MISSISSIPPI SCHOLAR'S 

PRODUCTION TEAM

Writer/Producer

PJ Leonard: Since childhood, PJ Leonard was fascinated by the entertainment world. PJ got his start as an associate producer with the Off-Broadway production, Dreamstuff in 2005. He later founded Other Side of the River Productions in the hopes of producing his own feature films based on the stories from his life growing up in the working class of New Jersey. The Immaculate Misconception was the first project brought to life, followed quickly by the acclaimed short film, “The Hit” and feature film, The Fallen Faithful, which has won several awards at film festivals all around North America. PJ teamed up with Caroline Connor and co-produced Chu & Blossum staring Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl, Tony winner Alan Cumming (THE GOOD WIFE) and Annie Potts (GHOSTBUSTERS) plus familiar faces Melanie Lynskey (TWO AND HALF MEN) and Richard Kind (SPIN CITY).  Most recently he wrote and starred in his Short Film, “SPECULO” which Emmy winner Obba Babatunde directed. PJ also directed Itawamba Community College’s short film Mississippi Minute starring Night at the Museum’s Patrick Gallagher.

     PJ has also been influential in building the film program at Itawamba Community College (ICC). ICC is a community college in Mississippi which has three campuses, in FultonBelden, and Tupelo, Mississippi. Working alongside seasoned producers, actors  and other production professionals the students experience the hands on direct and practical way of learning.

 

Director/Cinematographer

Ruben Latre: Originally from Barcelona Ruben Latre spent almost a decade in post-production as an editor and motion graphics designer before transitioning into directing. In his first year as a commercial director he was nominated three times in the category of Best New Director, ultimately taking home the honor at APCP Madrid, for a spot paying homage to Ridley Scott’s Alien.

      Latre was honored at the Director’s Guild of America in Shoot’s New Director’s Showcase for a film created to promote the National Museum of Hip Hop. An image campaign he directed and shot for TMG Health in Iceland was shortlisted at the Association of Independent Commercial Producers for Cinematography. As a commercial director, Ruben Latre traversed the globe shooting in Ethiopia, Turkey, the Amazon and Vietnam for Samsung, in New Zealand for Pfizer, in South Africa for Philip Morris and in Tanzania for the Abbott Fund. He is recognized around the world for his visual style and sensibility. He has served as a judge for Sony’s Production Awards and is a member of the Director’s Guild of America.

Ruben Latre’s work portfolio can be found here: 

 

Executive Producer:

Michael Mosca: President and CEO of Equinoxe Films since 2009 Michael  developed and built the Equinoxe brand.  Under his leadership, the company acquires, produces and distributes film and television properties in Canada and around the world.
During his tenure at Equinoxe, Mr. Mosca has made his mark by acquiring and overseeing the release of “The Passion of The Christ”, which earned $25 million at the Canadian box office and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, which earned more than $30 million at the Canadian box office. Michael is also responsible for establishing the company’s production arm, which kicked off with a multi-award winning feature film, “Un Dimanche à Kigali” (A Sunday in Kigali). His other productions include award-winning “A Million Colours” (2011), a powerful story set in the last few years of apartheid; “Winnie” (2012), a drama that chronicles the life of Winnie Mandela starring Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Oscar nominee, Terrence Howard. Mr. Mosca’s career in the film business spans over 30 years, in both distribution and exhibition.

 

Producer(s)

Melissa Beth: The Owner and Executive Producer of Hostage Films, a commercial film production company. Through Hostage, Melissa has produced work for Samsung, Abbott Fund, Microsoft, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Verizon. Melissa’s producing portfolio can be found at: www.hostagefilm.com Film Credits include: Producer of Bittersweet (starring Sarah Wayne Callies), Producer on Immaculate Misconception and 2nd unit producer on Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain.

 

Morgan Cutturini: For the last twenty years, she has taught English at Itawamba Community College (ICC) in Fulton, MS. During her tenure, she has created several courses for ICC including World Literature One and Two and Film as Literature. She was the ICC Humanities Teacher of the Year in 2000, Lamplighter Instructor in 2001, William Winter Scholar in 2011, and HEADWAE Award Winner in 2009 and 2017.

     In 2010, Cutturini started the Film Club at ICC and developed Film Production courses for ICC in 2014. She collaborates with PJ Leonard to produce one film a semester. Leonard enlists the help of cast and crew from around the country to serve as mentors to the ICC Film Production students during each film production.

      She also works with former ICC students to produce independent films in North Mississippi. Her productions include FINALITY (2015), DPW (2016), MISSISSIPPI MINUTE (2017), DELTA CROSSINGS (2017), and THE PROJECT (2018).

     Cutturini was appointed to the board of the Mississippi Film Alliance in 2018. She is a committee member of the Tupelo Film Festival, and she heads the MS High School Film Competition.

 

Andrew Wirtz:  A career banker Andrew specializes in global electronic payments processing.  Andrew has built a career enabling Tier 1 retailers and ecommerce entities leverage worldwide relationships to enable payments from customers in multiple local currencies and payment methods. Andrew has extensive bank credit and risk training and development and has held senior roles at some of the largest financial institutions in the US including Bank of America and Wells Fargo.   

     In addition, Andrew has been involved in several film production projects as Executive Producer, including: Immaculate Misconception, Waiting, The Hit and Fallen Faithful.   

 

Co-Producer:

Clark Richey:  A Mississippi native, Clark has pursued various entertainment interests over the last two decades. While simultaneously maintaining a successful engineering business, Clark began acting and directing regionally in theater organizations around north Mississippi. His theater, The Claude Gentry, became home to many variety shows and plays, including The Peacemakers – A Western, an original work authored by Clark and filmmaker Rex Harsin in 2016. Clark has created the production company Six Shooter Studios, which has produced critically acclaimed music videos along with documentaries and shorts. As an actor, Clark has appeared in commercial work, as the protagonist in his Peacemakers film, and most recently as the lead in an upcoming independent film produced by ICC Films and P.J. Leonard. As an entrepreneur, Clark has founded many businesses, including Quail Ridge Engineering, Mississippi Select Sports, The Cotton States Baseball League, The Claude Gentry Theatre, Six Shooter Studios, Lula Lee’s Coffee Shop, Tom’s Soda Shop, Bushwhackers Bar & Grill and the Alley Cat Gallery.