MAZ JOBRANI is a founding member of The Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which aired on Comedy Central. In addition to performing stand-up around the world, including in the Middle East where he performed in front of the King of Jordan, he’s had two Showtime Specials: Brown and Friendly and I Come in Peace, which is now on Netflix. On the feature film side, Maz starred in Friday After Next, 13 Going On 30, and The Interpreter opposite Sean Penn & Nicole Kidman. He was also a regular on ABC’s Knights of Prosperity and Better Off Ted. Recent guest star credits include True Blood, Shameless, and Last Man Standing to name a few. He’s done standup on The Tonight Show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, as well as been featured on CNN, the BBC, The New York Times and Time Magazine. He also regularly appears as a panelist on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. He recently filmed Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero, a film which he co-wrote and stars in.
John Heard is the quintessential “actor’s actor” on both stage and screen.
A graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, John Heard began his career on the stage, winning multiple awards in both Chicago and New York, including a 1976-77 Theatre World Award and Obie Awards for his off-Broadway performances in “Othello” and “Split”.
His early screen successes include performances in “Cutter’s Way”, “Chilly Scenes of Winter”, and as Jack Kerouac in “Heart Beat”. From there, he built his career with starring roles in films such as “Big”, “The Pelican Brief”, “Beaches”, “Home Alone”, “Awakenings”, “ Deceived”, “In the Line of Fire”, “Pollock” and “The Great Debaters”. Currently, he can be seen in numerous films, including “Runner, Runner”, “Assault on Wall Street”, “Torn”, “Stealing Roses”, and the cult favorite, “Sharknado”.
John has turned in many memorable performances on the small screen as well. He was nominated for a Cable ACE Award for Best Actor in a TV Movie for his 1987 performance in “Tender is the Night”, and his recent turn in the 1999 season of “The Sopranos” earned him an Emmy nomination for Guest Actor in a drama series.
On the small screen, he can be found in recurring roles on “Prison Break”, “Southland”, “Entourage”, and “The Chicago Code”. Most recently he Guest Starred on “Modern Family”.
SHEILA VAND just wrapped the Fox reboot 24: LEGACY, bringing back the iconic series for a new generation. Sheila co-stars opposite Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in Paramount’s WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, and next stars in Ingrid Jungerman’s indie caper WOMEN WHO KILL (TRIBECA 2016), in the Spectrevision thriller CAMINO opposite Nacho Vigalondo and Tarantino muse Zoe Bell, and opposite Zachary Quinto in AARDVARK. Sheila starred in the hit multi-award winning Iranian Western A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT (Sundance 2014; New Directors/New Films @ MoMA, INDIE SPIRIT AWARD nominee, GOTHAM AWARD winner, etc.), produced by Elijah Wood/Spectrevision after garnering rave reviews playing Sahar in Ben Affleck’s Academy Award-winning feature ARGO for Warner Bros. She starred on the NBC series STATE OF AFFAIRS opposite Katherine Heigl, recurred on MINORITY REPORT for Fox, co-starred in the CBS/Shawn Ryan pilot BEVERLY HILLS COP opposite Eddie Murphy for director Barry Sonnenfeld, and played Meryt in the Lifetime miniseries THE RED TENT opposite Minnie Driver and Rebecca Ferguson. Sheila made her Broadway debut opposite Robin Williams as Hadia in Rajiv Joseph’s Pulitzer Prize finalist BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO, and starred in the Disney Hall 10th Anniversary LA Philharmonic staging of Frank Zappa’s 200 HOTELS for Esa Pekka Salonen. Sheila’s original performance piece SNEAKY NIETZSCHE (http://www.sneakynietzsche.com/) was mounted at LACMA, and her most recent piece is the award winning MILK: whatwillyoumakeofme? (www.alexasheila.com).
Deanna Russo recently co-starred on the USA series SATISFACTION which is executive produced by Sean Jablonski. Before this, Deanna was the female star of NBC’s remake of the KNIGHT RIDER franchise, which was produced by Gary Scott Thompson. Also on the television front, Deanna recurred on the hit series BEING HUMAN as well as last season of RESCUE ME, where she went head to head with Denis Leary. Additionally, Deanna has had pivotal arcs on GOSSIP GIRL, WHITE COLLAR, and TWO AND A HALF MEN and THE LEAGUE.
Matthew's Film/MOW credits include “ARGO” starring Ben Affleck, “GET SMART” starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, “HOUSE BROKEN” with Danny DeVito and Katey Sagal, “DIGGERS” with Paul Rudd, "CORKY ROMANO," "ROCK STAR,""THE WEDDING SINGER," "PORT CHICAGO MUTINY," and "LEGALESE".
Matthew Glave recently had a major arc on the Bravo series “GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE”. He was a series regular on “LIFE ON A STICK”. Matt Glave’s television credit include “GROWING UP FISHER”, “MAD MEN”, “HAWAII FIVE-0”, “HELL ON WHEELS”, “SHAMELESS”, “PERCEPTION”, “SUITS”, “REVENGE”, “CSI MIAMI”, “NIKITA”, “THE GLADES”, “DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES”, “MEDIUM”, “THE CLOSER”, “ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE”, “ER”, “PICKET FENCES”, “CRASH”, “ARMY WIVES” “THE SHILED”, “WEST WING” and much more.
Matthew Glave's theatre credits include "DEMONOLOGY/JOY OF GOING SOMEWHERE DEFINITE" for the Mark Taper Forum, "ANIMAL FARM" for the Cleveland Playhouse, "TREASURE ISLAND" for the Cincinatti Playhouse, "THE FOREIGNER" for the Monomoy, and "SCAPINO," "MCBETH" and "WHAT THE BUTLER SAW" for the Charlotte Shakespeare Company.
Vida Ghahremani is an actress, designer ,author ,and teacher. She began acting in Film as a teenager in Iran where she established the standards of stardom. She currently teaches creative theater and Persian language in Persian Center in Berkeley. She has been an active member of the Center since its establishment.
Vida received her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in Iran as well as a diploma in Directing and Producing for television in London.. Vida is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Gem and Mineral Society.
Born in Iran, mother of three,she is politicaly active in US since 1979. She has been in almost 20 motion pictures and various television shows with some major roles in Iran and the United States in both American and Iranian productions, such as “The Guests of Hotel Astoria,” “American Dreams,” “The Rock,” “Bold and Beautiful,” “Dark Holiday,” and many more. She has performed in various American and Iranian plays including Sepideh Koosha’s “The Beginning of a Cold Season” with darvag Theatre Company.
Vida has worked with Golden Thread Productions since its first production, “Operation No Penetration, Lysistrata 97!” where she designed and built the costumes. Vida’s performances in “ABAGA” and “Nine Armenians” received great critical and audience response.
Her last year film "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers " directed by legendary "Wayne Wang" awarded Golden Shell for best film and Silver Shell for best actor of 2007 San Sebastian International Film Festival ,would be screening in US soon.
Her short stories book "Aroosiy e khale va....." was published in Iran 2005
Film credits include the "The World's Fastest Indian" playing Tina, a transvestite opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins "The Joneses" opposite Demi Moore as well as a lead in the classic comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story". Other credits include "The Lottery Ticket" "Friday After Next", "Sex Ed" and the upcoming film "TRI". As for television, he can soon be seen on the Showtime series "DICE" starring Andrew Dice Clay, was a series regular in the NBC sitcom "One Big Happy", has recurred on "Satisfaction" "Californication" starred on David E. Kelley's series "The Wedding Bells" and is best known as 'Krazee Eyez Killa' on "Curb Your Enthusiasm". He has guest starred on Ugly Betty, CSI: Miami, Hot in Cleveland, Monk, Weeds, and numerous others. Chris had also appeared multiple times on Late Night with David Letterman as the angry audience member and has an upcoming self help show "Be a Better Man with Chris Williams" which he created, stars in and produces. Chris has also lent his vocal talents to such animated series as The Boondocks and Word Girl and can be heard on several video games including multiple characters in Crash Bandicoot.
Marshall Manesh is an American Iranian actor. He lost his father at an early age and was raised by his beloved mother, whom he feels he got his strength from to make it in show biz. He came to America in mid "70s" and joined the Persian Theater Group and traveled extensively through out The United States, Canada and Europe for 8 years. His debut film was "True Lies" as Jamal Khaled, directed by James Cameron. Marshall has done more than 100 feature Films, Television projects and more than 40 commercials. He has had a recurring roles on: Will & Grace as "Mr. Zamir", , Scrubs as "Dr. Akbar" and " How I met your mother as "Ranjit" He also was a series regular on " Beat Cops " and " Andy Barker P.I. " and currently he has recurring role on The Brink starring Jack Blacy and Tim Robbins for HBO. He also has a recurring role on Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life on FOX as ‘Virgil’.
Navid, though sometimes called "the man of a thousand faces," is still most widely regarded as Abu Nazir, the enigmatic al-Qaeda leader he played for two seasons on Showtime's Emmy-winning original series "Homeland." Among his many fans are Israeli president Shimon Peres and U.S. president Barack Obama. The versatile, scene-stealer has drawn critical praise as IRK delegate Jamot on the final season of Fox's hit series, "24," and has appeared on "CSI: NY," "CSI: Miami," "NCIS: Los Angeles," "Law & Order: SVU," "The Closer," "The Game," "Criminal Minds," "Lost," "JAG," "The West Wing," "Without a Trace," "The Shield" and others.
Sam starred alongside Hugh Grant in AMERICAN DREAMZ directed by Paul Weitz. He also played opposite of Josh Gad and Jim Sturgess in the Columbia feature, 21, directed by Robert Luketic. In television, Sam can be seen in a major recurring role in the CBS series, EXTANT, with all his scenes opposite Halle Berry.
Talented actress Niousha Jafarian has masterfully developed an acting paradigm consisting of strong comedic and dramatic chops. She was one of the 20 cast members selected for the highly competitive CBS Diversity Showcase. Her past TV credits include Stitchers, The Young and the Restless, and a feature on Spike TV; She has been highlighted by CBS and ABC for their upcoming pilot season based on her auditions last season. She also has half a dozen Independent features to her credit, including her latest: Hidden, an AFI short.
Most recently Waleed produced and starred in OMAR directed by Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominee Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now). The film earned the Jury Prize in Cannes and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film (2014, Palestine), among several other awards. Waleed received several mentions for his riveting performance in Showtime/Fox's hit show “Homeland”, for his seering portrayal as Sergeant Brody's main torturer, Hamid. He followed up that role appearing in “The Good Wife” as Danny Marwat, a torture victim himself. In film, Waleed had standout roles in Grant Heslov’s “The Men Who Stare At Goats”, alongside George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, and Michael Patrick King’s “Sex And The City 2”. Other feature film credits include Simon West’s “Thunder Run” and Amin Matalqa’s Disney International “The United”. On the indie film side, Waleed just completed work on “Namour,” from first-time feature writer/director, Heidi Saman and a featured role in French Lebanese writer/director, Danielle Arbid’s latest film, "Peur de rien."
Matt Ballard is a New York based actor that enjoys long walks on the beach and apple pie. He is represented by Innovative Artists and The Krasny Group. www.mattballard.com
AMIR K has recently wrapped the MTV prank show, JERKS WITH CAMERAS, and can be seen in the upcoming FOX feature film, THE PYRAMID, where he stars as the love interest opposite Ashley Hinshaw. In addition to acting, Amir is an accomplished comedian who has headlined comedy clubs and theaters across the country as well as internationally. When Amir is not touring, he performs nightly at some of the worlds most well known comedy venues in Los Angeles including The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and The IMPROV. Born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Southern California, his comedy is a blend of character work, storytelling and improvisation shaped by a multi-cultural upbringing. Amir is fluent in Farsi, Spanish and is known for his incredible accents and impressions.
Dan is a top booked national headliner who can be seen regularly on The Tonight Show as well as ABC’s Super Fun Night with Rebel Wilson, Comedy Central’s Workaholics, Disney Channel’s Kickin’ It, Nickelodeon’s Wendell & Vinnie, and Adult Swim’s Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. Dan was a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing has written for MTV’s Short Circuits, Comedy Central’sCrank Yankers, A&E’s Roast of Gene Simmons, and was a standup comedy coach on MADE on MTV. Most recently, he wrote the new feature film about the Janoskians entitled Public Disturbance for Lionsgate.
With close to 100 guest stars and counting, ANTHONY AZIZI is one of the premiere Middle Eastern actors in town. Most recently, he guest starred on CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS, MADAM SECRETARY, BROOKLYN NINE- NINE, GREY’S ANATOMY, CSI: MIAMI, and a major recurring role in the NBC series ODYSSEY opposite Peter Facinelli. On the film side, Anthony can be seen in the feature film SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ, opposite Adrien Brody and Selma Hayek. He’s also starred in the award-winning independent feature, AMERICANEAST and in TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, alongside Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel.
Tara Grammy is an Iranian-Canadian actress and playwright. She was born in Tehran, but grew up in Toronto, with a time spent in the United-States and Germany. She completed her Bachelor of Arts with a specialist in Drama at the University of Toronto, and has been performing since graduating in 2010. Her unique multi-national perspective inspired her to create her award-winning one-woman show Mahmoud, which she co-wrote, produced and starred in. The show put her on the map in Toronto (Best of Toronto Fringe and Patron’s Pick Winner), New York (Fringe NYC Encore Series and Excellence in Solo Performance Award) and Los Angeles (Sold-out performances at Santa Monica Playhouse, at Whitefire Theatre) in 2012-2013. The show was so popular that Playwright’s Canada Press approached her and got it published in 2015. Recently, Mahmoud was nominated for a Governor General’s Award, the most prestigious Canadian award in the literary world.
Jonathan Kesselman is an award winning filmmaker and writer. He launched his career writing and directing ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ in 2003 to international acclaim with its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. It later played a number of international festivals before being picked up for theatrical distribution (Hanukkah 2003) by Strand Releasing in conjunction with Comedy Central and Paramount Home Video. Voted among the top holiday movies by Vanity Fair, Boston Globe and Time Magazine, the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ was aired on Comedy Central for five years after the television rights were sold to the major cable network. Moment Magazine included ‘Hebrew Hammer’ among its’ Top 100 Most Influential Films in the History of Jewish Cinema. Among others in the list were ‘The Graduate’, ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Annie Hall’.
Most recently, Jonathan directed the feature film 'Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero' starring Maz Jobrani and John Heard, is in pre-production on the feature film 'The Hebrew Hammer VS Hitler.'
Jonathan has been a screenwriter for: Fox, Paramount, Nickelodeon, Sony, Blue Sky Animation, MTV, Comedy Central studios, and WWE (yes, it’s fake). Jonathan also works as a commercial director with such clients as Nintendo, Red Mango, DDB RX, American Media Inc., and the 2012 Mr. Olympia. Ironically, Jonathan taught ‘Writing Comedy for Film and Television’ at Yale University while concurrently acting as the humor columnist for the alternative goth-porn site Suicide Girls.
His short film work includes 'Arts & Crafts', starring Josh Cooke and Rob Benedict which was an “exclusive” on Will Ferrell's ‘Funny Or Die’ website. Funny Or Die then commissioned two other “exclusives”, which Jon wrote and directed, entitled “Roasted: America Under the Influence” and “Sexy Daddy”. Starring Dave Foley and written by Dave and Kevin McDonald.
Born and raised in the mean streets of the San Fernando Valley, Kesselman received his Bachelors degree from the University of Colorado, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience. After college, Jon spent two years in the corporate world as an Information Systems Consultant before being accepted into graduate school at the University Of Southern California School of Cinema/Television, where he received his Masters Degree in Film Production in December of 2001.
Cuban American cinematographer Armando Salas is based in Los Angeles and has shot features and commercials all over the world, including Los Angeles, Louisiana, Miami, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. He is the recipient of the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship in film and winner of the ASC Robert Surtees Heritage Award for Outstanding Cinematography. For a sample of his work please visit www.salasfilm.com.
Amir Ohebsion is an LA-based screenwriter and playwright. Amir's first feature screenplay, "The Apology", won the grand prize at the Slamdance Screenplay Competition. His other screenplays include "YogaGuy", a reverse fish-out-of-water comedy (set in LA and India); the sexy comedy, “Freak,” about a man whose extraordinary libido turns him into a scientific marvel; and “Next Life,” a broad comedy about a blazingly ungrateful man who is offered the chance to choose his own next life. Amir’s latest project, the feature “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero” which he wrote and produced, stars stand-up comedian Maz Jobrani with "Hebrew Hammer" helmer Jonathan Kesselman directing. In addition to writing and producing for the screen, Amir has staged several theatrical plays to consistent sell-out audiences including "Death, A Very Serious Comedy" and "The Belind Date" both of which premiered in Los Angeles at the prestigious 1200-seater, Wilshire Ebell Theatre. Amir is currently engaged in writing the screenplay adaption of a novel as well as producing his new play about Adam & Eve.
Ray Moheet spent over a decade as a talent agent before joining L|E|G (Levity Entertainment Group) in 2010 as a talent manager and producer. As Vice President of Theatrical, he represents actors, writers, comics, and directors for motion picture and television. Ray has also produced several comedy specials for television including Maz Jobrani’s “I Come In Peace” for Showtime. Most recently, Ray served as producer on the indie feature comedy, “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero” which is slated to premiere at the Austin Film Festival on October 26, 2014.
After receiving his Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law, Mr. Aladjem began his career as an attorney practicing at the renowned entertainment law firm, Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman & Wertheimer. He then founded Innovative Talent, Inc., a personal management and production company, where in addition to representing clients in the motion picture, television and music industries, he produced the motion picture “Firewalker", starring Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett, Jr.
Aladjem then joined Writers and Artists Agency, rising to become Chairman and CEO. In 2004, Mr. Aladjem sold Writers and Artists to Paradigm, where he chaired the company’s management committee and represented actors, creators and directors in motion pictures and television.
In May 2012 Mr. Aladjem left the agency business to become President of LEG, a vertically integrated entertainment company stretching across the worlds of movie and television production, branded content, talent management, digital marketing and live events. He executive produces the live action comedy series “Black Jesus”, which premiered on Adult Swim this August, and has produced a number of comedy specials.
Mr. Aladjem, who was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, now resides in Los Angeles with his wife, family and four dogs.
Luke Taylor is a Los Angeles based film producer and co-founder of Buffalo 8 Productions.
Taylor began his film career in 2005, at New York based Mannic Media, before moving to Los Angeles to study business, music, and film at the University of Southern California.
Having also spent time in the corporate entertainment industry at Columbia Records and Interscope Records - Taylor brings both a creative and practical approach to business and management.
In 2010, Taylor focused his energies to the independent film world and joined forces with Matthew Helderman to produce the feature "The Alumni Chapter" under the Buffalo 8 Productions banner, and oversaw the distribution sale.
Taylor then shifted his focus to physical production as an Assistant Director and Production Manager for independent feature films. This production track enabled him to build a firm platform of practical set knowledge leading to superb management tactics and communication skills.
Taylor's efficient, organized and passionate approach is crucial to building and maintaining Buffalo 8's professional production services.
Overseeing projects from development through sales, Taylor continues to manage company operations, production oversight, and outreach.