Panel Speakers

Dr. Linda Seger

Dr. Linda Seger is considered one of the foremost script consultants in the world and was the first script consultant. She created the job in 1981,  based on her doctoral dissertation that developed a method for understanding the elements necessary to make a good script great. Linda has worked on over 2,000 scripts and over 100 produced shows for film, television and theater. Her clients have included writers, directors, producers, executives and companies, in film, television, and theater. They range from beginners to Academy Award winners such as Peter Jackson and William Kelley. She is the author of 13 books, nine of them on screenwriting, including a must-have on every screenwriter’s bookshelf, Making a Good Script Great, which was endorsed by Ron Howard as a book that he uses on every one of his films since Apollo 13. Linda has given seminars on screenwriting in 33 countries on six continents. She lives in the Rocky Mountains in Cascade, Colorado, just west of Colorado Springs.  

Sean J.S. Jourdan

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Latino filmmaker Sean J.S. Jourdan now lives and works in Denver, Colorado where he relocated after receiving a MFA degree in film and video at Columbia College Chicago. Following his graduation and employment as a chemical engineer from the University of Missouri-Columbia, a lifelong interest in storytelling and human nature led him to Washington University in St. Louis where he earned a MA in drama.  His work gradually developed from theater to film where he has worked as an award-winning screenwriter and director (Silver Hugo/Chicago International Film Festival, 2nd Place – Creative Screenwriting Awards, Finalist Filmmakers International Screenwriting Awards, Top 5 Finalist in MTVu’s Best Filmmaker on Campus Competition, CINE Award of Excellence, among many others).


Shorts International, via iTunes, and currently distribute Sean’s short films, which have also played in a number of film festivals worldwide (Raindance, Chicago International Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, etc).


His award-wining first feature film, TEDDY BOY, currently playing film festivals and will soon be available on a number of digital VOD platforms.

Meryem Ersoz

Meryem Ersoz is one of Colorado's top film producers. She owns and operates Red Pine Studios in Boulder/Arvada. She has produced feature films in budgets ranging from 500,000 to $3 million, including two award-winning films, currently in distribution, under her own film label, Black Wing Digital Entertainment. She has worked on set with a range of notable film stars, including Malcolm Mcdowell, Jessica Alba, Luke Wilson, Dean Cain, and Ione Skye. She has produced nationally televised sporting events, with a focus on triathlon. 


In addition to producing, she also works as a cinematographer and digital imaging technician. Career highlights include shooting for LION ARK, a film about the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-homing of 20 Bolivian circus lions at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado and also shooting a Nova special entitled ICE AGE DEATH TRAP, about a prehistoric fossil extraction in Snowmass Village. She has worked on national commercial shoots for Audi/Ducati, Conoco, Wendy's, and other name-brand clients. She has been the data manager for some of Colorado's largest multi-cam shoots, working for well-known musical artists such as Jason Mraz and Ryan Adams. Meryem is both a creative and a systems thinker. She likes to generate the connections which bring big dreams to life. 

Sarah R. Lotfi

Sarah is an American writer-director born to an Iranian father and Chinese-American mother. She is most known for her award-winning film 'Menschen' on disability in the last days of WWII. Her scripts have been finalists in The Sundance Institute, American Gem and Big Vision Empty Wallet programs. Her breakout, The Last Bogatyr was a regional winner and national finalist in the 37th Student Academy Awards and led to a Los Angeles internship on HBO's Cinema Veritae with The Emmy Foundation. Lotfi has presented on independent filmmaking for the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva and New York City, taught courses in film studies at the University of Colorado, and is an alumnus of the Transatlantic Talent Lab with Reykjavik International Film Festival. She is a frequent panelist on film festival strategy, crowdfunding, and microbudget filmmaking and a contributing writer on In 2015, Lotfi co-founded the production company CineVIA Pictures, where she currently serves as the director of Development & Strategy.

Darla Rae

Darla Rae is a California native who grew up in Azusa a suburb of Los Angeles. She began acting at the age of 8 and made the change from stage to film as an actor in John Carpenter’s original “Halloween”. She is an award-winning filmmaker. Her first full length feature film "The Goal" received numerous awards nationally and internationally, including The Golden Ten Award at Mumbai India, along with seven awards at the Milan International Sport Movies & TV Film Festival in 2006. Darla has also lent her talents to the award winning medical documentary “Dandy Kids” which she presented and screened before the United States Congress in Washington DC. The film helped change the way in which research dollars were appropriated to help families whose children are affected by Dandy Walker Syndrome. Darla’s last film “Spirit of Love, the Mike “Stinger” Glenn story” also won Best Inspirational Family Film from The Inspirational Country Music Association in 2013. All of her films have received worldwide distribution. She enjoys helping and teaching others who share an interest in filmmaking and storytelling. Darla is an alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles. She is CEO and founder of Film It Productions in Denver Colorado and currently working on an epic WWII love story titled, “The French American”.

David Grauberger

Based in Denver, Colorado, David is a cinematographer and camera operator.  A craftsman by nature, David is always looking for that elusive creative spark to reveal his subjects motivations, fears, and triumphs.  David began his artistic journey through the mediums of charcoal and painting, which evolved into inspired cinematography.  


David has filmed projects in 13 countries including the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Monaco, Israel, Morocco, Antigua, Barbados, Colombia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Romania.  Some of David's recent clients include:  NBC, PBS, Nat Geo Music TV, Trek Bikes, Ironman, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Country Music Hall of Fame, and the City of Denver. 


David’s short films have been officially selected to the Napa Valley Film Festival, Orlando Film Festival, Breckenridge Film Festival,  and featured in a short film showcase at the Denver Film Festival.  


In 2012 and 2014 David was Emmy nominated for outstanding camerawork with the NBC Ironman Kona camera team.


David is currently in pre-production on the feature film "The French American". 


Mike Newman-Cortez

Co-founder, CEO at CineVIA Pictures, Mike Newman is involved in various sectors of the company's business and creative prospects. Newman consults on budget preparation, finance document preparation, financial forecasting, and business relationships with the state of Colorado and other business peers. He has worked extensively in the financial sector as a Financial Analyst, and within the film business as a Producer on Menschen as well as various other productions in development. Newman is also a writer who has a novel scheduled for wide release by a major publisher in 2016. His goal is to bridge his technical and creative talents into film and literary projects that penetrate through the social/economic walls created by society that separate us all.

Alex Gray​

Alex Gray is an award winning director and visual artist. His short film Derek, premiered at Palm Springs International Short Fest in 2011. Working with the estate of Ray Bradbury, he adapted one of the author's stories into his short film Jack in The Box. With a background in illustration, his artwork has been exhibited and sold in shows. Alex regularly accepts commissions for storyboards, graphic design, and post production. His work with miniatures and digital composition allowed him to create the fantastical world alongside live action talent in Jack in the Box, meriting an award for Best Visual Effects. An alumnus of Colorado Film School, Alex currently teaches courses in editing and advanced visual effects.

Rich Lerner

Rich is a working Cinematographer and Film Maker. His experience ranges from fashion commercials to feature films, from television movies-of-the-week to documentaries.  Major awards during his career including an Academy Award “Oscar” for the documentary “ A Story of Healing” and a best documentary National Emmy for “Urban Elephant” for the series Nature.  Many of the films Rich has lensed have won film festival awards from the Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, St Louis, London and other film festivals. 


Rich’s work has been prominently featured in PBS documentaries and has been involved in feature film production as well, having produced, co-directed and photographed independent feature films.


Rich continues to work in a new area shooting National Park visitor center films in Texas, Alaska, Colorado and Arizona.

David Baud

David is ONFF's Technical Producer and the owner of Kosmos Productions. He has worked for over 20 years in production as a cameraman, editor, visual FX artist, director & producer. His work encompasses documentary, short film and feature films. He has worked for the major networks in Europe and the United States.  David's latest projects include La Nuit de la Glisse: Addicted to Life, a feature film documentary for theatrical and TV broadcast releases around the world; and the TV episodes, Diners, Drive Ins & Dives with Guy Fieri, one of the most viewed shows on the Food Network. Today, aside of focusing on telling stories using the optimal color palette, he also enjoys sharing his passion for filmmaking! 

Flatirons, Boulder

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