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Hollywood’s New Leaders: 10 Assistants to Watch

Variety‘s Hollywood’s New Leaders profiles those to look out for in the worlds of film, TV, digital and more. For more of the New Leaders, click here.

Olivia Blaustein, 26
Coordinator, scripted television, CAA
Blaustein, a USC grad, joined CAA in 2011 as an assistant to TV packaging agent Peter Micelli and developed relationships with writer-producers Jenji Kohan, Brian McGreevy, Lee Shipman and Peter Lenkov. She also played an integral role in the deal for client Lauren Bachelis, creator of the “Hollywood Assistants” Tumblr blog, with Fox TV. In 2013 Blaustein entered CAA’s agent training program, working for TV agent Tiffany Ward before being upped to coordinator. She’s a member of CAA’s Assistant Task Force.

Shirit Bradley, 32
Assistant to Alex Garcia, exec VP of creative affairs, and coordinator in the features creative dept., Legendary Pictures
Having worked at Innovative Artists, Bradley brought agency experience to her role at Legendary. When the company embarked on the production of Godzilla, she transitioned to that film’s production team, relocating to Vancouver and assisting producers Patty Whitcher and Mary Parent as well as Alex Garcia. She also oversaw and took responsibility for clearances and consumer product assets, a huge task on a big-budget movie. She them moved back to the Legendary fold, staying closely involved with the film through its post-production, marketing and release while also taking on other duties with the company.

See More: Hollywood’s New Leaders

Ramsey Carey, 26
First assistant to co-CEO Modi Wiczyk, Media Rights Capital
Carey has been promoted twice in his 2½ years at MRC and now runs the assistant training program and the assistant weekend read program. He works closely with execs coordinating film and television distribution deals, including the “Ted” sequel; the deal for Neill Blomkamp’s “Chappie” with Sony; “Blunt Talk” from Seth MacFarlane and Jonathan Ames, which received a straight-to-series, two-season order from Starz; and TV project “The One Percent” from Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, also for Starz.

Alexis Galfas, 25
Assistant to John Sloss, Cinetic Media and Sloss Eckhouse Law Co.
The New York native and Cornell grad got her start interning at Locomotive Film and was then hired at Marcy Drogin’s Maximum Films & Management, where she assisted execs in scouting literary properties for clients such as DreamWorks and NBC TV. Since joining Cinetic in 2013, Galfas has run the indie mogul’s busy desk, assisted with campaigns for recent hits “Boyhood” and “Life Itself,” and is helping expand Cinetic’s management division, which is shepherding new talent such as “Boyhood’s” Ellar Coltrane.

Mackenzie Kirk, 24
Executive assistant to president of worldwide distribution & marketing Megan Colligan, Paramount Pictures
The Loyola Marymount U. grad interned at Summit Entertainment and in 2011 accepted an internship in Paramount’s creative advertising department. After five months, Kirk was offered a permanent position assisting Colligan, then-CMO and prexy of domestic marketing. Since then she’s been promoted and in addition to maintaining office mechanics, she assists in generating ideas for marketing campaigns and coordinating events for charitable organizations affiliated with the studio.

JT Kounelias, 24
Assistant to United Talent Agency co-founder Peter Benedek
The NYU grad interned at “The Colbert Report” and Warner Bros., was hired by UTA in 2012, and has quickly risen through the ranks to his current position after stints with talent and theater agent Gennifer Lieber and TV literary agent Joel Begleiter. Kounelias works closely with the entire television department and Benedek, who reps A-list creators, showrunners and writers, including Lena Dunham, David Chase, Tom Fontana, Michael J. Fox, Lake Bell, Neil Cross and Jack Bender.

Anthony Marotto, 25
Coordinator, physical production, APA
Marotto started under the tutelage of Montana Artists Agency prexy Matt Birch, and moved with Birch to APA in 2013. He was quickly promoted to coordinator and works closely with Birch and APA below-the-line clients, including production designer Jennifer Dehghan (Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie 2: Making Waves”) and producer Sara White (Marvel’s “Agent Carter”). In just two years, Marotto has become a key player in the department, liaising between the agency’s numerous divisions and exploring new ways to bridge diverse talents.

Bennett Sherman, 27
Associate, digital strategy, ICM Partners
Sherman moved up the old-fashioned way — by starting in the mailroom after attending Arizona U. and interning for Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment. He went on to assist the head of TV business affairs, moved to the talent department, and was then hired by topper Chris Silbermann in 2012. During his tenure at Silbermann’s desk, in 2013, he was accepted into the agent trainee program. Sherman was recently promoted to associate in digital strategy, where he’ll help bridge all departments and create new opportunities for clients.

Ally Shuster, 29
Coordinator, Theatre Literary Department, Paradigm Talent Agency
The native New Yorker, a 2011 graduate of the Cardozo School of Law, is still Gotham-based and focused on Broadway and theater. “Ally has a great eye for talent and a strong work ethic,” says department head Jack Tantleff, who thinks of her as “more partner” than assistant. “She’s a big part of all my projects,” he says, including the upcoming Broadway revival of “Side Show” with Paradigm clients director Bill Condon and composer Henry Krieger; and “Waitress: The Musical,” scored by client Sara Bareilles.

Andrew Tolbert, 27
Executive assistant to head of TV Margie Cohn, DreamWorks Animation TV
Tolbert joined DreamWorks as an intern in 2010, worked as a manager in its live theatrical group and, as an early member of the TV team, helped build the studio from a small operation to a major competitor in animated TV content. DWA TV is producing and developing 300 hours of original material as part of a deal with Netflix. Tolbert also co-produced a pilot reading of “Hollywood & Vine” with CAA and produced digital series “Lazy Actress,” now being shopped.

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