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SF URBAN FILM FEST

Jeremy Ambers

Jeremy is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker of Impossible Light, his feature-length debut about the monumental task of transforming the San Francisco Bay Bridge into a light sculpture that we now almost take for granted as always been a part of the city but did not exist until 2013. While keeping his roots in production, he spent over 15 years editing everything from television commercials and corporate videos to television programming, short films and eventually feature-length projects.


Keith Battle

Keith Battle is a beige, somewhat squishy human of median age who works for social justice through digital storytelling and grassroots organizing. He is currently in post-production for his first feature-length documentary, Beyond the Gap, which aims to propose a diagnosis and treatment plan for the Achievement Gap for students of color. He shares his passion for visual storytelling in classes and workshops he conducts at Bay Area Video Coalition. He hopes you find something to laugh about today.


Ron Blatman

Ron is executive producer, producer, and creator of Saving the City. He created and produced the acclaimed PBS series Saving the Bay about the history of San Francisco Bay. Ron previously worked in real estate development and finance in his native San Francisco and on Wall Street in New York, as well as serving as Director of Business Development in the San Francisco mayor’s office in the early 1990s. He earned an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School and a concurrent Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley.


Rachel Brahinsky

Rachel Brahinsky serves as Faculty Director of the Graduate Programs in Urban Affairs and Public Affairs. She also teaches in the undergraduate Urban Studies program. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research and teaching center around the challenges of race and inequality in the context of rapidly changing American cities. Her current projects are focused on the San Francisco Bay Area.


Michelle Brega

Michelle Brega is the California Regional Manager, Community Development and CRA (Community Reinvestment Act), for U.S. Bank. She is responsible for a team of community development managers in U.S. Bank’s California footprint who partner with external stakeholders to achieve the bank’s CRA goals. Michelle is based in San Francisco, and currently serves on the advisory boards of the Asian Pacific Fund, GreenLight Fund and Enterprise Community Partners Northern California. Michelle lives in the East Bay with her husband and three sons.


David C Brown

Mr. Brown leads the Home Matters® movement, which was launched in 2013 by a group of visionary housing professionals and leaders that identified a gap in public discourse. Fundamental social challenges in our nation – from health to education, to public safety, the economy and individual success – all have a common denominator: their connection to Home. Home Matters’ mission is to raise awareness of the need for affordable homes and better communities across the nation. The movement has a coalition of over 340 partner organizations.


Ann Cheng

Ann Cheng is the creator and director of the GreenTRIP program which over the last 7 years has included developing the GreenTRIP Certification program, supporting over 23 cities around the Bay Area and Oakland in particular with smarter parking and TDM policies, and creating free online tools like the GreenTRIP Parking Database and now GreenTRIP Connect. To this role Ann brings over 15 years of professional planning experience and perspective as a councilmember and former Mayor of El Cerrito, in 2008-2012.


Pedro Lange Churión

Pedro Lange Churión is an Associate Professor, received his PhD at the University of Cincinnati, specializing in Latin American Contemporary Narrative and Critical Theory. His academic areas of specialization include Latin American Literature and Culture, Film Studies, Urban Studies, Comparative Literature and Critical Theory; particularly Psychoanalytic theory. Professor Lange Churión has written and directed various films, most recently Budapest: Identity of Facades, a series of documentaries that explore Budapest’s cityscapes and architecture, informed by urban space theory and Benjaminian cultural archeology.


Amy Cohen

Amy is Director of Neighborhood Business Development at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, where she oversees the Mayor’s Central Market/Tenderloin initiative and various commercial corridor revitalization programs. As the City’s lead for Central Market, Amy oversees grants and programs for the neighborhood as well as inter-agency collaboration and public-private partnerships responsible for implementing a robust neighborhood revitalization strategy.


Priscilla Cohen

As Senior Executive Producer at Wondros, Priscilla has created award-winning content that is both socially responsible and visually compelling, bringing an authentic and compassionate voice to each new project. In 2008 she worked alongside Wondros Founder Jesse Dylan to produce the “Yes We Can” video on behalf of then-candidate Barack Obama. Together they have partnered with some of the world’s most innovative individuals and organizations to craft film campaigns that spark passion, incite action, and catalyze change. She graduated from Vassar College and resides in Santa Monica with her husband, son, and dog, Blaze.


Todd Darling

Todd Darling recently directed the documentary feature, “Occupy The Farm”. His other films include: “Black Rock Horse” (2011), a 30-minute documentary about an audacious and nearly disastrous art project at Burning Man; “A Snow Mobile for George” (2009), a trip across America to tell stories about loosening environmental regulations and the impact on salmon fishermen, cowboys, firemen, and the snowmobile industry; and the MTV reality show “Laguna Beach: The Real OC” (2004 – 2006). He and his wife Linda live in Berkeley and have two children.


Ben Davis

Ben is Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Illuminate the Arts and the creator of “The Bay Lights” project. For more than 25 years, Ben has led communications on civic mega-projects cutting his teeth working as the manager of public information on the $4 billion Boston Harbor Cleanup project. A recipient of two international Webby Awards for best website in government, Ben has helped name and brand infrastructure projects including the Transbay Transit Center and the Presidio Parkway.


JK Dineen

JK is a staff reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, focusing on development and urban planning.


Michael Epstein

Michael is a screenwriter, transmedia director, and expert in storytelling on mobile devices. He has a M.S. degree in Comparative Media Studies from M.I.T. where he specialized in developing multiplatform documentary films. In 2006, Michael founded Walking Cinema, an interactive storytelling studio comprised of filmmakers, developers, and designers specializing in cinematic applications for mobile devices. The company has developed cross-platform apps for MTV, PBS, the Venice Biennale, and many museum and broadcast clients.


Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, grew up in the East Bay, attended U.C. Berkeley, and moved back to San Francisco. He never left. He is a senior editor at San Francisco Magazine. Previously he worked at SF Weekly as a staff writer, editor, and columnist from 2007 to 2015. He was a staff writer at J., the Jewish News Weekly prior to that, and, prior to that, he worked a series of jobs that instilled valuable life lessons such as how to use a tape gun and why you should never buy nachos at an outdoor festival.


Ken Fisher

Ken Fisher is the founder and chief creative at Truth Be Told, an awarded San Francisco filmmaking shop on a mission to help good causes tell emotional and cinematic stories. His films have been official selections on the international festival circuit, have aired on PBS, VICE and the History Channel and have helped nonprofits raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is currently directing this feature documentary on economic equality that explores the premise of Universal Basic Income. Ken lives in San Francisco’s Castro district with his wife, son and Boston terrier.


Raphael Garcia

With over 18 years of experience in green infrastructure, innovative biological and mechanical water treatment systems, high-end residential and commercial landscape architecture, and biology-based work experience spanning North America, Raphael Garcia brings a unique set of skills and experience to his position as Project Manager at SFPUC. He is currently managing several innovative green infrastructure projects in San Francisco as part of the City’s $6.9 Billion Sewer System Improvement Program.


Ben Grant

Ben is Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager at SPUR. He has developed exhibitions on a range of urban issues, including “Agents of Change,” a historical survey of San Francisco urbanism for the opening of the SPUR Urban Center. Since 2006, he has been a lecturer and studio instructor in the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute.


Justin Gray

Justin Gray is an affordable housing specialist with the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) located in San Francisco, CA. Prior to HUD, Justin worked as a Community Planner with the U.S. Coast Guard based in Oakland, CA. Previous experience includes community development positions with City government, community serving nonprofits as well as work as a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill, where he had the opportunity to work directly on smart growth, transportation and sustainability initiatives. Current interests include connecting public policy and social history with visual storytelling.


Nato Green

Nato Green is a San Francisco-based comedian, writer, and union organizer. He writes a column in the San Francisco Examiner, hosts FSFSF on KALW public radio, and co-hosts monthly comedy shows Verdi Wild Things Are at the Verdi Club and Riffer’s Delight at the Alamo Drafthouse. He’s been named best comedian by SF Weekly, CBS, Huffington Post, and SFist.


Twilight Greenaway

Twilight Greenaway is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Salt (NPR’s food blog), the Guardian, Food & Wine, Mother Jones, Gastronomica, Modern Farmer, and on Grist, where she was the food editor in 2011 and 2012. She is currently the managing editor of CivilEats.com.


Kristen Hall

Kristen Hall is an urban designer and planner who specializes in complex urban infill projects. She has led the urban design of several high profile projects in San Francisco, including Mission Rock and Central Subway Chinatown Station. Through her experience both locally and internationally she has worked across many different scales and contexts to design masterplans, write guidelines, coordinate public outreach, and create implementation strategies. Kristen’s core area of expertise is delivering projects that require innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and stakeholder engagement.


Malo André Hutson

Malo André Hutson is an academic scholar and practitioner in the areas of community development and urban sustainability/equity; racial and ethnic inequalities and urban policy (metropolitan fragmentation, segregation and health); built environment and health. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Chancellor’s Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley and Associate Director of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) within the College of Environmental Design.


Gary Kamiya

Gary is the Executive Editor of San Francisco Magazine and the author of the book “Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco” Gary was the senior editor of the San Francisco Examiner’s Sunday magazine “Image” as well as the paper’s culture critic and book editor. He was a co-founder and longtime executive editor of the pioneering web site Salon.com, where he wrote about politics, international affairs, art, literature, music and sports. His work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Sports Illustrated, ArtForum, Mother Jones and many other publications.


Sibella Kraus

Sibella Kraus has long called upon cities to embrace the farms at their borders and in their regions and on regional agriculture to link its vitality to healthy cities. She is founding president of SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture Education), a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 to revitalize agricultural places near cities where farming and local food culture can thrive and be celebrated. She founded and directed from 1991-2000, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) and created its signature program, the acclaimed San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market.


Kyung Lee

Kyung Lee is an emerging filmmaker, experienced film editor, and cameraperson currently based in the United States. She was an editor and post-production manager for Link TV, a national television network. Her wide-ranging talents include work on documentary films including “Big Joy: The Adventure of James Broughton” (SXSW, Tribeca), “The Illness and the Odyssey” (Mill Valley, Guam Int’l), “After Winter, Spring” (Mill Valley, Hamptons Int’l), “Atomic Mom” (Sarasota) as well as multi-media projects and commercial productions.


Ben Lilienthal

Ben is a serial tech entrepreneur currently working on ScreenMeet.com Previously, he started and sold the world’s largest VoIP audio conferencing service to Citrix Online, the owners of GoToMeeting. He then worked as the GM, Audio for GoToMeeting for 2+ years. He grew up in Reston, VA on Lake Anne and his grandmother Anne was married to Robert E. Simon, the founder of Reston for 10+ years. He and Bob were close friends until Bob’s death last year.


Jane Lin

Jane is a partner at Urban Field Studio, which provides urban design services for early idea formation, with particular concern for the public realm and human interaction. Jane and her colleague Heidi provide a full range of urban design services with an emphasis on strategy and design, visual communication with the public, and education about the role of urban design.


Kristina Loring

Kristina Loring is sound-oriented storyteller, writer, and content strategist. She’s produced stories that explore identity, urban landscapes, and technology’s influence on culture for Good Magazine, Fortune Money, Gawker, NPR’s WCAI, KALW, PRX’s Public Radio Remix, and Warink.org. In a past life, she was the editor of Jonathan Harris’s Cowbird.com and editor for frog design’s multimedia platform, “design mind.”


Erin Lutes

As a public health nurse and clinical educator, Erin works with underserved communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, homelessness and substance use. This film project is a return to her creative and artistic roots and an exploration into her interests in gender equality and representation.


Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall is a writer, broadcaster, and video essayist on cities. His series The City in Cinema explores our urban world, especially that unfathomable corner of it known as Los Angeles, as represented in movies of every kind. He’s also at work the book A Los Angeles Primer and the crowdfunded journalism project “Where Is the City of the Future?”


John Moon

John Moon leads outreach/engagement and oversees the regional managers for community development as the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s District Manager. He has extensive social change experience in the public and private sectors including work at Living Cities, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, U.S Treasury’s CDFI Fund, Municipal Government, Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, and Fleetbank.


Dimitri Moore

Dimitri Moore (aka the Hugger-In-Chief) has spent his many years on earth producing everything he can get his hands on from a youth leadership seminar in Chicago to a documentary about Bayview/Hunter’s Point that screened at Cannes. He likes long walks with a production team on the beach or anywhere there is a war to be fought. During peace time he can be seen wrestling with his one year old (and losing), rewatching episodes of 24, Lie To Me and the The West Wing with his loving and equally geeky wife and brooding like Bruce Wayne over his next project. He believes in truth, beauty, freedom and above all, love.


Leah Nichols

Leah Nichols is a designer and filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her work explores social justice themes and community politics through a range of visual storytelling techniques, from street art to short films to block parties. She has collaborated with artists on projects about gentrification, written about neighborhood change, and spoken about the importance of public open spaces. Her short films include Where My Ladies At and Asians in America (CAAMFest selection).


Robin Abad Ocubillo

Robin is a Planner and Urban Designer at the San Francisco Planning Department. His current and past work has focused largely on public space design, management, and policy. He currently manages the Central Waterfront-Dogpatch Public Realm Plan and serves as a core staff with SF Pavement to Parks, helping to test community-generated public space ideas and stewardship models in neighborhoods across San Francisco. He is the Lead Policy Planner or Places for People, a legislative package that creates a framework for amplified tactical urbanism activity in San Francisco’s streets and open lots.


Joel Pomerantz

Joel Pomerantz is a journalist-turned-explorer who has a passion for San Francisco water. He published a water exploration map, Seep City, in March, and is working on a companion book about his water history research and his tromps through creek beds and springs scattered across local hillsides. He leads Thinkwalks and also works as a private guide and teacher. He loves to canoe and backpack.


Effie Rawlings

Effie Rawlings was raised in California and in Illinois, where her family grew seed corn. Her interests found a nexus at the Gill Tract Farm, where she joined the 20-year community struggle to protect the historic farmland by co-founding Occupy the Farm; the grassroots direct action collective for which the film is named. Today, she helps farm 2.5 acres at the Gill Tract and teaches a luminous group of preschoolers there with the Five Creeks Collective. She is currently a fellow with the Farmer Veterans Coalition, and organizes internationally with the Friends of the MST (Landless Workers Movement).


Randy Rentschler

Randy serves as Director of Legislation and Public Affairs for the San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority. MTC is recognized across the nation as a premier transportation planning and financing agency. It is Mr. Rentschler’s job to advance the legislative, public outreach and external communications objectives of the 21-member Commission at the local, state and federal levels. He also guest lectures on the subject of public finance or transportation at UC Berkeley, Stanford and the University of San Francisco.


Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has covered urban issues in San Francisco since 2008, recently as editor in chief of SF Weekly, reporting on fatal fires, lead contamination, and sex offenders in San Francisco public housing.


James Rojas

James Rojas is an urban planner, community activist, and artist. He has developed an innovative public-engagement and community-visioning method that uses art-making as its medium, building over fifty interactive models around the world. He is the founder of the Latino Urban Forum, an advocacy group dedicated to increasing awareness around planning and design issues facing low-income Latinos. Rojas has lectured and facilitated workshops at MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley, and his research has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Dwell, and Places.


Scott Samels aka SCS

A Swarthmore College graduate with an Honors degree in French & English literatures, Scott Samels (who goes by the alias SCS) is a Hip Hop recording artist who focuses on topics of social justice and delivering positive messaging toward youth. Having lived in San Francisco ever since graduating back in 1999, SCS is also the Founder of his own Richland Records imprint which enables him and fellow artists on the label to get their music out to the world.


Doniece Sandoval

Doniece has orchestrated marketing, PR and development for both private and nonprofit organizations including ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, San Jose Museum of Art, Wilson McHenry Company, Informix, DoubleClick, Toyrus.com, McGuire & Company for Coca Cola and ACA Joe among others. Her passion is finding unique solutions to problems that matter to her. Homelessness has been on her radar for quite some time but she was at a loss as to how to truly help—until she passed a young woman on the street crying over and over that she’d never be clean. Lava Mae is Doniece’s answer.


Renée Elaine Sazcı

Renée Elaine Sazci hails from suburban-rural Granite Bay, CA. She holds a B.A in Sustainable Community Development and a M.S in Urban and Regional Planning. Her professional experiences range from public health, e-waste recycling, specialized transportation planning, sustainable land use development, and digital & content marketing. Her passion for the built environment, hyperlocalism, storytelling, and marketing spurred the launch of The Global Grid: Urbanist news – Local views in 2010 during a four-year stint in Istanbul, Turkey. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn and follow The Global Grid on social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Emily Schlickman

Emily Schlickman is interested in forgotten urban landscapes, the power of mapping and the role of exploratory representation. As a landscape and urban designer at SWA Group, she focuses on large-scale infrastructure and planning projects. At the same time, she pursues independent research leading to publications and art installations. Over the past seven years, she has worked on a wide variety of projects – from a participatory mapping initiative to improve sanitation and educational access in Indonesia to an immersive installation to activate the Danube River floodplain in Germany.


Todd Sills

Todd is a documentary filmmaker and television producer currently based in San Francisco. In 2007, Todd produced and co-directed “Red Without Blue,” which received the Audience Award from the Slamdance Film Festival and the Jury Award from the Frameline Film Festival. He has also produced live events and behind-the-scenes programs for Fox, MTV and Spike. Todd currently works as a freelance editor, and was recently awarded a Qatar Foundation International grant to produce a series of shorts on the Pacific trash gyre.


Heidi Sokolowsky

Heidi is a partner at Urban Field Studio, which provides urban design services for early idea formation, with particular concern for the public realm and human interaction. With colleague Jane, Heidi provides a full range of urban design services with an emphasis on strategy and design, visual communication with the public, and education about the role of urban design.


Peter Stein

Peter L. Stein is a San Francisco-based media producer and presenter who has enjoyed telling the stories of his native San Francisco in projects for television, film, theater, museums and online. During 11 years at PBS station KQED, he created a wide range of documentaries and series for national public television, including the six-hour series Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco, which garnered a Peabody Award (for “The Castro,” which Peter wrote, produced and directed) and several regional Emmy Awards for “The Fillmore” (writer/producer) and “Chinatown” (executive producer). More at www.peterLstein.com.


Ronald Robles Sundstrom

Ronald Robles Sundstrom is the Philosophy Department Chair; additionally, he teaches for USF’s African American Studies program and the Master of Public Affairs program for the Leo T. McCarthy Center of Public Service and the Common Good. His areas of research include political theory, critical social and race theory, and African American and Asian American philosophy. He has published several essays and a book in these areas, including The Browning of America and The Evasion of Social Justice (SUNY, 2008). His current project involves social research, and is on fair housing and the effects segregation and integration on democratic life and citizenship.


Joaquín Torres

Joaquín Torres leads Mayor Ed Lee’s “Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative” leveraging city resources across city departments and through partnerships to maximize positive economic and social impact in our neighborhoods. Joaquín is the current Deputy Director at the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. He also serves as the President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission, as the Authority undergoes a re-envisioning process of structural and financial reform as initiated by Mayor Lee. Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS) under Mayor Lee. He lives in the Outer Mission in District 11.


Dr. Eugene Tssui

Dr. Eugene Tssui (AIA, NCARB, APA) is a licensed architect and contractor, city and regional planner, industrial designer, artist, educator, investigative scientist, inventor, musician, competitive athlete, publisher, President of Tsui Design and Research, Inc. and Chairman of the Telos Foundation, a nonprofit foundation for educating the public about design, headquartered in Emeryville, California.


Brian Weiner

Brian Weiner specializes in political theory (from the ancients to contemporary theory), American political theory, and public law. He teaches courses in the areas of political theory, law, and American politics. Professor Weiner also teaches Literature and Political Thought and Democratic Theory and Democratic Transitions. Professor Weiner has written, Sins of the Parents: The Politics of National Apologies in the United States, a book examining the political and legal issues raised by recent attempts by the U.S. government to redress past wrongs.


Kevin Wong

Kevin D. Wong is a Bay Area-based director, editor, and producer. After a stint in visual effects at ILM, he ventured out into the world of independent filmmaking. His narrative films include “Forgetting,” an adaptation of an epsiode of “Radiolab,” and “Be My Baby,” a family drama that was featured on Comcast’s “Pinoy TV.” Wong’s feature screenplay “Nellie” was a 2nd round selection in the 2013 Sundance Screenwriters Lab.


Winnie Wong

Winnie was born in Hong Kong, raised in the dusty fields of Steinbeck country, and earned her production wings on the unpredictable streets of SF. She has freelanced with various studios and teams, but primarily works full time at Pandora Radio producing exclusive documentary-style artist content for the Custom Content organization. In her free time, you’ll find her in a dark theater catching the latest foreign film, daydreaming about her next road trip, or asking questions of strangers.


Sara Worth

Sara leads the Story Department at Wondros, a creative communications agency dedicated to ideas that change culture. Working with clients from the initial point of engagement through to campaign completion, Sara develops messaging, film creative, and copy for leaders in health, business, technology, public policy, philanthropy, and the arts, including Univision, Home Matters, Huawei, Seventh Generation, and the Harvard Football Players Health Study. She earned her BA with Honors in English literature from USC, where she was a Trustee Scholar.