2017 JMF Filmmaker Bios


Gonzalo Agrotis, 21 – My passion for cinema began at 12 years old, producing homemade movies with a pocket camera to entertain my family. With their support, this hobby became my vocation. When I finished school, I studied cinema at the National University of La Plata in Argentina. Although I have contributed editing and visual effects to other short films, “Luces de Medianoche” is my first short film, created with a team of University colleagues. In 2016 I began turning it into a feature-length script and assembling a team to make it.

Mahesh Rajendra Ahirrao, 23 – Mahesh is a filmmaker based in Pune, India. His film Potraj tells the story of a child from a nomadic tribal community, engaged in traditional Potraj dance, who wants to go to school.

Muhammad Al Fayed, 19 – Born in Samarinda, Indonesia in 1998, Al Fayed studies Television and Film at the Indonesian Institute of The Arts. He began producing short films in 2014 with friends and also founded Layar Mahakama, a short film screening/appreciation community in Samarinda. His film “Satu Jam (One Hour)” has been selected and screened at multiple national and international film festivals and also won Best Movie, Best Director and Best Actress in a short film competition held at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 2016. He is currently finishing a documentary film entitled “Telingaan Aruu: Telinga Panjang Suku Dayak Pampang” (Telingaan Aruu: The Long Ears of Dayak Pampang People) and “Niqab: We’re Not Different”.

Djurovic Andjela, 19 – I was born in Belgrade in 1997. I have studied sound design and music production at Kosta Manojlovic in Zemun, and in 2015 began study of film and television direction at the Academy of Arts in Belgrade. During my first year of studies, I took part in two films as assistant director and also produced my first feature film. In my second year I filmed the documentary “Behind the Curtains,” where I discover new angles and approaches to the film. Film is my life. Through my films, I want to say what I think.

Shawn Antoine II, 21 – Shawn Antoine II was born in 1996 and raised in Harlem in New York City, where he attended Cardinal Hayes High School. After four years of high school football, he was awarded a full athletic scholarship to play football at The University of Rhode Island. Shawn is also a filmmaker whose mission is to create films that inspire and inform. He has created two narrative short films and two documentaries, of which “The Movement,” about Black Lives Matter, is his most discussed. In 2016, his films were selected for seven film festivals nationally and internationally, including the Amazon Underground Film Festival.

*Keaton Applebaum, 20 – Applebaum began his filmmaking career in middle school, making action short films on a flip camera with his friends. He fully realized his love for filmmaking when he went to a small performing arts high school in Van Nuys, CA. Keaton got into his dream film school, Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he is now a Junior studying directing and editing. Fork You was Keaton’s directing class final, made for a budget of only $400 and shot over two days. When he isn’t making movies, Keaton likes to play guitar and hang out with his friends. (keaton.applebaum13­)

Alaadin Assem, 22 – I’m Alaadin Assem, an Egyptian filmmaker working as vfx compositor. My filmography includes Red Marker, A Visit, A Meeting With Death, and Lunar, screened at the EIDÔLON Film Festival in France, the Ouarzazate Film Festival in Morocco, and the London International Film Festival.

Michael Baker, Jr., 22 – Michael is a student at Bowling Green State University, originally from Holland, OH. In his animated film The Sun, a once happy family begins to break down and the child experiences a wave of emotions strong as a windstorm, with the only light visible to the child in the black sun.

Mattia Bioli, 21 – My name is Mattia, and I’m an Italian filmmaker. I have had a passion for filmmaking since I was little and I played with my parents’ camera. Now my passion has become my job and I can’t be happier!

Ashley Beuhler, 18 – From a young age, Ashley Beuhler knew she wanted to be an artist. Eventually her passion for organizing and helping others propelled her towards the art of filmmaking, where she is drawn to editing and color correction in particular. As a filmmaker, Ashley has worked on over 50 short films, including Where is Your Mind? which has also screened at the San Antonio Film Festival. Ashley has held internship positions in local film festivals and was the coordinator for the Outsiders Film Festival during her four years at the North East School of the Arts in San Antonio, Texas. She is currently furthering her cinematic education at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in film production with a dream to be a script supervisor and editor for television and short films.

Vincent Bonin-Arena, 21 – Vincent Bonin-Arena is a young filmmaker from Montreal, Quebec. He graduated from the Conservatoire Lassalle and made his debut in the film industry in 2015. This passionate filmmaker hopes to leverage his recent success and energy to travel the world and participate in as many major film festivals as possible.

Octavia Emilie Bormann, 19 – I have always been interested in storytelling. Whether my medium was playing music, writing or creating podcasts, my main concern was always the story I was telling. Mascara was my first time direction a short film, and it was enormously exciting to use cinematic elements as a mean to carry the story onwards. I certainly wish, and have planned, to experiment more with the genre in the future!

*Gema Ceron, 19 – Gema is a filmmaker from San Francisco who works with the Bay Area Video Coalition.

Rafael Cordova, 18 – Like all other artists, I have a need to explore and document the world around me, a need that grows the more I discover. I believe there is always a new corner of the world that has not been seen or experienced yet, and as an artist I see it as my job to bring people to that corner.

Andrew Paul Davis, 22 – Andrew is a writer & filmmaker currently splitting his time between South Florida and Indiana, where he studies film at Taylor University. Maya was a final project for a year-long Orphans-and-Vulnerable-Children program Andrew was involved with during his junior year, which compelled Andrew to begin researching and writing about the trafficking of orphaned and foster children to raise awareness. Maya now has close to 500k views on YouTube. Last Kiss examines prostitution in a different context of coercion— financial desperation—and is a part of a larger short film saga spanning 1929-1999 that Andrew worked on the past year. These and other short films can be viewed on his website: andrewpauldavis.com.

Dafne De Vinatea, 21 – “Flipping Out” is a short, 2D animated film that follows an amateur animator as he balances his life with work and family. I’ve always liked telling stories that evoke something intense, beginning with comics as a kid and from there naturally shifting into an animation major as a young adult. When it was time to make a short film for school, my peers and I settled on sharing our newfound, flawed yet unmarred reality as a story. “Flipping Out” is from young animators, about an amateur animator… for everyone else to experience.

*Bianca do Rêgo Silva, 22 – Bianca is a recent graduate of Anhembi Morumbi University in São Paulo, Brazil. Her film Silence is a delicate documentary about a tough subject, showing the many forms of abuse that silently occur in day-to-day life—sexism, racism, misleading laws and other issues in contemporary Brazil–almost always without punishment.

Adrian Ejsing, 21 – Adrian Kirk Ejsing attended the Danish film school Station Next from 2013 through 2016. There he worked on the short films Odontophobia and Recipes for Two, before graduating with the film The World Keeps Spinning, which he wrote and directed.

Nikolay Filippov, 19 – In my film “Mr. Knives,” I tried to break the written language bias in modern Russian cinema. I wanted to show how we really talk, with all the hesitation pauses and discourse markers… itʼs beautiful, itʼs just poetry (never written). I think my work follows the voyeuristic understanding of cinema. Itʼs a matter of talking about culturally essential themes, like the Russian revolution, using habitual language and everyday, trivial images. Itʼs always life that inspires you, but in “Mr. Knives” I filmed a never-seen-on-screen life, like kebab slicing (which is incredible once seen on screen), and I am now working on several projects developing that idea.

Elias Flores III, 17 – Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Elias Flores III is a Xicanx Artist who utilizes art to tell the stories of his life, as well as the lives of his community and culture. SOIL is a fictional story of an introverted man as he reexamines his failed marriage, faces the mistakes of his past, and attempts to find redemption within himself.

Loai Galal, 20 – Loai is a student in the faculty of mass communication at Cairo University, majoring in TV & Radio. A lover of art in general and cinema in particular, he has training with many TV channels and drama series. He has also studied with professional directors, editors and scriptwriters.

*Tyler Gordon-Fordyce, 23Steams is a cine-poem, a beautiful cathartic skin-peel purging the pain of death. It’s dedicated to a friend who’s lost at the bottom of a murky river somewhere in England. What happened out there, shooting on the gloomy cold Cotswolds of Cheltenham reached him. It’s a metaphysical and spiritual picture, a flimsy decaying plug resisting the inevitable void of lost souls and forgotten memories. It’s something at least. To Tom, Water that Steams.

*Hunter Harding, 22 – As a spirited multi-media artist, I have found filmmaking to be my preferred method of expression as it embodies all facets of art in one. From high-energy experimental film and music videos to intimate narrative features, my projects aim to induce an entirely immersive experience for audiences. ​Most of my work as an undergraduate film major at the University of Kansas has emphasized exploiting the relationship between soundtrack and visual elements. Through rhythmic cutting and precise time manipulation, Trippy Firedance floods the frame with energy and reinvents multiple pieces of content into a single, synthesized spectacle.

Natalia Hermida, 21 – I’m an experimental filmmaker from Cali, Colombia, as well as creative director and co-founder of the Art Collective COSMO Entertainment, based in Los Angeles. Sekhem was made as the Intermediate Production of my sophomore year at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and is a little visual poem exploring personal and artistic growth. I’m currenty researching sensorial poetry in narrative cinema, tending to favor stories under the tradition of Latin American Magical Realism. Two current projects include a virtual reality experience following a Native American man who has died and is to be reborn as an Arabic girl, and a surreal short tale on the psychological voyage of a time-obssessed office clerk chasing the woman who has stolen his golden pocket watch.

Elizabeth Hewlett, 21 – Elizabeth Hewlett is a local filmmaker in San Francisco, California. She is passionate about expressing the diverse voices of the unheard and underrepresented. Her film, “The Missing Part of Me” is  a personal documentary in which she discoverers her Nicaraguan heritage while visiting her family in Nicaragua for the first time. She plans to continue documenting this growth in connection to her heritage when she returns to Nicaragua.

Hunter Hudson, 17 – Hunter Hudson has had a passion for filmmaking from an early age. When he was 7 years old, he and his brother would do their own interpretations of films they loved. He continued his filmmaking passion by experimenting with stop-motion animation. In the fall of 2014, he enrolled at North East School of the Arts in San Antonio, Texas as a cinema major, where continues to make short films. When he graduates from high school, he plans to major in filmmaking in college, and eventually work in the film industry. Hunter’s upcoming film, Dime, will be a throwback to classic film noir of the 40s and 50s. The story follows a detective investigating the death of loved one, and his search for justice and revenge.

Jeremy Hung, 23 – Jeremy Hung is a filmmaker from Hong Kong. As a college freshman, he was nominated for Best Student Editor by the American Cinema Editors. Un Vase à Chinatown is his senior thesis film produced at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and features the multi-lingual culture in which he grew up. Jeremy is currently working on the screenplay of his first feature film!

Rachel Huron, 17 – Rachel Huron is currently a senior in her fourth year in the Cinema Program at the North East School of the Arts. She left her home school district in order to pursue her dream of someday working in the film industry. Rachel has enjoyed watching movies since early childhood and has been making short films for five years. Static was inspired by films such as Misery and Pacific Heights because of their ability to create suspense and keep moviegoers on the edge of their seats.

*Vincent Imbimbo, 23 – Born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela, Vincent studied music at Valencia’s Music Technological when he was 17 years old, earning a degree in music. After that, he studied at the Arturo Michelena University, in 2016 learning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a mention in graphic design. He has taken multiple courses in audiovisual production and is currently working as a freelancer.

*Radheya Jegatheva, 18 – Radheya is a young, Perth-based Australian filmmaker who was born in Johor, Malaysia in 1999 to parents of South Korean and Malaysian ancestry. He graduated from Perth Modern School in Western Australia in 2016 and has just commenced his first year at Curtin University.  Radheya’s skillset cuts across a number of creative areas, and he has won prizes in the fields of writing, poetry, art, and film making. Inspired by his love for the stars, Radheya began Journey when he was 15. The film took two years to complete as it includes all original music. iRony is based on one of his poems, “Seven Billion,” which won two national poetry awards. (radheya jegatheva)

*Astrid Lund Johansen, 16 – Astrid is a student at Station Next in Hvidovre, Denmark. In her film Mars Is Calling, ten-year-old Jonas is terrified of the darkness, but fortunately his older sister is taking care of him. When she leaves for a year off, however, his world completely falls apart. He persistently tries to keep her home, but can he learn to stand on his own and fight the terrors of the night himself?

Manab Jyoti, 21 – I am a 21-year-old photographer and filmmaker who could not be more thankful for this honor. This year, Pride of Assam received Best Film & Best Editor award in the “Chalachitram” Guwahati Film Festival, held in Assam, India. The journey of making this short documentary film was tremendously astonishing. Inspiration comes from the past experiences of life, but it also requires a lot of talent and day-and-night hard work to express our feelings and the way we see the world. I never dreamed of becoming the best—instead my dream revolves around the small world of photography and filmmaking. I only hope to keep making films that inspire people as much as possible. Nonetheless, I feel grateful for the opportunity.

Evan Materne, 16 – Evan Materne is a film student at North East School of the Arts (NESA) in San Antonio, Texas. His five-minute short film Suburban Warfare was the result of a school project assigned with the intent to submit to festivals. Inspired to make an anti-bullying film relevant to the current political climate, Evan wanted to tell a fun, lighthearted story through the eyes of a child to promote acceptance, tolerance, and respect for one another. While it has once been said, “never work with children or animals”—especially for beginning filmmakers—Evan has proven that he is not only up to the challenge, but that he actually enjoys and thrives in that environment.

Rachel Miller, 19 – Rachel Miller is a producer and director from San Antonio who became involved in filmmaking during her sophomore year at Saint Mary’s Hall. Her interest began while she was helping on a friend’s set as an extra, and she gradually became more and more involved in film – from camera assistant to producing and finally directing. Hope Springs Eternal is her first solo directed, produced, and edited narrative, and was created to share the power of loss and ensuing struggle of acceptance. She is now a sophomore at Pitzer College, and hopes to continue producing films within the Claremont community.

Kyle Misak, 23 – I have been a filmmaker for about six years. I consider Steven Spielberg to be my favorite director and my biggest inspiration. I decided to make films because it was the thing I most enjoyed doing, and I just love the whole process of putting a movie together. I have directed numerous music videos, promos, commercials, short films, and two feature films. I do not plan on attending film school as of now; but instead, I plan to continue learning and growing by creating my own shorts and features. My hope is to one day (in the near future) become a successful feature film director and bring magic to the big screen for all audiences.

Justin Morris, 18 – Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Justin Morris is fascinated with the large Hispanic culture in his city specifically the food. Making Guacamole is the first short film he has directed and was created for a yearlong project on his high school mentorship as a filmmaker. While studying his grandmother prepare avocados for guacamole one day, he pondered on how he could make such a simple and mundane task into a symbolic and meaningful visual depiction. Currently, he is studying Radio-Television-Film at The University of Texas at Austin.

Arianna Muñoz, 17 – Arianna Muñoz is a junior at Saint Mary’s Hall, and has been a filmmaker for two years. Having studied ballet for ten years, Arianna was inspired by her love of dance to create her passion project, Le Danseur, with which she hopes to educate and expose people to the beautiful yet demanding world of ballet, bringing about a greater appreciation for the art form. Arianna is currently collaborating with talented dancers from around the world to expand the film into a feature documentary, as well as working on future narrative and animated shorts.

Mihai Nichiforeac, 19 –  I’m just a random guy from Moldova who still has VHS cassettes at my house from when I was only 1 year old. A family friend used to film me as a toddler, and as I grew up I found it quite remarkable and curious how images and sound could collapse and tell a story—sometimes real, as in those recordings, and other times fictional, as in some movies I owned back then. In time I realized that I also wanted to tell my stories through a camera’s lens. This is one of them, a story about a soldier and something he has lost.

James Ocampo, 22 – James Ocampo is a 22-year- old filmmaker, graphic artist, music producer and photographer in the Philippines, all rolled into one convenient sushi. His work is heavily influenced by love, indie culture, and experience, and he is fascinated by all films regardless of genre. He has always been a storyteller and wanted to translate his stories into something visual, which is why he decided to pursue filmmaking and hopefully make it his career. He is currently studying motion picture production at Asia Pacific Film Institute, and his film TRES is heavily inspired by his grandfather.

Sophie Orner-Thompson, 21 – My name is Sophia Orner-Thompson, a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Storytelling is my first passion, and I love animation as a medium because it’s a great outlet for visual symbolism and allegory. I created “Outrun the Night” over the course of three semesters, using a mixture of traditional, frame-by-frame animation and digital effects. The idea for the film started with an idea: “What if someone tried to follow the setting sun, thinking that they could stay on the lighted half of the Earth forever?” I turned the idea into a storyboard sequence, and then into a fully animated short film.

Brianna Perez, 17 – I am a senior at Communications Arts High School in San Antonio, Texas. I wrote and directed this film as part of a school project alongside an amazing cast and crew during junior year. While film is new to me, this project allowed me to explore my love for photography and cameras. My crew and I are honored to be a part of the festival. I would like to thank God and the Josiah Media Festival for this great opportunity and I hope you enjoy my film.

*Nicolás Petelski, 22 – Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nicolás Petelski recently graduated from the Polytechnic University of Valencia with a BA in Fine Arts. Obsessed with cinema and TV as a kid, he started shooting his first short films at a young age, learning filmmaking, editing and storytelling in a self-taught way. Years later, his passion for 90s cartoon series got him into animation, having made several short films during his student years, some of them selected for festivals like Fest Anča, SICAF, and Turku Animated Film Festival. A Table Game was partly produced during an Erasmus exchange program at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Supervised by the internationally known animator Priit Pärn, it is inspired by the absurdity that characterizes Estonian animation. At present, he’s exploring new mediums and concepts to expand the borders of his artistic language. (nicolaspetelski)

Matthias Pöltinger, 19 – Matthias Pöltinger began producing films when he was nine years old, being inspired by seeing Star Wars for the first time at that age. Many stop-motion animations later, he made his first short film in 2014. Since October 2016, he has attended the film school “Die Medienakademie” at the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich. With his second short documentary, To Shoot and Protect, he focused on police violence in the United States. The challenge making this documentary was to focus on the truth in research and still making the topic interesting to tell.

Keerthi Raj, 21 – I come from a background in Science. In the summer of 2016, I happened to attend a filmmaking workshop at my college. I was motivated to make a good number of films later on, learning to edit in Premiere Pro and exploring script writing. I want to attend film school, but I’m afraid that my financial background won’t allow me. However, I’ve been able to improve my skills through mistakes and feedback. Green Soil is an inspiring story about how one little family minimizes their household waste, which has motivated more than 300 other households in Pune to act!

Rebeka Rummel, 22 – I am Rebeka Rummel, a passionate film director from Estonia. I graduated from Baltic Film and Media School in Tallinn in 2017. During my studies, I made several short films, but “The Return of Appaloosa Bill” is my first experiment in mixing genres for a fantasy film. I am all about passion, dedication and courage, and “The Return of Appaloosa Bill” is a good proof of it. I like to dream big and challenge myself, and making a western in Estonia was a challenge for me. “The Return of Appaloosa Bill” combines fantasy and era film, the two genres I love the most.

Miguel Salazar, 17 – Miguel is a high school student who attends Say Si in San Antonio, Texas. In El Levantamiento de los Muertos,” a skeleton is disappointed with his life/death. As his time to perform approaches, he feels no need to take part, until he feels called from within to get back on stage.

Sarah Schmidt, 22 – Sarah Schmidt is a recent graduate of the Computer Animation program at Ringling College of Art and Design. She has been fascinated by stars since she was young, and was so excited to be able to bring Starry Skies to life! Sarah is currently an intern with Disney Parks Live Entertainment, where she creates art and magic for Disney’s theme parks around the world.

*Ben Sorscher, 21 – Ben Sorscher is a student filmmaker born and raised in Ohio. After leaving his landlocked hometown to study at Harvard University, Ben learned about the battle raging between environmentalists and the historic fishing industry in New England, threatening native species of fish on the one hand, and the fishermen’s way of life on the other. Struck by the long and established tradition of family fishing in George’s Bay, Ben has been documenting this conflict over the past year, in hopes of preserving the way of life of the last of eight generations of family fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

*Ash Sumpter, 19 – Ash is a young independent filmmaker from Slovakia, born as Adam Pavlík in Ilava. During his short career he has made two short films and one mid-length film. “The Trees Will Remember” reflects on the Holocaust through the eyes of a little Jewish boy who manages to hide from atrocious behavior by Nazis. This film has been screened at many festivals around the globe, winning several awards. During the same year I made this film, an extremist political party managed its way into the Slovakian National Council, which only proved that the topic of this film is still highly relevant and contemporary in my country.

Soph Webberley, 21 – I am a British social-realist filmmaker who grew up in a working-class environment. I like to make films based on what I know and have experienced. I have a passion for youth and diversity, and for this film I was inspired by my childhood and the struggles faced when having a dream in a society that challenges you. I believe that to change the world, a good way to start is with children as they are the future. I am going to be making two more short films over the next year, one based in the West Midlands UK of the1980s.

Socs & DV Zavitsanos, 18 – My brother and I are avid filmmakers from Houston, Texas. Every summer, we visit Greece with our family. Over the summer, a good friend of ours told us about a refugee camp located in mainland Greece in a town called Filippiada. We went and checked it out. We had no camera equipment, so we used our iPhones to document our experience, which turned out to be really special. We met tons of people and made lasting friends that we are still in contact with today.