Explore the collaboration between inspiration and logic in creativity
Find the groove in your soundscapes
Develop your artistry through improvisation, risk, and collaboration
Reconnect with your playful inner self to achieve creative freedom
Elizabeth Blake-Thomas is a British award-winning filmmaker and philanthropist based in Los Angeles, having recently completed her 8th feature film. Elizabeth is the founder and resident director of the Mother & Daughter Entertainment company, whose motto is “Making Content That Matters,” each project starting a conversation amongst viewers. Wanting to give back to the forgotten freelancers of the film industry, Elizabeth has created the MD Foundation Initiative, where allocated donations of smaller amounts are used to produce short films, TV pilots, and even low-budget feature films over a quick weekend or week span, employing new filmmakers through an on-set mentorship experience where all positions are paid equally, with Elizabeth not taking a salary. An Official Ambassador of Awareness Ties for Human Trafficking, Elizabeth hopes to raise more awareness to the horrific nature of human trafficking and help put a stop to it. Her award-winning short film UNSEEN is currently being used in multiple educational systems for trafficking awareness seminars, as her film addresses the role technology plays in the facilitation of child trafficking. A regular on panels at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto International Film Festival, Elizabeth mentors wherever possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female directors and filmmakers.
Andrea Sweeney Blanco
Andrea Sweeney Blanco is a bilingual and bi-costal working actor, singer, producer and coach. Originally from Monterrey Mexico, Andrea splits her time between the Latin and American markets in the world of Entertainment. Having gotten her BFA in Musical Theatre from Emerson College, she worked as a radio host for a popular radio segment, Standing Room Only on 88.9FM for Broadway and Filmmusic. Since then, Andrea has appeared as an actor in 6 national commercial campaigns, gathered multiple international film credits and developed an Actor's Studio Theatre Program for a private high school in LA.
She directed a play at the Raven Playhouse in North Hollywood about domestic violence, all proceeds benefiting the Good Shepherd Shelter for Women and Children. She has now been Line Producer and 1st AD for various independent feature films and continues to coach actors. Andrea believes all creative endeavors require proactive collaboration, and creativity is just as much a discipline a sit is a form of divine inspiration. An arts-based career is truly a vocation, one unique to the carrier, and when treated with focus, care and resilience, magic happens.
Lorrisa Julianus is a SAG-AFTRA actor, scriptwriter, and producer. Her historical plays have been produced internationally and she graduated as Columbia College Chicago's youngest graduate of record. She is a performance capture actor in Warner Brothers game franchises, including Mortal Kombat, Injustice (DC Comics), The Lord of the Rings Online, and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Other credits include independent feature films, and guest starring on Chicago PD and The Bold & the Beautiful. Six-time Emmy winning writer Kay Alden called her historical play "Made of Stars"--"A sweeping saga... A charming, entertaining, yet deeply thought-provoking drama." Lorrisa stars in, wrote, and produced the critically-acclaimed romantic comedy, "The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater," also starring Mickey O'Sullivan (The Chi, Chicago PD), Shannon Brown (The Crash, Every 21 Seconds), Cynda Williams (Mo' Better Blues, One False Move), Molly Morgan (Big Bang Theory, Dexter), and Bonnie Morgan (Rings, Minority Report).
Luisa Winters is a Certified Instructor for Adobe and Apple (ACI and ACT). She consults for organizations and works at several different training centers all over the United States and abroad. Luisa is one of the few Adobe Premiere Pro Master instructors. A well-known artist, Luisa often speaks at different conferences on topics ranging from video editing to compositing and web.
Luisa is a certified Private Pilot and a Commercial UAV Pilot. She’s been involved with video production and cinematography for over 30 years. Having spent years flying, Luisa’s priority is safety. It is this safety mentality that make Luisa’s missions successful: from preparation and planning, FAA Authorization and client expectation to flying and finally, post-production. At the beginning of 2019, Luisa joined forces with Mike Sobola to form Mid-Atlantic Drones, LLC, a drone service provider specializing in aerial mapping and cinematography and missions in flight-restricted zones.
Elliot Grove is a Canadian-born film producer and founder of the Raindance Film Festival in 1993 and the British Independent Film Awards in 1998. Elliot lectures on screenwriting and filmmaking throughout the UK, Europe, North America and Japan.
Dave DeBorde is an award-winning filmmaker whose experience in the industry is long and varied. DeBorde, was a producer on the romantic feature, Old Fashioned, which enjoyed a theatrical release for Valentine’s Day 2015’ and won multiple awards after its initial festival run. In June of 2012’, DeBorde directed the feature film romantic comedy, Marriage Material, which stars Victoria Jackson (SNL alum) and Maddy Curley (Stick It).
Always expanding the borders of his professional experience, Dave completed a full season as the showrunner for the reality TV show, Soccer Moms of Tampa Bay, which has received critical praise in the industry. Dave was hired to write and produce a multinational Romantic Comedy currently titled, Matryoshka, which will film in both America and in Russia, with a concentration on St. Petersburg and Moscow.
DeBorde, is a popular lecturer and moderator on the Film/TV industry and regularly speaks at the biggest festivals in the world: Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, and Sunscreen FF. One thing DeBorde is even more passionate about than teaching moviemaking, is his wife and four energetic kids!
Amy Peck is the Founder & CEO of EndeavorXR, a leading global VR/AR (XR) strategy & consulting firm. She is a recognized thought-leader in the space and speaks globally on the future of XR and exponential technologies.
Amy holds multiple Advisory Board roles and is a Venture Partner at the Capital Region XR Accelerator. She is Co-chair of Prospera Women, a global organization supporting female-led startups and was Founding Co-chair of the VRAR Association Enterprise Committee. She actively mentors entrepreneurs and is a member of several Women in Tech, Venture-backed Accelerators & STEM Education organizations.
Amy works tirelessly to instill a positive vision of future tech and to inspire action on a global level.
Her own personal mission is to see technology accessible to all - fundamentally improving every aspect of our lives and elevating the way we work, learn, communicate and play.
Larry Jordan is a producer, director, editor, author, teacher, and Apple Certified Trainer in Digital Media with more than 45 year’s media experience with national broadcast and corporate credits. Based in Los Angeles, he’s a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America.
He’s been recognized with awards as an “Industry Innovator” and “Top Corporate [Media] Producers in America.” An Adjunct Professor at USC since 2011, he’s written ten books on media and software, thousands of technical tutorials, and created hundreds of hours of video training.
C.J. Julianus is a long-time director and producer of live theater throughout the Chicago area, and along with his wife, muse, and partner-in-crime, Lorrisa Julianus, established Binary Star Pictures, LLC in 2018. Their first effort, the romantic action comedy, "The Misadventures of Mistress Maneater" is currently averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon Prime and is getting near-universal praise from viewers and critics. C.J. began his career in the entertainment business while in the U.S. Navy, having been discovered by a casting director while stationed in Miami, FL in the mid-1980s. From there, he began appearing in commercials, on television, and in print. Upon his return to the Chicago area, he established Theatre-on-the-Hill in Bolingbrook, Illinois as a premium destination for actors who wanted to perform in rarely staged productions, such as Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" and "Den of Thieves", "A Flea in Her Ear!", "God of Carnage", "End Days", "Hellcab", "Escanaba in Da Moonlight", and the world premiere of the musical "Zenobia", written by Lorrisa Julianus. During his tenure as President and Artistic Director at Theatre-on-the-Hill, he wrote, produced, and directed trade show events, as well as numerous corporate videos and movie shorts, skills that have translated directly to producing and directing features.
Ellen is the CEO of WaterBear Network, overseeing the strategy and direction of the new interactive video-on-demand platform dedicated to life on earth.
Prior to WaterBear, Ellen was the owner and CEO of Off the Fence, having founded the company in 1994. Under her leadership Off the Fence acquired, produced, and co-produced over 6,000 hours of content.
Ellen is a seasoned Executive Producer and Distributor and has produced over 500 hours to date herself. She is the Chair of the Jackson Hole Film Festival Board, Honorary President of the Sunnyside Doc 2019 festival in La Rochelle, France and is active in conservation and land development. Her experience in factual entertainment programming is extensive in both production and distribution. Ellen was recently presented with Wildscreen’s Christopher Parson’s Outstanding Achievement Awards 2018. She has three children and a great passion for the outdoors.
Mark Simon has worked over 30 years in the entertainment industry (and 45 years as a professional artist), is owner of Storyboards & Animatics, Inc, as well as a producer and director for live action and animation and has amassed over 5,000 production credits. Recent credits include over 50 movies like Alien Xmas for Netflix, Woody Woodpecker, Doom: Annihilation and Chucky 7 for Universal and tv series like Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Fear The Walking Dead, Dexter, Snowfall, Woody Woodpecker and Black Lightning.
He is the animation producer for Universal's How High 2 and the Little Rascals movies and Fox's Tooth Fairy 2 feature.
Mark has pitched and sold more than 35 production and distribution deals for his original concepts, and worked with Disney, Nickelodeon, The Golf Channel, HSN and other networks pitching in-house productions.
He is also the author of 13 books including the best-selling Facial Expressions books, the bible of the storyboard industry, Storyboards: Motion In Art, 3rd Edition, the inspirational Start At The Top and his most recent, the memoir Attacked!, about when he was bullied and his family was attacked. He lectures around the world at major conferences, and universities.
Mike spent the formative years of his career living and working in New York City and is now based near Washington, D.C. He has produced thousands of hours of programming in a variety of formats for pieces/ airing on NBC’s Today Show, CBS, HBO, and Discovery, and worked as Lead Producer at The Travel Channel in its early days.
Mike has a degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Maryland and a Certificate in Filmmaking from New York University. He has been nominated for five EMMY Awards and won twice. Mike is also a Private Pilot and Commercial Drone Pilot who combines his prior experience as a TV and Video Producer with his love for flying to bring a unique approach to his aerial imaging projects. His more than 700 hours of logged UAV flights includes hundreds of hours for major construction clients providing ortho maps, volume measurements, 3-D Models and more. This gives him the skill and proficiency to capture accurate aerial data and stunning images safely and efficiently.
He recently joined forces with Luisa Winters to form “Mid-Atlantic Drones”, a drone service provider specializing in aerial mapping, cinematography, and missions in flight-restricted zones.
Ian O’Donnell is a Voice Actor and Voiceover Talent, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Ian has done a variety of voiceovers, ranging from commercial to audiobook to telephony, but his heart is in VO that involves characters & accents!
Like many of us, Ian grew up doing lots of voices for fun & entertainment. :) Rolling that inclination and experience into the voiceover profession was a logical progression and pivotal turning point. Recent industry recognition includes receiving the ‘Best Voice Acting’ award in the 2020 VO / Animation battle, hosted by ASIFA, the International Animated Film Association.
Mr. O’Donnell has voiced characters for video games, as well as full-length animation and audio drama, both domestically and internationally, including portraying characters in the latest game in the Jurassic World franchise, recently released for Virtual Reality. In addition to character voices, Ian is known for versatility and believability with a wide range of regional and language-based accents and dialects.
Ian’s background also includes live theater, acting & performing in stage productions, such as Pirates of Penzance, Oklahoma, Hello Dolly, Cabaret, Cyrano de Bergerac, and more. He is also a musician and singer, with decades of live performance and studio recording experience.
Erin McPherson is currently VP, Head of Content and Partnerships at Verizon, where she leads Verizon's content strategy, business and operations across a growing number of platforms and services, including Fios, wireless and 5G. McPherson is responsible for all content partners, including all major broadcast and cable networks, studios, sports leagues, content creators, tech platforms and digital publishers and creators. In her role, Erin oversees a team of 50+ professionals with functions that span across strategy, business development, content acquisition, finance, operations and advertising. She reports directly to the Chief Revenue Officer of Verizon Consumer Group and has responsibility for an annual content budget in excess of US$4B and a content advertising business currently valued over US$200M
Nancy Eperjesy is Co-Founder of Mettle, developer of SkyBox 360/VR production tools for Adobe software. Mettle transformed the nascent 360˚ VR video industry with their SkyBox software plugins for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Customers include virtually all professional 360˚ content producers. SkyBox tech was acquired by Adobe, and integrated into CC 2018. Mettle has since developed Mantra VR, and the soon-to-be launched FLUX, which further enhances the toolset available to 360/VR content creators. Nancy is a graduate of McGill University and Pratt Institute.