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Head of Special Projects/Transmedia, Mirada Studios
Andy Merkin is the Head of Special Projects and Transmedia at Mirada Studios. Overseeing cross-platform and nontraditional storytelling projects, Andy develops narrative for traditional and digital media and production management for the complete pipeline. Since joining Mirada in 2011, his production credits include the interactive music video Rome, the THINK exhibit and mobile apps for IBM’s Centennial, the Department of Human Management site for The Strain trilogy, and MirrorWorld by Cornelia Funke on iOS.
Andy holds an MS from MIT in transmedia production management, an MBA from HEC-Paris in creativity management, and an AB with Honors from Rollins College in anthropology/ international business. A true believer that interesting storytellers (hopefully) have led interesting lives, Andy’s previous work experience includes development and production for Sony Pictures Television, training teachers and entrepreneurs in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh, performing improv, and educating students in zoo keeping for Busch Gardens.
Owner, Thompson on Hollywood
Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine’s west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.
producer, I Am Not A Hipster, Short Term 12
Asher Goldstein is an executive and producer at Traction Media, an independent production, packaging, and film sales company based in Los Angeles. At Traction, Asher oversees the financing, production, and sales/distribution of Traction projects and those of their clients. He most recently produced Destin Daniel Cretton’s 2013 SXSW Jury Prize and Audience Award winner Short Term 12, he was also a producer on Cretton’s first feature I Am Not A Hipster, which premiered at Sundance 2012. He received a BFA with honors in Film/TV Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
writer/director, Middle of Nowhere, Venus VS.
Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and the 2013 John Cassavetes Film Independent Spirit Award for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. DuVernay’s directorial work also includes the critically-acclaimed dramatic feature I Will Follow, as well as the documentaries Venus VS., This is the Life, and My Mic Sounds Nice. In 2013, she directed branded films for Prada and Fashion Fair with The Door and Say Yes, respectively. She is currently prepping for directorial duties on the Dr. Martin Luther King film, Selma, for Pathe. DuVernay is founder of AFFRM, a film distribution collective dedicated to African-American cinema. Based in Los Angeles, she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. She is also board member for both Film Independent and the Sundance Institute.