The Movie


Jeffrey Schwarz is the President & CEO of Automat Pictures, an award winning entertainment company specializing in the production of narrative and documentary films, original television programming, DVD Added Value and studio EPKs (electronic press kits). Jeffrey launched Automat in the early days of the DVD format, realizing the potential for compelling documentary programming in the tried-and-true "behind the scenes" genre. Jeffrey has since contributed to the success of dozens of major studio releases, producing such documentaries as "You Can't Stop the Beat: The Long Journey of Hairspray," "No Day But Today: The Story of Rent," "Never Sleep Again: The Making of A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Inside of the Labyrinth: The Making of The Silence of the Lambs," and "Mysteries of Love," profiling David Lynch's masterpiece "Blue Velvet." Jeffrey's documentary, "People Like Us: Making Philadelphia," premiered at the 2003 San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. He was executive producer of "Whether You Like It Or Not: The Story of Hedwig," which has enjoyed a life beyond DVD at film festivals around the world. In 2007, he premiered his independent feature documentary Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story which won the Audience Award for Documentary at the American Film Institute's AFI Fest.

In television, Schwarz brought "Reservoir Dogs Revisited," a celebration of Quentin Tarantino's classic, and "Still Swingin'," a retrospective on the indie favorite Swingers, to the Independent Film Channel, as well as several episodes of "HBO First Look." Most recently, the Encore Network presented two original Automat documentaries, "Shooting the Police: Cops on Film" and "Hitchcocked!" Automat's first narrative feature film, Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds was produced in association with Ariztical Entertainment and received its theatrical premiere in 2006. He is currently in development on several feature films, including a biopic of notorious underground filmmaker George Kuchar.

A New York native, Jeffrey attended SUNY Purchase's Film Department, earning a BFA in Film. His senior thesis project was the documentary "Al Lewis In The Flesh," which profiled Al "Grampa" Lewis, octogenarian star of TV's "The Munsters." This film observes the American pastime of celebrity adulation and led to Jeffrey's on-going interest in producing films about outsider icons in American popular culture.


Sonja Nelson was named to the position of Head of Production for Automat Pictures in early 2005. Since joining the company, she has been responsible for the supervision of all company productions. Sonja is a versatile production and operations executive with over 20 years of experience managing companies and producing television programming. She has held prominent positions with Lions Gate Studios, Lorimar, and Van Ness Films. Her expertise includes production and financial management, business development, cost containment, corporate and operational organization, and personnel management. Prior to joining Automat Pictures, Sonja was a Consulting Producer with Seesaw Studios in Los Angeles. There, she was responsible for operational design and implementation of systems for a newly formed production company. From 1997-2002, she was a Coordinating Producer for Fox Star Productions/Van Ness Films. During this time, she was responsible for delivering over 100 episodes of "Biography" to the A&E Network, including "Jackie Gleason: The Great One," winner of the 2002 Emmy Award in the Documentary Category. Other posts held by Sonja VP, Production, Lorimar Home Video; VP, Operations, Lions Gate Studios, and Associate Producer with KQED, San Francisco.


Since joining the company in 2003, she has served as intern, office manager, production assistant, researcher and currently is an associate producer. She oversees many facets of production, including research, coordinating shoots and locations, travel arrangements, clearance, and countless other responsibilities. While still an undergraduate at South Carolina's Francis Marion University, Taryn developed and produced an episode of "The Focus Show" for a local news station in Florence, SC. After graduating with a B.A. in Mass Communications, she has served in several different areas of the entertainment industry, including On-Set Key Production Assistant for Media Masters, Inc. in 2002. Taryn has developed skills in virtually every aspect of production, giving her a broad technical knowledge she still utilizes today. The following year, she would segway into public relations, as an executive assistant at Susan Bejeckian Public Relations in Alhambra, CA. There, Taryn developed media press kits and CD-ROMs while pitching major media outlets. She helped generate publicity for both local and national news shows, talk shows, as well as major newspapers and magazines. Taryn's technical knowledge and industry savvy make her a versatile producer who has helped contribute to the success of Automat Pictures.


Jack is a native of New Jersey (the nice part), and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia (the not so nice part) with a B.A. in Film/Media Arts and a concentration in Screenwriting before making the move to the west coast. Since arriving at Automat in 2006, Jack has acted as general office manager, assisted in the delivery of many DVD features, served in an associate producer capacity on independent documentary features, as well as overseeing the creative development of numerous projects. Before joining Automat, Jack worked at Fortress Features, assisting in the development of multiple feature films, among them, the recently released Pride, in addition to numerous other high-concept, character-driven projects. An award winning screenwriter, Jack brings a creative strength to his work, in addition to an ever-growing technical knowledge of the industry.


Jaime Meyers Schlenck has collaborated as editor with Jeffrey Schwarz on the documentaries "You Can't Stop the Beat: The Long Journey of Hairspray," "Path of Darkness: Making Silent Hill," and "Shooting the Police: Cops on Film," to name a few. She was also an editor of the Emmy Award winning documentary series "A Lion in the House," which premiered at Sundance in 2006. Previously Jaime collaborated as assistant and associate editor on the numerous documentary features, noteably On A Roll which won the Independent Lens Audience Award in 2005. Her short film Worn Down, which she directed and edited, won the Director's Choice Award at the Black Maria Film Festival in 2001. Jaime is a graduate of the Wright State University Film program.


Michael "The Millionaire" Cudahy hails from the frozen wastes of New England. He paid his dues with Matador recording artists Christmas, but made his real mark as the leader of the avatars of modern music, Combustible Edison. The Mil's tenure with CE included a national and international tour (including the opening slot for Bryan Ferry's 1995 tour), three CDs with Seattle's Sub Pop label and a string of TV and radio appearances. CE's music appeared in "Sex and The City", Terry Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Mercedes-Benz television ads. CE composed and performed the original score for Quentin Tarantino's anthology comedy Four Rooms. The Millionaire's recent projects include a stint as musical director for the Velvet Hammer Burlesque, leading a 13-piece Bollywood orchestra, recording as one half of the electronic duo SuperCasanova, and performing DJ duties at and The Standard hotel. The Millionaire is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Berklee College of Music for Film Scoring. He also has the dubious distinction of having set the record for the largest amount of "winnings" ($52,440.00!) ever racked up by a non-winner on "Jeopardy." Michael is the composer of Jeffrey Schwarz's Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story.


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