Stephen Messer Director, Producer

Stephen Messer has worked with Film, Television and Media all of his professional days in search of stories that speak to how we get along in this life by finding ways to personally understand and/or find laughter in what comes our way.
His interests in genres as varied as drama, comedy, documentary, music, commercials, and flights of imagination have found windows which invariably open upon the human condition.
As a Director he has worked on films, television, theater, music videos and web series.  He has produced in film and television, and teaches directing and producing for a college in Los Angeles.

Susannah Barnes Producer

Susannah Barnes has produced television, film, and commercial productions. She has worked for companies including the Discovery Networks, Paramount Pictures, and Henson Pictures, and for directors including Lawrence Kasdan, Darren Aronofsky, and Todd Phillips. She has produced and developed independent film projects that have gone to the Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, and Stockholm film festivals.
In 2005, Susannah joined forces with Wombat Productions, where she created and produced a variety of projects – from internet-based series to a 13-episode Travel Channel series. She brought projects from AOL to Yahoo, and worked for Mark Burnett on a TV/Internet hybrid. During the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, she produced the live broadcast for the Sundance Channel.

Felice Bassuk Producer, Writer

Felice’s work has always been with the written word. First writing and editing in the medical field, then more recently as a screenwriter and producer. Together with her writing partner, Richard F. Russell, she’s written feature-length and short screenplays. One of their feature-length scripts, with a human trafficking theme, has won a dozen awards and is in the early stages of being produced. Her work on THE CALL included writing, fundraising, production, taking the film to festivals, and distribution. Her goal is to have it seen by every middle school student in the country.


Richard F. Russell Writer

A writer should never pen his own bio.  What seems important to a writer will no doubt bore most readers.  Yet, writers do create their own bios, to the chagrin of everyone.  My bio must be short and to the point as I have few literary successes to boast of.  It seems I have been writing all my life, and indeed, if pages of print equal success, then I am as successful as anyone.  Pages alone, though, don’t connote fame or success, just pages.  I live in North Carolina, and I write whenever and however I can.  The mere act of writing produces a joy that I find in no other endeavor.  Whether or not my writing becomes known to many means little to me.  Oh, I would love to be a household name, but that is not my goal.  My goal is to write stories that compel the reader to finish.  My goal is to create tales that will not let me quit them in mid-sentence.  I am a dreamer and a procrastinator, and those traits are not ingredients for success.  I also suffer from reverse paranoia.  I think people are plotting to make me happy.
Richard Russell lives in North Carolina where he plays golf and writes.  He has been writing since college when his short stories graced the pages of the university literary magazine.  He loves writing screenplays, and THE CALL, written with his partner, Felice Bassuk, is one of their best.  They have written an award-winning feature, THE KOI KEEPER, which they hope to see on the screen in the not too distant future.  Writing remains the sole source of sanity in Richard’s chaotic world.

Peter Smokler3Peter Smokler Director of Photography

A Detroit native, Peter has carved out an exceptional body of work in television and film.  With work on numerous films dating back to the seminal Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter (1970) and the first-of-its-kind mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Peter continued to be the DP of choice for groundbreaking television on series which include The Larry Sanders Show, Sports Night, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
Peter is the father of two boys; his son Greg contributed to THE CALL as Assistant Cameraman.


Max Goldblatt Editor

Max Goldblatt is an award-winning Los Angeles-based filmmaker. The son of Oscar-nominated film editor Mark Goldblatt, Max has edited feature length documentaries, music video and short films with a host of collaborators. An obsession with story has served Max well, leading him from the arduous process of molding documentary footage into a compelling narrative, to rewriting screenplays for studio projects in development. He recently edited the short film The Arm (directed by Jessie Ennis, Brie Larson & Sarah Ramos), which was an official selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and winner of the Jury Prize for Comedic Storytelling. On his own, Max has directed music videos and created “behind the scenes” content for recording artists MGMT, Dirty Projectors, Spoon, Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, Miniature Tigers, Robert Francis, Snowblink, Robert Schwartzman, Keepaway, The Echo Friendly and Joachim Cooder.

Lucy Schwartz Composer

Lucy Schwartz is a 23-year-old Los Angeles-based artist, with big dreams, a colorful imagination, and a knack for writing songs that translate to the big screen. Her music has graced movie theaters and TV sets all around the world. Lucy says, “What I love most about the challenge of writing for film is that you have to put yourself into the lens of a different character and always end up with a song that you would never have written otherwise. One form of art inspires another form of art.”
Lucy began writing songs for films when she was a teenager in high school. At age 18, she wrote both the opening-title song and end-credit song for the Meg Ryan film The Women. Since then, she has written original songs for Shrek Forever After, Mother & Child, Post Grad, and had music featured in the films Monte Carlo, Adam, and a multitude of TV shows. She also penned the international theme song for NBC’s show Parenthood. Most recently, she co-wrote a brooding medieval ballad entitled, “Cold,” with British artist Aqualung, for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Plus, Fun Fact: The fake-British-chanteuse of “Mr. F” and “For British Eyes Only” on Arrested Development is, in truth, the voice of Lucy.
Lucy toured with Lilith Fair alongside Sarah McLachlan and Sheryl Crow and has opened for Moby, The Weepies, Brandi Carlile, The Civil Wars, A Fine Frenzy, Agnes Obel, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and The Belle Brigade.
Recently, Lucy released a 6-track EP called “Keep Me” and is currently working on her third full-length album — due out in 2013!
Dedicated to making the world a better place through music, Lucy has worked with Charity Water, CHOC Children’s Hospital, Rock n Roll Camp for Girls, Songs of Love for Japan, and Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project, and hopes to continue to be involved in projects that bring hope, light, and laughter to others.
Trivia for 5 Bonus Points:
Which member of THE CALL participated in Lucy’s first music video?
Check your guess at

 Wouter van Herwerden Sound Designer

Wouter van Herwerden, a Sound and Acoustic Engineer (University of North London), began his career in 1978 as an audio engineer, recording classical music, TV dramas, children programs, and live news broadcasts. In 1982 he joined Paul Smith’s Complete Video Facilities, where he designed and oversaw the construction of one of London’s premiere audio postproduction studios. In 1992, he was part of the CBS Winter Olympics (in Albertville) sound postproduction crew, recording, editing, and mixing packages and live feeds for Prime Time TV in New York. As director of SSI, he introduced Digital Audio Workstation, which replaced analog equipment for film trailers, TV & radio commercials, and TV shows. In 2003 he co-founded the consulting firm of Pants Inc., to develop business ideas and offer services to clients including Warner Brothers. He has worked at MatchFrame, Todd-AO Burbank, Radio in the Nude, Rocket Surgery (as engineer and consultant), Crush Voodoo (now Solid), Latte Mix, Oink, Big Joe Sound, and Margarita Mix Hollywood. Wouter records, edits, and mixes features, TV shows, commercials, promos, video games, DVD value-added material, and online content.


Educators Package