Minhal Baig, Writer/Director
Minhal Baig graduated from Yale University in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts. She wrote & directed several plays including ALL THE SAD YOUNG LITERARY MEN (AND WOMEN) (2011), about a young novelist in the midst of a creative and personal slump and THIS IS LOS ANGELES (2012), about an aspiring assistant’s descent in Hollywood. In 2013, she was selected as one of six fellows for the first annual week-long screenwriting residency in Las Vegas, hosted by THE BLACK LIST, with professional mentors Billy Ray, Brian Koppelman, Kirsten Smith and Jenny Lumet. Her most recent work includes her feature directorial debut, ONE NIGHT (2015), a drama that follows two couples as they reconnect over the course of one night at a hotel. The film stars Anna Camp (TRUE BLOOD, PITCH PERFECT), Justin Chatwin (SHAMELESS, WAR OF THE WORLDS), Isabelle Fuhrman (ORPHAN, HUNGER GAMES) and Kyle Allen (XX, THE WAY).
Sara Nassim, Producer
Sara Nassim was born and raised in Iceland. She began as a production assistant and was quickly promoted to 2nd assistant director and production coordinator. Between 2011 and 2012, she was a producer at Pegasus Pictures, a prominent production company based in Reykjavik. Sara first developed her scheduling skills through her work in the AD Department, skills which cannot be underestimated in her subsequent work as producer.
Since then, she has served as the production coordinator and 2nd assistant director on big-budget productions including HBO’s GAME OF THRONES (2013-2014), Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH (2014) and Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (2013). She also served as unit production manager on the Icelandic/Danish film, SPARROWS, directed by two-time Cannes nominee, Rúnar Rúnarsson, and produced by the renowned Danish production company, Nimbus Film. In 2013, Sara moved to Los Angeles to join the American Film Institute (AFI) as a producing fellow.
Throughout her two years there, she produced several short films, including ZELOS (2015) by AFI Directing Workshop for Women fellow, Thoranna Sigurdardottir. Sara is the 2014 recipient of the Jerry Bruckheimer scholarship and the 2015 recipient of the Leifur Eriksson scholarship. As a producing fellow at AFI, Sara has produced several short films, in which her involvement was both creative and in the physical side of production. Her thesis film, WORKING BODY (2015), which she developed with the writer, tells the story of a woman who is shot and killed during a vacation with her family; the narrative follows the journey of her body until the casket is closed. She continues to develop independent features as she graduates AFI in 2015.
Constanza Castro, Producer
Constanza Castro is a filmmaker born in Mexico City. She graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a bachelor's degree in Film and is now a Master graduate in film Producing for The American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles. In undergrad she was honored to be the first Latin UNLV film student to produce a feature-length film during school as well as be the first recipient of the Johnny Brenden Filmmaker’s Award. While at AFI, she was awarded the AFI scholarship in her first year and received the Jeffrey Katzenberg Fellowship Award, a full year scholarship. Constanza has produced numerous award-winning shorts, music videos as well as an independent feature film LIARS FIRES AND BEARS which premiered at the Dances With Films Film Festival at the Chinese Theaters in Hollywood, Austin Film Festival,San Diego Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, among others. Produced three music videos for BLACK BOOTS (Ultra Records) which premiered on MTV.com, Vice and Billboard, and THE ORWELLS "Blood Bubbles" was a Vimeo Staff Pick. Some of her most recent work includes, ZELOS, a DWW short film which premiered at Palm Springs International Shortsfest, won two awards and will screen in Nordisk Panorama, RIFF, LA Shorts, among others; her thesis film IN PURSUIT and indie short BUCK's PLIGHT- both currently in post. She's currently developing two features and two pilots.
Benjamin Dell, Cinematographer
Benjamin Dell holds a Masters in Cinematography from the American Film Institute (AFI). He has lensed music videos, commercials and several short films, including ZUG (2013), a Student Academy Award Winner. He shot a feature with the Butcher Brothers and a pilot for the Discovery Channel. He has also served as a second unit DP on several films, including HOLY GHOST PEOPLE, a SXSW selection. He has been involved in ad campaigns for ASHWORTH, SKETCHERS, NIKE and MOUNTAIN DEW. He most recently completed his MFA masters thesis film, GRILL DOG (2015).
Salvador Pérez García, Editor
Salvador Pérez García graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a BA in Audiovisual Arts. He has mainly worked as an editor in a variety of short films, including ALPHA Y OMEGA and CHABELA QUERIDA, both of which played at international film festivals. He directed and edited a documentary about the making of ESCUADRÓN 2011, an animated miniseries for the 2011 Pan American Games, followed by A CONVERSATION WITH ARAM, a short doc shot in Paris. Currently, Salvador is earning his MFA degree as a fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory, where he is one of the recipients of the prestigious Tom Yoda Scholarship for talent and academic achievement, and where he has worked on a several shorts including the upcoming short films GRILL DOG (2015) and THE DUKE (2015).
Sara Higley, Production Designer
Sara Higley was born on Christmas Eve, 1985. She spent her formative years in Chicago where she attended DePaul University, earning a B.A. in Art History and Spanish Language. Shortly after returning to her native California in 2012, she cut her teeth in the Art Department working in the comedy TV world as an intern for Tim & Eric's Abso Lutely Productions. She has since production designed original content for Comedy Central, Funny or Die, and Jash Media. Her experience also includes work on TV shows for such channels as the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and IFC, and companies like Target, Macy’s, and PopSugar. In her spare time she loves to cook and read books about food.
Ali Helnwein, Composer
Ali Helnwein is an Emmy winning composer and has orchestrated Grammy winning projects. He composed all the music for 13 "Touch of Evil" short films, featuring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Jessica Chastain, Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Michael Shannon, Viola Davis, Jean Dujardin and Adepero Oduye. As an arranger/orchestrator, he did the strings on the title track to Florence & The Machine's No. 1 chart-topping album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful as well as Draco Rosa's Grammy winning album. Music for commercial and fashion films include Mercedes-Benz, Wrangler Jeans, ESPN, Motorola, Bebe, American Greetings, Orla Kiely and more. In 2010, his "Rain" violin concerto was commissioned by Kat Von D and premiered in Downtown LA's historic Million Dollar Theater, conducted by David Campbell. In 2006, he founded the Traction Avenue Chamber Orchestra, which he has been successfully conducting since. The orchestra has become known for showing up in places where one normally wouldn't expect an orchestra premiering new works, and playing to new audiences -- performing in places such as a skate park, a chinatown alley, the rooftop of The Standard, etc. Aside from his own orchestra, he has worked with many other orchestras around the U.S. and the world. Press articles include Los Angeles Times, W Magazine, LA Record, LA Weekly, The Huffington Post, Juxtapoz, Foam and many others.
Michael Beaudry, Casting Director
Michael Beaudry has been studying people since he was born, in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Raised mostly as an expat in Libya, Bahrain and Indonesia, he graduated from Georgetown University with degrees in English and History, then worked in features as a director of development at Sunset-Gower Studios and in International Sales/Domestic Distribution as the VP for Menemsha Films, where their features were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film or Best Documentary five straight years. Michael then built Blok M Casting. Its namesake comes from the mega shopping district in Jakarta, where he went to high school and over 13 million locals and expats shop for the same products featured in the commercials he casts—cars (Toyota, Kias, Nissans, Fords, Chevrolet), clothes (Nike, Reebok, Lacoste, Levis), tech giants (Dell, Microsoft, Google, Samsung), Gilette, Lego, Disney, Procter and Gamble, Visa, the World Cup, and so many more. He has worked on over 1,000 commercials and cast videos for Katy Perry, Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake, Skrillex, Tiesto, Mastodon, Nicki Minaj, Nicole Scherzinger, The Weeknd, Schoolboy Q, Alice In Chains, Big Sean, Rae Sremmurd and even the great Led Zeppelin. He cast a video for Queens of the Stonge Age that recently won "Best Rock Video of the Year" at the UK Video Awards; and his video for Childish Gamino’s “Sober” won the MTV Woodie Award for "Best Music Video of the Year". Blok M's narrative work includes webisodes, features and shorts, including an award-winning film for Planet of the Apes.