Christopher Grimes started 5414 Productions in 2008 with his wife Leigh Cavich-Grimes. Their goal: to build a small, independent production company focused exclusively on documentaries that deal with complex issues in public policy from both a macro and micro perspective. In April 2013, Christopher and Leigh made the bold decision to create a new non-profit entity: 5414 Productions, Inc. This change will allow 5414 to maintain it’s original mission of producing educational documentaries that deal with complex issues in public policy, while allowing us to reach a much broader pool of financial resources, including grants and donations. 5414 Productions, Inc. is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation.With experience in both government as politics, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, Christopher brings a unique set of real world and research skills to his projects. His directorial debut, an award-winning documentary called A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR, is now available on Netflix and Amazon.
Christopher comes to the Dog By Dog Project not as a dog owner but as firm believer in best practices and humane treatment. A self-confessed burger lover, he is not interested in halting the use and monetization of animals in the United States; instead, he believes that an engaged, ethically-minded, and enthusiastic public can sway politics and business so that animals bred for companionship can live in safe, comfortable, and happy homes from the start.
As a teenager, Chris had a beagle named Apollo who could open the refrigerator. After an unfortunate incident involving an entire ham and cheese casserole, the family had to tie the fridge closed every night.
Christina Ksoll’s work to educate others about puppy mills has been a long evolution. She has always had and loved family dogs, but working with therapy dogs in a juvenile detention center as a volunteer for 12 years allowed her to see the power of dogs. Christina was on the board of a high tech, no-kill shelter, for almost a decade and her hands-on experience there exposed her to truths about how people can treat animals. More than that, it opened her eyes to how legislation impacts animal welfare. Chris’ first adoption, Louie, was a Katrina puppy rescue who survived at only one month old. Her next adoptee, Brady, was a puppy mill puppy, who continues to respond to love despite the psychological damage inflicted on him at the mill. The final (so far) addition to the family is a breeder girl, Kumiko, who was used and ravaged almost to the point of death by a puppy mill. Chris promises her doggie diva every day that she will do something to help end the sheer and absolute torture that occurs every single minute of life in a puppy mill. Kumiko inspired Chris to make this documentary.
Being a part of the Dog By Dog project is just one part of Chris fulfilling her commitment to Kumiko. Fostering Shiba Inus is a constant. Whoever needs to get out of the mills is welcome. Chris is also connected to countless transporters, transport groups, shelters and rescues locally and nationally, for cross posting, sharing and networking to save lives. In her day job, she is committed to and equally passionate about her clients and her Kellogg MBA network.
Travis was the Director of Photography and Editor for 5414 Productions’ friendly fire documentary A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR.Travis puts to good use his Bachelor of Arts in Film, working with a wide array of clients, shooting everything from commercials and television shows, to documentaries, webseries, and feature films. Travis has worked for HGTV, Comedy Central, CNN, Spike TV, and the Discovery Channel. In addition to his commercial work, her has developed and shot his own award-winning shorts and documentary work. Travis runs the Washington D.C. office of 5414 Productions.
Travis regrets to inform you that he is not a dog person: he and his wife are owned by two cats that they adopted from a rescue shelter. One of them has a lot of hair and the other has a neurological disorder that makes her shake most of the time. Travis describes them as ‘absolutely adorable.’
When this in-demand shooter isn’t traveling for work, he’s at home crafting creative vegetarian cuisine with his new bride and trying to hide the fact that he’s an award-winning barista.
When Leigh started 5414 Productions with Christopher E. Grimes in 2008, she had no idea where this ride would take her. Now, one award-winning documentary in, she’s hooked. Utilizing her MBA from the University of Notre Dame, Leigh currently serves as the CFO and COO of the production company and is responsible for driving the ongoing business management, marketing, and distribution of all 5414 projects. In her free time, Leigh is a strategy and business development executive with a Fortune 500 company.Why is Leigh involved with this project? Because she believes that every dog deserves a loving family and to be treated humanely. At 5 years old Leigh named her family’s dog Olivia after Olivia Newton John, and there was no turning back. Ahead of their time, Leigh’s family traveled from Michigan to Indiana to adopt Olivia from a responsible breeder.
Despite being a great big Doberman, Olivia was a sweetheart. She slept with Leigh’s brother in his twin-sized bed, had to be driven around all night on the 4th of July because she was scared of fireworks, and listened to Leigh patiently and lovingly while Leigh told her everything about her parents divorce. Olivia died when Leigh was 15, Leigh doesn’t know if she’ll ever have another dog as great as Olivia, but she thinks there a possibility that by the end of production on the Dog By Dog project she’ll be ready to give it a shot.
Photographer/writer and owner of Chicago-based Sutton Studios, David Sutton has a keen eye for capturing the shared humanity between people and their animals. Since 1994 Sutton has specialized in an artful approach to pet-centric family portraiture. He brings a warm, insightful and whimsical style to his portraits, with a strong emphasis on relationships.David’s distinctive black-and-white work has earned him accolades over twenty years, including the unique honor of being named the best pet photographer in America by the magazine Forbes FYI. Sutton Studios’ charitable work has helped to raise over a million dollars for more than a hundred animal and human welfare agencies.
When he was small, David Sutton wanted to be a veterinarian. When he got a little bigger, he decided he wanted to be a photographer. Never would he have guessed that, in his thirties, those two career aspirations would collide. Enter Zane!, a border Collie/Cattle dog with enough energy to warrant an exclamation mark as part of his name.
One day in 1993, after setting up the studio with lights and a backdrop for a commercial portrait session that went very quickly, David found himself alone in the studio with his adorable new puppy. He planted Zane! on the backdrop and shot a roll of film. He loved the results, and soon found his career headed in an exciting new direction.
Sutton Studios has been the subject of national and regional broadcast media. He has exhibited his work in dozens of venues including Hermés of Paris and Takishimaya New York. His photos have also appeared in published collections like “The Big Book of Babies” and “Life With Dogs” published by Time-Life. Sutton is also the author of the highly regarded book, Cigar Box Guitars, and its companion, An Obsession with Cigar Box Guitars (Fox Chapel Publishing).
Laura served as the Art Director for 5414 Productions’ first documentary A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR, and was instrumental in establishing the overall aesthetic of ASKATD’s movie poster, marketing materials, etc.Since graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, Laura has worked as a designer and illustrator for a wide range of clients. From designing children’s clothing for a major U.S. retailer to 3D storefront art, Laura prides herself on attention to detail, quality, and concept. Laura is currently a lead designer for conceptual logo creation and identity systems for several companies in the Midwest.
Here’s why Laura is involved with the Dog By Dog Project:
“I grew up on a farm with all sorts of animals: horses, cows, chickens, cats, dogs and even a couple parakeets. By far, my favorite were always the dogs. They were my friends. We would go exploring together, play catch, and I loved taking care of them. Then finally, at 31, my husband and I decided we wanted our kids to experience the benefits, responsibilities, and joys of growing up with dogs, so we got a Lhasa Apso named Phoebe. Phoebe and I are best friends. Even when she does something “bad”, she brightens my day. She is always happy to see you when you arrive home, and during the rare moments when I’m home alone, I even find myself talking to her. My family can’t imagine our lives without our ‘pretty girl’. “
Jonathan Philipp is currently finishing his first year of graduate school at Northwestern University working towards a masters in public policy and administration. Previously he went to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where he majored in political science, minored in business, and got a certificate in global studies.He spent the last year as a policy intern for Voices for Illinois Children and will be a policy intern at Heartland Alliance this upcoming year. Due to siblings with allergies Jonathan has never had a pet dog, but he has had a pet hedgehog (Hedgy), a hamster (Charlie), and two lizards (Lizzy and Mickey). In his free time Jonathan can be found playing basketball or cooking.
James Clark was born and raised in Gary, IN and has called places such as Minneapolis, Atlanta and Seattle home, where he currently resides with his wife Joline. James has a strong and diverse background in Web Design/Development and Marketing. A firm believer in the saying that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life, he is the founder and owner of ATC Domain Solutions as well as a member of the DBD Team.
James has a strong love for pets and grew up with dogs of various breeds his entire life, from German Shepard’s to Labrador’s to his personal favorite, an Alaskan Malamute. It’s this love that has made the DBD documentary so special to him. When not in front of his computer, he can be found taking random road-trips with his wife and yelling at the TV for the Chicago Bears. James is also an avid fitness enthusiast and can often be found in his second “office”, the gym.
Favorites quote: “Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” – Niccolò Machiavelli