Benjamin Ralston is a production designer and art director living in Los Angeles, California, currently working on the hit ABC television show, CASTLE.
Benjamin achieved his BFA in Fine Arts from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA., where he began his love of production design while working in the theater’s scene shop. During his undergraduate program he was formally trained in scenic painting, construction, 2D, and 3D art.
After graduating Pepperdine, Benjamin worked as an animation assistant for Shadow Machine; the studio that makes stop-motion television shows like ROBOT CHICKEN and TITAN MAXIMUM. Benjamin also worked as a technician at the Sony motion capture facility working on games for Playstation like INFAMOUS 2, DRAKES UNCHARTED 3, and Sony Picture's GREEN LANTERN.
Benjamin has recently graduated with an MFA in production design from The American Film Institute where he worked on his thesis film, PYRO & KLEPTO and the multiple award winning short film, BLACK IRISH.
Justin Chandra received his Master's degree in Directing from the American Film Institute (AFI) in 2012. He wrote and directed his thesis film Pyro & Klepto, an unconventional love story between a young kleptomaniac and pyromaniac. Before AFI, Justin graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Cinema, with an emphasis in Film Production.
He has worked on numerous projects ranging from short to feature-length independent films, each in different capacities. He has directed several short films, including the film Hollow, which received the "Creative Vision" award from the 2008 DVX LoveFest online film festival. He also has a background in post-production, having edited numerous shorts and music videos. In 2009, he edited the independent feature film The Perfect Woman, which received the “John Muir Gold Award” at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival. He also served as a Visual Effects Artist on several projects, including completing all of the visual effects work in Pyro and Klepto. In addition, Justin worked for three years as a News Video Editor and Video Photographer at the FOX affiliate in Fresno, California.
As a director, Justin feels that having a well-rounded knowledge of production and post-production helps him to tell stories more effectively. His work often times centers around the theme of isolation, and the consequence it has on an individual's relationship with others and his or her surroundings. It is a theme that he is fascinated by, and can be found in much of his work, including Pyro and Klepto.
Deniese Davis is a graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory (MFA, Producing ’12), where she was the recipient of the prestigious Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Scholarship. She is also the 2012 recipient of the Debra Hill Fellowship that is given by The Producer’s Guild of America. This fellowship is awarded to one aspiring producer throughout the country graduating from an MFA Producing film program.
Originally from Las Vegas, NV, Deniese Davis graduated from CUNY-Brooklyn College in New York with a BA in Film Production and TV/Radio minor where she received Outstanding Achievement in Producing at the 28th Annual Brooklyn College Film Festival.
Throughout her six years of film school, Deniese notably held 11 different internships and produced 13 student films (including three shorts for AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women). Most recently, she has entered the web series realm by producing the made-for-web short “Underneath your love” which has 3 million views on YouTube to date. She also currently produces the web series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”, which has accumulated over 13 million views.
"I've traveled far and wide and tried my hand at many jobs, from cowboy to lawyer, but I've never found anything as exciting and compelling as when a story you saw only in your imagination comes to life through the camera. Pyro & Klepto looks to be the most visually and thematically interesting project I've had the luck to be involved with. I'm very excited to be a part of this great team and work on this funny and unique script."
Christian is a graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and of UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, CA. After pursuing, and subsequently abandoning a career in law, at thirty years old with a wife and small child Christian jumped head first into Cinematography. He has since prostrated himself at the alter of on-set experience by shooting low budget indie features, shorts, music & web videos among others. After gaining a solid grasp on the technical basics of the craft, Christian enrolled at AFI to further polish his creative approach.
Katie Brookoff graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in English (concentrating in creative nonfiction writing) and a minor in math. While at Chicago, she co-founded and wrote for Sliced Bread Magazine, wrote a circus show and a feature-length kids' movie and filmed several Division III women’s basketball games. Since graduating, she has had jobs substitute-teaching kindergarten, face-painting at a children’s museum and answering fan mail for Jerry Lee Lewis. She is currently in the screenwriting program at AFI. [AND LOOKING FOR BABYSITTING GIGZ SO IF YOU HAVE KIDS, PLEASE CONTACT ME!]
Kyla Plewes is a recent graduate from the American Film Institute in the Editing Master's program. She edited two thesis films, Pyro & Klepto and Usagi-san, both of which will be entering the film festival circuit in 2013. Kyla was the recipient of the Auerbach-Stuart Scholarship for her achievements in her first year at AFI.
Prior to AFI, Kyla received her BFA in Film, Video and Integrated Media at Emily Carr University in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. During her studies, Kyla directed and edited both narrative and experimental short films that have been showcased in Canada, U.S.A and Mexico. In 2010, she was showcased in the national Canadian magazine, Playback, as part of an Academic Scouting Report for upcoming filmmakers in the country. Before moving to Los Angeles, Kyla acted as Editor and Post Supervisor for the documentary, The Best Decision, which explores the lives of women studying in the fields of Science and Technology at the University of British Columbia. The film was produced to inspire teens in Northern British Columbia to remain in school and enroll in Math and Science.
Kyla continues to live in Los Angeles, California and is looking forward to working on new and exciting projects.