2018 Selection Team

Take a look at the Professional filmmakers and artists who serve as the EDU selection committee. Team members watch 100+ films each year and grade them all on story, cinematography, sound, edit, and "heart." The scores from each team member are tallied and the highest graded films are selected. 

 

Liza Olson...

...is professional Story Analyst and owner of Synoptic Media, a Los Angeles-based script consultancy. Her clients include production companies, talent agencies, managers, and writers.

Liza was previously on the Acquisitions team at Osiris Entertainment, where she sourced and evaluated completed films to acquire for worldwide distribution. Liza was the Vice President of Creative Affairs at a film finance company and has served as a judge for screenplay competitions for ScreenCraft and the Cinequest Film Festival in Silicon Valley.

Prior to working in the entertainment industry, Liza was a News Producer and Writer for the NBC television station in the San Francisco Bay Area and at KBJR in Duluth. She earned a B.A. in Communication from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and studied screenwriting and feature film development at UCLA Extension.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Andrew Hunt...

...studied filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Soon after, he began working professionally as a writer/director on television commercials, documentaries, short films and music videos.

In 2007, Andrew was selected by Steven Spielberg to be a contestant on the Fox Reality series, "On The Lot.” He placed top six out of 12,000 filmmakers. Next, Andrew jumped into the world of television, where he became a showrunner on a variety of documentary dramas.

In August 2015, Andrew wrapped production on his feature film directorial debut, Miles Between Us, which will ran in select AMC theaters nationwide - including theaters in Maple Grove and Eden Prairie.

Andrew is in development on his second feature, Deadmen. His 10-part Web series, Gods@Play, debuted in 2017 and is available to stream on Seeka TV.

 

Nathan O'Brien...

...is a Minneapolis artist, writer, and publisher who is passionate about youth culture and empowerment. Nathan is a prolific freelance journalist; reviewing and commenting on independent media, music, film, art, and culture. He is a Senior Staff Writer at Scene Point Blank and has written for Maximum Rocknroll Magazine, Verbicide Magazine, Tuff Gnarl, Tight To The Nail, HalfGaurded, among others.

In 2006 Nathan founded the independent, self-publishing art conglomerate HotDogDaze. It specializes in tangible items - zines, cassettes, and apparel. Through HotDotDayz, Nathan publishes the quarterly punk, rap, and graffitti magazine Soda Killers.

For years, Nathan and a group of friends ran the Back Alley Gallery, a DIY gallery in Lowertown St. Paul. He graduated from Bemidji State University with a BFA with an emphasis in broadcast and video production/editing.

 

Nick Hansen...

...is the creative director of Bashan Creations. He has produced videos for a decade, graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2009 cum laude with an individualized degree in filmmaking. Nick is a director, writer, producer & actor whose work has shown at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, The Duluth-Superior Film Festival, and the Twin Cities Film Festival. He worked as a guest artist in the theater department at Gustavus and has created countless video advertisements for businesses in Duluth and Minneapolis. He has collaborators in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and beyond. Nick is passionate about mental health advocacy and is a tennis enthusiast and member of the 2008 National Indoor Champion Gustavus Men’s Tennis Team.

 

PJ Mack...

...is a freelance filmmaker, sound designer, and educator. He is a double-degree graduate of IPR College of Creative Arts, earning AAS degrees in the Digital Video & Media Production Program and the Sound Design for Visual Media programs. PJ teaches media arts to young filmmakers at Olsen Middle School and also works for Apple, serving as an instructor for Apple products at their store in Rosedale, Minnesota.

As a military veteran and an active family man, PJ has learned to prioritize. He balances a free-lance career working on commercial projects -  including a recent gig developing an upcoming feature film, with his work in education. 

 

Jaki Velez...

...is a Music and Entertainment Business student at IPR College of Creative Arts. In addition to handling social media and data management for EDU Film Festival and the northern Film Alliance, she serves as a member of the Soundset Street Team, part of the Rhymesayers Entertainment Organization. 

In high school, Jaki participated in the professional/student collaborative music video for Atmosphere's single "Became," which received national recognition and critical acclaim.

As a student in the BrandLab program, an organization whose mission is to guide and prepare underrepresented young people to careers in marketing and advertising, Jaki was awarded a prestigious scholarship and internship package. She served her internship with Target Inhouse, where she worked with the art department and assisted in talent acquisition.

 

Natalie Morrow...

...founded The Twin Cities Black Film Festival in 2002 where she serves as CEO. TCBFF is a discovery and showcase for emerging filmmakers of color and other ethnicities. TCBFF also provides a platform for Industry professionals from around the country t o see emerging talent from various genres.

The Twin Cities Black Film Festival celebrates 14 years October 6-9, 2016. TCBFF has showcased more than 500 Filmmakers, have shown more than 700 films and documentaries, numerous Panel Discussions and Festival Mixers.

Morrow has been honored by the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves, Metropolitan Airport Commission, Comcast's Who's Who in Minnesota in 2005, 2010 and 2014. Morrow has also won Promoter of the Year and Fresh Face of the Month by First Friday in 2009.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Natalie moved to Minneapolis in 1987. She worked for Northwest Airlines for 12 Years before beginning her career promoting and organizing music and film events.