- LOS ANGELES
Havoc Content has re-launched with an expanded directorial roster, a new vision and owner--executive producer Leslie Harro who moved up from partner and EP at the company and has a track record spanning projects for such clients as Starbucks, Garmin, MotorTrend, the NFL, AT&T and Nike. She took over ownership of Havoc from founder Ed Rivero in spring 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Harro is the sole owner of Havoc, a mantle she wears proudly as a female Latin-American. Prior to Havoc, her career spanned both the production and agency sides of advertising, and included a stint in television production at Sony.
When describing her plans for Havoc’s future, Harro doesn’t refer to it as a production company, but instead as a content creator--a team of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds capable of crafting branded content, television series and even feature films. “Havoc has always been on this path, but it took the slowdown of the pandemic to forge us into new territory,” noted Harro. “We took the time to refocus some of our energy towards creating projects close to our heart. Most of Havoc directors either are or want to be developing narrative stories. We want them to feel supported in making all of their goals come to fruition, whether that be in commercials or film.”
Havoc has moved aggressively to bring on board the talent that will help turn these plans into reality. Award-winning director Megan G. Wells has joined the company roster. Best known for telling authentic and relatable human stories that engage viewers, she has crafted content for Red Bull, Gillette, Under Armour, Home Depot, Google and the NBA. A branded content mainstay, Wells is a frequent speaker and panelist at conferences around the world--in addition to sitting on the jury for two global media festivals. Havoc handles her nationally but will focus on representing her on the West Coast, in Texas and the Hispanic market. She continues to share a small company with her husband where they work as a team in the Southeast. She had previously been repped at Alkemy X.
Director Shamiel Soni is another new addition to the Havoc Content roster. Havoc becomes his first U.S. roost for representation. Soni spent more than half his life in the film industry, working his way up from PA to a sought-after commercial director in South Africa where he contniues to be repped by production house Hacienda. “I was on a quest to find a production company that suited my style of making films,” said Soni of his quest for a stateside home. “My main focus was finding a company that valued free thinking, diversity and was progressive. When I finally found Havoc, I was amazed at the work. Once I spoke with Leslie, I knew they were the right fit for me. I had found my home halfway across the world.”
Director Kevin Schowengerdt’s deft touch (not to mention patience) filming families and kids comes from being the uncle of 40 children. Known for collaborative fun on-set and lending his expertise as an editor to the postproduction process, Schowengerdt has turned out work for brands including Spring, Dairy Queen, New Balance, Garmin and Wingstop. Schowengerdt joined Havoc just before the pandemic began. He is handled by the company nationally while continuing to take on local projects via RW2 out of Kansas.
Additionally, creative director Robin Barrow has joined Havoc Content to oversee the company’s foray into brand-direct content. A full-stack creative designer, his talents include AR, VR, interface design, social integrations, and more. Barrow has worked as a creative director at BBDO, Razorfish, Publicis, and GoDaddy and previous clients include Netflix, Universal, Mercedes Benz, Gucci, Microsoft, Smirnoff, Sony and AT&T. His most recent affiliation prior to coming aboard Havoc was as a creative director at GoDaddy for five years.
“As a creative individual that focuses on purposeful mission-based projects, it’s refreshing to find a tribe that shares a wholesome positive intent for the work,” shared Barrow. “Knowing Leslie personally for a decade and having the opportunity to come and create Havoc and mischief with her; disrupting narratives commercially and otherwise, is an exciting prospect.”
Havoc Content’s new film and TV departments already have multiple projects underway, including being in development on a story with director Ryan Travis. The narrative is inspired by the spirit and tenacity of real-life soldiers in our Special Forces community, including one who happens to be Travis’ brother. Havoc also has a film directed by produced by Carolena Villavicencio, who’s been with the company since its inception. Another project is being developed with former Major League Baseball players Willie Bloomquist and Jason Ellison. “I grew up with both of them, and have always been inspired by their love for each other and baseball,” shared Harro.
Last, and certainly not least, is a Havoc television series with actor Sheldon Bailey (Shameless, Game Shakers). “The series will feature Black men living their everyday lives in a positive light. These stories have to be told; we have to start seeing this in mainstream media,” declares Harro.
New sales representatives have also joined the Havoc team: Lisa Gimenez and Deirdre Rymer Rivard of LISA G & CO and Blush Creative Management will represent Havoc on the West Coast, Texas, and the U.S. Hispanic market with Nathan Skillicorn of Heart, Brains & Nerve repping the company in the Midwest.
“We have known Leslie personally for many years, and are fully behind growing a diverse, woman-owned production company, whose founder has always been focused on working with and elevating directors from a myriad of backgrounds,” noted Gimenez. “Leslie’s great eye for talent and her holistic approach to partnering with agencies and brands brings a distinctly fresh and modern perspective to her productions,” adds Rymer.
“I met Leslie at an industry event, and we instantly became friends. We were actually bidding against each other on a creative project at the time, and our discussions led to the realization that we share similar goals, perspectives and work ethic. I believe in her,” shared Skillicorn. “I’ve always respected Havoc Content’s reputation and joyfully welcomed another woman-owned company to my roster.”
“Our goal is to continue creating content with agencies, brands and studios that care about inclusivity,” affirmed Harro. “Coming out of the pandemic we are in a state of gratitude, working on incredible projects with some of the top brands and agencies. Our mind set is to stay focused on the vision, while enjoying the journey ahead.”