Our Team

Jerry Spinelli

// Executive Producer and Author

“Milkweed” author Jerry Spinelli is a Newbery Medal and Newbery Honor winner. His young adult novel, “Maniac Magee,” was made into a Nickelodeon television movie in 2003. His “Stargirl” is being made into a feature film by Disney; his sequel, “Love, Stargirl,” spent time on the New York Times bestseller list to rave reviews. When published in 2003, Milkweed won the prestigious Golden Kite Award.

Gail Rosenblum

// Producer

Gail is a newspaper columnist, author, speaker and president of Minneapolis-based Roseberry Entertainment, producer of “Enough Already!” named one of the best children’s videos of the year by Child Magazine. (gailrosenblum.com) In 2019, she founded nonprofit MPGL Entertainment to bring compelling young adult films with 21st century teaching curricula into middle schools nationwide.

Annita Soble

// Artistic Director

Annita Soble runs her own successful animation and illustration studio in Brooklyn NY. She is lauded for successfully translating abstract concepts into visual forms. As a parent of five Jewish children she is particularly invested in this project. AnnitaSoble.com

Mike Owens

// Animation Director

Mike Owens is an Emmy Award-winning animation director and show creator with 20-plus years of entertaining audiences of all ages on screens of every size. He is co-owner of WOMO Studio in St. Paul, MN., where he develops and produces original animated content and services for independent, commercial and studio entertainment. More at mikeowensproductions.com.

Wendie Owens

// Animation Director

Wendie Owens is a creative filmmaker with over 20 years of production and leadership experience creating and producing video and audio stories. She has worked as a producer, director, camera operator, sound designer, editor, animator, and designer. Wendie’s career began as an animator for children’s television programming in Chicago. She is currently producing original animated and illustrated content at WOMO Studio.

Audrey Robinson Favorito

// Animation Producer

Audrey is an animation and video producer. Owner of Wild Carrot Productions, she works with nonprofit organizations to help tell their stories. Her video about Japanese Barberry won 2016 Innovative Program Award from Minnesota Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals. Her recent series of videos with University of Minnesota Extension highlight the research of K-12 students conducting citizen science in their schoolyards and introduces them to conservation biologists conducting research in the field. Experienced with managing animation production teams, Audrey served 12 years as executive producer for Reelworks Animation, a commercial animation studio known for high quality traditional hand-drawn animation. Clients included top-tier advertising agencies producing national commercials for Target, Time Magazine and Hersheys. She produced 3D animation projects at Lamb & Company for six years, working with the team that pioneered the use of motion capture technology for dramatic narrative animation. She served as producer for Lamb’s 1996 critically acclaimed short film Huzzah, Bobaloo the Beast Boy, written and performed by Kevin Kling.

Bruce McFarlan

// Animator

Bruce has over thirty-five years of experience in producing animation for broadcast, web, and theater. His roots are in traditional, hand-drawn animation and cover all aspects of character animation — from storyboarding and character design, to layout and producing hand-drawn key-frame animation. His other areas of expertise include directing digital 2D and 3D animators on motion and timing of digital productions.  Bruce was co-owner of Reelworks Animation, which was an advertising industry mainstay, from 1981 through 2012. In 2012, he founded his new production company, Rowboat Animation, and has continued on with the same love of craft that created the many memorable award-winning productions which were the hallmark of his Reelworks years.

Tom Lieberman

// Music and Soundtrack Supervisor

Tom Lieberman is an award-winning composer, performer and producer with over 45 years experience providing creative and production services for radio, television, stage and screen.   He has put words and music into the mouths of characters ranging from Garrison Keillor to Winnie the Pooh, and has worked on behalf of such clients as Disney, Universal, PBS, Discovery, The Jim Henson Company, and NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis. Tom was music supervisor and an executive producer of the independent feature “Sweet Land,“ winner of the 2006 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.  The film’s soundtrack featured Tom performing his composition “Eskimo Kisses,” which Variety reviewer Ronnie Scheib described as “a triumph of inventive storytelling.” (www.liebermania.com)

Matt Herbst

// Composer

Multi award-winning composer Matt is rapidly carving out a name for himself in the Hollywood film music landscape. His musical style has drawn comparisons to John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Alan Silvestri. His extensive scoring experience has led him to the best recording stages in Hollywood including Capitol Records and Warner Brothers. In addition to his work in film, he has written music for such brands as Samsung and Durex. Matt studied film scoring at the University of Southern California’s world famous Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program where he learned the techniques and processes of modern film music. He has won the prestigious BMI Award for Achievement in Film Scoring and is a distinguished member of ASCAP and works from his studio in Los Angeles.

Chris Bartle

// Screenwriter

While this is his first full-length feature screenplay, Chris is an award-winning writer and commercials director in London. He found his way to Milkweed the novel more than a decade ago, quickly realizing the impact a movie would have. He is excited and honored to be on the Milkweed team.

Sam Fischer

// Creative Consultant

Sam has more than 25 years of feature film and episodic television experience that has taken him from best boy, gaffer, camera operator and director of photography to director—most recently working with Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell in Memorial Day. The film has won many awards including Best Narrative Feature at the GI Film Festival, the Audience Choice Award for best Narrative Feature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, and several Best of Fest awards from festivals across the nation. samfischer.com

KK Neiman

// Teacher and Curriculum Writer

KK has a Masters in Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has been working in education for nearly 20 years. She currently teaches 6th grade at the Blake School in Minneapolis. She has spent the last seven years designing and implementing a Humanities program blending reading, writing and inquiry, with the goal of building essential skills our students need to be responsible and engaged citizens in our communities and globally.