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Hannah Jordan / Senior Programming Apprentice
Conceived in the eye of a tornado and hurled into the depths of the Permian Basin, Hannah hails from Odessa, the arm-pit of West Texas. At the ripe age of 17 she fled to the hill country to escape a life of drug-abuse and teen pregnancy, where she earned a degree in Philosophy from Texas State University. Still attempting to overcome her liberal arts rut or “quarter-life crisis,” as it were, she up-rooted herself yet again and ventured to New Zealand, where she back-packed and hitch-hiked around the islands for a period of some months before returning home to Texas. She now lives in a trailer park in South Austin and is pursuing her life-long goal of finding herself in her mid-twenties while working for the great people at Austin Film Society, and, in the true spirit of Austin, being a barista on the side. (Of course.)
Joel MIZE / Senior Community Education Apprentice
"It may look like zombies destroyed it but that's actually just Garland," said Jesse Eisenberg of Joel's hometown in the movie ZOMBIELAND. Joel believes Garland was a perfectly sound place for a young man to grow up and that Jesse Eisenberg can take a hike! However, now an Austin resident, Joel studies Radio, Television and Film at the University of Texas. Since his time in the state capital, Joel has received his associate's degree in Spanish and has spent time in South America. Some of his other interests include drawing, cooking and breakdancing, but what draws him to film is that you can make a movie about anything! Joel is very happy to be apart of the AFS family now and he looks forward to all of the experiences to come.
CHRISTINA BRYANT / Programming Apprentice
Christina grew up in Lakeland, Florida but still holds tight to her Philadelphia roots. Her love of film began with watching Disney classics like ALADDIN and THE LION KING as a child. After graduating in 2011 from Ithaca College with a degree in film, she decided to explore the film industry on her own terms. Most recently she spent a year working as festival staff for Sundance, SXSW and Telluride. She also co-founded Indies Unchained (www.indiesunchained.wordpress.com), a blog for today's film-kids-turned-professionals. Christina is excited to learn more about supporting regional filmmakers through her internship at AFS.
FRANK CALVILLO / Marketing Apprentice
Born and raised in South Texas, Frank’s love of film was evident from age five, thanks to a collection of Three Stooges shorts his father gave him to watch. From there he devoured most any genre of film that came his way. His first introduction to film theory came in 2005, when a professor at The University of Texas-Pan American snuck a class titled Introduction to Film Studies into the university’s English department curriculum. The class was a confirmation for Frank that there would only ever be one field he would devote his life to. Three years later, he found himself enrolled as a graduate student at The University of London’s Birkbeck College. After completing an MA in History of Film & Visual Media, which included an internship with Sight & Sound Film Magazine in 2009, and the completion of his thesis entitled “Blank Cinema: Assessing the Universality of the Film Adaptations of Bret Easton Ellis” in 2010, Frank remained in London to begin research at the BFI for a book of essays about notable film directors and their underrated works. After five-and-a-half years abroad, his return to the States was prompted by confirmation of his acceptance to AFS’s internship program. Frank hopes to find a niche for himself in film appreciation, however, his ultimate goal is to write and direct a film starring his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.
NICO CHAPIN / Programming Apprentice
Nico was born in Austin, and after a brief stint living in Washington DC, returned to this wonderful city to attend the University of Texas, where he is currently enrolled, and where he studies Government for some reason. Between going to class and working part-time as a barista, Nico doesn’t have a lot of free time-- but when he does there’s a good chance he’ll be watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse or Violet Crown Cinema. He loves anything by the Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, and likes to practice French by watching the films of Melville and Truffaut. If he’s not at the movies, Nico can usually be found in a coffee shop reading and looking forlornly out of windows. Some of his favorite authors include Haruki Murakami, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, and Aldous Huxley. He balances this love of literature with an equally strong passion for comics, and will tell anybody who will listen, his extensive opinions about all things superhero. Nico has no idea what he wants to do with his life, but is hopeful working at AFS will help him figure it out. Maybe.
BRYAN COBBS / Programming Apprentice
During his upbringing in the soul-crushing suburbs of Houston, Bryan found solace in a steady diet of video rentals and trips to the multiplex. Before long though, his appetite for film turned insatiable; he had contracted an incurable case of cinephilia. While Houston’s midnight movie circuit sustained him, he secretly dreamt of relocating to Austin, the Texan filmgoer’s paradise. Unbeknownst to his parents, his decision to attend the University of Texas would be heavily influenced by the school’s proximity to the Alamo Drafthouse. Despite his passion for movies, working in film seemed like a pipe dream, so he double majored in psychology and sociology instead. However, most of the friends he made while at UT were diehard members of Austin’s film community, prompting him to realize the folly of not following his heart. With a promise to return to the ATX as soon as possible, he ventured out to Los Angeles to study at the New York Film Academy (and as he will be explaining for the rest of his life: the Universal Studios campus was the only one offering the M.F.A. in screenwriting). Armed with the knowledge and confidence to write screenplays, he made his escape from L.A. with degree in hand and triumphantly returned to Austin where he now continues his filmic endeavors.
JUSTIN GRAVER / Studios Apprentice
Justin was born and raised in the city of Plano, Texas. From an early age, his imagination was running wild as he dressed up in costumes and pretended to be crazy characters he invented. It wasn't long before he discovered his passion for filmmaking. Now a senior Radio-Television-Film student at the University of Texas, his movie-making dreams live on. Justin enjoys playing sports, playing guitar, and spending time with his friends. He is excited about his opportunity at AFS, and is looking forward to all the experiences that await him.
TAYLOR RICO / Texas Hall of Fame Apprentice
Growing up in a San Antonio suburb, Taylor was a rambunctious kid from the start. She focused most of her restless childhood energy in roller-skating, doodling, competitive swimming, and exploring her surroundings. It wasn’t until middle school that she realized the excitement of filmmaking and photography. Taking hold of her mom’s point-and-shoot camera, Taylor would create short movies with her brother and best friend. Although she is quite embarrassed by them now, these videos are still available for viewing on YouTube. Many years later, Taylor accepted the opportunity to shadow San Antonio filmmaker, Dora Pena, through her high school’s Independent Study Mentorship program. With Dora’s guidance, Taylor was able to experience the ins and outs of independent filmmaking. After being exposed to the field, Taylor knew she belonged in the Radio-Television-Film program at UT. Since her move to Austin, Taylor has advanced her involvement in the Austin film scene through her former internship with San Austin Productions and employment at the Alamo Drafthouse Village. Today, Taylor is completing her final year in the RTF undergraduate program, playing rec-league roller derby with the Texas Roller Girls, and continuing to pursue her passion of filmmaking. She is ecstatic to be associated with Austin Film Society and dreams of progressing independent filmmaking in Austin.
Beca rodriguez / Texas Hall of Fame Apprentice
Beca grew up in Venezuela before moving to Houston, a really horrible and boring city. She planned her escape after high school and went to study Photojournalism at the University of Texas, where she has been battling a caffeine addiction since her first day. Before graduating in May, she was wondering what to do with her life and how to get in the film industry in Austin, but then she found AFS! Some facts: Her obsession with vampires and zombies sparked before the craze. She likes to think of herself as a realist and criticizes everything, but usually she is right.
CHRIS STELLATO / Marketing Apprentice
Born on the lame streets of San Antonio, Chris was able to survive on the cutthroat playgrounds of private school. Raised by the cold-hearted and unloving off-brand television in the living room, he found solace in such group sports as cross-country, competitive cycling, and classical guitar. Knowing his love for social situations and close friends, he was pushed into the popular classes of physics and calculus. The one ray of light in high school was an editing class in the last semester, but the nail was in the coffin and engineering school started after the summer. Despite two years tutoring other students and protests from his father, he changed major to Radio-Television-Film at UT Austin. After spending a grand total of six years in college, Chris finally received his four-year degree and promptly went to work in the field of waiting tables. The tedium of drunken patrons at every job prompted a career shift to film and the benevolent crew at AFS saw fit to give Chris a try where he resides still today.
ERICA TODD / Programming Apprentice
Australian, English and South African are some of the nationalities frequently attributed to Erica since her move to Austin. Although she has lived on four different continents (and in none of the abovementioned countries), she has spent most of her life in New Zealand. Recently, Erica made Austin her home after completing her studies in Film and French. While her cinema tastes are eclectic, her graduate research focused on genre films from Hollywood and France.
MARK VANCE / Programming Apprentice
Mark grew up with a twin brother with whom he once fought every night over which VHS tapes they would snuggle up with. They would grab several, but because VHS tapes aren't as soft as a stuffed bears, they had trouble sleeping and were only allowed one movie a night. It was always a hard decision because they loved so many. Later Mark’s dad would ignite an even greater love of movies by showing him what were at the time, age inappropriate films like ALIEN. He would make many short comedic films with a group of his friends through high school, and is now currently an Assistant Director and Line Producer on a feature film called UNIVERSE CITY. Recently moved from Alabama, Mark plans to stay in Austin to pursue a career in film.
MASON YOUNG / Membership Apprentice
If you ever come across Mason Young, there are a few things you should know: he likes squishy things, he walks like an old man, he eats Double Stuff Oreos only if there’s milk, he likes to play music, and he loves making movies. Okay, I guess the important part is that he knew exactly what he wanted to do ever since he was ten years old: make movies. Since then he has written and directed numerous shorts, documentaries, and musicals. After experiencing the “weirdness” and creative spirit that echoes throughout the city of Austin, he knew he finally had a home and wanted to help build it into one of the nation’s premiere entertainment hubs. After working for the Studios at Las Colinas, MPS Studios Dallas, and other freelance positions on various features and shorts, he is majoring in Radio-Television-Film and minoring in Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and proudly works for the Austin Film Society.
Ellie Kotapish / Intern
Frustrated with a distracted population, Ellie escapes a harsh reality through the rabbit hole called cinema. Enjoying anything from an indie dramedy to a political documentary, she watches a variety of genres. Providing an alternate “world,” film became an infatuation in her later teens and blossomed into a life-goal. Born and mostly raised in Texas, she moved back to her home state the day of her graduation, with a BA in Film and Media Arts. Through the art of screenwriting, she aspires to create films that not only impact but also inform audiences.
Bailey cain / Intern
At the age of eight, Bailey Cain solemnly informed an aide at her elementary school that her favorite movie was TWELVE ANGRY MEN. This unusual passion for classic cinema (a result of her mother's refusal to let her watch TV as a child) flourished as she grew up and began making movies of her own in Grafton, Massachusetts and continued after she moved to College Station, Texas at age ten. She attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for TV/Film production and spent a semester abroad in a cinematography program in the Czech Republic. Then she moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked for the Northwest Film Center and as part of an after-school arts program remade the last scene of Casablanca with a group of third graders, which was exactly as hilarious as it sounds. She is now completing her Master's degree here at UT Austin, focusing on classic film archiving and exhibition. One of her major goals in life is to marry Paul Newman, which is turning out to be much harder to accomplish than one would think.
Erin Thigpen / Intern
Erin hails from the vastly underrated city of Houston, Texas, where she spent her childhood attempting to become the next Martha Stewart. She moved to Virginia to study Economics, Math and Film Studies at The College of William & Mary, spending her spare time producing a style-advice web series, coordinating events for the College's film festival, becoming a social media guru, and playing in a short-lived band called "A Tree Fell On Him." After graduation, her love of Tex-Mex eventually overtook her love of East Coast weather, and she returned to her home state, where she intends to pursue a career in film. Erin is excited to intern with AFS and is looking forward to calling Austin her new home.
Andrew McNulty / Intern
Although born in Cape Cod, MA, Andrew spent most of his formative years shuffling back-and-forth from Ireland to New England, and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland. As a child in Ireland, Andrew remembers waiting months on end for the latest Hollywood films to reach Irish shores, which only gave rise to his passion for cinema. In the early 00’s, after a wave of films with existential themes (THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, LOST IN TRANSLATION, DONNIE DARKO), Andrew knew filmmaking was the path for him. At sixteen years of age, his grandmother bought him his first camcorder, which he hastily used to shoot anything and everything, often spending late nights at a friend’s house, editing everything they’d shot that day. Soon it was time to pack his bags and leave for college, the National Film School of Ireland at IADT, to be precise. Four years later, in 2013, he successfully completed his course with a 1st Class Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film & Television Production, having majored in Editing, and minored in Visual Effects. After falling for a Texas girl, Andrew’s travels have led him to one of the most cinephilic cities in the world, Austin, where he is currently working as a freelance video editor, musician, and intern here at the Austin Film Society.
Katherine Heim / Intern
Katie was born and raised in Arlington, a liberal haven located in between Dallas and Fort Worth. She spent her younger years fighting with her older brothers and pitching wiffle ball at the Texas Rangers stadium. She had high hopes of pitching wiffle ball at the 2012 Olympics and despite being eliminated in the trial rounds, moved there anyway. She wrote for Time & Leisure Magazine and tried to suppress her constant use of the word y’all; only the former was successful. She is currently a senior at St. Edward’s University double majoring in communication and English. Her extensive film knowledge comes from Netflix and an unhealthy obsession with IMDB. Katie is very excited to intern at the Austin Film society where she’s hoping no one will notice her inexperience.
Jake Isgar / Intern
Getting kicks out of giving fake names on the E.T. ride at Universal Studios and terrorizing the local Blockbuster, Jake has had a life-long connection to the wonderful world of cinema. He rocketed out of the Orlando suburbs to study Media Production & Humanities up at Florida State University. While at FSU, he worked for 2 years as a film programmer for an on-campus movie theater, starting a classic film series from the ground-up; he considers screening THE RED SHOES & ROSEMARY'S BABY the same week a crowning achievement. He finished out his final semester working on a genre/auteur study of the New Hollywood of the '70s, the split careers of Alfred Hitchcock & Brian De Palma, and the vulgar modernism of GREMLINS 2, among other topics. Attending SXSW the past 3 years ignited his passion for Austin and he is more than thrilled to be in a city full of rich cultural diversity. While he's not sure of his current career trajectory, he's excited to make the most of his experience with AFS. As Buckaroo Banzai once said, "wherever you go, there you are." Sage advice from a fictional character.
Bennett Cravens / Intern
Bennett Cravens is a 22 year old graduate from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. The son of Sammye and Ben Cravens, he was raised in Oklahoma City. Bennett has studied theatre and has been transitioning into film production for the past few months. He hopes to make a living working the camera for film and performing, on stage and in front of the camera, as much as possible. He also hopes to travel anywhere he can in the pursuit of stories, art, and music.
Erich J. Reimers / Intern
Erich was born and raised in the small Southeast Texas town of Orange, not far from the Louisana state line. If you asked Erich what is the best thing about living near Louisiana, he'd say "Getting to live in Texas." Despite his severe lack of exposure to city life, Erich moved to Austin in 2010 to attend the University of Texas where he is currently majoring in Radio Television and Film. Erich has a passion for animation and all things digital. He hopes to remain in Austin and pursue a career in media production.
Johannah Hochhalter / Intern
Johannah was born and raised in the sunny and palm tree-filled Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Brigham Young University, but returned to Texas as quickly as possible. After landing in Austin, Johannah got a job at the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT where she worked for five years and became increasingly interested in racial and ethnic representation on television and film. As her appreciation grew, she undertook a Master's degree in Mexican American Studies, with an emphasis in film and television, but particularly Latina/o representation on teen-oriented television targeting Millennials. Johannah also has a keen interest in casting and has assisted with a couple local productions in Austin. She is excited about her AFS internship and looks forward to learning as much as possible from the talented AFS community. She and her husband enjoy attending film festivals and screenings every chance they get, but her latest role is that of doting mother to a beautiful little tot.
Alexa Ramirez / Intern
Born in Oakland, California less than a year before the Quake of '89, Alexa has been making ripples in life from the get-go. Uprooted from her home in California to El Paso, TX, Alexa clung to films for a source of familiarity and comfort. After her parents declared bedtime, she would get tucked in and then sneak out of bed to turn her VCR back on to fall asleep to her favorite images. Even from a young age, she was drawn to stories of fantasy with elements of horror like THE SECRET OF NIMH, HOCUS POCUS, and THE WITCHES. In her sophomore year biology class, she turned her taxonomy assignment of biological classification into a science fiction monster flick, featuring an 8-legged creature and a doctor that plugged all the right vocabulary. With a liberal arts degree from UT Austin under her belt, she is now in her last semester of pursuing a Film Certificate from Austin Community College. When she is not at school or interning at Austin Film Society, she is working as a freelance multimedia editor and finding her way onto sets to lend a hand in lighting or assist the director. She has always loved puzzles, so please bring any problem solving issues her way. She enjoys a good challenge and is always willing to work.
Ali Baumhoer / Intern
Hailing from the paradise of Jefferson City, Missouri, Ali Baumhoer found her place in the world in Austin after moving to attend the University of Texas. She began her higher education flexing some math muscles as a chemical engineering major, but eventually decided that economics was more relevant to her interests. During her quarter life crisis of trying to decide what to do in the real world, she often observed that her film major friends got to actually have fun for “work.” However, she also knew that the word “artist” would never be used to describe her. She’s interested in entertainment law and contracts and will be coming to a law school near you in Fall 2014. This wheelin’ dealin’ no-nonsense Renaissance woman is excited to be involved with AFS and to watch a ton of movies.
Skylar Landsee / Intern
Born and raised in small town Illinois, Skylar was routinely referred to as “that weird theatrical kid” by his peers. It’s okay, though. That’s totally what he was going for. From his first viewing of THE WIZARD OF OZ (or maybe it was LABYRINTH), he’s been obsessed with moving pictures. Skylar’s made numerous short films over the years. Whenever possible, he works as a freelance editor and videographer creating videos for local slam poets, weddings, and the award-winning Tutto Theatre Company. In May, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University where he studied Political Science and Mass Communication. He recently completed an internship with the Texas Film Commission and is honored to be part of Austin Film Society.