Since founding Straight Up Films with her partner Marisa Polvino in 2008, Kate has produced films with major studios and worked with Hollywood’s elite players, includingJohnny Depp, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Nolan and Gavin O’Connor.
Kate is a lifelong advocate for children and mentor to countless young girls. She is grateful to have a platform to help others throughthe power of exemplary storytelling. As part of her missionto create commercial films that move audiences toenact social changeshe co-founded Straight Up Impact, a subdivision of Straight Up Films.
She oversees much of the company’s creative and business development. She is about to start pre-production on “Joseph Merrick,” basedon the life of the Elephant Man and directed by award-winning filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó and produced by 7 time Academy Award winner Mike Medavoy and David Dobkin;a film adaptation of ViktorFrankl’s bestselling book“Man’s Search for Meaning,”chronicling his experiences in Nazi concentration camps and the power of his life-affirming, meaning-basedtherapy, produced with Tony Robbins; and the compelling short film series “Meaning in Madness” addressing root causes of a mental health crisis that has led to record anxiety,depression and suicide among youth.
Kate lives in LA with her husband and 9 year old son. They are on a collective mission to help kids have a better future.
With a career spanning over two decades, Marisa Polvino is a prolific producer and entrepreneurwith a skill for identifying, packaging, and producing quality,star-driven entertainment across all genres and budget levels. Presently, Marisa is Partner andCo-CEO ofSTRAIGHT UP FILMSa fully integrated multi-mediaproduction company that has worked alongside top-name Hollywood talent, including Natalie Portman, Rosario Dawson, Jesse Eisenberg, Gina Rodriguez andJohnny Depp.
Polvino is responsible for identifying and shaping projects that align with the Straight Up Impact ethos. Presently,she oversees a top flight feature slate whichincludesMerrickdirected by Kornel Mundruczo,How to Set a Fire and Why, directed by award winning director/actress Lisa Edelstein,Dissonance, a YA lovestory set in the multiverse directed by Catherine Hardwicke and Viktor Frankl’s iconic memoirMan’s Search for Meaning.
Recognizing the profound effect cinema can have on culture Polvino launched Straight Up Impact with long-time business partner Kate Cohen and strategistand advocate Pam Roy.The companies mission is to create, produce and finance thought provoking content that can appeal to human emotions, shiftperspectives and inspire positive social change.
At Straight Up Impact, Polvino uses her entrepreneurial spirit and know-how and focuses on forging relationships with likeminded partners while alsooverseeing much of the company’s business strategy, development, marketing and operational structure.In 2019, she created the “Power On” series for Google’s computer science in media division which was a five-part, short-film series directed by leadingactresses and designed to promote greater gender and racial diversity in STEAM fields.Polvino currently producing the “Meaning in Madness” film serieswhich centers around the systemic issues contributing to the suicide epidemic facing young adults and teens today and the importance of meaning andpurpose in their lives.
Marisa is perpetuallyinspired by her two children and encourages them to follow their passions and pay attention to what matters most in life.And, to workhard and always be nice to people.
Straight Up Impactwho have created a groundbreaking short-film series,MeaninginMadness, which explores the systemic issues contributing to record-high levels of anxiety and depression among teens and young adults.I would be happy to connect youwith producersKate CohenandMarisa Polvinoto hear more about the first film of the series,“Mackenzie” which is releasing on April 8th.If you are interested I canshare a trailer for the new film and arrange some time for you to speak with Kate and Marisa to hear more about the fraying social structure around education that is systemically failing children.
In the first of a four-part documentary series, the filmmakers shine a light on the shortcomings of the industrialized educational system, highlighting the story of Mackenzie, a 17-year-old high school student who feels like she has been reduced to a number and a test score.
While Mackenzie’s story is personal, it is by nomeansunique. Around the country, students are struggling to find their purpose in a system bent on conformity—and the problem has only gotten worse since COVID-19. For nearly a year, millions of children have been locked out their classrooms, without access to high-quality education. Meanwhile, parents have tried to step in and fill a void that, until now, has put the onus of education squarely on schools.
Until 125 years ago, learning took place in the world, not solely in the classroom. That changed with the industrial revolution. With or without a global pandemic, the currency of the modern world is innovative, creative thinking—not rote memorization—and most public-school systems simply aren’t equipped to provide this type of human-centered learning.We need to drastically rethink our societal approach to education.
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