Public Invited for Panels With Film Industry Mentors

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Creative Lab Hawai‘i (CLH) will host several free panels with entertainment industry mentors and CLH fellows as part of its 2019 Immersive programs for screenwriters, motion picture producers and web-series developers. The public is invited to attend these events, offered on O‘ahu and Kauai in June, to meet with leading producers, writers and new media creators that are rarely accessible in Hawai‘i.

Since CLH began, its media and music programs have resulted in the creation of five feature films, five television series optioned by producers, six web-based series and more than 20 songs licensed by major media studios and streaming services.

“Creative Industries is investing in these talented entrepreneurs, providing a bridge that connects them with award-winning visionaries working in mainstream Hollywood,” said Mike McCartney, Director of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, which oversees CLH. “The CLH immersive, hands-on experience delivers a deeper understanding of the creative process through mentors who are decision makers in the entertainment business today.”

“It’s exciting to see the growth of our media, music and filmmakers over the past few years and this year’s stellar lineup of mentors offers the community a closer look at the ways to engage in a variety of forms of creative development through CLH public panels,” said Georja Skinner, division chief DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH.

The free public panels, held in conjunction with this year’s CLH Immersive programming, will include:

Web-Series Panel Discussion – Wednesday, June 5, 2019, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach. Interested attendees may RSVP online.


Screenwriting Panel Discussion – Monday, June 10, 2019, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Kauai Marriott Resort. Interested attendees may RSVP online.

Motion Picture Producing Discussion – Monday, June 17, 2019, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Kauai Marriott Resort. Interested attendees may RSVP online.

CLH pairs leading Hollywood creatives and industry professionals with selected fellows to help them achieve success. Fellows then focus on developing their projects and fostering connections in the entertainment industry. Each program consists of one immersive week followed by a 12-month coaching program.

“We are excited about the caliber of emerging creative entrepreneurs that comprise our 2019 media cohorts,” said CLH Executive Director Michael Palmieri. “We are also grateful and humbled by the world-class, award-winning mentors who have chosen to take time out of their busy lives to contribute their expertise, passion, and time to our fellows and programs.”

The CLH Immersive mentors and fellows for the upcoming discussion panels are as follows.


CLH Web-Series Immersive (June 3 to 7, 2019: Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach)


Bernie Su – Bernie is a two-time Primetime Emmy award-winning storyteller, creator, and showrunner. His works include The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, an interactive adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The series won the first Primetime Emmy Award for a YouTube distributed series and was adapted into a novel. He is currently the creator and showrunner of Peabody Award-winning Artificial, the first live science fiction series to debut on Twitch.

Tony E. Valenzuela – The founder of BlackBoxTV, a genre entertainment studio and YouTube channel dedicated to original series, short films and immersive VR/360 experiences, Tony wrote and directed 2009: A True Story, nominated for Best Dramatic Web-Series at the first-annual Streamy Awards and featured by legendary horror director, Wes Craven during his Halloween YouTube Takeover. He also directed and co-wrote Versions of Elloise in collaboration with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Entertainment and YouTube Space LA.

Yulin Kuang – A Los Angeles-based screenwriter and director, Yulin is currently writing the comedy feature Jade Palace for New Line Cinema. She was nominated for a 2019 WGA Award for her work on Love Daily, a romance anthology series for AwesomenessTV (now streaming on Hulu). Yulin created two YouTube channels, YulinisWorking and Shipwrecked Comedy, which have each amassed more than two million views per channel featuring original scripted web-series and short films.



Mary Michelle Baghdady and Stacy Fukuhara-Barclay – Mary is a designer and producer working in Honolulu at the Applied Research Laboratory at UH as a media specialist, collaborating with engineers to conceptualize multi-media projects. She won the Hawai‘i Filmmakers Collective 2018 pitch and completed her first short film, Turn On Your Own, which will screen at the 2019 Made in Hawai‘i Film Festival. Stacy is an attorney specializing in child-advocacy. She and her husband were 2017 Creative Lab Hawai‘i Writers Immersive Fellows and represented Hawai‘i at the American Film Market where they pitched HI Conflict to an audience of more than 400 people. Mary and Stacy’s CLH project is Like Maddah, a web-series about a child psychologist who moves back to Hawai‘i despite reservations about her meddling family.

Jeff Katts – Jeff has worked in the TV and film industry for more than 22 years. He is currently the studio/media manager at 1013 Integrated production company and was the original founder of the `Ohina Short Film Showcase. His CLH project, Life of a Teleporter: The Jackie Claxton Chronicles, follows the adventures of a local girl who has the power of teleportation and uses it to fight evil and save lives throughout Hawai‘i.

Kisha Milling – Kisha is a Sag-Aftra actor and screenwriter based in Kailua. She wrote, acted and produced the gothic horror short, M.E.R.C.Y., and dark comedy, Sri Lanka, which can be seen on her YouTube channel Mahina Films. On weekends you can catch her tossing glitter, paint and happiness on people though her party entertainment company, Island Girl Face Art. Her CLH project is The Entertainers, a dark-comedy web-series that follows the quirky and often misunderstood secret lives of those you hire to “bring the party.”

Mitchel Viernes – An independent filmmaker based in Honolulu, Mitchell’s passion for storytelling through film was fostered through his involvement with the media program at Moanalua High School. He continued his education at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, majoring in film studies. His CLH project is Obake (a current working title), a dramatic horror web-series that follows a young college student who learns more about her Hawaiian/Japanese heritage when she moves to Hawai‘i to live with her uncle and cousin and uncovers truths about her family legacy and their connection to the supernatural.

CLH Motion Picture Producers Immersive (June 17 to 21, 2019: Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club)


Anne Rosellini – A creative producer and writer, Anne runs Still Rolling Productions with director Debra Granik. Together they’ve made acclaimed feature films such as Winter’s Bone, which was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay and Leave No Trace (2018), which premiered at Sundance and Director’s Fortnight and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards.

Mollye Asher – A New York-based producer and multiple Independent Spirit Award nominee, Mollye recently produced Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ Swallow (Tribeca 2019) and Chloé Zhao’s The Rider (Sony Pictures Classics), which premiered in the 2017 Cannes Directors Fortnight and won its top prize.

Rebecca Green – Rebecca is the producer of two of the top-grossing and critically acclaimed independent films of 2015, It Follows and I’ll See You in My Dreams, which generated a combined box office total of $30 million worldwide. She most recently produced And Then I Go, based on the acclaimed novel Project X by Jim Shepard.

Shih-Ching Tsou – Shih-Ching’s latest producing work, The Florida Project, was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year.


Zoe Eisenberg – The co-founder and Executive Director of the Made in Hawai’i Film Festival and performing arts company Aerial Arts Hawai’i, Zoe’s filmography includes Throuple (2015), Aloha From Lavaland (2016) and Stoke (2018). Her CLH project, Chaperone, is a delayed coming-of-age dramedy set in Hilo.

Jennifer Marcil – An executive producer at 4D Media in Kauai, Jennifer has produced documentaries such as The Perfect Song and Nawiliwili Bay, as well as short films Ho’ouluwehi and Hihi’o (HIFF’s Pacific Showcase). Jennifer’s CLH project is a romantic comedy feature, Sexy Mammas.

Alison Week – Originally from the island of Hawai‘i, Alison is based in Austin, Texas where she is a writer/director/producer. Her latest short film Petals & Stems (Or the Impermanent Nature of Beauty, Youth and Love) is currently on a festival run. Her CLH project is her first feature-length motion picture drama, Waves, centered on a woman who heads to Hawai‘i to settle the estate of her great aunt with hopes of learning more about her recently deceased mother.

Nadya Wynd – A writer/director/producer from Kauai, Nadya created a short film about the sexual exploitation of an actress titled The Beautiful Illusion. It was an official selection of the Los Angeles and New York Independent Film Festivals and also aired on PBS. Her CLH feature project, Ghosts of the Sinclair Plantation, is a supernatural murder mystery set in 1888 on a sugar plantation built on sacred land on Kauai.

CLH Writers Immersive (June 10 to 14, 2019: Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club)


Chuck Hayward – Chuck has been a staff writer on the NBC series, One Big Happy, and the Fox series, Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life. In 2016, he had two movies produced, Fat Camp (available on all on-demand platforms) and Step Sisters (streaming on Netflix). He’s currently a Co-Producer on the Netflix series, Dear White People, and a Producer on Marvel’s upcoming series for Disney+, Wandavision.

Liz Alper – A current writer/producer on the ABC series The Rookie, Liz has worked for such auspices as Dick Wolf (Law & Order and Chicago franchises), Peter Lenkov (Hawai‘i FIVE-0, MacGyver), David Shore (House) and David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies).

Jim Uhls – Jim wrote the screen version of Fight Club, directed by David Fincher; Jumper, directed by Doug Limon; and the NBC television film, Semper Fi, which he produced with Steven Spielberg. Currently, his script Leviathan is in development at Twentieth Century Fox.

Tery Lopez – The Director of Inclusion and Equity at the Writers Guild of America West, Tery worked as part of Moctesuma Esparza’s, Maya Pictures development team, producing 13 episodes of the Sí TV comedy series, Circumsized Cinema. She was also co-producer of the feature film Innocent Voices, which was Mexico’s official entry to the 2005 Academy Awards.


Diana T. Black – Diana works full-time as a spec writer of features, teleplays and theatrical plays. She’s written, directed, edited and produced her own short film, The Shoes, and one of her features, Going Alone, is optioned by Asian Entertainment Television. Her CLH project, Saving Keylan Millar, is a one-hour drama/limited-series exploring the dual themes of loyalty and living with the consequences of one’s own actions.

Chris Gibbon – Originally from the U.K., Chris first moved to Hawai‘i in 2004. His CLH project, Breakwater—his fifth full length motion picture—is a romantic drama set against the raw beauty of Hawai‘i.

Jessica Hayes and Ku’ulei Shafee – Jessica is an emerging writer and actress, and Ku’ulei is an actor, screenwriter and website content editor. Their CLH project is a character driven fantasy-drama miniseries, Bea’s Bakery, set in the 19th century and presents elements of a childhood fairytale wrapped in a grounded adult package.

Cheyenne Lawes – A filmmaker, actor and dancer from Kaneohe, Cheyenne’s creative expertise is in broad to dark comedies with a focus on incorporating strong female characters and diversity. Her CLH project, Focus Groupies, follows a group of friends from Hawai‘i as they try to stop the demolition of the last park in their town.

Alexandria Spell and Orit Tashman – Orit has a varied background in engineering, book publishing, baking and theatre. Alexandria began her career in comedy, acting, and writing in her hometown of Reno, Nevada. When she moved to Hilo, Hawai‘i, to pursue a degree in Physics, Alex found her outlet in a creative partnership with Orit. Their CLH project is a half-hour television comedy series called Hella Poor, following the friendship and struggles of college students who are single mothers and deal with systemic poverty, racism and patriarchy.


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