Working Above the Line: Biographies 2020

PANELISTS
TOBIN BELL
Tobin Bell is an American actor with a career spanning four decades. He’s perhaps best known for his role as the iconic Jigsaw in the Saw film series. His other film credits include Mississippi Burning, The Firm, In The Line of Fire, Manson Family Vacation, The Old Man and the Pond, Ice Cream in the Cupboard and The Call to name just a few. On TV, Tobin has appeared in numerous award-winning shows including Criminal Minds, Wilfred, The Flash, The Sopranos, The West Wing and Seinfeld. He was born in Queens, New York and grew-up in Weymouth, Mass. A graduate of Boston University, he has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science from Montclair State College. He studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse and with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York. He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio and a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

IAN COOPER
Ian Cooper is Jordan Peele’s producing partner and the Creative Director of Monkeypaw. With a primary focus on the feature slate, Ian oversees the visual and conceptual underpinnings of all Monkeypaw projects from the early development stages through execution and release. His scope of oversight extends to all Monkeypaw ancillary projects, including books, events, and exhibitions. Cooper produced Peele’s Us (2019); Nia DaCosta’s Candyman (2020); and is producing Peele’s forthcoming feature, set to shoot in 2021. Ian is a visual artist with a practice in mixed media sculpture. He holds an MFA from Bard College and has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad over the past two decades. His work has been acquired by several institutions, including the permanent collection of The Whitney Museum of American Art.

GERARD MCMURRAY
Gerard McMurray is a Filmmaker from the 7th Ward of New Orleans. He is a graduate of Howard University and USC Film School’s MFA program. Shortly after graduation from USC, Gerard collaborated with Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan and Forest Whitaker as a Producer on the hit indie film Fruitvale Station which won the both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  McMurray’s first film as Director was Burning Sands, produced by Stephanie Alain, Reginald Hudlin, and Jason Berman. The film, a Netflix Original, premiered in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival to great critical response. His sophomore film, The First Purge, was produced by Oscar nominated Producer Jason Blum through his Blumhouse production company. Starring Lex Scott Davis, Y’lan Noel, Joivan Wade, and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, the film is the fourth installment in the hugely successful series depicting the origin story of The Purge franchise. It was released by Universal Pictures on July 4, 2018, becoming the most commercially successful film of the franchise. Gerard has since directed The Twilight Zone, “Replay,” for Oscar winner Jordan Peele, starring Sanaa Lathan. Currently, he is writing and directing the action franchise The Silver Bear for Lionsgate, starring Michael B. Jordan. Gerard is also co-writing and directing Booker with John Wick Creator/Writer Derek Kolstad for Sony Pictures with John Davis producing. Additionally, Gerard is Directing/Executive Producing a series version of The Spook Who Sat By The Door with Lee Daniels for FX.

TERRI TAYLOR
Over the course of her 20-year career in casting, Terri Taylor has worked on over 50 feature films. They’ve ranged from big studio releases to surprise gems from the independent film world. She has worked with acclaimed directors, such as: Steven Spielberg, Jordan Peele, Damien Chazelle and Jon M. Chu. In 2015, Taylor collaborated with Jordan Peele on his directorial debut film, Get Out, which garnered both commercial and critical acclaim including 4 Academy Award nominations. The film has been praised by critics for its inspired and unconventional casting choices and earned Taylor an Artios Award nomination from the Casting Society of America. Taylor also cast Jordan Peele’s follow up feature film, Us, for Universal which opened in 2019 to critical acclaim and box office success. Taylor worked with Jon M. Chu for a third time casting Crazy Rich Asians for Warner Bros. The film has been touted as groundbreaking for its diverse storytelling and entirely Asian ensemble cast and earned Taylor an Artios Award for best ensemble cast. In January of 2014, Taylor became the Head of Casting at Blumhouse productions, casting all Blumhouse films including, Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, director), The Gift (Joel Edgerton, director), Happy Death Day (Christopher Landon, dir.) and The Invisible Man (Leigh Whannell, director). Taylor additionally cast the Showtime limited series The Loudest Voice which earned Russell Crowe a Golden Globe Award for best actor. She is presently the EVP of Casting and continues to cast and oversee the company’s extensive film and television slate. Taylor started her casting career as an assistant and then associate to reputed casting director Debra Zane. As an associate, she helped cast Seabiscuit, Catch Me If You Can, Traffic, Road to Perdition, Galaxy Quest and The Legend of Baggar Vance, to name a few. Besides her career as an independent casting director, Taylor spent time as a casting consultant for Miramax Films, working on such projects as: Adventureland, The Debt and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. She also worked as a studio executive for Paramount Pictures where she helped oversee No Strings Attached, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Super 8, Footloose and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Taylor has been married for 25 years to Gregg Taylor, the Head of Kids & Family Films at Netflix. They have two children and live in Los Angeles.

GERARD BUSH AND CHRISTOPHER RENZ
Gerard Bush & Christopher Renz [Co-Writer-Director-Producer]​ ​– k​nown as Bush +Renz –are a writer/director duo driven by their passion for telling powerful stories of the dis-enfranchised, marginalized, and underrepresented. Their primary objective is to amplify the visibility of a host of social justice and cause-based issues currently impacting society –including climate change, LGBTQ equality, women's equality, voter suppression, mass incarceration, et al. The duo has worked with The Bill + Melinda Gates Foundation, Amnesty International, Emily's List, Priorities USA, and MLK Memorial Foundation, to name just a few. Bush + Renz first captured the imagination of pop culture with their viral police brutality PSA ​Against The Wall,​ starring Michael B. Jordan, Danny Glover, and Michael K. Williams, and the critically acclaimed visual E.P. ​17 (​ loosely based on the murder of seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin at the hand of a vigilante) for Jay-Z's music entertainment platform Tidal. ​17,​ which was produced by legendary activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte ––– went on to serve as the visual centerpiece for the 2017 Poor People's Campaign initiative. Bush + Renz also wrote and directed the politically charged and highly acclaimed music short film, ​Kill Jay-Z,​ for the multi-Grammy nominated 4:44 project by superstar Jay-Z, as well as the short music film, T​he Glass House​, produced in partnership with the social justice non-profit organization Sankofa – starring multi-Grammy award-winning R&B icon Maxwell and actress/activist Yomi Abiola. Antebellum​ ​is their first full-length feature film.

MODERATOR
MIKE MUSE
Mike Muse is a former Record Label Co-Founder, Pop Culture Expert, Political Expert, and Change Agent. By intersecting politics and pop culture, Mike uses his platform to create social change. As an industrial engineer turned media entrepreneur, Mike is host of SiriusXM’s award winning show, The Mike Muse Show, Co-host of Sway in the Morning, and recently named ABC News Contributor for ABC News Live and the Good Morning America Family. He leverages his platform to show policy as lifestyle, the topic of his first of two TED Talks.  And he is a guest lecturer on various topics dealing with the business of music and politics at our nation’s top universities. Mike served as a member of President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, to which he was recognized as one of the youngest people in America to raise over $1 million dollars for any American President in one year. He was appointed to serve as the Unites States Small Business Administration, My Brother’s Keeper, Millennial Entrepreneurial Champion, which was designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.  And he was also appointed as the United States Small Business Administration Federal Commission for the Council of Underserved Communities, as the Millennials in Business Representative. His passion will always be tech which is evident with his newly minted fellowship with Google, as a NextGen Tech Policy Fellow.