Film Leadership Council

Ben Andrews

Ben Andrews has 25 years of project management experience ranging across three industries, including involvement in a spectrum of projects in the digital content creation industry. Narrative films he’s directed or produced have been in over 150 films festivals and have won dozens of awards. Commercially he’s directed or produced dozens of projects varying from industrial to public broadcast segments. In 2011 he was the executive producer for Washington State’s largest volunteer film production, with over 150 people from across the world. He’s also the founder and executive director of the Seattle Film Summit and Renton City Comicon. As an actor he’s been involved in over 200 projects, ranging from zero budget indies to multi-million dollar features and national television.

Joseph Assi

Joseph Assi began editing film at the age of 14. At the time, he was living in a Lebanese refugee camp for Palestinian refugees, where he was born and raised. His talent and focus on academics and film led to a scholarship at the University of the Holy Spirit – Beirut, graduating with a BA in Film. Awarded a second scholarship from the University of St. Joseph – Beirut, he then earned a Masters in Cinematography. He worked as a news and story editor for LBCI before moving to the Academy of Arts & Sciences, Beirut, to teach Editing & Script Development. He was chosen to be a main character in a 2010 documentary, On the Road, which allowed him to come to America to work on a series of award-winning documentaries in Los Angeles. Currently he is working with Heyou Media on developing a web series, and recently joined the faculty of TheFilmSchool in Seattle, teaching editing for new media storytelling.

Jeff Barehand

Jeff Barehand is a citizen of the Gila River Indian Community, and a descendent of the Navajo people. He is a 2014 Native Lab Sundance Film Fellow and owner of Sky Bear Media, a South Sound video production company. Jeff is a founding member, and current Board President, of the Olympia Film Collective, a filmmaker non-profit. He is Board Vice-President of Red Eagle Soaring, a Seattle-based Native youth theatre. He has been a panelist for the Washington State Art Commission’s Project Support grant program. He was a 2018 selectee of Washington Filmworks’ and SIFF’s Fly Filmmaking Challenge. He is also a stage, TV, and film actor when he has the time. He is married to Shana Barehand, a lawyer, and together they have four children, three dogs and a cat.

Tony Becerra

Tony Becerra has been a freelance assistant director for more than 18 years. He is Seattle based, but works up and down the West Coast on feature films, television series, web series, and commercials. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, and Life After First Failure are some of his recent projects. He has also expanded his role on set as a producer on series such as JourneyQuest and Automata. He has been a long-time advocate for more work in Washington stating that one of the highlights of being on set is working at home with people he trusts and enjoys working with.

Kate Becker

Kate Becker is the Director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music. Building sustainable creative communities has been at the core of Kate’s career. Kate currently spends her days (and nights!) working to build Seattle’s creative economy, keenly focused on the film, music and nightlife industries. Prior to joining the City of Seattle Office of Film + Music in 2014, Becker served in leadership roles at Seattle Theatre Group, Art Share LA in Los Angeles, and The New Art Center in Boston, MA. She co-founded legendary Northwest all-ages venues The Vera Project and the Old Fire House, both being talent pipelines for the music industry. Kate has produced more than 1,000 all ages shows, and numerous large-scale events and fundraisers. She also founded the Old Fire House Media Lab, ensuring that emerging filmmakers and musicians have access to studio space. She loves startup culture and founded two businesses and two nonprofits. Kate was a charter member of the Seattle Music Commission and serves on many nonprofit boards. She holds a Bachelor’s’ Degree in Liberal Arts, with a major in Film Production from Hampshire College.

Matt Bobbitt

A southern California native, Matt began writing and creating videos, plays, and other creative projects in middle school. Visiting his father’s birthplace, Matt fell in love with the lifestyle and small-town atmosphere of Walla Walla, Washington and eventually moved there, co-founding the Tangent Media Group there in 2010. A novelist, scriptwriter, graphic artist, musician and recordist, photographer, director, and general jack-of-all-trades creative, Matt has served as the Creative Director of Tangent Media Group for eight years. Tackling topics as diverse as opioid abuse, youth marijuana education, community fitness promotion, and suicide prevention, it has been Matt’s privilege to explore ways media can affect positive change within a small community.

Brice Budke

Brice Budke is a producer and partner at Shep Films. He is located in Seattle and grew up in Redmond. Brice’s award-winning feature film Prospect was filmed in Washington State and debuted at SXSW. Shep Films has done extensive work for Microsoft, Amazon, and is a regular collaborator with the Seattle Seahawks.

Matthew J. Clark

Matt Clark is a Director and cinematographer living in Seattle. Matt works with ad agencies, directs to clients and non-profits through his own production company, StraightEIGHT Films. While his work tends to gravitate towards non-fiction work, it also includes VFX work, design based approaches, straight up commercials and music videos. Matt started all of this in high school with his first paid gig shooting professional bike racing for network TV in Frankfurt, Germany. He studied at NYU Tisch School For The Arts, but was drawn back to the West Coast. He has won Addys and Tellys, received a grant from the IFP to make a short film, been recognized by SIFF, and his work has screened internationally. Best of all? Matt is doing what he loves while supporting his beautiful family.

Rebecca Cook

Rebecca Cook is an active member of the Washington film community, and has worked as an actress, director, costumer, make-up artist, accountant, and producer throughout the state. For the last several years, she has worked on over 20 feature films, various commercial productions, many short films, and recently finished her fifth season working on Syfy Channel’s Z Nation. Rebecca serves as a board member for IATSE Local 488 and Spokane Film Project, is the Spokane Community Coordinator for Washington Filmworks, and recently launched her own small company, Thundering Kitten Productions. Along with her film work, she also has narrated over 75 audiobooks, produces and directs local theatre productions, teaches various classes, and loves speaking to students and aspiring storytellers about her journey creating a life in the arts.

Marc Dahlstrom

As a founding partner of North By Northwest Productions, Dahlstrom produced hundreds of television commercials, corporate communications, training videos, and many other productions. Finding his niche, Dahlstrom worked as an assistant director on numerous feature films over the past 20 years such as Rage with Nicolas Cage and Hangman starring Al Pacino. Concurrently, he worked in the distribution division of NxNW on the marketing, development and production of various feature film and television projects. Dahlstrom left North By Northwest Productions in 2005 to manage a motion graphics design firm based in Los Angeles where he worked on various live television shows. After five years, Dahlstrom returned to Spokane and resumed his work in feature film and television production. Dahlstrom recently produced I’ll Be Watching for Lifetime and is currently in development on various projects. He has lived in Spokane for 29 years and is married with four adult children.

Elliat Graney-Saucke

Elliat Graney-Saucke is a documentary filmmaker focused on equity and cultural knowledge exchange. Currently acting President of the Seattle Documentary Association, Elliat is completing her second feature doc Boys on the Inside, about ‘boy’ culture in women’s prisons. She is also completing the doc Art Heart: Children of Riot Grrrl with Celeste Chan, about coming of age in riot grrrl / queercore culture. After 7 years in Berlin, and producing content in eight countries, she is back as an organizer, teacher at Northwest Film Forum, and Director of Elliat Creative LLC.

Mischa Jakupcak

Mischa Jakupcak is an award-winning filmmaker from Missoula, Montana. She has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and an MA in Filmmaking from the London Film School. She has worked on over thirty features in the Northwest, ranging from indies to multimillion-dollar features. She has produced numerous films such as The Off Hours (Sundance ’11), The Immortal Augustus Gladstone, Little Potato (Grand Jury winner SXSW ’17) and VR pieces such as Potato Dreams (AFI ’17) and Chaak’ Saagi (TIFF ’16). She directed Skeleton Flower, a five-piece VR music experience with Degenerate Art Ensemble and is producing Potato Dreams of America, a feature narrative written and directed by Wes Hurley. Whether writing, directing or producing, Mischa seeks to create original stories with cutting edge technologies, aspiring to offer viewers extraordinary experiences.

Andrew Lahmann

Born and raised in Washington State, Andrew Lahmann is co-founder of P-51 Pictures. After attending WWU, he trained under the lead cast and producers on Marvel’s Iron Man, then returned to WA and formed P-51 with fellow producer, Colin Dalvit. In 2017, Andrew & Colin won the Grand Prize in Screencraft’s Action-Thriller screenplay contest, and were signed by IPG Management in Hollywood as a result. He partnered with actor/comedian Ryan Stiles to produce the feature documentary Out of Nothing, and is currently in post on the new feature doc Rockets and Titans in Australia.

 

 

Juan Mas

Juan A. Mas has been entrenched in the indie film world for over 25 years as a producer, director and writer. He enjoys the collaboration of working with other filmmakers and artists of different fields as he continues to hone his craft as a storyteller. A longtime resident of Spokane, Juan is actively involved with the city’s film, theater, music, and art worlds. He’s a founding member of the Spokane Film Project and 50 Hour Slam Film Festival, and has served on the advisory board for the Spokane Falls Community College Photography/Video department. Juan is an avid advocate for the development of the arts in Spokane and Washington State.

Myisa Plancq-Graham

San Francisco native, Myisa Plancq-Graham, began her photography career exploring the streets of Atlanta in 2011. Her growing appreciation for photography and videography culminated in the creation of Annie Graham Imagery.  Creating content by, about, and for Black people is her primary filmmaking incentive.  Myisa serves as lead director, videographer and editor for documentary short series UNCODE, highlighting people and stories of the African Diaspora.

Melissa Purcell

A West Coast native, Melissa Purcell is a production designer and prop master working in the commercial advertising, television and feature film industry. She began her career in Seattle in the late 1980’s when the Seattle film industry was booming. Over the last thirty years she has worked exclusively on the creative end of the industry. She has gathered credits and experience, as well as miles traveled, moving easily between feature and commercial work. These days you’ll find her mostly working on commercials and web spots either as a production designer or prop master, whichever position fits the spot. In the mid 1990’s she served on the Executive Board of Women In Film/Seattle. In 2006, she was asked to help bring Labor on board in the forming of a new state tax incentives program. Working alongside Amy Lillard, the program was passed through state legislation and was signed by then Governor Christine Gregoire, which became Washington Filmworks. Melissa continues to lobby for her industry at the state level, and has been a strong member of IATSE Local 488 from its inception, serving two terms on the Executive Board.

Melinda Raebyne

Melinda is interested in making films that examine important social issues while giving a voice for those who are suffering from the pain of social injustices. In March 2016 Melinda received the Right Now Today Humanitarian Award for her work on Asylum, a narrative short that looks at mental trauma brought on by domestic violence. It was awarded Best Narrative Short at the 2018 Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival. She served as the Event Director with the Seattle Latino Film Festival in 2013 and 2014. During the Summer of 2016, she was asked to be a filmmaker mentor for Tacoma’s Grand Cinema Film Camp. Currently, Melinda is working on two projects; Stories of Us and For Sale.  In 2017 Melinda was one of the recipients of Artist Trust’s GAP grant. The money from the grant will go to help fund For Sale, an exhibit that invites viewers into the life of a person who has become a victim of human trafficking.

Dawn Taylor Reinhardt

Dawn Taylor Reinhardt studied theater at the Northern College of Speech and Drama in England. She has since traveled working as an actor, director, producer and production manager for many theaters around the world. Dawn has also found herself working behind the camera on films and commercials as a wrangler and in casting departments. Dawn resides in Spokane, where she continues her love for the theater and is currently working as a talent agent with Big Fish Talent.

Devante Smith

Devante Smith is a recent graduate from Eastern Washington University’s Film program. After interning for season three of Z Nation, he has been working as the basecamp production assistant for the past two years on the show. In the off season, he works with local musical artists to build a voice and brand through interviews, podcasts, and music videos to bridge the gap between the music community and visual art community. Currently, he is working with a colleague on starting a production company that can tailor to new upcoming film enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest area. Having worked on a handful of productions from student shorts to a professional TV show, Devante values the opportunities the film industry has given him, and hopes to pass the opportunity onto generations to come.

Chris Swenson

Chris Swenson is the film and special events program manager for the city of Seattle’s Office of Film + Music, and has served as Seattle’s citywide event manager and chair of the Special Events Committee since 2012. Prior to his work with the city, Chris was a successful small business owner during his 13-year film career from 1994 to 2007, as well as an independent Seattle record label owner and artist manager from 1989 to 1994. During his film production career, Chris led visual conception and design on feature, corporate, and commercial productions across the country.  His film credits and work include being a production designer and art director on four locally-made feature films and multiple Seattle Mariners commercials. He has participated on multiple advisory boards including the University of Washington’s film program and Artist Trust’s EDGE program. Chris is a Seattle area native and makes his home in West Seattle with his wife and two children.

Jade Warpenburg