OUR TEAM

Eric Michael Kochmer

Festival Co-Director

Kochmer is an writer/director/producer with a background in experimental theater, mentored under Elizabeth Swados at LaMama Theatre after graduating from Marymount Manhattan College. 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 found distribution through 366WeirdMovies and Amazon. 2018 saw the release of his second feature ABOUT STRANGERS: Road Series Volume I (Best Picture Award, Innuendo International Film Festival). His third feature narrative, HER AND HIM, as well as his fourth feature, the  documentary JACK MADE A PLAY ABOUT JOHN, are both slated to premiere in 2021. Kochmer also serves as the Chief of Production for the film collective and production company We Make Movies.

Whit Spurgeon

Festival Co-Director

Whit Spurgeon spent 20 years in Chicago acting in award-winning plays like the long-running "Hizzoner" at Prop Thtr, the world premieres of Rebecca Gilman's "The Glory of Living" and "The Crime of the Century" at Circle Theatre, and "Awake and Sing!" at Timeline Theatre, and in over two dozen TV commercials for clients like Verizon, Citgo, and Pick 'n Save supermarkets. Since arriving in Los Angeles in 2009 he’s appeared on several TV shows including Fresh Off the Boat, Liza On Demand and Cougar Town, and in numerous films including the cult horror favorites VICTOR CROWLEY and CHASTITY BITES.

Whit also directs short films, most notably festival favorites PRESENT TENSE, THE INTERVIEW, and the award-winning THUMP. 

Sapna Gandhi

Festival Manager

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). 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. 

Stephanie Sanditz

Awards Committee

Stephanie Sanditz is a writer/actor/filmmaker. She is currently writing PERFECT ADDICTION an edgy female boxing film for Constantin Films (RESIDENT EVIL). She recently sold an original comedy pilot to FX with Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), then optioned the series to Tai Duncan and Mark Williams (Co-Creator and EP of Ozark.  Sanditz sold a feature she co-wrote, DANCE PARTY to AGC Studios (MIDWAY) with Queen Latifah attached, and has written seven films for various studios/mini studios. She wrote and produced her original series Chat. Like. Love. for Awesomeness TV, has acted in many series and films, and is the co-star of Amazon's, 37 Problems. She is currently trying to direct/produce her feature, GET YOUR HEART ON, winner of Tribeca Film Festival's All-Access Award for New Voices in Screenwriting, and develop her Award-winning dramedy series pilot, THE HIGH LIFE, now an official selection at Dances With Films. Sanditz is a NYU Tisch Dean's Honors Scholar.

Anthony Ferraro

Awards Committee

Anthony Ferraro received his Master’s Degree in Directing from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London. He went on to direct two feature films, 13 short films, and two web series. He was also a producer and editor on Al Gore’s Emmy® Winning Current TV team for three years. Ferraro is the writer-director of  the break-out sci-fi short film “Aeranger,” which earned over 1 million organic views across platforms, including the highly curated sci-fi YouTube channel DUST. Ferraro’s stylized sci-fi series Galactic Galaxy won the Outstanding Film Award at the Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival. He also received seven nominations for special and visual effects on the festival circuit. Anthony is also the creator and host of Create SciFi, a popular weekly show for independent filmmakers with well over a million views.

Rolla Selbak

Awards Committee

Rolla Selbak is a Sundance alumna, and a triple-minority in the film industry: a queer, Arab-American woman. She is a writer/director of film and TV drama, and is known for bringing strong female characters to the forefront of her work. She imprints her fresh point of view as a queer Arab immigrant having moved to the U.S after the first Gulf War, and often focuses on socially controversial topics. Selbak's most recent project, YA BINT, an Arab-American dramedy she co-created with Jack Ryan's Dina Shihabi, has been recently announced to be in development at Disney's Freeform. 

Reena Dutt

Awards Committee

As a Creative and Line Producer, Reena Dutt’s projects have appeared at over 75 film festivals internationally, including Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Outfest, NBCUniversal Shorts, Frameline, Cucalorous and Whistler. She has produced a wide array of films that have then been featured at AmPav's Emerging Filmmaker showcase @Cannes Film Festival, Latino/PBS, NBCUniversal, the BET Network, HBO Online, TelloFilms and NPR. She has produced music videos for John Legend, Adam Zwig and Satyricon, and political work for One Vote at a Time, NoRAnow.org, and Survivors Empowered. Dutt is an alum of Trans Atlantic Partners with the Goethe-Institut, San Francisco Film / Kenneth Rainin Producing Fellowship, Film Independent's Project Involve, and a huge advocate for organizations like We Make Movies, who support the unknowns and underdogs of the film community. www.PaintedTreeRoad.com 

David Beatty

Programmer

David Beatty is known for his work on The Wasteland, GET SPY, Lien On Me and his feature film, Surviving New Year's. David is a multidisciplinary artist who works in film, TV, theater, online media, photography, ceramics and more. He embraces DIY creativity and DIY entertainment, and believes artists have the responsibility to provoke positive change in the world. He’s drawn to matters of the environment, sustainability, human rights, feminism, global responsibility and the simple philosophy that forgiveness, love and understanding will make the world a better place. He lives in Los Angeles and you can learn more about his work at his website: www.davidbeatty.net

Sharon A. Mooney

Guest Curator

Sharon A. Mooney is a filmmaker who works in experimental, narrative and documentary portraiture, all focused on investigating desire and the human condition. Mooney’s short videos and installations have screened internationally in festivals and galleries. She teaches in the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University.

Steve Newman

Programmer

Steve is from Pittsburgh. And Chicago. There's a bit of Boston in him too. He doesn't have a ton of film work to include in a bio so instead he likes to talk about Star Wars, literature, and pizza. Pizza without pineapple that is. If you try to talk to him about putting pineapple on pizza he won't be responsible for what happens next.

Kevin Sambells

Programmer

Born in Poughkeepsie, NY and graduating from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, Kevin is currently a Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon based Cinematographer. He began his career more than a decade ago working from the ground up through both lighting and camera departments, emerging as a well-rounded and skilled lighting cameraman. Through the years Kevin has had the privilege of working as the Director of Photography with many great filmmakers in features, commercials, shorts, and broadcast sports television. Cinematography has always been a passion and a career goal. Communicating ideas to millions of people remains the ultimate ambition. 

Tehana Fatima Weeks

Programmer

Tehana is an actor, artist, entertainer and businesswoman 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 now an award-winning filmmaker. Tehana is a world traveler, nature lover, life-long learner, and delights in all things food!

Allyson Sereboff

Programmer & Sponsorships

A Baltimore, MD native, Allyson moved to New York where she studied at The William Esper Studio and had her feature film debut in Poultrygeist:_Night_of_the_Chicken Dead. The slaughtered chicken decided the next best move would be to Los Angeles. Refusing to be derailed by her unfortunate timing of moving at the start of the Writer's strike, she appeared in and assisted on Speechless Without Writers campaign, directed by her mentor George Hickenlooper. After years in Hollywood, with multiple acting groups, she was finally introduced to a community that, well, it's in the name, We Make Movies. A family of creators met through WMM and 8 Aprons production company formed; A Hollywood Vampires web series and multiple shorts evolved, involving  2017 WMM Film Challenge winner, I'm Fat. She's excited to continue making movies you want to see. Stay tuned.

Smokey G. Campbell

Programmer

A University of Southern California Graduate with Degrees in Drama and Film Production. A veteran actor and lighting technician. A Creator of Content and Vehicles of Visibility. Happy to be Alive.

Eric D. Altman

Programmer & Technical Director

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.

SARAMONIC

Jack Zullo

Social Media & Technical Support

Jack Zullo is an actor/writer/producer trained for the stage by Sondra Lee in New York City. He hustled through NYC's black box and street theatre scene before heading on tour with the regional theater, George Street Playhouse. Los Angeles saw him hone and further his improvisational skills at The Groundlings and Westside Comedy Theater, while enriching his craft studying at The Actor's Gang. Jack has acted in, produced and written numerous short film projects as well as his passion multimedia full length stage play, WITH A LITTLE HELP...IT'S JOHN BELUSHI!, which made its east coast premier, last December in a run at NYC's famed East Village Theatre 80 St Marks. He associate produced the feature film, BELL CANYON and executive produced the documentary JACK MADE A PLAY ABOUT JOHN. Jack serves as Performance Coordinator for the film collective and production company, We Make Movies.

Serene Zloof

Social Media (Instagram) Maven

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.

Chad Kukahiko

WMM Festival Founder

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. Even though Chad and Kendall moved to New Zealand in late 2019, Chad continues to do all he can for We Make Movies. Prior to the international expansion of the festival, he spearheaded the original WMM Film Festival, which served as the film component of the annual Hollywood Fringe Festival. This year, he contributed by creating the downloadable printed program.

OUR SPONSORS

© 2020 by Sapna Gandhi