Foreword: David McCallum [left] was wrongly imprisoned for 29 years. In 2015 he was finally exonerated. He has now become an international icon for liberty and justice projected through the award winning documentary of his life 'David and Me'.
January 23, 2017
To whom it may concern,
I have known Andrei Schiller-Chan for nearly eight years, so I am writing this letter of reference with vast knowledge of the character of this extraordinary human being.
I can also say with extreme happiness that Mr. Schiller-Chan came into my life during a time when I was desperate for help. Most of my
conversations and interactions with Mr. Schiller-Chan were about the arts and the sanctity of life. I sincerely believe that had Mr. Schiller-Chan not come into my life when he did, I would not have survived the trials and tribulations I was experiencing. I hope this letter of reference will speak to the hearts of those who read it.
Founder of Innocence International
Andrei Schiller-Chan is, by any standard, a remarkable human being. In 2007, he contacted me with regard to Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a man he idolized and whose cause, freeing the wrongly convicted, he adopted. At the time, I was writing a book with Carter which appeared in 2011 as "Eye of the Hurricane: My Path From Darkness to Freedom." Andrei dedicated himself to freeing one of our clients, David McCallum, and stayed the course until October 15th, 2014, when David was exonerated and released after 29 years. Here is where I think my role as a referee in this application bears the most weight. Andrei has the most important qualities of a student: perseverance and determination. He is also extraordinarily generous, both financially and spiritually, and open to learning. Finally, I would praise him as courageous and able to take risks. It is no exaggeration on my part, nor on the part of anyone else in my sphere, to say that it has been my privilege to know him. I cannot imagine that he would fail at any endeavour, especially in the dramatic arts, to which he gives his mind, body, and soul.
In addition, I have seen his work as a play director, specifically "The Exonerated" which was performed in Melbourne a short time ago. The actors were completely sold on the project and delivered spot on performances. Might I add that their vocalizations were uniformly excellent.
Andrei was amazing to work with. He is passionate, determined, encouraging and inspirational. He has a beautiful vision that shines through all of his work. I was lucky enough to work with Andrei on voice through The Exonerated. He did wonders on my projection, strength, depth and range. Andrei combines his wholistic techniques with the fundamentals of hard work and practice. He has a genuine belief in you and passion to see you succeed. I will be forever grateful for my experience with Andrei and look forward to working and training with him again soon.
Speaker | Lifestyle and Meditator Coach
As a mindfulness and meditation teacher, I came to see Andrei as I needed help to project my voice which was very gentle and soft, and I was having trouble being heard in larger spaces. My voice was definitely in the back of my throat and at times I was swallowing my words, especially when I felt a bit nervous when presenting to bigger audiences.
While being able to keep my natural sound qualities, he helped me discover a deeper resonance and taught me how to use my voice effectively. It’s given me a huge level of confidence when I go into present, to know that I will be not only heard, but he also gave me techniques to develop my presence as well so that I can give my words more meaning. His patience, kindness and words of encouragement along the way were instrumental in making me feel comfortable to go out and use these new skills out in the world. I can hear and feel the difference in my voice and I know it is carrying effectively in a room.
These are not only learnings for my work, but I feel I have gained an invaluable tool for life.
Keynote Speaker | CEO, Insight TCG | Author
I am a professional speaker but English is not my first language so I have been using speech therapists on and off for a number of years now. However, I have found Andrei to be the best of all of them. He takes every minute of the session very seriously and equips you with exercises that you uniquely need - as well as explains to you in a way that is very simple to understand.
People started noticing and commenting on my stage presence after two weeks working with him and four months into our sessions my voice and confidence as a speaker is totally transformed. The different techniques we have used were not only able to set my voice free but were personally very therapeutic and transformative. His dedication is unparalleled to any and always goes above and beyond to make sure you are improving. While Andrei is a no nonsense voice coach he is always approachable and very supportive. If you are someone who wants to set your voice free and you are very serious about it, Andrei is your man.
Family Law Barrister, Mediator, Abritrator & Actor
I first met him as a result of auditioning for his production, “Desire under the Elms”,
which was staged at Chapel off Chapel in 2016. I secured a role in the show and my relationship with him
grew as a result. I have been an actor for some 25 years; I have performed in many productions over the years.
I am also a practising Family Law Barrister, Mediator and Arbitrator.
From the time rehearsals commenced with Desire Under The Elms, Andrei very much impressed me. Apart from his
commendable organizational skills, he had many other standout qualities: he was an excellent communicator;
he was extremely well versed in the play and passionate about the writing; he presented as a
humble and respectful director; I observed him to be caring, compassionate and a stable
and level headed personality with cast and crew.
What particularly impressed me was his preparedness to offer his time and knowledge; his strong
desire to achieve the best possible outcome for the production both artistically and financially; his
generosity of spirit.nI felt honoured and privileged working with him. Since the play’s conclusion, we have remained friends and I hope our relationship continues well into the future.
Ever since meeting Andrei, I’ve been blown away by his selfless commitment to everything he touches, from his directorial work through to the causes close to his heart. Working with Andrei is never short of inspiring. His diligent work ethic and empathetic, trusting nature make working with him a comfortable, safe and engaging experience.
✯✯✯✯✯ -The Exonerated
Coral Drouyn - Editor, Stage Whispers
✯✯✯✯✯ -The Exonerated
"DON’T SEE THIS PLAY BECAUSE IT HAS A MESSAGE….SEE IT BECAUSE IT IS SUPERB THEATRE! THE DENOUEMENT OF “SUNNY”S STORY IS GUT-WRENCHING AND HEARTBREAKING. BUT IT IS THE PRODUCTION ITSELF THAT MAKES THIS STUNNING THEATRE. It’s rare to see a production that reaches for the stars and manages to harness them in its quest for excellence.”
✯✯✯✯✯ - The Exonerated
Samsara Dunston - Editor, Planet Arts
These stories are painful, but the honesty, matter of factness, and humour with which they are presented makes it bearable – and, in fact, made me unable to turn away for a single moment. Schiller-Chan knows his subject and these people, and it shows in the delicacy, grace and impact of how he has directed this performance. Schiller-Chan has been involved with Rubin Carter’s organisation Innocence International for years
Manager & Actor
I am so happy to provide a referee statement for Andrei. My experience of him is as a director, a producer, a physical/boxing trainer, a voice coach, a mentor and as a friend.
One of Andrei's great strengths is his focus on the actor's instrument, both physical and vocal. He believes in an integrated instrument, and in my work with him I have seen him use physical expression to lead the voice, and vocal expression to lead the body, depending on the needs and capabilities of his actors. This work has been useful for character and textual requirements specific to performance, but also instrumentally as an actor. I have seen Andrei work first hand with a range of actors, from professionals and graduate actors from three year courses such as myself, to singers, amateur actors, and even first time actors. He has a wonderful ability to pinpoint the strengths, requirements and instrumental blocks of the actor in front of him, and work with them on their specific needs. He is also a firm believer in discipline, and expects a lot from his actors, as he demands from himself. I have seen him achieve great things over a few months of a rehearsal period, with some of his actors delivering performances that on first impression in the rehearsal room I didn't think they were capable of.
He has a massive capacity for research and academic work, which I experienced firsthand working with him on two stage productions: The Exonerated in 2015 and Desire Under the Elms in 2016, both of which he directed and produced. He researched and prepared for months before the shows were even cast, so he knew not only every inch of the text inside and out, every beat, every shift, the meaning of every word and phrase, but also aware of the context and influences of each piece, such as the life and history of Eugene O'Neill and the influence it had on Desire Under the Elms, and the complex contextual issues of race and justice in America explored in The Exonerated. He provided academic references, pictures, songs, character analyses, documentary links, and discussed other productions that he had tracked down. On top of this, Andrei is always referencing philosophy, training techniques, current events, and his study, among other things. As mentioned above, I have worked with Andrei while he produced and directed two stage productions that ran three weeks each, which he personally financed. The production of Desire Under the Elms was also completed while studying a double degree, a feat that I am still not sure how he managed!
Though secure in his own abilities, Andrei works for more than personal gain, and is no happier than to see his actor’s grow and stretch, while he watches (and laughs) from the back of the auditorium. His pride in his work is apparent in the way he speaks to audience members about the growth of his actors, and plays down his own role in that growth.
Andrei has a thirst for learning, a genuine care for people and a drive to work and earn his success, in order to provide service to the world.
Noray Muhammed Neberay
Financial Accounts Manager & Film-Maker
I find myself uniquely qualified to support Mr Andrei Schiller-Chan as I have observed him in a number of situations which have allowed me to witness first hand his passion and dedication to any work he does. Back in 2015, Mr Schiller was producing and directing the critically acclaimed stage play entitled “The Exonerated”. He cast me as ‘David Keaton’ and his directorial work was exemplary.
Andrei is one of the most dedicated directors that I have ever worked with. He always came well prepared to the rehearsals, he encouraged us to do more research, take risks, ask questions, he also frequently assisted the crew members and it was evident that he put a great deal of effort and time into coaching and directing the material. I believe we all benefited immensely from his unique, inquisitive and daring directing style. Andrei also made a concerted effort to research, understand and synthesise his directing role outside of rehearsals. This was apparent in his attention to detail and knowledge of the background of the story. He would often share with us relevant books, documentaries, interviews and newspaper-articles pertaining to the stage play.
He always had a clear idea of what was needed to create a well-paced and visually attractive stage play. I found his work very energetic, powerful, and exciting to be part of. One of his donations based voice classes that I personally found immensely useful for my acting role was the ‘Actors Bushido’. It is an advanced boxing class that focused on diaphragm strength, body, mind, presence and grounding. Andrei was very receptive to feedback, with genuine desire to challenge himself as a director, to explore and expand his vision and techniques.
Now that I am applying all those useful voice techniques that I learned from this very ambitious gentleman. He is a great, kind person, talented, wonderful team player and a very reliable gentleman.