The 2009 Comedy: Split Ends


This was the official website for the 2009 comedy, Split Ends, the story of Lizzie Munro, a hairdresser in small-town New Jersey. Lizzie doesn't want to be booted from her salon by developers out to create a strip mall in place of the historic Old Town, but the mayor is in cahoots with the developers for his own financial gain.
Content is from the site's 2009-2010 archived pages.

Directed By:    Dorothy Lyman
In Theaters:    Dec 31, 2009 Wide
On DVD:    Jun 22, 2010


Trailer for the film Split Ends. Written by Libby Christensen,
Melissa Sweeney, and Gila Zalon. Directed by Dorothy Lyman. Starring Corinna May.


About Split Ends The Movie

Manningtree, New Jersey is a little town on the brink of extinction. The 19th century storefronts of Old Town are being threatened by an international development cabal, North Sea Assets. North Sea is preparing to raze Old Town and replace it with a massive mall/luxury condo complex named – incongruously – Cortona.

If Cortona is built, a dozen mom and pop businesses will be bought out and uprooted, and if anyone refuses to sell, North Sea Assets is prepared to use eminent domain law to pry the Old Towners off of their property.

When our story begins, Cortona has a great shot at being approved. Manningtree’s portly Mayor, Tiny Provenzano, has a vested interest in Cortona’s success, and North Sea’s point man, the charming Warren Brown, is determined to remove any obstacle in its way.

That obstacle is Scottish-born Lizzie Munro. She owns and operates The Paisley Set hair salon in Manningtree. Lizzie is over 40, vibrant, witty, and quite capable of attracting male attention. Her salon caters to the locals, and while Lizzie’s not making a fortune in the beauty game, she earns enough to get by and keep three local beauticians employed – worldly-wise Jacquie, bohemian waif Ashley, and a wry Pakistani immigrant, Mehar. They’re a tight group who work together and occasionally meet for a meal at MacIntosh’s, the local pub.

Lizzie’s love life is full of split ends. She has carried on with Len French, the owner of a coffee shop in Old Town, another business slated for the bulldozers. Len’s marriage to mousy DEANNE is on the rocks, or more accurately, on life support, but he is hesitant to pull the plug. His relationship with Lizzie might just be the town’s worst-kept secret. Although Lizzie is an intelligent gal, she has, like many women, settled for less than she deserves. Len has filled a void in Lizzie’s life, but now their relationship is no longer enough.

When Lizzie receives official notice from the Town of Manningtree that the powers that be intend to plop the grotesque Cortona right in the middle of Old Town, Lizzie vows to fight the invasion. Invoking the spirit of her countryman, William Wallace, aka Braveheart, Lizzie enlists the aid of antique dealer Bernie Depper, her Paisley Set staff, Tiny’s Aunt Connie Provenzano, and the whole town, in her struggle to fend off the developers.
Just when the local drama begins to heat up, a new leading man walks into Lizzie’s life. He’s romantic, considerate, passionate … and, unfortunately, the enemy. It’s none other than Warren Brown, under cover – and under the covers – in the service of North Sea Assets. Is Lizzie headed for heartbreak? Is Old Town headed for the wrecking ball?



Split Ends, starring Corinna May and Vincent Pastore (with trailer video)

Shannon Bennett
Jun 28, 2010 2 PM

When I was in film school, we had a rule: Your first film had to be contained to one minute, with every second you went over knocking your grade. This provided an invaluable lesson in how to determine what is integral to a story and what is self-indulgent. Clearly, director Dorothy Lyman never took Directing 101.

Now, riveting and complex as the main plot is, Lizzie's love life plays a large role in this thing. At the beginning of the film, she is inexplicably involved with dullard Len. We know things are going south with Len because of the oh-so-subtle symbolism of him picking up dog poo while having a romantic phone conversation with our heroine.

Suspiciously soon after Lizzie pisses off the mayor, a new man (Lawton Paseka) shows up in her salon who we are meant to believe is gorgeous and charming. He's not. But the music says that's the intention, so we just go with it while Lizzie washes his hair in slow motion for a really, really long time. To his credit, the man comes right out on the first date and tells her he is a development consultant for realtors. Of course, Lizzie doesn't connect the dots on her own, so a giant, pissed off revelation gets to play out later on.

Clearly this guy is Mayor Provenzano's ace in the hole for bothersome broads. His creepy monologues about his Scottish grandparents and random bursts of poetry are irresistible to women. I should also mention that he gets two haircuts in what has to be the space of two weeks, maximum.

This film is good at making sure we get it when it comes to defining the characters. For example, the town council members are horrible, self-centered people who don't care about protecting the poor defenseless business owners from evil development corporations. This is illustrated for us by the array of reasons they use to get out of reasonably debating it, like "My sitter charges in 15 minute increments," "It's American Idol night!" and "I'm hungry."

Abysmal acting and writing aside, nothing really justifies the four minute scene of Lizzie eating a lean cuisine and wiping down her kitchen counter. Nor can I explain the truly baffling moment when Lizzie is rallying the troops to go take down the town council and the ghost of her bagpipe-playing father (who previously just jacked with the electrical system in her salon) marches in and leads all assembled into the street. Cut to the next day and there's no acknowledgment whatsoever of what just happened. Also unclear was the need to include the evil cleaning supplies business partner who hawked paper towels and other paper products by extorting sales from senile patients at the nursing home. Completely wacko and I guess some people found that funny, but it struck me as mean spirited and unnecessary to the storyline.

I'm also unclear on whether or not the film was being deliberately anti-American. There's the vanilla stuff, like Lizzie describing the New York skyline as a row of headstones and that fantastic moment when an evil developer tells her that they can take her property without her consent because, "in America ... progress is always right."  Then there are the things that go just a little further, like a monologue about how the William Wallace thing went down on September 11th, and we Americans don't focus on anything important.



CORINNA MAY (Lizzie Munro) is an east coast-based actress and playwright with myriad credits. Split Ends marks her first starring role in an independent film. Ms. May recently played Lavinia in Julie Jensen’s Mormon pioneer drama Two-Headed at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, and the principle role of Kate Dupuis in the independent pilot of Bourbon Street, a dramatic television series set in post-Katrina New Orleans. She spent two years on the road as a principle member of the first and second Broadway national tours of The Graduate, playing Benjamin’s Mom and understudying the various Missus Robinson: Jerry Hall, Linda Gray, Lorraine Bracco, Kelly McGillis and Morgan Fairchild. Her many theatrical roles range from Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet to Katherine in Terra Nova.

Ms. May is an 18-year member of Shakespeare & Company in western Massachusetts, where she has appeared in more than twenty productions. Her roles have included Enchanted April, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Jack and Jill, Betrayal, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Songs from the Heart, Fortune and Misfortune, House of Mirth, Roman Fever, An International Episode.
Her first play, Dancing with the Czar, was produced in Massachusetts last summer. Ms. May has taught at MIT, SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, Circle-in-the-Square, Fordham University, Simon’s Rock of Bard University, and in 2006-2007 was an Assistant Professor of Voice and Acting at Syracuse University. She is Designated Linklater voice teacher, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Barnard College and a graduate of the Circle-in-the-Square Professional Training Program. She has been a member of Actors’ Equity since 1989.

LAWTON PASEKA (Warren Brown) has enjoyed a varied and successful career, spanning film, theatre, and commercial work. His recent film credits include Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, Matthew Harrison’s Kicked In the Head and Spare Me, as well as Pledge Night by director Paul Ziller.

With more than a thousand commercial credits, Mr. Paseka is in demand by commercial directors and agencies.

His theatre credits include roles in Desperate For A Smoke, Tragedy: A Comedy, the Act, Little Messengers, Last White Cab Driver in New York, Does A Tiger Wear a Necktie, Call It Anything You Like, The Card Table, Lewis & Clark, The Wager, the Matchmaker, Take My Advice, The Royal Family, and The Hostage. Mr. Paseka has been a member of the Basketcase Players, a comedy group.

VINCENT PASTORE (Tiny Provenzano) is a veteran character actor with a long list of film and television roles. He most recently entertained audiences on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Vincent is well known for his portrayal of Salvatore Big Pussy Bonpensiero on HBO’s hit series The Sopranos. Other television credits include The Practice, HBO’s Gotti, A Slight Case of Murder, as well as Everybody Hates Chris, Less Than Perfect, Las Vegas, Ed, Law & Order, and One Life to Live. Vincent was also the host of TLC series Repo Man: Stealing for a Living. On the big screen, Vincent currently can be seen in the independent film’s Code Blue, Pizza With Bullets, PJ, Slice, Devil’s Dominoes and Dough Boy.

PETER MCROBIE (Nathan Berry) began his career with Patty Duke and John Astin in a summer tour of the hit play, My Fat Friend. He has since worked extensively in theatre, both in and out of New York, and has appeared in twelve plays on Broadway. Among some fifty feature films (eight of them with Woody Allen), recent highlights include Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Lasse Hallstrom’s The Hoax, and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Mr. McRobbie has played recurring roles on most of the New York primetime dramatic series. He is currently Judge Walter Bradley on both Law & Order and SVU.


Creative Team

Dorothy Lyman - Director
Dorothy Lyman began her acting career in New York in the late 1960s as a member of Joseph Chaikin’s innovative Open Theatre. She won her varied and challenging roles in London, New York and Los Angeles theatrical productions, including Shrivings with Sir John Gielgud, Fefu and Her Friends, House of Mirth and Niagara Falls.
Moving to television, she earned two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of the flinty but engaging Opal Gardner on the ABC daytime drama All My Children. Her 15 year stint on various daytime dramas led to 136 episodes on the Lorimar sitcom Mama’s Family portraying Vicki Lawrence’s sartorially spirited daughter in law, Naomi. She has appeared in numerous feature films, winning praise for her work in such movies as Victor Nunez’ Ruby in Paradise, and appeared in Ted Demme’s Blow, Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. She continues to guest star in episodic television in such shows as Reba, Judging Amy, The Practice, CSI Miami, Law and Order SVU, and Battlestar Galactica.

Ms. Lyman plunged into directing early in her career, bringing the work of our generation’s most noteworthy playwrights to the American stage, including the original off-Broadway production and subsequent national tour of John Ford Noonan’s offbeat A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking and Snoo Wilson’s Loving Reno at New York Theatre Studio. Her startling 1984 production of Vicious, a meditation on violence, drugs, love and rock and roll, stirred Los Angeles critics and audiences alike. As director of Jane Chambers’ ensemble piece, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Ms. Lyman took on the subtleties of same-sex relationships with openness and wit. Other Los Angeles directing credits include A Month in the Country at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Thomas Babe’s Taken in Marriage and A Prayer for My Daughter, performed in repertory at ITA Stage. Always endeavoring to extend her creative reach, Ms. Lyman wrote and starred in A Rage in Tenure, an unflinching look at marriage and identity. The play, produced at Los Angeles’ Theatre Geo, was a critical and box office success, earning Ms. Lyman and her play four Dramalogue Awards.

In 1990, Ms. Lyman was tapped to direct the NBC daytime drama, Generations. In 1995, her considerable gifts as a comic actress and her reputation as a “can-do” director came to the attention of Fran Drescher, who brought her on as a producer-director of the hit CBS comedy, The Nanny. Other television directing assignments included The Simple Life for Sternin and Frasier Ink Inc. and the recent CBS four-camera film comedy, Payne starring John Laroquette and JoBeth Williams. In 2001 she adapted Betty Fussell’s acclaimed memoir, My Kitchen Wars, for the stage. The one-woman show premiered at Los Angeles’ Second Stage Theatre in February, 2001 and ran at the 78th Street Theatre Lab in New York City in 2004.

The Northern Kingdom, written by playwright Nancy Fales Garrett, was Ms. Lyman’s feature film directing debut. The film has garnered awards at the San Diego Film Festival, River’s Edge Film Festival, Wild Rose Festival, and was an official selection at the Syracuse International Film Festival, the Fallbrook Film Festival, The Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival, and the Los Angeles FAIF/IndieFest. It will be distributed in late 2008 by Vanguard International Cinema.
Split Ends marks Ms. Lyman’s return to comedy. The film is currently in post production.

Jendra Jarnagin — Director of Photography

Jendra Jarnagin’s early expression of photographic talent garnered her an invitation to participate in a professional video program at the age of twelve, and by age fifteen she was confident that her calling in life was to be a Cinematographer. After attending NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jendra’s passion and aptitude for lighting led her to begin her professional career as a Gaffer. She lit many diverse projects, including commercials, documentary television for National Geographic and The Discovery and History Channels, and many studio pictures and episodic TV series such as Sex & the City and Law & Order. Jendra has shot a wide variety of projects. Notable films include Jason Koffeman’s Polaroid, which was lauded for its cinematography in IndieWire and Ain’t it Cool News, and EXIT, starring Tony LoBianco and Jack Scalia, winner of several awards including the Platinum Award and Best Director at Houston-WorldFest.

Bill Cunliffe — Composer

Emmy® and Grammy®-nominated Bill Cunliffe is providing a witty and moving score for Split Ends. After Mr. Cunliffe won several Down Beat Awards as an Eastman student, he taught at Central State University, in Wilberforce, Ohio. His first major jazz gig was pianist and arranger with Buddy Rich, touring Europe with Frank Sinatra. He later performed with Ray Brown, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, Woody Shaw and James Moody.
Mr. Cunliffe was the 1989 winner of the $10,000 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award, and has received stipends from the National Endowment for the Arts. A number of his jazz instructional books are published by Alfred Publications, his big band compositions are published by Kendor Music and Otter Music; his choral music is self-published on his website and by Santa Barbara Music Press. Mr. Cunliffe was Marian McPartland’s guest on her famed “Piano Jazz” radio show in June 1998.

Mr. Cunliffe has released a dozen CDs as a leader. His latest, which spent a month in the #2 position in the JazzWeek radio polls, is Imaginacion on Torii Records.

As a composer/arranger, Mr. Cunliffe has been nominated both for two Emmys® and two Grammys®, and has composed extensively for big band, chamber groups, choir and orchestra. In addition, his performances of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring jazz trio improvisation, have won public acclaim. According to the Wellington, New Zealand Times, Cunliffe’s recent concert at the Wellington Jazz Festival was “Best jazz piano since Oscar Peterson.” The BBC Review recently said that “Bill Cunliffe is one of the great players of the day.” The Atlanta Jazz Journal gave his album A Rare Connection five stars.
He recently formed Metre Records with collaborator Melissa Sweeney to provide outlets for creative musical projects in which they are involved, both individually and together. These projects often fall outside the normal boundaries in which traditional record companies operate. The first project to be released on this label, now available worldwide as physical product and download is the Bill Cunliffe/James Walker/All Saints Choir collaboration, Transformation, music for chorus, jazz band, and orchestra.

Anisha Tomlinson – Editor

Anisha Tomlinson began her editing career with the independent film, Kids in America, which was released in theaters nationwide in 2005. This paved the way to her work on a number of television series, including Lifetime’s FBI drama, Angela’s Eyes, USA’s television adaptation of Steven King’s The Dead Zone, and the CW’s Life is Wild, a family drama set in South Africa.
Since moving from Los Angeles to New York in late 2007, Ms. Tomlinson has continued her work in television and returned to editing independent films, including the award-winning short, The Assasstant, and most recently, Split Ends.

Ms. Tomlinson grew up in New Delhi, India. She moved to the United States to attend Brown University, where she graduated with a BA in Modern Culture & Media (or more simply, “film theory”) and Ethics & Political Philosophy.

Justine Franko — Production Designer

Justine Franko is a New York based Production Designer who began working in the independent film community of San Francisco over 15 years ago. Concurrently she was shooting her own award winning films that have had world wide festival play and working with indie notables Jay Rosenblatt, Christian Bruno, and Larry Clark. In 2003 Franko received her MFA in Film Production from the prestigious Film Studies Program at Columbia University, immersing herself in all three of the offered concentrations, Directing, Screenwriting, and Producing.

Franko Production Designs and is an art team member for award-winning music videos, commercials, and feature films. She owns and operates Franko Designs Interiors, as well as the home furnishings and housewares shop, Om Sweet Home in Brooklyn, New York.


Producing Team

Back Pocket Productions, the production company for Split Ends, has produced three short films: You Are My Sunshine, for the Elisabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Society; Dream House, a 24-minute film, which was accepted at a number of film festivals, won Directors’ Choice at the New Jersey State Film Festival, and was distributed on the Internet through THE DIRECTORS CUT; and a movie trailer, A Scene from Out and About. In addition to Split Ends, Back Pocket is also in development on a second feature film, The Rife Machine.
Split Ends’ producing team brings a wide range of talents and abilities to the table:

Elizabeth Christensen – Writer/Producer
Split Ends is the brain child of Scottish-born Libby Munro Christensen. On Mother’s Day in 2002, the New York Times published a piece about Libby and her interesting career as a successful business woman and hairstylist to the stars. With encouragement and support from friends and clients she wrote about her experiences and adventures in the hair trade and then came to Co-writer/Producer Gila Zalon with her story.
Ms. Christensen has taken a unique path into show business. As longtime personal hairdresser to music legend Connie Francis, she has toured extensively and is well acquainted with the hard work and discipline required to succeed in the entertainment industry.

Her perseverance and determination to see Split Ends through to completion resulted in her putting many of the principals together, including bringing Vincent Pastore and Peter McRobbie on board. This is Ms. Christensen’s first venture into writing and producing and she plans to continue to contribute her insights for many years to come.

Gila Zalon – Writer/Producer
Gila Zalon has been producing, writing and acting in film and on stage professionally since age sixteen. As a writer, she was on the research/writing team for the Public Television series Civilization and the Jews, and created a number of plays, which were used as fund-raisers. For Back Pocket Productions, Ms. Zalon wrote and produced their first two ventures, You Are My Sunshine, which was used as a fundraiser by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Society, and Dream House, which won Directors Choice at the 2005 New Jersey State Film Festival as well as two other awards. Her screenplay, Home Wasn’t Built in a Day received a Certificate of Merit in the Writers Digest Screenplay Competition and her latest screenplay, The Rife Machine, has been a semi-finalist in all four competitions in which it was entered: Writers Network, American Screenwriters’ Association, Acclaim Film & TV screenplay contest, and Hollywood Nexus Screenwriting Contest.
She has also had short stories and essays published in anthologies and magazines. Ms. Zalon was a literary agent at Ashley Famous Agency (now ICM). As a free-lance producer she was Assistant to the Associate Producer for the CBS TV series, The Winston Churchill Series and Associate Producer for the Metromedia weekly talk show, Under Discussion. Her many stage productions include the off-Broadway play, Things That Almost Happen and an extremely successful production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris in both Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. She has also produced concerts including Pete Seeger and, with her husband, Sly and The Family Stone. As an actress, Ms. Zalon has appeared in plays in regional theatres and off-Broadway, on Television and in a number of independent films.
Ms. Zalon lives and works with her attorney husband in their New Jersey home. Amid the hubbub of both offices in their home, they periodically host their three children and four grandchildren and sundry other relatives and friends. In this exciting environment Ms. Zalon is in post-production on a full-length film which she wrote, and is rewriting her second feature-length screenplay, which is already garnering attention.

Bob Pusateri – Producer
Bob Pusateri has produced and production-managed Back Pocket Productions’ short films. He brings to Back Pocket a background in feature film and commercial special effects, as well as experience in industrials for major corporate concerns. Bob has also been actively involved in the Los Angeles and New York theatre scene, enjoying the challenges of producing, directing and showcasing the acting talent those cities offer.
Bob’s background in business — more than 12 years’ experience in profit and loss responsibility, sales, marketing and business development — makes him uniquely positioned to develop independent feature film projects. Bob has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Theater from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.

Jimmy Allen — Co-Producer and Post-Production Supervisor
Jimmy Allen has produced innovative multimedia, film, entertainment, live events and music for the public and for top industry leaders and companies. Noteworthy among those companies are Pfizer, HBO, JetBlue, Time Inc., BusinessWeek Magazine and Morgan Stanley, as well as others. From feature films to national radio and television promotions, to live theatrical events, to corporate films and promotions, Mr. Allen’s work and expertise reaches into every aspect of media production and has been seen and heard all over the country. He is also an accomplished composer with several of his themes currently running on national television. Noteworthy among them is the theme package for BusinessWeek Weekend, nationally syndicated on ABC.

In the area of live events, Mr. Allen wrote, produced and directed the award winning New York comedy stage review, The Jakes, which garnered excellent reviews and enjoyed a successful two-year run. Mr. Allen also directed the pop/rock show, What’s Next? featuring Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey for Teen People Magazine at the world-famous Apollo Theatre. He has worked as a director and choreographer on countless theatrical productions all across the nation.

As an entertainer his credits include performances at Radio City Music Hall, The Tony Awards, The Late Show With David Letterman, the daytime dramas Guiding Light and All My Children. Regionally he has been featured in shows at the prestigious Goodspeed Opera House and the Paper Mill Playhouse. He has also starred and been featured in several national tours. Mr. Allen is also a member of Actors Equity Association, ASCAP, AGVA (American Guild of Variety Artists), AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), The Society of Composers & Lyricists and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio, Television and Film from Western Michigan University.

Melissa Sweeney — Writer/Associate Producer
Melissa Sweeney has been involved in creative pursuits since writing and directing her first 8mm film, Julius Caesar, at the age of eleven. She took her first professional film assignment at sixteen on Clu Gulager’s acclaimed dramatic short, A Day with the Boys. After numerous film writing assignments, she co-produced Dorothy Lyman’s first feature film, The Northern Kingdom, as well as Ms. Lyman’s theatre directing efforts My Kitchen Wars at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, A Month in the Country at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Taken in Marriage and A Prayer for My Daughter at ITA Theatre in Los Angeles.
As a songwriter and musician, Ms. Sweeney has performed at Los Angeles’ Troubador, Pasadena Jazz Institute, Boston Court Theatre, and the Jazz Bakery. Her first CD with Grammy-nominated pianist/arranger/composer Bill Cunliffe earned accolades from All About Jazz. She and Mr. Cunliffe are currently collaborating on a 2-disc CD project. Their musical play, High Water, is in development.


Jules D. Zalon – Attorney
Jules Zalon is an attorney specializing in the areas of entertainment, trademark and copyright law. His clients have included music industry notables Van Halen, Rush, Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Iron Maiden, Duran Duran, Judas Priest and Dave Matthews, as well as entertainers Pee Wee Herman, Pat Cooper, and The Three Stooges. He has represented sports personalities, including Dennis Rodman, independent filmmakers, and numerous theatres and theatre personalities. Prior to launching his own practice, he was an attorney at Ashley Famous Agency, currently known as ICM) and at Cadence Industries (Marvel Comics).

Split Ends Productions, LLC
Back Pocket and the members of its company are the primary producers and managers of SEP.