JOANNA BOWZER // Director
Joanna Bowzer is a Los Angeles-based writer, director and producer with projects in film and theater. Her films have won awards at over a dozen festivals, and have been shown at over thirty-five, including: Slamdance Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Catalina International Film Festival, New York City International Film Festival, Manhattan Film Festival and New York Shorts Fest.
As a writer and director, Joanna’s work has been called both “bold, inspiring and a breath of fresh air” and “casually sardonic” by the New York Theater Review and LA Weekly respectively. She recently completed principal photography on her sophomore feature film We Are Gathered Here which is premiering in March 2019.
Prior to her career in film, Joanna spent 10 years working in technology start-ups focused on digital media and premium content. She continues to work with new companies, filmmakers, and performing artists, helping them build branding, business development, and marketing strategies. Additionally, Joanna is committed to supporting female filmmakers and theatermakers in the ‘fly over states’ through her company Film Launch. She is a member of Film Fatales and the Alliance of Women Directors.
GEORGE USHER // Writer
George Usher is a screenwriter and playwright. His original stage play, We Are Gathered Here, the source material for the film of the same name, was developed for cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA’s annual Living Room Tour series. The sold-out six-week run of the production was met with critical acclaim, with Usher’s writing being praised by LAist as “full of multidimensional humor, rich emotional complexity, and exceptionally conceived, realistic dialogue, [emphasizing] the graciousness of friendship through a lens of beautifully orchestrated personalities, examination of social expectations, teetering fragility, and the active struggle with obligatory self-possession that comes with each new marker of adulthood.”
Additional works include the radio play The Apprentice, performed as part of cARTel’s Sound/Stage series, feature film Criminal Criminals, currently in post-production, and three feature scripts currently in development at Leonardo Films.
CAITY WARE // Producer
Caity is a UCLA alumna with a decade of producing under her belt. She has independently produced more than two-dozen award-winning short films, music videos, and web series, which have played over 50 festivals, including Tribeca, Dances With Films, and the Florida Film Festival, and have been featured on the curated sites Short of the Week and Omeleto.
In addition to her independent work, Caity has produced for BestFriend, MTV World/Viacom, and Indi.com, and continues to hone her eye for great material working in production at Playtone under the tutelage of Oscar/Emmy/Golden Globe winning producer Gary Goetzman. She is a member of Women In Film and SAG-AFTRA.
MATTHEW WATERSON // Producer
Matthew Waterson went to boarding school in England (No, he does not know Harry or William. Yes, the dining hall looked like Hogwarts.), came back to the US for university at Tufts and began his producing career in television. He worked for Witt Thomas Harris Productions, on The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, The People’s Choice Awards, Grammys, Golden Globes, Oscars, Academy of Country Music Awards, Big Brother, Blind Date, Victor Awards and the film The Pleasure Drivers. His VFX Company The Six Foot Duck provided CGI for films like 2012, Cell, and Snow White and the Huntsman.
In addition to producing, Matthew’s voice work can be heard in the Marvel Animated Universe as “Nightmare,” on Guillermo Del Toro’s Trollhunters as “Draal,” in Fallout 4, Halo: the Fall of Reach, and Conan Exiles among others.
LAURA CHEEK // Co-Producer
Laura Cheek is a founder of two female-led experiential production agencies: MOON/SHINE and cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA. She is part of the team that created BROKE L.A. and the No Budget Film Festival, two of the largest and fastest-growing independent arts festivals in Los Angeles. Laura has also worked for Sundance, LA Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival Los Angeles, and SXSW. Laura honed her theatre chops at the University of Texas at Austin where she directed, produced, and/or performed in over 30 projects on stage and screen. The stage production of We Are Gathered Here (2012) was her assistant directorial debut in Los Angeles.
ALINA DEBELLIS // Co-Producer
Alina DeBellis is a writer and the original director of the stage play We Are Gathered Here for cARTel’s living room series. Alina earned her B.A. in Theatrical Direction at UCLA’s school of Theater, Film and Television, receiving the Emerging Director Award in 2008. She has directed off-Broadway in New York at The Public Theater and Manhattan Repertory Theater, and several living rooms and stages across Los Angeles. In 2012, she began her collaboration with cARTel and developed We Are Gathered Here. She loves developing new works so much that she reprised her partnership with George Usher at cARTel’s Sound/Stage series directing The Auditor. Currently, Alina is working on her first novel and talks a lot with her two best friends in her podcast Chick Talk With. www.chicktalkwith.com
MEGAN RICHARDSON // Cinematographer
Megan Richardson (aka Megan Shy) is a freelance cinematographer and photographer. She has published two photography calendars for the Palo Alto Downtown Streets Team, each of which sold over four hundred copies, and were featured in The Palo Alto Weekly article, “Our Town: Faces of Hope.” Journalist Don Kazak writes, “The photos evoke images of dustbowl refugees Dorothea Lange shot during the Great Depression of people impassively staring back at the camera, full of pride and pain.”
Megan earned her B.A. in Film Production with a minor in Photography from Emerson College where, as a freshman, she was nominated for an Evvy Award in both Best Color Photograph and Best Black and White Photograph. The Evvy Awards are the largest student-run awards ceremony in the United States. She was the only student named in both categories and one of the only freshmen to be nominated for an award.
While working as Director and Editor for the Advertising Department at The Boston Globe newspaper, Megan was awarded an Emmy for directing and editing The Writer Spotlight Series online video collection about the writers at The Boston Globe. Since then she has amassed a lengthy resume lensing projects from music videos to feature-length films.
She currently lives in California with her husband and two young children. www.MeganRichardson.com
JEFFREY WILLIAMS // Editor
Jeffrey Williams has done one and only one thing for his adult life - post-production. His career started in the dungeon of tape-dubbing at Miramax Films in the mid-90’s. True story - he used a VHS dub of the un-released Pulp Fiction to bribe the guys at an AVID rental company for lessons. Ever since, he has had one foot planted in indie filmmaking and the other in broadcast television.
Whether you intended to or not, you’ve seen something he’s cut. Trailers, promos, docs, the CW’s Charmed re-boot, paranormal reality shows like Finding Bigfoot and Ghost Hunters, plus a few more credits he would like to take back. True story - he’s partly to blame for the Kardashians, and good luck getting those credits scrubbed from his IMDB page.
Indie filmmaking has always been his passion. He has written and directed several award winning shorts, including ‘What If My Wife Died In Yoga Class?’. He was excited to join the “We Are Gathered Here” team because the cast and production team clearly had something special happening. One last true story - the edit for “We Are Gathered Here" fell in the middle of moving between houses, so the vast majority was cut on a laptop perched on moving boxes. At the rate things are going, you will all be enjoying the sequel before he finishes unpacking.
CHERYL B. ENGELHARDT // Composer
Cheryl has been producing piano-pop records since 2004. Her 4th studio album, "Inevitably", is a collaborative effort between Cheryl, her fans, and many singers and writers around the globe. It is her first published work to be on the "For Your Consideration" round on the Grammy Ballot under several categories including Best Pop Duo, Best Pop Vocal Record, and Best Arrangement for Vocals and Instruments.
Cheryl is a Cornell University graduate and studied orchestration at the Julliard School of Music. She is currently working on creating songs and scores for commercials and films, while co-writing and composing her first musical.
CHAD PHILLIPS // Production Designer
Chad Phillips honed his design skills as an interior designer in the Automotive Design Industry. A chance encounter with a film set led him to his second career as Set Decorator and Production Designer, creating environments for film and the occasional photo shoot. He has worked on feature films including Bad Roomies, starring Patrick Renna (The Sand Lot), TV series including The Joey Mac Project, based on the life of New Kids On The Block member Joey McIntyre, music videos, commercials, and even the web series Dating Dolls for Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures. He has also worked on digital shorts for such clients as Comedy Central, AOL, Maker Studios, and Funny Or Die. Chad is a member of IATSE Local 44 as a Set Decorator.