Skip to main content

7th Annual Careers in Film Summit: Biographies


Mike Muse is a former Record Label Co-Founder, Pop Culture Expert, Political Expert, and Change Agent. By intersecting politics and pop culture, Mike uses his platform to create social change. As an industrial engineer turned media entrepreneur, Mike is host of SiriusXM’s award winning show, The Mike Muse Show, Co-host of Sway in the Morning, and recently named ABC News Contributor for ABC News Live and the Good Morning America Family. Most recently, Mike became the founder of Vote Quadrant, a non-profit dedicated to strategic voting to end police brutality. He leverages his platform to show policy as lifestyle, the topic of his first of two TED Talks.  And he is a guest lecturer on various topics dealing with the business of music and politics at our nation’s top universities.  Mike served as a member of President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, to which he was recognized as one of the youngest people in America to raise over $1 million dollars for any American President in one year. He was appointed to serve as the United States Small Business Administration, My Brother’s Keeper and Millennial Entrepreneurial Champion, which was designed to support President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, as well as the United States Small Business Administration Federal Commission for the Council of Underserved Communities as the Millennials in Business Representative. His passion will always be tech which is evident with his newly minted fellowship with Google, as a NextGen Tech Policy Fellow.


Brooke Breton has been principally involved in a wide variety of prominent live action films, animated films, television series and theme park projects which have received Academy, BAFTA, Emmy, Annie and VES awards and nominations. Key projects include: Avatar, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, Solaris, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Dick Tracy.  Recently, Ms. Breton served as a producer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, where she focused on modern filmmaking techniques and acquisitions. Prior to that, Ms. Breton was a Senior Production Executive and in-house producer for Illumination Entertainment where she produced the film content for the Despicable Me theme park attraction, Minion Mayhem, for Universal. The attraction was awarded an Annie Award for “Best Animated Special Venue Production” as well as a VES award for “Best Visual Effects for a Theme Park Attraction.”  Ms. Breton was instrumental in launching James Cameron’s effects house Digital Domain, where she served as Senior Vice President of Production for several years. During Breton’s tenure, Digital Domain created the effects for such blockbusters as True Lies, Interview with a Vampire, and Apollo 13. They also created the theme park attraction Terminator 2 – 3D. Breton was also very involved in the start-up of DreamWorks Animation in addition to producing DreamWorks Pictures’ animated comedy adventure, The Road to El Dorado, which received eight Annie Award nominations.  In current development under the Breton Productions banner are three feature film projects and a museum exhibition, entitled “The ART of Visual Effects.” Ms. Breton is a newly elected AMPAS governor representing the Visual Effects Branch. She has also been elected to the AMPAS Visual Effects Executive Council and the Science and Technology Council for 3 terms. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and has served as a three-term board of director member of the Visual Effects Society. Ms. Breton served as creative lead for two of the Sci-Tech Council’s public programs: Virtual Production: Are you Game? and Galactic Innovations: Star Wars and Rogue One, 40 years of Pioneering Cinematic. Ms. Breton served as co-chair of the A2020 Diversity Committee for the AMPAS Visual Effects branch and remains committed to furthering her work in the arenas of education, mentoring, diversity and inclusion.


PANEL 1 – Anatomy of a Production: Candyman

Nia DaCosta is one of the freshest and most in-demand voices in Hollywood having written and directed projects for stage, film and television.  Nia’s latest film is the long-awaited Candyman. Produced by Oscar-winner Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, the film is a contemporary spiritual sequel of the 1992 cult horror classic of the same name, dealing with the power—and perils—of storytelling, while highlighting timely issues of gentrification, racial profiling and race-based violence. Nia directed and co-wrote the film with Peele and Win Rosenfeld. Candyman, starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Teyonah Parris, and Colman Domingo, was released on August 27, 2021 by Universal Studios and debuted at #1 at the box office, receiving overwhelming critical acclaim.  Nia is currently in production on the highly anticipated Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels. Directing this film makes her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Studios picture. The superhero film, starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani, is scheduled to be released November 11, 2022.  Her debut feature, Little Woods, was developed through the Sundance Institute and starred Tessa Thompson and Lily James. The film dealt with real-world topics including access to health care, poverty and criminal justice through the story of two estranged sisters who must work outside the law to better their lives. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was released theatrically by Neon in 2019, earning a 96% score on Rotten Tomatoes.  In 2019, she directed two episodes of the third season of the Netflix revival, Top Boy. Nia also worked as a writer for the HBO series Industry with U.K.'s Bad Wolf.  Nia received a BFA in Film and Television from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and a MA in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the most in-demand actors with a multitude of diverse projects on the horizon. Most recently, Yahya covered The Hollywood Reporter, which deemed him a part of “The New Hollywood A-List” for its August 11, 2021 issue. As Hollywood’s “leading man”, he also covered the June/July 2021 issue of Essence ahead of the release of blockbuster remake Candyman. Last year, Yahya won his first Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, for his role as Cal Abar/Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s groundbreaking Watchmen. He was honored by the Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Black Cinema with the Breakthrough Award in Feb 2021, made theHuffPost’s 2020 Culture Shifters list, and in 2018, he was one of a select group of actors to make the prestigious The Hollywood Reporter’s NextGen list.  Recently, Yahya starred in the highly-anticipated Jordan Peele produced remake of the popular Candyman for MGM/Universal. The 2021 reboot of the 1992 horror classic was billed as a “spiritual sequel” to the original and returns to the neighborhood where the legend began: the now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green public housing projects once stood. Directed by Nia DaCosta, who set the record with Candyman as ‘the first black female director and filmmaker to open a #1 movie at the domestic box office’, the film also charted as the ‘#1 grossing movie of the weekend’ as theaters settled into reopening amidst the COVID-19 fluctuations.  Last year, Yahya co-starred amongst an all-star cast in Aaron Sorkin's The Trial Of The Chicago 7 for which he played Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale. The film was released on Netflix in October 2020 and received critical acclaim including multiple award nominations, with unanimous praise for Yahya’s performance.   Up next, Yahya will star in The Matrix 4, led by original director/writer Lana Wachowski set to hit theaters December 22, 2021 as well as Ambulance, the Michael Bay-directed thriller opposite Jake Gyllenhaal which is slated for early 2022. He is currently in production on Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom, reprising his role as ‘Black Manta’. Yahya has many projects on the horizon including Emergency Contact which he is set to star and Executive Produce and By All for Warner Bros. It has also been announced that he is attached to star and Executive Produce The Scent Of Burnt Flowers with Macro TV, created by Blitz Bazawule.  In Fall 2019, Yahya also starred in HBO’s Watchmen, the highly-praised series which hailed from Damon Lindelof, which debuted to largest ratings in three years on October 20, 2019.  The show was declared one of the best of the last decade, resulting in 26 Emmy nominations including a Best Supporting Actor nomination (and win) for Yahya.  In previous years, Yahya starred as the coveted villain role of Black Manta in James Wan’s Aquaman opposite Jason Momoa for DC Comics and Warner Bros. It released December 21, 2018 and quickly crossed the $1 billion mark. Also that year, Yahya received critical acclaim for First Match, based on an award-winning script by Olivia Newman that won the Audience Award at SXSW, with The New York Times stating “I don’t think I’ve seen better screen acting in 2018 than Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s work as Darrel…”. It released on Netflix in March 2018.  Past roles include the “Striking Vipers” episode of Black Mirror, a role in Jordan Peele’s Us, The Greatest Showman, opposite Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Zendaya for Twentieth Century Fox. Additional credits include Sony Pictures Classic’s Boundaries, a haunting guest role in Hulu award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale, a scene-stealing performance opposite Dwayne Johnson in Paramount’s Baywatch, Netflix’s All Day And A Night and Sweetness In The Belly opposite Dakota Fanning, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. In August 2016, in his first role post drama school, Yahya originated the role of Cadillac, the prince of disco, in Baz Luhrmann’s visionary television series, The Get Down. The series was a musical drama about the rise of hip-hop in the 1970s. The first six episodes debuted on Netflix in August 2016, with the latter six episodes following in April 2017. Yahya was born in New Orleans but grew up in Oakland, California. He was a gifted athlete in high school, who in addition to being a class clown, participated in the debate and chess teams. Yahya took his skills to UC Berkeley where he majored in architecture. After graduating, he went on to work in the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing in city planning & community development. After the market crashed and Yahya’s team was laid off, he decided to pursue his interest in acting and was accepted into the Yale School of Drama. In 2015, Yahya graduated Yale with an MFA in drama and was the sole recipient of the prestigious Herschel Williams Prize, awarded to one acting student per graduating class with outstanding ability. Yahya is a winner of Sun Valley Film Festival’s 2018 Rising Star Award.

John Guleserian aspired to be a filmmaker from a young age.  He studied cinematography as an undergrad at Columbia College Chicago and then as a graduate student at The American Film Institute.
While at AFI, Guleserian began a longstanding collaboration with writer–director Drake Doremus.  Guleserian and Doremus have paired up to shoot five feature films including Like Crazy, a romantic drama that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and won the festival's Grand Jury Prize. John went on to shoot many critically acclaimed films including Richard Curtis’s About Time, The Overnight, directed by Patrick Brice, and Equals, a VFX driven Sci-fi romance, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival.  Equals star Kristen Stewart then asked Guleserian to shoot her directorial debut, Come Swim, which premiered at Sundance in 2017 and screened at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. Some of Guleserian's noteworthy television credits include Amazon’s hit series Transparent, Hulu’s Casual, and the Netflix series Friends from College, created by Nick Stoller.  In addition to Candyman, John has recently shot Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon, Ed Zwick’s, Trial by Fire, HBO Max’s first released feature film, An American Pickle, and Clea Duvall’s Happiest Season.  He is currently in production on Cocaine Bear directed by Elizabeth Banks.

Born and raised in Sweden, Catrin Hedström’s lifelong passion for filmmaking brought her to the United States to study film at NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts.
After graduation, Hedström quickly found her knack for editing and cut every indie feature she could get her hands on. She also cut her teeth on advertisements at Droga5, Vox, Condé Nast and Sony Music, and edited content for artists such as Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Lil Wayne, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber. Hedström is a frequent collaborator of director Nia DaCosta, having met while students at NYU.  She has cut all of DaCosta’s projects, including the features Little Woods, Candyman, and the Netflix series Top Boy. Earlier this year Hedström edited Sharp Stick, directed by Lena Dunham, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jon Bernthal, Taylour Paige and Kristine Froseth.  Hedström is currently editing The Marvels, directed by DaCosta.

J. Anthony Kosar is an Emmy® Nominated Special FX Make-Up Artist and Prosthetics Designer through his company Kosart Studios, LLC. Anthony was the Special FX Make-Up Department Head and Make-Up FX Designer on Candyman (2021), Fargo (Season 4), and the upcoming Shining Girls (Season 1) and Paper Girls (Season 1) creating all the character and trauma make-up FX and prosthetics for these productions. Kosar created the trauma make-up FX for Lovecraft Country episode 1 "Sundown," earning him an Emmy Nomination for “Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup.” Some of Anthony's other credits also include: Power Book IV : Force, Empire, Chicago PD, Station Eleven, Shameless, and many others. With every project, Kosar strives to continue growing as an artist. In 2013, Kosar became the FACE OFF
Season 4 Champion, winning 6 of 11 Spotlight Challenges, holding the record of most consecutive wins in a row and most wins by a single contestant on a single season. Besides FX, Kosar also designs and sculpts prototypes for toys, masks, and collectibles, illustrates for novels and comic books, and creates fine art paintings and sculptures. Follow Kosar and his company on social media @KOSARTstudios and @janthonykosar and view his work:

Cara Brower (Production Designer) learned her craft working up through the ranks of the Art Department. As an Art Director, Cara has had the honor of working with some of her filmmaking heroes – David Lynch (Twin Peaks, The Return), Joel and Ethan Coen (Hail Caesar!), and David Fincher on three separate projects (House of Cards, Gone Girl, and Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z Suit & Tie). In 2018, Cara served as Art Director on Jordan’s Peele’s US. Her shared passion for heightened visuals and elevated aesthetics led to her opportunity to work as Candyman’s Production Designer for MonkeyPaw films and director Nia DaCosta.   Cara is currently collaborating again with Nia DaCosta as the Production Designer for her highly anticipated Marvel feature, The Marvels – a follow up to Captain Marvel.

PANEL 2 – Roll Credits:  Other Jobs In the Industry

Property Master, Jimmy Chow, has a legacy of over 40 years of feature film experience, consisting of blockbuster movies, historical period films, science fiction fantasy and art house films.  Credits include:  The BFG, Warcraft, X-Men 2, Fantastic 4, Watchman, Tron Legacy, Man of Steel – Superman, Legends of the Fall, Little Women, Seven Years in Tibet, Snow Falling on Cedars, Shanghai Noon, The Shipping News, among others.  He began his career on local television at CBC and gained valuable experience through numerous TV commercials and TV series.  Jimmy has also worked as a Set Decorator and Art Director.  It has given him a deeper global understanding of the Art Department and Production and ultimately has strengthened his skills as a Property Master.  He has worked in California, Alaska, Newfoundland, Argentina, England, France, Italy, Jamaica, Tahiti and Macao, China.  He guest lectures at Capilano University Film Program for the past 20 years.  He is dedicated to excellence and is very passionate about his work, and as a result, he has built strong teams who carry on his spirit.  Jimmy currently resides in Vancouver, Canada.

Todd Christensen is originally from Yankton, South Dakota, and attended college in ABQ at the University of New Mexico in 1967- 1971.  He lived in Taos off and on from 1971 – 1982. Todd did scenic painting in Los Angeles from 1992 to 1995, and started working in film in 1995 as an Assistant Location Manager and became a Location Manager in 1999. He has worked on such films as Syriana, Off the Map, There Will Be Blood, Moneyball, The Hunger Games, Sicario (1 & 2) and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs working with directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Denis Villeneuve, Joe Kosinski, Joel and Ethan Coen and many others.  Todd has been location manager on over 30 movies and another 25 as location scout.  He is an original founding member of the Location Mangers Guild International.   He has won the “California On Location” Award for Moneyball for Best Team and Professional of the year as well as the first LMGI Award that was International for Best Locations on Sicario.   Todd was the Shop Steward for Teamster Local 399 for 8 years and the NMFO Director from 2019-2020. He has worked out of Los Angeles starting in 1995 and moved back to New Mexico in 2006 to continue his work as a Location Manager/Scout.   Todd is also an accomplished artist having had over 55 shows in the last 45 years.

Dawn’s career started as an original Los Angeles Rams Cheerleader in 1978.  This introduced her to the entertainment business which lead to a successful career.   Dawn went from dancer to Script Supervisor and has worked on many familiar movies such as, Boyz in the Hood, Magnificent Seven, Fences, King Kong, Black Panther, Creed II, Star Wars 7 and Star Wars 9.  She shares her knowledge in an online course called The Art of Continuity:  Filmmaking as a Script Supervisor. Many of her students are now working Script Supervisors and Directors.  Dawn enjoys giving back by volunteering when projects have internships.  She makes time when requested to give her perceptive on the craft and filmmaking.  Dawn started her own tech company, Gifted Enterprises.  She’s developing an Expiration Tracker App that will notify you when your makeup and skincare products has expired.  She’s known for her “Dawnisms”, “A closed mouth don’t get fed.” And “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready!”

Katherine came to intimacy coordinator work with a robust background working in production. She has extensive experience as an intimacy coordinator, having worked on more than twenty productions as an IC. Some of her recent credits include working as the intimacy coordinator on Vida (Starz), Mythic Quest (Apple TV+), PEN15 (Hulu), Snowfall (FX), Rutherford Falls (NBCUniversal), and The L Word: Generation Q (Showtime, Season 2). She specializes in LGBTQ+ representation with an emphasis on female sexuality and fluidity, and works as both an intimacy coordinator and an LGBTQ+ consultant. Katherine also co-founded Rescripted, a website dedicated to letting diverse theater professionals engage in theatrical criticism. Katherine graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University with a double major in English Literature and Theatre Arts.

Melanie is currently completing her practical and personal advice book for Women desiring to work on set, Below the Line. She will follow the book up with a docuseries about crew’s lives working on set.  Melanie has worked as an industry professional since 2009, beginning her Union career in 2012 when she joined IATSE Local 479. For nearly ten years, she worked as a Television and Motion Picture 1st Unit Grip, Best Boy Grip, and most recently as an Underwater Best Boy Grip.  Melanie’s main drive is helping provide opportunities, education and mentoring for Women who want to pursue careers below the line. Melanie currently resides in Los Angeles where she writes and works as Assistant Technician on Technocrane. Her main career goal and focus is to tell Women’s stories and direct feature films.

PANEL 3 – VFX in Film


Lyndon Barrois is an Artist, Animation Director and Filmmaker.  An AMPAS VFX Executive Branch member, Lyndon boasts a long career in art and animation. His film credits include The Matrix Trilogy, Happy Feet, and The Thing, where he directed pivotal character animation sequences in those features. He currently wins accolades for his unique gum wrapper sculpture animations of historic figures and events, whose portraits and Sportraits are produced entirely on iPhones. Within the art world, his work has been featured in major institutions from the Pérez Art Museum Miami, to the MOCA Los Angeles, and the Massachusetts MOCA. Subjects of his work range from gender inclusion in the FIFA World Cup, to America’s Covid-19 crisis, racial uprisings and elections of 2020. A New Orleans native and HBCU graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Lyndon serves on the boards of The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, California Institute of the Arts (his MFA Alma mater), and on the new Academy Museum’s Inclusion Advisory Committee. |

Doug has really only had one job in his life. After getting his PhD in Computer Science from the Ohio State University in 1992, he joined Digital Domain, a visual effects production company. Once there, he found a unique place where art and technology collide. Every day, he builds new tools for artists to use and they, in turn, use the tools in surprising and unexpected ways. The feedback loop between art and science is completely addicting. And, the byproduct of this are movies that the whole world enjoys. He’s worked there ever since. Doug’s work outside Digital Domain reflects this passion. He was the Editor and Chief of the Journal of Graphics tools for more than 5 years. He’s currently the Chair of the Motion Picture Academy’s Sci/Tech Awards and has been a member of the Academy’s Sci/Tech Council. And two of the tools he’s built over the years have won Sci/Tech Academy Awards themselves!

Growing up in Folsom, CA, Erin Ramos pursued her dreams of applying her computer science skills and training to the world of entertainment, after being inspired by such films as Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Jurassic Park. After graduating from UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2002, she got her professional start at Los Angeles-based effects house Rhythm & Hues Studios, working as a pipeline technical director and later moved into effects working on movies such as Snow White and the Huntsman and The Incredible Hulk. She then worked at Weta Digital on The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug and at Industrial Light and Magic on Transformers 4. Ramos currently works as an effects animator at Disney Animation, having worked on Moana, Frozen 2 and most recently finished up on Encanto as Head of Effects Animation.

Chris White is a Visual Effects Supervisor with over 25 years of experience creating compelling digital environments, creatures, and effects. His work has been recognized with multiple awards from the Visual Effects Society, along with Academy Award®, BAFTA, and Emmy nominations. In addition, Chris has played a pivotal role in developing Weta Digital's new water pipeline for the upcoming Avatar sequels, bringing technical and artistic expertise to cutting-edge technology in digital water creation. He also recently supervised Weta Digital's work on Netflix's Umbrella Academy series.  Chris began his career at George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic after studying Computer Art at Syracuse University and the University of Illinois. At ILM, he helped develop tools to create the digital tornados in Twister before spending seven years working on films like Star Wars Episodes I and II, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and The Perfect Storm.  In 2002, Chris joined Weta Digital for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. He orchestrated the complex destruction of the Black Gates environment for the epic conclusion of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. For Peter Jackson's King Kong, Chris developed the procedural system that built the film's digital 1930s New York City and later expanded this expertise for the Maze Runner films. Previous creature supervision includes Rise of the Planet of the Apes, where his leadership in creating the chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas garnered him Academy Award® and BAFTA nominations.  Enthusiastic about giving back to the next generation of artists, Chris enjoys guest lecturing at universities and conferences. As an active member of InclusionFX, he offers young people from traditionally underrepresented groups mentoring and career guidance in visual effects.