Meet the filmmakers

John Molinelli, James Spione and Hilary Lewis


James Spione, Director of IT HAPPENED OVER LUNCH, interviews Hilary Lewis, Chief Curator & Creative Director at The Glass House, on the subject of architect Philip Johnson's contribution to the design of The Four Seasons Restaurant.


Director, James Spione

 Academy Award® nominee James Spione is a documentary filmmaker based in New York. His last film Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock is a unique collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous media makers documenting the dramatic year-long standoff between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and North Dakota law enforcement. The film premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. His previous feature, the Emmy-nominated whistleblower documentary Silenced, also premiered at Tribeca, screened at numerous film festivals worldwide, and was broadcast in the U.S. as well as in Canada, France, Germany and Japan. Mr. Spione also directed the powerful war film Incident in New Baghdad, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. His other nonfiction films include American Farm, which detailed the demise of his family’s fifth-generation homestead in central New York State, and an ongoing series of poignant short documentaries, Our Island Home, Spirit of the Bird, Watermen and The Last Hunt Clubs, which explore the unique culture and history of one of the few remaining rural coastal regions in the continental United States. In addition, Mr. Spione has written and directed a number of fiction films; perhaps best-known is the eerie Sundance favorite Garden, a suspenseful drama starring Oscar®-winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter). His first film Prelude earned a Student Academy Award and was seen at numerous international film festivals 


Producer, Michael D Ellenbogen

Michael D Ellenbogen is a film producer and co–founder of Eons Creative, a business consulting, branding, marketing, event design and production company he runs with his wife, Carolina. Currently both Michael and Carolina live in Manchester, Vermont where they are opening stART Space, a contemporary art space for emerging artists, and manage the only cinema for miles around. Jack of Hearts Productions is Michael’s film production company and is actively producing IT HAPPENED OVER LUNCH, the documentary that traces the 57-year history of America’s most iconic restaurant, The Four Seasons. His first feature film production, Ilya Chaiken’s highly praised MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. From 1998 to 2004 he was the Strategic Analyst for domestic theatrical distribution alongside the President of Distribution at October Films/USA Films/Focus Features.

He has programmed, produced, and juried film festivals since 1993 including the Brazilian Film Festival in Miami, the Florida Film Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, Ashdod International Film Festival (Israel), Manchester International Film Festival (VT), Gen Art Film Festival, Albany International Short Film Festival and the Shorts International Film Festival. In the early 90s Ellenbogen worked with producers Larry Fessenden and Rachel Horovitz and in 1997 he distributed Fessenden’s HABIT throughout North America.

In the early 90s, for fun, Ellenbogen programmed and host Full House: a Night of Movies at the once renown coffeehouse Limbo on Avenue A where filmmakers such as Michael Almereyda, Kimberly Pierce, Tamara Jenkins, and Alan Taylor among many others presented their short films. 


Producer, Ilan Arboleda

In addition to his duties as the primary producer on all CreativeChaos projects including the award winning film Casting By, the upcoming Thank You For Your Service and the soon to be completed The Best Is Yet To Come,  Ilan oversees all creative development, business development, finance  and operations for CreativeChaos vmg.  Prior, Ilan was COO and Vice-­President  for three years at Go Go Luckey Entertainment, a television production  company with more than two dozen series and hundreds of hours of  programming under its belt.  From 2003­-2009, Ilan was the managing  partner at Cinapse, a full service film finance and production company,  where he produced films and developed and implemented slate funds,  diversified film funds and project financing.  He has consulted for  media funds and international media interests in places as diverse as  Dubai, Dakar, Macau, Hong Kong, Bogota and Cebu.  He was also a founder  of Dynamo Capital, one of the first Latin American film funds based in  Bogota, Colombia, which financed 4­-5 films per year.  His films have  been shown in every major global film festival and have been released in  dozens of countries  around the world.  He holds a degree from  the  Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University


Producer, Tom Donahue

Tom directed the Emmy-nominated Casting By (HBO), hailed as one of the top five documentary films of the year by the prestigious National Board of Review  and reviewed as “outstanding!” by legendary critic Leonard Maltin.  His  interviewees for the doc include Woody Allen, Al Pacino, Martin  Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Glenn Close, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford,  Robert Duvall, among many others.  After premiering at the Toronto and  New York Film Festivals, Casting By has played in over 50 festivals  worldwide and been released in over 35 countries.  In 2014, it won the  Gracie Award for Outstanding Documentary of the Year from the National  Alliance of Women in Media.

His latest feature documentary, Thank You For Your Service premiered in 2015 at DOC NYC and was called “Gripping, wrenching and persuasive” by The Village Voice.   The film is about the mental health crisis in the military (Interviews  include Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, General David Petraeus and  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen).  A CreativeChaos  production, it is being produced in association with the Sprayregen  Family Foundation and Artemis Rising Foundation (The Invisible War).

He directed the feature documentary, Guest of Cindy Sherman which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews (5 stars , Time Out NY) . The film was selected by the New York Times as recommended watching when it made its premiere on the Sundance Channel in May 2009.

Tom  has produced and edited numerous features and documentaries that,  combined, have won over twenty­ five awards at such prestigious  festivals as Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, SxSW, Venice, San  Sebastian and TriBeCa.  As producer, his credits include Ramin Bahrani’s  acclaimed defeature, Man Push Cart, NIck Sandow’s Ponies (starring John Ventimiglia and Kevin Corrigan) and Alfredo de Villa’s acclaimed debut feature, Washington Heights (starring Manny Perez, Tomas Milian and Bobby Cannavale).


Executive Producer, Julian Niccolini

Managing Partner, Four Seasons, New York

Julian Niccolini is a New York City restaurateur who co-owns The Four Seasons Restaurant. A Native of Italy's Tuscany region, Niccolini has lived in New York since 1973 and became a US citizen in 2002.

Described as the "madcap maitre d' of America's most powerful lunchroom" by GQ magazine, Niccolini is known for charming his patrons with a surprising mix of innate hospitality and irreverence for the captains of industry who patronize The Four Seasons daily.

A media darling who is often quoted on the New York Post's Page Six column and who appeared in the Spike Lee film Inside Man, and with Richard Gere in Arbitrage, Niccolini is recognized for his discerning wine palate. His wine list features some of the rarest and most sought after bottles in the world. 


Executive Producer, Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, Four Seasons, New York

In addition to co-owning New York’s Four Seasons, Alex von Bidder is a certified yoga instructor and Co-Author of The Four Seasons: A History of America’s Premier Restaurant and most recently, Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant; a best-selling children’s book.