Dave Merlino and Dustin Sweet


Dave Merlino and Dustin Sweet first met on the campus of Seattle University. They became fast friends and always talked of making movies together. After college, they embarked on their careers and started their families, but still yearned to make movies. Five years ago, they decided it was time to stop dreaming and start doing, so they teamed up as writing-directing partners to do exactly that. Their unique work histories allow them to bring special skill sets to the table that enhance their filmmaking partnership.


Dustin has spent 16 years as an effects animator in the film industry after receiving a Post Graduate Degree in computer animation from the Glasgow School of Fine Art. Highlights of his work include:

  1. Special Effects for the Adult Swim cartoon “Xavier: Renegade Angel”
  2. Digital Effects Artist, “Subdivision Colorado”
  3. Practical Effects Artist, “Zombiewood” (short)
  4. Medical animation for Harvard


Dave is a former federal law enforcement supervisor with US Customs and Border Protection. His speciality was counter-terrorism and high risk interviews. This unique skill set serves him well as the lead interviewer in their documentary, APACHE BLUES: The Soldiers Unknown. Combined with his own time spent in uniform, Dave has been able to build rapport and delve into areas even our interview subjects admit they did not think they were going to go.


Their screenplays have gone on to receive recognition and placements in several prestigious screenwriting competitions. A sample includes:

  1. Winner – Randall Wallace Round of the Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest – 2014
  2. Finalist – Sheldon Turner Round of the Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest – 2015
  3. Top 10 Finalist – Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest – 2015
  4. Semi-Finalist – Happy Writers Fresh Voices Screenplay Contest – 2016
  1. Semi-Finalist (Top 3%) Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest – 2014 (Two separate scripts)


They have also written and directed several of their own short films. Their last film, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD, spent the last year on the festival circuit. Notable “Official Selections” include:

  1. Sedona International Film Festival
  2. Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
  3. Action on Film Festival
  4. My Hero Fest – Honorable Mention