Felipe Vargas is a Colombian-Floridian Director in the realm of awe-inspiring magical realism: heartfelt stories with a twist of fantasy, science-fiction, or horror. Felipe’s short film “The Guide”, about a guardian angel-like young girl guiding a man through his first love, premiered online at DUST, where it garnered over 3.4 million views and is among the most viewed films on the platform. Felipe co-edited “Breaking Their Silence”, a groundbreaking feature documentary on young women on the frontline of the poaching crisis. The film won best feature at San Diego Film Festival, and was featured on CNN and The Today Show. Felipe directed one of four greenlit USC Thesis Films, the horror-fantasy “Milk Teeth”, and will be co-directing a feature adaptation of “Phantom of the Opera”.
NICK LOPEZ is a Colombian-American writer and director. He was born in Bogotá, Colombia before growing up in São Paulo, Brazil and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where he is pursuing a BFA in Film & TV Production. He tells stories that unpack contemporary traumas with fantasy, horror, comedy, and a little bit of heart. He is passionate about empowering and collaborating with women both in front of and behind the camera, and hopes that together they can reframe and celebrate minority narratives – particularly of LGBTQ+, Latinx, and working class communities.
Brendan is a filmmaker raised on Bainbridge Island, Washington. His early exposure to theatre and the performing arts led him to fall in love with visual storytelling. Attending acting classes, film summer camps and with the internet as his guide, he taught himself the basics of filmmaking. In 2016, he was accepted to the film and television production program at the university of Southern California. Here he continues to develop his techniques and collaborate with a close group of talented filmmakers and friends. After working for documentary filmmaker Brett Morgen during the summer of 2018 and at Lionsgate in the post-production department during the spring of 2019, Brendan discovered a passion for documentaries and television- two worlds which he now dreams of working in. Brendan finished school in December and he hopes to work as a director, producer, and editor building worlds and telling poignant, dramatic stories with a dash of dark humor.
Jamie McNeill is a creative producer passionate about supporting strong artistic visions and helping turn them into realities. Connecticut-born but LA-based, he is currently a senior in USC’s Film and TV Production program. He has produced six narrative films while at USC, both in and outside of class, which have played at a variety of festivals, most notably the Seattle International Film Festival. He is fascinated by narratives that are told through unique contexts, while still focusing on basic aspects of the human condition – something we can all connect with. Having worked with Stept Studios, a commercial production company, Universal Music Group’s in-house content agency, °1824, and two traditional Hollywood studios: Lionsgate and Legendary Entertainment, Jamie has experience spanning many sectors of entertainment.
Director of Photography
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska; a somewhat-known city in a seemingly unknown region in the middle of the United States. Though many have never heard of Omaha, I take great pride in where I come from. I often say that growing up in a “big” city with a small-town feel, a city where a ten-minute drive east can take you to a historic downtown or a ten-minute drive west can take you to miles of rich farmland, has influenced me more than anything in my life. By living in a city of such duality, it has allowed me to meet people of all walks of life, race, and religions. In turn, this provided the opportunity to hear all sorts of stories as well, fueling my passion for filmmaking and telling a narrative focused on people. My philosophy is that if the root of the story has the potential to impact someone, then it is a story worth telling. In 2016, I continued to pursue my passion and dreams at the University of Southern California.
1st Assistant Director
Catherine Deptuch is a senior undergraduate Film and TV Production BFA student at the University of Southern California. A Polish-American filmmaker originally from New Jersey, Catherine has always enjoyed bringing her writing passions together with her love of cinema, both foreign and domestic. Catherine has worked on various undergraduate and graduate theses as well as independent projects in a number of roles (writer, director, producer, 1st AD, 2nd AD, associate producer, etc.). Her most recently directorial feit was her junior thesis film You Can Call Me Ollie, which played at the HollyShorts Monthly Screening series at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood. Her most recent French-English short, La Peche de Mort, won Best California Short and the California Film Awards. Professionally, Catherine is currently an intern at HBO in their Film and Mini Series department. She has previously interned at Indian Paintbrush, Writ-Large, Jim Henson Company, Voltage Pictures (Los Angeles and Cannes Film Festival) and was a Teaching Assistant for Peter Sollett and Todd Louiso.
TJ Ryan is an interdisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. He graduates from the USC School of Cinematic Arts with a BFA in Film and Television Production in May 2020. Raised in Salt Lake City, TJ had an early fascination with fairytales and folklore that soon led to creating his own imagined worlds and characters out of cardboard boxes and construction paper. These days, TJ focuses on creating vivid life through designs that tread the line between realistic and stylized, infusing sets with character and nuance. He currently works as a Production Designer, Set Decorator, and Graphic Artist for films, commercials, and print.
Ursula Bowling began her career as a visual artist. Studying at the LaGuardia High School in New York City, she was trained in drafting, painting, and design. During her time there, her work was exhibited at the Manhattan Borough Arts Festival and the International Center of Photography. Ursula Bowling now works as a production designer, set decorator, and graphic artist for film in Los Angeles. She graduates the USC School of Cinematic with a degree in film production this May.
Meredith “Kat” Wells
Art Director & Creature FX
Meredith Wells, better know as “Kat,” has always had a love of film making. From a young age, Kat was fascinated with every aspect of the entertainment industry. As she grew older, Kat discovered stop-frame animation, and fell in love with the filming process, her gateway into film. Throughout college at USC, Kat worked in every department to learn everything she could about the filmmaking process, finally settling as a special effects makeup artist, and production designer. Kat has also produced a senior thesis video game through the games program at USC SCA, a dream of hers she accomplished. While still unsure of what and where her first job will be, she is excited to just work in the entertainment industry.
Lucas Bohlinger is a Senior, studying Film and TV Production at the University of Southern California. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Lucas first picked up a camera to fit in with the skate community in his neighborhood. From there, he found an even bigger community of filmmakers as he turned his attention and allowance over to the countless repertory theaters in LA. Now Lucas plans on following in the footsteps of his idol Hal Ashby, learning from his experiences in post-production to continue to improve as a director of offbeat, compassionate films.
Vern Hass is a current senior at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and specializes in editing, sound design, and (unfortunately) dabbles in meme making on the side. He has worked on a variety of student shorts, music videos, and was a production assistant on the show Major Crimes for two summers. When away from set, he can be found editing nightmarish remixes of Wendy Williams and Guy Fieri episodes for his Youtube channel, watching every film he can find on the Criterion Channel, and blasting Kate Bush until his ears bleed.
Rafael Souza is a Brazilian-American Filmmaker and Storyteller living in Los Angeles. He attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts, graduating in May of 2020. He focuses on Writing, Directing, and Editing projects, especially ones with socially conscious messages. Souza was nominated for Best Editing at the Portland Comedy Film Festival for his work the film Internet Court (2018). He continues to work and search for projects focused on character driven stories and is getting ready to release a film set in the dust bowl in 2020.
Sterling Maffe (born June 10, 1996) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In his robust young career, Maffe has demonstrated the ability to write in every style and idiom with a voice that is unique and innovative. Through an ever-expanding repertoire of contemporary classical pieces and scores for film, Maffe has established himself as an up-and-coming composer both in the concert hall and on the scoring stage.
University of Southern California
School of Cinematic Arts