The Filmmakers


Director – Scott Kieffer Johnson / D.P. – Sam Rosenthal / Gaffer – Karl Coleman / Key Grip – Mario P. Colli / Grip – Nick Nino / 2nd Grip – Billy La Traille / Sound – Anthony Chasen / Makeup Artist & Hairstylist – Brittany Leslie (Sapna) / Makeup Artist & Hairstylist – Haley Bringel  (Anisa) / Wardrobe – Katie Reagan McKenzie / PA – Tony Martinelli

Scott Kieffer JohnsonDirector, Scott Kieffer Johnson was born in Abington, PA. Scott has been making movies in one form or another since childhood. In 2013, Scott formed Couch Surfer Productions with partners and frequent collaborators Sam Rosenthal, Shaun Lavery, and Sean Monguso. Scott’s directing credits include the web series Project Hollywood, 30 Is Still 30, and Broad Strokes, short films Under The Gun, Casting Call, Day 42, Dead North, Descending Harmony, Broken Harts, My Buddy And Me, and Besties, and the music video “My Secrets” for the artist Monika. Scott often hates writing about himself in the third person…

Sam Rosenthal is an award winning cinematographer and camera operator with experience shooting a wide variety of film and tv projects. His documentary work has taken him around the world and ranges from documenting Rosenthalcircus performers trekking through Nepal, being locked in one of Louisiana’s highest security prisons, to following the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.  He has also shot shows for networks such as Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, MTV, and CBS Sports. Sam has also been the cinematographer on over 20 narrative films  and has won awards in response to his efforts in lighting, camerawork, and ability to use a positive and productive work ethic in some of the most challenging scenarios. For more information on Sam and to view some of his work, please visit:


TUESDAYS: #smh tuesdays

Director – Rachel Grissom / D.P. – Patrick McGinley / Gaffer – Dan Czerwonka / Sound – Vince Freeman / 1st AD – Eric Michael Kochmer / Makeup & Hairstylist – Selena Razack


With a background in literature and theatre, Rachel Grissom began her film career in post-Katrina New Orleans. There she wrote and directed the feature film THE SOMNAMBULIST, a psychological thriller with international distribution through Tayrona Entertainment, and wrote the script for the short film INACHEVE, based on the short story “A Respectable Woman” by Kate Chopin. With co-writer Sara Eliot, Rachel developed the series DOMINION STREET and directed the first installment, “Mistress Margaux Explains It All For You.” Before moving to New Orleans in early 2007, Rachel spent time in both Boston and Los Angeles. A graduate of Boston College, Rachel also received an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College, where she won the Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship. During her time in Boston, Rachel worked with several theater organizations to support and develop the work of living playwrights.
In New Orleans, Rachel has also worked at WRBH, a radio station which provides audio readings of daily news publications, weekly magazines, and literary magazines and books for the blind.patrick

Patrick McGinley was born in Philadelphia, raised in Texas, and currently lives in Southern California. Growing up with an amateur photographer father, he naturally gravitated towards a camera. Patrick attended the University of North Texas, earning his BFA in Radio/TV/FIlm with an art photography minor. From there, he went on to the American Film Institute, honing his skills as a visual storyteller. Patrick is also an avid photographer, self publishing several books and having his first solo exhibit in January 2013 at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, entitled “Below the Line”.



Director – Sam Mestman / D.P. – Bruce BirnbaumGaffer – Denny KukahikoSound – Vince Freeman / 1st AD – Eric Michael KochmerMakeup & Hairstylist – Kristen Pickrell

MESTMANSam 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, to name a few. He is also the CEO and founder of We Make Movies (, 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

Bruce Birnbaum has been a professional pilot for over forty years flying everything from light aircraft to executive jets for the “rich & famous” to a Captain for American Airlines flying both domestic and international. Because of his career, he has a lot of friends in the aviation community which is also closely tied to “Hollywood” so he’s had the pleasure of being involved with some major film projects, meeting some big-name filmmakers. During the last several years, he decided to pursue his passion for filmmaking a bit more and made a major investment in cameras and equipment (which seems endless!) Birnbaum also got involved BRUCEwith a terrific group of independent filmmakers who are clearly the next generation of “Hollywood” and he’s very grateful to the amazing group of dedicated, hard-working, skilled and talented filmmakers he’s had the pleasure of knowing and working with. His recent filmmaking endeavors include live events such as weddings and concerts to working with a full production crew on narrative short films, music videos and more, to tinkering around with the latest technological trends such as aerial filming with a drone. His enjoyment of both the technology and creative expression of filmmaking have inspired this new career and the next chapter of his life. You can see more of his work at



Director – Ambika LeighD.P. – Bruce Birnbaum / 1st AD/Gaffer – Denny KukahikoGrip & 2nd AC – Josh Minyard / 1st AC – Gergana AngelovaSound – Vince Freeman / Makeup Artist & Hairstylist – Haley Bringel / PA – Eric Altman

A on TrainAmbika Leigh is a multi-talented content creator and award-winning filmmaker, who has worked primarily as a producer, editor and director (which she secretly believes can be called a “prodreditor”. With a varied and thorough industry resume building since 2005, Ambika possesses a strong and innate sense of the entire filmmaking process, making her a bright independent force on the Hollywood scene, where she currently resides and operates her budding company, On Purpose Pictures. Upon graduating from the Los Angeles Film School in 2010 with a focus in directing, Ambika received the “Woman to Watch” Award from Women in Media. She is a member of Film Independent, Women in Film, Alliance of Women Directors and We Make Movies. She has worked with such illustrious companies as DirecTV, Panasonic, Technicolor,, Sony Pictures Ent., Udaya Entertainment, and Apple TV as well as notable director Stephen Gyllenhaal, Academy-Award winning producer Mark R. Harris, Michael Beckwith, Will.I.Am, India.Arie and Malcolm Jamal-Warner. Leigh was honored with several awards for her film, SWITCHBOARD, including Best Comedy Short at the 2012 International Family Film Festival, and Best Actor for Kevin Scott Allen at the 2011 Edgemar Short Film Festival.

*In addition to directing the Thursday episodes, Ambika Leigh also edited all 40 micro-shorts!
** Bruce Birnbaum’s bio can be found above (under Wednesday).


Director – Eric Michael KochmerD.P. – Kiko Suura / Gaffer – Evan KuneshSound – Vince Freeman / Makeup Artist & Hairstylist – Michelle SteinPA – Wayne Harris

kochmerEric Michael Kochmer is an actor/writer/director, with a background in experimental theater (La MaMa). Eric has acted in over 30 feature and short films, recently including “I’m not Here” (Hollyshorts), “Virginity” (The Boston International Film Festival, The Las Vegas Film Festival, The New Wave Film Festival and The Other Venice Film Festival) and “White Rabbit” (Cinequest, The Sacramento International Film Festival). He caught the producing bug while producing and starred in avant garde filmmaker George Landow’s film “Dialogues” (2009) and is currently producing and acting in the low budget indie feature “Georgie” with award winning director Jon Rannells. Kochmer’s directorial feature film debut “Way Down In Chinatown” is being distributed by this September, and he has since directed an episode of “Stripping Shakespeare” an“Blackstocking Jenkins” the inaugural film under the newly formed production company Elegant Grotesque (co-founded with Sapna Gandhi). The next project on the horizon is “The Killer, The Singer and The Woman who Ran”.Kiko

Kiko Suura always had a fascination with camera and visual imagery and decided to pursue a career in cinematography by leaving Plano, TX and going to school at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.  Ever since graduating, Kiko has shot numerous types of projects ranging from shorts, web-series, features, music videos, and reality TV shows.  Some works include the award-winning web series Old Dogs & New Tricks, the award winning short The Apple Tree, and the feature Way Down in Chinatown. Kiko is currently collaborating with Sapna Gandhi and Eric Michael Kochmer, director of Way Down in Chintown, on another feature film.