Alexandra Nakelski

Because my resume is so vast, it would almost sound like I am making it up… so I am electing rather to speak of my vision for the festival. The following is a stream of conscious when I was asked what this festival means to me….

I use the word “entourage ” in an endearing way….from living most my adult life in LA….I found that one can be fabulous, all inclusive and party while engaging in intellectual conversation simultaneously. At my festival there is no way NOT be part of the entourage…you are by default part of the mix…

What I noticed in my 15 -year tenure of working festivals is that tons of people get lost in navigating it all by themselves in a city they are not familiar with. I hated these experiences and vowed to one day start my own festival that focused on the camaraderie as much as the content.

The social aspect of the festival should never be exclusive. Everybody involved should all collaborate in discussing how the meaning resonated with them. The audience is a huge factor…almost as important as the invited guests…because in my academic research, spectatorship is what forms meaning and is crucial in understanding the film’s role in the zeitgeist.

It is an experience….

To me, life is cinematic, and cinema is life. We’ve designed our festival to reflect that philosophy.

This is also a destination festival…we want you to experience the city as well as the films which is why I have a filmmaker beach bonfire to open up the festival and the party at the gorgeous rooftop at the Huntington Hilton (Offshore 9) where we can bask in the awesomeness of it all. I never program films at the same time of this event…I don’t want people to have to choose between the VIP party and a film, or for my volunteers to have to miss out…I also do not like when other festivals treat their volunteers like indentured servants!

This festival is like a gathering of nations. The common denominator being film. People come from around the world in this moment in time to share a collective experience. In that aspect, we create a community that carries on after the festival.

Networking doesn’t even begin to capture what we do.

It’s about the people. It’s about the passion and just absolutely enjoying each other’s company.

I will continue to keep the festival at a perfect size where we can continue to do so. I don’t ever want to have a fragmented audience or guests.

We’re gonna party our faces off, celebrate film, celebrate each other and be in the moment. We hope to see you June 2021 to create another epic memory!

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Alexandra Nakelski

Director/Founder
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Dr. Patrick Bingham

Director of Operations

Dr. Patrick Bingham

In the works.

Lauren LaScala

Hello There!

Early on in my career I started moonlighting with several startup firms and quickly became a leader in the local event and live entertainment community. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Sports Entertainment and Event management from Johnson & Wales University of Denver, Colorado. I am also a Certified Wedding and Event Planner. Over the past decade I have worked in all aspects of the industry; for private clubs, hotels, restaurants, sports teams, tech giants (PSAV, LinkedIn Google, Twitter, Benchmark) just to name a few as well as several private employers.Throughout my tenure, I have directed numerous live events with tremendous success while building a name for myself in the market. This has granted me the opportunity to work on many elite and premier functions throughout the Bay area. Currently I am living in the North bay with my fiancé. When I am not planning fabulous events around the city, you can find me spending time with my extended family and friends, brushing up on my art skills, planning my next trip to somewhere exciting (PRE COVID) or volunteering.

Additionally, I also held a seat on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association within my San Francisco Chapter as the Events Director. I am eager to pursue my career in the entertainment sector as that has always been my passion. Starting as a child watching classic films at home, visiting many of the major studios and working on student film projects over the years, these experiences have granted me an ever-growing network of talented people to work with and one-of-a-kind productions to be a part of.

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Lauren LaScala

Director of Sales and Corporate Sponsorships
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Lyric Luedke

Director’s Assistant

Lyric Luedke

I grew up in Seattle surrounded by some of the best (if least well known) indie theaters in the country, so my love of vintage, cult, and foreign film started from a young age. I dabble in other languages, so films from Japan, Italy, or Germany always get me excited. Since moving to Orange County in 2017, I’ve completed my BA in film studies, started on an MA, and also worked in the LA immersive theater scene organizing and performing in dozens of interactive experiences.

Once I finish up with college, I’d love to take my academic knowledge into the festival industry, possibly carving out a niche for my own alternative festival somewhere in the distant future. I couldn’t care less about Hollywood’s newest releases, but I’ll consider myself a success if I can create a space for people to get together and enjoy the stranger side of cinema. Any theater where you’re allowed to yell and throw stuff at the screen is my happy place!

Skylar Bridgeforth

How did a Junior at Cleveland State University in Ohio end up at a film festival? Well, it would be because I have great friends who give me even better opportunities. For someone who struggled finding an internship due to most internships wanting a large amount of experience, which most college students don’t have, this festival is a blessing. It is giving me the ability to perfect my knowledge outside of the classroom. It is definitely a bonus that I have the opportunity to help with Zeitgeist, especially for someone who LOVES movies. 80’s and 90’s movies in particular especially Heathers, anything with Patrick Swayze, Gremlins, Drop Dead Fred, The Craft… pretty much any rom-com; name an 80s or 90s movie and I have probably seen it!   As a girl born in 2000, I firmly believe that I was born in the wrong decade, I would have thrived in the culture of the 80’s.

While some people work to work, I work because I enjoy it. I love being able to see the results of a campaign that I have worked on or when a post is particularly successful. Although my favorite part of marketing/PR is that I get to do my absolute favorite thing in the world, research. Doing a deep dive into the demographics, target markets, etc of a company involves just enough psychology to make it interesting. 

I cannot wait to give my all to this film festival and see where this opportunity takes me!

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Skylar Bridgeforth

Social Media Coordinator
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Beth Reiners

Documentary Programmer

Beth Reiners

I am a video producer in Waterloo, Iowa with dreams to someday move far away and break into the film world. I’ve been working with Zeitgeist since 2018, screening films, planning logistics, and of course, meeting awesome people!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from Wartburg College, and am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in journalism from Harvard Extension School. I’m looking forward to another great festival in 2021! I’m a true crime documentary junkie, but live for documentaries of all types. Please no artsy fartsy films!

Agnese Krastkalne

In the works.

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Agnese Krastkalne

Producer

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Laura De La O

 Cultural Analyst

Laura De La O

Laura took my Late 20th Century American Science Fiction Film class at the University of New Mexico back in 2012 and the thrill to have a student now my colleague is indescribable…  If you want to have an epic conversation about everything from the Strand Theory, the Singularity, Quantum Mechanics …the basic time space continuum to Beavis and Butthead….look no further. Laura’s intelligence is matched only by her wit. Reunited after 7 years, Laura has offered her editing prowess and genius film reviewing savvy to our festival.

She has years of radio and television broadcast under her belt, now currently serving as the Senior Promotions Producer at KNME-TV, and I have no doubt, world domination on her horizon..

Andrew Holmes

If you were being chased through a forest late at night by a pack of hungry wolves, what would the soundtrack to that moment sound like? Well, some fast paced staccato strings would be a good start. Or… if you found yourself rushing to get ready for work after waking up five minutes before your shift- you’d probably be accompanied by some fast percussion and a litany of zany dissonance as each new stress befalls you. While music generally can create a sense of scenery, I’ve made it my life’s work to dive even deeper in finding the effects music has on film.
Examining the movies I grew up loving, and their scores, I found that each instrument is unique in creating certain tones for a scene; The oboe for eerie somberness, the trumpet for explosive action, the strings for beauty and wonder. I believe that art comes from a deeper connection to what lies beyond our ability to think and reason, accessing what we most deeply feel. Endless possibilities lie between the art that you imagine and the art that you are able to create for an audience. After all, storytelling is and always has been the most important pastime of the human experience. I have found that the place I am most able to convey my view of the world is through art, collaborating with many who aim to do the same by different facets with the sole intent of bringing stories to life.
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Andrew Holmes

Composer

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Donna Kavanagh

Director / Executive Producer at Dk music & sound/ Composer

Donna Kavanagh

Born and raised in New Zealand’s North Shore, Auckland, I grew up at the beach with a love for peaceful reflective spaces. Sifting my toes through the sand, listening to the birds, cicadas and crashing waves on the shoreline. The fresh salty air and the smell of summer bbq’s, fish and chips and sunscreen. Finding a space to empty my mind and watch people, imagining what stories they had to tell. I found inspiration in the simplicity of nature.
This was the perfect balance after spending long hours in front of a computer manipulating midi and hours of wading through instrument patches and tinkering away on a Korg i3 and M1 in the early 90’s. I would spend Friday and Saturday nights watching movies with my parents who wouldn’t let me watch television or the radio – I lived for these moments! Film became part of my thought process and began to inspire me in new ways.

The aim of composition and sound design is to connect with each project’s story to add depth and meaning with emotion. I find this form of artistic expression deeply satisfying and liberating. Weaving the textures of instruments into a world of experimental sound design to create moments of reflection and/or emotion to color and enhance the viewer’s perspective of a story. I also thoroughly enjoy inspiring and motivating others to do the same through mentorship and running various classes and workshops on scoring and screen sonics.

The Zeitgeist family are very dear to me, we share the same passion for people, connection, collaboration, art and story-telling. It is a film festival like no other – an unforgettable experience. You will discover new friends, understanding, and be truly inspired. This is one you won’t want to miss!

Scott Schuster

In the works.

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Scott Schuster

Board Member

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Thyra Chaney

Screening Committee

Thyra Chaney

I believe that there is a thread of universally recognizable truth connecting life, history, and mythology. The goal of art is to tap into that truth and share it. The zeitgeist defines the human experience over time like a fossil record by manifesting universal human truth in time-and-place specific concretizations. I am endlessly fascinated by the human experience and its perpetuation through modern-mythmaking and pop culture. I will be studying and contributing to the legacy of film, TV, and print media for the foreseeable future and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m a Bay Area native currently studying Film and Media Arts in Cleveland, Ohio.

Kara Singleton

I’m Kara, a senior film student at Cleveland State University, and I couldn’t be more humbled to be on the screening board for the 2020 Zeitgeist film festival. I have a predisposition for cinematography, directing, and writing, and my short film was one of ten student works selected to premiere at the 2018 Tulsa American Film Festival. I am a wedding videographer by trade, and this allows me a unique perspective: what differentiates a ‘so-so’ shot and a captivating one, and where the emotional cadence resides. I’m passionate about comprehending a fluency in filmic language, for that is the primal, rhythmic envisioning of humankind’s intimate moments. What better opportunity to grow my cinematic repertoire than digesting films from all over the world?

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Kara Singleton

Screening Committee
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Boxie van Gerrisheim

Entourage Fans’ Favorite

Boxie van Gerrisheim

In the works.

Shauna Reed

In the works.

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Shauna Reed

Entourage- Merch Connoisseur