Daina is a mother of two, not a father, and Mike is yet to have his first child, so why are they called Italian Dads Productions?
It’s not because they’re both Italian-American screenwriters with a passion for making meaty, saucy comedy feature films. It’s not even because Daina happened to attend high school in New York City less than 10 blocks from the hospital where Mike was born (Lennox Hill, on 77th and Park).
It’s because each of them spent years honing their respective crafts on opposite ends of the country — Daina in Connecticut, and Mike in California — and only happened to meet and begin collaborating thanks to a longtime (20+ years!) friendship…
…between their Dads.
Their proudly Italian, from-humble-beginnings, entertainment-loving Dads, who decided to introduce Mike and Daina on the off chance they might, too, share something in common.
Well, as the song goes, when the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie… that’s a screenplay! And another. And another! In a matter of months, Daina and Mike began an intensely productive writing collaboration that quickly morphed into a film-producing partnership, because nothing gets a hot-blooded Italian fired up like the opportunity to tell a really good story.
And so, in the tradition of filmmaking greats like Scorcese, Tarantino, and Coppola, Daina Smith (née DeFrancesco) and Mike Critelli invite you to get on a last-name-basis with the next generation of cinematic Italian-Americans.
Because whatever they cook up next, you’re going to love it.
Mike Critelli is a multimedia storyteller fascinated by the human condition and tales of everyday people. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and has worked professionally as a Screenwriter for the past fifteen years, beginning with his first feature, From the Rough (released theatrically in 2014), starring Taraji P. Henson and Tom Felton, which he also Executive Produced. Mike was the Editor of the full-length documentary Livin’ Like Ribich, the pilot episodes of Above Par, and the Writer/Director/Editor of numerous web-series including "Beings Worthy of Respect” and “The Callback.” He has also appeared in front of the camera, on network television, as a regular commentator on NBCLA’s Going Roggin, and currently co-hosts the weekly radio program, “The Old Millennials,” on KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara. He recently published his first book, Lemons and Ladybugs, a contemporary memoir available on Amazon and at regional bookstores.
Daina Ann Smith is a professional screenwriter and a founding partner at Italian Dads Productions. She is a native New Yorker and a Fordham University graduate, earning her Bachelor’s in Acting and Film with a concentration on Screenwriting and a Master’s in Education. A passionate writer for most of her life, she spent her early years focusing on screenwriting and honing her craft with the help of her mentor, the late great Meir Z. Ribalow. Daina is a WGA Optioned screenwriter with ten feature scripts and 2 television series in her portfolio. Her writing is largely inspired by the wonders of everyday life, relationships, and motherhood. Daina is also an award-winning all-star mother and wife.
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