SAC's New Media Alumni Panel
February 3, 2017
(pictured from left to right)
Phil Ranta ('05), Zach Evans ('05), Debashis Mazumder ('07), and Kellyn Parker ('09)
Screen Arts & Cultures and Film & Video Studies Alumni, What are you up to?
We want to hear from you!
Please click on the Alumni Update Form and send us your news.
ZAINEB AL-KALBY ('15)
Zaineb is currently working at the University of Michigan as a Program Assistant in Sociology.
JOSH AMIR ('10)
Joshua helped produce the Vanessa Hudgens starring Gimme Shelter (Roadside Attractions) upon moving to Los Angeles, where he now lives and works. Joshua is currently writing his next short film, which he plans to direct later this year.
TARA BILIK ('03)
Tara is Vice President of Development at ANEW - a company producing English-language film adaptations based on Japanese creative IP. Before this, she was building a development slate with Producer Marianne Maddalena (SCREAM, RED EYE) and packaging A-list talent to projects like the anthology feature JERUSALEM, I LOVE YOU. She was previously the Creative Executive for Academy-Award winning Producer Graham King (THE DEPARTED, ARGO) at GK Films, and began her career working for, and learning from the legendary filmmaker Wes Craven (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, SCREAM).
Tara has worked and traveled worldwide on productions such as THE TOURIST, THE RUM DIARY, LONDON BOULEVARD, THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2, RED EYE and EDGE OF DARKNESS, and has been involved in critically acclaimed projects such as HUGO, RANGO, THE YOUNG VICTORIA and THE TOWN. She has experience at film markets and festivals such as Cannes, Berlinale and Sundance, and has also worked as a creative consultant for a variety of film and television projects. She received her BA in Film and Video studies at The University of Michigan.
TINA BRUNN ('99)
Tina was honored to win a 2016 Michigan Emmy Award for Best Historic or Cultural Program or Special for Taking the Stage: The Historic Howell Opera House. It was produced by Tina and her husband through thier production company Wavelength Video Productions and aired on Detroit Public Television.
Watch Tina's winning video here.
JILLIAN BOROWSKI ('16)
Jill has recently landed a Photographer/Editor job (including directing) with WNEM TV 5 Saginaw (a CBS affiliate that covers the Bay City area and Flint as well as Saginaw). She will begin working at WNEM on June 13, 2016.
GEOFFREY CHILES ('09)
Geoff is currently a studio host for IMG College and freelance play-by-play broadcaster for CoachesAid.com in North Carolina. After graduating from U-M, he earned his master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University.
DANNY COHEN ('08)
For the past three years Danny has been a performer on a Harold (house improv) team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles as well as a writer on one of the UCB Digital Teams.
Outside of the entertainment industry, he is also on the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council.
Check out a selection of Danny's work (thathe writes/shoots/performs himself) on his website.
BENJAMIN DELL ('10)
Benji Dell just completed his MFA at AFI in the summer of 2015 and is now shooting short form narrative and web content.
Dell was recently the cinematographer of Minhal Baig's short film entitled Hala -- the film was selcected as a Vimeo staff pick, and it premiered in Nylon magazine, claiming the title "short of the week." Hala tells the story of a Muslim-American girl who attempts to explore her sexuality and identity while growing up in a conservative, religious household.
Dell's Grill Dog recently won best short at the NOVA awards and will be featured on his website soon.
DANIELLE DeLUCA ('14)
Danielle currently works freelance as a costume assistant and stylist in Detroit for film and commercial projects.
EVAN DOUGHERTY ('13)
Evan works at the University of Michigan College of Engineering Office of Communications and Marketing. He is a multimedia producer (videographer, photographer, writer).
Check out Evan's website here.
JAMESON DUGGAN ('15)
Jameson is currently working as a video production intern at BuzzFeed Video. He started as a post production intern and then moved to the 6-month video production internship.
ZACH EVANS ('05)
Zach Evans is a producer with over a decade of experience in film, television and new media. Currently he produces videos for Sony PlayStation, helping to create online content ranging from videogame trailers to documentary shorts about videogame development. Prior to that he produced and production managed a wide variety of branded entertainment and other marketing videos for the web, including Schick's action sports reality show "Clean Break" and series for New Balance and Accelerade. He was a producer on the comedic Shakespearean detective web series "Titus and Dronicus" which was featured on Nerdist. Zach's experience in television includes producing the travel show "Adventure Guides" on the Outdoor Channel, as well as scripted pilots with actors such as Meghan Markle, Kadeem Hardison and Richard Riehle. He was also a consulting producer on indie feature How I Got Lost starring Aaron Stanford and Rosemarie DeWitt. Zach graduated from the University of Michigan in 2003.
BRIAN FLYNN ('10)
After working on movies in Ann Arbor and Detroit for two years when Michigan had Tax Incentives, where he was lucky enough to be a part of nine films and a handful of commercials (produced by Debashis Mazumder), Brian moved to NYC with plans on continuing with film and television. Instead, Brian found and fell in love with the emerging tech start up scene. Fortunately, he managed to merge his love of film and tech: he currently works as a Digital Producer at a tech school called General Assembly, where he writes, directs, and produces educational videos about web design, data analysis, digital marketing, and UX design. Brian still works with Debashis Mazumder quite a bit. They both live in Harlem and do a lot of side projects together. Recently they created some digital assets for a bartending company, and they're both writing scripts for an upcoming web series.
BENJAMIN FOOTE ('15)
Benjamin now runs his own production company out of Ann Arbor where he does freelance videography and photography work around the greater A2 area. This year he made his VEVO debut for country music singer Justin Tranchita, worked on an upcoming documentary about U-M football legend Bob Ufer, created commercials and promotional material for persons and businesses within and outside of A2. Benjamin is currently creating a series of live music videos for NPR's Michigan Radio, among other things.
CHELSEA GOLUB ('14)
Chelsea is now an account coordinator at Weissman/Markovitz Communications, an entertainment PR company in Los Angeles.
RAY GOLDBERG ('15)
Ray currently works as the Programming Assistant for a Chicago-based filmmaking nonprofit called Full Spectrum Features. The company is committed to increasing diversity in the media arts by producing, exhibiting, and supporting work which focuses on work made by women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community. Full Spectrum's first feature film, Signature Move begins production in August 2016.
RODDY HYDUK ('13)
Roddy Hyduk '13 spent a year in New York City after graduation, leading production projects at NYU's Office of Interactive Media. He then partnered with Josh Buoy '13 and Chris Duncan '13 to form Snowday, a creative video studio. Currently based out of Ann Arbor, Snowday has become a creative partner for small startups and large tech companies alike, providing the strategic thinking of an agency coupled with the technical capabilities of a production company.
On the non-commercial front, Hyduk is continuing to explore the blurry line between documentary and narrative filmmaking by shooting and directing as much as possible. He recently received attention for a film he shot in 2015, "Stations", which opened up the Rooftop Film Festival NYC, the Lower East Side Film Festival NYC, and received online features from Vimeo, Fast Company, The Atlantic, and more. His next project will be an ongoing series of films navigating the different qualities of being human.
KATIE HACALA ('14)
Katie has been working at Showtime Networks Inc. since June 2013 when she started as an intern. Three months later, she was hired full time as the Coordinator in the Department of Content Acquisition and has been a Supervisor since 2016. Her job is to screen and review independent films, documentaries, comedy shows, and specials and recommend which ones to buy for the network. She's based in Los Angeles.
SOPHIA KRUZ ('11)
As the University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women 2015-2016 Visiting Social Activist, Kruz is currently directing an independent documentary on the role of art in creating positive global change for women and girls called CREATING4CHANGE.
Her documentary work has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Marian Chace Foundation, International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Arts Alliance, and the Womanity Foundation. Formerly a producer in Detroit Public TV's National Documentary Unit, Kruz produced RIDE THE TIGER (2016), an upcoming documentary on neuroscience and bipolar disorder and BEYOND THE LIGHT SWITCH, Hour 3 (2015), for national PBS broadcast.
Sophia is also the new co-founder of this women's documentary film non-profit: www.driftseed.org
Driftseed is always looking for new intern talent in Ann Arbor, LA and Washington DC!
JENNIFER LARSON ('14)
Jenny is currently working as a Video Production Specialist at GP Sandy (a branch of GP Strategies) in Troy, MI. Her most recent film experiences include Destined (Confluential Films, Dir., Qasim Basir) for which she worked as a Set Production Asst. and a Producer's Asst. and Liberty's Secret (E Pluribus Productions, LLC, Dir., Andy Kirshner) for which she worked as an Art Department P.A. Jenny has recently re-connected with her former SAC instructor Sultan Sharrief and accepted a fellowship to work with him at Moviement in Detroit. Jenny also works as a freelance photographer and videographer: take a look at her work from The Larson Lens here.
DEBASHIS MAZUMDER ('07)
Debashis Mazumder is a digital content producer, advertiser, and serial entrepreneur. He graduated from Film & Video Studies at University of Michigan in 2007 and attained an MBA from Wayne State University in 2012. After undergrad, Debashis worked at various talent agencies, such as Innovative Artists and United Talent Agency, learning the ins and outs of talent management. Always maintaining his creative side he left the world of talent management to go back to production as a producer/director creating music videos for the likes of Big Sean, and award winning commercial campaigns for Mountain Dew. Seeing the industry shift from traditional funding and distribution methods in favor of digital platforms, Debashis shifted focus into digital content production, which in turn landed him a role as the Head of Product, Video Content and Publishing at Inc 500 digital ad firm, Playwire Media. There he managed multi-platform campaigns for top-tier music, film and video game companies, and grew the content divisions for multiple publishing websites. He currently is the Founder and CEO of Royalty Media, working with entertainment brands and publishers to produce branded content and expand their reach across digital publishers.
KELLYN PARKER ('09)
Kellyn Parker is Vice President, Original Programming and Development, West Coast. Parker develops and oversee production on west coast-based Comedy Central original series. Parker worked at Funny Or Die for over five years and served as Vice President of Partner Content. He managed their award-winning Partner Content Department and executive produced over 150 branded entertainment campaigns with notable brands such as FIAT, Universal Pictures, Adidas, Microsoft, Pepsi, Sony Electronics, among others. He also led the creative development and production for Funny Or Die D.C. including the Everybody Votes! project executive produced by Judd Apatow and the Jokes for Votes comedy tour headlined by Sarah Silverman. Several of Parker’s projects were recognized by the industry with nominations and awards including: a 2015 Webby Nomination for Branded Entertainment Short Form for Universal’s Ride Along; a 2014 Webby Honoree for Branded Entertainment Long Form for Paramount’s Anchorman 2; a 2014 Streamy Award Nomination for a FIAT Branded Campaign; as well as a 2013 Key Art Award Finalist for Microsoft’s Gears of War, among many others. Parker began his career at United Talent Agency in the Agent Trainee program which earned him a position in the Digital Media Department. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Film and Video Studies.
PHIL RANTA ('05)
Phil Ranta is the Chief Operating Officer of Studio71, US, a media company built with digital talent. S71's influencer network receives over 5 billion monthly views across over 1,000 channels. Key talent includes Lilly Singh, Rhett & Link, Roman Atwood, Guava Juice, and Boyce Avenue. Studio71 is also a leading producer of premium content including Natural Born Pranksters starring Roman Atwood, Be Somebody starring Matt Espinosa, Video Game High School by Freddie Wong, and RUSH on Verizon's go90, to name a few. Studio71 (previously Collective Digital Studios) was acquired by ProSiebenSat.1 in 2016.
Previously, Phil was one of the earliest executives at Fullscreen, where he built the largest multi-channel network on YouTube until the company sold to Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin Entertainment. He was also the Executive Producer at Viva! Vision, one of the earliest mobile video start ups that powered channels for Verizon's V-Cast and, in a different life, worked as a comedian aboard Norweigan Cruise Liens with the improv comedy troupe The Second City. He is a proud University of Michigan grad, LS&A Film & Video studies class of 2005.
BRENDT RIOUX ('09)
Brendt Rioux lives in Los Angeles, where he works in digital video distribution and hosts Lost & Found Film Club, a monthly 16mm film screening series at The Cinefamily. He also makes animation at home. The stop-motion collage short TVPSA was selected for the 54th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival's 2016 animated shorts in competition program. It is available to view online here. When in Ann Arbor, Brendt enjoys visiting his former places of employment, The Michigan Theater and WCBN-FM.
PAUL SUTHERLAND ('08)
Paul is a currently a producer at Livonia Television. After graduating he worked on feature films during the brief Michigan Film Incentive golden age, and he now works freelance by night and as a producer at Livonia Television by day. His favorite productions right now are a television/youtube series called ARTISTS highlighting hidden talent in the local Livonia community and a personal documentary on preserving a local movie house called "The Civic" in Farmington, Michigan. An Episode of Artists titled "Fire & Clay" took the Best of Show as well as the Best Cinematography and Best Arts/Cultural Awareness Program awards at the 2015 Philo T. Farnsworth awards last fall.
BRIAN VANTIMMERMAN ('13)
Brian is currently working as the Marketing and Sales Manager at a Christian camp and training center called Grace Adventures. He is in charge of all outgoing communication pieces and strategies as well as working with groups who want to use our campus for retreats and events.
He also oversees a summer photography and videography team that captures media and creates various video and photo projects.
MATTHEW WARD ('14)
Matthew works at CAA. The Death Star itself. He started in the mailroom and is now a floater. Soon....soon