Filmmaker Stephen Gaghan is probably best known for directing the critically acclaimed geopolitical thriller Syriana, and for writing the Academy Award nominated crime drama Traffic, for which he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Syriana, starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Wright, earned Gaghan his second Oscar nomination for writing and was awarded the National Board of Review “Best Screenplay of 2005.” Additionally, it was nominated for several Academy Awards, including a win for Best Supporting Actor for George Clooney. As with Syriana, Gaghan proved himself a master of orchestrating several parallel storylines and multiple settings on Traffic, a film that explores the corruption of America’s war on drugs. Gaghan garnered numerous awards and nominations including wins for the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and WGA.
For his work in television, Gaghan won an Emmy for writing an episode of “NYPD Blue” and has more recently written and directed the 2011 pilot Metro (20th/NBC), and directed the 2014 pilot White City for AMC.
Additional film writing credits include Havoc (2005), The Alamo (2004), Rules of Engagement (2000), and Abandon (2002), which he also directed.
Teddy Schwarzman serves as president and CEO of Black Bear Pictures, overseeing all operations of the company, including development, production, and finance.
Schwarzman has produced a range of filmed content, including Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Academy Award winner for Best Adapted Screenplay and nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture; J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost, which earned Robert Redford a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor; and Allen Hughes’ Broken City, starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.
A proud member of the Producers Guild of America, Schwarzman also sits on the Board of Directors of Elevation Pictures Corp., Canada’s second largest independent film and television distributor.
Prior to Black Bear, Schwarzman worked at Cinetic Media, a New York based film advisory company. Prior to Cinetic, Schwarzman was an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and prior to Skadden, was a financial analyst at Citigroup Corporate & Investment Bank.
Schwarzman earned a Bachelor of Arts, English, from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duke University School of Law, where he now sits on the Board of Visitors.
Black Bear Pictures is a boutique media company that develops, produces and finances original and engaging content for film and television.
Since its launch in 2011, Black Bear’s slate has grossed over $250,000,000 worldwide, been nominated for nine Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, ten BAFTAs, and won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and the prestigious People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Black Bear’s films have premiered at prestigious film festivals in Cannes, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, London, Sundance and New York.
In addition, Black Bear created subsidiary Elevation Pictures Corp, Canada’s second-largest independent film and TV distribution company, which has acquired or released films from such acclaimed directors as Morten Tyldum, Noah Baumbach, John Hillcoat, J.C. Chandor, John Carney, Ed Zwick, Dan Gilroy, Alexandro Amenábar and Yann Demange.
Black Bear has offices in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY.
A producer for over twenty-five years, Michael Nozik has made numerous award-winning films. In 1994 he received an Academy Award nomination for best picture for Quiz Show, directed by Robert Redford, and in 2004 he won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Picture in a Foreign Language for The Motorcycle Diaries. He is currently partnered with Paul Haggis in their production company, HWY 61, in Venice, CA.
Most recently, Nozik was a consulting producer on the HBO six-hour miniseries “Show Me a Hero” written by “The Wire”‘s David Simon and Bill Zorzi and directed by Paul Haggis. Nozik produced HWY 61’s second feature project Third Person, written and directed by Hwy 61 partner Paul Haggis and starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, and Oliva Wilde. In 2010 he produced The Next Three Days, also written and directed by Paul Haggis. The film starred Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson. Amongst HWY 61’s upcoming projects that Nozik will produce is Rangers Apprentice, a 10-book franchise action/adventure series of novels written by John Flanagan, which Paul Haggis will direct from a script he co-wrote with Alyssa Haggis. Also on the HWY 61 slate is Cell 211, a remake of the award winning Spanish film Celda 211, and “Code-37” a television series based on the hit Belgian show and subsequent movie of same name.
Prior to the formation of HWY 61, Nozik produced Love in the Time of Cholera, which was directed by Mike Newell and stars Javier Bardem. He also produced the Academy Award-winning film Syriana, written and directed by GOLD director Stephen Gaghan and starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Jeffrey Wright.
In 2004, Nozik produced the much-acclaimed film The Motorcycle Diaries, directed by Walter Salles and starring Gael Garcia Bernal.
As a founding partner of Serenade Films, Nozik executive produced Game Six, directed by Michael Hoffman and starring Michael Keaton and Robert Downey Jr.; 12 And Holding, directed by Michael Cuesta; Great New Wonderful, directed by Danny Leiner and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Tony Shalhoub; as well as The Narrows.
While president of Robert Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises, Nozik also produced People I Know, starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger and Tea Leoni; The Legend of Bagger Vance, directed by Redford and starring Matt Damon and Will Smith; How To Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog, starring Kenneth Branagh and Robin Wright Penn; Slums of Beverly Hills, starring Alan Arkin and Marisa Tomei; and She’s The One, with Edward Burns, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston.
Prior to partnering with Redford, Nozik produced three films directed by Mira Nair: The Perez Family, Mississippi Masala starring Denzel Washington, and finally, the Academy Award nominated Salaam Bombay.
His other producing credits include Thunderheart starring Val Kilmer, Crossing Delancey with Amy Irving, and, for television, the Tony Hillerman novel, “Skin Walkers”.
see Cast bio
Patrick co-wrote Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. His television writing career began with “Veritas: The Quest” at ABC, which he and his partner John Zinman co-created and executive produced. He then went on to co-executive produce the Emmy Award-winning “Friday Night Lights” at NBC, “The Chicago Code” at FOX and “Last Resort” at ABC with executive producer Shawn Ryan. He most recently co-executive produced “The Blacklist” starring James Spader at NBC. Patrick currently has the feature The Wild One Hundreds in production, starring Gary Oldman and directed by Gary Fleder. He and John Zinman currently have an overall television deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
John co-wrote Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. His television writing career began with “Veritas: The Quest” at ABC, which he and his partner Patrick Massett co-created and executive produced. He then went on to co-executive produce the Emmy Award-winning “Friday Night Lights” at NBC, “The Chicago Code” at FOX and “Last Resort” at ABC with executive producer Shawn Ryan. He most recently co-executive produced “The Blacklist” starring James Spader at NBC. John currently has the feature The Wild One Hundreds in production, starring Gary Oldman and directed by Gary Fleder. He and Patrick Massett currently have an overall television deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
In 2006, Paul Haggis became the first screenwriter to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back --Million Dollar Baby (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, and Crash (2005) which he himself directed. For Crash, Haggis won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. The film also received an additional four nominations including one for Haggis’ direction. Crash reaped numerous awards during its year of release from associations such as the IFP Spirit Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA.
Most recently, Haggis directed all six episodes of the HBO mini-series “Show Me A Hero”, starring Catherine Keener, Winona Ryder, James Belushi, and Alfred Molina.
In 2013 he wrote and directed the romantic, personal drama Third Person, which tracked the course of three interconnected love affairs set in Rome, Paris and New York. The film starred Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, and Kim Basinger.
The Next Three Days, which starred Russell Crowe, Liam Neeson, and Elizabeth Banks, was released in 2013 by Hwy 61 and Lionsgate Films. Hwy 61 is the production company Haggis formed with his friend and producing partner Michael Nozik.
In 2007, Haggis’ screenplays included the duo Clint Eastwood productions Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, the latter earning him his third screenplay Oscar nomination. He also helped pen Casino Royale, which garnered considerable acclaim for reinvigorating the James Bond spy franchise.
In 2007, Haggis wrote, directed, and produced In The Valley Of Elah for Warner Independent Pictures, Samuels Media and Summit Entertainment. The film, which starred Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron, and Susan Sarandon, was a suspense drama about a father’s search for his missing son, who is reported AWOL after returning from Iraq. Jones earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
Haggis was born in London, Ontario, Canada and moved to California in his early 20s. For over two decades he has written, directed and produced television shows such as “Thirtysomething” and “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and also developed credits as a pup writer on many Norman Lear sitcoms. He created the acclaimed, if short-lived, CBS series “EZ Streets” which The New York Times cited as one of the most influential shows of all time, noting, that without it “there would be no `Sopranos.’”
Equally committed to his private and social concerns, Haggis is the founder of Artists for Peace and Justice. Under this umbrella, many of his friends in the film business have come forward to build schools and a rehabilitation clinic serving the children of the slums of Haiti (www.APJNow.org). Haggis was a key element in the 25th anniversary updating of the “We Are the World” video which he directed and which was used to benefit Haiti relief.
He currently resides in New York.
Ben Stillman is senior vice president of Black Bear Pictures, where he has worked since the company’s formation.
At Black Bear, Ben has co-produced Broken City and A.C.O.D., and was associate producer on At Any Price. He was actively involved in the production of The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. Additionally, Ben served on the Board of Directors for Canadian distributor Elevation Pictures.
Prior to Black Bear, Ben worked at Cinetic International, selling international distribution rights for such films as Exit Through the Gift Shop, Meek’s Cutoff, and Diego Luna’s Abel.
Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and English with a concentration on Creative Writing from Stanford University. He lives in Los Angeles.
Richard Middleton began working in the film business in 1993 as an assistant coordinator on the independent film Sleep With Me, starring Craig Sheffer, Eric Stoltz and Meg Tilly. Not content with starting above the bottom, Middleton reversed course and worked as a production assistant (and driver) on such notable films as Pulp Fiction and The Crossing Guard. The goal of working as many production positions as possible was actively in play. Middleton segued into creative development in 1995, working first as an assistant in production at Trimark Pictures, and then as a creative executive at Arnold Kopelson Productions in 1996 where he developed such projects as Devil’s Advocate, U.S. Marshals and A Perfect Murder.
Middleton packaged his first feature project in May 1997, entitled The Curve. The film, written and directed by Dan Rosen, and starring Dana Delaney, Matthew Lillard, and Keri Russell, premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Thinking the producer’s life was pretty easy, Middleton spent the next three years and his remaining life savings trying to set up more projects, all to no avail. (Note: several of the projects Middleton tried to set up eventually got made by other producers, which further cemented the truism “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”)
In 2001, Middleton decided to focus his efforts on producing and production managing other producers’ projects. He’s completed 30 feature films and TV shows, with a number of films selected for the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, including May, The Last Word, I Love You Phillip Morris, and The Artist, the latter winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards.
He hopes this trend of 30 produced projects every fourteen years continues. Middleton is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
As the executive director of Living Films and based in Thailand for 20 years now, Chris has produced a long list of feature films throughout his career. After starting out as an assistant director on Hollywood feature films such as Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and Oliver Stone’s Heaven and Earth, Chris moved to Thailand in 1992 and soon after started Living Films.
Since then, Chris has expanded Living Films into one of the top production houses in Thailand, gaining a reputation for integrity and experience. According to a recent report by The Thai Film Board, Living Films was the top production company in Thailand for five years running.
Chris has completed over 30 feature films and television series in Thailand, working with such artists as Jackie Chan on The Medallion, Matt Dillon on City of Ghosts, Nicolas Cage on Bangkok Dangerous, John Cusack and Chow Yun Fat on the epic period film Shanghai, and then Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and the rest of the cast of The Hangover Part II.
Most recently, Chris completed work as co-producer of the thriller No Escape with Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan and Lake Bell.
Director of Photography
Robert Elswit won an Academy Award® for his work on Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and was honored in 2006 with an Academy Award® nomination for his work on George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck. For that film, he won an Independent Spirit Award, Boston Society of Film Critics Award, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography. He also received a nomination for Best Achievement in Cinematography from the American Society of Cinematographers.
Elswit has worked with numerous acclaimed directors, including Stephen Gaghan on Syriana; Paul Thomas Anderson on Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, and Inherent Vice; David Mamet on Heist; Don Roos on Bounce; Curtis Hanson on River Wild, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Bad Influence; Stephen Gyllenhaal on A Dangerous Woman, Waterland, Paris Trout and A Killing In a Small Town; Ben Affleck on The Town; Tony Gilroy on The Bourne Legacy; Dan Gilroy on Nightcrawler; Brad Bird on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; and Christopher McQuarrie on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
His other film credits include Paul Weitz’s American Dreamz; Gary Fleder’s Runaway Jury and Imposter; Roger Spottiswoode’s Tomorrow Never Dies; Boys; The Pallbearer; Mike Newell’s Amazing Grace and Chuck; Desert Hearts; and Rob Reiner’s The Sure Thing.
Elswit was born in California and is a graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
Maria Djurkovic’s feature film credits as production designer include The Imitation Game by Morten Tyldum, for which she was nominated for both an Academy Award and BAFTA Award in 2015; The Invisible Woman by Ralph Fiennes; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by Thomas Alfredson, for which she received a BAFTA nomination and won the European Film Award; and Stephen Daldry’s award-winning The Hours and Billy Elliot. For these last three movies, she received nominations for Excellence in Production Design from the Art Directors Guild.
She was the production designer on three previous Focus Features movies, Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair (which earned her a Satellite Award nomination), Christine Jeffs’ Sylvia, and Woody Allen’s Scoop, and reteamed with the latter writer/director on Cassandra’s Dream. Djurkovic’s other features as production designer include Phyllida Lloyd’s blockbuster Mamma Mia!; Peter Howitt’s Sliding Doors; Brian Gilbert’s Wilde (for which she won the Evening Standard Best Technical Achievement Award); Benjamin Ross’ The Young Poisoner’s Handbook and Golden Globe Award-winning RKO 281 (for which she was an Emmy Award nominee); and Richard Loncraine’s The Special Relationship, written by Peter Morgan.
In 2002, Djurkovic was honored with the Women in Film and Television Technical Achievement Award.
Danny Glicker was honored with an Academy Award® nomination as well as the Costume Designers Guild Excellence in Period Film nomination for his work on Gus Van Sant’s Milk starring Sean Penn. Glicker had previously received the Costume Designers Guild Excellence in Contemporary Film Award for his designs on Duncan Tucker’s drama Transamerica starring Felicity Huffman, and was nominated for the CDG award for Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air.
Recent projects include The Sea of Trees, reuniting Glicker with director Gus Van Sant and Matthew McConaughey, and Love & Mercy, director Bill Pohlad’s acclaimed film about singer-songwriter Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, featuring Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti.
Glicker designed the costumes for the run of the HBO series “Looking” based in San Francisco, with director Andrew Haigh, featuring the lives and loves of three gay friends in contemporary times.
Previous credits include Thank You For Smoking and Labor Day starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, for Jason Reitman; This Is the End, directed by Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen; The Guilt Trip starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen; director Walter Salles’ sprawling 1940’s road trip epic On the Road, based on the book by Jack Kerouac, with an ensemble cast that includes Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, and Amy Adams; We Are Marshall, the true story of the Marshall University college football team in the early ‘70s overcoming serious obstacles, starring Matthew McConaughey; and two projects with Alan Ball—Towelhead starring Toni Collette, Aaron Eckhart and Maria Bello, and the pilot for “True Blood,” HBO’s hit vampire series starring Anna Paquin.
Avy Kaufman is a casting director based in New York City and a proud mother of two sons. She has worked with directors Ang Lee, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Jodie Foster, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Wong Kar Wai, and many other respected directors on such acclaimed films as Life of Pi, Lincoln, Prometheus, Syriana, Shame, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, The Sixth Sense, Dancer in the Dark, American Gangster, and Salt, and a few upcoming features include Money Monster, How To Be Single, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Avy was honored in 2005 as the casting director of the year at the Hollywood Film Festival. She was awarded an Emmy in 2008 for her work on the pilot of Showtime’s “Damages” and received an Emmy nomination for the HBO mini-series “Empire Falls.” Avy received a lifetime achievement award for casting at the Subtitle Film Festival in Ireland in 2014. She has also been the recipient of several Artios awards from her colleagues and is featured in Helena Lumme’s book “Great Women Of Film”.
Douglas Crise was nominated for a 2014 BAFTA for best editing on Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and won the Critics’ Choice award. Doug’s previous collaboration with Alejandro González Iñárritu on Babel garnered him both Oscar and BAFTA nominations for best editing. Doug cut the critically acclaimed Arbitrage which stars Richard Gere. His collaboration with filmmaker Harmony Korine on Spring Breakers, starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens, has been talked about as revolutionary. Doug worked with Diego Luna on Cesar Chavez and most recently on Mr. Pig which stars Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph.
Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist-Matthew McConaughey
After graduating from The London College of Fashion, Felicity returned to her native Australia where she began working as a makeup and hair designer in the film industry. She went on to work internationally in Europe, Canada, and the United States, where she continues to work with top directors worldwide including David Fincher and Martin Campbell. In 2014, she won an Emmy for her work on “True Detective.” Her department head credits include The Social Network, State of Play, Zodiac, and Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, amongst others. She recently wrapped The Free State of Jones with Matthew McConaughey.