Private Project


'ELLEN' is a short documentary about Ellen Dostal: an intuitive Tarot card reader who currently resides in Los Angeles. The eldest of seven brothers and sisters, Ellen was born and raised in Protovin, Iowa. Protovin is a small town that was settled by her Czechoslovakian ancestors.

As a gifted intuitive, Ellen used to give readings to high school students at LACMA'S NexGen events.

  • Paul McDade
    Transmissions, Short Sunrise
  • Ellen Dostal
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 5, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 10th FilmSaaz international Film Festival
    February 26, 2017
    World Premiere
    Films Award Winner
Director Biography - Paul McDade

Paul McDade has been making short portraits of people in print and video since the mid 90’s. His first subject was filmmaker Willie Varela (a print version was published in Rant Magazine (1996-2001). Alternating between editing, acting and directing, McDade has worked one on one with a variety of filmmakers and producers. He is currently editing the feature film The Education of a Negro by director/writer Ryan Culver. Paul is also producing a documentary portrait of Michael Esposito: an experimental artist and researcher in Electronic Voice Phenomena. He is a member of IATSE and SAG-AFTRA.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I became interested in 'paranormal' or unusual phenomenon during my last year of college when a close friend opened up to me about her own unusual experiences. In fact, one occurred while I was with her. Like Stan Brakhage witnessing a 'possessed' Maya Deren pick up a fridge and hurl it, I felt my own witnessing of my friend's reaction to a 'vision' to be not a mental disorder nor an act. Those strangely inspiring moments with her brought a new thirst that I'd only read about in books like those from anthropologist Hank Wesselman or the Alabama folk artist Charlie Lucas.
I met Ellen Dostal through a mutual acquaintance who had recommended her. I was looking for someone to do tarot card readings for my wife's 40th birthday party. I thought it would be something unique and fun, and it was. I also felt a great honesty and frankness coming from Ellen when I spoke with her and when she did my own reading. I have discovered this short portrait has spoken positively and coincidentally to more than a couple of people and artists whom I shared it with. I hope it continues to do so.