Hammad hosted 200+ episodes of Limping On Cloud 9, a podcast, and wrote 300+ articles in Going Bionic, his film distribution and career strategy column. He has been a jury member, screenplay jury member, filmmaker advisor, showcase curator, panelist, advisory board member, and world cinema screener at several major film festivals. These include, but are not limited to, Sundance, SXSW, and Slamdance. Zaidi is also on the Board of Directors for Cinema Without Borders.
Hammad has been an adjunct professor, guest lecturer, and panelist at several universities, including his alma mater UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Chapman, The Watkins Film School (acquired by Belmont University), San Diego State, and many others. Hammad Zaidi received his Master of Fine Arts from the UCLA School of Film and Television Producers Program.
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Erin Smith-Carlson – Producer
Erin’s mission is to connect humor with heart to unlock purpose and elevate organizations and communities. Specializing in a clear and conscious communication approach to change initiatives, she is widely recognized for infusing core values with solution-focused strategies that create a culture of accountability and inclusivity and ultimately increase an organization’s financial and talent currency. Most recently, she led a global biopharma company’s North American internal communications and DEI function, including designing meaningful experiences to support senior and mid-level leaders through strategic transformation and large-scale change. She has a proven track record of leading nationwide cross-functional teams while developing and executing uniquely curated programs that become pillars of company culture. As a certified professional coach, she elicits authenticity and provides an emotionally intelligent space enabling clients to align to purpose as a critical path to transformation. This internal focus is externally balanced by 10+ years of sales and commercial planning expertise and a decade in journalism, production, and storytelling with Walt Disney, ABC, and NBC affiliates.
Alexsiya Flora – Consulting Producer
Alexsiya Flora has 20+ years of experience in the film industry. Producing nine and directing five independent feature films. Her divine purpose is to inspire others to live an artistic life. Her most notable documentary is about Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton, Adventures in Plymptoons!
James Hourigan – Festival Director – Lonely Seal Tecnology Guru
James Hourigan is the creator and owner of the Destauch YouTube brand. He was born in New York before moving to Florida, where he spent most of his early life. He later attended Valdosta State University in Georgia, pursuing a Mass Communications degree before returning to Florida and attending the University of South Florida, where he continued his studies. James has also worked in graphic design and is a seasoned video editor.