Meet our F2F Board Members
Homeless as a teenager, Elgin James was a fixture in Boston's hardcore punk scene and a member of a multi-ethnic national street gang that targeted neo-Nazi skinheads and drug dealers. After spending a decade and a half in the gang, James left for Los Angeles where he was shepherded by the Sundance Institute Feature Film program and given the tools of filmmaking to learn how to express himself through art instead of violence.
James’ wrote, directed and scored his debut film, LITTLE BIRDS, starring Juno Temple and Leslie Mann, which was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Zurich Film Festival. LITTLE BIRDS was released in 2012 by Millennium Entertainment and won a National Board of Review award, James was named one of Variety’s “Ten Directors to Watch” and to IonCinema’s list of “The American New Wave 25.”
Along with Kurt Sutter, James is co-creating MAYANS MC for FX, a spin off of Sutter's hit show SON OF ANARCHY. On the film side, James co-wrote LOWRIDERS for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures, being released in theaters Spring 2017. And he's currently developing a feature on the troubled life of actress Jean Seberg, adapted from the biography "BREATHLESS."
Van Johnson is the Owner/President of The Van Johnson Company (VJC), a talent management firm and production company. He began his career in representation at the William Morris Agency before becoming a talent manager/producer at Untitled Entertainment. While at Untitled, Johnson represented high-end talent, developed multiple television and film projects and executive produced features. In the VJC venture, Johnson continues to thrive and find passion in his representation of high-end actors, writers and directors as well as the development and production of projects in all forms of media. He believes that dreams are road maps to future successes and that the entertainment industry is an ideal landscape on which dreams can take root and sprout new journeys of discovery. Johnson is based at the VJC office in Beverly Hills, CA.
Tara Kole is a partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. She focuses her practice on entertainment law, representing established film and television directors, writers, actors and producers in their entertainment transactions.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College with a B.A. in English and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as the Articles and Commentaries Chair for the Harvard Law Review. After law school, Tara was a law clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for the Honorable Justice Antonin Scalia of the U. S. Supreme Court.
Tara has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter as part of their Next Generation issue in 2009, and Variety has featured her twice, first as part of their “Dealmakers Up Next” report in 2009, and again in 2012 as part of their “Dealmakers Impact Report” issue. She has also been featured in The New York Times. Tara is a professor at the USC Gould School of Law, where she has been involved as a speaker on their Entertainment Law Symposium, and she is a member of the Board of Directors of Women In Film. Prior to attending law school, she was an acquisitions executive at Lionsgate Films, where she also started their new media division.
Simon Rust Lamb
Simon Rust Lamb is an entertainment industry veteran with 20 years of experience discovering, developing and amplifying artists, creative experiences and brands. As the former Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Insomniac, Simon managed Electric Daisy Carnival, which drew 400,000 people to Las Vegas in 2015, Nocturnal Wonderland, and many other brands. While there, he was the Executive Producer of the EDC documentary film “Under the Electric Sky” which premiered at Sundance and sold to Focus Films. Prior to Insomniac, Simon had a solo law practice focusing on the protection and monetization of intellectual property assets. As a lawyer and now with his consulting practice, Simon provides creative and strategic business to clients across the media spectrum, including the LA Podcast Festival. Additionally, Simon is an avid entertainment business observer and critic, having written numerous articles on the arts and media for Pollstar, LA Weekly, Ray Gun, Res, Surface, URB, etc. He graduated magna cum laude from Southwestern Law School, and earned his Bachelor’s at Occidental College.
As Managing Director at Steelhead, the production company of advertising agency Deutsch, Ted Markovic leads a team of 30 editors, mixers, designers, producers, VFX artists and animators. Throughout his career at Deutsch, he’s produced everything from multi-million dollar campaigns to simple social media content for Fortune 500 brands including Volkswagen, Sprint, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Angel Soft, Target, Uber, among many others.
Prior to Deutsch, Markovic founded Covalent Productions and served as Co-Founder, Partner, and CMO of The Molecule, a bi-coastal post production company in NY and LA. While at The Molecule, he oversaw the VFX production on TV shows such as "Blue Bloods", HBO's "The Night of", and films like Lee Daniels' “The Butler” and Oscar-nominated "Beasts of the Southern Wild". Markovic graduated with a BA in Commercial and Advertising Art from Seton Hall University and also served on the Peer Group Executive Committee of The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences and as an Adjunct Professor teaching 3D and CG Animation.
As the managing director for Steelhead, he’s also responsible for the construction of the new 48,000 square foot facility that houses industry-leading equipment and a 7,000 square foot sound stage.
Samata Narra is currently the Senior Vice President of Comedy Programming and Development at FOX where she is responsible for helping launch new live action and animated half-hour comedy series for the network. This year, she was instrumental in the development and launch of critically acclaimed The Last Man on Earth starring Emmy Nominated Will Forte. She also handles day to day creative on Emmy Award winner Bob’s Burgers. During her career at Fox she developed Golden Globe winner Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated New Girl, and The Mindy Project. She started at Fox in 2011 as Director of Comedy Development.
Prior to FOX, Samata spent over seven years as a literary manager at Fineman Entertainment where she represented writers and directors in both television and features including Dick Donnor (Lethal Weapon, The Goonies), Phillip Noyce (Quite American), Jack Bernstein (Ace Ventura Pet Detective), Steve Herek (Mr. Holland’s Opus), and Neal Israel (Police Academy). Through Fineman Entertainment’s producing deal at Fox Television Studios, Samata developed the series Lights Out for FX. This is also where she began executive producing Meet the Patels, a romantic comedy documentary and festival favorite, which was released in September 2015.
Samata started her career at the William Morris Agency working for CEO Norman Brokaw after graduating from Boston University’s School of Management. She serves as a board member of Colour Entertainment Groups, which brings together diverse executives throughout the entertainment industry.
Ms. Wieshofer is a Managing Director and the Head of the media team at Houlihan Lokey. Prior to HL, Ms. Wieshofer was a Managing Director at MESA since 2012 where she spearheaded an array of investment banking, strategy and valuation engagements for companies throughout the media space. Her particular focus is on intellectual property stemming from entertainment content development, production and distribution including film, television, P&A, music and music festivals, and physical studios and she was sworn as an industry expert in media & entertainment at the Relativity Media bankruptcy hearings in March, 2016. Her previous roles have included:
*Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Mergers & Acquisitions and Chief Financial Officer at Media Rights Capital, where she was responsible for identifying and developing new entertainment ventures and strategic acquisitions for the company as well as corporate finance, including structuring a $340 million JPMorgan-led revolving credit facility in 2008 and its renewal in 2011 and structuring a film output arrangement with Universal Pictures.
*Executive Vice President, Corporate Development at Lionsgate Entertainment, where she oversaw all facets of the company’s mergers, acquisitions and other strategic financial initiatives including the acquisitions and integration of Trimark Pictures, Artisan Entertainment, Redbus Films Distribution U.K., Debmar Mercury, Break.com, Roadside Attractions and Mandate Pictures as well as the sale of Lionsgate Studios and the Canadian Distribution Business.
*Chief Financial Officer at Lionsgate Entertainment, where she was responsible for all aspects of finance and accounting, treasury and tax management and helped structure, negotiate and close debt financings and equity offerings in excess of $1Bn.
*Vice President of Finance at Alliance Communications Corporation, where she was a member of the deal team that facilitated the Alliance Atlantis merger, took Alliance public in the United States and orchestrated several acquisitions and debt and warrant offerings.
*Principal at Coopers & Lybrand Chartered Accountants in Toronto, Canada.
*M.B.A. from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto; B.A. from Western University (f/k/a The University of Western Ontario); Canadian Chartered Accountant.