions, Nilou is a NY-based producer working in theatre, film and TV. She is originally Iranian and lived, traveled and studied in different countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, before moving to NYC to attend Columbia University. Her mission is to work on global and culturally diverse issues, helping to bring people together through the arts. Nilou has many credits in NY theatre, including work at Juilliard and with the Alternate Theatre Co. She worked for 3 years in TV and film development and production at Levantine Entertainment before turning freelance. Nilou is also a partner of Grandma's Chicken Pants (GCP), a high end creative and content development production company who has worked all over the US and in 22 countries around the world. GCP is currently producing a family TV show about interacting with cultures worldwide. Back in NYC, Nilou is concurrently developing a youth outreach public performance piece. Nilou also sits as President of the Board of Directors for Noor Theatre.

Suha Araj (Director)
Suha is often found overhearing, watching, or telling a story. Her work explores the displacement of immigrant communities and her passion lies in bridging cultures. Her feature script, Khsara explores the humor created from the contrast of cultural expectations; it was developed with Sundance Screenwriters Lab, RAWI, Torino Film Lab, Dubai Film Connection, EAVE, IFP No Borders. Suha was chosen for IFP and Lincoln Center's Emerging Visions program. She participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus and Talent Market in 2012. She just completed the short film, The Cup Reader, which was shot in Palestine in 2012 and will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. For seven years she was part of the film selection committee of the Arab Film Festival in San Francisco and has served on the LunaFest Board of Advisors. Her short film, I am Palestine screened at festivals internationally and is used as an educational tool. She served as a story advisor to the Sundance selection, Slingshot HipHop and produced the narrative short, Fruition. Installation art (Displacement, Inshallah Falasteen, Buried in Michigan) and acting (Chocolate in Heat, Suitcase) have inspired storytelling in new mediums. She is a co-founder of, a publishing platform for women to tell their stories and is a teaching artist with the Tribeca Institute.

Meg Kettell (Cinematographer)
Meg is a filmmaker and photographer based in New York City. She has shot narrative and documentary films for the last twelve years. A member of IATSE Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild) and a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Meg has spent the last several years traveling the world, working and shooting in over 25 countries and across the United States, most recently shooting a film in Beit Jala, Palestine.  While at NYU, Meg won the Bahoric-Meisel Scholarship for Women Cinematographers two years in a row.  She continues to work on a mixture of projects including shorts, music videos and documentaries. Kettell is currently developing several projects.

To view this video on YouTube, please visit:

Media Contact: Nilou Safinya, Eyes Up Here Productions, 212.731.9193, [email protected]

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SOURCE Eyes Up Here Productions

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