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Lights, Camera, Action! Production - Panel Biographies

Stuntwoman LaFaye Baker has been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. Her many credits as a stunt performer include the films Grand Canyon, What’s Love Got to Do with It, Seven, The Nutty Professor, Hannibal, Fracture, Green Lantern and Baggage Claim. She has doubled for such actresses as Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett, Regina King, Regina Hall, Vanessa Bell Calloway and Lynn Whitfield. In addition to acting as the stunt coordinator for the HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and the film First Sunday, Baker wrote, directed and produced the documentary Hollywood at Its Best, about African-American stuntwomen.

Erin Benach earned a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination for her work on director Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2011 film Drive. She recently reunited with Refn on The Neon Demon. Benach also shares a creative collaboration with director Derek Cianfrance, beginning with the widely acclaimed Blue Valentine and continuing with The Place beyond the Pines and The Light between Oceans. Her other credits include Half Nelson, The Lincoln Lawyer, Midnight Special and Loving. Her work will next be seen in the remake of the 1937 classic A Star Is Born, directed by Bradley Cooper.

Susan Benjamin has been decorating and designing interiors for film and television for over 25 years. She has set-decorated movies for directors Ron Howard, Jay Roach and John Lee Hancock, and her credits include Frost/Nixon, The Blind Side, The Campaign, The Finest Hours and The Founder. She received an Emmy® nomination for her work on the miniseries Stephen King’s The Stand. Benjamin hopes to continue working with the Spark @ The Academy middle school mentoring program and the Make A Film Foundation to inspire her passion for design and moviemaking in others.

Gabriel Beristain was born in Mexico.  His interest in filmmaking began with his involvement in Mexico's independent film scene.  While attending the National Film and Television School in the UK, he shot Jenny Wilkes’ Student Academy Award Winner, Mother's Wedding.   Gabriel moved to Los Angeles in the early 90’s and has gone on to a successful and versatile film career. He is known for his work on Blade II (2002), S.W.A.T. (2003) and Blade: Trinity (2004). He is a member of the ASC, BSC, and AMC, as well as an Academy member for 20 years.  He is currently working in Atlanta on the TV series MacGyver.

Carmen Cuba is a Los Angeles-based casting director who spent her childhood living in New York, Lima and La Paz, Bolivia. She has won Emmys for her work on HBO’s Behind the Candelabra (2013) and the Netflix series Stranger Things. Her feature film work includes projects such as Magic Mike (2012), Now You See Me (2013) and The Martian (2015), starring Matt Damon. Her most recent films include Alien: Covenant, Logan Lucky and The Florida Project, and her work can next be seen in the upcoming releases All the Money in the World, Gringo and Lean on Pete.

Beverly Jo Pryor’s big break as a makeup artist came when she was hired by Max Factor. She has continued working as a makeup artist for 34 years and has been in the IATSE Local 706 union for 26 years. After working on such television shows as “Family Matters,” “Sister, Sister” and “Keenan and Kel,” she began working in film on such projects as Barbershop and Big Momma’s House. Her other films include Ali, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Selma and Hidden Figures. She is currently the makeup department head on the Fox show “Empire.”

Mark Weingarten is a New York-born production sound mixer who has made his home in Los Angeles for over 30 years. He has worked with many great directors, including Robert Altman, Christopher Guest, David Fincher and Christopher Nolan. Weingarten has received three Academy Award nominations for Sound Mixing, for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and Interstellar. He loves what he does but does not understand why anyone else would voluntarily choose to put themselves through the insanity of the film business every day, but if you love it, you love it, and what else can you do.

John Horn (Moderator) is the host of KPCC’s “The Frame,” a daily arts and entertainment program. Horn has been covering arts and entertainment in Southern California for nearly 30 years. At the Los Angeles Times, he was a lead writer on the film industry, taking readers behind the scenes to examine the creative process and explain how Hollywood works. Before joining the Times, Horn was a senior writer at Newsweek magazine, a senior editor at Premiere magazine and an entertainment reporter for the Associated Press; he also covered the television industry for The Orange County Register.