Rachel Miller | Founder
Rachel Miller is a founding partner of Haven Entertainment, a management and production company based in Los Angeles. Miller specializes in intellectual property development and has sold over 27 books to major publishers. Her clients have worked across every entertainment platform including on acclaimed television shows “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Simpsons,” “Parks and Recreation,” “House of Lies” and “Family Guy.”
Additionally, she produced UNDER THE ELECTRIC SKY, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and sold to Focus Features. Miller is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
To help pay for NYU, Miller taught at a Manhattan public school where she saw first-hand how underprivileged students struggled to compete. That experience, coupled with years of working in Hollywood’s predominantly white male culture, led her to found the non-profit program Film2Future.
Barrett Garese has worked at the intersection of technology and entertainment for more than a decade. Barrett has worked with and advised startups, major studios, and production companies on new and cutting edge technologies such as augmented reality, streaming media, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. He began his career in United Talent Agency’s mailroom, and within two years had become a founding agent of UTA’s new online division - the first major talent agency division devoted exclusively to identifying and monetizing online content. His hobbies include travel, writing, and perpetually seeking the perfect 3-2 downshift.
Renowned talent agent Iris Grossman is currently with Echo Lake Entertainment, a management and production company, which has produced such films as TRUTH, NEBRASKA, and AWAY FROM HER. Formerly a top agent with Paradigm, she continues working with several of her longtime Paradigm clients.
Beginning her career as an assistant at the talent agency ICM, Iris Grossman quickly climbed the ranks and was upped to talent agent. After several years with the agency, she was given the opportunity to become the Senior Vice President of Talent and Casting for Turner Network Television (TNT). In that capacity, Grossman oversaw all talent and casting issues related to TNT Original films and series. She spent nine years at TNT, and in October 2001, returned to ICM Partners as a talent agent. In 2013, Grossman joined Paradigm’s Talent Department.
Grossman was instrumental in bringing TNT such top-name stars such as Diane Keaton (Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight), Robert Duvall (The Man Who Captured Eichmann), Gary Sinise and Angelina Jolie (George Wallace), and Tommy Lee Jones (The Good Old Boys). She also cast Alec Baldwin (Nuremberg), Julianna Margulies, Angelica Huston, and Joan Allen (The Mists of Avalon), Chazz Palminteri (Boss of Bosses), William H. Macy (Door to Door), and John Turturro (Monday Night Mayhem).
Grossman is a former two-term President of Women In Film. She won a Casting Society of America award for the film George Wallace and was nominated for an Emmy. She was also nominated for a Casting Society of America award for The Man Who Captured Eichmann and Nuremberg.
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 co-created MAYANS MC for FX, a spin off of Sutter's hit show SONS OF ANARCHY. On the film side, James co-wrote LOWRIDERS for Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures. 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.
In 2009, Tara was featured in The Hollywood Reporter as part of their Next Generation issue, 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. 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. 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.