Meet The Crew

Derek Braasch

Derek grew up in South Holland, IL and lived there for most of his life. He gained a love for films at an early age, particularly films containing gore and nudity. Late night HBO & Cinemax provided for Derek's very early film education. At age 10, Derek picked up his first camcorder (his Dad's VHS Sears brand camera) and began making short films. 


Derek took his first film class as a Junior in High School, Mass Media, which was the class that inspired him to make films. His instructor, Bernie Jablonski taught Derek the fundamentals of what goes into making a film. He learned the basics in lighting, shot composition, music and score. 


Derek went on to attend Community College for his Associates Degree, and later attended film school at Columbia College, Chicago. Film school gave Derek the tools and knowledge to make films, but he gained most of his hands-on knowledge and experience by creating his own films. 


Derek received his first on-set experience working for Cool Movies Productions under director Tom Vollmann. Under Tom's guidance, Derek was able to experience acting, writing, directing, lighting, sound, and cinematography. Derek will never forget this experience, or Tom. May he rest in peace.


The second filmmaker and mentor Derek worked for was Kevin Mukherji of Magnum Independent Pictures. Derek as well, learned the fundamentals of filmmaking and is grateful that he continues to learn from Kevin today.

Derek is currently finishing up filming two films, he is producing, directing and shooting, HAUNTED LENORE and SLAY RIDE.  These two shorts will be out sometime in February/March. He is also in pre-production on his third feature film TORTURE THE FLESH, which he is directing and producing as well. Cheevies Film Productions currently have a Gofundme page for this film with a goal to shoot in summer 2021.

Nina Trader-Braasch
Owner/Makeup Artist/Actress/Singer/Writer/Production Manager

Nina has always been a theatre kid and started singing and performing at an early age. She began working on film sets when she met her now husband, Derek, and has worked many jobs on set including Unit Production Manager, Makeup Artist, Special FX Makeup Artist, Producer, Script Supervisor, Writer, Boom Operator, Sound Recordist and more.

In her free time, Nina loves to sing and act. She has been in countless theatre productions and concerts and recently has added some on camera roles to her repertoire including roles in Mutilation Massacre, Eyes of Deception, Guardian Angel, Chicks with Scripts and Slay Ride. She and her husband both wrote the script for the powerful drama Guardian Angel and their next heartfelt piece called I Wish I Knew. She and her husband are currently in preproduction for their 3rd feature Torture the Flesh, a gory and grisly horror/cop thriller. Nina is doing makeup, assisting with Special FX makeup, producer and unit production manager. They currently have a Gofundme page set up for the film.

Nina and her husband run 5 successful film festivals -  Reel Comedy Fest, Reel Horror Fest, Reel Cinema Fest, Reel Doc Fest, and Hardcore Horror Fest.

Nina is also a freelance Makeup Artist, specializing in weddings, events and photo shoots. Find her on Facebook to book her for your upcoming wedding or event: or email her at

Anthony Pellizzeri
Producer/Assistant Director/Writer/Actor 

Anthony Michael Pellizzeri was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 5, 1988, to Helen Lewis Heyza and Alessandro James Pellizzeri. He attended Prospect High School which is where he began writing. In 2008 his father introduced him to Derek Braasch an independent filmmaker. In 2013 he wrote, directed, and produced his first short film (Last Day of Your Life) with the help of Derek Braasch. Together along with Mike Miller; they wrote the feature film Murder for Pleasure (2015). With a number of projects under his belt he continues to push forward with the horror genre with plans to write and direct a feature of his own. 

Joe DeBartolo

Actor, Producer known for Cellar Secret (2016), Ride Along (2012), Planet Dead (2011), Hand of Glory (2012) and Villains (2013). A native Chicagoan, Joe started his own film production company D-Bar Film Productions in 1969. Produced, directed, wrote, edited and acted in over 200 short and feature films and video productions including Borcca Morcca (1978), Beyond the Edge (1986). First major production appearance was as a criminal in the Bryan Forbes film, The Naked Face (1984). Trained under Del Close at ImprovOlympics in Chicago. Appeared in a handful of TV and film productions through 1990. Returned to acting in 2010. Stand out performances in The Clown Dies at Midnight, Mentis and On the Hunt. Although he has been the lead in a number of films he is best known as a 'character' actor.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith is a freelance editor and motion graphics artist. He has been working with Cheevies Film Productions since 2015, which is around the same time he first began doing freelance editing work.  Since then he's worked on countless projects with Cheevies such as Mentis and The Lazy Werewolf.

If you’d like to know more about his film services, please reach out to him via email at ( and check out his website ( Chris loves helping people put the finishing touches on their projects.


Sean Czaja

Sean Czaja is known for co-producing InSpectres (2013), cinematography for Mutilation Massacre (2017), Hellraiser: What’s Your Pleasure (2015), Betrayal: The Blackwood Project (2012).

Justin Bower
2nd AD / Location Scout

Justin has been a lifelong film (especially horror) fan for most of his life. A long time musician that even dabbled in stage a little bit, he finally got in the film making scene thanks to Willy Adkins. Justin helped Willy as a PA on his film Working Out the Kinks. As a result, he met Derek and Nina of Cheevies and served as an executive producer on Haunted Lenore. He is currently working on Slay Ride as an actor and boom operator but is tackling his biggest film to date on Torture the Flesh as a 2nd AD and a location scout. He hopes to continue his passion in any way he can whether its writing, producing, directing or acting. He plans to go back to school in 2021.

Brian Broscoe
Editor/Composer/DVD Artwork/Actor

Brian has been a "jack of all trades" for Cheevies since day one. He has been involved with Cheevies since the very beginning, starring in several films and editing/scoring and coming up with the dvd artwork for countless projects. Brian's most recent work for Cheevies can be seen in The Clown Dies @ Midnight, in which he scored, voiced, and created the dvd artwork. Brian has worked on Right in Front of Your Eyes, The Icing, Murder For Pleasure, Hernandez, Tentacles, Mentis & The Clown Dies @ Midnight, to name a few.

Freddie Robinson
Actor/PA/Gaffer Assistant/Grip Asst/Assistant Director

Starting out as a background actor and stand-in on Chicago based Tv shows, Chicago Med, Chicago PD and Chicago Fire sparked a crave in me to see what's more in the filming industry. Coming from a frequent bowler and member of the United States Bowling Congress (a hobby I love) to the big screens, who would have guessed. That crave launched me into many independent film projects with director names like Christopher Nolan, Mark Harris, Aretha Tatum and Tyrone Tappler. 


I stepped on the scene with Derek Braasch, Cheevies Production in late 2018. I had my first debut as an extra in Cheevies Film, short film- drama " Guardian Angel".  After taking a liking to Cheevies set experience with this crew, I seeked more opportunities with Derek film family. They're professional, organized and most importantly, extremely fun to be around. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to help on set and the rest is history. I am currently on the Cheevies roster as a Assistant Director of Cheevies Films newest full feature film project, "Torture the Flesh".  

Becky Lange
Grip/Gaffer/Assistant Director

Becky has been a part of the Cheevies family since 2007. Her film debut was as Art Director and Gaffer for Murder for Pleasure. Past lighting credits include Hernandez, T is for Tentacles, The Clown Dies @ Midnight, Mentis, Mutilation Massacre, Guardian Angel, Chicks with Scripts, and  Haunted Lenore. Becky will be working as a grip in the upcoming film from Cheevies Film Productions Torture the Flesh. Becky helps Cheevies in various fundraising and film festival events. Whenever she is not working on films, Becky is active backstage in her local theatre.

Bobby Thompson
Composer / Music Producer / Sound Editor / Mixing Engineer / Guitarist

Bobby Thompson is a composer, music producer, sound editor, mixing engineer and guitarist.  He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business from Elmhurst College along with a mixing engineer certification.  He also received his Avid Pro Tools Operator Certification in Post Production while studying in Santa Monica California.  


Bobby has worked on several projects with Cheevies films which include the following; “Foot Steps” (composer, post sound mixing), “Chicks With Scripts” (composer, post sound mixing), “Cruising Through Time” (composer, post sound mixing, sound editor), and “Torture The Flesh” Trailers (composer, post sound mixing).  Bobby is happy to work with Cheevies Films and all of the crew and is looking forward to future productions.  


To learn more about Bobby and his audio production services you can contact him at: and visit his website:

Jimmy Shay

Jimmy Shay is the kind of guy you don't want to read a bio about. Rather than simply listing where he trained and some notable credits, he's going to try to break the mold and try to make it interesting. See, he is already doing it in this lame, sort of meta rant kicking things off. 

Acting since the age of 10, Jimmy has always enjoyed performing in any capacity. Whether it's acting in film or on stage. He has become known around Chicago for writing and performing his unique brand of solo sketch comedy as “The Meaty Bits of Jimmy Shay.” Jimmy is a graduate of the comedy programs at The Second City and Improv Olympic. He also plays drums, but honestly who cares. His wife Tray is his anchor. They create and write together, and she doesn't mind when he disappears for entire weekends shooting movies, or when he pretends to be an old southern lady in the mirror for an hour. 

Simply put, Jimmy never stops performing. He is thrilled to be a part of a film crew like Cheevies. Actors like Jimmy could not do what they do without the drive and hustle of companies like Cheevies, who never ever stop creating opportunities for people to perform. 

Ian Ogdon
Sound Recordist/Boom Operator

Ian is a lifelong musician and film aficionado. He plays the bass guitar in multiple bands and has done cinematography, editing, acting, and sound recording.


As a member of the Cheevies Crew he has worked on several projects including The Clown Dies at Midnight, Mentis, Don’t Pull Out, Redder, and most recently Mutilation Massacre.


He currently continues to work on new film projects and he also co-created and stars in the Pixelated Reviews video series on YouTube.

Henry Frias Leon
Assistant Director/Editor/Actor

Henry has been working with Cheevies since 2015 and has done numerous projects with them. He has assistant directed, acted, edited & worked sound. A few of the films he has worked on with Cheevies are: Web of Death, The Lazy Werewolf, Mentis, The Clown Dies @ Midnight & Mutilation Massacre. He will be editing Cheevies' upcoming film, Guardian Angel.

Henry also owns his own production company, Death is Coming Productions, where he shoots, directs and produces his own projects such as Egg Nog, Necroplasmosis and his first feature, Stay out of the Woods.

Henry also just started his own web series in collaboration with Ian Ogdon on YouTube, Pixelated Reviews. 

Joey Horist
Writer/Script Supervisor

Joey has been associated with Cheevies Films since mid-2014. His main duties initially were to serve as the team’s script supervisor, noting any changes on the set and making sure that the actors and actresses know their lines.


Outside of those immediate duties, he has other talents that are also of good use. Being an aspiring screenwriter, he is familiar with script formatting and can read one with ease. He is always working to come up with new and creative ideas that can be implemented in his writing. Whether it is just brainstorming or some of the more technical aspects of filming, his particular set of talents are nothing to neglect.


He wrote his own short film, Mentis, which Cheevies produced, currently making the film festival rounds and available for purchase on DVD.

Pat O'Sullivan
Writer/Assistant Director/Producer

Pat has been working with Cheevies since 2003 on various projects.  He was a production assistant on The Icing, helped produce Murder For Pleasure, The Clown Dies @ Midnight & Mutilation Massacre, wrote Hernandez & Tentacles and has acted in Hernandez, She's a Doll, Web of Death & Mentis. Pat will also be working on our upcoming projects, Chasing The One and Guardian Angel. 

Amber Hajkowicz
Special FX Makeup Artist/Craft Services

Amber is a self-taught Special FX Makeup Artist and Licensed Esthetican. She has helped out with makeup effects for a few of Cheevies Films including Killer Claus, Mentis, Redder, The Clown Dies @ Midnight, Mutilation Massacre, Prodigy,  and The Vampires Codex.  She will be assisting in Special FX makeup for the upcoming film Torture the Flesh. She also handles craft services for our shoots!

Brian Hennigan
Boom Operator/Sound Recordist

Brian Hennigan is just a typical sound guy, well reserved, slightly off, but full of passion for the right things. He hasn't had the best of luck in the very hard to get into film industry, but Cheevies is helping him change that, which he is super thrilled about.

Brian started working for Cheevies in the middle of last year, and has been very lucky to have been a part of 3 different projects so far. First, he was mixer and sound recordist for the final day of Mutilation Massacre. The next project was the 48 hour film festival. That was a lot of fun to work on! He also was boom operator for one of the final shooting days of The Prodigy, and that shoot was fantastic. Brian really enjoys working with this company, and is very much looking forward to what the future holds, because this kind of work is what he loves to do! 

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