Chrisy Baek film: HAMSA Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Chrisy Baek is a NYC based CG Look Development Artist, primarily focusing on environment modeling, texturing, shading, lighting, and compositing. Co-director of the Student Academy Winning film “Hamsa”, was a Co-lead of Women in Animation at SVA, a former Walt Disney Animation Studios CG Art Intern of 2018, and co-director of "Voilà!". She has ended her first freelance job at Hornet Animations Inc. and on her way to freelancing at SuperDopeTV.
Rommel Villa Barriga film: SWEET POTATOES Category: NARRATIVE (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Rommel Villa Barriga was born and raised in Bolivia. His passion for storytelling started when he was a kid, creating fictional stories about his family fighting poverty and corruption in a magical world full of dinosaurs and llamas. Rommel grew up writing/directing award-winning plays based on social issues he learned at PASCAR, a social organization that educates young adults in HIV/AIDS misconceptions and LGBTQ+ advocacy. At 18, he served in the military for a year in Bolivia, which exposed Rommel to an extremely sexist and discriminatory environment. Winner of a Directing stipend from Lionsgate-Televisa's Latinx filmmaker program, Rommel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Engineering and an MFA in Film/TV Production at USC with an emphasis in Writing/Directing. In the last few years, Rommel received a couple of USC filmmaker grants which funded his award-winning LGBTQ+ thesis film Teddy Mate, and Sweet Potatoes, a historical film funded by the Sloan Foundation which is a Winner at the 2020 Student Academy Awards. Rommel is currently developing a series based on Sweet Potatoes called Revolutionary Lives, and is also writing a couple of features to be filmed in Bolivia/USA.
Yucong Chen film: UNFINISHED LIVES Category: DOCUMENTARY (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Yucong Chen is originally from Qingdao, China, and is now based in LA. In pursuit of her filmmaking aspirations, Yucong earned a MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and a BFA from the Communication University of China. Yucong’s film practice is centered on the shared human experience, from marginalized communities and immigration crises, to interpersonal connections like encounters and farewells.
Marie Mc Court film: I WAS STILL THERE WHEN YOU LEFT ME Category: NARRATIVE (INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Marie Mc Court is a Franco-Danish director. In 2019, she graduated with her Masters degree in Directing at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IAD) in Belgium. Her graduation film, “I Was Still There When You Left Me,” shot with first time actors, won a Student Academy Awards and was screened at prestigious film festivals worldwide, winning multiple awards. Festival selections include: San Sebastián International Film Festival, Regard Film Festival, Busan International Short Film Festival, Côté Court and many more. While developing her first feature and second short film, she’s also doing street casting. Marie gets a lot of inspiration from the people she meets there and uses improv on set to incorporate details of reality in her work. She builds her characters on the basis of real life stories, creating sensory experiences embedded in more dramatic social issues and intimate problems. She writes immersive films to use empathy as a tool to break the silent agreement for violence. She’s very inspired by the work of Lynne Ramsay, the Safdie brothers, Ruben Östlund, James Blake and Toni Morrison.
Karishma Dube film: BITTU Category: NARRATIVE (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Karishma Dev Dube is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York. A recipient of the Dean’s fellowship, Karishma recently graduated from NYU’s Graduate Film Program. Her award winning short film Devi (Goddess), has played 54 festivals worldwide including BFI London Film Festival, Edinburgh FF and Outfest LA where it won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Short. Her most recent short film Bittu won a Student Academy Award and has been selected for Telluride Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest and Short Shorts Asia FF. She is currently producing her first feature length film Burning Well directed by Mary Evangelista, that was a part of the Sundance Talent Forum 2019 and TFI Network 2020. As a filmmaker, Karishma intends to challenge assumptions about and within her country.
Daniela Dwek film: HAMSA Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Daniela Dwek, both artist and director of the short film Hamsa, is a Middle Eastern Artist who seeks to share important and impactful stories with the world though the medium of 3D Animation. Due to her diverse background and thirst for learning, she is also passionate about anthropology and loves to learn new languages.
Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma film: CIERVO Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma is a freelance animator and fine artist who currently resides in New York. She is an alum of the Laguardia High School of the Arts in New York and received her BFA in Animation at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2020. While you could describe her as being a very talkative person, she has always found it easier to express her emotions and feelings through visual mediums rather than words, making her work take on a very intimate and emotional quality overall. She enjoys making both 2D animation and stop motion films, and often uses elements of mixed media in her films by combining traditional and digital elements through compositing. Her work as a whole ranges from fiction and fantastical to poetic and metaphorical, and often deals with memory and human interaction paired with themes of womanhood, family, and our relationship to the natural world.
German Golub film: MY DEAR CORPSES Category: NARRATIVE (INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Born in Pärnu, South of Estonia, German is a film director and student of Baltic Film and Media School, studying his last year of Directing feature BA Film Arts. Throughout a short career, he has directed multiple short feature films and short documentary films, one of them in China. Identifying himself as Estonian and European, but having direct access to both West and East cultures. An investigation of the cultural treasures of both cultures strongly influenced and dualized his perception, understanding, and perspective of the view of the world around him.
Maren Klakegg film: DEAR FATHER... Category: DOCUMENTARY (INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Maren is a director, cinematographer and editor. Her passion is documentary filmmaking. It’s important for her to shine a light on stories about the interpersonal, humans as well as important and taboo topics in today’s society. Maren finished her degree in TV and Film production in 2019. Since then she has worked on a feature documentary film, TV shows, commercials, produced music videos and is working on a new documentary on the side.
Maya Mendonca film: HAMSA Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) West Indian girl and Brooklyn native, Maya Mendonca, is 3D Character Animator who loves to bring out sincerity in characters. Before her role as co-director of the Student Academy winning film “Hamsa”, Maya mentored students in the 3D Animation club at her college and practiced animation in her spare time. Maya also worked for Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and will begin freelancing at Hornet Animation Inc.
Percival Argüero Mendoza film: CRESCENDO Category: NARRATIVE (INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Percival Argüero Mendoza was born in Mexico City. He received a BA in Philosophy at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) but has been devoted to motion pictures since 2008. He majored in Film Directing at Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), a world-renowned school that allowed him to gain experience in many areas of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post-production. He has directed six narrative shorts, the latest of which premiered at the 17th Morelia International Film Festival, had its international premiere in Poland at the 27th edition of Camerimage and won a Student Academy Award in 2020.
Kate Namowicz film: MIME YOUR MANNERS Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Kate Namowicz is a character animator who graduated from the computer animation program from Ringling College of Art and Design. Kate has always wanted to be an artist ever since she was a little girl and discovered she wanted to be an animator. Kate is the co-director, co-writer, and animator on Mime Your Manners made at Ringling. She had an animation internship at Universal Creative at Universal Orlando Resort as a 3D animation intern animating a special animatronic on a project for the new Universal Beijing Resort in China. Kate’s goal is to pursue a career as a character animator at a major animation feature film studio and one day to become an animation supervisor and lead a team of animators.
Skyler Porras film: MIME YOUR MANNERS Category: ANIMATION (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Skyler Porras grew up in a Port Neches, a small oil city in Texas. He graduated from Ringling College of art and design with a bachelor's degree in computer animation. He strives to use 3D animation and VR in the pursuit of cheaper, more abundant, and increasingly entertaining educational programs. Currently, Skyler is developing a specialized animation portfolio seeking a position at a major animation studio.
Pascal Schelbli film: THE BEAUTY Category: ANIMATION (INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Pascal Schelbli was working as a Motion Designer and Visual Effects Artist for many years, after he graduated as a graphic designer. But his interests in telling stories with computer generated images, growth through all these years too, so he got accepted to the renowned Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, to study Animation. He successfully finished his study by his graduation film “The Beauty“ in 2019. Today he is working as a freelance 3D artist and director.
Talia Smith film: UMAMA Category: NARRATIVE (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) A filmmaker born and raised in South Africa. Her country's rich heritage inspired her storytelling aspirations from a young age. At 8 she decided she would one day move to New York to share these stories with the world through film. 10 years later she followed her dreams and studied Film & TV at NYU's Tisch School of the arts. Throughout her filmmaking career, she has made South African and female-focused pieces. No matter the genre, all her films are created in pursuit of expanding perspectives.
Curry Sicong Tian film: SIMULACRA Category: ALTERNATIVE/EXPERIMENTAL (DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOLS) Los Angeles-based filmmaker Curry Sicong Tian has held various roles including 3d motion designer, concept/digital artist, illustrator, animator, photographer, creative director at studios internationally. Born and raised in China, she is aiming to bridge the gap between eastern and western culture, video art and film, expanding beyond into 3d motion graphic and alternative modes of storytelling.
Allison Waite film: THE DOPE YEARS: THE STORY OF LATASHA HARLINS Category: DOCUMENTARY (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Allison A. Waite is an award-winning director and cinematographer. She obtained her MFA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in Film & Television Production with a cinematography concentration as a George Lucas Foundation Scholar. Filmmaking is her activism tool of choice; she aims to give unresolved stories a voice and spark connections within her community. In addition, Allison has received recognition such as the Princess Grace Foundation HBO film Award and a Student Academy Award for her film "The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins."
Laura Zéphirin film: MAKING WAVES Category: DOCUMENTARY (DOMESTIC FILM SCHOOLS) Laura Zéphirin is a French Filmmaker based in New York. She grew up in Paris where she worked for a decade as a producer, editor and videographer in the main national TV channels. She then relocated to the Big Apple in 2017 to further explore and investigate the profound injustices that underlie our world’s social and environmental issues. Given her longtime passion for this cause, Laura decided to initiate the production of “Making Waves” in 2019 while enrolled in the News and Documentary program at New York University. Her intention and purpose behind her first documentary is to both inform the worldwide audience of the robust impact we, as humans, have on our natural environment, as well as stimulate a shift in our overall understanding of our oceans.