Team

Team

Kate Cohen

Co-founder/Producer

Since founding Straight Up Films with her partner Marisa Polvino in 2008, Kate has worked with Hollywood’s elite players, including Johnny Depp, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Morgan Freeman, Christopher Nolan and Gavin O’Connor. As a lifelong advocate for children and mentor to countless young girls, Kate is grateful to have a platform to help others through the power of exemplary storytelling. 

At Straight Up Impact, Kate is on a mission to create commercial films that move audiences to enact social change. She is heavily involved in all aspects of the company’s first two major feature projects — “Joseph Merrick,” based on the life of the Elephant Man and directed by Kornél Mundruczó; and “Man’s Search for Meaning,” a film adaptation of Viktor Frankl’s memoir, chronicling his experiences in Nazi concentration camps and the power of his life-affirming, meaning-based therapy — along with the compelling short film series addressing root causes of a mental health crisis that has led to record anxiety, depression and suicide among youth — “Meaning in Madness.”

Marisa Polvino

Co-founder/Producer

A prolific producer and entrepreneur, Marisa Polvino is responsible for identifying and shaping projects that align with the Straight Up Impact ethos.

In 2008, with partner Kate Cohen, Marisa founded Straight Up Films, a fully integrated multi-media production company that has worked alongside top-name Hollywood talent, including Natalie Portman, Rosario Dawson, Jesse Eisenberg, Gina Rodriguez and Johnny Depp.

Recognizing the profound effect cinema can have on culture the pair, along with co-founder Pam Roy, launched Straight Up Impact with the mission of producing thought-provoking content that can appeal to human emotions, shift perspectives and inspire positive social change.

At Straight Up Impact, Marisa uses her entrepreneurial spirit and know-how and focuses on forging relationships with like-minded partners while also overseeing much of the company’s business strategy, development, marketing and operational structure.  In 2019, she created the “Power On” series for Google’s computer science in media division which was a five-part, short-film series directed by leading actresses and designed to promote greater gender and racial diversity in STEAM fields.  

Marisa is perpetually inspired by her two children and encourages them to follow their passions and pay attention to what matters most in life.  And, to work hard and always be nice to people.

Pam Roy

Co-founder

With decades of experience as a parent, market researcher, businesswoman, investor 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. It runs parallel to school systems and is free to all youth.

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.

Pam created the Hands of Freedom program for International Sanctuary, a social enterprise that empowers women escaping human trafficking, she is on the Steering Committee for 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.