JUSTIN S. LEE
Justin S. Lee is a Student Academy Award-nominated writer/director with an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His storytelling roots began at an early age in childhood, when he grew up in the foreign cityscape of Taipei, Taiwan. Unable to speak its language and truly fit in, he took solace in watching movies, and writing soon became his expressive outlet.
Eventually, he moved to California as a teenager and decided to become a filmmaker. He made movies on the side while studying business at UC Berkeley, and spent a year between schools working in the industry before enrolling in USC’s film program.
In 2015, his short “Drone” was nominated for a Student Academy Award, and he co-directed the feature film “Actors Anonymous,” co-starring Oscar-nominated actors Eric Roberts and James Franco, who was also executive producer. Since then, Justin was a semifinalist for the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, Project Greenlight, and the HBOAccess Directing Fellowship.
He is repped by John Zaozirny at Bellevue Productions, and Robert Bookman and Gabrielle Lewis at Paradigm.
Tony Rettenmaier is a Southern California native that has been interested in film since he began making clay-mation movies with his father’s bulky camcorder when he was still in grade school. He pursued that interest to UCLA where he received a Bachelor’s degree in film production. Realizing that there was still much he did not know, he decided to continue his education at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is currently in his fifth semester focusing on writing, directing and cinematography.
Abi Damaris Corbin entered the New England Conservatory and University of Massachusetts at age fourteen. She completed her education in South Carolina, graduating with a Master of Arts in Performance Studies before returning to her native Boston. Finding a passion for visual communication, she worked in theater and edutainment, where her projects received regional and national recognition. Her desire to grow as a creator led her to the University of Southern California’s Graduate Production program.
In the MFA program, Abi has had the opportunity to lead multiple productions. Following the premiere of Drone in May, Universal Studios chose Abi to direct Luna, a short film sponsored by USC and funded by Universal. The process mirrored those employed on Universal’s feature productions. Luna was mentored by USC production chair and academy award winner Michael L. Fink. This is Abi’s second studio project; the first was a short she wrote and directed for Disney entitled Chasing Shadows. Her third studio project is in pre-production.
Outside of production, Abi is engaged in cutting-edge production and post-production research at Disney and at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center in conjunction with major studios and technology leaders including the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA), SMPTE, and NAB. She has contributed narrative concepts to multiple conferences, including ETC’S Cloud conference at NAB, The Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA), and Alex McDowell’s 5D Outside of media, she works with Volunteers of America and non-profit organizations in urban areas concerned with social and economic change.
Jess Gordon Maldaner is a Canadian filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He recently produced DRONE starring Daniel Sharman (TEEN WOLF) and Michael Trucco (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and is currently directing WARM SMOOTH MEAN starring William McKinney (BLUE LIKE JAZZ) and Cameron Dye (VALLEY GIRL). He recently completed a feature film development internship with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Films, and has worked as an assistant director on numerous film and television productions including blockbuster RV for Sony Pictures directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Robin Williams, and Emmy-winning mini-series INTO THE WEST for DreamWorks executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, he worked as a strategy consultant for leading management consultancy Oliver Wyman, and then as a private equity investment associate at Mubadala Development Company, the investment vehicle chaired by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. He holds an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Toronto, and is currently completing the graduate film production program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Director of Photography
Xing-Mai Deng, also known as Mye, is a Los Angeles based filmmaker originally from Beijing. He spent most of his childhood traveling between China and the U.S., all the while glued to whatever screen he could find. Eventually, he turned those countless hours of viewing into a lifelong pursuit – making movies. Xing-Mai has been involved in all aspects of filmmaking since 2004. He is currently pursuing his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film Production, with an emphasis on Cinematography, at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Adam Everist is a writer and director from Houston, Texas. During high school, Adam assisted with the production of several national and local shows produced at Houston PBS, primarily “InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse” and “Houston 8.” He attended Auburn University from 2009 to 2012 where he studied Radio, Television and Film and worked as a member of the Auburn Women’s Basketball program. Adam would spend summers traveling to Los Angeles looking for work in the entertainment industry. He was blessed to find work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. He worked for Gary Ross’s Larger Than Life Productions, Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free and RSA Films. Upon graduation in 2012, Adam moved out to Los Angeles to pursue his career.
He began attending the University of Southern California Film and Television Production MFA program in the spring of 2013 and directed a series of short films. He currently assists with production at Gary Ross’s Larger Than Life Productions and Stu Pollard’s Lunacy Unlimited Production. Adam plans on graduating USC in the fall of 2015 with an emphasis on directing. After graduation he plans on writing and directing his first feature film.
I was born in Inner Mongolia, China. In high school I decided, despite the unanimous objections of family and friends, to make a career in film. I applied and was accepted into Central Academy of Art. I studied there for three years. But despite the prestige of the Academy I was restless. I was watching American and French film and I yearned to experience some different cultures, some different perspectives.
I’ve directed one feature length film and numerous short films. My interest at present is to work in two genres of film. One is to create simple stories about all of us face in our lives, the everyman genre. The second are films that illuminate how in today’s world small changes in one part of the world can now have major repercussions in another part (like the recent financial crisis). I call this the new paradigm genre. I wanted to create a film that would look at this separation while straddling both Chinese and American values. I hope I will be able to assimilate East and West into a single perspective, and create films that will be meaningful to both societies.
YU JUNG HOU
Yu Jung was an ordinary person who was trying to find something special in her, just like everybody else. She spent a few years learning linguistics, literature and communication in Taiwan. Through her love towards visual art and story telling, she finally landed her passion in filmmaking. She is now in her third year of USC film school, focusing on editing and directing. Yu Jung hopes to be a filmmaker who, at one point in someone else’s life, tells him that the world is an interesting place and it could be seen differently.
Joe Juanyao Zheng, editor and writer, is currently pursuing his MFA at USC School of Cinematic Arts. Originally from Hupei, China, he grew up alongside the Yangtze River and eventually went to the Law School of Wuhan University at the age of 16. After graduation in 2002, he began working as an assistant lawyer only to quit after a year and then spending a year travelling throughout China and Asia. In 2004, he attended Beijing Film Academy with a full state scholarship, majoring in Cinema Studies. After obtaining his MA degree, he taught film history and short film production in Communication University of China, Nanjing for three years. In those three years, he has found his life aim, and resolved to pursue a professional life in filmmaking.
In 2012, he came to Los Angeles to continue his life adventure exploring different cultures and currently an education in film production at USC with friends and peers. He is in good progress now, making shorts, and writing features, preparing for his career in the industry in the near future.
After completing her BBA from UNM, Bethann worked with a nonprofit to provide peer counseling to college students. She began to pursue her artistic side, and soon opened an interior design business. In 2011, Bethann gave in to a long cherished dream to become a filmmaker. She is currently pursuing a MFA in film production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Osahon Tongo is one of the sound designers for Drone. As a graduate student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, he has created several short films; including I’m Good; a film about male sensitivity, and Beast; a film about the social pressure of college football. Tongo is a Greenspan scholar, Kantor award winner and Comedy @ SCA Executive Board member. Recently he worked in the office of the Director of the LA Film Festival at Film Independent, Lunacy Entertainment and prior to that in marketing at CNN and Emory University. Tongo holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Georgia Tech.
Gracy Wen Wang is from China. She graduated from the Communication University of China in Beijing and got her bachelor’s degree of digital media arts and another one in journalism. She also holds a master’s degree in digital media arts. She is currently in her 3rd year at USC, as a graduate Film Production student. Gracy had developed interests in production design, producing and directing. Her goal is to become a producer in the future.
Nathan Matthew David ‘s recent work has included scoring the one hour primetime TV series, ‘Satisfaction’ on USA; finishing the upcoming indie feature ‘Jane Wants A Boyfriend’ starring Eliza Dushku and Louisa Krause; completing the score for the MTV Films documentary ‘No Cameras Allowed’ and finishing the James Franco led feature ‘Don Quixote’. Upcoming, he is scoring ‘Fresno’ starring Natasha Lyonne and Judy Greer.
His studies include undergraduate work at the University of Texas and graduate work at the University of Southern California’s prestigious ‘Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television’ program. He studied classical composition formally with Dr. Ken Walicki, film composition privately with Christopher Young (Spider-man 3, The Grudge, Priest) and orchestration with Bruce Broughton (Silverado, Tombstone, Tiny Toons).
Visual Effects Supervisor
Jeffrey Gee Chin grew up in Marin County and is an Honors Graduate of UC Berkeley’s Film Studies. His work has been highlighted on ABC’s Good Morning America and screened at the Walt Disney Family Museum. His mission is to share the untold stories of immigrant pioneers who came to the United States in the early 20th Century. In 2012, Jeffrey completed his first narrative short film entitled “Lil Tokyo Reporter” which stars Academy Award-Winner Chris Tashima as Civil Rights Leader Sei Fujii. The film won over 18 film awards and screened at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Korea.
Currently, Jeffrey is a graduate student at USC School of Cinematic Arts with a concentration in Directing in Virtual Environments. He received several honors including the Carl Tamaki Scholarship, Asian Pacific Alumni Association Distinguished Scholar Award, and the esteemed James Bridges Scholarship For Excellence in Directing.
Jeffrey plans to direct his first feature film inspired by his research on 1920-30’s New York Chinatown. The film will trace the journey of an unsung Woman Warrior who must rebuild her community in the midst of the notorious Tong Wars.