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Tara Miele spent her formative years on stage in community theatre before entering the BFA Dramatic Arts program at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She soon declared Film Studies as her second major and earned the privilege of directing one of four coveted 16mm senior film projects. Her short film, MISS GENTILBELLE, based on the Charles Beaumont story of the same name, earned several grants and awards including the Corwin-Metropolitan Theatres Award. The film premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and has since screened around the world. Tara's second short film, SMACKERS, has also screened at dozens of festivals, including South by Southwest and was recognized as one of the "Best of Fest" at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Clocking in at a mere minute and a half, the short parables the downfall of Junior High royalty.

For several years, Tara worked in theatre, film, and television while devoting time to developing her screenwriting career. She, along with writing partner Kristine M. Skeie, sold her first script, COUGARS, to Gold Circle Films. She also completed her passion project, a coming of age dramedy entitled TITS, which Silverwood Films snatched up the rights to, with Tara attached to direct. Most recently, New Line Cinema preemptively purchased Miele and Skeie’s romantic comedy pitch, COVER YOUR ASSETS. The project has found a new home at Lionsgate.

Tara currently writes and resides in Los Angeles.


Jennifer has produced several short films including THE DAWN CHORUS written and directed by Hope Dickson Leach, which played film festivals including Sundance and London, and won Best Student Narrative Short at the Austin Film Festival. Her film LONGSHOTS, was shot on location at a thoroughbred horse farm in upstate NY and premiered at MethodFest. She also produced TWENTY DOLLAR DRINKS, a short starring Sandra Bernhard and Cady Huffman, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Jennifer’s background is in theatre and for the stage she’s produced a critically acclaimed rendition of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and a benefit run of The Vagina Monologues in Los Angeles. Her most recent theatrical venture was in 2006 when she produced Only a Lad, a new musical based on the music of 80’s band Oingo Boingo, which premiered at the New York Fringe Festival.

She recently served as the line producer on independent features TEN STORIES TALL, starring Ally Sheedy and Josh Hamilton, and DEAR LEMON LIMA, featuring Melissa Leo, Beth Grant and Meaghan Jette Martin. She was an associate producer on INDELIBLE, a feature that won the Sloan Foundation Production Grant.

Jennifer recently founded her own production company, Covert Productions, and has several projects in development. She participated in the 2007 Film Independent Producers Lab in Los Angeles, and took one of her projects through the Berlinale Talent Project Market in 2008.

Westin was a finalist for the PGA Debra Hill Fellowship and the Hallmark Young Producer Award. She won the Arthur Krim Memorial Award for excellence in producing. She has a BA in theatre from the University of Southern California and an MFA in film from Columbia University.

Director of Photography

A graduate of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television, Brett Juskalian has had the pleasure of training under renowned cinematographers John Simmons, ASC, and Walt Lloyd, ASC. His television work includes documentary series for Discovery, BRAVO UK, Sci-Fi Channel, A&E and the History Channel. Additionally, he has lensed dozens of award-winning shorts and feature films, most recently THE GAUNTLET, featuring international star Bai Ling. His commercial work includes lauded spots for Jenny-O Turkey, Electronic Arts, ABC Family, Acura, and Shell. He has shot performances and music videos for Green Day, Death Cab for Cutie, Fallout Boy, Snow Patrol, Wolfmother, Counting Crows and Pearl Jam.


Born in Atlanta, GA, Steve Edwards received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Georgia. He worked in television post-production on projects such as “The Sopranos,” “NYPD Blue,” “Arli$$,” and “The Mind of the Married Man,” before moving up to cut his first feature, THE UPSIDE OF ANGER, starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner, for director Mike Binder and New Line Pictures in 2005.

In 2006, Steve worked with director Aaron Woodley and Executive Producer Lee Daniels (MONSTER’S BALL and PRECIOUS) on the feature TENNESSEE, starring Adam Rothenberg, Ethan Peck and Mariah Carey for Vivendi Entertainment.

Steve then re-teamed with Mike Binder on 2007’s REIGN OVER ME, starring Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Jada Pinkett Smith, for Columbia Pictures.

Last year, Steve worked with first-time director Nia Vardalos on the romantic comedy I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY, starring Nia Vardalos and John Corbett for IFC.

THE LAKE EFFECT is Steve’s fifth feature.


Composer M. Paul Larson was born and raised in southern California. A veteran of the Silver Lake indie rock scene, Paul cut his teeth playing with the "eno-core" rock band Strictly Ballroom in the late 90's.

Larson now leads the soul-infused melancholic indie rock outfit The Minor Canon. Described as “honest-to-god stellar-sad pop” (OC Weekly) and “memphis soul on an indie bender” (Blackbook Magazine), The Minor Canon was also hailed as one of “10 bands to watch in 2007” by the Los Angeles Times: “so there might not be much commercial potential in a seven-piece with a horn section, but the music is as heartfelt and as inventive as it gets.” The LA Weekly named the band’s debut album, “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” as one of the “10 best local albums of 2007.”

The Minor Canon started as Paul's solo project but has since evolved into a full ensemble with horn section, at times, a 12 piece orchestra. Larson’s guitar work can also be heard on Dntel’s “Dumb Luck” album (Sub Pop), a project of Jimmy Tamborello (Postal Service), which also features Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley.

Music Supervisor

Growing up in Santa Barbara, California, Mike cultivated his independent music ethos through the “do it yourself” indie punk scene, playing and touring in local bands and booking shows before moving to Los Angeles to study at UCLA. Expanding his involvement in music, Mike ran the Concert team at Campus Events at UCLA, hosted a radio show while living abroad in Spain and got his feet wet in the recorded music side at Capitol.

In 2001, Mike went to work for Warner Special Products which later merged with Rhino Entertainment. At Rhino, Mike first worked in audio licensing (clearing samples and tracks for compilations) then digital (researching rights for downloads and ringtones) and finally in the Synch department (licensing for commercials). Bringing in one emerging label to represent for licensing in 2004 set the template for Mike’s currently created position, established in the summer of 2007, to contract with independent labels/artists that fill gaps within WMG’s catalog. Heading up and branding his focus area “Rhino Independent”, Mike works hand in hand with the Synch department to facilitate license deals (ie: for commercials, films/trailers, TV, video games, compilations and custom products) for represented artists.

Casting Director

Samantha Finkler has been casting feature films and television shows since 2004. She grew up on Long Island and moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She discovered her passion for Casting early on in her college career and began working her way up the Hollywood ladder as an intern in 2001. She has been fortunate enough to have worked along side and be mentored by some of the industry’s most well respected Casting Directors including Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood, Sig de Miguel, Barbara Fiorentino and Amanda Mackey. Samantha recently founded her own casting company, Sam Finkler Casting. Samantha has worked on over 30 feature films and 4 television shows, some of her credits include, FAME, THE UGLY TRUTH, TWILIGHT, DISTURBIA, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, David E. Kelley’s series “The Wedding Bells”, Season 4 of FX’s “The Shield” and THE GOOD SHEPHERD.


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