Jenna Sunde is a visual effects artist currently working on staff for CoSA VFX. She received her BFA from The Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California. Her passion for visual effects was fostered when her mentor, ILM Alumni Catherine Tate, encouraged her to enroll in the course referred to by students as Studio 400a. The class, now classified as StudioX, recreated a real post production pipeline that helped outside independent film makers with small or no vfx budgets obtain visual effects support from students, while students helped the film makers fully realize their projects. Catherine and the film makers helped prepare the students for their future roles as successful artists, coordinators, producers, leads, and supervisors in the industry. Past projects include Fruitvale Station, Sundance Audience award and grand jury prize winner and Saving Lincoln which is now included in history books across America. After graduation in 2012 Jenna continued to work closely with Directors on both Saving Lincoln, and Fruitvale Station after she graduated in 2012 leading to exciting opportunities as a freelance artist.
Through connections from Fruitvale Station and 400a Jenna made her way down to sunny Los Angeles to help supervise visual effects plans for the student film The Labyrinth that consisted of 8 student directed short films. While in LA Jenna accepted a job offer from Stereo D, a Deluxe owned stereo conversion studio. There she worked on films, Pacific Rim, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and Mad Max: Fury Road, to name a few.
Her next adventure led her to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia in 2014 where she worked at several studios on a wide range of film and television projects including: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Lucifer, The Orville, Lethal Weapon and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Jenna is an active member of the Television Academy, and has worked on Gotham which is now enjoying it's second year in a row for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.
Drew Mayer-Oakes worked both in Austin/San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth area as a production manager, post production facility manager, commercial coordinator and business theater specialist. With an interest in promoting independent film, Drew has promoted filmmakers in Texas by creating events such as the Texas FIlmmaker’s Showcase, the Austin Digital Storytellers Alliance, and the San Antonio 48 HR Film Experience, and has organized events and participated on panels at Slamdance Film Festival, South by Southwest Film Conference, Austin Film Festival, Monterrey International Film Festival, Filmmakers Across Borders, AFCI Location Expo/Cineposium and Cinefestival in San Antonio.
Under his leadership, the City of San Antonio established one of the country’s first local incentive programs, and he was a founding executive board member of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance.
Drew currently serves as film commission coordinator at the El Paso, Texas film commission, after eleven years at the San Antonio Film Commission. While his travel to film industry events in the U.S. and abroad has given him a global perspective on the changing landscape of film incentives, film production and film distribution, he still finds time to make a short film or two every year.
Lawrence Gise received his undergraduate degree in RTF and Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin. He then got certified in film production at New York University. After working both commercial and educational film and video production for ten years, he got his Masters of Fine Arts at UT Arlington and continued there as adjunct faculty until coming to UT Pan American.
Linda Belau is Professor in the Department of Literature and Cultural Studies and Director of the Film Studies Program at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley where she also teaches courses in film analysis and film theory. Dr. Belau earned her PhD in Comparative Literature, MA in Philosophy, and MA in English from Binghamton University. She has been active in film criticism and film education for a number of years and has been the recipient of the University of Texas Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for her work with cultural and film studies.
Her publications include Horror Television in the Age of Consumption: Binging on Fear(Routledge, 2018), Topologies of Trauma (Other Press, 2002), special issue editor forWomen Writers (Psychoanalysis and La Femme, 2010), and special issue editor forPostmodern Culture (Trauma: Essays on the Limit of Knowledge and Memory, 2001). She is also the author of several articles on literary, cultural, and cinema studies. She has published and presented on the cinematic work of Steve McQueen, Todd Haynes, John Sayles, Werner Herzog, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Vittorio De Sica, Dario Argento, and Andrei Tarkovsky, and is currently completing two books: one entitled The Cinema of Melancholy and the other on the films of Jane Campion.
Javier Chapa got the film bug in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M where he was asked to train "military extras" on Ed Zwick's Gulf War action-drama, Courage Under Fire. After graduating from A&M, Chapa attended St. Mary's Law School in San Antonio, TX where he spent all of his free time studying film and directing short films as a hobby. However, what began as an avocation quickly turned into a vocation when Chapa's first attempt at writing and directing earned him a showcase entry position in the 2002 Austin Film Festival with his witty comedy, Happy Hour.
This initial success inspired Chapa to move to Los Angeles after graduating from law school where he quickly realized the importance of embracing one's roots and finding a voice that would distinguish him from other filmmakers in Hollywood. Coming from a small, predominantly Latino community on the South Texas border, Chapa persisted in search of a project which would both draw on his personal experience and showcase the rich Latino culture. Made for $25k, Chapa’s debut feature film, Harvest of Redemption a true story and bilingual depiction of the struggle of Migrant Farm Workers won Best Foreign Drama at the 2007 International Family Film Festival sponsored by Warner Bros. and Dreamworks. Shortly thereafter, he spent a summer in New Mexico assisting Oscar-nominated actor/director/writer Ed Harris on Appaloosa, based on the novel by Robert Parker starring Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger.
In August of 2010, Chapa was chosen to be a part of the prestigious DGA/DISNEY-ABC Directing Fellowship where for two years he worked on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy & Castle. Since then he has produced a handful of independent films, and his company recently secured the life rights to Cesar Millan’s incredible true story The Dog Whisperer which is currently being penned by Oscar-nominated writer Jose Rivera for the big screen.
Chapa is very proud of his heritage and was selected to be part of Latino Leaders Magazine and in 2017 was asked by Academy Award Winning Director Alejandro González Iñárritu to participate in his virtual reality project Flesh and Sand (Carne y Arena) which plunges "viewers into the harsh life of an immigrant.” It was awarded the first Special Achievement Academy Award in over 20 years by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Aside from his accomplishments, he is very involved with local charities such as the Children’s Defense Fund where he was asked by J.J. Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, to participate for the last five years. He resides in Los Feliz, CA with his wife and their seven rescue dogs.
Lizette Barrera is a Chicana filmmaker based in Dallas/Ft.Worth and Austin, Texas. She won The Texas Archive of the Moving Image Award for her narrative short film, ANA CON ELISIO at Cine Las Americas and was awarded The Filmmaker to Watch Award at the Women Texas Film Festival. Her film MOSCA (FLY) is in distribution with HBO. She has recently been awarded the EBW by Sandra Adair cash grant from the Austin Film Society for her latest film CHICLE (GUM). She has received her MFA in Film Production at The University of Texas at Austin and is currently a Senior Lecture at The University of Texas at Arlington. She is represented by Inclusion Management.
DR. LYNDA VINA
Dr. Lynda de la Viña received the Ford Educational Excellence award and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. by Hispanic Business magazine. She was the first Mexican-American woman at the secretarial level of the U.S. Treasury in the Clinton administration, and following her role at the Treasury, she rejoined academia and was named full professor and Chair of the Department of Finance and International Business at Johns Hopkins University. Her latest ventures are VINJER: delavina/jerge productions and Honey West Entertainment. VINJER is dedicated to the development of film/tv/alternative media productions. Current projects are the development of a Honey West film franchise, the film adaptation of the book American Terrorist, and a TV show titled The Dean’s List. Her personal focus is the development and production of film/tv/media for the English speaking and bilingual U.S. Hispanic market.
Ed Cameron is Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley. He teaches Intro to Film Studies and courses on Film Noir, David Lynch, Japanese Cinema, Film & Narrative, and Punk Cinema. He has published on film narrative, film noir, David Lynch, Todd Haynes, Harmony Korine, Federico Fellini, Steve McQueen and Andrei Tarkovsky.
Brian Maurer is a director, producer, and writer living in Columbia Missouri. He attended the University of Missouri, achieving both a Bachelor’s (English) and Masters (Education) degree. While there, he developed the UM System’s only film production degree program, and taught for the program for three years. He now is an assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies for the Information Technology Program, teaching media technology and software, and audio engineering. Once a year, he leads a 25-day film production course in Ireland. Maurer first got his start in writing after his undergrad studies, when he served as editor in chief of an internationally distributed flash fiction magazine (Six Minute Magazine). He got his professional start in the industry as an audio technician. He quickly transitioned into screenwriting, directing, and producing in 2009, when he completed his first feature film. Several other short and feature length films followed in the next five years. He has served as director, producer, unit production manager, audio engineer, and cinematographer on a spectrum of films, including documentaries, and horror flicks. He continues to write and direct, focusing on character driven stories. He’s happily married and is father to his daughter Cora.
DAVID BLUE GARCIA
David Produced and Directed his first feature length narrative film, TEJANO, about a young man's desperate deal with a Mexican cartel. At its world premiere in 2018 TEJANO won the Audience Award at the Dallas International Film Festival. Follow TEJANO at www.facebook.com/tejanothemovie David is an Emmy award-winning Director / Cinematographer based in Austin, Texas. He has directed content for Verizon, HP, Dell, Lenovo, T-Mobile, Sunny D, Air Hogs, Loreal, Vera Bradley, Macy’s and Firestone. He has directed everything from national TV spots to dozens of product, web and branded content commercials.
Fredrick Johnson is an award-winning filmmaker who has made short films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. After Hours Trading is his first feature film as a writer/director. His films have won many awards, including the CINE Eagle and the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award, and his work has screened at festivals around the world, including the South-by-Southwest Film Festival; the Deauville Festival of American Film; the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival; the Atlanta Film Festival; CineAsia Hong Kong; ShoWest Las Vegas; the One World Human Rights Film Festival (Prague, Czech Republic); and the Pan-African Film Festival (Los Angeles). Fred was born in Pittsburgh and earned an MFA from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He currently teaches cinema production at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.
Rodrigo Moreno is a Mexican awardwinning director. His directorial debut feature "The Whole" has been part of 20 film festivals around the world earning several accolades for best picture, cinematography and writing. He is also the recipient of various awards including Best First Time Director by The London IFA and Best Screenplay Writer by the Reel East Texas Film Festival. Currently Rodrigo is the Chief Creative Officer at Pink Ape Media, an advertising firm serving the Rio Grande Valley.
Takuya Fukushima has been releasing numerous video works since 1992, when he was studying at the department of literature at Nagoya University. After working under Gakuryu Ishii (aka: Sogo Ishii), he established P-kraft which has been the base of his activities thereafter. Fukushima directs TV programs, commercials, PVs and he is also highly rated as a film director both in Japan and overseas. His first film PRISM marked a record high of visitors at the theater where the film was released. OUR BRIEF ETERNITY was officially screened at film festivals around the world starting with Tokyo International Film Festival, then later being released in theaters throughout Japan. In 2016, a special screening titled ESCAPE FROM THIS FUCKING WORLD/TAKUYA FUKUSHIMA’S COLLECTION was held to commemorate the release of his latest film LEGACY TIME which was highly acclaimed. The newest film ‘MODERN LOVE’ got prize in Nice International Film Festival, Japan Film Fest Hamburg and Madrid International Film Festival. He is also actively working as a producer, actor, writer, musician, radio personality and an all-round creator
Alicia Villarreal is originally from the Austin area; but with deep south Texas roots. Her first feature film, "Atanasia," (which she directed) and documentary short "The Vaquero Tejano," (writer/producer) are both about the rich history and cultural contributions of the Mexican Americans of Texas. Alicia received her Bachelor's in Psychology at Texas A&M University Kingsville and her Master's in Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. "I have two passions," states Alicia, “Filmmaking and helping others." Alicia currently works as a master licensed social worker for a kidney dialysis clinic in Corpus Christi, TX.
Director and musician in Hong Kong. After 10 years contributed to her music and singing career as a singer song writer also concert pianist, she began her video production career as a producer / director and editor since 2010. After 7 years of producing various kind of micro film / music video and TV commercial, she had her first feature film completed in 2017 as a script writer / director and producer.
MARIO DE LEON
Mario De Leon is a corporate video, documentary filmmaker with over 15 years as a content creator. His recent projects include the documentary “And then the Soldiers were gone” (Production Lead) completed in 2017 and Directing duties for “Ferry Ride to Freedom” currently in production (both in association with CHAPS of UTRGV).
DULCE MARÍA NAVAR MORALES
I started my professional theatrical and cinematographic activities, standing out in the area of production and coordination, currently I have collaborated in more than 40 short films, 5 feature films and 10 staging’s. I have participated in the Cityvisions Film and Video Showcase (New York) with two winning short films in 2014, New Orleans Fringe Festival (2010 and 2012), CINESOL Film Festival (2010), Humberto Solaz International Festival of Poor Cinema (2010) and the XXXI and and XXXIII Rafael Solana State Theater Meeting (2012 and 2014). I was awarded a scholarship by the National Institute of Fine Arts in 2012 to study the Practical Flight Diploma (diploma of production and theater direction) that was taught at the Metropolitan Cultural Space of Tampico, Tamaulipas. I have taken workshops in the Promotion and Dissemination of Performing Arts with the teacher Valentin Castillo Ramírez. Recently, I completed my master’s Degree in Business Administration with the support of a grant from the Young Excellence Foundation. I recently participated in the Regional Encounter of Cultural Promoters of 2015 at the Reynosa Cultural Park