ABOUT  

We Make Movies is redefining what it means to be a film studio. We are a film collective with a thriving worldwide community, a service hub for all pre-pro, production, and post-production needs, a practical alternative to film school, and a digital branding and marketing agency for businesses, organizations, and indie artists alike.

Become a Member

MAKE IT FUN WHILE YOU MAKE IT.

ALWAYS DELIVER ON YOUR DREAM.

QUALITY = MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR RESOURCES.

HELPING THE COMMUNITY IS HELPING YOURSELF.

BE DIRECT. BE KIND.

MAKE THE MOVIE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE.

So...Can You Explain More?

Sure! We Make Movies is the hammer to your nail; the Han Solo to your Chewbacca; the Fred to your Ginger, the cheese to your Royale. Ok. You get it.

We continually cultivate an inclusive community of over 5,000 independent filmmakers, crew, writers, actors, students, and multi-hyphenates who are continually developing their voice and producing original works. In addition, we are a fully functional production company whose resourcefulness emphasizes fruition without breaking the bank.

Our story started in 2009, and since then the WMM community has directly funded, helped facilitate, provided resources, and/or produced thousands of independent features, shorts, and series, including educational industry podcasts and tutorials. 

Just to name a few...

  • The docuseries, The eARTh Project, chronicling the process of bringing affordable filmmaking and sustainable living education to under-resourced communities.
  • We Make Movies was one of three groups selected to participate in the Apple Short Film Challenge with our film THE DANCER.
  • Over 150 Episodes of the “Film Geeks” Podcast,  “Film Central” Podcast, and “FCPX Tutorials”
  • Over 20 episodes of “How We Make Movies”  and an annual residency at the Sundance Film Festival
  • 31 episodes of the Official WMM SKETCH SHOW filmed at YouTube Studios L.A.
  • The independently produced half-hour comedy pilot OFF THE GRID.
  • Dozens of short films written, selected, funded, produced, cast and crewed by our community Rolling Production Fund.

A considerable amount of projects from within the community have gone on to accrue accolades in dozens of film festivals around the world and have found distribution theatrically and on various VOD platforms. 

What’s more, is our scope. Not only have we expanded with chapters in Toronto, Canada, and San Francisco, but also through our accessible educational program, Smartphone Studio. We’ve been able to initiate filmmaking communities in New Mexico, Compton, Chicago, Battle Creek (Michigan), San Diego, Jefferson City (Missouri), and Duluth (Minnesota), and our goal is to continue to inspire and establish creativity and proficiency around the world.

We Make Movies strives to reimagine the way the world creates, views, experiences, and approaches film, television, and all other forms of cinematic storytelling. As a member of We Make Movies, you will be a part of actively changing the model of filmmaking. 

So...Can You Explain More?

 

We Make Movies actively champions filmmakers by connecting them to a supportive community of like-minded artistic professionals and cost-efficient and dependable resources and educational tools, as well as providing an outlet for artistic expression, collaboration, and evaluation through our labs and international film festival. Our goal is to empower our fellow filmmakers, provide a custom experience tailored to the needs of each project, budget, and artist, and ultimately bridge the gap between the filmmaker and the business of film. 

We Make Movies production services provides á la carte or full packages of development, pre-production, production, post, marketing, and audience creation solutions for the modern filmmaking workflow. 

Our Creative Services (wmmcreative.com) division solves marketing, branding, and content creation challenges for corporations and small businesses, rejecting the format of the old school commercial in favor of new media content creation that is more suitable to the standards of modern marketing.

Our membership platform (wemakemovies.org) is the hub for filmmakers to discover upcoming virtual and live events, access an on-demand library of filmmaking courses, and workshop their latest project through our content development pipeline.

  • The WMM Writers Lab provides a venue for fresh pages to be read by our community of actors, with a live audience giving feedback on the pieces.  
  • The WMM Rough Cut Lab invites filmmakers to screen their works in progress for feedback from a live audience. 
  • The WMM Performance Lab showcases prepared material from actors, comedians, improv artists, and multi-hyphenates in front of a live audience, and can be used as a working rehearsal for projects in pre-production. 
  • The WMM Industry Workshops are interactive webinars led by working professionals and experts who share practical knowledge and tools of the trade for creatives. 

The We Make Movies International Film Festival (wmmintlfilmfest.com) grew out of our passion for sharing the works of independent artists from within our community, and has expanded to showcasing hundreds of projects from international filmmakers with a similar sense of DIY courage and the ability to deliver a vision on a low-budget.

The Smartphone Studio (SmartphoneStudio.tv) curriculum demystifies the filmmaking process and makes it accessible and affordable to filmmakers and content creators of all ages and backgrounds.  WMM is teaching the world that you have the power of a production studio in your pocket.

  • Smartphone Studio Shop: Our four Smartphone Studio Kits are all-in-one packages with all the gear needed to shoot professional quality video content! Whether you’re a budding storyteller, an actor needing to shoot self tapes, a seasoned filmmaker, or a small business looking to create your own promotional materials, we’ve got an affordable kit with the tools tailored to your needs.

Our latest endeavor, the MAKE YOUR FEATURE COMPETITION, promises to challenge the industry at large by creating a viable and sustainable investment model for film financing and development. The purpose is to create an experience in which both the investors and the filmmakers effectively collaborate to make a creative work of art while also staying accountable to the business side of filmmaking.

No matter where you are on your filmmaking journey, We Make Movies has something to offer you. 

Sam Mestman

Founder / Chief Executive Officer

Sam Mestman is the CEO of We Make Movies, the Founder of Lumaforge (www.lumaforge.com) and the lead contributor for the largest Final Cut Pro X website in the world, fcp.co (www.fcp.co).  As a professional editor and colorist, he has worked for Apple, ESPN, Glee, and Break Media (to name a few), and has edited or colored hundreds of shorts, features, web series, and probably every other type of content you can think of.  He is also the architect behind some of the largest FCPX integrations in the world, including Focus, the world’s first studio feature edited with Final Cut Pro X.  His current passion is video literacy and  bringing We Make Movies' Smartphone Studio mobile filmmaking workshops to communities around the world.

Aubrey Mozino

President

Élan Swanson

Chief Operating Officer

Sapna Gandhi 

Chief Marketing Officer

Sapna Gandhi is an actor, singer-songwriter, and content creator. In addition to TV credits such as BOSCH, SHAMELESS and SCANDAL, she has appeared in numerous shorts, features, and series, including festival darlings IN ABSENTIA (Raindance) and THUMPER (Tribeca). Gandhi created the comedic series BROAD STROKES, produced and starred in the short BREAK and feature ABOUT STRANGERS (both under the umbrella of her production company Elegant Grotesque), and has produced several series and films (most recently SCRAP, starring Anthony Rapp and Vivian Kerr, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ STRANDED ON THE EARTH, directed by Mike Bruce). She is also 1/2 of the musical duo, VATAVARAN, was born in England, raised all over the states, studied English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theatre in SF. [email protected]

Eric Michael Kochmer

VP of Content

Kochmer is a writer/director/producer with a background in experimental theater, mentored under Elizabeth Swados at LaMama Theatre.  Upon relocating to LA he produced and starred in avant garde filmmaker George Landow’s film DIALOGUES (2009). Kochmer’s directorial feature film debut WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN (WMMFest) found distribution through 366WeirdMovies and Amazon. 2018 saw the release of his second feature film ABOUT STRANGERS: Road Series Volume I (Best Picture Award, Innuendo International Film Festival), as well as the first phase of the project I'VE SAID AND DONE THINGS THAT NO-ONE WILL EVER REMEMBER (over 100 episodes). He is currently in development on a live, multimedia version of the series, adapted for galleries and art spaces. His 3rd feature, HER AND HIM, as well as his 4th feature, the documentary JACK MADE A PLAY ABOUT JOHN, are both slated to premiere in 2021. [email protected]

Eric Altman 

Chief Technology Officer

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 and musician as he is a techie, he’s performed in the feature film LOVE LUST AND A ROOM KEY, Shakespeare, and in various internet shorts and sketches, some that he has penned. [email protected]

Allyson Sereboff

Strategic Partnerships

A Baltimore, MD native, Allyson moved to New York where she studied at The William Esper Studio and had her first feature film debut in Poultrygeist:_Night_of_the_Chicken_Dead. The slaughtered chicken decided the next best move would be to move to Los Angeles during the writer’s strike. Refusing to be derailed by her unfortunate timing, she appeared in and assisted on the Speechless Without Writer's campaign, directed by her mentor George Hickenlopper. After years in Hollywood, multiple acting groups, she was finally introduced to a community that, well, it's in the name, We Make Movies. Life altering. Family of creators, 8 Aprons production company formed, and a Hollywood Vampires web series evolved. Constantly continuing stuff in the works. Making movies you want to see. Stay tuned. [email protected]

Tehana Weeks

Programs Coordinator

Tehana is an actor, artist, entertainer and business professional who serves, uplifts, inspires, and empowers people to make our communities, societies, and world better.  A native Houstonian with Liberian roots, she is a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, has been nominated for several awards as an actress, and is an award-winning filmmaker. Tehana is a world traveler, a nature lover, a life-long learner and she delights in all things food! [email protected]

Chad Kukahiko

Director: Oceania

A Hawaiian producer, writer, director and performer, Chad spent nearly half his life performing in more than fifty plays, including two years traveling the world with STOMP. Chad’s film and TV appearances include ‘Charmed’, ‘Killian’s Chronicle’ and ‘Mid-Century’ with John Glover and fellow Boston University alum, Faye Dunaway. Since moving behind the camera, he launched a production company with his wife, Kendall Kanoa Kukahiko, with whom he’s completed a number of pieces; a motion comic, a transmedia piece that was featured on Wired.com and a one-man show. Chad now runs We Make Movies' expansion in Australia and New Zealand, where he moved in 2019.

Ron Dawson

Marketing Strategist

For nearly 20 years, Ron Dawson has been a professional video producer, content marketer, and influencer in the visual arts industry. Most recently he was managing editor of the Frame.io blog and currently is managing editor of the Film Riot Blog and a podcast Story Producer for Wistia. He created and produced "Radio Film School" which NoFilmSchool called "The filmmaking podcast we've all been waiting for." (It's often described as This American Life for filmmakers.) As the owner of Blade Ronner Media, he helps brands and creative artists tell their stories using blogging, podcasting, effective SEO strategies, and video production. (A little-known fact: he used to dance on a semi-professional Lindy Hop dance troupe where his signature move was leap-frogging over his partner and landing in the splits).

Amy SchumacheR

Production Manager, Creative Services

Amy Schumacher is an actor, producer and stunt performer. She grew up in Seattle where she attended the University of Washington, earning a BA in theatre, while competing with the NCAA Champion Rowing Team. She went on to earn her MFA at the prestigious Ilkhom Theatre School of Drama, a Russian acting conservatory in Tashkent, UZ.
Amy's production company, AmyRose Productions focuses on female driven entertainment that makes an impact. With the help of some amazing collaborations, these productions have gone on to be nominated and win various industry awards.
Amy can be seen around L.A., performing improv, hosting, and wielding a sword! [email protected]

Serene Zloof

Social Media Director

Serene Zloof (aka Datgirl) is a writer, producer, actress, and electronic music producer/MC, with a flair for magical-surrealism, crazy-for-real characters, and techie-satire. She loves bringing episodic comedy and electronic rap videos together -- writing, producing, editing, scoring and acting as many characters in the new pop-culture music-festival comedy series POP&SPIN. Datgirl also tours internationally as a DJ/live producer/MC, and writes and performs one-girl multi-character metaphysical comedy plays (now turned into the podcast “datgirl presents”), hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “hallucinatory, funny, and provocatively perceptive.” Find all thingsss datgirl on www.datgirl.tv, instagram, or on Youtube. [email protected]

Jack Zullo

Improv / Sketch Outreach & WMM NYC Team Member

Jack Zullo is a Los Angeles based actor, writer and filmmaker, born in Manhattan and raised on Long Island, New York. He burst onto the LA scene in 2007 with a 6 month run in the hit sketch shows, "Friendly Neighbors" and "Bathroom Talk," and hasn't looked back. Most recently, he earned accolades in 2016's mixed-media bio show, "Live From the Grave....It's John Belushi!" playing the title role. His film and TV credits include, JIMMY KIMMEL, EPIC RAP BATTLES OF HISTORY, and BRICK STONE NEWS. He is stage trained by Sondra Lee (contemporary stage method) and The Actor's Gang (The Style), improv trained by Keith Johnstone, Groundings (I, II), and is a Westside Comedy graduate, plus a litany of on-camera workshops. He's also produced four short projects. [email protected]

Michael Beardsley

On-Site Coordinator/Performance Lab Coordinator

A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, it was over a decade ago that Michael moved to Los Angeles to work as an actor. He had early success with a small role on the NBC show FREAKS AND GEEKS, and in the years that followed, Michael has worked on well over one-hundred projects playing everything from a serial killer, to a mentally challenged man-child, from God, to the devil, from a peeping pervert, to a romantic leading man. While acting will always be his first love, since coming to We Make Movies in 2010, Michael has written numerous short films, three pilots and even a feature film script. He’s also become known as an editor and producer.  [email protected]

Whit Spurgeon

Production Executive

Whit Spurgeon was born in Wichita, KS, raised in Muncie, IN, schooled in Syracuse, NY and London, England, forged as a performer in Chicago, and presently resides and works as an actor and director in North Hollywood, CA. His Chicago years include over three dozen TV commercials, as well as parts in numerous Jeff Citation and Award-winning plays, including "Hizzoner" at Prop Theatre, the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman's "Glory of Living" at Circle Theatre, and Clifford Odets' "Awake and Sing!" at Timeline Theatre. While in Chicago he helped form the National New Play Network with Prop Theatre, where he worked extensively in script development. Since moving to LA, Whit has appeared in dozens of short films, directed half a dozen of his own shorts, and played featured roles on TV in COUGAR TOWN, FRESH OFF THE BOAT, and the YouTube Red Series, LIZA ON DEMAND, as well as being featured in two modern cult horror films, CHASTITY BITES and VICTOR CROWLEY. [email protected]

Christina Gray

Writers Lab Casting

Thanks to her parents’ love of acting and the theater, Christina Gray grew up backstage and on stage in her small Texas hometown. She is now a seasoned SAG-AFTRA actor, as well as a producer, writer, 1st AD, and script supervisor. Christina is particularly proud of her first original short film called HAPPY HOUR which she wrote, co-produced, and also starred in, and which won several awards in the festival circuit. This past summer, she went back to her theater roots and performed as one of an eight-woman ensemble cast in a play called SPEAK I WILL, based on the unique Fractured Shakespeare concept. Christina has run an internationally successful script consultant business for almost 15 years, and she also works as a literary editor and has worked on all types of material from technical user manuals to full length sci-fi, action, thriller, and romance novels to illustrated children’s books. [email protected]

Victoria Ippolito

Performance Lab Coordinator

This Northern California Bay Area born native has loved the spotlight ever since she got her first taste in kindergarten. Playing make-believe quickly became a way of life and ultimately led her to graduate USC with a degree in Theatre. She has been cast in several We Make Movies productions, including BUCKY (which has been making the rounds of the global film festival market) and most recently, NOW, NOW, NOW (a live virtual thriller making the rounds of the national Fringe Festival market). When she is not acting, you can find her in her natural habitat, Disneyland. You could say she is definitely still a kid at heart, now and forever. Oh, and let's not forget about her Bay Area sports teams. This girl is all about those overtime quarters, extra innings and periods. These bring a little slice of home right here to LA. To check out the latest, see her IG: @vicippolito

 

Veteran Team Members

Joe Leonard

Founder

Joe Leonard works as an editor, producer and director. As an editor, he has cut on GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, EMPIRE, STAR and THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. His feature credits include the Blumhouse film THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN (directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon) and 3 DAYS OF NORMAL (directed by Ishai Setton). He wrote and directed the indie feature HOW I GOT LOST (produced by Jared Parsons, Massoumeh Emami and Sam Mestman), which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2009. He is proud to have helped develop the Writers Workshop, as well as the first two slates of WMM Originals. Joe directed SNUGGLE BUNNY (co-written with Stephanie Sanditz) as part of that first slate.

Tara Samuel

Founder

Tara Samuel hails from Toronto, Canada, where she was classically-trained at the George Brown Theatre School, and began her career on the professional stage. She has appeared on several TV shows but is most widely known for her role "Tara Williams" in SUE THOMAS: F.B.EYE. She received a Best Actress Award from the Manhattan International Film Festival, for her role "Ruby" in the film RUBY BOOBY. Other film credits include WILD PRAIRIE ROSE (Winner, Audience Choice Award, Sedona International Film Fest), STAND THE GAFF, TIGER ORANGE, WAY DOWN IN CHINATOWN, HUNT THE MAGUFFIN, THE INTERVIEW, THE RWANDA BLEND, TANYA & GARY, PRAIRIE SONATA, THE DRAIN, and THE THURD EYE. As a filmmaker, Tara wrote, directed, produced and starred in the Oscar- qualifying FIND (The Journal of Short Film), which screened at festivals around the world , she co-founded Busterhouse Productions, and is CEO of www.scriptkicker.com .

Christopher Frederick

Director of Community

Christopher Frederick joined WMM when he was cast as the SNUGGLE BUNNY (directed by founder Joe Leonard). He directed the web series How We Make Movies, created "Improv Night" that gave birth to sketch challenges that were eventually shot for the WMM SKETCH SHOW, assisted with the "Up On Our Feet" Night, assistant produced the "Equal Writes" program, and sat on the operations board. He also designed the current logo, and contributed his talents on design work for the group across print and web. As an actor, he trained with Dan Harmon (for improv), Upright Citizens Brigade, and the William Esper Studio (NYC). Current projects include a TV pilot based on the short film BAKED ZITI, and the short film HER & HIM (created with WMM member Susan Louise O'Connor).

Lynette Coll

Writers Queue Management / Director of Sponsorship

Lynette is a Marymount Manhattan College trained Latin actor, producer, and story teller, known for her work in LUX IN EFFECT, OVERNIGHT, and PROJECT HOLLYWOOD. She has worked as an actress in film, theater and TV in New York, Puerto Rico and Los Angeles. Lynette is passionate about improving the representation of women of color in front of and behind the camera. She is currently developing and producing two forms of original content that reflect her artistic voice and vision; short doc series BARE IT ALL, and a seven episode anthology for TV. Lynette recently worked as the associate producer of the award winning short MEDIATION with Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, The Night Shift) and Marley Shelton (Sin City) and also produced the feature LET'S GET TO IT.

Valentina Vee

Outreach Coordinator

Valentina Vee is a filmmaker working in the digital space on branded and charity content. She’s worked with Sony, National Geographic, Mashable, YouTube, AT&T, Adobe, and Apple. She hopes to educate the WeMakeMovies community on digital strategies and filmmaking for the web. 

Patrick Duncan

Post Production Lab Coordinator

Patrick began his filmmaking career producing, writing, and starring in SO, WHAT’S IN JERICHO? in 1998. JERICHO? was an early example of digital filmmaking and raising money by a primitive form of crowdfunding (he asked family and friends for money and promised perks without use of the internet). Moving to LA in 2000, he wrote, produced and directed the short films HOLLYWOOD, THE HARD WAY, THE SHABBOS BIGFOOT, and A MOCK TIME: A ‘STAR TREK’ WEDDING, as well as several industrial films for UCLA Medical. He joined WMM in 2012, wrote and acted in the WMM Challenge winning sketch MISERY DATE, and then wrote, directed, produced and edited the award winning short JES AND LORA. As an editor, he worked on the award winning features, CARBON NATION and ASSISTING VENUS. His latest acting and filmmaking project to be released soon is the short comedy LIFE’S A PITCH, and as an actor he’s appeared on GUIDING LIGHT, DAYS OF OUR LIVES, & PARKS AND RECREATION.  [email protected]