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Directors’ Panel: The Social Responsibility of Branded Storytelling

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Every time we tell a story, it leaves an impact on the audience, whether positive or negative. Be it a story to entertain, inspire, or empower, it has the potential to shape the audience’s perspectives and influence their actions. So while brands must develop narratives to stimulate favorable consumer behavior, let’s not forget to pose the question: “What kind of society are we building as a result of these stories?” Join our featured film directors in this thought-provoking deep dive.

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John-Michael Triana, LAFF Creative Director

John-Michael is a photographer and director based in Los Angeles. His work revolves around making objective moments subjective to the viewer. He does this by creating polished, mysterious, and captivating worlds conceived from his deep curiosity in existentialism, love, and desire. With a sophisticated eye for creating commercial content, his work is experimental in construction but is always rooted within a unique point of view.

He studied film under experimental artist Kevin Everson at the University of Virginia and began his career in New York City shooting fashion films for brands such as Banana Republic, VOGUE, COACH, Carrera, 7 For All Mankind, Bottega Veneta and David Yurman.

Moving to Los Angeles, he began directing music videos, branded content, and narrative film. He has directed two short films INTERVIEW (2014) and DANCE (2018), and is currently in development of a feature film.

He is the creative director for the LA Fashion Festival 2019.

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Amber Moelter, LAFF Juror

Noir Tribe is a Los Angeles-based storytelling duo (Amber Moelter & Luis Barreto Carrillo) that creates visual content for the fashion industries, with a special interest in sustainability and social responsibility. Their work has been featured on Vogue Italia, Vogue México, ELLE México, NYLON Español, Harper’s Bazaar Bulgaria, Harper’s Bazaar Brasil, and Glamour. Clients include The Museum at FIT, The Women’s March on Washington, Inexmoda, Sana Jardin, Polite, and Fashion Revolution USA. Awards include Best Documentary for Peyote Dreams at the International Fashion Film Awards and Best Cinematography for ETHETICS (ethics+aesthetics) at the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South African International Fashion Film Festival. Instagram: instagram.com/noirtribe

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James Jenkins, Directors Hiss.tv

James has had a diverse career in the film and art world. He studied at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, which was a community of filmmakers artists and creators that experimented with the fluidity of different media. Equal focus was placed on a full critical studies in world cinema, expression of the avant garde, video art, installation and music. He cut his teeth in the industry as a visual effects artist and cinematographer on a number of award-winning commercials, television shows, fashion films, and music videos. He is known for his attention to detail and his unique hand-made analogue visuals under his industry pseudonym T.F. Bundy.


His recent works include a tandem visual effects collaboration with Terence Nance for his cerebral, free-form, Peabody-winning HBO show Random Acts of Flyness, and the Kasami Washington art film As If Told To G/D Thyself. James is one half of the director-duo Hiss, whose “style-is-content” creations are commissioned world-wide.

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Alexandra Kaucher, Directors Hiss.tv

Daughter of an American and an Iranian who met in Paris, Alexandra has never been one content with the ground beneath her feet. She studied European and Mediterranean studies at NYU which, was really just an excuse to study abroad. This segued into a career of Art, Production Design and Costume Design for film. She is a collector, immersing herself in the wonderful cultures of the world, bringing them back and finding ways to celebrate them - but without appropriating or collaging them into the pervading cultural fabric. She designed projects in India, Morocco, South Africa, Europe, and all across the US - collecting and exploring everywhere she went. Her recent Production Design work includes the film To Dust starring Matthew Broderick, which premiered at Tribeca.


She now directs and produces with her partner and collaborator on various short-form pieces, music videos and art projects under the moniker Hiss. She brings her love of culture to her directorial work, and ensures the stories of others are depicted with dignity.

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Marco De Ornellas, LAFF Juror


Marco De Ornellas is an international award winner actor, director, writer and producer. Originally from Brazil, Marco started his acting journey at CEFAR, Palacio das Artes Artistic Center Conservatory Program, Belo Horizonte / Brazil. As Being the only student with no past experience to be accepted in the program, his training days weren't easy. After dedicating day and night to his craft, soon he became known as being a hard working individual throughout the entire institution as an artist who is constantly searching for new challenges. Because of his dedication he was invited to play "The Wolf" in the play "Peter and the Wolf", where he had the chance to perform in front of 2.000 people at the state's most prestigious theater. After graduating with honors, he was invited to become a member of the well-acclaimed Mario Nascimento Dance Company. On his first play with the company, Marco was nominated for the award "revelation in dance" at the Sinparc Awards.

In his professional debut, Marco had the opportunity to play the lead role in Macbeth. After that he's performed professionally in several theater plays and films and collaborated with top theater companies in Brazil. His collaboration with Galpao Cine Horto foundation, gave him his first overseas experience, performing at the Havana Theater Festival, Cuba. He has collaborated with artists in Denmark, London, Prague, Spain, to name a few. Believing in the importance of being a multi-artist, Marco has extensively trained in several techniques, such as Grotowisk, Stanislaviski, Meisner, Artaud, Suzuki, Ballet and Contemporary dance, Martial arts, Commedia dell’Arte, etc.

Marco is always searching for new ways to rediscover himself in his craft and to expand his soul as an artist and as a human being. As a passionate traveler, a challenge junkie and a believer that growing as an actor and as a human being goes together in his life, he left Brazil in 2010 to experience new cultures around Europe and Africa, visiting many countries. Following his dream of becoming a successful international artist, he left Brazil and moved to New York City to pursue acting. His studies at the "Stella Adler Studio" lead him to his next school "The American Academy of Dramatic Arts", where he graduated with a talent based and a merit based scholarship. After graduating Marco has been working with many theater companies and film directors, also been working in the New York Fashion scene as a Model. He has been collaborating with theater groups in New York, Brazil and Europe. His performance on theater has granted him the award for "Best Brazilian Actor in the USA 2015" and the "Portuguese-Brazilian Awards 2015". Also in 2015, Marco lauched his film production company named, "Lobo Production". His award winner films have been screened at Fashion and Indie film festivals around the globe.