Festival Founder/Co-Director/Festival Programmer
Chris Hanna is a born and bred El Paso filmmaker, documentarian and editor. He has made a number of short films and documentaries which have been successful in the festival circuit, including a regional Emmy nomination for Best Editing in a College Production with his short film "The Talk in the Night" in 2016 and a regional Emmy award for Best Editing in a College Production with his more recent film "Pitch Black" this past year (which was amongst 6 nominations they had received with the three films they submitted). Chris is also the director, co-producer, editor and principal cinematographer for a local PBS show in Oklahoma, "Art of a Cowboy". Currently, Chris is working on a local documentary in El Paso, "Beyond the Dream", which follows high school students who tour the east coast Ivy League colleges through the College Mindset Ivy League Program, in hopes of being accepted to these top tier schools. He has also made promotional videos for companies in El Paso, such as Tropicana Properties and Tropicana Homes. He is collaborating with Shine On El Paso as well, creating content to show the best of what El Paso has to offer. This past year, Chris had the privilege of meeting with Tony Romo, to create a feature documentary detailing the life of the former Cowboys quarterback; the project is currently entering post-production.
Festival Founder/Co-Director/Session Supervisor
Daniel Valdez, is a multi-faceted educator with the goal of helping youth achieve academic excellence. With over 15 years of direct experience in the education field, Mr. Valdez has dedicated his career in developing & in motivating students in their pursuit of achieving a higher educational degree. His previous experience includes working for The University Texas at Austin as a Credit by Examination Specialist & College Advisor. His passion in helping students succeed lead him back to El Paso in 2008 to serve as a Go Center College Readiness Advisor. In 2013 Mr. Valdez concentrated his efforts as a high school Business Cooperative Education Coordinator which established him a community liaison helping to bridge the gap between education, business & city government.in 2014 his vision of transforming the educational landscape of the city took form when he helped co-found UNDERGRADS College Mindset Academy.
Mr. Valdez holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from The University of Texas at El Paso.
He currently is serving the El Paso community as a CTE (Career & Technical Education), Department Head within Ysleta ISD, as a Board Member for Shine On El Paso (a local Non Profit), for which he oversees its educational program, as a member of the BorderPlex Alliance Educational committee, & as a member of TACAC (Texas Association for College Admission Counseling).
Mr. Valdez strives to empower today’s youth in expanding their educational horizons with the aim of developing them into the next generation of educated leaders!
DREAM IT, BELIEVE IT, ACHIEVE IT!
Festival Manager/Box Office Supervisor
Rebecca Garcia is the producer, Human Resources coordinator, and an executive producer for ZGN Productions. She has funded and worked on ZGN films since the founding of the company such as the award-winning short film The Talk in the Night, in which she acted and produced. Rebecca is focused on helping ZGN Productions evolve into a well-known and profitable company. She is currently producing the latest ZGN Productions documentary short "A Family" and short film "The Truth of the Sun".
Nina Hedberg is a sound designer and production sound mixer in El Paso, TX. She has worked on a number of short films and documentaries, most of which have been successful in the festival circuit. Currently, she is working alongside director Chris Hanna on Now or Never, a documentary about football star Tony Romo; she is also a producer, sound mixer and editor of the local Oklahoma PBS show, Art of a Cowboy. Nina hopes to push the boundaries of what sound can do for film, bringing knowledge of the world of sound to the masses.
Jim McClure has been working in sound recording for over 30 years. As part of his degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Jim developed machine code algorithms for analog-to-digital conversion and processing and storage of sound recordings using very early CPUs. He also built a variety of analog and hybrid analog/digital synthesizers and gradually established a sound recording studio based on a combination of digital processing and analog tape. Through his current recording studio in southern New Hampshire, Jim provides location sound services to a variety of film projects; he recently completed a two-and-a-half-year stint with award-winning documentary filmmaker Dan Habib, recording location sound for Dan’s latest film, Intelligent Lives. In studio, Jim records music, educational materials, voiceovers, film dialog, audiobooks, and other projects. For the last eight years, he has also served as a part-time instructor, leading courses in music production, sound recording, and filmmaking for young adults interested in careers in these areas.
Trae Perry is a hip-hop artist from Houston, TX. He started rapping at the age of 13, and recorded his first few songs which got him accommodation in the local scene of Houston. He’s performed for local shows all over south Texas; as well as in New Mexico where he attended college. He was accepted to represent Houston at Mission Underground New York that summer of 2016. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he got the opportunity to open up for San Diego artist Ruslan which gave him another outlet into the independent hip-hop scene. He’s collaborated with many other underground acts and has released multiple projects via online. Trae’s overall intention with his music is to add as much value to the listener as possible. He wants to reach and inspire the nations with the message he has to share.
She graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in French Literature and Theater Arts. For the last 24 years, Lisa has produced, written and developed over 35 TV series which include the popular ABC series The Bachelor, Work of Art on Bravo and the Emmy winning My 1st Time on NBC. For the last 5 years she was part of the team behind Silver Bullet Productions award winning feature documentaries, A Thousand Voices, which debuted on PBS in 2015 as well as another feature, Defending The Fire in 2018, which is still screening in film festivals around the world and will go into production on a third film The Power of Place later this year. She is an Executive Producer and principal partner in the Santa Fe based production company, LikeMinds, LLC, which develops/produces scripted and docu-series for TV as well as independent films, shorts and documentary features. Lisa is currently producing the independent features And Now We're Here with GoodWest Productions as well as Married at Fourteen which she co-wrote with Terry Borst.
J Galenti comes to his role of Founder and President at Zudo Music with a love for multimedia; film, design and music. His passion started at the young age of 14 when he produced his first record with a group of musician friends. Over the years his professional path took him further from music and closer to film and design until he decided to create the Zudo Music library in 2015. His eye for design and demand for quality continues to drive his career and passions as he seeks the next big project! Today he lives and works in Denver with his beautiful wife and two lovely daughters.
I started working in the Motion Picture Industry in 1977 as a SetPainter. I started running shows as a Paint Supervisor in 1984 doing Moonlighting, a TV series. I continued running shows until my retirement in 2013. Shows I worked on that have received an Emmy are: Moonlighting, Dinosaurs, Home Front and Cinderella. I was on the Executive Board of Local 729 for 15 years. I won the position of BA for Local 729 and then had to retire because of health reasons.
I love doing things with my family. Like camping trips and traveling around the country. Right after we moved up here to the White Mountains we went to Hawaii again. We are planning a big trip this June to Midwest for a wedding and church jubilee in Imogene, Iowa. I collect antique toys and many other items like Indian artifacts and Kachina Dolls. I have a vast collection of baseball cards and coins from over the years.
We moved up here to the White Mountains in December of 2017 from California. We volunteer our time to help the Veterans and we just started helping Meals on Wheels.
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