Film & Digital Arts Alumni

Djochoua Belovarski
BA in Media Arts

Djochoua is an aspiring writer/director with a passion for science fiction and astronomy. His favorite filmmakers are Spielberg, Koreeda, and Cameron. He is a 2013 National Film Preserve diploma recipient, and received his B.A. in Media Arts in 2015 from the Department of Cinematic Arts.

Djochoua has directed several music videos for UMG, Warner, and MTV. He is currently a VFX Coordinator on nine Netflix and Marvel properties, and has penned three feature-length screenplays, with another two currently in development alongside two digital series.

Students are welcome to reach out to Djochoua anytime at

Jeremy Bernstein
BS in Computer Science with a IFDM Minor

Jeremy grew up battling tumble weeds in the remote reaches of rural New Mexico. The fictional worlds offered a chance to explore an infinite variety of adventure and intrigue Naturally gaming and the internet provided gateways to experiences and information that were otherwise out of reach.  Jeremy graduated from Wagon Mound High School.

With a desire to build digital experiences Jeremy went off to school at UNM on a meandering path that took him through film, video game development, web development, and computer science. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the College of Engineering in 2013.  He completed the IFDM program as a member of the first cohort.

Leveraging his web technology chops he set for sunny California to help build out and deploy the cutting edge PlayStation Now game streaming service. Building internal tools and web technology for Telltale Games brought Jeremy to the bay area where Breachgate saw its beginnings.

Jena Braziel
BA in Media Arts

Jena Braziel started interning for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival while she was attending the University of New Mexico and pursuing her BA in Media Arts. Once she graduated, Jena quickly rose to the top and got hired as Submission Coordinator and shortly after, Guest Services Director at SFIFF. She also works at Santa Fe Dry Goods as their Web and Inventory Manager. Even with all the hard work she does, she still finds time to get out into the wilderness, garden, and enjoy the New Mexico scenery.

If you would like to contact Jena, you can find her email address at

Kendra Crooks
BA in Media Arts

Kendra Paige Crooks was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She studied Media Arts with a concentration in Sustainability at The University of New Mexico. With the knowledge she gained in school, she made the conscious decision to expand her education and utilize her skills of storytelling by traveling around the world to India, South Africa, and France. Passionate about capturing real life, she used her camera to document controversial issues and creative projects that eventually allowed her to have her documentary screened at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival. When returning home, she was determined to keep the inspiration alive and co-founded a media company in downtown Albuquerque alongside Austin Madrid, an IFDM alum. JAK Media LLC’s main purpose is to tell stories and to help people go further with their passion. When she’s not working on set, in the studio, or producing the Albuquerque 48 Hour Film Project, you can find her pursuing her love of viticulture by educating wine enthusiasts at the New Mexican gem, Gruet Winery. Grateful for the vast opportunities for storytelling in her diverse and culturally exquisite hometown of Albuquerque, Kendra makes sure that the products of collaboration and creativity do not just remain ideas, but turn into realities. Currently, JAK Media is working with several local businesses to promote creative growth for the state of New Mexico. You can find current and future projects at and be sure to visit and potentially participate in the worldwide film competition that is the 48 Hour Film Project.

Casey Curtiss

I am currently working in Hollywood, California as an Assistant Editor on the Netflix original series, Mindhunter. The show is directed and produced by David Fincher, known for such films as Gone Girl and Fight Club. I started on the show as a post-production assistant, and was able to join the Editor’s Union and leave behind my coffee-fetching duties! Other than regular Assistant duties, my responsibilities include conforming the show for our in house DI/Color grading. I’m currently working on season 2 as an Assistant Editor.

I moved to Los Angeles in Jan 2016 to pursue my ambitions of working in Editorial on Hollywood films. I found my passion for film while attending UNM’s Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program, where I graduated in 2013 (cohort 3). Originally aiming for a career in Visual Effects, I broadened my focus to film. During my time at UNM, I had several internships, including one semester at New Mexico PBS (KNME). Upon graduating I worked at New Mexico PBS for two and a half years. This was my first job out of college and was the last job I had before leaving for California. I worked on many independent films and shorts in New Mexico, and one of my connections was able to give me the opportunity to work on Mindhunter.

I’ve always been a generalist who’s interested in lots of different files, and I always try to give 100% of myself to projects I work on. Those are my greatest assets. I’ve learned a lot of different programs and workflows for many different fields, and that’s one of the most marketable skills you could have in the workplace. This passion for learning and my ability to program led to my promotion on Mindhunter. Some of the things I’ve done on this show include editing, creating temp VFX composites on hundreds of shots, IT work such as troubleshooting server crashes or installing hardware, color correcting driving plates, and creating scripts in python and javascript to boost our productivity on the show. My UNM classes either taught me or encouraged me to learn so many different kinds of skills. I wouldn’t have been interested in learning programming if not for IFDM, and now that’s one of the skills I appreciate the most.

If I could give a little bit of advice to students, I’d highly encourage you to take opportunities outside of school, like film competitions or projects with your college friends. All of this contributes to your knowledge and talent, and your network is how you get jobs and grow your network even further! Also, don’t underestimate learning things outside of your immediate interests. It may not make a lot of sense for a filmmaker to learn how to program, but you could automate the same repetitive computer tasks so you can spend more time working creatively. Or it may open up creative opportunities for filmmaking that are usually hidden behind a technical obstacle (think James Cameron’s previsualization on Avatar allowing the crew to see the scene before it was rendered in CGI, or using a depth mapping system in place of green screens). Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Eva Hayward
BA in Media Arts

Eva Hayward is an assistant professor in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She has taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, University of New Mexico, Uppsala University (Sweden), Duke University, and University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on aesthetics, environmental and science studies, and sexuality studies. At the University of Arizona, she has developed courses on Feminist Animal Studies, Ecofeminism, and Sexuality & Aesthetics. She has recently published articles in Transgender Studies Quarterly, Cultural Anthropology, Parallax, differences, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Women and Performance. Hayward’s forthcoming book “SymbioSeas” looks at underwater representations of marine organisms to think about the interplay of art and science, sex and species, mediation and sensation.

Donovan Heimer
BFA in IFDM with a Production Concentration

Donovan lived in Albuquerque since the age of 5. He attended Manzano High School and studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan with the AFS exchange student organization during high school. He grew up with an affinity for drawing and video games starting at a young age, but he is proud to say that he learned all of his film, animation, coding, and photography skills while studying at UNM’s IFDM program.  Donovan Joined IFDM’s second cohort and focused on visual effects and postproduction. While studying at IFDM, he minored in Japanese and studied abroad for one year at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan.  He became the Visual Effects supervisor for one of IFDM’s senior projects, Ritz & Spitz, and worked in various production roles for early IFDM senior projects. While at UNM, he received mentorship from various Sony Imageworks VFX artists, and had the opportunity to work on VFX shots for Iron Man 3 and do other postproduction work before graduating. Donovan graduated from UNM in Spring 2013 receiving Summa Cum Laude and the Fine Arts Department IFDM Student of the Year Award.

Donovan currently lives in Los Alamos, NM and visits Albuquerque frequently. Since graduating from UNM, Donovan has been a Software Developer at Los Alamos National Laboratory working on serious-game related projects. He is expecting to finish a Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Game Design and Development at Southern New Hampshire University by early 2018. Donovan does various side projects including technical drawing for books and videography.  His hobbies include weekly life drawing in Los Alamos and concert and sports photography when time permits.  During his weekend visits to Albuquerque, he practices Kendo and hangs out at various coffee shops working on projects or schoolwork. Donovan also participates in various workshops in the southwest region. Some recently completed workshops include Anatomy for Artists with Geoffrey Laurence, Schoolism Live Denver workshop, and Character Design and Maquette Building with Phil Young.

Brian Levant
BA in Media Arts

In his fifth decade in the entertainment industry, Director/Writer/Producer Brian Levant has been at the creative helm of some of the biggest franchises in family entertainment. Among Levant’s more than 400 Television credits include being the showrunner of “Happy Days,” “Mork & Mindy” and “The Bad News Bears” series. Levant also co-created the series “Brothers & Sisters” and “My Secret Identity.” After winning the 1989 Cable Ace Award as Best Director in a Comedy Series, for his long running “Still the Beaver” cable series, Levant turned his attention to writing and directing feature films. Among Levant’s feature directing credits are the original “Beethoven,” the two Steven Spielberg produced Flintstones films, “Jingle All the Way” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Snow Dogs,” “Are We There Yet?” and the 2010 Jackie Chan vehicle, “The Spy Next Door.”
In addition, Levant has produced, written or directed another 10 network and cable films including the Starz Network’s first original production, “The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space,” and the two live action/CGI Scooby Too films, which are the Cartoon Network’s highest rated programs ever.
Additional awards his works have collected include a 1981 NAACP Image Award for “The Bad News Bears,” 1987 Youth in Film Best Series Award for “Beaver” and the 1988 International Emmy for Best Children and Young People’s Series, for “My Secret Identity.” Currently, Levant’s 2017 film, “Max 2: White House Hero” is available on all platforms and later this year, he will direct and produce Warner Brothers Studio’s re-boot of the “Police Academy” series, which he also co-wrote.

Eric Patrick
BA in Media Arts

After graduating from UNM (’94), Eric Patrick studied Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts (’97), and has been active in both commercial animation and independent experimental filmmaking. His work in these fields has received a Peabody Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, over 100 grants, fellowships, and awards at international film festivals, and several Emmy nominations. He has screened extensively both domestically and internationally at festivals, museums and on television, including screenings at the Rotterdam Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the South by Southwest Film Festival. He was an animator for the seminal Nickelodeon program “Blues Clues,” and has written several articles about independent animation. He is currently an associate professor and Head of Production at Northwestern University in their Radio-Television-Film department and the faculty director of the MS in Information Design and Strategy Program.

Paris Premdas
BFA in IFDM with a Production Concentration

Paris Premdas was born and raised in ABQ, graduated with a BFA in Film Production at UNM in 2017. Shortly after graduation, he was hired as entry level at Framestore in LA where he trained as a compositor and did vfx for ten ads and Thor Ragnorak. He later left Framestore to work as a technical assistant at ILM where he is currently writing tools and doing artist work on films under senior artist mentorship.


River Quane
BA in Media Arts

River Quane graduated from UNM in December 2014 with a BA in Media Arts. She now works as an Account Executive at PR Newswire, A Cision Company. PR Newswire was established in 1954 and is the premier global provider of news distribution, targeting, and monitoring that marketers and corporate communicators leverage to engage key audiences and the media.

River also volunteers for the community-based arts non-profit organization Basement Films and their annual international experimental film festival (Experiments in Cinema) in Albuquerque, NM. Basement Films was established in 1991 and is dedicated to supporting under-represented forms of media and filmmaking, and teaching students and the public about new, old, dead, and experimental approaches to moving image art.

At PR Newswire, River consults with companies to develop strategic communication plans and campaign initiatives and provides expert industry insights in order to get their news in front of the right people. She also co-curates one of PR Newswire’s Twitter handles, @PRNnonprofit, and is currently pursuing a certification in SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

At Basement Films, River has worn many hats. She currently functions as Technical Director for the Experiments in Cinema international film festival and Publishing Coordinator for the festival’s annual yearbook. She also curates a monthly “Archive Dig” at Red Door Brewing, at which she and other Basement Films members screen 16mm films from their collection of over 8,000 print films. In the past, River has also been the festival’s Regional Youth Program Director – visiting schools around the state to encourage students K-12 to create moving image works for the Regional Youth Program, then curating the youth program to be screened at the festival.

Her interests include gardening, making 16mm camera-less films, drinking beer, and hiking with her two dogs Kevin (Retriever/Pit Bull mix) & Marcie (French/English Bulldog mix).

PR Newswire/Cision
Basement Films
Experiments in Cinema

Jeremy Shattuck
BA in Media Arts

Jeremy received the Gus Blaisdell Award for Critical and Creative Writing while at UNM. He is passionate about creative writing – especially screenwriting – embedding himself into foreign cultures, Romani music, and humanist film. He has run a screenwriting workshop with a fellow UNM graduate since 2003, and has received two awards for his own short films. Jeremy currently works primarily in post-production for television but has also worked on several feature films. He has earned himself a place in the Motion Picture Editors Guild as an assistant editor and works as a story analyst. Jeremy’s current goal is to move into a more creative role in television development.

Amy Silverman
BA in Media Arts

Soon after I graduated from UNM, I left for New York where I ended up working for a cinematographer, Michael Mayers, as his personal assistant. I also was doing an internship at Filmmaker Magazine and working at a stock footage archive doing research. I started working as a production coordinator on some of Michael’s projects and then learned to be a camera assistant from his assistants Jeff Baker and Tony Hardmon. I also started shooting my own documentary projects. I eventually worked my way into the Cinematographer’s Guild as a camera assistant and worked for about ten years on movies and TV shows like Sex & the City, Brown Sugar, Milk, Elf, Songcatcher, Outsourced, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and many more. During that time, I shot some documentary projects in Chile and China and shot part of a documentary called 900 Women, about a women’s prison in Louisiana.

When Sex & the City ended, I started to think about getting out of the film industry and back into still photography. I ended up moving to the west coast and working for some magazines and eventually landed at Outside Magazine, back in New Mexico, as the photo editor.

Jera Sky
BA in Media Arts

Since graduating, I’ve been in two national commercials, made/written/directed 10 Feature Films with my production company PuppyDragon Film Co, had short films screened around the country and I even carved out time to write a novel. It’s on Amazon along with some other short stories I’ve written. I helped create a Youtube Channel about Credit Repair Education (with UNM Alum Brandon Weaver), shooting and editing all the videos, and am currently creating my personal Youtube Channel on Minimalism, Veganism and Changing Your Life.

I’m an avid traveler. I’ve been all over the US, Japan, U.K., France, Netherlands, Brussels and even lived in Hawaii for a short period of time. I live in the heart of Hollywood and am currently planning many more adventures both in life and video.

Jera Sky Youtube –
Credit Repair Channel –
PuppyDragon Film Co. –

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