Kate Isenberg (director) is a Los Angeles-based writer and animator. After earning her BA in English from Harvard, she went to work as a fact-checker for MOTHER JONES magazine, in San Francisco. There, Kate began drawing comics featuring Stewball—the equine antihero with an existential dilemma—which she self-distributed on foot to bookstores, cafes, and Laundromats around the city. Alongside her media jobs, and a stint as a singer-songwriter, she continued to draw Stewball, who earned a following among underdogs of all ages. Kate's first Stewball film, DEAR DEATH, won a Matt Groening Production Fellowship and served as her MFA thesis at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Kate is now developing Stewball and his world of friends for television.
Sam Hood (mentorship) is an Annie Award-winning animation artist. He has worked with top U.S. animation studios such as Blue Sky Studios, Laika, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. He is currently a story artist at Pixar, where his work has included contributions to INSIDE OUT (2015) and FINDING DORY (2016). Sam is also a sought-after teacher of animated story development. He has taught at the California College of Arts, Bethany College, and elsewhere.
Alexis Harte (voice of Stewball) is a singer, songwriter, and composer. He performed the male vocal in Glen Keane’s Oscar-shortlisted animation DUET (2015), for which his company, Pollen Music Group, created the score. Alexis also wrote "No Wrong Way Home," the song featured in the VR animated short PEARL (2016), which was nominated for an Oscar and won an Annie Award for Best Music. Alexis has released seven independent albums of original contemporary folk/rock/Americana songs.
Josh Rodriguez (composer) was born in Cordoba, Argentina, and spent his childhood in Guatemala and Mexico, where he began to play piano, guitar, saxophone, and violin. He has advanced degrees in music composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music and from UCLA. He has worked with ensembles including the Youngstown Scoring Stage, the HASOM Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Irvine.
Mia Harte (voice of Katie) attends school in Berkeley, California. She loves to sing, dance, act, and play the cello.
Todd Maki (conductor and mix engineer, orchestral score) is director and conductor of the Youngstown Scoring Stage, where he conducted and mixed Josh Rodriguez's score for DEAR DEATH. Drawing on his classical training as a pianist and percussionist, with a lifelong interest in electronic synthesis, Todd has established himself as an engineer, a multimedia producer, and a composer for film.
Heather Collins (ink and paint) makes stop-motion and hand-drawn animation. She works on the stop-motion show Tumble Leaf (Amazon Studios) and teaches stop-motion animation at UCLA's Animation Workshop. Her recent film THE WALKER has won accolades at festivals all over the world, including Best of Festival at Gumbyfest 2015.
Jon Evans (recording engineer and bassist, small-ensemble score) has recorded and toured internationally with Tori Amos, Linda Perry, Chris Cornell, Sarah McLachlan and others. When not touring, he helms Brick Hill, a busy recording studio located on Cape Cod, where he produces records in a variety of musical genres, as well as scores for films, commercials, and games.
Frank Smathers's numerous sound editing credits for film include MEAN GIRLS, SAY ANYTHING, and BIG. He was nominated for a Golden Reel Award for his work on SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. In DEAR DEATH (sound design and editing), Frank's design can be heard in such moments as the crows pecking inside Stewball's chest and the particular squeak made when a person, or a horse, goes down a metal playground slide.
Bill Meadows (re-recording mixer) is a third-generation sound artist at Universal Pictures. His many feature-film credits include BIRDMAN, UNBROKEN, ABOUT A BOY, and the FAST AND FURIOUS series.