Our Team

Los Angeles

Tomoya Suzuki

Tomoya Suzuki

President and CEO

Tomoya joined Hakuhodo Inc. and spent his initial years developing marketing strategies and working on TV commercial production. Since 2005, he has spearheaded the development of next generation media business at Hakuhodo DY Media Partners Inc. In October 2011, he established STORIES, LLC by attaining investment from Hakuhodo DY Group, SEGA Corporation and other partners, and assumed the position of President and CEO. The short "Tsuyako" which he produced won 44 awards from various international film festivals including three Academy Award qualifying festivals. Tomoya is currently producing multiple features including SHINOBI, Crazy Taxi and Golden Axe. Tomoya is a graduate of Peter Stark Producing Program at USC Film School. He is represented by CAA. He is addicted to stories and having new experiences, and has traveled around the world, visiting 25 countries alone in 2008. 2017 Cannes Lions Entertainment Jury.

Evan J. Cholfin

Evan J. Cholfin

Head of Development and Production

At STORIES, Evan focuses on adapting SEGA’s video game properties and other Japanese stories into film, television, and digital entertainment, in addition to overseeing the U.S.-based branded entertainment and literary and commercial management divisions. He produced more than one hundred commercials and branded content while working for Break Media. Evan produced the sci-fi film "Higher Power" with Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers). Prior to that, he worked in film and television development for Oscar-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball). Evan is a graduate of UCLA and received his MFA from USC Peter Stark Producing Program. He loves travel and new experiences, and resides in Santa Monica with his wife and two feline children.

Talia Bella

Talia Bella

Creative Producer, Branded Entertainment

Prior to joining STORIES, Talia worked as a freelance producer/line producer for commercials, films and episodics. She has produced a wide gamut of content, ranging from James Franco indie films to high-budget Apple broadcast commercials. She received an Emmy nomination for season 2 of “Making A Scene” as Best Outstanding Short Form Series in 2015. When she’s not working she’s either training Muay Thai, binge-watching true crime dramas on Netflix or battling her compulsive boba addiction.

Shayna Gianelli

Shayna Gianelli

Creative Producer, Branded Entertainment

Shayna earned her B.A. with honors from the University of Washington in Comparative Literature/Cinema Studies. After working for writer Zak Penn as his assistant, she graduated with her M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's Peter Stark Producing Program. Prior to joining STORIES, Shayna has been both a freelance video producer as well as talent producer (Royal Braun). Video content includes: P!nk, Alex Aiono, Quincy, Laura Marano, Hawkers X Pull&Bear (ft. Steve Aoki), Fender, just to name a few. She loves music, fashion, sweets, spending time with her dog and best friend Baby Princess.

Ryusuke Kondo

Ryusuke Kondo

Research Coordinator

Ryusuke is a graduate of University of Southern California and received his BA in Psychology, minor in Cinematic Arts. Before joining STORIES, he had worked in the education industry, where he organized vocational trips for Japanese college students. He loves workout, watching movies, and taking naps with his dog named Bacon, a female Boston Terrier.

Ikuko Shimizu

Ikuko Shimizu

Director, International Management

Ikuko joined STORIES after her career at the largest independent PR Agency in Tokyo. In her career, Ikuko has successfully managed PR projects for over 40 unique clients focused on beauty and food industries. She was also assigned to participate in new brand businesses launch as Sales & PR manager. Throughout her experience, she practiced "people take buying behavior throughout brand promotion." Ikuko is now here in Los Angeles to pursue her dream to work in an international environment, expressing her passion towards supporting clients and leading to success.

Hiroko Saito

Hiroko Saito

Account Producer

Hiroko graduated from Meiji University with a degree in Global Japanese Studies. During her time as a student, she interned at Walt Disney World, Florida to study and gain practical experience in the entertainment business. Following her graduation, she worked at a foreign-affiliated advertisement agency as a sales and digital marketing planner for five years. There she was tasked with working on over twenty different digital marketing projects, with a focus on food, pharmaceutical, and luxury brands. She helps solve various client facing problems by utilizing the planning skills she cultivated in the digital marketing space and the customer-centric philosophy she learned at Disney.

Michael Chasin

Michael Chasin

Assistant / Story Editor

After graduating from USC with a BA in Narrative Studies, Michael worked in distribution at Open Road Films during the release of Best Picture Winner Spotlight, where he coordinated nationwide screenings for a diverse library of movies while assisting department heads Scott Kennedy and Richie Fay. A passionate devotee of storytelling in every genre and medium, Michael is always thrilled to discuss the latest entry on his ever-expanding list of obsessions.

Yukiko Kubota

Yukiko Kubota

Assistant

Born and raised in Tokyo, Yukiko moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to pursue her interest in the entertainment industry. She graduated California State University, Long Beach with a B.A. in Film and Electronic Arts, emphasis on production management and audio editing. Her being bilingual allows her to coordinate productions for both local and Japanese brands. When she’s not in the office, she’s either doing videography at concerts, dancing at music festivals, or exploring all kinds of restaurants in LA.

Riku Ito

Riku Ito

Assistant

Riku is a recent graduate of Chapman University, where he received a B.A. in Screenwriting. Originally from Japan, he came to the United States for high school in 2010 and has lived in California ever since. Though he's owned a trumpet for the last nine years, it's sat in his closet for that entire duration, and he's only recently committed to actually learning it. His biggest dream is to someday stand on the stage of the Academy Awards to receive his Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Tokyo

Tomoya Suzuki
  

Tomoya Suzuki

CEO

Founder and CEO of STORIES LLC and STORIES INTERNATIONAL INC. See above for his bio.

Kaoru Yoshizawa
  

Kaoru Yoshizawa

Manager, Human Resources and Business Strategy

Kaoru joined Dentsu in 2006 as their digital media department's account planner. Afterwards, he led business operations at a digital agency in Beijing, China before transferring to Akatsuki Inc. in 2014. Once he gained enough experience establishing and leading several marketing, human resources, and communications teams, Kaoru founded Akatsuki Virtual Artists, a company that produces virtual characters. He also teaches yoga on the weekends.

Miho Fukushima
  

Miho Fukushima

Corporate Officer / Producer

In 2005 Miho worked on the production staff of Director Kazuki Omori’s “Sad Angel” and Director Akihiko Shiota’s “A Heartful of Love”, along with joining Twins Japan. Afterwards, Miho worked freelance on various film/TV/commercial productions, along with various film festivals. Since joining STORIES in 2011, she has produced various works, including the Subaru “Your Story With” series of commercials, Visit Japan’s “Koi Koi Kyushu” campaign, the drama “Can and Sulochan”. Miho also works with coordinating foreign client productions in Japan.

Eriko Sekiya
  

Eriko Sekiya

Corporate Officer

As television and radio personality, Eriko has launched and hosted business communication and English learning programs for Japan’s national broadcasting network which aired 7 times a week. She is also an avid writer and her publications have sold over 4 million copies. Eriko joined STORIES in 2011 as a Corporate Officer and she conducts research and provides multilingual consultation. Eriko is also the founder of a simultaneous translation company serving high-profile international clients and has been the official translator for speakers such as Al Gore, the Dalai Lama, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Elon Musk and Philip Kotler. Eriko graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business with an MSc in Management and currently lives in San Francisco.

Junji Takano
  

Junji Takano

Producer

Junji began his career at Toyo Cinema, a top production company based in Tokyo. Over the last 20 years, he has produced TV commercials and video projects at TYO and other major production companies, including work for Ajinomoto, Kraft, Kirin, and many other clients and brands. Junji excels at creating integrated marketing experiences, and has honed his skills in film and video production. Always striving to create work that perfectly resonates with the target audience, Junji especially enjoys seeing how his campaigns positively impact his clients and consumers. His hobbies include enjoying a variety of different cuisines and watching theatrical plays.

Jungo Oka
  

Jungo Oka

Producer

Jungo was born in Abu Dhabi, UAE and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. He is incredibly passionate with the work he does and his biggest hope is to work with people to produce amazing content that makes the whole world happier and feel better.

Chika Aomatsu
  

Chika Aomatsu

Producer

Under Construction

Nonoko Yoshida
  

Nonoko Yoshida

Producer

Nonoko was born in Tokyo, Japan, but shortly thereafter moved to Tenafly, New Jersey where she was raised until she was five years old. She graduated from the School of Cultural and Creative Studies at Aoyama Gakuin University and dropped out of the Visual Design program at Kuwasawa Design School. After college, she worked as a branding manager at GRAPH Co. Ltd., where she was in charge of brand strategy and marketing for health brands and promoting local regions. She joined STORIES as a producer in March 2019 after working as a freelance art director / graphic designer. Her hobbies include swimming, cooking, doing laundry, and inviting people to her home. The person she respects the most is her grandmother who was an architect. She strives to grab peoples' hearts.

Kohei Takeda
  

Kohei Takeda

Producer

Born in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture in 1980. After working at a television production company and planning and producing various variety and documentary programs, Kohei joined OKNACK FILMS where he worked closely with Producer Shinya Inoue. Through his experience as a production manager, he started his career as a producer. Kohei joined STORIES in 2014 where he works on creating video content and developing/producing the communication based on these content. Some of Kohei’s work includes projects for Namie Amuro, V6, Kis-My-Ft2, Ken Hirai, FACT, FEMM, ONE OK ROCK, and Anna Tsuchiya. ONE OK ROCK's music video "The Beginning" won the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2013 Best Rock Video Award, Namie Amuro's music video "Birthday" received the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2015 BEST FEMALE VIDEO Award, and her music video "Anything" received a "Asia Spikes 2015 Bronze Award & Short List Selection".

Yuzo Imoto
  

Yuzo Imoto

Producer

Under Construction

Hirotaka Tanaka
  

Hirotaka Tanaka

Production Manager

Under Construction

Yuki Arima
  

Yuki Arima

Production Assistant

Born in 1995. Yuki originally studied electrical engineering in college, but decided to transfer to film school after realizing his true dream was to see his own name in a film's credits. After two years of film school, he joined STORIES in 2018. He has numerous hobbies and he tries anything he comes across that seems interesting.

Sou Watanabe
  

Sou Watanabe

Production Assistant

Sou was born in the Kanagawa Prefecture in 1994. After graduating from Nihon University College of Art with a degree in Cinema and working as an assistant at the university for three years, he joined STORIES in 2019. His hobbies are watching films and soccer matches.

Yohei Okada
  

Yohei Okada

Production Assistant

Born in 1993. He studied sociology and film at Wesleyan University; after graduating he worked at LINE Corporation. In 2019, after two years of advertisement experience, he joined STORIES, LLC. His favorite places are TOHO Cinemas, Kinokuniya, and Blue Note (a jazz venue in Tokyo).

Takumi Ichikawa
  

Takumi Ichikawa

Planner

Takumi was born in 1997. He started making independent films as a middle schooler with a camera he received from his father. He's been dubbed a "cinephile" by his peers and loves sci-fi films above anything else. He joined STORIES in 2018 where he currently works as a planner, while developing a wide variety of techniques and skills in live-action, animation, and CGI/VFX production.

Yuuki Soeda
  

Yuuki Soeda

Assistant

In 2014, Yuki joined the production team of "Sayonara Kabukicho," a feature film directed by Ryuichi Hiroki. Thereafter, she was involved in the production of various films and television series. She joined STORIES in 2017 after a year of studying abroad in Ireland. At STORIES, Yuki handles back-office operations across Japan and the U.S., while making full use of the skills she gained through her field experience.