NFFTY Alumni Advisory Board
Ben Kadie – President of NFFTY Alumni Advisory Board – Filmmaker
Ben is a writer and director from Washington state, and a recent graduate of USC film school. He's interested in non-traditional filmmaking and music, as well as visual effects. NFFTY was a huge source of support and mentorship for Ben from an early age to today and he couldn't be more excited to be a part of it!
Laura Holliday– Vice President of NFFTY Alumni Advisory Board – Intern, PRMRY / Student, Art Center College of Design
Laura is a filmmaker, actor and improviser based in Los Angeles. Her focus is making comedies that are cinematic, have heart, incorporate improvisation, and highlight dimensional female characters. Laura studied improv at Upright Citizen's Brigade and the Second City Hollywood in LA, and studied filmmaking at Idyllwild Arts Academy and Art Center College of Design. Her work can regularly be seen on Will Ferrell's brain child, Funny or Die, and has been shared by Conan O'Brien's Team Coco and, Elizabeth Banks' Whohaha.com. Laura's short film "Persephone Goes Home" won her a 2017 Sundance Ignite Fellowship, and she is currently developing it into a feature. Laura wrote and directed her first feature film, the micro-budget comedy "Daddy Issues" at 23 years old. She is from West Virginia and likes to write about that.
Kayla Briët – VR/360° Program Advisor – Independent Filmmaker
Kayla Briët is a 20 year old filmmaker and composer, exploring themes of identity and self-discovery in multiple mediums of storytelling: film, virtual reality, and music – from orchestral to electronic. Her work has screened at festivals internationally, including MoMA in NYC and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. Recently, Kayla was named a 2017 TED Fellow, 2016 Sundance Film Festival Ignite Fellow, 2016 Adobe Creativity Scholar, a 2016 MIT Chamber Scholar for her interest in blockchain technology, and a 2016 Oculus Launch Pad Artist for virtual reality.
Dom Fera – YouTube Partner, DFear Studios
Dom is a writer, director, actor, and composer, living in Los Angeles. He graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for Film & TV in 2014, and has run his YouTube channel since 2006 -- which has picked up over 82 million views across its varied collection of short films, sketches, and animations. Dom is represented by Jake Weiner at Good Fear Film + Management.
Elena Gaby – Researcher, Warrior Poets
Elena Gaby is a Brazilian-American documentary filmmaker, born on Nantucket Island. She is currently producing a documentary feature directed by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), after gradually working her way up from a summer internship at his production company, Warrior Poets. In 2013, Elena directed, Paper State: Undocumented, Unafraid, Undeterred, which followed four undocumented teenagers on their quest to go to college. Paper State played in festivals around the world, and took home the prize for "Best Documentary" at NFFTY and "Best Student Documentary" at Cannes. Elena is a graduate of Vassar College, and currently resides in Brooklyn with her amazing husband, Kenneth. She is proud to serve on NFFTY's alum board each year!
Garrett Kennell – Independent Filmmaker
Garrett Kennell is a writer / director based in Los Angeles and a graduate of Point Park University’s film program. Garrett has directed a number of award-winning short films that have screened at the Director’s Guild of America and the Cannes International Film Festival. He also has an affinity for flags and a deep connection with all things IKEA.
Todd Kaumans – Producer, Mighty Media Studios/Microsoft
Todd Kaumans is an award-winning producer, currently coordinating live productions for Microsoft with Mighty Media Studios. Todd has a long history with NFFTY as both an alumni filmmaker and staff member. He served on the NFFTY team for three years as the Program Manager, overseeing worldwide submission efforts, programming, and producing video content for the festival. Prior to NFFTY, he produced an Emmy® Award-winning season of PBS Seattle's independent film series REEL NW. Todd is a strong advocate for youth filmmaking and is proud to give back to the organization that jumpstarted his own career.
Pranay Patwardhan – Creative Director at Animal, New Delhi, India
Animation filmmaker Pranay Patwardhan's recent work includes art direction and animation for film, advertising and branding - for Google, Adidas, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Budweiser and Netflix. His short films have been featured by the Vice Creators Project, Vimeo, Fubiz, Design Taxi and screened at the Seattle International Film Festival, Clermont Ferrand (France), TBS Digicon (Tokyo), Mumbai International Film Festival (India), VH1 Sound Nation (India) and ITFS (Stuttgart), winning a bunch of accolades along the way. A self proclaimed food enthusiast, he's passionate about art, music and sport. Enjoys taking short naps, cycling, reading and collecting records, often all at the same time.
Erica Sterne – Documentary Filmmaker
Erica Sterne is a Los Angeles based filmmaker currently directing and producing, BROOKLYN/ALASKA, a social issue documentary joining inner-city Brooklyn teens on a life changing adventure through a remote corner of Alaska. An alumnus of USC’s School of Cinematic-Arts, after school, Erica worked on studio films with industry mentors Wes Craven, Dito Montiel and Garry Marshall, eventually joining The Weinstein Company as an executive in post production. During her years climbing the studio ladder, Erica continued to produce independent projects. Her short films have premiered at SXSW, Slamdance and Venice International. Most recently, Erica produced the award winning art film, “Hi How Are You Daniel Johnston?” and corresponding interactive exhibition currently touring galleries and festivals worldwide. With BROOKLYN/ALASKA, Erica returns to her directing roots and goal of using cinema for social change.
Noah Wagner – Director & Filmmaker
Noah Wagner is an award-winning director, writer, and filmmaker, and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. His work has appeared on HBO, NBC, BBC, VIMEO STAFF PICKS and THE NEW YORKER, and has screened at film festivals worldwide. He’s also worked in varying capacities for – among others - THE DAILY SHOW, BBC, NICKELODEON, and HBO, where he spent close to a decade creating ancillary video, VR, and digital content for docs, sports, and series such as WESTWORLD, SILICON VALLEY, BALLERS, and GAME OF THRONES. He also loves to teach. Most recently he completed his latest directorial effort – existential AI thriller, WATCH ROOM.