Founder / CEO
Sam Mestman is an Editor and Colorist in Los Angeles. While he specializes in Indie film workflow and finishing, he has worked within the industry for places like Apple, ESPN, Glee, the BBC, and Break.com, to name a few. He is also the CEO and founder of We Make Movies (www.wemakemovies.org), a film collective in Los Angeles and Toronto that is dedicated to making the movie industry not suck. They offer free weekly workshops, and are actively producing new community funded independent content. If you’re looking to get involved with a talented community of artists and professionals, or you need to get your film finished, he’s the guy to talk to. Drop him an email and say hi at [email protected].
Élan brings a multi-disciplinary background to the table: with a B.A. in theatre and a minor from the Marshall School of Business at USC, she’s acted in, directed and produced a variety of projects over the last decade in both film and theater. She developed the Casting and burgeoning Production departments at We Make Movies, whose latest short,Agnes, was selected as a finalist in the Shot on RED Film Festival.
Sapna Gandhi is an actress and content creator who loves words and is thrilled to be able to integrate her passions and contribute to the filmmaking community. Although her roots are on stage, she enjoys working in television and especially film (check out her IMDb page). In an effort to negate being typecast, she co-wrote/co-produced/co-starred in Broad Strokes (5 Days. 5 Themes. 5 Directors. 40 Comedic Micro-shorts) and is looking forward to telling more stories through her fledgling production company, Elegant Grotesque (formed with Eric Michael Kochmer). Sapna was born in England, raised all over The States, holds degrees in English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.
“We Make Movies Canada”
Hailing from Newfoundland, Michael joined the L.A. We Make Movies community in 2009 and established the first WMM satellite group in Toronto in 2012! As an actor, Michael’s TV appearances include the hit Canadian series, “Republic of Doyle”, BBC America’s “Copper”, and shows on CMT, History Channel, National Geographic Channel and Spike TV. Michael appeared in several films that made the festival circuit, one being accepted at the Cannes Court Métrage and others winning awards in LA and Hawaii. Michael also starred in the WMM film, “Silent Night in Muncie” with veteran film actor, RD Call (Into the Wild, Babel, I Am Sam) which was an official selection of the 2012 Action on Film Festival. Michael also writes and produces his own projects, including “Obsession” (which he also co-wrote, co-produced and starred in).
Valentina Vee tries to make videos that don’t suck – no matter the size of the screen or audience. She aims to have her own studio, directing thought-provoking and beautifully-executed media (2D, 3D, or holographic) for the next generation of content consumers. After graduating from Design Media Arts and Film at UCLA, Valentina has worked on every type of project – from post production of major studio blockbusters to 1st AD-ing indie films, production designing documentaries, producing corporate commercials, and shooting music videos. She currently works as the full-time video editor of a YouTube channel with over 1 billion views.
Eric Michael Kochmer is a director/actor/writer/producer, but mostly a storyteller. After studying under experimental theater director Elizabeth Swados at LaMama Theatre, graduating from Marymount Manhattan College and creating some bizarre theater in New York City, he came to La La Land and produced and starred in an avant garde film. A few years later he found WMM and has been a little happier ever since. Eric has appeared in over 30 feature and short films, the most recent being the award winning features VIRGINITY and WHITE RABBIT. His feature film directorial debut, WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN can be found on Amazon and he is currently in pre-production on his second feature film, ABOUT STRANGERS.
Tara Samuel is an award-winning Canadian actor; classically-trained at the renowned George Brown Theatre School in Toronto. Stage performances across Canada & the US. Beloved internationally as “Tara Williams” on the TV series Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye which continues to air in the US and around the world. Samuel has also been professionally producing theatre and film for fifteen years. She wrote, directed and starred in FIND which screened at festivals around the world; nominated for ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the Oscar-qualifying Austin Film Festival. Produced the feature film Ruby Booby, and starred as Ruby. As producer-lead, Tara has several feature films in development. As story-consultant, Samuel is the owner and CEO of ScriptKicker.com. Samuel is a very proud co-founder of the notorious L.A. indie film collective We Make Movies, and of Busterhouse Films with co-producer Matt Flugger.
COO / Founder
A Hawaiian writer, director, performer and producer, Chad has spent over half his life performing in more than fifty plays, including two years traveling the world with STOMP. As an actor, Chad’s film and television appearances include ‘Charmed’, ‘Killian’s Chronicle’ and ‘Mid-Century’ with John Glover and fellow Boston University alum, Faye Dunaway. Since becoming a writer/director he’s launched a production company with his brother Denny and long-time girlfriend, Kendall Kanoa Hawley, with whom he’s completed a number of pieces; the most recent of which were a motion comic, a transmedia piece that was recently featured on Wired.com and a one-man show. Chad’s love affair with computers helped him create this web site you’re looking at, and as COO he’s trying to create the workflows, organization and culture of WMM to make it efficient and keep it fun.
Director of Community
Christopher Frederick likes to make things. That’s why he’s so excited to be a part of We Make Movies. We get stuff done. Part of what he gets done at We Make Movies is making Improv Night happen – from accepting writer submissions and casting improvisers to moderating the event itself. He also acts as event producer for many We Make Movies programs. Along with Chad Kukahiko, he does a lot of design for the group. He is incredibly grateful that Joe Leonard cast him in the WMM production Snuggle Bunny. He has performed for theater, tv and film since he was a kid, with a nice chunk of his early adult life focused on a fine art career. He has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and an MFA from Syracuse University. He has also trained at Upright Citizens Brigade, Comedy Sportz, and the William Esper Studio in New York City.
Social Media Director / Casting
Described as a “tornado in a linen closet,” Aubrey is a NYU and William Esper Studio trained actor who recently made the transition to Los Angeles. She got her start playing Daddy Warbucks in her grade school play (it was an all-girls’ school) and fell in love with performing (but not with wearing bald caps). She is 1/2 of the production company, Mistaken for Strangers and the producer/star of 2 seasons of the KoldCast.TV show, “Live In 5.” Thanks to an early interest in computers, and parents who didn’t think after-school computer classes would be socially impairing, Aubrey began working with various small companies building their online communities. Able to apply her geeky tendencies to her true passion – film (apologies to slow cooked bbq ribs), she is thrilled to be the Social Media Director for We Make Movies.
Writers’ Workshops Scripts Coordinator
Lynette, is thrilled to join the team of We Make Movies as the Director of Sponsorship. Originally from Puerto Rico, Lynette Coll, multilingual actress (Spanish, English and French), made her way to New York to study theater at Marymount Manhattan College. Lynette had the opportunity to work in several Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway Productions. Some standouts include Rooster, Reverse Transcription, No Exit and Vieques. Her work in Vieques won Lynette an Ace Award for Best New Actress. Previous film appearances include LAS COMBATIENTES and GOODBYE SPACESHIP. Now in L.A., Lynette is currently involved in several projects, including PROJECT HOLLYWOOD (coming out in 2013), in which she plays the beautiful Esmeralda. She recently finished filming ROAD TO ESPERANZA, starring as an ex-marine dealing with PTSD after returning from Iraq, and WHERE THE SKY IS BORN, a story of the Mayan myth of the Gemini Twins. Recently, Lynette joined forces with writer/producer/director Jason Chase Tyrrell, to produce and star in the Sci-Fi thriller, 100 Degrees, a powerful story about survival, war and environmental catastrophe.
Multitasking is a way of life for Eric, a self-described “Hollywood Hyphenate” who grew up in South Florida. When something needs doing and you aren’t sure exactly how to do it or who to call? The answer is probably him. A go-to guy for DIT, web, and pretty much anything involving being on or near a computer. As avid an actor as he is a techie, he’s performed Shakespeare on stage, in the feature film LOVE, LUST, AND A ROOM KEY, and in various internet shorts and sketches, some that he has penned.
Joe Leonard is a founding member of We Make Movies, and works as an editor in the industry while remaining a prolific director and dreamer of new projects. His editing credits include 3 seasons (20 episodes) on Fox’s hit show Glee, as well as assistant editor credits on films such as Eat Pray Love. Joe graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts film program in 2002. In New York, he worked at The Criterion Collection restoring classic films for DVD. He wrote and directed his first feature, “How I Got Lost,” in 2008, which won numerous festival awards. “How I Got Lost” was also selected for Scott Macaulay’s IFP Directors Lab in New York, and won the prestigious Richard Vague Production Grant. He is proud to have helped found We Make Movies, and looks forward to seeing the amazing work that will be developed through the workshop and the creative partnerships that it fosters.