Neelu Bhuman is an award winning independent artist filmmaker exploring social and political themes as they play out in close relations. Playfully evoking insights into the workings of difference in intimacy, their films blend viewpoints ranging from race, gender, sexuality, culture, class and romance. Pushing these themes in their first feature length award winning TRANSFINITE (2019) and short films FU377 (2014) and MORE LOVE. LESS PREPACKAGED BULLSHIT (2017), Neelu’s films purposefully move towards abstract retellings of the problematics of identity categories and foregrounding varieties of resilience and resistance to experiences of duress – both immediate and political. TRANSFINITE (2019) has won the jury award for diversity in Spain, won the second runner up audience choice award in Amsterdam and was the opening night film at the oldest and iconic 2019 San Francisco Transgender Film Festival; FU377 (2014) has won best animation awards in New Delhi, New York City and Kolkata film festivals, while LOVE LETTER/PREMA LEKHA (2016) garnered the best short in Graphic Arts category at the Tunis Chouftouhonna Feminist Festival. Their films have screened at over 100 festivals world-wide including top-tier LGBTQ+ film festivals such as Frameline, Outfest, BFI Flare, Inside Out, Khashish and more. Two of their films, FU377 (2014) and MORE LOVE. LESS PREPACKAGED BULLSHIT (2017) are being distributed by the Canadian film distribution company CFMDC. They are currently in research phase for their second feature length narrative fiction film and in early production and development on two feature length creative documentary films, one rooted in the South Indian state of Kerala and the second in three countries in Europe.
D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comic. You’ve seen D’Lo in LOOKING (HBO), TRANSPARENT (Amazon), SENSE 8 (Netflix), Mr. ROBOT (CW) and the Emmy nominated mini-doc series THIS IS ME produced by Rhys Ernst and Zackary Drucker. He also can be found in the documentary based on his life/work called PERFORMING GIRL and Sundance Fellow Adelina Anthony’s film BRUISING FOR BESOS as Rani. He’s also been featured in Buzzfeed & Fusion videos, and in many webseries including EASTSIDERS, DYKE CENTRAL, Issa Rae's Color Creative & Project Greenlight produced MINIMUM WAGE and his own series PRIVATE DICK. He tours his solo shows (stand-up & theater) on the university/college circuit and theaters internationally, facilitates writing and performance workshops nationally, and also is a co-producer with Disoriented Comedy - all Asian-American touring group. D'Lo is currently in development on a scripted series based on his life that is set up at BTR Media and Paul Feig’s Powderkeg Media.
Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 25+ years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business. His career focus has been powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. His long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals - Sundance, Berlinale, AFI Docs, IDFA, DOC NYC, CPH: DOX, Tokyo, Melbourne, Viennale, Krakow, among others - and been released worldwide theatrically, across all forms of television, and on VOD/Digital/Educational platforms. In 2016, he received one of the prestigious IFP Fellowships to attend the Cannes Film Festival’s Producers Network and Marche du Film marking him as one of USA’s most influential independent producers.
In the mid-2000s, he was the Producer at TellyTopia, a Silicon Valley start up specializing in interactive television, IP-TV and VOD products for cable & satellite companies. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was widely known as the President & Founder of Turbulent Arts -- a boutique, indie film distribution and sales company based in San Francisco that ranked in 1998 as the 26th largest film company in North America, 14th among independents (source: The Hollywood Reporter.) The Turbulent Arts roster of filmmakers included some of the world's most talented directors, including: John Greyson, Petr Vaclav, Karim Dridi, Charles Herman-Wurmfeld, Yuri Mamin, Jochen Hick, Greta Schiller, among others.
In 2017, he works full-time as an independent filmmaker, while maintaining a thriving consulting business called 13th Gen that guides both emerging and established filmmakers through key stages of development, fundraising, production, post, completion, and distribution. In partnership with a dynamic range of independent film partners and companies, 13th Gen also oversees the financing, production, marketing, sales and distribution efforts of a vibrant portfolio of films & filmmakers, many of which Smolowitz produces and/or directs.IMDB >
Stefano Gonzalez is a trans Latinx producer originally from the suburbs of Long Island, New York. While completing his BA in Broadcasting and Mass Communications, he discovered his passion for filmmaking. He moved to Brooklyn and began teaching film production to high school students while making his own promotional videos for local talent. In 2008, Stefano moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and enrolled at the Academy of Art University, where he completed his MFA in Motion Pictures and Television. Besides making 6 of his own short films, Stefano's credits also include writer, director, producer, actor, voice actor, and assistant director. His short script, How To Kill Someone You Hate, won Best Short Film and Best Directing awards at the 2014 Epidemic Film Festival. Rebel Child, directed by Juan Davis and co-produced by Stefano, won Best Emerging Artist award at the 2015 Pictoclik Film Festival in San Francisco. Do They Fit?, another short, was an Official Selection of Cannes Short Film Corner 2016. It was late that same year that Stefano founded Transgress Studios LLC, a film and video production company designed to transcend repetitive narratives and uncover stories untold. Transfinite is its first co-produced feature film.
Mr. Gonzalez currently resides in Richmond, CA with his wife, son, and their two dogs.Connect with Transgress Studios >
When Neelu first approached him with the nascent idea of TRANSFINITE, Andrew was in absolute awe of the audacity of the concept: Seven shorts by seven writers centering trans* and gender-non-conforming people of color woven into a magical powerful tapestry of feature length. The project is incredibly ambitious and he is humbled and honored to be a part of such an important film and team. His roles have ranged from post production technical supervisor to prop master to one of the primary financiers of TRANSFINITE.
Andrew has worked with Neelu in supporting roles on previous short film projects which all have spurred the audience to see beyond their assumptions and expectations particularly around race, gender, sexuality, love and relationships. The most recent of these was the short film MORE LOVE. LESS PREPACKAGED BULLSHIT (2017) which continues to screen at festivals around the world.
Anten Edilbert has more than a decade of experience in Indian Film Industry as Director, Editor, Line Producer and Lecturer at LV Prasad for both Production and Post Production. He has worked in titles like Singam 3, Kabali, 2.0, Black Panther, Avengers and more than 75 short Films. Owning Simple films, he has produced Ad Films for corporate giants like AbInBev, Nike, Budweiser, Speculur and few other Indian brands such as Nandu Lungies. Has also been a part of Three city BTLIFF Film festival by American Consulates. A festival for journalists who put their life at risk as the Chief Technical Coordinator. He is proud to be a part of this omnibus feature film, TRANSFINITE, that deals with a variety of spiritual and socio-political issues.
Sujatha Jayagopal brings 17 years of international experience strategizing business for small, medium and large enterprises specializing in enabling digital transformation where she has closed 150-million+ dollar deals. She is currently the Director of Strategic Sales for Wipro where her focused approach along with sheer determination make her a competitive force to be reckoned with. Sujatha writes and performs stand-up comedy in her “spare” time. She lives in London with her wife, Meena Subrian, and their sweet little pug, Archie.
Sujatha is absolutely thrilled and immensely proud to be making her first foray into the world of filmmaking through TRANSFINITE and to lend her business acumen to ensure its success. She sees the unique beauty of TRANSFINITE and believes we need to see more of these powerful and timeless voices on the big screen around the world.
Davia Spain is a dynamic performing artist, transformative presenter, informed educator, and filmmaker who uses her various platforms as opportunities to speak truth to power. Through her work, she taps into the healing abilities that performance art offers both on and off stage. She believes that by utilizing the radical potential of movement and song as vehicles for change we can reach a destination of collective rejuvenation and transformation. Her understanding of our world has been shaped by her unique positionality as a Black Trans Woman, rooting her in the understanding that change is only possible when a shift in power structures occurs. And this is where her work lies, as a relayer of information about how this change can happen in ways that sustainably uplift disenfranchised peoples - namely black trans femmes. Due to the intense adversity she faces, Davia is deeply invested in offering her skills and knowledge to the efforts of creating more opportunities for people like her to be given revered positions of power in our society.Learn more about Davia >
Lida, while new to the world of screenwriting, considers herself to be a visionary. She has always been curious about human existence and discovered in her early childhood that she's also a philosopher by nature. Lida has been inspired by great works of film that reveal segments of the human condition, and she aspires to use her vision to reveal to audiences what it means to be human. Additionally, Lida identifies as a hip hop emcee, lyricist, poet, athlete, artist, and activist. Lastly, she identifies as a female who happens to be trans.
Ryka Aoki is the author of Seasonal Velocities, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song) and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul. She has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people. Ryka was the inaugural performer for the first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride, and has performed in venues including the San Francisco Pride Main Stage, the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, and Ladyfest South. Ryka also appears in the recent documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts.” She has MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets. She is a professor of English at Santa Monica College.
Ryka was the inaugural performer for San Francisco’s first ever Transgender Stage at San Francisco Pride 2005, and has performed in venues including the San Francisco Pride Main Stage, the Columbus National Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival, the National Queer Arts Festival, and Ladyfest South. Ryka also appears in the recent documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts.” She has MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Ryka is a former national judo champion and the founder of the International Transgender Martial Arts Alliance. She teaches an inclusive system of self-defense and martial arts to at risk youth at the LA LGBT Center and has presented self-defense seminars at conferences and special events throughout Southern California. For her work with youth, Ryka was named an Outstanding Volunteer by the LGBT Center’s Children, Youth and Family Services. (It’s her favorite award ever.)
She is also a professor of English at Santa Monica College, a half-decent pianist, and is starting to learn to play the violin.Learn more about Ryka >
Cody Makil was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and lived throughout out the Phoenix Metro area until he went to San Francisco, California to attend Academy of Art University and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts for Directing Motion Pictures and Television. He always had an interest in movies, seeing new films in theaters and on TV. While in college he also discovered a flare for screenwriting and film makeup. While in college he deepened connections made with the American Indian Film Institute in San Francisco, who held a film camp in his Community when he was still in high school, and attended their annual film festivals. He later went on to assist in their film camp to teach others and organize later film festivals. He continues to write screenplays and partake in filmmaking in anyway he can.
Music video filmmaker Aja Pilapil has been creating films for nearly a decade. This year, she continued to establish herself as a staple in the Bay Area LGBT filmmaking community. She has directed multiple music videos for queer artists pro-bono and continues to collaborate on various creative projects. She has shares her production experience in productions including FLOAT (dir. Sam Berliner) , a transgender and queer experimental short filmed entirely underwater featuring an all transgender and queer cast and crew – and screened at Frameline and Outfest. Currently she was announced to handle assistant camera work on director Shine Louse Houston’s upcoming neo-noir film, SNAPSHOT.
In 2014, her cinematography work in Crossing Barriers: Culture Clash Queers, was included at the 32nd Center for Asian American Media Film Fest (CAAMFest) – the largest Asian American film fest in North America.
Aja’s work in cinematography extends into, Vampariah, a feature length film based on ancient Filipino folklore of the aswang (vampire). Aja was a film student of the Academy of Art University and is a working professional filmmaker living in San Francisco, CA.Learn more about Aja >
Tina is a mixed-race Latina lesbian/queer identified feminist artist and professional Actor (SAG- AFTRA), Casting Director, Screenwriter, Solo Performer, Acting Teacher, Public Speaking Trainer, and Performance Coach. She is a lover of films, plays, poetry, literature, dance, and art that helps to heal, inspire, move, and create a more loving and peaceful world for all of us.
Tina grew up in Boston where she spent years developing her stage skills in theater, solo performance, and performance poetry. During her time in Boston, she performed in Living On, a Tony Award winning play, written and directed by Lois Roach. She also starred in the beloved play, Motherlands (directed by Brenda Cotto), which was staged at the Theatre Offensive. This production of Motherlands went on to win the Boston Women’s Fund Award.
Tina D'Elia is known for her Latina Lesbian - Groucho Marx solo show, Groucho: A Day in the D’Elia Soup (2002), which she began developing in 1996 at The New Theatre in Boston under the direction of Rick DesRochers. Her solo show was developed into a short film, Groucho (directed by Michael La Rocco), and toured in festivals nationally and internationally in 2005-2006.
Tina’s award winning solo show, The Rita Hayworth of this Generation, directed Mary Guzmán garnered Best of Fringe and Best of Sold Out Shows at the San Francisco Fringe Festival (2015). Lucha (2009), a short film that she co-wrote with the award-winning film director, Maria Breaux, won The Audience Award at the Frameline International LGBT Festival (2009) and was nominated for the prestigious Iris Prize (UK). Tina also won Best Stunt Award in the LGBT Moorhead Film Festival for the short film Mechanics Daydream. She is currently developing a new solo show, Overlooked Latinas, with director Mary Guzmán and Solo Performance Teacher & Dramaturge, David Ford.
Tina’s film and television credits include: The Pursuit of Happyness, Knife Fight, Don't Shoot I'm the Guitar Man, Junkie, Sense8 on Netflix, Trauma on NBC TV, Dyke Central (web series), and Possession: A Game of Inches (web series).Learn more about Tina >
Donya Maguire is a London-based editor, a recent graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London with an MA in Film Editing. She has edited a number of short films, most recently the award-winning short “Turquoise” directed by Roozbeh Misaghi.
She now works for ITN and freelances on short film, music video and commercial projects. In her current role, she edits for ITV News and ITV’s On Assignment, a 30 minute foreign affairs series.
I am an interdisciplinary artist, working in the mediums of painting, performance, installation and sculpture. Deeply informed by my heritage as both a multigenerational Black Los Angelina and a first generation Jamaican American of East Indian descent, my practice seeks to redefine commonly held notions regarding the human body, particularly the Black body.Learn more about Risha >
TAYYLOR MADE, is an American DJ/Producer hailing from Washington, D.C. Now based in London, she has established herself as an in-demand artist attracting major bookings such as Lovebox Festival, Converse and Ministry of Sound. TAYYLOR MADE continues to play internationally extending her reach across cities from New York to Berlin. The Co-Founder and resident DJ at popular East London club night, VIBRATE, TAYYLOR MADE specializes in Hip Hop and emerging club sounds including Trap, Jersey Club, and Future Beats. In the studio, she has recorded major artists including Kano, Yxng Bane and Roxxxan among others. Recently venturing into sound for film, TAYYLOR MADE has made a significant impact contributing scores, song productions and leading as music supervisor on the OUTFEST supported independent film, TRANSFINITE, which is due for release in 2019. Production-wise, given the enthusiastic reception of her latest release supported by Dummy Mag, "CAN'T LET GO", and forthcoming releases for NYC label/collective, In Good Company, very exciting things are expected from her in the studio and behind the decks in the near future.Learn more about Tayylor Made >
Gee Imaan Semmalar is a trans activist,artist and educator. He has written extensively on trans issues in newspapers, online portals and academic journals for the past decade. He is part of trans led groups like LesBiT, Sampoorna and All Kerala Transmens' Association and Indian Federation for Trans masculine Persons. In 2012 , he directed, scripted and acted in Kalvettukal (Sculptures) a docu fiction on trans men in South India. In 2015 , he co-directed and scripted a stop motion animation named Won't the Real Transformers Please Stand Up. In 2014, he co-founded Panmai theatre with Living Smile Vidya and Angel Glady and travelled extensively with their debut production Colour of trans 2.0 in India and North America.
My name is Robert Liu-Trujillo. I am the author and illustrator of “Furqan’s First Flat Top”. I was born in Oakland, California and raised all across the Bay Area. I’m a visual artist, father, and a husband who employs the use of illustration, public art, and storytelling to tell tales. These tales manifest in a variety of forms and they reflect my cultural background, dreams, and political / personal beliefs. My motivation to do what I do is to unearth beautiful and un-told stories, to be a positive and nurturing influence on my son, and to honor my ancestors and family who worked so hard for me to be here. I love music, nerdy things, and can get along well with most people. I seek fun, ice cream, and justice.
I’m also a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to Rad Dad, and the founder of Come Bien Books.Learn more about Rob >
Pamela M. Chavez is a queer woman of color illustrator & animator influenced by contemporary issues directly impacting Latinx communities. Pamela hopes to highlight elements of resilience and beauty that rise from the dark and mundane. Pamela's current animated film ""Caracol Cruzando"" is a short animated film about a young Costa Rican girl whose journey across the US/Miami border with her best friend and pet turtle reveals the true risk of immigration for her undocumented family.
Pamela has a BFA in Illustration (which she applied to Animation) from the Rhode Island School of Design. She also holds a BA in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She combines her previous experience as a youth organizer & activist with the redefining powers of visual media.Learn more about Pamela >
Bambi Katsura is a Japanese-Okinawan-American creator, collaborator, and filmmaker. They delight in pushing boundaries, exploring social justice themes, and creating inclusive works that challenge viewers and inspire change. In their work, they hope to foster community and value working with those who live beyond the margins of the mainstream. Their films have been featured in festivals around the world, including Frameline, Fringe!, and the Toronto Queer Film Festival. They are currently based in the Bay Area, and spend their days nurturing daydreams, birthing art, and tending to their beloved plants.Learn more about Bambi >
I am a Sound Designer whose work has spanned many different language feature films, short films and documentaries. To name a few, Kabali, Kaala, Aadhi, June, ExDominatrix, The Least Of These : The Graham Staines Story. I describe my work as dedicated, honest and sincere. During my 5 yrs in this field, I have developed my technical and creative skills. I approach each of my projects with great attention and commitment. I am originally from Kerala but based in Chennai.IMDB >
Lauren Davenport, a Maryland native, is a coach, educator, speaker, and emerging filmmaker. Over the past couple of years, Lauren has spent significant time teaching a variety of subjects to high school students and speaking at different conferences (in the area of Gifted Education and most recently at the US Lacrosse National Convention) throughout the US on a variety of topics. Her primary sports as a coach are lacrosse and field hockey. As an emerging filmmaker, Lauren's interest in film began in middle school working on her school's TV program and has continued to evolve since. She got involved with Transfinite assisting the acquiring props, set decoration, and location scouting. More recently, Lauren has been helping friends and family by creating recap videos, promotional videos, commercials, and crowdfunding videos in addition to her own creative projects.