We are comprised of experts from all the diverse mediums of the film industry with uniquely diverse backgrounds to best address the multicultural students we serve.
Jessica Just, is an actress, producer, and editor. She graduated from NYU-Tisch School of the Arts, with a degree in Film and TV Production and a minor in producing. In the past Jessica worked for Miramax in post-production and Apostle Films for pre-production and development. She currently is a Partner at Open Perspective Media LLC. Since the age of 5, she has been a member of SAG-AFTRA and has appeared in several international commercials, feature films, and TV shows.
Hipolito (Polo) was born in Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico in the central state of Durango. He immigrated to the United States in 1979 at the age of 11. He attended Queen of Angels High School Seminary, a preparatory high school nestled in the historic San Fernando Mission. As a seminarian, he was able to connect with his spirituality and developed a strong acumen for social justice. He served in the US Navy and after attended Cal State University at Long Beach. There he received a Political Science BA focused on International Relations and a minor in Communications. Immediately after college, he worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry as a sales representative. With his sales background he worked with Scholastic Book Fairs in developing the Latino school market in the Los Angeles area. His first production, “Flamenco Dreams,” in 2003 was distributed through Universal/Vivendo in partnership with Miles Copeland’s CIA distribution company. He is the Co-Founding Partner and Producer at Open Perspective Media, which produced LA Business Today, a talk show distributed on PBS Affiliate KLCS TV. He is also publisher of the online magazines, Latino Weekly Review and Landscape Latino. He serves as Vice President of the Board of the KLCS Education Foundation and is a Board Member of member of the Media Educators of Los Angeles. He also serves on the Board of SEEfest Film Festival.
I am a storyteller, an Anthropologist, and a filmmaker originally from Silicon Valley. I come with an eye inclined toward details, the energetic vibe that I'm known for, and a fundamental desire to tell stories either with my words or with my films.
Heather Ann Gottlieb (She/They) is an award winning actor, playwright, and poet. She can be seen in television, commercials, immersive theatre, and slam poetry competitions around Los Angeles. Her feminist comedy podcast, Dirty Girl, was chosen to launch WhoHaha's podcast network in 2018. In 2015, she received her BA in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University and was awarded the LMU Theatre Department's "Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting" by her professor, Beth Henley. Heather Ann is represented by Media Artists Group theatrically, Osbrink commercially, and is managed by Brave Artists Management.
Margarita Reyes was born on March 15, 1977 in Escondido, California, USA. She is an actress and producer, known for The Sandman (2017) and Manos partidas (2008). Margarita Graduated from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Lead actress in Aloe Blacc's acoustic version of #Wake Me Up (2013). In October 2013, Blacc released the music video for the track "Wake Me Up". Blacc collaborated with the immigrant rights group National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the ABC* Foundation's Healing Power of Music Initiative. Voted Independent Filmmakers Alliance (IFA) September Actress of the Month (2007).
Vanessa Lua is a bilingual actress and producer best known for her role as Aunt Telma on Shameless season 10. Her production credits include the feature documentary Comedy House, and the stage play American Man Dream, in which she also wrote and performed. She is the creator and host of the YouTube channel whatthehelldidshesay, in which Vanessa interviews celebrities with her iPhone . She is also the voice in Spanish of Coco and Douglas in the soap opera The Bold and The Beautiful. Vanessa studied improvised comedy at the DCH, IO West and the Groundlings, and completed acting studies at Actors Comedy Studio and with Margie Haber. Vanessa holds an industrial engineering degree from the Universidad Panamericana.
Raised in the world of independent film, Oscar Zamora-Rojo has always had both an ear and an eye for gripping stories from the border. He blends elements of Mexican, and American folklore in his stories/projects, representing his own background as the son of two Mexican immigrants. He has worked in film his whole life, acting in his first feature film at the age of 4 years old. He grew up in El Paso, Texas, and obtained his degrees in Film and Education at a nearby university, New Mexico State University. He currently lives in Burbank, California, where he works as a freelance artist for several companies, including Epic Pictures and Lucasfilm.
Luis Horacio Pineda (Born October 31, 1975) is a Mexican and American painter, architectural drafter, muralist, cartoonist, writer, producer and film director. He was born in Nogales, Arizona and raised in Sonora, Mexico. Pineda attended Universidad de Sonora at Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and the University of Arizona at Tucson, Arizona. Pineda shoots and produces short films, animated films, TV Spots, documentary films, and music videos. As a painter and muralist, Pineda began his interest in film in 1999 when he was studying literature in Mexico. Pineda started drawing, painting, and writing at an early age and these early stages provided the crucial groundwork that is leading Pineda’s development as a filmmaker. Pineda not only has the usual credits of writing and directing his films, he also frequently serves as a storyboard artist, producer, director of photography, and script editor on his films.
Maria Alanis is a writer, director, and cinematographer from Stockton, California. She graduated in 2017 from the Art Institute of California - Sacramento after having directed and produced two short films, with a Bachelor's Degree in Digital Film and Video Production. During her time in Sacramento, she worked as a cinematographer for the Women's March, produced training videos for Outback Steakhouse and was a production assistant on Netflix’s “Jailbirds” and A&E’s “Live Rescue”. Maria also work at ABC10 as a production assistant and editor for the weekend morning news. Before moving to Southern California, Maria was working as a production coordinator at Futures Explored, in Stockton, California. Here she guided students with developmental disabilities through the pre-production, production, and post-production stages of producing their own films. In addition, she managed and maintained the company’s film studio in which the students were able to shoot their films, as well as facilitated them in obtaining paid jobs from clients. In early 2020, she volunteered at the Sundance Film Festival based in Park City, Utah. Maria later went on to volunteer at Outfest Fusion as part of the documentary team, which gave her insight into some of the goals she’s like to reach within her own career as a storyteller. In March, she joined the Creating Creators team as a Film Instructor after previously working with founder and CEO Jessica Just and Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder Hipolito Munoz. She looks ahead to many more exciting opportunities to learn, grow, create, and teach what she’s learned to those coming after her.
Zana is a Bosnian American award-winning actress based in Los Angeles. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1983, and moved to the United States in 1996. After attending prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City, she graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo. She holds MA degree in Performing Arts - Acting. She has a successful international acting career both in Europe and the US. Zana is best known for her leading role in Angelina Jolie's directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011). Her most recent motion picture "A Rose in Winter” tells the story of Edith Stein, the saint and the patron of Europe murdered in Auschwitz, and presents research on the life of one of the most interesting women in the history of Judeo-Christians, which was an fearless defender of women's rights and reconciliation. Zana has produced numerous documentary films, mainly focusing on themes of piece and reconciliation. She is currently writing her first feature film, a comedy "The Uncredited" and is directing her short film "Franny" based on her experiences as a child in her birth country on the verge of war in 1992.
I am a Bosnian award-winning director based in Los Angeles. I was born in 1988 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a teenager, I strived in the world of film, music and sports, playing ice hockey for the national team, producing rap music and music videos. I graduated Film and Theatre directing and hold MA degree in Directing. I created socially engaged films, plays, cabarets, web series, hip-hop videos, street performances, comedy and stand-up comedy shows that have received national, and international, acclaim. I held filmmaking workshops and directed films that screened at various festivals across the world, Istanbul Modern, the State Department, the United Nations Headquarters New York, as well as notable universities as Columbia University, GWU and Pratt Institute. My niche is comedy that seeks to engage people with social justice issues.
Meryem Dipdere international producer and curator for films and film Festivals, worked in Amsterdam, London and now based in Los Angeles. Her career grounded in TV/Film development & production and the last 9 years in the planning and execution of a wide range of Film festivals and art exhibitions. Meryem moved to the US in 2016, Represented the official 90th Oscar-submission 'The Dark Wind' by Hussain Hassan. She has been involved as producer or curator for some of the most pioneering art-digital-film festivals in Europe,such as Alpha-Ville London and AFX in Amsterdam. She has also worked for international acclaimed festivals, like IDFA and the East End Film Festival in London. In recent years Meryem has been organizing exhibitions and art events that bring together art, social commentary and grassroots resistance. She has initiated successful shows with emerging street artists and established names in the London art scene. She has pioneered new formats for art shows and initiates art projects that inspire both audiences and artists to reconsider the relation between the arts and social movements.
Originally from the south suburbs of Chicago, Elizabeth Tawose is a director, writer, and model based in Los Angeles. As a first-generation Nigerian-American, Tawose has always had a love for television, fantasy, and writing. Elizabeth has worked on many different productions such as Black-ish, Grown-ish, Netflix's Shameless and numerous others. Her short film “Sunflower” is set to make its festival debut in 2022. Through her work, she aims to ignite confidence in oneself and encourage individuals to challenge their views of the world, while bringing her Yorùbá culture to the forefront. Tawose is an alumna of The Ohio State University.
Born in Milan, Italy, I have been developing and coordinating Film & TV productions since 2016. My credits include top-notch features such as the Oscar nominee The Life Ahead, starring Sophia Loren, and the Berlinale Silver Bear winner Hidden Away. I have supervised the post-production workflow of prime-time TV series and international titles such as The Name of the Rose, starring John Turturro and Rupert Everett. In 2021, the desire to realize my own projects led me to enroll in the Producing Program at UCLA and to move to Los Angeles, where I am currently producing my first feature film.
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