Full Time & Part Time Staff
President & CEO
Having grown up in Pittsburgh, Carl Kurlander graduated Duke University Magna Cum Laude where he won the MCA-Universal Studios Scholar Award which first took him out to Hollywood. As an intern to then head of Production Thom Mount, Carl turned a short story he wrote in college called "St. Elmo's Fire" into a feature script, and then co-wrote the final version of the Columbia Pictures hit, St. Elmo's Fire, with director Joel Schumacher whom Carl met while an intern after getting Joel gazpacho, with no croutons, no sour cream and chopped egg on the side." Over the next two decades, Carl wrote screenplays under contract for Paramount, Disney, Universal, Orion, Columbia and Fox Studios. He also wrote TV scripts for CBS, Fox, and NBC, in addition to writing and producing over one hundred episodes of TNBC's "Saved by Bell" franchise. In 2001, Carl returned to teach at the University of Pittsburgh for what he thought would be a one year Hollywood sabbatical. Instead, this journey led to an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, for of all things moving to Pittsburgh; a feature documentary, My Tale of Two Cities, a bent valentine to Pittsburgh's comeback story which has played in 26 cities across North America; and the creation of Steeltown Entertainment Project, a non-profit Carl co-founded with Maxine Lapiduss and Ellen Weiss-Kander with the mission of developing a vibrant and sustainable entertainment industry in the Pittsburgh region. In addition to his work at Steeltown, Carl continues to teach as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh where a student project about Jonas Salk and his team developing the first polio vaccine has now become a feature documentary, The Shot Felt Round The World, which has been picked up for international distribution and is scheduled to make its national U.S. broadcast debut in 2013. Though Carl has been described as a Pittsburgh champion and was even named twice by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as "one of Pittsburgh's 50 top cultural forces", the real reason he lives in Pittsburgh is that his wife Natalie and he truly feel it is the best place in the world to raise their wonderful daughter, Campbell.
Director of Legal Affairs
Stephanie Dangel is Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Steeltown Entertainment, a position that draws on her diverse background in business, law and filmmaking. A Wharton Business, Yale Law and Oxford grad (where she was a Rhodes Scholar), Stephanie clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court of the United States. She practiced law for six years at K&L Gates. Prior to her current position, Stephanie volunteered with Steeltown for 8 years, during which time she served as research coordinator for "Pittsburgh: Hollywood's Best Kept Secret," producer of "My Tale of Two Cities," executive producer of "The Shot Felt 'Round the World" and President of Steeltown's Board of Directors.
Chief Operating Officer
Lisa Smith-Reed, a native of Pittsburgh, received her B.A. in Theater from Gannon University. She has spent over ten years working in film and documentary television including the Emmy nominated "Project Greenlight" for HBO; the feature film," Abduction," directed by John Singleton; and "The People Speak," directed by Chris Moore and featuring Howard Zinn, Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and Bob Dylan. She was the line producer for the Pollie Award winning First Tuesday Media and also produced several Discovery Channel series. Prior to that, she was on staff at both Pittsburgh Public Theater and City Theater where she worked with noted artists such as August Wilson and Marsha Mason. Lisa is also the Producer of the Steeltown Film Factory's filmmaking competition.
Rachel joined Steeltown in the Fall of 2010 as the Project Coordinator for the "Take a Shot at Changing the World: Viral Video Contest." Rachel graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 with a B.A. in Film Studies and Creative Writing. She previously worked as the Festival Administrator for Silk Screen Asian Arts & Culture Organization. After vagabonding across New Zealand for the better part of 2010, Rachel returned to Pittsburgh, which she considers her adopted home.
Film Factory Production Coordinator
Erika graduated from The Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall 0f 2010, majoring in Communications Media and minoring in Theater and English. Erika loves animation, film production, and graphic design.
Nicole Rose Land, better known as Cole, has served as Steeltown's Administrative Assistant since October of 2011. She earned her B.A. in Creative Writing and Communications at the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 and, after graduating, returned to her alma mater to work as secretary to the Writing Program in the English Department, where she honed her knack for nonprofit administration and event coordination. In 2009, Cole moved to Austin, Texas on a whim, but, always a Pittsburgher at heart, she soon found herself eager for an opportunity to return home. Steeltown made that possible, and she is thrilled to be back.
Meg Huber joined Steeltown full-time in January of 2013, after interning during the fall. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, she opted for a four-year adventure at the University of Delaware. She graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Communication and minors in journalism and political communication. While at school, she was a producer for one of the programs on the Student Television Network. She has worked as a production assistant for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and other local productions.
Tom Magner grew up in Scotland, England, and Australia before settling in State College, PA. He attended Penn State University, where he received his B.A. in Media Studies. In 2012, he received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He joined Steeltown as a legal intern in the summer of 2011, and continued to work during his final year of law school. After he passed the bar exam, he became a Legal Assistant at Steeltown. Tom enjoys cooking, books about history, and Batman cartoons.