Written and directed by Divoni Simon, MATURING YOUTH is about an under-achieving, unemployed man named Roger (Sean A. Kaufman) who enjoys his freedom of non-responsibility through his vices certainly from strangers Mae (Darleen Rae Fontaine) and Maggie (Rae'l Ba). However, his life is thrown into a whirlwind when his ex-girlfriend Sadie (Kim Paris) interrupts his life with a surprise: their illegitimate toddler son Junior (Joshua St. Leger / Albee Castro). After she disappears, Junior falls ill and Roger calls Doctor Riccard (Terrence Keene) to come to his aid. Life, then, gives him the ultimatum to begrudgingly face fatherhood, or to continue living life void of responsibility.
Being afforded a life of independent means can be a blessing in some regards, perhaps, but it can also be the definitive test of one's character and certainly for the co-dependency on life itself with the excuse of entitlement for Roger. If one chooses to use such a situation toward altruistic ends, or at the very least a venture that can provide some personal fulfillment, it says something about who a man is. On the other hand, if he squanders the opportunity on a totally self-absorbed, shallow existence, there's not much to conceal about a mans self-worth and dignity let alone the future for his abandoned son. And the decisions on taking the latter path may provide some interesting moments, it's a cosmetically created, external bubble that serves no other purpose than covering up an empty life, and sooner or later, that bubble is bound to burst.
This dramedy questions the responsibilities of our actions, the sorrow in our happiness, the joy in our pain and the ultimate test of character of becoming what we truly are deep down inside.
CAST & CREW
SEAN A. KAUFMAN
Sean is incredibly proud and ever grateful to call Maturing Youth his first film. Like Roger, his parents did just move to Florida, but don’t worry - that’s their closest similarity. Some favorite past theatre productions he’s worked on are Twelve Angry Men at Northern Stage and Les Misérables (among others!) at The New London Barn Playhouse. He received his training as an actor at The Maggie Flanigan Studio in the heart of New York City and has since been co-founding a production company with some of his classmates: Ice Cream People Productions. He is currently in production for his next film, a feature-length horror, with more details coming soon! Sean also graduated from Dartmouth College, where he spent his free time learning long-form improv comedy with The Dog Day Players. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Staten Island, educated in New Hampshire, but with his heart in NYC, he’s ready to take on the world.
Much love and bucketloads of gratitude to Divoni Simon, Chase Michael Pallante, and the team at R&F ENTERTAINMENT, plus the rest of our talented cast and incredible crew. We made a beautiful film! And thank you dear friends and family for always believing in me. I really don’t think I could have come this far without your love and support.
DARLEEN RAE FONTAINE
Darleen Rae Fontaine is a Haitian American actress currently living in New York City. Darleen was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Coral Springs, Florida.
She made her acting debut on Rebel Theater Company's stage in Trail of Tears and joined the Rebel Theater Company as an ensemble member from 2015 to 2016. Darleen has had technical training at the Acting School of South Florida with Michael Gioa and Todd Bruno, and The Acting Studio: New York with James Price, and Get Cast with Martin Benson.
Darleen has performed in various theatrical performances and independent short films. She made an appearance in TV Land's Younger, and starred in an episode of Investigation Discovery's "Grave Secrets" called The Last Calls She Made.
Terrence Keene is an experienced actor with a wealth of National, Regional theater credits. He has performed in national and regional tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, A Christmas Carol,, Camille, The Goat, The Iceman Cometh, God, Man, and The Devil, I'll Die If I Can't Live Forever.. His Film and Television credits include Homicide for the Holiday, Broken Faces, A Better Road, The Toymaker, Deadly Decade, and Mystery at The Museum. Currently filming 2 web series, Asunder and Eclipse, and full length film The Streets Went Missing.
Kim Paris is an American actress in Brooklyn. A Detroit native, she worked as a music booking agent before delving into film and theater. Kim recently starred in the feature horror film Death at a Barbecue (directed by Larry Rosen) which has been picked up for release by Amazon (December 22, 2017). She's had three film festival nominations for Best Actress and her dramatic short, Last Call, won Best Short Short at Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival. Kim is a UCB improv grad and studied with four-time Academy Award-nominee, Marsha Mason. She looks forward to starring in the next big Netflix original series or in any feature opposite Benedict Cumberbatch.
Rae'l Ba is a current sophomore pursing her BFA in acting from Pace University in NYC. The Baltimore native has studied theater at the best performing arts schools in Maryland for her entire grade school education. As a result she is a trained vocalist, dancer and classical drama artist. Her dedication to her career has allowed her to recieve 6 different artistic scholarships as well as a Cappie nomination for Best Female Vocalist. Rae'l is extremely blessed to have been apart of the "Maturing Youth" cast, making this her 5th film.
A native of New York City, Albee Castro has been featured in a number of films, most recently Corinthian Leather which was an official selection at the International Puerto Rican Heritage Festival, among others. Albee got his start as a lead singer in the Pop/R&B vocal group "Boyz of New York," working with producer/recording artist Hans Giraldo from Barrio Boys. Albee received on-camera training from Penny Templeton, a pioneer in on camera technique, andcurrently studies with renowned NY acting coach Anthony Abeson. Other credits include the film "Pantheon" and a web-based commercial spot produced by Break Content Productions.
Albee looks forward to working on more film productions not only in front of the camera but behind it as well, with an interest in directing and developing content and the ultimate goal of working along side Benicio Del Toro and Meryl Streep.
JOSHUA ST. LEGER
Joshua St. Leger, who plays the role of Junior in Maturing Youth, is extremely proud to be joining R&F family of actors. Joshua was born in Brooklyn however, now lives in Hempstead where he attends kindergarten. His favorite subjects are Science, Math and Social Studies. This is Joshua’s first appearance in film at the young and golden age of four years old. Since then, Joshua has also stared in the International Student Project-A CineNomad Production as Teddy in the movie “Game Over” and played “Turkey” in a PBS Kids Monkey Music Video. Besides acting, Joshua also enjoys watching movies, playing games and coloring, loves music, dancing, and singing. Playful and outgoing with a photographic memory. Joshua would like to thank his mom, dad, and family for their support. He also thanks director Divoni Simon for allowing him to enjoy this valuable experience and producer Chase Michael Pallante for selecting him for this role.
Divoni Simon was birthed out of Hempstead, Long Island. Another brick in the wall of average suburbanites, he discovered solace from the crushing indifference of the world surrounding him through the films of Stanley Kubrick, Max Ophüls, Akira Kurosawa, John Ford, and many other directors. Inspired to become a filmmaker, he dedicated himself to learning the rules so that he might break them more fully and artistically. It can be said, Divoni, attended the “Quentin Tarantino Film School”, meaning, all his studies consisted of a rigorous diet of classical films and book research that took place inside the comfortability of his home; free tuition, included. During his senior year of high school, he turned his attention to screenwriting, hand-scribing his first feature-length screenplay during slow class periods. As a writer/director, his goal is to engage a thought-provoking conversation about intellectual and philosophical material that will render his audience emotionally vulnerable. This is his directorial debut at the aspiring age of 20.
Alex Ellsworth is a film composer, producer, and artist living in Los Angeles. Alex’s interest in music started in Singapore, where he grew up, after he became inspired from “School of Rock”. After long hours in practice rooms, he toured with several bands throughout Singapore and abroad (the Philippines and Indonesia).
Alex then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music. But it was through taking a film scoring class taught by Adam Schoenberg at Occidental College where Alex developed a love for storytelling and decided to make a leap in film composing. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Occidental College in May 2017. Since then Alex has has gone on to score over 25 short films and web series. He’s made appearances in Key and Peele as a performer and scored videos thats featured talents such as Trevor Stines (Riverdale).
Alex is currently working on sound and music for an upcoming short animated VR short that will be featured at the expo, Virtual Reality LA. Some of Alex’s works have won and been accepted to multiple film festivals such as Cinefest, The Tavern Film Festival, and The Global Film Festival.
When Alex isn’t in the studio you will probably find him adventuring out with friends enjoying good Asian food.
Kimberly Ware is a New York City based Designer and Stylist. After studying Fashion Design at Savannah College of Art and Design, she began working in the fashion industry. However, her background in theatre and styling and love for film led her to the crossroads of film and fashion costume design.
Since working on Maturing Youth she has Assistant Designed a couple other independent films and worked on several critically acclaimed films and tv shows such as Netfilx's original film 'The Week Of' (2017), NBC's 'The Blacklist' Season 4 (2017), Syfy's 'Happy' Season 1 (2017), and TV Land's 'Younger' Season 5 (2018). She is currently working on styling a music video for a new upcoming alternative pop duo TGR, and shooting a new Ian Niles directed indie in Long Island.