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NEW YORK  —  The nonprofit Astoria Film Festival announced today the participants in their inaugural VIRTUAL MEDIA/TV/FILM CAREER FAIR to be held March 23-25, 2022.

Thirty seasoned and celebrated voices will make up 6 panels of industry professionals across film, television and digital media.  Plus a special guest interview on Wednesday 7:30-8pm ET.  This inaugural celebration of media careers is part of the Astoria Film Festival’s Education and Outreach programming, intended to help youth from under-represented communities get a stronger foothold in the media industry by gaining work experience, mentors, and career advice from industry professionals. 

There will be 2 panels per evening, over 3 evenings, 23-25 March 2022.  One panel features Professors from the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.  One panel is dedicated to Film Students, discussing their experiences studying film at various high schools and colleges.  Another panel will focus on Digital Media Professionals.  And the remaining panels are a mixture of Film and TV Professionals. 


Registration is now open via Eventbrite:


WEDNESDAY MARCH 23, 2022, 6-7:15PM ET



Mark Stolzenberg

Director of The New York Acting School for Film and Television

Professor, The New School

Mark established The New York Acting School for Film and Television 20 years ago, where he teaches many of the acting classes at the school himself.  He is also an Associate Professor at The School of Drama at The New School University in NYC.  

An experienced actor, Mr. Stolzenberg played a principal role on the hit TV shows “Bull” and “Boardwalk Empire”.  He also starred in the feature film comedy, “Luggage of the Gods”, which was directed by David Kendall – producer and writer for ABC’s hit show, “Growing Pains”. Mark was a principal in Tom Selleck’s film, “Her Alibi”, was a regular character on the “Robert Klein Television Show”, and was one of the lead roles in the feature film, “Breakfast In Bed”, which appeared on HBO, SHOWTIME, and CINEMAX. Mr. Stolzenberg made several appearances on ABC’s, “ALL MY CHILDREN”, and he has done principal work in over 30 national television commercials. Mr. Stolzenberg has also written, directed, and produced over 30 short films, many of which have won awards at film festivals.  He also currently has four feature-length films and a TV series in development.


Geneva Peschka, Filmmaker/Director

Geneva Peschka is a Brooklyn-based, award-winning documentary filmmaker who, as a director, producer and creator, not only wants to empower and educate, but spark real change.  Her documentary short film UNSPOKEN, which marked Geneva’s co-directing, creating and producing debut, premiered at the Mill Valley Film Festival in 2017, was featured at SXSW EDU, SLAMDANCE 2021, and had a theatrical release at Maysles Documentary Cinema. Co-director Emma Zurcher-Long received the TASH ‘POSITIVE IMAGES IN THE MEDIA’ Award for UNSPOKEN and the film won the Zukor  Award and Audience Award at Astoria Film Festival in 2019. It was also in consideration for the 2019 Academy Awards Short Documentary category. WOMXN, is a 12-part collaborative short documentary series that expanded into a podcast format. Most recently, Geneva remotely directed the ADOBE | COMPLEX “When I See Myself” Collaborative Series (2021 Shorty Award Finalist) and the AUDIBLE | COMPLEX Campaign featuring Amanda Seales and Killer Mike discussing the release and importance of the Malcolm X Autobiography. Additionally, she remote directed the music video THIS JOY by The Resistance Revival Chorus for their debut album. Geneva's first feature documentary film is currently in development.


Mike Hayhurst, Director/Producer, Film and TheaterMike Hayhurst is an award-winning director and producer for film and theatre. Born and raised in the UK, he founded Evening Squire Productions in 2016 and has created multiple award-winning short films including 15 Down (now available on Prime Video) and Oma starring Lynn Cohen. Additionally, Mike’s film credits include The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson; and A Day Late and a Dollar Short with Whoopi Goldberg. Online, he is the director and cinematographer of the webseries All Talk featuring Jason Mewes and Joe Patane; and the reality series Unique New York with Nathan Kaufman, which has generated over half a million views. More info at

Chun Gee Hong, Filmmaker/Director

Chung Gee graduated from SUNY Buffalo’s Media Studies Program and has worked as a PA for Seoul Broadcasting System in Korea, TKC TV Station in Queens, and New Bird Films.  He produces a podcast and has also independently produced the documentary short film “Because They Were Hurt” which won Best Documentary Short at AFF2020.

Jamie Zevallos, Actor/Filmmaker

Born in Lima, Peru, Jaime Zevallos moved to New York at the age of three and grew up in both Queens and Great Neck, Long Island prior to moving to Los Angeles. Jaime's artistic side was evident from an early age, and he spent his teenage years as an infamous street artist. He started his acting career in New York while studying acting at HB Studio and film at C.W. Post Long Island University, and he got his first 'break' in Spike Lee's "Summer of Sam."

While on vacation in Los Angeles, Jaime auditioned for Michael Eisner, and ended up booking a Series Regular role on the show, "Sam Has 7 Friends." Needless to say, Jaime's vacation turned into an official relocation, as he continued to book roles in films and various television shows, including "House M.D.", "Leverage", "Southland", "Sons of Anarchy", "American Horror Story", "The Bridge", and "Animal Kingdom."  Jaime also wrote, directed, and starred in "Me You and Five Bucks" which had a limited theatrical run and won numerous film festival awards. His work on the stage has been featured in the LA Times, including his roles at the Sacred Fools Theatre Company, The Actor's PlayPen, and CASA0101, run by Josefina Lopez. Jaime was named "one of the 25 most influential Latinos in Los Angeles" by Latino Leaders Magazine. 


Sherif Sadek, Editor

Originally from Cairo, Sherif moved to the US to major in Computer Science at Rochester Institute of Technology but then discovered on a film shoot with friends that he was addicted to filming, and switched majors to Film/Video/Animation.  He worked in Cairo on a documentary about an obscure nomadic tribe living in the deserts on the border between Egypt and Sudan on the Red Sea. He has served as Chief Tech Engineer for Outpost Digital, Post Factory NY, and Nutmeg Creative, and is currently an Editor on Independent Films as well as Post Production Sales Engineer at The Studio at B&H.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 23 2022,  8:15-9:30pm ET


Makeba Ross, Documentarian US Southern District Federal Courts

Born and raised in Newburgh, New York, Makeba once dreamed of becoming a film and stage actress. She stumbled upon filmmaking in a media production class during her senior year of high school where she quickly fell in love with cinematography and the editing process and enrolled in film school at Brooklyn College. She graduated in May of 2017 with a Bachelors in Film Production and a Bachelors in Media Communications and now works as a documentary filmmaker for the United States District Courts in Manhattan, New York and as a Sr. Producer for Colorway Productions based in Brooklyn, NY.  Her short films have screened at multiple festivals across the country and have won many awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at AFF2019. Her latest short film The Big Chop is currently in principal production and will be released in Spring 2023.

Brian Petchers, Emmy-Winning Director - Commercials and Music Videos

Brian is an Emmy Award winning, New York based music video and commercial director. He's earned recognition including a Cannes Young Director Award, UKMVA nominations as well as an Emmy for his Forbes 30 Under 30 Documentary series. His narrative and wonder-inspiring style has led him to direct projects for top musicians and brands including: Nike, BMW, Steve Martin, Meghan Trainor, and Wiz Khalifa. His work has been featured in Times Square, Forbes, Billboard Magazine, Rollingstone, MTV, and The New York Times. Brian won an Audience Award for his short film The Stain at AFF2020.


Ruth Fernandez, Hair Makeup and Grooming Artist, Mark Burnett Productions

Ruth Fernandez found her career calling to be makeup artistry. While working in a salon in Chelsea in the early 2000's, she was introduced to her future mentor and began assisting on an independent film. Soon after, she found herself working on "Making the Band" with Danity Kane on MTV. Ruth was quickly asked back to work on the group’s first video shoot in Los Angeles, which paved the way to her current career. Today, Ruth is the go-to to many, both on and off the red carpet. Fernandez has worked with are Selita Ebanks, Brian Tyree Henry, Kane Brown, Laila Ali, Sterling K. Brown, Marlee Matlin, Brooke Shields, Miriam Shor, Gaten Matarazzo, and Niki Taylor among many more! She has also done extensive editorial, commercial work and high-profile advertising campaigns for Ray-Ban, Bon Appétit, Interview Magazine Germany, Nylon, GQ, Weight Watchers, Welch's and Verizon. In 2017, she became a member of IATSE Local 798. 

Alanna Blair, Actor/Stunt Performer

You may have seen Blair attempt annihilation on Lucifer's series finale, or on The Blacklist's Season 7 finale. Dig deeper and you'll find characters like a reptilian bassist (LES Asides) and a pregnant recovering addict (Spring Street). An ongoing collaboration with improv-focused filmmaker Daniel Kremer has resulted in seven films so far, with characters ranging from a wide-eyed New York noob (A Simple Game of Catch) to a con artist in entertainment inspired by Marie Castaldo (Even Just). Blair also starred in and was co-writer and sound editor for the short film Prime Matter. Blair sports a BFA from CalArts, with New York training from Apartment 929, The Barrow Group, and Brad Calcaterra's Studio.

John Gray, Writer/Producer/TVSeries Creator

John Gray is an American writer, director, producer. He is the creator of the CBS television series Ghost Whisperer starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. He has written and directed feature movies as well. He directed the ABC original series Empire.  Gray has also written and directed many movies for television, such as the remake of the 1976 telefilm Helter Skelter, Martin and Lewis, The Hunley, The Day Lincoln Was Shot, and several Hallmark Hall of Fame movies.  Gray’s short film Exit Package won Best Quarantine Film at AFF2020.


THURSDAY MARCH 24 2022, 6-7:15pm ET


Kathleen S Wilson PhD, Professor NYU TISCH

Kathleen S Wilson PhD is a professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Interactive Telecommunications Program and is a founding co-partner of the Rikaroo Film Collective. She has been involved in digital media design, development and strategy since she created interactive multimedia projects for Bank Street College of Education in the 1980s, co-designed SimTown with Maxis, and worked as an Executive Producer at Paramount Pictures’ Media Kitchen in the early 1990s. Kathleen was part of the founding team that created Viacom Interactive Services, Viacom’s in-house digital media development group, where she was the VP/Creative Director from 1995-2001. Since then, she has taught, consulted, and created digital media products, participated on a variety of judging panels, and given presentations on digital media creation and strategy to organizations worldwide. Kathleen has an EdD from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, a Global Executive MBA from TRIUM (a joint MBA offered by NYU- Stern, The London School of Economics, and HEC-Paris), an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA from Middlebury College.


Justin Tormey Director of Strategy, Slalom Labs

Justin Tormey, technologist and product-leader, is Director of Strategy for Slalom. Slalom helps companies solve business problems and build for the future. The Slalom Strategy team is at the forefront of those conversations, often leading engagements with new clients and helping them transition into a new digital landscape. Prior to Slalom, Justin was a video producer and editor, a podcast producer, and developed digital production teams and business development teams at Nokia, AT&T, and MTV Networks.


Stephanie Malachi CNBC

Stefanie Malachi, Sr. Project Manager, NBC New Group Stefanie Malachi is a Sr. Project Manager, PMI-ACP and Certified Scrum Master with over 15 years of experience managing digital product development delivery processes for major media brands. She started her project management career at MTV, working on sales and video player projects. After MTV, Stefanie worked at Vevo, where she was part of the team that launched the site. The past nine years, Stefanie has worked for CNBC, leading the operational management and performance tracking for several agile product development teams. Over the years her projects / teams have included front-end development, video players, analytics and OTT.

Jonathan Goldner Senior Director of Product Development, ViacomCBS

Before moving to this position, Jonathan oversaw the expansion of MTV NEWS from onair and online into social media as the Sr. Director, News Content, Operations & Distribution, MTVNEWS.


THURSDAY MARCH 24 2022, 8:15-9:30pm ET


MARK VOELPEL, Assistant Professor, Head of Digital Animation and Visual FX, teaches filmmaking at Brooklyn College and Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema


Director of record for more than 50 commercials, three award-winning narrative films, a documentary, and a collection of short political satire videos.  Mark Voelpel has worked in a wide variety of capacities in the film, television and media industries. He supervised visual effects for feature films such as The Shadow, Braveheart, Demolition Man and The Last Action Hero. He directed more than 50 television commercials for clients such as Chrysler, BellSouth, SC Johnson, LG Digital and Intel. He was the DP for a variety of short and feature films, including the nationally distributed and award-winning feature documentary One Nation Under God and the short The Strange Case of Balthazar Hyppolite, which was a finalist for Best Short for the 1993 Academy Awards. He conceived of and directed the movies, as well as the overall website,, which screened on 25 TV stations nationally, and won website of the day on Alexander Cockburn's Counterpunch. He recently directed a national commercial campaign for the Department of Energy, designed to persuade consumers to save money by saving energy.



CHARLES HAINE, Assistant Professor,  Head of Cinematography, teaches Filmmaking at The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College


He earned a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California, and has worked as a filmmaker and entrepreneur since 1999. Haine directed his first feature film, Angel’s Perch, in 2012. The film starred Joyce Van Patten, Ellen Crawford, Ashley Jones, and Ally Walker, and was released theatrically through Tugg and on VOD through Gravitas.  Among Haine's other directing highlights are a music video for Fitz and the Tantrums (Don't Gotta Work It Out, which featured on VH1’s Pop Up Video); the launch spot for the U.K. startup Gamestick; fashion advertisements for Fais Do Do and Emory K Holiday; and countless book trailers for Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Quirk, and many others, including the recent trailer for Chuck Klosterman’s novel The Visible Man, Ransom Riggs’ original Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and the hit trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls for Quirk Books.  In 2008, Haine founded the Academy Award–nominated production company Dirty Robber, which has gone on to success in feature films, shorts, and commercials and music videos. He was part of the founding teams for the post-production and color grading companies Cinelicious, Coyote Post, and As a colorist, Haine has done work for Ford, Jeep, Burger King, McDonald's, Nissan, Lincoln, Chevrolet, and countless other clients, including major agencies such as TBWA\Chiat\Day. His music video work includes My Chemical Romance, Destroyer, and Delta Rae, and he graded the music documentary Hot Sugar’s Cool World.

Haine’s previous work as an educator includes seven years as an associate professor at Los Angeles City College, where he taught cinematography and editing, and six years at Columbia College Hollywood, where he taught color grading, visual design, and stereography. In 2011, Haine published his first book, The Urban Cyclist’s Handbook, and he appeared as the technical consultant and host on the Discovery Channel show Unchained Reaction. His other writings have appeared on, HD Video Pro, Student Filmmakers Magazine, and Citizens of Culture.




Fay Samaras, Stage Manager, Kaufman Astoria Studios

Fay grew up here in Queens and has been helping to manage operations at Kaufman for many years and recently became a Stage Manager at the famous local studios, that were the original home of Paramount Pictures, and now host dozens of productions in their massive sound stages. 


Michael Fodera, Filmmaker and Senior Video Producer, Squarespace

Michael Fodera is a NYC-based filmmaker who is also currently the Senior Video Producer at Squarespace.  His client list includes CBS, CBS Sports, Island Def Jam, Sundance Film Festival, and Newsweek Magazine. His work has been featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick and has been shown on and A.V. Club. His films have screened at festivals around the world, and have won several awards.

Jonathan Schienberg, Independent Documentary Director and Producer

Previously he worked as a director and producer with Years of Living Dangerously, an Emmy Award winning documentary series for National Geo graphic and for Nat Geo’s flagship documentary program Explorer. Prior to that, he worked as a director for Al Jazeera’s documentary program Witness, and as a producer with the CBS News magazine series, 60 Minutes. Before CBS, Jonathan worked as a producer and assignment editor for CNN in New York, and as a stringer and reporter for New York Newsday where he covered immigration. His freelance work as a multimedia producer and writer has also appeared in the New York Times, PBS Frontline, Foreign Policy Magazine, CNN International, and the Chicago Tribune

Kyle Stockburger, Actor/Writer

Kyle is an actor and writer known for his work in Tom Bench (2020), The Fourth day (2016), and Mer. His work has been presented at Dixon Place, The Secret Theater, and in The Fresh Fruit Festival at the Wild Project, his work can be seen in Carousel, Bûche de Noël, and The Real Coyote Ugly. He Has performed at The Tank NYC, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, Theater for a New City, Judson memorial church, REDCAT, and the Teatro Experimental and he is currently working on creating a screen adaptation of Bûche de Noël and a limited TV series entitled What I Did For Love.


FRIDAY MARCH 25 8:15-9:30PM



Syeda Anjum, Post-Bacc Film Fellow, Barnard College

Syeda Anjum is a screenwriter and filmmaker from Queens. She received her B.A in film studies and psychology from Barnard College and is currently pursuing a post-baccalaureate fellowship at the Elsie K. Sloate Media Center. She was previously an assistant programmer at the Big Apple Film Festival and a digital marketing intern at Shine Global Inc. On set, she has experience producing, directing, and script supervising. Syeda recently wrapped post-production for her directorial debut short, Women in Flux, and is currently pursuing her second directorial project entitled May Be Unholy. She is passionate about stories that bring BIPOC experiences to the forefront of popular genres


Kelly Villares, Hunter/LAGCC/FSSA

Kelly graduated from the film department at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria NY and from the film program at LaGuardia Community College.  She is currently working on her BA from Hunter College in Media Studies. She has worked with Astoria Film Festival for 3 years as a Film Instructor, Cinematographer, Editor, Social Media Manager, and Festival Production Assistant.  Kelly has also managed social media accounts and created video content for local political campaigns, District22 Youth Committee, and for the nonprofit RowNY.  Kelly is focused on screenwriting and cinematography.

Anadia Jaghai, SVA Film/FSSA

Anadia Jaghai is an Afro-Jamaican  filmmaker and artist, currently majoring in Directing at School of Visual Arts in NYC.⁠

Anadia’s specialties include: screenwriting, directing, music videos and production design.  ⁠

Anadia is also teaching filmmaking at The Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria.

Nikhil Oza, Brooklyn College/ATVF

Nikhil graduated from the  Academy for Careers in Television and Film HS in LIC NY and is currently an honor student at Brooklyn College, in the Film Department.  On set, he has experience screenwriting, directing, but is especially interested in editing/post-production. Nikhil has also served as a Film Fellow and Festival Production Assistant with the Astoria Film Festival.  Nikhil is pursuing a career focused on editing.

Hudson Flynn, SUNY Purchase/FSSA

Hudson Flynn is an independent filmmaker in New York City. He is the founder of Onward & Upward Pictures [us] and works as a writer, director, and producer on the majority of his projects. Flynn was the youngest finalist ever selected for the Manhattan Short Film Festival in 2021 with his film Death By Handshake, and other short works of his continue to screen at festivals around the country.  Hudson's drama short FRIDAY won Best Drama Short at AFF2021. He currently studies film at SUNY Purchase.

6pm links (all 6pm panels use this zoom link)

Meeting ID: 962 7757 0979

Passcode: 751468

8:15pm links (all 8pm panels use this zoom link)

Meeting ID: 912 4534 6449

Passcode: 127399




Nina Fiore, Founding Director 

Astoria Film Festival