Director Marc Fusco works with Hal Linden (Samuel) and Ryan Ochoa (Eli) on the dry cleaners set of The Samuel Project. (photo: courtesy Everon Media)


Writer-director Marc Fusco has established himself as a creative and visionary force in independent filmmaking. Former long-time assistant to Steven Spielberg, Marc has been developing and writing all genres of films for over twenty years, maintaining feet in both studio and independent projects.

Before The Samuel Project, Fusco’s award-winning comedy My Uncle Rafael was released theatrically in 2012, earning over $250,000 on only four screens in its first two weeks. Prior to My Uncle Rafael, Fusco directed and co-wrote the independent cult coming-of-age heist film Stealing Time, which was an audience favorite at several festivals and distributed worldwide. After working in production at Amblin Entertainment in the late 1990s, Fusco was handpicked by Steven Spielberg to work closely as his personal assistant. For over four years, he assisted the Academy Award-winning director on the films The Lost World, Amistad, and Saving Private Ryan, and also during the start-up of DreamWorks, SKG—the first full-fledged studio to be created in over eighty years. During his tenure with Spielberg, Fusco directed and produced a short film entitled The Interview that premiered at the 1998 International Venice Film Festival.


Producer Steve Weinberger developed and packaged The Samuel Project in only a few months before going into production in 2017 with a strong Hollywood cast—in one of only a handful of feature films to be shot entirely in San Diego in the last twenty years. With a passion for storytelling, Weinberger started in the publishing world after writing the cult novel “No Air Guitar Allowed,” which was unveiled at Comic-Con in 2009. Steve is currently developing several film and television projects with writer-director Marc Fusco, and writer-producer Marvin Willson whose latest feature comedy, Noobz was recently premiered on Netflix.

Producer Steve Weinberger and director Marc Fusco in preproduction of The Samuel Project.


Quickly establishing herself as the go-to line producer in San Diego, Rebecca Reyes has worked in every aspect of film production in both television and movies. The Samuel Project marks Rebecca’s first theatrical released feature film as Line Producer/Producer. She has also produced two other features: The Playground and InVisible.


With industry accomplishments including several family movies in worldwide distribution through Netflix, Jeff Deverett’s long career has seen both television and film success. Born and raised in Canada, Deverett became a distribution executive early in his career with companies including Astral Communications, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Kaboom! Entertainment, which he founded in the early 90s. Deverett’s latest films include the inspirational ice skating-themed Kiss and Cry, which debuted on Netflix in 2017; Full Out, the true story of a San Diego gymnast who missed the 2008 summer Olympics because of a car accident, then made a miraculous comeback; and My Brother’s Keeper, the story of identical twins plan on competing in the National Rowing Championships when their brotherly bond is shattered.

Deverett is currently President and CEO of Deverett Media Group and is working on producing more independent movies in San Diego to enhance the local film business, which is still in its infancy.


Gary Cohen has been producing film and stage projects worldwide for the last 15 years and has directed over 20 plays throughout the U.S. Gary and his wife Marlene formed Garmar Ventures LLC to pursue their strong interest in the arts and have invested in and produced many projects. They were producers of the World/LA premiere of the play Me Too and most recently made their Broadway co-producing debut with the musical Come From Away in 2017, which garnished a Tony nomination for Best Musical. Cohen also produced the award-winning documentary Dumbstruck, which gained national distribution through Magnolia Pictures. Gary and Marlene are associate producing the upcoming The Voice: Neon Dreams, scheduled to open at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas in later 2018, along with having a financial interest in the very successful Mat Franco Show currently running in Las Vegas as well. Upcoming musical co-producing credits include Be More Chill and the Broadway premiere of Tootsie in 2018.

Cohen, formally was an executive with Finish Line, a publicly traded NASDAQ company, retired from his position of Chief Administrative Officer in 2012.


A storyteller in every sense of the medium, Chris Neighbors is not only a screenwriter, but camera operator and editor as well on several films and shorts. Neighbors has written screenplays in different genres including thriller, fantasy, dark comedy, and drama, and worked closely with producer Steve Weinberger and director Marc Fusco to develop The Samuel Project.


Award-winning cinematographer Stephen Sheridan began his career under the Oscar-winning cameraman Haskell Wexler, then continued to develop his skills alongside renowned director/cameraman Joe Pytka. Stephen served as Mr. Pytka’s first camera assistant on a wide variety of national commercial spots for Nike, Budweiser, Coca Cola and Kodak.

From here, he went on to shoot independent features collaborating with directors such as John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), Alejandro Daniel Calvo’s The Other Side of the Tracks for which he won “Best Cinematography” at the Connecticut Intl. Film Festival. He collaborated with Marc Fusco on Stealing Time starring Peter Facinelli and Scott Foley, and shot Andrew Getty’s critically acclaimed horror film The Evil Within.

More recent feature work includes the Romantic Comedy “Temps” by writer/director Ryan Sage as well as commercial spots for ABC, NBC, Discovery, STARZ, Sprint, Lexus, Honda, Toyota and The Voice Super Bowl Commercial 2018.


With over 25 feature film and many TV credits as either Production Designer or Set Decorator, Heidi Strykiewicz is no stranger to independent and studio filmmaking. Beautifully creating the separate worlds of a teenage artist and an old dry cleaner, then marrying them in The Samuel Project was the mission of Strykiewicz and director Fusco during principle photography in San Diego.

Director of Photography Stephen Sheridan on set of The Samuel Project

See full credit list of The Samuel Project here

Joey Newman conducts a film score recording session.


Joey Newman is an Emmy-nominated, third generation film and television composer of the famed Hollywood musical Newman dynasty. A drummer, conductor and orchestrator, he earned his degree from the Berklee College of Music. He got his start working in television, co-composing with Emmy®-winning composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden. For five years, Joey composed the orchestral score to NCsoft’s LINEAGE, one of the biggest online role-playing games in history.

As a conductor and orchestrator, Joey has worked across the media spectrum including orchestrating for his cousin Randy and conducting alongside Michael Tilson Thomas and John Williams. Joey’s music can currently be heard on the hit ABC comedy THE MIDDLE, starring Patricia Heaton – now in it’s 8th season – and most recently on NBC’s drama THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA, starring Debra Messing. Recent film credits include the multiple award-winning drama ANY DAY NOW (starring Alan Cumming) and the Star Wars Fan Film HOSHINO (starring YouTuber Anna Akana).


Donald Wallace has dedicated his entire life to art and music and has applied his artistry to all areas producing cartoons, illustration, animation, movie concept art, and graphic design. Whether designing and producing for computer animation, animating in the traditional hand-drawn style, creating illustration for the print and internet markets, or developing cartoon characters and concept design, there isn’t much he hasn’t experienced in his career.

Donald drew and animated Eli’s short cartoon about Samuel, many animated transitions, and the fun main title sequence at the end of the film. Several of his illustrations also appear throughout the movie, following the style established by on set illustrator Bella Riboni.


On Eli’s bedroom set, 1st Assistant Director, Casey Price, gets ready for a take with Ryan Ochoa on the bed in the background.