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Bio: Costa Mantis

Costa Mantis grew up on a farm in Reading, costa photoPennsylvania where he began work in his grandfather's restaurant at the age of 6. He shot and developed his first still photo at age 12; started his first novel at 16; and made his first award-winning short "Laughing Stock" at age 20. His next film was the acclaimed "Reading 1974: Portrait of a City", a feature-length documentary about his hometown in change, which ended up on PBS, at the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and was called "one of the best independent features of its kind" by Film Comment Magazine. After receiving his MFA in Film from Yale University in 1977, he headed to Hollywood with a screenplay and a dream.

 

His first job in LA in the spring of 1978 was pulling fish lines on "Piranha" for Joe Dante, Jon Davison, Tom Jacobson, Charles Eglee and Roger Corman. They were so impressed with Costa he was hired on for the job, went on location to Texas and received credit as Background Director for his work with children and extras on the set. He did several more pictures in LA - "Lady in Red," "Timegate," "Airplane" - before returning to New York City to fulfill his duties as a father - family first.

 

costa with cameraI NY he was able to make numerous films, commercials, music videos, and industrials, most notably the Emmy Award-winning mini-series "The Murder of Mary Phagan" for George Stevens, Jr - and Stevens gave Costa an Emmy in his own name. In New York City in 1980, with Yale playwright Dick Zigun, he helped found Coney Island USA, the Mermaid Parade and Sideshows by the Seashore, home of the only remaining "10-in-1" sideshow in America.

 

In 1983 he co-wrote and directed the low budget ($50K) feature "Time of Tears," the touching story of an aging grandfather and young boy who share the joys of friendship and the miracles of the good life. He wrote and directed his first music video for The Manhattans for their comeback hit "Sweet Talk." He also created the high-concept cookie company Alpha Chips, "the cookie that asks the question" in NY and Tokyo. He served as production supervisor for Bill Chase at HBO on "G-String Divas" and continues to work on features, music videos, commercials and industrials.