Private Project


At 29, Shawn Wittig is the epitome of the spoiled rich kid living on the largesse of an indulgent single playboy father. The years of coddling by dad, including avoiding prosecutions from DUI to manslaughter charges continue to fuel Shawn's addictions to drugs and alcohol, When the law finally caught up with him, Shawn is released into a teaching/rehabilitation program at the local university run by JT Dalton, a brilliant but mysterious chemist. At first JT’s and Shawn’s relationship is antagonistic but, after a late night in the chemistry lab, it becomes something deeper. Soon JT and Shawn are involved in an illicit and highly sexualized affair that begins to consume both their lives. When the University catches wind of the affair, JT is promptly suspended and Shawn’s father forces the young man to give up his romance with his older professor…

  • Catherine Dao
    Please see Director bio and statement.
  • Catherine Dao
    The Trap, The Right Chemistry, Carless in LA, Borrowed Time, Symphoria
  • Nancy Isaak
    Nancy Isaak is the Gemini-nominated author of the “365 Days Quadrilogy”. She has been working in the entertainment industry for over 35 years as an actress, a writer, and producer. In 2003 she won the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship for “Glow Worms”, a feature film based in the hard sciences (physics). Following that, in 2008, she won the WGA/Commission ile de France Fellowship for “65 Roses”, a feature film about murder, politics, and the extradition treaty between France and the United States. At present, she is working on “Anarchy”, a film adaptation of her own post-apocalyptic/horror novel.
  • Diane Peterson
    Diane Peterson hails from Elmwood Park, New Jersey. A graduate of the University of Miami with a BA Degree in Drama, Diane now resides in Malibu, California. Diane produced plays for several years at the Malibu Playhouse. She is also a stuntwoman and actress in motion pictures and television shows. Diane was a producer on Symphoria and enjoyed working with Catherine Dao and Nancy Isaak. Her soon to be published memoir, Hollywood Stuntwoman, is sure to be an exciting read.
  • Catherine Dao
    see director
  • A Martinez
    Key Cast
    "Carl Wittig: Key Supporting"
  • Eileen Davidson
    Key Cast
    "Vicky Lewis: Key Supporting"
  • Catherine Dao
    Key Cast
    "JT Dalton: Main Character"
  • Tyler Wolfe
    Key Cast
    "Shawn Wittig: Main Character"
  • Edward Spivak
    Supporting Cast
  • Coco Walker
    Supporting Cast
  • Alice Lo
    Supporting Cast
  • Jia Doughman
    Supporting Cast
  • Nancy Isaak
    Supporting Cast
  • Hiroyuki Haga
    Director of Photography
    Hiroyuki Haga (Local 600 Cinematographer / Director of Photography) Hiro has worked professionally in Los Angeles for 10 years. He is originally from Fukuoka, Japan and moved to US in 2006. He majored in Cinematography at California State University, Northridge and graduated in 2011. Through experiences working with A.S.C. / J.S.C cinematographers, he has learned aesthetics of cinema, and also technical aspects of all film/digital cinema. Hiro has worked as a DP with professionals on Films, Commercials, TVs, and Music Videos, which have been shown on TV and theaters all over Asia, Europe and USA. Recent projects include an original Sci-Fi series called “Dream Raider” for HBO Asia, Commercials for Google, Coca-Cola and Nissan. Not only is he outside-the-box creative and has great work ethics, Hiro is also a pleasure to work with on sets, and he goes above and beyond for each project. Symphoria was lucky to have him as our DP.
  • David Lamont
    Composer, Original Music
    David Lamont is a native Angeleno. He started piano at four, flute at eight, going on to earn a BA from UCLA in flute performance where he studied with Sheridon Stokes. He then attended Cal State University, Northridge, where he earned an M.A. in Musicology. Subsequent teachers include James Newton, Charlie Shoemake, Ira Shulman, Bill Greene, Mark Carlson and French horn legend Fred Fox. He has participated in master classes with Eddie Daniels and the late Julius Hemphill (World Saxophone Quartet). David has recorded the Claude Bolling Suite For Flute and Jazz Piano, and has been a member of The Escovedo Project, touring worldwide and featured on their CD and video. He was the bandleader for the Jazz From U.N.C.L.E. performance and recording, produced by Oscar winner Robert Short and Variety writer Jon Burlingame. He as recorded frequently with the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra, and has been featured in many other recordings including film, Emmy Award winning television shows, and radio. David has composed for short film and radio, and scored the feature film, Symphoria. He has worked with such artists as Richie Cole, Nedra Wheeler, Stanley Jordan, Larry Goldings, Ali Ryerson, Jim Walker, and performed in nearly every venue in the Los Angeles area. Musical theatre performances include the EastWest Theatre (now the Union Center of Performing Arts) and the Malibu Playhouse. He is a regular member as contrabass flutist with the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra and also performs regularly with various chamber groups and jazz combos throughout the Southern California area while maintaining a busy teaching schedule of flute, piano and saxophone students in Malibu, CA. Instruments include: Flute, Piccolo, Eb flute, Alto flute, Bass flute, Contrabass flute, Baroque (1 keyed) flute, Irish (8 keyed) flute and keyboards.
  • Nancy Isaak, Caitland Smuin, Karen Schetter
    Second Unit Directors
  • Jeff Keith
    First Assistant Director
  • David Buchwald
    Second Assistant Director
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 35 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 22, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • The IndieFEST Film Awards
    Online California
    United States
    Awards: Award of Excellence to Leading Actor A Martinez as Carl Wittig; Award of Merit to Actress Catherine Dao as Professor Dalton; Award of Recognition for Women Filmmakers; Award of Merit - Special Mention for Original Score, composed by David Lamont
  • Melbourne Lift-Off Film Festival
    Online Global, Melbourne
    Award Winner: Audience Choice Award
  • Best Director Award
    Online Worldwide, London
    United Kingdom
    Award Winner: Best First-Time Director (Feature), Best Indie Director Feature Film
  • Festigious Film Competition
    Online International
    Award Winner: Best Thriller (Feature), Best First Time Director (Feature), Honorable Mention: Score, Semi-Finalist for Best Film: Top 60 Best Films
  • MP Film Award
    Online International
    Jury Award
  • Accord Cine Fest
    Online International
    Award Winner: Best Thriller Feature - Jury Choice, Best Debut Director Feature, Best Actress Feature to Catherine Dao
  • Los Angeles Film Awards
    Online Worldwide
    Award Winner: Honorable Mention: First Time Director (Feature); Quarter-Finalist for Best Film: Top 100 Best Films
  • Accolade Global Film Competition
    Global online
    United States
    Award Winner: Awards of Merits - Film Feature, Women Filmmakers, Actress: Leading (Catherine Dao as Professor JT Dalton); and Award of Merit Special Mention - Original Score (Original Score and arrangements by Composer, David Lamont)
  • Malibu Film Festival
    Online, Malibu, California
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Sweden Film Awards
    Online, Stockholms
    Awards: Best First Feature Film, Best Actress Feature Film
  • Global Indie Film Fest
    online global from Glasgow, Scotland
    United Kingdom
    Awards: Best Feature 2021, Best Actress 2021 to Catherine Dao, Best Actor 2021 to Tyler Wolfe,
  • Košice International Monthly Film Festival
    Košice & online global
    Award Winner: Best Thriller Feature, Best Actress to Eileen Davidson, 2nd Best First Time Director for Feature
  • Creation International Film Festival
    California, Online Worldwide
    United States
    Award Winner: Best 1st Time Filmmaker-Feature, Best Director-Feature
  • Chicago Indie Film Awards
    Online, Chicago
    United States
    Award: Best First Time Filmmaker
  • Madras Independent Film Festival
    Online Global
    Award Winner: Best Feature Film, Best Actress to Catherine Dao
  • Cyrus International Festival of Toronto
    Toronto, online Global
    Award Winner: Honorable Mention for the Best Directing Feature, Finalist for Best Film
  • Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival
    Online Worldwide, Rio de Janeiro
    Award Winner: Best of the Season 2020-2021 for Best Supporting Actress of Feature Film to Eileen Davidson, and Best of the Season 2020-2021 for Best Supporting Actor of Feature Film to A Martinez
  • Golden Earth Film Award
    Online Worldwide
    Award Winner: Best First Time Director
  • Focus International Film Festival
    Online International
  • Boden International Film Festival
    Online from Boden
    Awards: Best First Time Feature Film, Best Women Film Maker
  • Gold Star Movie Awards
    United States
    Award: Best Women's Feature
  • Miami Indie Film Awards
    Miami Online
    United States
    Award: Best Thriller
  • Best Indie Film Award
    Online, London
    United Kingdom
    Finalist: Best Indie Film Award
  • Direct Monthly Online Film Festival
    Online International
    Official Selection
  • Hollywood Blvd Film Festival
    Online, Hollywood
    United States
    Official Selection
  • Montreal Independent Film Festival
    Online, Montreal
    Official Selection
  • Berlin Movie Awards
    Berlin Online
    Official Selection
  • Cult Movies International Film Festival
    Online World Wide
    One of five Finalists for Best Female Director and one of five Finalist for Best Feature Thriller.
Distribution Information
  • Wonderphil Entertainment
    Sales Agent
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: Theatrical
  • Ammo Content
    Country: Taiwan
    Rights: Internet, Video on Demand
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Catherine Dao

Catherine Dao (Director/Producer/Actor) As a Chinese-American immigrant making her way into the film business, it was only natural for Catherine to take a little detour to earn a Doctorate in Chemistry from USC, with full scholarship, of course. Little did her parents realize what she learned as a scientist would serve to fuel her pursuit of a passion in filmmaking. Very early on in her career, numerous experiences in films and theatres have won her many positive responses in the press. The results of her dedication to working with women directors had been recognized in Visual Communications’ In Focus for “Cloud and Moon” with Cheng-Sim Lim, and in the American Film magazine for “Kalito” with Mary Jane Eisenberg. In addition, she has performed in “A Community of Caring,” which won the L. A. Emmy, directed by sit-com director Mary Lou Belli, and in “Birds of a Feather,” which won the Houston Worldfest Bronze Award AND the Crystal Award of Excellence, directed by Lisa Dalton.

As a veteran actor of the theatre, Catherine's portrayal of a young Hiroshima survivor of the atomic bomb in "A-Bomb Beauties" was noted by The Hollywood Reporter, calling it "outstanding.., Dao captures the anguish of a woman torn from her culture." Some of her other film and television credits also include UPN's MOESHA, UNSOLVED MYSTERIES, GENERAL HOSPITAL, THE DIVISION, BET’s FIRE AND ICE, THE TONIGHT SHOW, UNFABULOUS, THE SHIELD, GREY’S ANATOMY, CYBER BANDITS, the Jimmie Award-winning film CHINA CRY, and starred in the feature KILLER BABE FOR THE CIA with James Hong, which became a cult film and The Hollywood Reporter singled her out for an honorable mention. Also, she is the only principal female controller in Bob Zemeckis’ CONTACT. And, she had the luxury of working with the Oscar-winning Asian-American director Jessica Yu on the film “PING PONG PLAYA.”

Catherine’s interest in directing began when her actor friends would repeatedly ask her to direct their monologues and scenes for auditions. This interest evolved into a desire to write her own materials. Utilizing her chemistry knowledge and expertise, she wrote the thriller “Symphoria,” her fifth feature screenplay, but the first one to secure funds for production. Stay tuned. Now that she’s hooked, Catherine plots to further her directing career.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Catherine Dao (Director/Producer/Writer) “Symphoria” is my first feature baby. It was “delivered” in early March of 2020. Conception of this screenplay took a year, from idea to green light, with double digit intensive rewrites. Principal Photography took only 21 days, not exactly flawless, but after over three decades as a working union actor on sets big and small, it was not beyond my skill set. I thought I’d knock out post-production in six months. Seriously. Reality slipped into a steep downward slope, as life took us through a world financial crisis, including two and a half years of rotating uninspired editors. I was forced to learn editing on my own, frantically and hysterically. Discovering the need for a truckload of new shots and innovative editing, three more years went by. Just as I thought we were getting very close to the birth of “Symphoria,” one aggressive breast cancer took me out for a year after various treatments to be cancer-free, plus two more years of recovery from chemo-brain, among other side-effects. One more year to update, polish and finish, just in time for a pandemic! This too shall pass. Yes, Baby “Symphoria” only took ten years, while raising a human child from boy to man.

This taught me to discover the beauty of life, people and God. If you walked in my shoes, you’d see the hand in higher power in my life. As a trained chemist myself, I know that if we calculate the mathematical odds of finishing my film, one might say it’s not possible; like a perfect baby which has to go through insane number of mitotic divisions to reach a healthy baby, odds are against it. Yet, both are reality. I could not have done it without my cast and crew. Plus, I owe a great deal of love and sacrifice to our Executive Producer turned BFF, Nancy Isaak. Not only did she never abandon me, Nancy also was the visionary partner, an angel, my brilliant selfless “work-wife” that added so much to this equation. Talk about “labor” of love!