Black Bear Pictures is a boutique media company that develops, produces and finances original and engaging content for film and television.

Since its 2011 launch, Black Bear’s slate has grossed over $350,000,000 worldwide, been nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, ten Golden Globes, ten BAFTAs, and premiered at such prestigious festivals as Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York, and London. In addition, Black Bear helped to create and is a major investor in Elevation Pictures Corp, the leading independent film and TV distribution company in Canada.

Black Bear is based in Santa Monica, California.

Our Team


Teddy Schwarzman serves as President & CEO of Black Bear Pictures, and oversees all operations of the company, including development, production, finance and strategic planning.

Schwarzman has produced a range of content, a sampling of which includes THE IMITATION GAME, Academy Award winner for Best Adapted Screenplay and nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture; J.C. Chandor’s ALL IS LOST, which earned Robert Redford the Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor; SUBURBICON, directed by George Clooney and starring Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac; BEN IS BACK, written and directed by Peter Hedges, starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges; GOLD, starring Matthew McConaughey, Dave Franco’s THE RENTAL, and upcoming films THE FRIEND, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and starring Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson and Casey Affleck, and I CARE A LOT, written and directed by J Blakeson, starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez, Chris Messina and Dianne Wiest.

Schwarzman has also served as Executive Producer of Dee Rees’ MUDBOUND, nominated for four Academy Awards, and Heidi Ewing’s upcoming film, I CARRY YOU WITH ME.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America, Schwarzman also sits on the Board of Directors of Elevation Pictures Corp., one of Canada’s leading film and television distributors, and serves on the Leadership Committee of the antipiracy nonprofit, CreativeFuture. Schwarzman earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Duke University School of Law, where he also sits on the Board of Visitors.

BEN STILLMAN | Head of Television

Ben Stillman is Head of Television at Black Bear Pictures, where he has worked since the company’s formation in 2011.

Ben has been a part of the creation, development, and production of a number of films and television series while at Black Bear including I Care A Lot written and directed by J Blakeson and starring Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage, and The Rental directed by Dave Franco and starring Alison Brie and Dan Stevens. Ben also produced Ben Is Back starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, Gold starring Matthew McConaughey, and Barry directed by Vikram Gandhi. Ben was also actively involved in the development and production of eight-time Academy Award-nominated The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

In 2018, Ben was honored as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen 35 Under 35 and in 2016 he was named one of Variety’s Ten Producers to Watch. Ben also serves on the Board of Directors for Elevation Pictures, one of Canada’s leading film and television distributors.

Prior to Black Bear, Ben worked at Cinetic International, selling international distribution rights for such films as Exit Through The Gift Shop, Meek’s Cutoff and Diego Luna’s Abel.

Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and a minor in English with a concentration on Creative Writing from Stanford University. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

LEIGH KITTAY | Head of Film

Leigh Kittay is the Head of Film at Black Bear Pictures.

Kittay oversees the indie studio’s active film slate which includes the upcoming The Marsh King’s Daughter with Neil Burger directing and Daisy Ridley starring, and Nyad with Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin directing and Annette Bening starring. Since joining Black Bear, Kittay has been integral in the ramp-up of content acquisitions and development for the film department, namely the recent acquisition of Pulitzer prize winning author Richard Powers’ much-anticipated novel, Bewilderment with Brad Pitt’s Plan B producing.

The veteran executive came to Black Bear from her post as Head of Film at Noah Hawley’s 26 Keys. There, she launched and ran the division for the Emmy Award Winning creator of “Fargo” and “Legion.” During her tenure, Kittay grew the company, then known exclusively for television, into a thriving film company. She executive produced the Natalie Portman starring Lucy in the Sky for Fox Searchlight and built an enviable film slate with filmmakers including Hiro Murai, Ali Abbasi, Charlie McDowell, Edward Berger, and Issa Lopez.

Prior to 26 Keys, Kittay served as Vice President at Parkes+MacDonald Productions, acquiring and developing film projects including Keeping Up with the Joneses at Fox 2000, Rings at Paramount, and the Davis Guggenheim directed documentary He Named Me Malala at Fox Searchlight. She began at Parkes+MacDonald as a Creative Executive in 2011.

Kittay spent 5 years at J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot working on some of the most successful movies and television shows of the time including Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Super 8, Morning Glory, Star Trek, Cloverfield, “Lost” (ABC), and “Fringe” (FBC).

Her career in Hollywood began at Paramount Pictures. She attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was raised in New York. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Eric and two boys, Theo and Miles.

MICHAEL HEIMLER | Head of Production & Finance

Michael Heimler serves as Head of Production & Finance for Black Bear Pictures, where he has worked since 2013.

At Black Bear, Michael is actively involved with all projects on Black Bear’s slate, focusing on physical production, post-production, business & legal affairs, finance & strategy, reviewing creative submissions and working closely with leading Canadian distributor, Elevation Pictures.

Most recently, Michael Produced J Blakeson’s I Care a Lot starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez, and Dianne Wiest; Executive Produced Heidi Ewing’s Sundance award winning I Carry You With Me; Executive Produced Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Our Friend starring Jason Segel, Dakota Johnson, and Casey Affleck; Executve Produced Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish and Executive Produced Dave Franco’s The Rental starring Alison Brie and Dan Stevens.

Previously, he served as Executive Producer on Peter Hedges’ Ben is Back, starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges; Light of my Life, written, directed by and starring Casey Affleck; and served as Co-Producer on Gold, directed by Stephen Gaghan and starring Matthew McConaughey.

Prior to Black Bear, Michael worked in the motion picture talent department of United Talent Agency in its New York office, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts – Film and Television from The University of Wisconsin – Madison.


Christopher Casanova is a Creative Executive at Black Bear Pictures, where he has worked since 2018.

At Black Bear, Christopher is actively involved across the company’s Film and TV slates, with a focus on filmmaker-driven genre fare. Recent projects include Dave Franco’s directorial debut, THE RENTAL, and J Blakeson’s I CARE A LOT, which recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Prior to joining the team at Black Bear, Christopher worked within Endeavor Content’s single picture finance and sales division. He began his career in the mailroom at William Morris Endeavor.

A second generation Cuban-American and a native Texan, Christopher earned a Bachelor of Science in Radio-Television-Film from The University of Texas at Austin.

SLEENA WILSON | Television Coordinator

Sleena Wilson is the Television Coordinator at Black Bear Pictures. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Sleena joined the team following her selection as the recipient of the 2019 Australians In Film emerging producer placement with Village Roadshow Pictures and Animal Logic in Los Angeles. Prior to this, she worked in film and television development at Aquarius Films in Australia, and started her career in TVC production. Sleena earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in Media Arts and Production from the University of Technology Sydney, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Creative Producing from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.


Clementine Quittner is a Coordinator at Black Bear Pictures. Prior to joining the team at Black Bear, Clementine worked in the TV department at Stampede Ventures and as the director’s assistant on A CALL TO SPY (IFC Films). She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Brown University, where she helped program the annual Ivy Film Festival and also wrote, directed, and produced short films for Brown Motion Pictures.


David Raymond is the assistant to Leigh Kittay and Michael Heimler at Black Bear Pictures. Prior to joining the team at Black Bear, David worked in talent management at Brillstein Entertainment Partners, the talent division of William Morris Endeavor, and at the film and television literary agency Hotchkiss Daily & Associates. David began his career in Chicago theatre working with Goodman Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance Studies from Stanford University.


1739 Berkeley Street,
Santa Monica CA 90404
tel: (424) 291-6000