Creative Team

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DANTE RUSSO, Writer/Director/Producer

Dante Russo has worked on a number of television shows and feature films including Glee, The Odd Couple, Growing Up Fisher, The New Normal, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.  In addition to Grief, Dante has directed music videos for artists Melinda Sullivan, Daniel Zaitchik, and Declan Bennett; dance videos for Chloe's Syncopated Ladies and YouTube mega-network DanceOn; sizzle reels for make-up giant FACE Stockholm; and promos such as Cathrine Goldstein's novel "Sleeping With Mortals". 

A native New Yorker, Dante is a graduate of Emerson College and a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and Writers Guild of America, East.

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After producing several short films to complete her M.F.A. at Chapman University, Michelle Johnson went on to work with Jennifer Aniston and Kristin Hahn at their production company, Echo Films, where she assisted in developing and producing a number of feature films, including 2010’s The Switch.  Michelle has since moved on to assisting and supervising behind the camera on such projects as Warner Brothers’ The Gangster Squad and Trouble with the Curve, Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Selma, 20th Century Fox’s Paper Towns, and most recently, HBO's Westworld.

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With a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Melina Lizette began her producing career with the production company Informant Media Inc, (Crazy Heart), where she oversaw multiple feature films from script to screen.  Her first film as an independent producer, Bebé, was celebrated at multiple festivals, including the HBO NY Latino Film Festival and the San Diego Latino Film Festival, and will be released on HBO Latino this June 2018.  With multiple projects in development, Melina is committed to sharing the stories of those voices not often heard -- illuminating this messy and beautiful human experience.  She is a 2018 Project Involve Producing Fellow with Film Independent and a blogger for the Huffington Post.

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MARJORIE LEWIT, Associate Producer

In addition to producing, Pace University NYC Graduate Marjorie LeWit is a writer/director and the Associate Artistic Director of Defiance Theatre Company, where she directed the World Premiere of Group: PTSD stories.  She has directed music videos, including 2017 Kleban Award winner Daniel Zaitchick’s Jane Eyre, as well as documentary and narrative shorts, including Inner Warrior, chronicling trauma survivors struggling with PTSD, and the award-winning Stronger Than Pretty

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JON SCHWEIGART, Director of Photography

Jon Schweigart is an award-winning Cinematographer who grew up in Western New York.  He studied at the University at Buffalo, where he focused on narrative and experimental film.  He has shot eight feature films and is currently the Cinematographer for the series Reckless Juliets

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WES SMITH, Editor/Associate Producer

Wes Smith’s editing credits include Comedy Central's Another Period and FX's Baskets.  Prior to TV, Wes worked in the movie trailer industry, and he has served as editor on several short films. Outside of the editing bay, Wes seeks out sun and fresh air by snowboarding, rock climbing and spending time on the beach. 


ZANDER FIESCHKO, Production Designer

Raised in Pittsburgh, Zander Fiescko studied Cinematography and Sociology at Emerson College. His belief that everything we own has a story, and gathering and reconstructing these artifacts enriches the storytelling process, drew him to Los Angeles where he has lived since 2010, pursuing a film and TV career in the Art Department. His credits include indies Afternoon Delight and Frankenstein, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and Fox’s Grease Live

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Marissa Bergman is an LA-based prop master, fabricator, shopper and set decorator from Las Vegas, NV. She has worked extensively in on and off- Broadway theater in New York, credits include: Amelie, Rocky: The Musical, If/Then, Kinky Boots, and The Bridges of Madison County.  Her experience in the indie world runs the gamut from film, television, to commercials and music videos, including credits for Hulu, and work on The Fosters, Back to the 90s, Grey Gardens, Casa Valentina.


CATELIN DZIUBA, Costume & Puppet Designer

Catelin Dziuba is a costume designer with over six years of experience in entertainment, working in media ranging from theater, film, and commercials to music videos, TV, and web series.  She loves working with bold colors and creating looks from the 40's, 60's, and 80's.

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JANELLE JUNIO, Casting Director

Janelle Junio is currently a casting assistant at ABC Television group, covering shows such as Black-Ish, Designated Survivor, Fresh Off The Boat, Speechless, and SMILF. Formerly of UDK Casting, past credits include: FX’s American Horror Story (seasons 5-7) and Fox’s The Exorcist. Originally from Riverside, CA, Janelle began her career in entertainment as a dancer, performing with the national tour of Movin' Out and Royal Caribbean before settling down in LA and beginning a career in television.


JOHN CHAMBERLIN, Re-Recording Mixer

John Chamberlin has enjoyed a career in music and sound for more than 25 years.  First as a music recording engineer and producer, then as a re-recording mixer for television and film.  He occasionally composes for television as well as creates music with a group of rogue musicians called Elouise.  With over 83 credits on IMDB to his name, John relishes the opportunity to collaborate with visionaries on a regular basis and is involved in some of the most groundbreaking shows on television today, from Weeds and Orange Is the New Black, to Portlandia and Atlanta.


MATT BOARDMAN, Visual Effects Artist

Originally hailing from Michigan, some of Matt’s favorite experiences have been working on Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 Remastered, Defiance, and The Orville.  Outside of work, he is an avid sports fan and enjoys spending time with his two children. 

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CLAYTON ROOT, Visual Effects Artist

Clayton Root has experience in many aspects of filmmaking, with a passion for motion graphics & special effects. His credits span genres from comedy to thriller to documentary, including web series Laps, Street Talk with Alison Becker and Man University.