Patty West is a producer and educator in Los Angeles. Her first narrative feature film with her company, Leeden Media, was SOME GIRL(S), written by Neil LaBute (based on his play) and stars Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mia Maestro, Jennifer Morrison and Emily Watson. The film was directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was released in 2013 Worldwide. The business model was featured in the Wall Street Journal, TIME and International Business Times, among others.
In 2014, she was an Executive Producer alongside Leeden Media on ADDICTED TO FRESNO. The film was directed by Jamie Babbit and stars Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, and Fred Armisen. It premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in March of 2015 and was released in theaters and VOD by Gravitas Ventures.
In 2016, she served as an Executive Producer on Anahita Ghazvinizadeh's debut feature, THEY, which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival as an Official Selection. There, it was nominated for a Camera D'Or and for a Queer Palm.
Patty began in Los Angeles working for producer Carol Baum as a Creative Executive. She then went on to program seminars for the AFI Conservatory bringing filmmakers such as Sam Mendes, David Cronenberg and Luc Besson to the AFI campus. In 2013, she was appointed Program Director for the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women, a program founded in 1974. There, she brought in Artists-in-Residence including Patty Jenkins, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Jill Soloway, among others. In January 2016, she expanded her role at the AFI Conservatory and now oversees production for the graduate thesis program.
Patty has taught producing workshops to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of New Orleans and the Athena Film Festival. She has served on panels at SXSW and IFP/Chicago, as a Mentor for Dogfish Accelerator, a member of the Shorts Jury for Etheria Film Night, a member of the Jury for the CineStory Screenwriting Fellowship and as a Mentor for the CineStory Writer’s Retreat. She also helped found the AFI Alumni Mentor Program in 2009 and served as Co-Chair from 2009 - 2015.
Patty holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and a M.F.A. in Producing from the AFI Conservatory. She is a proud member of the Producers Guild of America.
Nick Horbaczewski’s passion for film runs deep and he began his career as a special effects artist in Los Angeles. Later, he worked on-set and in pre-production for films such as David Mamet’s STATE AND MAIN and GIRLFIGHT, a Grand Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival. Outside of film, he’s had a diverse career including working as a consultant for Bain and Company, writing a travel guide for Let’s Go, and co-founding a tactical equipment and services firm teaching hand-to-hand combat to elite military and law enforcement units around the world. Later, he led Corporate Development for a billion dollar defense contractor, running debt raises, M&A transactions, and an Initial Public Offering. Most recently, Nick served as the Senior Vice President of Revenue and Business Development at Tough Mudder, responsible for ticket sales and revenue generation from Tough Mudder’s 60+ events around the world. He is now CEO of The Drone Racing League, featured on CNBC, in WIRED and the Wall Street Journal, among others. He holds a BA in History and Literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Chris Schwartz started in the business working for producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. In his six years with Kennedy and Marshall, Chris worked directly on the productions of CONGO and THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD, and on the pre-production of THE SIXTH SENSE. In 2000, Chris began working at AFI as the Manager of the AFI Conservatory and National Workshops. As program manager, he has overseen approximately 80 short films over the course of his working with the Directing Workshop for Women. Chris programs the renowned Harold Lloyd Master Seminars and Sloan Seminars where he brought such guests as Damien Chazelle, Rian Johnson and Andrea Arnold to the campus, among others. As a director, his short film, DINNER WITH KIP, won second place in Nintendo’s Short Film contest and has aired repeatedly on the Independent Film Channel, HBO and various other cable channels. With Patty, Chris formed Leeden Media in 2011. SOME GIRL(S) was their first film.
James West was born in Iowa and grew up in Chicago, where he made a living as a professional photographer for almost a decade before dedicating himself entirely to film and video. After working for two years shooting independent films in Chicago, James headed to Los Angeles in 2003 to attend the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory, where he received a MFA in Cinematography in '05.
For the past 12 years, James has been shooting independent features, short films, web series, and commercials. James' work has been featured at the MOCA, LACMA, the Hammer Museum of Art, at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW), BFI London Film Festival, Festival de Cannes, Festival of Nations in Austria and the Brooklyn International Film Festival. His most recent projects include a feature film called A WORLD AFTER, filmed on location in Northern Wales and Liverpool; a 10-part sci-fi web series called SWERVE with his long time collaborator, Zach Horton; MATTRESSIDE with writer/director Chris Merrill starring Rose McIver and Jennifer Morrison; and EASY LIVING, written and directed by Adam Keleman (premiere: SXSW Film Festival 2017).
Amanda Filla was born and raised in Illinois. She graduated magna cum laude from N.C. State University before heading to Los Angeles. After working in film distribution, she found her passion in the world of graphic design. Currently, she is a Manager of Creative Development at Fox Home Entertainment.