Some of the talented filmmakers who work on Split Screen:

Donal Lardner Ward

Donal Lardner Ward was born in Brooklyn Heights in the early 60's and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and in Elaine's restaurant on 2nd ave. Donal's father, Donald Edward Ward founded the restaurant with Elaine Kaufman in 1962. Donal's mother, Mary Jane Lardner is from the noted Lardner writing clan. Her father was the Newsweek columnist John Lardner. Her uncle is academy award winning, Hollywood Ten, screenwriter, Ring Lardner Jr. , and her grandfather was famed columnist and short story writer, Ring Lardner Sr.

It seems being surrounded by the Elaine's showbiz crowd and a family full of writers made an impact on Donal at an early age. He began acting in commercials and PSA's at seven or eight, and performed in numerous school plays, most notably a sixth grade production of "The King And I" (for which he received great notices from four teachers and the janitor for his riveting portrayal of the chauvinistic ruler of Siam.) Donal began experimenting with super-eight films at the age of eleven and temporarily gave up the stage to pursue this exciting new medium.

A mostly unsuccessful battle with high school, temporarily derailed Donal's career. Like Muhammad Ali and the war, he declared himself a conscientious objector but the authorities forced him to attend in spite of his beliefs. The results were not positive. A rebellious and destructive stage began and the only performing he accomplished was in front of various guidance counselors, policeman and judges.

During a brief stint at New York's Hunter College, Donal found himself following in the family footsteps and writing for the school newspaper. He earned subsistence money working as a production assistant on television commercials. This was his first taste of professional film production. It intrigued him but he still wasn't quite sure of his calling.

He felt he needed more 'life experience' and found it throughout the eighties in various bars, nightclubs, and evil, dark places. Eventually, he felt he had enough life experience, as did most of the counselors at the re-hab.

Attempting to find salvation in what had inspired him as a youth, Donal enrolled in an acting program in New York and remembered the joys of 'striding the boards.' He formed a small theater company and began producing and directing plays in tiny houses near the Hudson River, unmolested by audiences. It was then that the, 'Who Can Make The Lowest

Budget Movie Movement,' exploded on the streets of New York. Donal had a small role in one of those films, Whit Stillman's "Metropolitan." He became determined to make his own movie and co-wrote, co-produced, co-directed and co-starred in, "My LIfe's In Turnaround." He felt it had all finally come together for him.

His success with M.L.I.T. earned him the right to plunge headlong into the deep, soul-depleting abyss of the Hollywood studio system. He set up movies around town and wrote screenplays feverishly, only to see each project die slow ugly deaths. Just when he thought it couldn't possibly get any worse... television came calling.

Donal co-created, co-produced and co-starred in the Fox series, "Too Something." There was a lot of excitement at Fox about the show and all the executives were very vocal about how it was their favorite one of the season. They liked it so much that they promptly canceled it after four airings.

It was back in the Hollywood trenches for Donal, writing more scripts until he finally decided to get back to his roots in independent film. With the help of an old friend from New York, Tony Guma, Donal came up with the script for, "The Suburbans". Though now it seemed there were many people writing, directing and acting in their films so Donal was forced to raise the bar again by co-writing and singing lead vocal on the title song. The movie was financed by Ignite Entertainment and is being released this fall by Tri-Star Pictures.

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