ALEXIS GAMBIS - WRITER/DIRECTOR
Alexis Gambis is a French-Venezuelan filmmaker and a biologist whose interdisciplinary work aims at transforming the way science is communicated to the public through film and visual arts. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University and a Masters in Fine Arts from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His first feature film The Fly Room about the birthplace of genetics in New York has toured festivals and academic institutions worldwide ending with a theatrical release in New York, Paris, and Berlin in the fall of 2017. He has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Nature, Cell, TED, and WNYC. At NYU, he teaches in both the Biology and Film departments. His courses combine scientific research and storytelling often featuring animals as actors and blurring the lines between fact and fiction. He is also the founder and executive director of the Imagine Science Films, an annual science film festival now celebrating its 10th anniversary. He also recently launched LABOCINE, a science film platform, research video database and magazine coined by reviewers as the "science new wave."
Son of Monarchs will be his second feature and brings together the themes of evolutionary biology, migration and immigration.
MARIA ALTAMIRANO - PRODUCER
Maria Altamirano is a Peruvian-American producer, whose producing work has been featured at various festivals around the world, including Cannes, Cinequest, Outfest, Sarasota and Florida
Maria is a recent graduate of NYU’s highly selective MBA/MFA dual degree program, a conjunction of Tisch School of the Arts and Stern School of Business. Maria has produced a number of narrative short films, including the 35mm Film Factory sponsored project Give Up The Ghost directed by Marian Mathias, which was an official Cinéfondation selection at the Cannes Film Festival. While at NYU she was also awarded the 2017 Media Services Award for Producer of the Year and the First Run Film Festival Graduate Craft award in producing.
Prior to filmmaking, Maria was Market Research Manager at Paramount Pictures where she generated key development and marketing insights for the studio’s slate. She is in pre-production for her first feature film Son of Monarchs, along with two short films to be shot in Cuba and India. She is a California native and holds a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from UCLA.
ABRAHAM DAYAN - PRODUCER
Abraham Dayan is a Mexican producer with more than sixteen years of experience in various formats that include TV shows, commercials, narrative and documentary films. He is the founder and head of Phoenix Films, a Mexico City production company that specializes in client-based and specialty projects.
Abraham’s work has been viewed across Mexican media. Notably, he produced the documentaries Bancos Comunales, supported by W.K. Kellogg and Save the Children Mexico, La Astronomia en Mexico, Past, Present and Future, co-produced by the Mexican Astronomy Institute (UNAM). He produced the reality TV show Nike Joga TV, and Season One of the TV series Woki Tokis, aired on Canal Once TV. Most recently, Abraham produced the short film Los Mimos Monarcas directed by Alexis Gambis, shot in Michoacan in preparation for the feature film Son of Monarchs, which he will produce.
With every project, Abraham combines his business and leadership background with a strong emphasis on the creative elements, managing resources efficiently and prioritizing practical solutions. In 2013 he was awarded an Effie award, which honors effective marketing communications across Mexico, for his work on the public awareness campaign Diviertete Leyendo. He also received the “Effectiveness Award” at the Festival of Media in Valencia, Spain, for the Snickers branded Urbania production.
PEDRO GOMEZ MILLAN - CINEMATOGRAPHER
Pedro Gómez Millán is a Mexican born cinematographer whose work has been featured at SUNDANCE, CANNES, BERLINALE, TRIBECA & PlusCamerImage, among many other international film festivals. He shot the multi-director omnibus features THE COLOR OF TIME (released by Starz) starring Academy Award Nominees Jessica Chastain, James Franco and Mila Kunis, as well as BLACK DOG RED DOG starring Logan Marshall-Green, Chloe Sevigny, Olivia Wilde and Academy Award Winner Whoopie Goldberg which he also co-directed.
Pedro photographed the film X/Y directed by Ryan Piers Williams and starring Golden Globe Award Winner America Ferrera, Melonie Diaz, Dree Hemingway and Common. The film premiered in competition at the 2014 TriBeCa Film Festival and was released by Entertainment One. His cinematography credits also include HERBERT WHITE (starring Academy Award Nominee Michael Shannon, Sundance - World Premiere), THE CLERK'S TALE (Cannes Semaine de la Critique - World Premiere) and the documentary feature film SATURDAY NIGHT (SXSW - World Premiere).
He also shot THE INSTITUTE and in the sci-fi movie FUTURE WORLD he served as additional cinematographer, all projects directed by actor and director James Franco. Pedro was the DP on MEMORIA, a feature film directed by Vladimir De Fontenay and Nina Ljeti, released in Theaters and VOD in 2016, and the feature film WOVEN which premiered in Los Angeles Film Festival that same year. He most recently shot a few projects that have been released in 2018. They include HALF MAGIC, actress Heather Graham's directorial debut and produced by The Bubble Factory, SPRINTER, directed by Storm Saulter and produced by Overbrook Entertainment and ALL I WISH, starring legendary actresses Sharon Stone and Ellen Burstyn and actor Tony Goldwyn and released by Universal.
He received an MFA from NYU's The Tisch School of the Arts and was invited to participate at the Sundance Director's Lab in 2016. He just recently wrapped shooting the first season of THE HOUSE OF FLOWERS, a new NETFLIX ORIGINAL series directed by Manolo Caro and scheduled to be released in August 2018. Pedro splits his time between New York City, Los Angeles, and Mexico. He's represented by APA Agency.
FARIDE SCHROEDER - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Faride Schroeder is a Mexican writer, director and assistant director passionate about images and characters full of meaning. In her work her constant search for beauty and magic, her attention to detail, symbolism and content within the narrative are visible; essentially through a strong feminine gaze.
She has worked in the national and international film and advertising industry for 14 years, which gives her a particular mix of a young way of understanding media and vast professional experience.
Faride got a degree in communication and film studies at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, after spending couple of years traveling, writing and filming in Europe. She directs commercials and also writes and directs her own film projects which have been selected in several international film festivals abroad and the most important ones in Mexico.
Her short film 4 Kilos of Memories (2008) won the Straight 8 / Reto Kornea prize at 11th Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF) and was part of "The Best of the Year" global selection. With her short film Invisible Seams (2012) she participated in 10th Morelia International Film Festival, the International Show of Women in Film and TV, 23th Paraguay International Film Festival; the same year her short On the Edge (2012) was selected as part of the “Best Mexican Shorts" at 66° Festival de Cannes - Short Film Corner and the Short Shorts Film Festival amongst others. Her fiction work Mercy (2014) premiered in Europe in Official Selection at 27º Festival Cinélatino Rencontres de Toulouse, in Australia at Viva México Film Festival and many more. In 2018 she co-founded Dear Sisters, a female collective that conceptualizes, writes and produces audiovisual and film content with a gender perspective. She spends her time working between film and advertising building a bridge between artistic creation, gender equity, social conscience, and brands.
She currently directs at Películas Imaginarias in Mexico City, shooting for brands like Google, Nissan, Palmolive, Uber, Ford, as she develops her first fiction feature film.
IKA AVALIANI - PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Set and Production Designer of Georgian origin, Ika Avaliani designer for Theater, Opera, Film & Television in the US and Europe. He recently designed “Negative Numbers” by Uta Beria, a French, Georgian and Italian co-production feature film about Rugby at a penitentiary institution. His other films include “Human Affairs” by Charlie Birns (selected at Slamdance film Festival), “Invisible Spaces” by Dea Kulumbegarshvili, (Cannes shorts Official Selection), “Weasel” by Charlie Birns and others. His recent stage work includes Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater, a repertory show; “Queen of Basel” at the Colony Theater of Miami Beach, a Hilary Bettis adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, directed by Michel Hausmann a show that earned critics acclaim. Ika’s design of “Lysistrata” at the Georgian Rustaveli National Academic Theater was selected as the best set design of 2015 by the National Critics Association.
His other design work include the American Premiere of Vassily Sigarev’s “Black Milk”, at the Classic Stage Company, directed by Michel Hausmann; “Violet” directed by Leigh Silverman at the City Center Encores; At the Marjanishvili Academic Theater, “the Visit” by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and “Jako’s Dispossessed” at the Marjanishvili State Theater in Georgia;
Ika has designed sets and spaces for TV shows and concerts. He is currently working on the opera “Three Sisters” by Péter Eötvös at the Ekaterinburg National Opera with the acclaimed director Christopher Alden, as well as "Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me” by Jeffrey Dennis Smith at the Signature Theater of Arlington, Virginia; He will be also designing the set for the celebration concert for the 100 year anniversary of declaration of independence by Georgia.
Ika holds an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Design School; he is the recipient of the NYU Scholarship as well as the Scholarship by the President of Georgia for special talents and abilities.
ANDRES SALDANA - PRODUCTION SOUND
Andres Saldana is a Mexican sound engineer with 15 years of experience and a holder of a Ph.D in Neurosciences who likes to combine his love of film and sciences in the films and projects he takes part in. He received his PhD in Neurosciences from the University of Salamanca Spain. His thesis project, focusing on the cerebral activity of a group of Tibetian monks in a Buddhist monastery in India, aimed at merging the Buddhist philosophy and neurosciences,in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the mind and senses. He is the founder of Shamata, a project and documentary showcasing the findings of his research and investigation.
He has recorded films such as Asteroide, advertising campaigns, television programs and realities for international channels such as Discovery Channel. He is currently filming the Emotional Revolution, a live show and project that focuses on the relationship between human emotions and diseases as understood by chinese medicine. Andrés was in the crew of the short film Los Mimos Monarcas directed by Alexis Gambis.
ARNAUD MARTIN - SCIENTIFIC ADVISER
Arnaud Martin is an Assistant Professor of Biology at George Washington University. He is broadly interested in the genetic basis of adaptation. As part of the group focused on the Evolutionary and Developmental Genetics of Butterflies and Moths, his experimental work with butterflies is primarily centered on the developmental genetics of wing patterning, with a focus on the morphogenetic mechanisms that create positional information on the wing. Butterfly wings, especially in Heliconius, are a crucible of evolutionary wizardry that provide an unique opportunity to study how phenotypes are tinkered over time. He has been working extensively with Bob Reed to characterize the developmental architecture of pattern variation, with a particular focus on the optix and WntA genes.
During his postdoctoral years in the Patel Lab at UC Berkeley, he developed tools to study butterfly wing patterns positioning the butterfly as a model system for comparative developmental biology. He uses the powerful genetic technique CRISPR for genome editing.
NIPAM PATEL - SCIENTIFIC ADVISER
Nipam Patel is a developmental biologist based at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, where he uses a variety of organisms to study the evolution of developmental systems, from arthropod body plans to butterfly colouration. We asked him about his career and scientific interests, his role as an editor at Development, and his growing butterfly collection. He has recently been appointed to be the Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woodshole, MA.