Though still in high school, film director Michael Tanner Cusumano has already won acclaim for his short films "Sage" and "Amanda," two hard-hitting films that tackle topics relevant to today’s adolescents, such as drinking and driving. The Burbank International Film Festival named "Sage" Best Noir Film, while "Amanda" picked up numerous festival awards, including Best High School Film, Best Drama, Best Crime Film, and Best Youth Film. "Amanda," Cusumano’s most recent work, showed at close to 20 film festivals across the country and abroad and brought Michael Tanner Cusumano to the attention of Canadian judges, who declared the young director-producer a Rising Star in the film industry. Michael Tanner Cusumano will soon enter his junior year at Sierra Canyon School, a private school located in Chatsworth, in the Los Angeles area.
At Sierra Canyon, Michael Tanner Cusumano has been deeply involved in the film and theater departments. He enrolled in the yearlong class Elements of Film and earned the school's Technology Department award. In May 2010, Michael Tanner Cusumano helped launch the first annual Sierra Canyon School Film Festival, taking on the role of Festival Director. Furthermore, Cusumano was instrumental in directing video segments of his school’s production of the modern musical Rent. To bolster his skills as a filmmaker, Michael Tanner Cusumano attended five sessions of the advanced high-definition summer program at the New York Film Academy. Michael Tanner Cusumano directed his first film, "Missing," in 2008, closely followed by "Sage" and "Amanda." He now attends the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts summer program and is in the midst of producing a new film entitled "Impetuous." During his final year in high school, Michael Tanner Cusumano plans to continue as Festival Director while also running his film production company, Tanner Films.