Icon Independent Films is a northern NJ-based company operated by Billy Tooma and Anthony Cirilo. When it was founded in 2006, Tooma was working in short and feature fictional narratives, but found the company's true calling in documentaries when he made Clarence Chamberlin: Fly First & Fight Afterward (2011), a biographical overview on the Golden Age of Aviation's forgotten hero. After teaming up with Cirilo, the two produced Poetry of Witness (2015), a look at six poets who have lived through, and in this case survived, extremities such as war, torture, repression, and exile. Currently, they are hard at work on the company's third documentary: The Black Eagle of Harlem, another biographical piece, focused on the life and times of Hubert Julian.


Billy Tooma was born in New Jersey and has been a resident of the Garden State his entire life. He holds a BA in English (Literature and Secondary Education) as well as an MA in English (Writing) from The William Paterson University of New Jersey. In 2017 he successfully defended his dissertation, earning a Doctor of Letters in Literary Studies from Drew University. His storytelling influences include David McCullough and Ken Burns. Tooma is currently the Deputy Executive Director of the Community College Humanities Association and a trustee on the Board of the New Jersey College English Association. He is an Instructor of English at Essex County College.



Follow Billy on Twitter & WordPress:




 


Anthony Cirilo grew up in northern New Jersey and attended Montclair State University for his BA and MA before earning his MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark. He is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in The Volta, The Oxford Magazine, and The Paris-American. Currently, Cirilo is a Lecturer in the Writing Program at Rutgers University-Newark.