MATT ALVAREZ, p.g.a. (Produced by) started his career at New Line Cinema/Fine Line Features. While at the studio, Alvarez worked on such films as Rumble in the Bronx and Deconstructing Harry.
Later, Alvarez launched CubeVision with legendary rapper/actor Ice Cube. While at CubeVision, Alvarez produced such films as the Friday franchise, the Barbershop franchise, the Are We There Yet? franchise and All About the Benjamins.
Most recently, Alvarez produced the box-office hit Ride Along, which starred Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, and earned over $130 million domestically, and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights for Relativity. Theatrical box-office revenues from his films total more than $800 million.
Most recently, Alvarez produced the upcoming Ride Along 2.
SCOTT BERNSTEIN, p.g.a. (Produced by) has been responsible for discovering commercially successful and critically acclaimed films from some of the most talented filmmakers over the past two decades. Bernstein has been able to carefully put the creative process first and foremost in collaboration with a keen eye toward commercial viability. This past year, he opened SMB Films, which is producing the upcoming Ride Along 2, starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. The sequel to the international blockbuster Mama will begin production in the summer.
Bernstein is currently working with some of the most well-known and accomplished filmmakers, including Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), the Hayes Brothers (The Conjuring), Michael Bay (Transformers), J.J. Abrams (upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens and Star Trek), Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and John Lee Hancock (The Blindside), among many others. Currently, he has several projects set up at DreamWorks Pictures, Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures.
Previously, Bernstein served as executive vice president at Universal Pictures. Most recently, Bernstein oversaw production on Ride Along, which starred Cube and Hart. Ride Along went on to become the highest-grossing film ever released in January and held the No. 1 position at the domestic box office for three weeks in a row. In 2013, Bernstein oversaw production on Guillermo del Toro’s hit Mama, which grossed more than $146 million worldwide. His success continued with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy’s Identity Thief, which opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office and held that position for two non-consecutive weeks. The film ended up grossing over $173 million at the worldwide box-office.
During his time at Universal Pictures, Bernstein shepherded numerous projects at the studio, beginning with the 2006 blockbuster romantic comedy The Break-Up, which starred Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, and grossed over $204 million worldwide. In 2008, Bernstein oversaw development and production on two Universal Pictures features, the breakout comedy Role Models, which starred Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott; and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which was based on the supernatural Dark Horse Comics character and directed by del Toro, Bernstein’s frequent collaborator.
Prior to Universal Pictures, Bernstein served as an executive at Lionsgate Films, where he oversaw production on Monster’s Ball, for which Halle Berry won the Academy® Award for Best Actress.
DR. DRE (Produced by) was born in Compton, California, as Andre Young and began his music career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Shortly after, Dre co-founded N.W.A with Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella and the late Eazy-E. They brought the rage and intensity of life in South Central Los Angeles to a global consciousness with their landmark album, “Straight Outta Compton.” In 1992, Dre released his solo debut, “The Chronic.” He followed it with a second solo album, the six-time platinum“2001.”
In 1996, Dre launched Aftermath Entertainment, where over the years he discovered hip-hop superstars such as 50 Cent, The Game, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem, whose 1999 debut, “The Slim Shady LP,” sold nine million copies.
In 2008, Dre co-founded Beats Electronics, the audio consumer electronics company, with Jimmy Iovine. In January 2014, they launched Beats Music—a subscription streaming service. Apple acquired both in July 2014.
In 2013, Iovine and Dre gave a $70 million endowment to the University of Southern California to create the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation—a new model for training and inspiring young innovators.
WILL PACKER (Executive Producer) has established himself as one of Hollywood’s blockbuster hit makers, with seven of his films opening No. 1 at the box office. In 2013, Packer signed first-look production deals with Universal Pictures and Universal Television. Under both deals, Packer develops new projects for the studios under his Will Packer Productions banner. In 2014, Packer accomplished the rare feat of producing two films in the top six at the box office. Packer’s next film, Ride Along 2, will debut in theaters on January 15, 2016.
Packer’s No. 1 films are No Good Deed (2014), Think Like a Man Too (2014), Ride Along (2014), Think Like a Man (2012), Takers (2010), Obsessed (2008) and Stomp the Yard (2007). His most successful film to date is Universal’s Ride Along, which starred Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. Ride Along debuted at No. 1 at the box office in 2014, with record-breaking receipts totaling $48.6 million during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend opening of the film. Ride Along became one of the biggest January opening box-office tallies of all time. The film also went on to be No. 1 at the box office for three consecutive weeks and grossed over $153 million worldwide. Think Like a Man, the film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s best-selling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” grossed over $96 million worldwide and won the 2013 BET Award for Best Movie. Stomp the Yard held at No. 1 for two weekends and received the 2007 Movie of the Year honors at the BET Hip Hop Awards. Obsessed, which featured mega-star Beyoncé Knowles, was Screen Gems’ third-highest opening in company history when it debuted. No Good Deed, which starred Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson, is his most recent No. 1 film and raked in over $53 million. Packer also enjoyed success with his holiday film This Christmas (2007), which grossed nearly $50 million worldwide, as well as About Last Night (2014), which hit theaters during Valentine’s Day weekend and opened as the No. 1 romantic comedy in America. Packer’s most recent release, this year’s The Wedding Ringer, which starred Hart and Josh Gad, holds the world record as the top “R”-rated comedy opening in January. Collectively, Packer’s films have grossed over $800 million.
On the television side, Packer is set to executive produce Roots, a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time, as an event series that will air simultaneously on the History Channel, A&E and Lifetime networks in 2016. Also making a major foray into prime-time TV, Packer is the executive producer of two upcoming comedies: People Are Talking (NBC) will premiere on October 16, 2015, and Uncle Buck (ABC) will debut in early 2016.
In 2012, Packer was inducted as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization known around the world for its annual Academy Awards®, also known as the Oscars®. As part of the “Academy Conversations” series, the organization presented a conversation with Packer at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. This marked the first time AMPAS participated in a program at the renowned festival.
Packer has been featured on the cover of Black Enterprise and Essence magazines and acknowledged on several high-profile magazine lists, including Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch, Black Enterprise’s Most Powerful Players Under 40 and 10 Most Bankable Producers in Hollywood, Jet’s Who’s Hot to Watch and Ebony’s prestigious Power 100 list.
As a producer and the founder of the Los Angeles-based production company Will Packer Productions, Packer oversees all aspects of the business. Prior to launching his own company in 2013, he co-founded Rainforest Films with director Rob Hardy in the summer of 1994 while both were engineering students at Florida A&M University (FAMU). After graduating magna cum laude from FAMU with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1996, Packer decided to forgo lucrative job offers in the field of engineering to capitalize on his entrepreneurial instincts and his passion for filmmaking.
Packer is a dynamic and inspiring speaker who delivers educational and motivational speeches to film-industry groups, colleges and universities (including Harvard University), as well as youth and community organizations nationwide. He has been honored with the keys to the city of his hometown, St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as Miami, Florida, and “Will Packer Day” has been proclaimed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Packer has also been honored with FAMU’s Meritorious Achievement Award, the highest honor his alma mater bestows.
Packer resides in Atlanta with his family.
ADAM MERIMS (Executive Producer) most recently served as executive producer on Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which was directed by Lee Daniels and starred Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo, as well as the upcoming Child 44, directed by Daniel Espinosa and starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman.
His other recent feature-film credits include Universal Pictures’ 2012 box-office hit Safe House, which was directed by Daniel Espinosa and starred Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds; The Lucky Ones, which starred Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Peña; and The Hunting Party (Richard Shepard’s follow-up to The Matador), which starred Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and Jesse Eisenberg.
Merims was an executive producer for director Billy Ray on Universal Pictures’ Breach, which starred Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney. He also executive produced Lasse Hallström’s Casanova, which starred Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Oliver Platt and Jeremy Irons; Shepard’s The Matador, which starred Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis; and writer/director/actor David Duchovny’s House of D, which starred Robin Williams, Téa Leoni, Erykah Badu and Anton Yelchin.
Merims produced Ray’s critically acclaimed feature Shattered Glass, which starred Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson and Hank Azaria. His other credits as a producer include Ed Solomon’s Levity, which starred Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter and Kirsten Dunst, and opened the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; writer/director Jeff Franklin’s Love Stinks, which starred French Stewart, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Tyra Banks and Bill Bellamy; and Cold Around the Heart, written and directed by John Ridley and executive produced by Oliver Stone. Merims was co-producer of Universal Soldier: The Return and Freeway.
From August 1993 until November 1994, Merims was producer and head of West Coast operations for Nickelodeon Movies. At Nickelodeon, he was responsible for managing the start-up of a Nickelodeon features office in Los Angeles and identifying and developing projects suitable for motion-picture production in the family-entertainment arena in conjunction with both 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.
Before Nickelodeon, Merims worked as vice president of production at Lobell/Bergman Productions from April 1990 through July 1993; he was responsible for all development at the company. During his tenure at Lobell/Bergman, he served as associate producer on Andrew Bergman’s Honeymoon in Vegas and Undercover Blues and Andrew Scheinman’s Little Big League.
From 1984 until 1989, Merims worked as a freelance producer, production manager and assistant director. In these capacities, he was involved with a number of projects, including most notably the Lonesome Dove original miniseries. He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1986.
Merims graduated from Williams College with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and economics. He was also a graduate of the Collegiate School in New York City. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his lovely wife and two children.
DAVID ENGEL (Executive Producer) is a partner at Circle of Confusion, a film and television production and management company with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Circle of Confusion represents writers, directors, actors, comic-book creators and video-game companies. Currently, Circle of Confusion produces The Walking Dead on AMC.
Engel is a producer on the upcoming feature Fire, based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis, which is set up at Universal Pictures with Zac Efron attached to star. Additionally, he is set to produce Your Bridesmaid Is a Bitch, by Circle of Confusion client Brian Duffield, at Skydance Productions. Engel recently executive produced Powers, Sony Pictures Television/PlayStation Network’s first ever original series, starring Sharlto Copley. It debuted in March 2015 and is currently available on Playstation Network.
Engel is a graduate of Cornell University with a BA in English.
After working with director John Singleton, a college classmate, on the groundbreaking film Boyz N the Hood, BILL STRAUS (Executive Producer) sold his own original screenplay, The Clown Prince, to TriStar Pictures.
Several years later, he received his master’s degree from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. A summer internship through Stark at New Line Cinema turned into a position in the story department and he eventually worked his way up the executive ranks.
After leaving New Line Cinema, Straus hung out his own shingle with a deal at the production and management company Circle of Confusion. His first film, The Man, with Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy, was released in 2005. He served as a producer on Weapons,which starred Nick Cannon and Paul Dano, and as an executive producer on Red with Brian Cox, both of which were Sundance Film Festival selections in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Straus also produced The Last Rites of Joe May, with Steppenwolf Films, which starred the late Dennis Farina and was listed as one of Roger Ebert’s Best Films in 2011.
Straus, originally from Brooklyn, New York, returned to New York in 2011 and launched the domestic sales banner BGP Film. He has sold films at Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, SXSW and many other major festivals.
THOMAS TULL, p.g.a. (Executive Producer), chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, has achieved great success in the co-production and co-financing of event movies. Since its inception in 2004, Legendary Pictures, the film division of leading media company Legendary Entertainment that also has television and digital and comics divisions, has teamed with Warner Bros. Pictures on a wide range of theatrical features.
The many recent hits released under the joint banner include Zack Snyder’s worldwide hit Man of Steel and Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Dark Knight trilogy, which kicked off with Batman Begins, followed by the blockbusters The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. The trilogy earned more than $1 billion at the global box office.
This highly successful partnership also produced such films as Snyder’s 300 and Watchmen and 300: Rise of an Empire, which Snyder produced; Ben Affleck’s The Town; Nolan’s award-winning action-drama Inception; the worldwide hit Clash of the Titans and its sequel, Wrath of the Titans; and Todd Phillips’ The Hangover, The Hangover Part II, which is the highest-grossing “R”-rated comedy of all time, and The Hangover Part III.
Legendary recently released Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken,John Erick Dowdle’s As Above/So Below,Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim and Brian Helgeland’s hit drama 42, the story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson. Legendary is in postproduction on Warcraft, based on Blizzard Entertainment’s award-winning gaming universe.
Tull serves on the board of directors of Hamilton College, his alma mater, and Carnegie Mellon University. He also serves on the boards of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the San Diego Zoo, and is part of the ownership group of the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, for which he also holds a board seat. Tull invests in digital, media and lifestyle businesses through his Tull Media Ventures, a privately held venture fund.
JON JASHNI, p.g.a. (Executive Producer) oversees the development and production of all Legendary Pictures film projects and is president and chief creative officer of Legendary Entertainment, a leading media company with film, television and digital and comics divisions. Jashni is currently producing Warcraft and is an executive producer on Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and the upcoming epic action-adventure Seventh Son.
Previously, Jashni was a producer on Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Pacific Rim and Godzilla,and served as executive producer on such Legendary films as 300: Rise of an Empire; the Jackie Robinson biopic 42; the worldwide hit Clash of the Titans; and Ben Affleck’s The Town, which Affleck also co-wrote and starred in.
Prior to Legendary, Jashni was president of Hyde Park Entertainment, a production and financing company with overall deals at 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures and MGM. At Hyde Park, he oversaw the development and production of Shopgirl, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story, Walking Tall and Premonition.
Before joining Hyde Park, Jashni was a producer on director Andy Tennant’s hit romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama. His collaboration with Tennant began with the fairy-tale Ever After: A Cinderella Story, for which Jashni oversaw development and production as a senior production executive at 20th Century Fox.
Jashni also co-produced two Academy Award®-nominated films: the critically acclaimed drama The Hurricane, whichgarnered a Best Actor nomination for star Denzel Washington; and Anna and the King (a nonmusical reinterpretation of Anna and the King of Siam), which starred Jodie Foster and earned two Oscar® nominations.
Jashni is a trustee of the American Film Institute and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America. He holds a BS from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Academy Award®-nominated MATTHEW LIBATIQUE, ASC (Director of Photography) has forged a unique career over the past two decades. He began with the goal of becoming a music-video cinematographer because he was drawn to the potential of electronic image manipulation, but soon he was creating bold, innovative imagery for longer forms. Libatique has a long-standing professional relationship with director Darren Aronofsky, for whom the cinematographer scored an early breakthrough with Pi, a disturbing portrait shot in black-and-white 16mm. Libatique pushed the film emulsion to its limits and beyond to portray an unstable, deteriorating mind obsessed with numbers. Pi won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and Libatique was honored with an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his work; Libatique’s feature-film career was off and running.
Most recently, Libatique and Aronofsky worked together on Noah, their sixth collaboration. Libatique was nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award and an Academy Award® for Black Swan, also directed by Aronofsky. Black Swan was shot in Super 16, which is rare for an Oscar® nominee in the cinematography category. For his work on Black Swan, Libatique also received BAFTA, Critics Choice and the Independent Spirit Award nominations, to name a few.
Libatique’s other collaborations with Aronofsky include Requiem for a Dream, for which Libatique won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography, as well as nominations from the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Online Film Critics Society. Libatique also served as director of photography on Aronofsky’s The Fountain; they had first worked together on the short film Protozoa in 1993.
Libatique has ongoing collaborations with several directors, including Spike Lee, for whom he photographed Miracle at St. Anna, She Hate Me and Inside Man;Joel Schumacher, on Tigerland and Phone Booth; and Jon Favreau, on Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens.
Other feature-film credits include Gothika, for Mathieu Kassovitz; Abandon, for Stephen Gaghan; Everything Is Illuminated, for Liev Schreiber; My Own Love Song, for Olivier Dahan; and Ruby Sparks, for directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Libatique studied at the prestigious American Film Institute, where he earned an MFA in cinematography. In 1995, Libatique began his career as a cinematographer in the music-video industry. His work has appeared on MTV for artists such as The Cure, Usher, Death in Vegas, Erykah Badu, Incubus, Tupac Shakur, Moby, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and The Fray. Libatique earned a Music Video Production Association Award for Best Cinematography in 2002, for Matchbox Twenty’s “Mad Season.” Working on commercials and music-videos, he has combined forces with such talented directors as Stacy Wall, Floria Sigismondi, Dante Ariola, Brian Beletic, Phil Harder, Terry Richardson, Mark Pellington, Traktor, Kinka Usher, StyleWar and Noam Murro.
SHANE VALENTINO (Production Designer), a graduate of Occidental College, began his career in New York City. He first worked as an art director for the Oxygen network before turning his attention to moviemaking, working with NYC independent production companies that included InDigEnt, Moxie Pictures and Flan de Coco Films.
After relocating to Los Angeles, Valentino worked as an art director on such films as Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Alejandro Agresti’s The Lake House and Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. He moved up to production designer on such films as Talmage Cooley’s Taking Chances, which starred Justin Long and Emmanuelle Chriqui; and Brin Hill’s Ball Don’t Lie, which starred Ludacris and Nick Cannon.
Valentino was production designer on Mike Mills’ Beginners,for which Christopher Plummer won an Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor. His work on the film got him noticed by director Ryan Murphy, who Valentino went on to work with on HBO’s Primetime Emmy-winning The Normal Heart, as well as an HBO pilot, Open. Other television credits include Showtime’s House of Lies, starring Don Cheadle and NBC’s Prime Suspect.
In addition to designing for films, television shows and commercials, Valentino is actively involved with museum exhibit design. For the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he acted as supervising art director for The Costume Institute’s exhibit “Superheroes” (2008) and prepared a subsequent exhibit, “American Woman” (2010).
Valentino will design Tom Ford’s new film Nocturnal Animal.