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Team

MEET THE TEAM

AVA B

President, CEO

Ava B. began her versatile and multi-layered career in film and television projects which spanned Eastern and Western Europe, North America and Asia.
Those who have done business with her know Ava B. as a savvy businesswoman with a highly honed capacity to negotiate contracts benefiting both sides.

Over the years, with her frequent attendance at all major international film markets, her world-wide network of friends and colleagues in both the creative and business communities have come to respect her for acute insights into the marketplace and its trends. She has become an exemplar of taste and a go-to person for strategies regarding all aspects of ”new media,” and film distribution in general, from the creative to finding multiple and newer distribution outlets.

Amongst Ava B’s most notable successes is her executive role in the founding and management of Kanal 2, a privately owned television channel in Estonia. After securing the initial financing, she oversaw the licensing of all programming – including sales and acquisition – during the first five years of operation. Her effective strategies and fast-paced negotiations helped Kanal 2 achieve high ratings on a shoe-string budget. Not only did Kanal 2 become the market leader, it also satisfied its shareholders with high returns on their investment.

As the story of Kanal 2 spread in the industry, she was asked to serve as Marketing and PR Manager of VIASAT3, Europe’s leading satellite television network, and to consult for RTL, the leading television network in Europe.

For the last five years Ava B. has focused on film distribution in The United States; both in traditional distribution and in the new media. She has served as a VP of Sales & Acquisitions at LongTale LLC after she had been an executive in charge of all aspects of acquisitions for Cinequest Distributions/Cinequest On-line, York Entertainment and Jaman.com.

Ava B’s vast experience in the international and domestic film and television marketplaces, complemented by her achievements in creating, developing and growing successful entertainment companies, clearly evidence both her strong work ethic and the talent to achieve.

TERESA VANDRE

VP of Global Sales and Acquisitions

Teresa Vandre, as House Of Film’s VP of Global Sales and Acquisitions, oversees all aspects of the company’s core business including developing and maintaining relationships with producers and distributors, advising clients on marketing strategy including distribution, creative, digital and understanding of global markets.

She is an innate creative strategist and expert communicator with a vast knowledge of global content distribution markets. She has years of experience negotiating both acquisition and sales agreements and can expertly identify and communicate win/ win terms in this ever-changing marketplace. Her participation in global film, TV and music markets for over 20 years has given her a profound understanding of changing creative market trends as well as the opportunity to network and to nurture long standing business relationships.

Prior to joining House Of Film in 2012, Teresa spent 10 years in music promotion and artist management in the UK where she worked in live music production, both single venue and festival, recorded music coordination from creative conceptualization to marketing and publicity, artist branding and image development and contract negotiation and publishing. The skills and relationships Teresa developed in the music arena transferred seamlessly to film and TV as she had a foundation of Film and TV production in Los Angeles before her move to Europe. The years spent in physical content production have formed a solid basis for her expert ability to understand the needs of filmmakers and to help them navigate the world of distribution. Teresa graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Psychology and Theater.

In her current role at House Of Film, Teresa happily splits her time between Rome, Italy and Los Angeles, CA and works tirelessly toward the global success of the clients she has the honor to represent.

LUCIA MUÑIZ

Sales & Acquisitions Manager

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lucía Muñiz joined the House of Film team in 2014 after graduating from the University of Palermo in Argentina with a Bachelor in Arts & Communications. She began her career in production working with VIACOM LATAM and in the animation world, being part of a TV series for Discovery Kids.

GABOR SZITANYI

Technical Director

Gabor provides a wide range of technical support services for House of Film on behalf of its filmmaker clients, from digitizing films to assembling digital components for submission packages.

No stranger to the filmmaking process, Gabor has worked as editor, visual effects editor, and cinematographer on a wide range of projects. He was visual effects editor on Mel Gibson’s “THE PASSION OF CHRIST,” as well as on “BEHIND ENEMY LINES: AXIS OF EVIL.” He shot and edited the award-winning feature, “THE YOUNG UNKNOWNS.” He collaborated with renowned photographer, Carrie Mae Weems, to create a series of video exhibition pieces for museums and galleries. He has worked as cinematographer and/or editor for many independent filmmakers, including Tamara Jenkins, Todd Solondz, Patrick Stettner and Catherine Jelski. In addition to his work with House of Film, he currently specializes in editing, visual effects, animation, compositing, authoring and web design at his own company, TENSTRONGMEN STUDIOS (www.tenstrongmenstudios.com.) Gabor was the recipient of the W.TC. Johnson Fellowship while attending the New York University Graduate Film and Television Program.

MICHELLE NIANA

Director of Systems and US Distribution

Michelle is a writer and producer who has worked on several TV shows and documentaries. She is best known for her work on Justin Timberlake: Man of the Hour, where she served as writer, producer, and director. Michelle also served as an Associate Producer for Donnie After Dark, the Docu-series, Being (Centric TV) as well as the NAACP Image Awards (NBC, TV One). Michelle is also a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in California.

TY ECKLEY

Investor, Producer, Consultant

Mr. Eckley graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Sculpture. After graduate work in TV Production, he was hired by Turner Broadcasting to work in their MDS Network operating in Texas, Michigan, and New York. He became the Production Manager for that system and the transition to a satellite system. He went on to start a Residential Construction Company, a Commercial Real Estate Development Company, and a Property Management Company.

In 1999 Mr. Eckley traveled to Burning Man for the first time and has now designed, built, transported, and operated notable Art Projects in Black Rock City for 25 years in a row.

His current projects in the Film and TV business include: the Feature Film “Journey” which is now in post-production, “The Photographer” is a Sci-Fy – Action TV series in development, and “Fast Food Now” which is a Hispanic Comedy TV series in development.

DR. CHANTAL TOPOROW

Consultant

Chantal brings her years experience in the research, development, application and management of high end technologies to House of Film. Degreed from UCLA’s School of Engineering, and with a strong background in the Arts, she is keen on creative problem solving for lucid solutions to complex systems assignments with proper flowdown within project infrastructures. She is dedicated to helping visionary ideas come into fruition.

DAVID G. HOLBERT

Consultant

David Holbert, who has joined Los Angeles-based movie distributor House of Film as Chief Operating Officer, is an experienced management consultant with a long and impressive track record of successful projects.

Since 2006 he has been working closely with a growing number of media companies, principally in the independent sector which, he says, “is now facing unprecedented change and disruption.” He emphasises “business design” as the key to finding and exploiting the opportunities that the current threat presents.

David is currently working with media clients in strategy, business development and operations management developing trans-media projects and a promotion service for independent video as a spin-off venture of a distributor.

David, who received an MBA and Bachelor of English Literature from Arizona State University, was from 1998 to 2005 Executive Director and Principal Investigator of a research center at the University of Southern California. The main focus, he says, was helping small to medium sized businesses adjust to globalisation. To support this goal, he founded a national organisation performing advocacy at the federal level (Congressional and Executive).

His career has also encompassed management of projects serving the underprivileged and MIS operations as well as managing operations including promotion, fund raising and grant writing for housing development in dangerous and remote areas of the world.

ILMAR TASKA

Writer, Producer, Consultant

Ilmar Taska serves as Creative Consultant/Development Executive for House of Film, bringing his expertise in several areas, including the international film industry and writing, to House of Film’s new fusion distribution business model.

Ilmar’s exceptional writing skills has earned him international recognition: Ilmar Taska is listed among the Best European Writers of 2016 and his short story, “Apartment for Rent” has been published in the Almanach of Best European Fiction. Just like Ilmar’s collection of short stories, his new novel Pobeda 1946 (based on his award-winning short story, A Car Called Victory) is fast becoming a bestseller and a major critical success in Estonia.

Ilmar has also directed and produced several feature films “Thy Kingdom Come,” a psychological horror movie about the end of the world, and “Set Point,” a psychological drama starring international super model Karmen Kass.

Ilmar produced “Candles in the Dark,” starring Chad Lowe, Alyssa Milano and Maximilian Schell, and was producer and co-author of “Back in the USSR,” starring Roman Polanski, Frank Whaley and Natalya Negoda.

He had been the founder and president and CEO of Kanal 2, a private terrestrial television network, Kanal 2. Under Ilmar’s helm this small weekend channel was successfully developed it into the nation’s market leader. During that time he created, produced and directed a number of the network’s successful original programs, including “Spring Tales” and “Decide Yourself.”

Previously, Ilmar produced and directed the “Best Foreign Picture” segment for the 62nd Annual Academy Awards telecast.

Prior to serving as a consultant for Disney Film Festivals in the USSR and as vice president of international affairs & co-production for the American-Soviet Film Initiative in Los Angeles, Ilmar directed “Legends of Hollywood” for CTV and served as editor of the New York-based “Video Fashion.” Before that, Ilmar served as director of feature projects for Fries Entertainment of Los Angeles.

Ilmar earned a Master of Arts degree at VGIK, the Film Institute of Moscow. He also pursued additional studies at Dramatiska Institutet in Stockholm, and in Daniel Mann’s directing master class in Los Angeles.