Lisa Masseur, Reid Brody Launch Tessa Films

Lisa Masseur, Reid Brody Launch Tessa Films

Local production veterans Lisa Masseur and Reid Brody have partnered to launch a new production company based in Chicago and L.A. - called Tessa Films.

Masseur has been a fixture on the Chicago production scene for years, most recently as the Executive Producer at ONE at Optimus, the production division of the post production company Optimus. Prior to that she was EP at Radar Studios, a hybrid production and post studio that also offered visual effects, and before that an EP at Ebel Productions. A native of upstate New York, she moved to Chicago in 1992 and began working initially in features and TV before segueing into commercial production.

Brody is an entrepreneur known for building several successful post production brands, most notably Filmworkers Club. Under his leadership that company grew from a single office in Chicago to three offices nationwide. Brody has also been an investor and co-founder of several companies working in the digital media and production spheres, and is known for his astute read of market conditions and his ability to recognize and nurture talent.

“I was looking to re-engage in a way that makes sense in terms of the current state of the business,” Brody said, “and am honored to be working with Lisa as we apply our skills to the new models of production and post production. We have a lot of solutions to offer clients. My career has primarily been in the post production areas of color, VFX and motion graphics, so I’m thrilled to be playing in this new arena with Lisa, working closely with a crop of talented young filmmakers.”

Tessa Films opens with a directorial roster that includes Sam Macon, Tim Mason and Duncan Wolfe, all of whom were previously with Masseur at ONE. Also on the Tessa roster is Uptime, a stop-motion collective led by Macon.

At Tessa, Masseur will focus on the live action side of the company, while Brody will head up post production. And while the two have never worked together in this fashion, they’ve known each other for almost 20 years. Masseur was a frequent client at Filmworkers over the years, where the two got to know and respect each other.

“The business continues to evolve, and I wanted to create a company that would continue to produce stand-out work while adjusting to the new pressures and business realities of today," Masseur said. "It’s no secret clients are longing for more and more content on increasingly limited budgets, but the directors I work with continue to put their hearts and souls into everything they shoot. Being nimbler as a company will allow us to put more money on the screen, where it belongs."

Masseur says the decision to name the company Tessa Films – versus Tessa Content or Tessa Media – was deliberate.

“In spite of all the changes that have taken place in our industry, we still view creating work for brands as an art form. We make short films – that’s how we look at it. Our directors put as much passion and energy into their work for brands as they do their entertainment and personal projects.”

The choice of the name Tessa itself is telling, Brody said.

"We thought of many identities for the company, and the idea of having a strong woman’s name came to the forefront," Brody says. "And the fact that it’s ‘asset’ spelled in reverse sealed the deal for us."