July 2022 in Arezzo
Nia Ashley is an award-winning writer, producer, and media artist born and based in Brooklyn. Her work explores intimate relationships between women, queer people, and people of color through myriad genres. At 18, Nia’s feature screenplay Black Swan Records won several domestic and international film festival awards, including the Tribeca Film Festival. Since then she has written, produced, or directed 6 short films, 3 feature films, 3 television pilots and a web series. She has also written 3 stage plays which debuted in New York City.
Nia has a degree in English and Film from Barnard College and an MFA in Screenwriting from Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College. Most recently, she was a part of the inaugural class of the WGA Support Staff Training Program.
Marissa Ruben is an actor, writer, director with a focus on female shame-resilience through the lens of absurdism and physical comedy.
Her personal film work has been recognized by Toronto International Women’s Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival Summer Short Film Series, Venice Shorts, NYU Tisch Fusion Film Festival, Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival, and Brazil Monthly Independent Film Festival.
Marissa is a proud alum of the Nine Muses Lab Fellowship at Nine Muses Entertainment under the mentorship of Bryce Dallas Howard.
Marissa holds a B.F.A. in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
The show biz bug bit Jacob in a 7th-grade production of ‘Annie,’ as he jazz hands-ed across the stage singing ‘Easy Street.’ But after years of playing extremely small parts (including an actual spear carrier), he realized it was time to get off the stage and start contributing behind the scenes. Since then, he’s worked off-Broadway, in regional theater, at Blue Sky Studios, and at Pixar Animation Studios.
Jacob most recently wrote an untitled feature in development at Pixar and was also part of the writers’ room for a forthcoming, original episodic series at the animation studio. He’s written several episodes of the Emmy-nominated Disney+ documentary series Inside Pixar, as well as two short films: ‘Messrs.,’ which won Pixar’s AfterWORK screenplay competition and is in post-production, and his first short as writer/director, ‘Without,’ which showed at several festivals in 2019 and 2020. He’s currently working on a feature adapted from his play ‘Palisade Peaches,’ which was a finalist in the 2020 ScreenCraft Stage Play Contest.
Jacob wrote the music & lyrics for ‘Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins’ (based on the beloved children’s book by Eric Kimmel), which has been produced annually since 2018 by Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre. His previous musical theater work includes ‘Selling Out,’ ‘Legends & Lore,’ ‘Unraveling,’ and ‘Palin! The Musical.’
When he’s not writing, Jacob enjoys playing piano with his husband Jacob (that’s right, two Jacobs) and eating chocolate pots de crème.
Ganza Moise is a published author and independent filmmaker based in Kigali, Rwanda. He is also the co-founder of Kiruri MFN, an independent production company based in Kigali, Rwanda. In 2015, he wrote and directed his first short film Despair. Since then, he has worked on more than 10 short films and one feature film as Assistant Director . He has also acted in I got my things and Left by Mbabazi Philbert and Fishbowl by Ngabo wa Ganza . To date he has directed more than 7 short films. His films have screened in various film festivals worldwide like ZIFF, AFrykamera , Moscow International Experimental Film Festival among others. His film“Sensory Overload” had its world premiere in the 67th Oberhausen International Film Festival where it won the jury’s special mention. He recently premiered his two latest films (one he directed and one he produced) ‘Muzunga’ and ‘From here to there’ in the 2022 edition of the Oberhausen international short film festival. He has produced short films like. He is currently working on his first feature film Tears which was in the 2020 ouaga film lab.
Michael J Dunker
Born outside Chicago, Illinois, Michael Dunker graduated from Sycamore High School in 1999 and enlisted in the United States Air Force as a radio communicator deploying twice to the Middle East. After receiving an honorable discharge in 2003, Michael graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in psychology in 2007.
Michael was a finalist at the International Screenplay Competition, Scriptapalooza, and the Austin Film Festival as well as a quarter-finalist at the Academy Nicholls Fellowship and the Universal Pictures Emerging Writers Fellowship. He currently works in the film industry as a set photographer and looking to sell his first script/series.
A. J. BERMUDEZ is an award-winning writer and director based in Los Angeles. Her writing has been featured and awarded at Sundance, the LGBT Toronto Film Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, and elsewhere, and has appeared in journals such as McSweeney’s, Chicago Quarterly, Boulevard, Story, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. Her first book, Stories No One Hopes Are About Them, won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize and will be published in fall 2022. She is a recipient of the Diverse Voices Award, the PAGE Award, and the Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize. In addition to writing and filmmaking, Bermudez is also a former boxer and EMT, and her work gravitates toward contemporary explorations of power, privilege, and place.
Veronika is a Production Designer/Writer based in Berlin.
After studying Film at the University of Westminster, London she trained as an Art Director under Terry Ackland Snow at Pinewoods Studios, London. She has been working as a designer in the industry for the last twenty years. She is an active member of „Filmmakers for Future“ and advocates climate friendly rethinking of the film industry.
She formed a writing collaboration with cinematographer Patrick David Kaethner and writer/actress Helena Sattler with whom she is working on a TV serial Format. In Nostos she is concentrating on developing her first feature film.