Directing duo Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell and producer Brice Budke are alumni of Seattle Pacific University and together they make up the team behind the feature length sci-fi flick, Prospect, which was based on the film short of the same name.
In 2011, longtime friends Chris Caldwell and Zeek Earl decided to form their own production company, Shep Films. The Fremont-based company focused on making commercials, which led to short films.
Prospect premiered as a feature on March 5, 2018 at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival, where the film won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award and was picked up by Gunpowder and Sky. It will be released under their science fiction-oriented label Dust, in Regal Cinemas theaters on November 2, 2018.
Chris Donaldson, Owner/Producer (Hand Crank Films)
Chris is Executive Producer at Hand Crank Films, and has over 20 years in the film biz writing and producing a myriad of award winning work both large and small. One of his goals other than telling good stories is to help build Seattle into a thriving film community, and he believes the talent is here to do bigger and better things.The secret to that? Embrace the weird.
Jennessa West, Owner/Producer (Pressing Pictures, LLC)
Jennessa started her production career working in episodic television for Warner Brothers Television, the FX Channel and CBS Television while living in Los Angeles. Jennessa later moved to Seattle, Washington and partnered to form Pressing Pictures, LLC – a production company dedicated to creating compelling commercial and narrative works. Jennessa’s producing credits include SADIE, written and directed by Megan Griffiths, MY LAST YEAR WITH THE NUNS, which premiered at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival with distribution through Fandor, SPIN a short film premiering at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and she co-produced the comedic web series ROCKETMEN.
She is the Executive Producer for Stefanie Sparks’ comedy IN CASE OF EMERGENCY which won an audience award for best feature at the Bushwick Film Festival. Jennessa is currently developing Ahamefule Oluo’s highly anticipated film THIN SKIN based on a true story which was featured on This American Life along with producer Michael Seiwerath, writer/director Charles Mudede and writer Lindy West.
Jesse Bryan, Founding Partner/Executive Creative Director (Belief Agency)
Jesse Bryan is the founding partner and Chief Creative Officer at Belief Agency, a Seattle-based full-service creative agency. There, he has worked with some of the world's largest brands, including Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and The Seattle Seahawks. Jesse’s work as a creative director and filmmaker has had one common thread: telling compelling stories that move people to action. Belief Agency helps their clients uncover their beliefs and tell their stories in rich, thoughtful, and truthful ways that inspire and inform their audiences across a multitude of mediums.
FCD BREAK-OUT SESSION: Director & Producer Panel
Kim Voynar, Co-Founder (Wondertek)
I was a film critic, film festivals editor and frequent juror, panelist and moderator on the international film festival circuit for a decade, writing for Cinematical, Movie City News, Indiewire and Variety. I am the on-air co-host for The Daily Buzz, a public radio program and podcast that broadcasts from the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW. I have a well-established history of writing about feminist issues, access and diversity across pop culture, film and tech.
In 2011, I shifted over to film production, making my short film “Bunker” (which I wrote, produced and directed) and then working for three years for Wizards of the Coast founder Peter Adkison, helping him build his film production company and producing and directing many projects for his company. In 2015 I decided to realign my focus more on my own art, and co-founded WonderTek Labs, LLC, a boutique virtual reality content and consulting studio. You can learn more about my work as a visual artist at my personal site, Kimi Voynar Art.
I love experimenting on the bleeding edge where music, film and art intersect with emerging tech, and collaborating with smart, passionate, creative humans. I’m passionate about creating access, equity and opportunity for underrepresented groups in the STEAM, VR and film industries.
Tristan Senuik, Director/Producer/ Editor (Zero Zero, Float, PBS children's show Bizkids)
Tristan Seniuk is a University of Washington Comparative Literature and Film History graduate and has been involved with filmmaking in Seattle since 2005. He has worked within film industry as a(n): director, assistant director, editor, script supervisor, project manager, and producer among numerous other roles. Seniuk has worked on projects of various size and scale including but not limited to: nationally-syndicated television programs, internationally-aired commercials, short and feature films, and music videos. Recently, he was part of the Emmy-award winning editing team for the PBS children's show Bizkids.
Warren Etheredge, Founder (The Warren Report)
Founder & Curator, Walla Walla Movie Crush (https://www.wallawallamoviecrush.com) Director, Auburn Adventure Film Festival, Short Film Curator, Seattle Jewish Film Festival (http://www.seattlejewishfilmfestival.org) Programmer, Rainier Independent Film Festival, VP of Curation & Acquisitions, Heyou Media (http://www.heyoumedia.com)
Host, The High Bar (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-high-bar/id1216502573?mt=2) Founder, TheFilmSchool (http://thefilmschool.com) Founder, The Red Badge Project (http://theredbadgeproject.org) Brain Trust Advisor, The School of Life Project (http://theschooloflifeproject.org)
Founder, The Warren Report (http://www.thewarrenreport.com)
Jacob Leander, Producer (iFilmThat/tv series, Drag Becomes Him, & more)
Jacob Leander is a freelance producer who has worked in the northwest film industry since 2006. He started as a production assistant and over 7 years worked his way to producing full-time which he has been doing for the last 5 years. Jacob is based in Seattle, works globally producing commercials, corporate documentary & television projects for various networks and clients such as Microsoft & Amazon.
BC Campbell, Composer, Producer, Sound Artist (Atlantic, Barsuk, Asthmatic Kitty Records)
BC Campbell is a composer, producer, sound artist and multi-instrumentalist who works with artists from Atlantic, Barsuk and Asthmatic Kitty Records. He scores award winning films, most recently the feature My Country No More, which won “Best Feature” at the 2018 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and will broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens 2019 television season. For nearly a decade, he has worked with filmmaker Tracy Rector and with other indigenous filmmakers around the country. His work has been presented at The Intiman Theater, On The Boards, Seattle Art Museum, The Smithsonian as well as many national and international film festivals.
Bao Tran, Director (Cho Lan, Jackpot & more)
Mentored by master action director Corey Yuen, Bao’s approach draws on spectacle through story and character. Screen Anarchypraised his written-and-directed short BOOKIE for its “flawlessly realized world driven by a compelling narrative and brought to sumptuous life.” His editing credits include CHO LON, one of Southeast Asia’s highest-budgeted action blockbusters, and JACKPOT, a heartfelt comedy selected as Vietnam’s official entry to the 2016 Oscars for Best Foreign Film. Ain’t It Cool Newsenthusiastically declared Bao as “a director I expect to see big things from.”
Avery Wagar, VR Club Leader (Ballard High School)
Avery is a student at Ballard High School (BHS; class of 2021) in Seattle, Washington, studying computer science and digital filmmaking and exploring the intersection of both through virtual reality and immersive/360 video. He is the founder and president of BVR Club, BHS’s virtual reality club and was the first ninth-grader to enroll in AP computer science at BHS. He created AstroVR (formerly StarVR), a virtual reality astronomy simulator that won best overall engineering project at the 2017-18 Seattle Public Schools eighth grade district science and engineering fair. He is also the co-founder and lead developer of Outrigger, an email productivity application promoting inbox life balance, and a student representative on the Information Technology Advisory Committee for Seattle Public Schools. He has participated in numerous hackathons across various technologies and taught software development to underrepresented high school students.
MYSTERY GUEST #2
We can’t tell you just who our second surprise speaker of the day will be - not even a hint! What we can promise, however, is that you will be thoroughly engaged by what they share and that you will be the envy of most of your family and friends when they hear the identity of who was giving you career advice today.
Sarah Crowe, Producer (Amazon)
A producer who has been working in film for over a decade, assistant directing and producing such films as Lane 1974, Dyna Does Dressage, Welcome to Doe Bay and many more. Sarah transitioned from independent film to producing for large TV shows and corporate shoots, including Top Chef season 10, Diamond Diver’s, Jump City, and more. Sarah is now a full time producer at Amazon, working in the internal Ad agency D1 Creative for the past three years, and recently produced all of the social content for the 2018 Amazon Super Bowl campaign and 2 broadcast spots for Mothers Day that are currently airing.
Melissa (Matthies) Purcell, Production Designer/Art Director (Rushmore, Forces of Nature & more)
Melissa (Matthies) Purcell is a production designer and prop master working in the commercial advertising, television and feature film industry. She began her career in Seattle in the late 1980s, when the Seattle film industry was booming.
Over the last thirty years she has worked exclusively on the creative end of the industry. Her credits as Prop Master include such films as Rushmore, Forces of Nature,The Details, Smoke Signalsand Nightjohn.
These days you’ll find her mostly working on commercials, and web spots either as a Production Designer or Prop Master, whichever position fits the spot.
Alan Nay, Founder (World Famous)
Alan Nay started World Famous in 2005 after spending a decade editing and creative directing commercials and films with some of the best creative studios in the country. World Famous is a commercial production company in Seattle known for producing national work that blends art with commerce. Winners of multiple Best in Show and Judges’ Choice awards at both the Seattle and Utah ADDYs, as well as two Silver Pencils at the One Show in New York, World Famous has also been voted “Best Place to Work” . An advocate for the creative community and culture, Nay serves as Commissioner on the Mayor’s Economic Development Commission.
Eddie Rehfeldt Executive Creative Director/PNW (Edelman)
Eddie is the regional Executive Creative Director for the PNW. This self-identified 'Rodeo Clown' leads a wonderful group of creative ninjas at Edelman, who transform the strategic opportunities into best-in-class creative solutions. He specializes in building complex creative & content teams with a focus on multi-channel brand identity, design aesthetic, client relations and creative talent development. That includes experience with international organizations like the UN Foundation, PATH, Earth Networks, Make-A-Wish, HalfTheSkyMovement.org and consumer brands like Volvo, Target, Safeway, T-Mobile, Bing, Xbox, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox and Microsoft. In concert with his teammates and collaborators, his work has earned recognition in international awards shows, including winning Gold and Silver Awards at the 2015 Cannes Lions Advertising Festival as well as 28 Design and Creative Awards in multiple categories over the last two decades. The bedrock of his career experience remains his early accomplishments in Music and Film, including 3 MTV Awards and his Sundance Film Festival film favorite “AFTER.” Additionally, he continues to draw new inspiration from teaching “Digital Storytelling for Social Impact,” a Graduate Class at the University of Washington that empowers students to create powerful social action campaigns that immediately activate community organizations.
Sam Kelly, Executive Producer (All Is Well)
Sam Kelly is an Executive Producer, Writer/Director, and Music Maniac.
Jennifer Roth, Producer (Mudbound, Black Swan, & more)
Jennifer Roth is a feature film producer with almost years of experience in the film business. Her recent credits include “Land of Steady Habits” which received over One Million views on Netflix the week it premiered and “Mudbound” which was nominated for four Academy Awards. Her other credits include "Black Swan", “The Wrestler”, “What Maisie Knew”, “Your Sister’s Sister”, “World’s Greatest Dad” and “The Squid and the Whale”.
Xuny Haley, Operations Manager (CoMotion at University of Washington)
I'm an Independent Contractor fascinated by the power of storytelling and its ability to persuade minds. I enjoy working in startups, where I manage logistics while offering a formative hand in the company branding.
My other great passions are virtual reality/augmented reality, fashion, ultimate frisbee, anime, and writing. Those are fairly eclectic, but isn’t it better to be enigmatically diverse as opposed to stiflingly one-dimensional?
Jesse Harris, Director (international commercial work) & Founder (NFFTY)
Jesse Harris started his filmmaking career early, writing and directing his first feature when he was just 17. He opted against college and used the money to fund his feature, which was eventually picked up for US theatrical distribution and by HBO in Europe. In 2007, to support other young filmmakers, Jesse founded NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth), which has grown into the largest and most prestigious youth film festival in the world. He ran the festival as Executive and Artistic Director for 7 years. Jesse now directs commercials around the world and is working on his 2nd feature film.
Caleb Young, Director/Producer (Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes?, Lavender Creases of Evening)
Caleb is a PNW native, working in Bellingham and Seattle. He directs branding content for local, national and international clients, as well as directing and producing independent films. He has won several Addy awards, as well as a Gold Addy Award (through Hand Crank Films) for the Mackie DLM Speaker Series. His feature film, Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes? was Official Selection at Seattle International Film Festival. He recently completed his 4th feature film Into the Lavender Creases of Evening and is developing 2 documentaries, a feature film and a series. But most importantly, he is trying to get outside more with his wife and daughter.
Amy Lillard, Executive Director (Washington Filmworks)
Amy Lillard is the Executive Director of Washington Filmworks and has been with the program since it launched in 2007. Under her leadership, Washington Filmworks has helped over 90 film projects complete principal photography, which have brought an estimated 242 million dollars to the statewide economy. Amy Lillard started her career as an independent film publicist out of New York and Los Angeles designing the release campaigns for groundbreaking films such at “The Blair Witch Project,” “American Psycho” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Amy retired from publicity in 2000 and took a trip around the world. Two years and 42 countries later, she settled in Seattle where she has worked in various capacities including, director of publicity and promotion at SIFF, festival director of the Reel Cinerama Film Festival, and producer of the Fly Filmmaking Challenge.
Craig Brooks (Kontent Partners)
Born in Montana, raised in the big cities, Craig Brooks comes to the table with a broad scope of life and work experience Well-versed in all aspects of film production, Craig's best known for his cinematic imagery & documentary style and his instinct for capturing the compelling sotries. Highly regarded as a smart and savvy creative, Craig's also well known for his fastidious but fun on-shoot style, his love of vintage racing automobiles, and his passion for design. And bacon. And coffee.
Ron Leamon Costume Designer of Film and Television.
Ron has designed films featuring the talents of James Earl Jones, Keira Knightly, Dolly Parton and Stephen King to list a few. He has designed for many networks including CBS, ABC and HBO.
He was the recipient of the Mayors Award for outstanding Achievement in film at SIFF and is an active force in the Northwest film community.
Lisa B. Hammond, Production Designer, Stylist, & Creative Consultant (Safety Not Guaranteed, The Off Hours & more)
Lisa is a Production Designer, Photo Stylist and Set Decorator for film and print productions. She works in corporate, commercial and independent productions.
Career highlights include Sundance and #FilmedInWA incentivized favorites such as Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed, Megan Griffith’s The Off Hours, and SY-FY network’s Z-Nation, along with indie favorites Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Grassroots and Matt Lillard’s Fat Kid Rules the World.
Lisa is President of WIF Seattle (WomenInFilm) and IATSE Local 488 Board Member and Womens Committee CoChair.