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Kayla Affrunti, Dancer/Filmmaker

Kayla Affrunti is a dance, film and teaching artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She earned her BFA from Montclair State University in 2018 and has been working with Dance on Camera, and live performance since. Kayla teaches at various schools around the city, combining her interests to introduce young students to the possibilities when combining art disciplines. She looks forward to obtaining an MFA in combined dance media soon, and continue exploring through more personal and community projects.

Josiah Cuneo, Filmmaker/Musician/Choroegrapher

Josiah Cuneo is a New York based filmmaker, composer and choreographer. He is best known for his films In Through the Night (2015), and Lilt (2017), as well as writing and directing the theatrical performance The Paper Dance (2017). Josiah also won Best Experimental Short in Festival 2019 for his collaboration with Duane Michal​s on YORT.

Blair and Brandon Dottin-Haley created the #BLAIRISMS in 2016 because they wanted more clothing in their closet that celebrated Black culture. They wanted more options that celebrated all of the beauty in the African diaspora and the impact Black people have on global culture.  They are podcasters, educators and entrepreneurs and believe that everyone can celebrate Black culture and support Black business.  They won BEST INTERVIEW PODCAST at Festival 2021.

Richard Gladstein

Two-time Academy Award® nominated film producer Richard Gladstein is the Founder & President of FILMCOLONY, the Los Angeles based motion picture production company, and Executive Director at Brooklyn College's Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.
Previously, Gladstein was Dean of the AFI CONSERVATORY at the American Film Institute.
Gladstein enjoys a long and fruitful collaboration with Quentin Tarantino - as producer of his post civil war western THE HATEFUL EIGHT, as well as Executive Producer of RESERVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION and JACKIE BROWN.
Gladstein’s two Best Picture Academy Award® nominations are for his films THE CIDER HOUSE RULES and FINDING NEVERLAND. His other films include; THE TIME BEING, (which he co-wrote in addition to producing), THE BOURNE IDENTITY, EXPECTING, PAPER MAN, KILLSHOT, MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM, THE NANNY DIARIES, SHE'S ALL THAT, HULRYBURLY, 54 and THE CROSSING GUARD, among others. Gladstein’s films have been nominated for 25 Academy Awards®, won 5 and have cumulative box office receipts in excess of $1 billion worldwide.
Prior to the formation of FilmColony in 1995, Gladstein was Executive Vice President & Head of Production at MIRAMAX FILMS, Vice President, Production & Acquisitions at LIVE ENTERTAINMENT and Director, Acquisitions & Marketing at ANGELIKA FILMS.

David Griffith, SVP, Discovery

David Griffith serves as Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Digital Strategy for Discovery, Inc. He is responsible for leading brand and sales strategies for Discovery’s lifestyle networks and digital platforms. His team is also responsible for the development of multi-platform marketing solutions, talent partnerships, sales enablement, and go-to-market strategies for advanced advertising solutions. Previously, he served as VP for Food Network’s Digital Marketing Group, leading digital brand, content, and social strategies. His team was actively involved in launching digital experiences, content, creative and supporting revenue for the company’s Ad Sales division.  Prior to his roles at Discovery, David managed and built creative marketing teams for leading agencies and brands including Digitas, Gartner, MTV Networks, and Sony Music Entertainment. Throughout his career, David has been recognized for his contributions by leading organizations including AdWeek, Cablefax, Clio, J.D. Power, Promax, and Webby Awards.

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.

Marta Márquez Filmmaker

Founder/CEO of Chico&Punky Productions, an independent production company focused on horror tales and documentary  films.  Marta began her career as a journalist and then developed her career as a freelance producer in New York, Mexico, and Spain, working on commercials, television shows, music videos, and independent films.  Marta is also an experienced filmmaker, having directed “Verano Perro” and “WTNY Bienvenida a Nueva York”, an award-winning Horror Short, shot on 16mm film. Marta has a Master´s Degree in Radio and TV Communications by Universidad Complutense de Madrid and also studied Filmmaking at the NYFA in Manhattan and Screenwriting at EICTV in Cuba.  She currently resides in the south of Spain.

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.

Makeba Ross, Filmmaker

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, worked for several years as a documentary filmmaker for the United States District Courts in Manhattan, New York, and is now 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.

Justin Tormey, Director of Strategy for 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.

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.

Jordyn Zimmerman, Filmmaker/Disability Advocate

Jordyn's film LISTEN, created with Communication First, about the need to respect and pay attention to nonspeaking autistic people (many of whom type and spell to communicate)and not misrepresent them in film/media, won the 2021 ZUKOR AWARD at our festival last year, and we are so excited about having her represent nonspeaking autistic people from this level of government!

Jordyn also has a new film out called This is Not About Me, an autobiographical film about her experiences growing up nonspeaking autistic and all the discrimination and predjudice that comes with that, from schools and society.

Jordyn has a BA from Ohio University in Education Policy and a Masters in Education from Boston College. She was able to excel academically, once she was given the chance to type to communicate at age 18, after years of having her intelligence and education ignored by the school system. If you'd like to watch these films and/or read more about them, please visit Jordyn's site

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