HEIDI JO MARKEL - CEO
After graduating from the University of California (Berkeley) with a degree in Economics-Political Science, Heidi Jo Markel (HJM) moved to Los Angeles in the mid-90’s to dive into the world of filmmaking.
Intrigued by director Bernard Rose’s idea of shooting a modern day adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, HJM co-produced and acted in IVANSXTC, which played globally at major film festivals (noted hereafter as "FF") and received four Independent Spirit Award nominations in 2001. Her next producing venture was BLIND HORIZON (SXSW, 2003) starring Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard, Faye Dunaway, and Amy Smart.
After years of flying solo, in 2004, HJM launched ECLECTIC PICTURES with the goal to attract exceptional collaborators in order to develop a diverse slate of scripts, raise funds, and produce A-level quality theatrical fare. Striking a multi-picture deal with Millennium Films, she first produced a film based on Pulitzer Prize winning author, Bernard Malamud’s THE TENANTS starring Dylan McDermott, Snoop Dog, and Rose Byrne (2005 Tribeca FF); Followed by John Herzfeld's THE DEATH AND LIFE OF BOBBY Z based on author Don Winslow’s intriguing best seller starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne, then George Gallo's MY MOM'S NEW BOYFRIEND starring Antonio Banderas and Meg Ryan.
Thereafter, HJM made a bold move forward into socially conscious filmmaking: David Schwimmer’s TRUST, a controversial film about online predators starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis and Liana Liberato (Best Actress, Chicago FF and 2010 TIFF-Toronto) received much support by child advocacy groups.
Heidi Jo’s passion project exposed human trafficking: LOVELACE tells the true story of Linda Boreman, a woman forced into pornography at the behest of her abusive husband only to become the top feminist anti-porn crusader. Directed by Oscar-winning directing team (Epstein & Friedman) along with tour-de-force performances from Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone along with James Franco, Bobby Cannavale, Adam Brody, and Juno Temple. (2013 Berlinale and Sundance FF).
Other notable HJM feature film producing credits include her first film to make just shy of $100 million at the box office: Antoine Fuqua's OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN with all-star cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett (And is now currently in production on the sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN). Gabriele Muccino's PLAYING FOR KEEPS starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Dennis Quaid; Levien and Koppelman's SOLITARY MAN starring Michael Douglas, Jesse Eisenberg, Mary-Louise Parker, Susan Sarandon, Imogen Poots (TIFF 2009); and James Franco's AS I LAY DYING (Cannes FF '13) based on the Nobel Prize winning author, William Faulkner’s novel.
In 2014, she produced Wayne Blair's SEPTEMBERS OF SHIRAZ based on the best-selling novel by Dalia Sofer, starring Adrien Brody, Salma Hayek, and Shohreh Aghdashloo about one family's intense struggle during the 1979 Revolution in Tehran (TIFF 2015)... and followed up with a modern-day retelling of Mary Shelly's FRANKENSTEIN, which re-teamed her with Bernard Rose and Danny Huston along with newcomer Xavier Samuel, winning numerous awards.
In 2015, she produced a comedy for Netflix, The Late Bloomer, originally developed with Alcon. The movie starred Johnny Simmons, JK Simmons, Jane Lynch, Kumail Nanjiani, Beck Bennett, and Brittany Snow. Next up in 2017, two Gerard Butler actioners: Hunter Killer with Gary Oldman and Common and 3rd installment of “Has Fallen” series: Angel Has Fallen with Morgan Freeman and Danny Huston. Both released by Lionsgate.
Currently, she is in pre-production on The Bricklayer based on the Noah Boyd Book Series, directed by Pete Travis. Also, the long awaited spin-off of the Expendables series, a high-octane female-empowerment actioner.
HJM regularly sits on festival & industry panels to speak as a foremost authority on producing, finance and anti-piracy. In 2014 she judged both the Oxford FF and the Andrei Tarkovsky FF outside Moscow.
Aside from her work in film, HJM endeavors to evolve as an environmentalist and a humanitarian. She’s actively involved with The Aviva Center where she teaches filmmaking to trafficked teenage girls, inspiring their creative talents. In May 2014, Aviva honored HJM with the Aviva Impact Award.
In 2015, HJM achieved her long-time goal of spearheading her own charitable foundation STOP POACHING NOW! with a mission to tap into the creative film community to utilize media platforms to educate and influence the global population to obliterate the demand for illegal animal products while safeguarding endangered animals and their habitats by supporting grass-roots organizations.
You can see many socially conscience thematics in her filmmaking, for which she is most proud.