Symposium | Penn Film and Media Pioneers VI

Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 10:30am

Penn Film and Media Pioneers VI

Learn about cutting edge research.
Hear from recent graduates who are pursuing media careers.
Discuss the current state of the film and media industry with filmmakers, producers, and other industry leaders.

The symposium is free and open to the public. No registration required.



9:30-10:30am | Breakfast | English Faculty Lounge, 135 Fisher-Bennett Hall

10:30am-12pm | Students as Makers | Meta Mazaj, Moderator

Hallie Brookman
is a Senior from Los Angeles, California, and is majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. She is the President of Kinoki Senior Society and is the co-chair of Wharton Undergraduate Media and Entertainment Club’s Media and Entertainment Week. She is also a dancer, choreographer, and Social Chair of Arts House Dance Company in addition to being a Staff Writer for 34th Street Magazine and a member of Sigma Delta Tau. Upon graduating, Hallie will return to Los Angeles and begin United Talent Agency's Agent Training Program.

Zach Fox
got his start in comedy as a leading voice on YouTube where he created improvisational interviews, comedic shorts, and musical parodies. Subsequently, he hosted Disney XD’s popular hidden camera prank series, "Just Kidding" and signed a development deal with the Disney Channel where he created a pilot with David Nickoll (@midnight) and It's a Laugh Productions, which has been behind some of the greatest Disney Channel hit series and movies. Fox has been credited as one of the youngest people in Hollywood to ever create a show for a major television network. After his stint with the Disney Channel, Fox went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he became a leading writer performer in the nations oldest comedy troupe, Mask and Wig, which performs for over ten thousand people annually. While a student at Penn, Fox was hired as a comedic field correspondent for the D.C. political conglomerate, No Labels, where he covered the 2015/16 primaries across the country. During this time, Fox also created several hit web series, including What The Fox, which has been optioned by the Glass Entertainment Group. Fox has continued to be prolific in the digital space, being hired to write, direct and star in a plethora of videos for AwesomenessTV, Dreamworks and Funny OR Die. Most recently, the Glass Entertainment Group backed Fox’s first feature film, How To Get Girls, which he directed, produced and starred in last summer.
Zach's Actor/Writer Reel -

Isabelle Mecattaf
is a Senior studying English and Cinema and Media Studies. She recently shot a short film in Paris that she will be sending to festivals in September of 2017. Upon graduation she hopes to work in the industry as a screenwriter and director.

Stephen Robert Morse
served as Producer of the 2016 documentary Amanda Knox, purchased by Netflix and aired globally from September 30, 2016. Prior to attending the University of Oxford, from which he earned his MBA in 2016, Stephen co-founded Skillbridge, an online platform to find and hire the world's best business and strategy consultants. In early 2016, Skillbridge was sold to Andreessen Horowitz-backed Toptal. Stephen was awarded a BA (honors) in English and history from the University of Pennsylvania and a dual MA (honors) in Journalism and Media within Globalization/Financial Journalism from a consortium of European institutions he attended as an Erasmus Mundus scholar. He directed and produced the feature length documentary, Ain’t Easy Being Green, on a budget of $3,000 as a senior at Penn. He has worked and consulted for a number of startups in New York and London including Lightbox (acquired by Facebook) Seamless (merged with GrubHub/IPO), Shapeways, and Appboy. Stephen is a 2009 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow and a 2012 Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism Fellow. He contributes regularly to the Financial Times and Fast Company.

12-1pm | Lunch | English Faculty Lounge, 135 Fisher-Bennett Hall 

1-2:30pm | Profs and their Passions | Rahul Mukherjee, Moderator 

Timothy Corrigan
is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include New German Film: The Displaced Image, The Films of Werner Herzog: Between Mirage and History, A Cinema without Walls: Movies and Culture after Vietnam, Critical Visions: Readings in Classic and Contemporary Film Theory, American Cinema of the 2000s, and The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker, winner of the 2012 Katherine Singer Kovács Award for the outstanding book in film and media studies. In 2014 he received the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Award for Outstanding Pedagogical Achievement and the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

Peter Decherney
is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School. He is the author or editor of five books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. He regularly testifies before the Copyright Office of the United States and files amicus briefs in intellectual property court cases, including the Supreme Court case of Golan v. Holder. Prof. Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. Subsequently, he returned to Myanmar to direct the short documentary, Filmmaking for Democracy in Myanmar. He has also won multiple teaching awards, and he is a frequent contributor to

Maggie Hennefeld
is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. She received her PhD in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University in 2014. She is the author of Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes (forthcoming, Columbia UP), and her articles have been published in journals including Camera Obscura, Film History, Discourse, differences, and Screen.

Deborah A. Thomas
is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica and Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and The Politics of Culture in Jamaica, and is co-editor of the volume Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness. Thomas also directed and produced the documentary film Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens. She is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association.

2:30-4pm | The Future of Talent | Peter Decherney, Moderator 

Jonathan Retseck
is the founder and principal of RXR Sports, a boutique sports marketing and talent management firm based in New York. Jonathan represents some of the most prominent names and events in the action, adventure, and endurance sports worlds, including Jimmy Chin, Alex Honnold, Ashima Shiraishi, and the Red Hook Crit bike race. He has worked with his clients to build campaigns and tell stories for some of the world’s leading brands and media outlets, such as Chase, Virgin Galactic, Squarespace, American Airlines, Hilton Hotels, The North Face, BMW, National Geographic, Vice, The New York Times, and Discovery. A former member of the USA Cycling national team, Jonathan cut his teeth professionally at renowned talent agency ICM Partners, working with award-winning filmmakers, writers, and actors. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Leslie Siebert
is a senior managing partner at the Gersh Agency, heading its talent division. Her clients include award-winning talents such as Allison Janney, who has won 7 Emmys for her work on hit shows “Mom”, “The West Wing”, and her amazing dramatic work on “Masters of Sex”, Jeffrey Tambor, who won the Golden Globe and Emmy for playing a transgender woman on Amazon’s hit show “Transparent”,  two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener, Kyle Chandler, the Emmy award winner for “Friday Night Lights” who was seen in Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” and can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “Bloodline” in which he just received his second Emmy nomination, Angela Bassett, whose amazing performance on “American Horror Story: Coven” took the town by storm and also garnered her an Emmy nomination, Miranda Otto star of FOX’s new series, “24:Legacy”, Taylor Schilling, who was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her lead role in “Orange is the New Black”, David Schwimmer, who was just nominated for an Emmy for Ryan Murphy’s “American Crime Story” playing Robert Kardashian. Other clients include Meg Ryan, Kate Walsh, Debra Messing Kim Raver, Archie Panjabi, Calista Flockhart, Mandy Moore, Eric McCormack, and John Corbett.


Penn Film & Media Pioneers VI, Edition 2016, is made possible through the generous sponsorship and support of Mrs. Lorraine Carrady Quinn, CW'73, to the Cinema and Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cinema Studies Program
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall ⋅ 3340 Walnut Street ⋅ Philadelphia, PA 19104 ⋅ (215) 898-8782