OUR AMBASSADORS

  • Amir Motlagh strives for an increasingly interdisciplinary approach to creating media and telling stories. He is an award-winning filmmaker by trade and practice, having written and directed over 15 narrative and non-fiction projects that have screened all over the world, in every facet of distribution. This includes an early DIY short film that went “viral” before the term was popularized. He received a BA in Psychology from UCLA, and an MFA in Production with an emphasis in Directing at Chapman University. He also studied at the Stella Adler Academy in Hollywood. He leads the media labs startup, ANIMALS, which creates distinctly artful motion picture and television projects as well as web and VR content. He believes that the future is bright and we are responsible for leading humanity with creative insightfulness. 2018 saw the commercial release of two features he directed: MAN (2017) and Three Worlds (2018).

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  • Kezia Barnett is a filmmaker, photographer and artist with twenty years of directing under her belt. She has won numerous awards, including winning Golds at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, winning at D&AD, and being awarded at The One Show & Award. She has also been a Cannes Lions Finalist. Her most recent short, Nurse Me, won Best International Music/Dance Short at New Renaissance Film Festival in Amsterdam and Best Cinematography at Discover Film London and is currently screening at festivals around the world.

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  • Sensorium Pictures is an award-winning production company that has worked with companies like Lionsgate and HBO. Sensorium Pictures was founded in 2013 and delivers strong storylines with engaging, diverse characters within narrative film and television. We constantly strive to be aesthetically innovative, while remaining true to the story. Cate Carson and Justin Plasse are the founders of Sensorium Pictures and are based in Los Angeles. The team's combined experience both in front of and behind the camera is successfully guiding the upward direction of the company.

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  • Creative Cypher is a conclave of content creators that have come together to champion diversity in the film industry by making it more accessible to independent artists. Creative Cypher is a resource bank for creatives that eliminates the need to ask for permission. Creative Cypher has cultivated a network of tech-savvy multicultural Millennials and Gen Xers who produce high-quality content and experiences. Founded in Chicago by Troy Pryor, Creative Cypher has expanded its reach across the US with more than 2000 artists, 150-plus companies, a mobile app, news station, university programs, and multiple projects in production.

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  • Jermaine Crawford is an actor best known for appearing on the HBO original series The Wire as Duquan "Dukie" Weems.

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  • Kyle Taubken is a writer/director from Memphis, TN who has made a number of award-winning short films and is currently developing his first feature. Kyle’s films have screened in competition at festivals worldwide including the Portland Film Festival, Indie Memphis, the Cardiff Mini Film Festival, and the Macon Film Festival. Patrick is his 17th short film.

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  • Mary Rachel Gardener was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area with a big Greek family and has been constantly active with dance, musical theatre, and filmmaking since she was six years old. She graduated from USC with a major in Theatre and double minors in Business and Film Production. She also spent a semester abroad at the British American Drama Academy in London in 2012. Mary Rachel is currently pursuing her acting, directing and producing career in LA.

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  • Natalie MacMahon gained her first film experiences as an actress at a young age. After her studies at a film acting school in Berlin, she started writing her first script for the short film “The Man Who Couldn’t Cry”, which has been screened at numerous international film festivals, followed by her film noir style short films "Like A Summer Sonata" and "Lola Wants to See the Sea," which were equally successful. In 2017, Natalie released "It's Getting Darker Every Day", a dark sci-fi drama set in the future, as well as her melancholic Esperanto short "A Universal Love Story". The young director just finished her sci-fi genre mix "The Redhead" and shot her new film "The Funeral Dancer", while working on her first feature film script.

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  • Hugo Teugels is an award-winning director, writer, editor cinematographer, and producer. His first short film SET ME FREE was accepted in the short film Corner in Cannes in 2011. His 2014 short film HOKO-BANG-SING has won over 20 awards including “Best Director” at the NEZ Film Festival in India. After studying film directing at the New York Film Academy, he released the short film entitled THE QUEEN in 2016. It has won over 80 awards and nominations and was selected to screen at film festivals worldwide. His short film LIGHTER THAN WATER (2017), won “Best Cinematography Short Short” at the Action on Film International Film Festival. His newest project, AnoMiC, is currently in progress.

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  • Fergel Gibson is a UK based DoP, Director and Editor, with over 10 years experience in studio and location lighting, filming, editing, writing and directing. He is a proud member of the Shane Hurlbut (ASC) Inner Circle and a sponsored athlete with Staunch Nation. Fergle holds qualifications in Theatrical, Special FX & Media Make-Up, as well as a PfCO in Unmanned Aerial Systems. His notable productions include the highly anticipated film Payne & Redemption.

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  • Gerry Melendez has been a professional photographer and visual artist for over 27 years. Melendez was born in El Salvador and made his way to the U.S. after a civil war broke out in his country. He has won numerous accolades for his work and continues to pursue a passion for telling stories while based in Columbia, South Carolina. His 2017 short documentary, House of Saints, garnered multiple awards as it made its way through the film festival circuit. It premiered at Indie Grits in Columbia, South Carolina and was recently picked up for distribution by KweliTV. His 2018 short film, Sunlit, premiered at Indie Grits Film Festival and was an official selection at The San Antonio Film Festival and Full Bloom Film Festival in North Carolina.

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  • Skyler Lawson is an award-winning writer and director known for his films Clayfist, Nora, and Left Hand. His sights are set on telling visceral stories that reflect American culture as he sees it. Each one of Lawson’s films is trademarked with lush and evocative camera work, paired with challenging and personal narratives. His unflinching honesty often serves as a mirror of culture in the United States, but also offers an optimistic hand as it challenges the audience to look inward. His work is quickly emerging as a cinematic force to watch for.

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  • Skyler Lawson is an award-winning writer and director known for his films Clayfist, Nora, and Left Hand. His sights are set on telling visceral stories that reflect American culture as he sees it. Each one of Lawson’s films is trademarked with lush and evocative camera work, paired with challenging and personal narratives. His unflinching honesty often serves as a mirror of culture in the United States, but also offers an optimistic hand as it challenges the audience to look inward. His work is quickly emerging as a cinematic force to watch for.

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  • Jaanelle Yee is a Cuban-American writer and filmmaker from Miami, currently living in New York as a recent grad from the Masters Directing program at School of Visual Arts. She has directed short films, music videos, fundraiser trailers, glamour videography, and more. Her creative style explores themes of feminism in horror, mythology in modern settings, and plays on words taken literally to an absurd degree. Her short film "Sell Your Body" premiered at the 2018 Outfest in Los Angeles.

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  • Lisa Donato is a writer, director, and activist from Billings, Montana and based in Los Angeles & Austin. Her award-winning work has screened at hundreds of film, music, and art festivals worldwide. Lisa strives to bring social awareness to marginalized and invisible communities and believes that comedy will mend the tense and politically-polarized culture of the U.S. The first feature screenplay that she co-wrote with Fawzia Mirza, Signature Move, world-premiered at SXSW and won the grand jury for best narrative feature at OUTFEST (2017). It and can be found on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Lisa has directed six short films since 2014 and two have been shortlisted for the UK Iris Prize. Lisa founded the independent film studio, Sparkle Motion Films, and has a magic-wand wish to create visual media that promotes equality, heals trauma, and inspires comedy in uncomfortable situations. Other story credits include shows for National Geographic Wild, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and published personal essays in the LA Times, Self Magazine, Curve Magazine, Austin Women, Whole Life Times, and 5280 Magazine.

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  • Stained Tie Films is a digital film production company based in Toronto and established in 2013. The team is a husband and wife duo comprised of Scott Cavalheiro and Claire Stollery. It strives to make innovative content that inspires its audience.

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  • Lio Mehiel is a gender-queer, Puerto Rican artist, actor, and filmmaker. As a child actor, they performed on Broadway alongside Hilary Swank, Ashley Judd and Margo Martindale. Currently, they can be seen on the new ABC show, DECEPTION. In 2016, they produced an augmented reality piece, QUINN that premiered at Tribeca Storyscapes, the new media arm of the Tribeca Film Festival. Their 2017 short film, Disforia, won Best Thriller at the Manhattan Film Festival and has gone on to screen at the Newport Beach Film Festival, Outfest Film Festival, and Atlanta Underground Film Festival.

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  • Writer and director Yixi Sun was born and brought up in Beijing. She was educated at the Communication University of China studying to be a film director, before furthering her studies at Royal Holloway, University of London where she achieved Distinction in MA Documentary by Practice. Prior to her directorial debut Susu (2017), she worked as a film editor and producer at WildAid London for 5 years where she made 20 episodes of high profile documentaries which were awarded by the BBC Wildlife Grant and were broadcasted internationally, watched by over a billion viewers. She is currently a guest tutor at the London Film Academy and a member of Director’s UK, BAFTA Film & Television and Woman in Film and TV. Her first feature film Susu was selected as one of the "buzz titles from the UK" (Screen Daily) at American Film Market 2017, and has met many viewers through film festivals worldwide, including in the competition section at the 41st Montreal World Film Festival, the 44th Seattle International Film Festival, the 8th Beijing International Film Festival, the 18th East End Film Festival, the Auckland International Film Festival and Near Nazareth Festival. Susu will be released in UK theaters in January 2019. Yixi is now developing her second feature film with the team of production company Sun Films.

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  • Becki Dennis is the founder and owner of Talent Tools, which provides marketing tools and services for actors such as reel and resume editing, audition and career coaching, and educational workshops and events. Through Talent Tools Productions she produced, co-directed, and cast a number of music videos and the short films last and Mildred's Millions, which screened at five film festivals. Becki has played dozens of roles in TV series and films, including Rebecca, a nanny in American Hustle, the receptionist in Ted 2 alongside Mark Wahlberg, and the demanding lead role of Jo, a sexual abuse survivor with PTSD, in the independent feature film Spin the Plate. Becki’s recent roles include the hit shows "Fresh Off the Boat, "Jane the Virgin," "How to Get Away with Murder," "Shameless," and many more.

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  • Betty Ouyang expanded from acting into writing, directing and producing her own work in response to a lack of awesome lead roles for Asian-American Actresses within the Hollywood Entertainment Machinery. Betty's debut-short-film "Father's Day" was acquired for global pay-tv Distribution by Hewes Pictures in NYC and has been screened and/or broadcast in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. She is currently trying to figure out how to turn her latest Comedy "Lala's Love Lessons" into a full Series. "Lala's Love Lessons", inspired by disco music, will feature fabulous fashion, a cute panda bear and dancing in every episode.

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  • John Fallon produced and co-starred in the Australian action film The Siege of Robin Hood. His feature length directorial debut The Shelter, starring Michael Pare, was based on his own screenplay. The LA Times called it "remarkably ambitious," while Ain't it Cool News said, "The Shelter is resonant in tone and spot on in execution!" As a screenwriter, much of his work was produced including Deaden, Trance, and American Muscle. He has also acted in such films as Saw II, 100 Feet, and the French Sci-Fi hit Dead Shadows. Since the year 2000, John has been at the helm of one of the most successful horror movie websites in the world called Arrow in the Head, part of the JoBlo Movie Network, which led him to be a member of the Jury at the Sitges Film Festival, the Fantastic Fest Film Festival among many others. His next film under his Bruise Productions banner will be the historical drama/action film Heretic.

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  • Shannon Michelle is a Midwest-based film producer, director, screenwriter, and actress. She has over 12 years of experience in the film industry working all over the U.S. with some of Hollywood's top producers and actors. Aside from films, she also has a love for the theatre and continues to act on stage in plays, musicals, and improv. Shannon serves on the Associate Board of the Springfield Little Theatre, as well as performs on the Springfield Improv stage in Missouri. Shannon owns the film production company Talking Dog Pictures LLC, where she produces feature length, short films, and new media projects.

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  • Kevin Doherty is a Canadian filmmaker, playwright, author, and sometimes movie score composer from Winnipeg, Manitoba. He's a hockey and football fan, movie soundtrack collector, as well as an avid lover of hard rock, Star Wars, SCTV, The Twilight Zone and all-things pop culture and horror.

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  • Lex Lybrand is a writer, director, producer, and editor with a passion for producing micro-budget feature films. Since 2010, Lybrand has directed 4 features on an average budget of less than $15,000. Current project:  His current project, MAYBE SHOWER, tells the story of 3 single women who all find out they might be pregnant on the same night. Not thrilled by the idea of potentially becoming mothers, the girls band together to confront the possible fathers, play stupid party games, and egg a car or two. All part of the world's first 'maybe shower'. The film premiered at the Portland Comedy Film Festival in March where it took home the prize for Best Feature Film, and was released on DVD, Blu-ray, vinyl (soundtrack LP), and VOD in June 2018.

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  • Ashley Erin Campbell has worked behind and in front of the camera on independent feature films, such as Dirty Lies and the award winning short films Above Jewels and Those Lips, both of which can be found online. Her television acting credits include a costar role on FX's Baskets, created by Zach Galifianakis and Louis CK, and a promo for the NBC series Timeless. All of her life goals were completed when NBC turned Ashley and her promo husband, Abraham Lincoln, into a GIF. Of note, Ashley wore stretchy pants on national television in one or two of those crime re-enactment shows. Upcoming projects include a short film called Life After, currently on the festival circuit, as well as a feature and two television pilots in development.

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  • Sergi Rubió has an extensive filmography dating back to 1993, which includes work as both director and producer of shorts and documentaries. In 1996, at the age of 18, he directed his first feature-length film, Torrella, una vida pel cinema, a biographical documentary on the life of Catalan writer Josep Torrella. He completed what became his first critical success, his short Mohamed (2001), which competed in various International Film Festivals. Along with awards, the film won him a scholarship to further his studies at the New York Film Academy. His films have been nominated at numerous festivals, including the Barcelona Independent Film Festival, the European Short Film Festival, and the Catalonian International Film Festival. He has also won awards for his films A Shadow on My Path (2004) and Silence (2007). In an era of analog format for video, Sergi always chose to shoot in celluloid, a choice he continues to defend to this day with the arrival of digital film.

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  • Matthew Root is a sound designer turned award winning director. Since moving to South Korea in 2011 he has worked with clients such as Reebok and The Discovery Channel. In 2017 he complete his first feature length documentary titled AFTER THE SEWOL which picked up numerous awards during the 2017 international film festival circuit including Best Documentary at the World Documentary Awards.

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  • David Teixeira was born in France and lived most of his life in Portugal. In 2007 he directed and starred in the low-budget short-film "Sweet Madness." Two years later he wrote, directed, and composed for "The Continuous Noise" ("o ruido contínuo") a short-film based on his actual love life at the time. In 2012 he co-created a documentary for TV called "HABITAT" that premiered on national television in Portugal. In 2016 he started to write, produce & direct his first horror short-film, "Girls Night". "Girls Night" has been selected for film festivals such as the Video Nasty Film Festival in Seattle, Stockholm Independent Film Festival and Midsummer Scream Film Festival in LA. It received honorable mention at the London x4 Seasonal Shortfilm Festival and won the award for Best Indie Horror at Irish International Film Festival and Runner Up for Best Horror Short at Out of The Can Film Festival. David has now finished working on its sequel "Girls Night 2", which is set for release in late 2018.

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  • Synergetic Film curates the world market for quality driven stories. Their goal is to provide audiences with engaging, thought-provoking, and memorable content. Synergetic Film releases films theatrically and for the home, in addition to documentaries and series.

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  • Walker Hare is an actor and writer, known for The Blacklist (2013), BrainDead (2016) and Billions (2016).

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  • Tyler French is an actor and writer, known for Hunting Season (2012), The Meredith Vieira Show (2014) and Deadly Sins (2012).

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