The Team


Mia McCullough
Executive Producer, Writer, Director

Mia McCullough is a playwright, screenwriter/filmmaker, and occasionally a stand-up comedian. The Haven was inspired by McCullough's many years supporting her writing habit as a crisis line worker at domestic violence shelter in the Chicago area. She is the author of numerous screenplays and many stage plays, most of which have been seen at theatres around the country including Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left  in Chicago, The Old Globe and Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company in San Diego, Red Fern and Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC, InterAct and PlayPenn in Philadelphia, and the Victory Theater and the Road Theatre in Los Angeles. McCullough, along with Elizabeth Laidlaw and director Nathan Buck, shot a short film titled Solitude that is in post-production. Her short film Parallel premiered at the Midwest Independent Film Festival in August of 2016. McCullough taught playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University for ten years, and is currently the director of The Writer's Studio at Chicago Dramatists. She recently wrote and published a book on the creative writing process called Transforming Reality. 


Elizabeth Laidlaw
Producer, Actor, Director

Elizabeth Laidlaw has been a professional stage, film, and voice actor, as well as director and producer in Chicago and regionally for over 20 years. As an actor, her feature films include the critically acclaimed Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, Into the Wake, Eastern College, and Dimension.  Televsion work includes “The Chicago Code”, “Boss”, “Betrayal”, “Crisis”, and “Chicago PD”. She has also worked as an actor on numerous on-camera commercials and shadowed or assisted off-camera on several productions. She is the founding artistic director of Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre, having produced or co-produced every season in its 14 year history, as well as directing several productions and performing in most. During her time at Strawdog Theatre she produced the Crossing Boundaries New Play Festival annually, and created and produced the long running comedy hit, The Hick, The Spic and The Chick. Her theatre performance work includes appearances at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, The Next Theatre, The Goodman, About Face Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and many others. Regional theatre includes Indiana Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, and the Irish Classical Theatre Company. She received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.


Grace Hahn
Associate Producer

Grace Hahn is a Chicago-based producer whose most recent completed project, the coming-of-age feature PRINCESS CYD from director Stephen Cone, premiered at the 2017 Maryland Film Festival, screened at BAMcinemafest, and played at the 2017 Chicago International Film Festival.  Grace's experience ranges from producing to ADing to accounting to production coordinating. She received the 2016 Aida Schvartz Award for Gender in Communication from Northwestern University.

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Katharin Mraz
Production Designer Episodes 1, 3, & 4

Katharin Mraz, known as K by most, is a Chicago-based Production Designer, Scenic Stylist, Prop Stylist, and Commercial Art Director with a focus on independently produced feature-length films, short films, pilots, web-series, commercials, and progressive media. Previous credits as Production Designer include Teacher, Professor Mack, A Chance in the World, and Soul Sessions.


Megan St. John
Line Producer and Unit Production Manager

Megan St. John is a Chicago-based writer, director, and producer who loves bringing stories to screen. She is the founder of Third Wheel Entertainment, a Chicago-based filmmaking collaborative dedicated to narrative filmmaking. Megan and her team currently have two short films (Broiled and Strongroom) in the festival circuit and a comedic web series (Thanks a Latte) in the works.


Marion Hill
Editor, Episodes 2 & 4


Marion Hill is a recently graduated filmmaker currently based in Chicago. As an editor, she has worked on various short films and music videos, specializing in character-driven narratives. In 2016 she wrote, directed and edited an LGBT-themed short film Bird of Prey, which she took to SHOUT!/Sidewalk film festival last August. She hopes to continue cutting minority and female-led stories.


Reshmi Hazra-Rustebakke
Director, Episodes 1 & 3

Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke is a filmmaker and theater maker. She has her BFA from NYU and MFA from DePaul Theatre School.  She develops, directs, and produces web series. She is the co-director of critically acclaimed Brujos, as well as Geeta's Guide to Moving On, The Haven, and several more projects in development. She is a company member with 2ndStory and develops work as a storyteller, curator, and director.


Layne Marie Williams
Director, Episode 4


Layne Marie Williams is an award winning director/filmmaker located in Chicago, IL. She is the Founder of “Women Of The Now,” a video and event production company in Chicago, where she helps she create platforms for women to develop their production skills. Layne Marie is also the Co-Founder of The Women's Film Festival in Philadelphia, PA.  As a writer/director Layne Marie’s films DollFace and An Atramentous Mind have been selected by several film festivals and honored with awards. 


Andrea Kinnerk
Director of Photography

Andrea is a freelance cinematographer. Her personal projects range from web-series's, short films, and documentaries. Since attending the Digital Cinema program at DePaul University where she graduated with a BFA , she has worked as a camera assistant on five features, one that recently premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and countless short films, commercials, and music videos. Andrea is passionate about the imagery she creates in each project.


Magdalena Hernández Gómez
Editor, Episodes 1 & 3

Magdalena is a Colombian editor and filmmaker with a deep passion for storytelling. She is currently working as an Assistant Editor at Cutters Studios in their Chicago headquarters. Magdalena has been  participated in several awarded projects like “Rue” (Best Experimental Film Premiere 2017), "Hello, Goodbye Cristina" (Official Selection NCBDS 2018), "Silicone Soul" (Best of MSP International Film Festival 2018), “Kayla’s Light” (Official Selection Black Harvest 2017) and "Dressed" (Official Selection Soho International Film Festival). 

The Cast

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Bethany Arrington plays KATIE the relentlessly upbeat children's counselor at The Haven.

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Brianna Buckley plays DEANNA the troubled sister of Pamela who's rebellious behavior puts both sisters in danger.


Sydney Charles plays FAE, a client whose mental illness is making her a disruptive element in the shelter. 


Maguerite Hammersley plays RENEE the well-to-do, long-time volunteer on the crisis line.

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Angela Alise Johnson plays the AIDE, the only person of color in a wealthy household.


Priya Mohanty plays AJITHA a crisis-line volunteer with a family history of domestic violance.


Kimberly Vaughn plays PAMELA,  The Haven's newest intern who is realizing that she may be in an abusive living situation herself.


Anu Bhatt plays a NURSE unsure of how to connect with an abused woman in the ER.


Christine Bunuan plays ROSA, a beleaguered overnight crisis line worker with an important exam in the morning.


Alex Dauphin plays CRYSTAL, a mother trying to keep her daughter's life normal.


Aneisa Hicks plays BRIANA, a  mother torn between helping her husband and protecting her family.


Elizabeth Laidlaw plays MEREDITH the shelter director juggling a non-profit, a divorce, and a dying father.

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Steve O’Connell plays JERRY, Meredith's defeated soon-to-be ex-husband.


Penelope Walker plays MYRA. Myra's time is almost up at The Haven, and she's unsure where she'll go next.


Kat Blackburn plays WILLA a young dominatrix escaping a client with dangerous expectations.


Josh Bywater plays DARRYL, a veteran suffering from violent bouts of PTSD, endangering both his wife Brianna and son Jaik.


Cat Dean plays ALICE, a physically disabled client with borderline personality disorder.


Denise Hoeflich plays CONNIE, a  resident grappling with her drug addiction.

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Doug MacKechnie plays KEVIN, Meridith’s first venture into dating  after leaving her husband.


Soli Santos plays LUPE, a police officer hiding from an abusive commanding officer.


Harmony Zhang plays SYLVIE, a college student who works the crisis line for extra money.


Jaylen Bryant plays JAIK the protective son of Briana, The Haven's newest client.


Amy Carle plays RACHAEL the head counselor at The Haven. The father of her child has just reappeared after a long absence.

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Diane Dorsey plays GALINA, the perpetually stressed financial officer of The Haven


Abie Irabor plays VAL, a full-time member of the counseling staff at The Haven.


Sage Lorinne Miskel plays TASHA an young girl dealing with abuse and displacement. 


Meg Thalken plays ELEANOR Meredith's bitter mother, herself a long-time abuse survivor.