2019-2020 PARTICIPANTS

Rachel McKay Steele

Noam Ash

Charlotte Lan Steiner

Rachel McKay Steele

Rachel McKay Steele is a writer and comedian from Charleston, SC, who recently left bagels and Brooklyn for sunny Los Angeles. She has studied comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and has performed improv and stand-up around the country. Her solo show, Shiva for Anne Frank, premiered at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival to rave reviews and won a Producer’s Encore Award.

She has worked on numerous award-winning independent films, from Gayby to creative development for the Oscar- nominated What Happened Miss Simone? As a Senior Copywriter, she has written for broadcast, digital, and social media.

She is thrilled and humbled to be a part of the inaugural Jewish Writers' Initiative, even though she never spells Initiative correctly on the first try. Rachel loves breakfast sandwiches, yoga, and her two rescue cats, Roxy and Esther.

Noam Ash

A graduate of Tufts University and the National Theater Institute, Noam Ash is a writer, actor and producer originally from Haifa, Israel. His hit web series My Gay Roommate has amassed over 7 million views on YouTube, receiving critical acclaim from Vanity Fair, The New York Times and Huffington Post. A full half-hour comedy based on the show produced by Ish Entertainment and Keshet Studios is due to premiere in 2020. Other works include Absentia on Amazon Prime, the New England premiere of Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters, the upcoming comedy series The Influencers, and assistant director credits at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.).

Charlotte Lan Steiner

Charlotte Lan Steiner is a filmmaker born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. Following her graduation from Middlebury College with a degree in Film and Chinese, she spent several years working, writing and studying in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Bejing, before returning to the U.S. to attend a TV Writing Intensive program at Columbia University. She is currently back in D.C., where she recently produced and directed episodes of "GROWN the web series." When not making films or writing, Charlotte enjoys rock climbing and trying to convince other folks to rock climb with her.

Samuel Franco

Samuel Franco graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Writing and Producing for Film. Shortly afterwards, he secured an apprenticeship as a researcher under investigative journalist Mike Wallace at CBS News' 60 Minutes, and six months later he joined The Charlie Rose Show as a research writer. A year later Samuel was recruited to work for The Howard Stern Show, where he focused on marketing, strategic sales and branding, creating Howard's first-ever ad campaign: Stern Warning.

 

Samuel then went on to work for Infinity Broadcasting (CBS Radio), Paramount Pictures, and CBS Daytime Television, before moving to Los Angeles to focus on writing and producing. His credits include writing the feature scripts: Keeper of the Diary (Fox Searchlight) and Mayday 109 (Thunder Road Productions), and TV shows: The Fall of the House of FIFA (FX Networks), and Camelot (NBCUni's Peacock), alongside writing partner Evan Kilgore. On the producing end, Samuel is executive producing a documentary about the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum art heist titled Ghosts of the Isabella (Ample Entertainment), and producing a feature film, which he is also co-writing, about heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano titled Unbeaten (Impossible Dream Entertainment). Samuel lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Jacob Fiskus

Jacob Fiskus is a New York-based filmmaker who has produced several independent documentary shorts. He has also edited short-form promotional videos for social justice organizations, and was a contributing writer for SLAM Magazine. Jacob is currently a co-producer along with producer-director Trish Adlesic on a documentary about the massacre at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA. Jacob’s main passion is screenwriting. He has written several screenplays and a pilot with his writing partner, Tal Robbins. His passion for screenwriting is matched only by his passion for Torah and Judaism. Jacob is dedicated to telling stories that encapsulate Jewish life and express Torah ideas and concepts.

Kyra Brown

Kyra Brown is a comedy writer and performer from just north of the middle of nowhere Massachusetts. She recently graduated from USC's School of Cinematic Arts where she studied -- you guessed it -- cinematic arts. Kyra prides herself on writing every genre (within comedy of course) from rom-coms, to angsty YA dramedys, to musical parodies. She has worked in various writer's room support staff roles at The Late Late Show with James Corden, NCIS: New Orleans, and currently on Them: Covenant, an upcoming Amazon Prime show. In addition to that, she has written for several web series and created and produced an all female sketch comedy website called www.yesbitches.com. Kyra is also a producer and host of a popular West Hollywood monthly stand up comedy show called Spilled Milk @spilledmilkcomedy. She has produced several other shows in the past and has performed stand up all over the country, including at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Kyra can be found painting, skiing, sleeping, eating chocolate, or cuddling a stranger's dog on the sidewalk.

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