Team

Kate Cohen, p.g.a

Co-Founder

Kate Cohen is an award-winning producer and entrepreneur with two decades of experience leading high-profile projects from inception to completion. She is a creative producer with a long track record of business development, raising financing, and developing and packaging projects with A-list talent. As Partner and Co-CEO/Founder of STRAIGHT UP FILMS, she has produced films with Hollywood’s elite players, including Natalie Portman, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor and Spike Lee, among many others. Cohen is also a lifelong advocate for youth mental health and has mentored countless young girls, inspiring resilience and success. Cohen recently Co-Founded STRAIGHT UP IMPACT, a social enterprise on a mission to create commercial films that move audiences to enact social change.

Her current slate includes Joseph Merrick, based on the life of “the Elephant Man” to be directed by Rupert Sanders; and Man’s Search for Meaning, a film adaptation of Viktor Frankl’s best-selling memoir; along with Meaning in Madness, the compelling docu-series addressing systemic causes of the youth mental health crisis. Kate has also recently established herself as an award-winning director for the film LUNA, which will be released in 2023.

Marisa Polvino, p.g.a.

Co-Founder

With a career spanning over three decades, Marisa Polvino is a prolific producer and entrepreneur with a skill for identifying, packaging, and producing quality, star-driven entertainment across all genres and budget levels. Presently, Marisa is Partner and Co-CEO/Founder of STRAIGHT UP FILMS a fully integrated multi-media production company. Polvino identifies and shapes projects that align with the company’s ethos. She oversees a top flight feature slate which include How to Set a Fire and Why, directed by award winning director/actress Lisa Edelstein, Dissonance, a YA love story set in the multiverse directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Joseph Merrick – The Elephant Man to be directed by Rupert Sanders and a film adaptation of Viktor Frankl’s iconic memoir Man’s Search for Meaning. Recognizing the profound effect cinema can have on culture Polvino co-founded Straight Up Impact.

The companies mission is to create, produce and finance thought provoking content that appeals to human emotions, shifts perspectives and inspires positive social change. Polvino is currently producing the “Meaning in Madness” film series which centers around the systemic issues contributing to the mental health crisis facing young adults and teens today and the importance of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Pam Roy

Co-Founder

With decades of experience as a businesswoman, investor, market researcher, parent and community leader, Pam Roy is charged with turning issues highlighted in Straight Up Impact films into broader social change via her varied and extensive network. At Straight Up Impact, Pam brings people and organizations together to create effective models for social transformation. In collaboration with Elliot Washor, co-founder of Big Picture Learning, she helped create B-Unbound, a community-based platform that connects 14-24-year-olds to supportive adults and peers around shared interests.

A long-time advocate of meaningful educational experiences, Pam is the co-founder of the Viktor Frankl Institute of America and co-author of “The Inspiring Wisdom of Viktor E. Frankl.” Now on a mission to transform the modern education system through the development of community-based, human-centered ecosystems, she writes a blog that inspires and challenges parents to look at systemic issues affecting youth mental health and wellbeing.

In addition, Pam is an Executive Producer of the Friendship Bench documentary with Sealion Films based on Dr. Dixon Chibanda’s TED talk about training grandmothers to treat depression. She is on the Board of Authentic Connections Groups, a nonprofit supporting resilience in moms and children and co-owns Vaca Restaurant in Costa Mesa, CA with Chef Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate.

Katie Menke

Creative Executive

As Creative Executive, Katie is responsible for project development, production and operations at Straight Up Impact. Katie joined Straight Up Films in 2013 as a Production Coordinator for the film and commercial divisions after realizing a call to create thought-provoking stories through film and television. Prior to this, she worked at Fisher Investments, one of the largest independent high net worth money management firms in the U.S. For 7 years she managed teams in Client Services and Sales Operations in the Private Client Group, then reported to the Chief Innovation Officer, where she used market research to test and implement programs to improve sales and client retention for the firm.