Who We Are


Kitefliers Studios aims to create and tell great stories well to the broadest possible audience through film and other media, depending on what serves the story best. We are not solely interested in product for profit. Quality reigns over quantity. Our rules, our terms, our fun. From the moment an idea is scribbled on a napkin to its premiere as a final production, the process is about making the best possible journey without sacrificing the quality of how we arrive at our destination.


Kitefliers Studios originally started with a seemingly innocent kernel of an idea: a company that would enable co-writers Neil Gobioff and Shawn Paonessa to devote their day jobs to writing. Then "writing" became "creating". Of course the next question was: creating what? Books, web media, comic books, movies, teleplays, web… stuff?

After locking themselves in a hotel room for a weekend, the only apparent answer was, "yes." In fact, not only would Kitefliers not tie itself to writing for a certain media, but Kitefliers could also produce the media as well. If the project appealed to the spirit of Kitefliers, and they really wanted to do that comic book or make that movie, why let it sit on someone else's shelf, when it can come to fruition now?

Hence, "Studios" came into play. It serves to include both the film production version of a "studio", as well as a the traditional creation place of an artist's studio.

Kitefliers is interested in all media, both old and new. Our criteria focus on whether it's a story worth telling and how well it can be told, not on a limited media.

As a film company, Kitefliers Studios aims to bring some rarer qualities back to film. While the world of independent film has more than its share of eager film makers, many of them did not go to school to write good stories. Likewise, the standard for quality performance and effective production is often undervalued in film. Kitefliers plans to bring in the skilled film makers to do what they do best – film – while incorporating writing that was crafted by writers, actors that have trained for performance, while introducing an array of production techniques from outside traditional film to streamline and enhance the production process.

Kitefliers Studios also plans on using an untapped pool of talent in the Tampa Bay area. While never hesitating to bring in the best and the brightest from outside the region, there is also a wealth of talented local artists that deserve to work. That well includes artists that are not strictly related to film, and Kitefliers plans to go to that well and further the local artistic community in all of its endeavors.

About the founders

Armed with little more than English degrees and an opportunity to write a play, Neil Gobioff and Shawn Paonessa began their careers in 1999, when they wrote their one-act play Learning Swerve.

Since then, they have written many pieces for the stage, all produced. In 2005, Jobsite Theater produced their world premiere of The March of the Kitefliers, which broke several box office and artistic records. A spoiler-laden review of the piece in the local Creative Loafing created such a public outrage, that the editorial staff created a special award for the production: Best Impassioned Theater Fans. A remount with recrafted scenes in 2007 earned a letter of recognition from Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.

In 2010, Gobioff and Paonessa saw their first work produced off-Broadway with the musical Pericles: Prince of Tires, featuring their book.

Neil Gobioff

Head Honcho

Gobioff began working behind the scenes in several theatrical productions, including Clive Barker's The History of the Devil (Sound Technician), Bloody Poetry (Stage Manager) and Delusion of Darkness (Asst. Director/Stage Manager). Since then, he has moved into theatrical production, predominantly as a Broadway financier for Tony award winning and nominated productions, including Normal Heart, American Idiot and Hair.

Shawn Paonessa

Creator in Chief

After co-founding and performing for an improv group in 1997, Paonessa joined the Jobsite Theater ensemble in 1999. There, he has directed in various capacities including: The Guys, Embedded and Hurlyburly. Notable onstage Jobsite performances include Petruchio (The Taming of the Shrew), Oscar (The Odd Couple), CB (Dog Sees God) and Guildenstern (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead). He has performed in film, as well, including Past the Fields (Vertine Productions.) He is the Vice-Chair of Jobsite's Board of Directors and the company's Online Producer.