OUR TEAM

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Eric Michael Kochmer

Festival Executive 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.

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Whit Spurgeon

Festival 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. 

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TEHANA FATIMA WEEKS

Festival Coordinator

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!

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SKINNER MYERS

Awards Committee

Skinner Myers is an award-winning filmmaker based out of Boulder, Colorado. He has written and directed 11 films, including La Tierra del Exodo, Nightmares by the Sea, Things of Beauty Burn and Frank Embree, which took home the Grand Jury Award at Hollyshorts. His feature film debut, The Sleeping Negro, will have its Georgia premiere at the 2021 Atlanta Film Festival. Myers has studied at Columbia, Brooklyn College, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Film Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam.

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DANIEL HART DONOGHUE

Awards Committee

Daniel Hart Donoghue began his artistic career as a professional stage actor in America and has performed in over thirty stage productions throughout the country, along with numerous appearances in television and film. He also directed many stage productions during those years both in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is a member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA. Having written several stage plays throughout his career, Daniel transitioned into writing screenplays a few years ago. His first feature script was a Semi-Finalist for the Academy Nichols Award and his first short film as a writer and director has won several awards, including Best Director right here at last year’s WMM International Film Festival. Daniel received a BA and MFA in Literature and Creative Writing, attending both the University of

Massachusetts Amherst in America and the University of Limerick in Ireland. He is thrilled to have the chance to participate in this year’s festival and get the chance to see all of these wonderful productions!

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LINDSEY-LOON RICKER

Awards Committee

LIindsey-Loon Ricker is a performer (actor/standup comic/writer/vocalist) who founded Connect Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia in 2014. Connect has launched community-building events and screenings in Melbourne, LA, Boston MA and Austin TX, and has featured work by We Make Movies filmmakers in multiple locations. Connect strives to be a creative hub connecting filmmakers and other industry and creatives to each other, inspiring collaboration and promoting community. Pre-pandemic Connect was a Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival on Film Freeway, out of over 4,600 festivals. Lindsey is originally from Massachusetts, lived in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan for over a decade, and is delighted to currently call Burbank/Los Angeles home.

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SAPNA GANDHI

Awards Committee

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, has produced and starred in projects 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.

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David Beatty

Awards Committee

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

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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.

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Steve Newman

Awards Committee

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.

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KELLY MULLIS

Submissions Judge

Kelly Mullis is an actress/writer/director/producer who got her start in Hollywood at the young age of 19 starring in the Cult Classics MOONSTALKER & B.O.R.N.  She is a veteran actress whose TV credits include “Diagnosis Murder”, NYPD BLUE, and General Hospital to name a few. She’s a writer/producer of several short films such as TONY & LOUISE and MADISON. Kelly also wrote, produced and starred in a successful solo show for the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival that garnered much attention entitled MARILYN MONROE : THE LAST INTERVIEW. As a lover of films and the great directors who inspire her, she is excited about the future of her film making career. 

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KRISTA AMIGONE

Submissions Judge

Krista Amigone is a writer, director and actress who grounds outrageous stories in the human experience. Her script The Dancer was chosen by Apple for their first Short Film Challenge - the short film is now available on YouTube. Her short Julian Got the Part was nominated for Best Short Film at the Orlando International Film Festival, and is now available on Amazon Prime. Other highlights include her farcical series She’s So Right!, which she wrote and directed, as well as the Twilight-Zone inspired short film LUCK. Her fictional sex-thriller podcast Pink Room, with co-writer Maayan Laufer, is currently in pre-production. She recently was a two-time semi-finalist and finalist in the Women in Media CAMERAderie Lab.

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MICHAEL KLUG

Submissions Judge

Michael Klug was born and raised in South Dakota.  He's an actor, screenwriter, screenplay consultant and film critic living in Los Angeles.  His screenplays have been selected for, placed in or won over three dozen film festivals and screenplay competitions. His feature spec "Mom Died" was the Horror Genre Winner at 2019's Creative Screenwriting Unique Voices, and his feature spec "Spider Eaters" was a Top Five Finalist at 2016's Screamfest.  He's recently wrapped production in the lead role of Monte Light's BLOOD COVERED CHOCOLATE, an indie horror film expecting a 2022 release.  For any and all information on Michael, visit his website at notmymess.com.

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MARCELLA C. De FINIS

Submissions Judge

Marcella C. De Finis is a Brazilian filmmaker whose work focuses on the intersections between femininity and magical realism. After traveling widely with festivals, her short films found their forever homes at streaming platforms. In 2020 her short film The Incredible Tale of the Spiritless Man (2019) was part of the We Make Movies International Film Festival. Marcella holds a B.A in Cinema & Audiovisual by Universidade Federal Fluminense (2018), and pursued specialization in directing and writing at NYU (2017), FEST training Ground (2018), and Vancouver Film School (2021) among others. She’s participated in volunteering experiences such as teaching filmmaking for underprivileged high school students in Brazil, and working at international events like SIGGRAPH (2014) and Rio Int’ Film Festival (2015). She was awarded a scholarship during undergrad for her research on Women Behind the Cameras. During the pandemic, Marcella wrote a commissioned documentary about traveling movie theaters, was staffed as a writer for a limited horror series situated in Brazilian backlands, had a baby, took on gardening, started developing her first TV series Erika & the Leviatan, and became one of the submissions judges for the We Make Movies International Film Festival.

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YU JUNG HOU

Submissions Judge

Yu Jung Hou was born and raised in Taiwan. She grew up a self-conscious girl who escaped into the world of novels and manga, giving her the perfect storytelling roots for her present-day career. During her three years at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Yu Jung developed a reputation as an editor/director. One of the films she worked on, Drone, was a Student Academy Award finalist in 2015. Her directorial debut, FaFu, received the nod from multiple festivals. She has since worked on some of America's favorite shows and movies, such as The Mandalorian and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. In light of how movies and shows have entertained as well as saved and transformed her, Yu Jung is dedicated to creating narratives that convey the world in a unique light that reveals itself once you give it a chance.  Her favorite animal is the capybara and her favorite animated movie is My Neighbor Totoro.

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Submissions Judge

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Jack Zullo

Technical Director

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.

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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.

CHARLES PIKE

Charles Pike is a scribbler and teller of tales. He likes to listen. And watch. He likes to watch.

OUR SPONSORS

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