Our Crew

Isabella Albert's Bio
Isabella Albert's Bio

Isabella Albert had a knack for filmmaking at a young age, who knew it would get her involved in a project like Saltwater? She graduated from UCSC with a film degree, but that wasn’t enough, she needed more. She took more cinema classes at CCSF, but found herself still seeking a filming adventure. She found one in Saltwater, where she has worked in various capacities since pre-production. For her, this is where the real adventure begins.

Melissa Capistrano's Bio
Melissa Capistrano's Bio

Melissa’s life goal is simple, be a make-up artist in the film industry for life. A woman of many talents, her primary love is her career as a Special FX make-up artist for movies. With a diverse range of make-up and hair skills, she has quite the eye for the beautiful and morbid. While on set for Saltwater, she served as the lead make-up and hair professional. She is also a Filipino published beauty expert for Metro Magazine PH.

Leo Chaves Rivas' Bio
Leo Chaves Rivas' Bio

Leonardo Chavez Rivas is a Cinema student at City College of San Francisco. With two and a half years of college experience Leonardo has cultivated his skills in graphic design, animation and social networking as well as film production. Leonardo plans to graduate with an associate’s degree in cinema before transferring to a four-year college to continue his studies. He aspires to become a director of photography and one day direct his own movie.

Ron Chavarria's Bio
Ron Chavarria's Bio

Ronaldo Chavarria is a Bay Area film editor with a multitude of talents under his belt including stage and film acting, directing, and screenwriting. A single father, Ronaldo resumed his studies in the City College of San Francisco cinema department in 2008 after taking a brief hiatus. Ronaldo is currently working on the post-production editing team.goal is to receive his degree in Cinema and Media Arts and form his own editing production company, Liquid 8 Production.

Mayra Cortez's Bio
Mayra Cortez's Bio

Mayra Cortez is a creative professional with a passion for art, design, and work. She is influenced by the beauty of life, cultural movements, and art. Her key strengths lie in visual presentation, package design, branding, computer illustration, and photography. Mayra’s other skills include traditional media illustration, typography character design, and website design. Mayra aspires toward a career that will continue to invigorate her creativity and keep her spirit alive. 

Laura Cuevas' Bio
Laura Cuevas' Bio

Laura Cuevas has worked as a film producer at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, a film school exemplifying the gold standard of the Mexican cinematography. In 2000, she moved to San Francisco where she has become actively involved in the media arts. She worked as an assistant producer for Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network in the US and has produced Public Service Announcements aired on English/Spanish networks. She is excited for a new chapter in her life with Salt

Alex D'Arata-Newby's Bio
Alex D'Arata-Newby's Bio

Alexander’s has spent most of his life studying one liberal art or another, spending the most time on early modern literature, poetry, and women’s studies.  He attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York and went on to work for the American embassy in Azerbaijan before returning to his native San Francisco to pursue his interest in writing for film. Since then, has taken various classes in cinema at CCSF to improve as a filmmaker.

Carolyn Eidson's Bio
Carolyn Eidson's Bio

Since 2007, Carolyn has been writing and performing in the comedy duo “Fifi & Fanny,” a web-series. She is attending film school at City College of San Francisco to improve her skills in producing, directing and editing. While with Saltwater, she has served as the art director, as well as on many other teams during pre-production. Carolyn has collaborated with Sixty-Six Films for the past 5 years with whom she produced a music video that premiered at the 2012 London Olympics.

Eric Fong's Bio
Eric Fong's Bio

With an extensive background in video game design, Eric brought his skills to Saltwater with the hopes of learning more about the filmmaking process. Since he joined the team he has worked on the Locations, Equipment and Art Department teams and has applied his knowledge in various editing software to lead on the post-production team. His plan is to continue taking classes at CCSF and to eventually be able to shoot his own film projects.

Madeline Gibson's Bio
Madeline Gibson's Bio

Spring 2013 was Madeline’s first semester at City College of San Francisco. Before attending cinema classes Madeline was a contractor for an internet search engine in Mountain View, CA. She decided to stay in the Bay Area to study film making because of CCSF’s great resources and opportunities. She is interested in video editing, sound editing and production sound as well as screenwriting.

Ross Hopeman's Bio
Ross Hopeman's Bio

Ross Hopeman is a bay area sound engineer.  In the last 3 years, he’s worked as a sound-mixer on 2 feature-length narrative films, as well as, countless shorts, documentaries, and student projects.  In an effort to more fully immerse himself in the world of filmmaking, Ross joined Saltwater as the Locations Team leader.  He is also excited to contribute his recording experience, and act as a resource for students interested in sound recording.

Israel Hortal's Bio
Israel Hortal's Bio

Israel is the creative core of Black Parrot Productions, which he founded to bring his passion for cinema to all aspects of production. Israel studied visual arts in Barcelona before moving to the United States in 2009.  Since then, he has been developing his skills, taking various video production classes and learning Final Cut Pro, Motion 5 and various types of cameras and equipment while working on several independent film projects.

Donyell Jones' Bio
Donyell Jones' Bio

Originally from the S.F. Bay Area, Donyell Johnson has brought his love for filmmaking to the Saltwater Team to help out in post-production. Currently, Donyell is working on a degree in cinema at CCSF where he has taken various courses to help him improve his craft. When he isn’t filmmaking you might find him on the set as an actor, something he has enjoyed since he was in grade school. He has also hosted video shows for television and recorded music professionally.

Alex King's Bio
Alex King's Bio

Alex King is a filmmaker who was born in Reno, Nevada. In 2008 he started attending Santa Rosa Junior College planning to transfer to a university. After taking general education classes he realized his passion was in filmmaking. In 2012, he moved to San Francisco to earn an Associates Degree in Cinema Production from City College of San Francisco. Alex is training in several skills in the film industry including directing, screenwriting, cinematography, and editing.

Juliann Lee's Bio
Juliann Lee's Bio

Juliann loves it when her parents tell her the story of the time she saw her first movie, Peter Pan, in theaters. At three years old she could not get enough of the enchanting animation. Now, as a continuing student at CCSF, she hopes to put this love for film into practice with Saltwater. The collaborative and creative atmosphere surrounding Saltwater strengthens her desire to learn and apply everything this feature film generously offers.

Marisa Llamas' BIo
Marisa Llamas' BIo

As Saltwater’s costume designer during production, Marisa Llamas is an artist creating works in film, fashion and performance, and sometimes at the intersection of all three.  Marisa graduated with a B.A. in Visual Arts from UC San Diego where she was an active community member and was associated with improv, cafe’s and on-campus housing. While at CCSF, Marisa is studying fashion, film and German. You can also find her giving Segway Tours at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s wharf.

Tanya Marino's Bio
Tanya Marino's Bio

Tanya has a varied background including receiving a BA degree from Colgate University, freelancing in live television production for professional sporting events, and recently writing and directing her own short films. For Saltwater, Tanya has led the Documentary Team in the behind-the-scenes action involved in making an independent film and will oversee editing of the team’s feature-length documentary. Additionally, Tanya served as the primary on-set Still Photographer.

Kenneth Medina's Bio
Kenneth Medina's Bio

Kenneth is an East Bay Film Producer, Director, Cinematographer, and Screenwriter. His films have been screened in venues and festivals across the Bay Area winning various awards along the way. Literature and critical study of popular works inform Kenneth’s film projects, where an understanding of narrative style and eye for visual language come into play.  Kenneth’s appreciation for the complete process, storytelling, and an organic and film aesthetic drive his work in every genre.

Michael Ngyuyen's Bio
Michael Ngyuyen's Bio

Originally from Houston, Texas, Michael made his way to the Bay Area not too long ago to pursue his the dream of becoming an independent filmmaker. An aspiring director/writer/actor, he does what-ever-the-hell-else is needed on set to insure the long and lasting life of the meaningful independent film. As an artist by trade and a dreamer by heart, he hopes one day he'll never have to work in the service industry ever again.

Tana Newberry's BIo
Tana Newberry's BIo

Tana was originally attracted to Saltwater as research for her first directed feature film “Stop the World,” which she is excited to go into production for next year. Tana is an accomplished film director, producer, editor and screenwriter. Her production company, Works of Heart Productions, has grown with a number of award winning short films. When she’s not directing, Tana likes to keeps herself busy co-directing or producing films for others in the industry.

Hangwei Ou's Bio
Hangwei Ou's Bio

Hangwei is a fan of animation and documentary filmmaking. He joined the Saltwater team hopeful to learn from the documentary, fundraising, festival and transmedia teams to help him become a more competitive filmmaker. Hangwei began studying cinema with a goal of creating his own documentaries that have environmental or social impact, specifically dealing with the issues of conservation, society and culture. In his spare time he enjoys meditation, traveling, and visiting museums.

Kristine Pigiolli's BIo
Kristine Pigiolli's BIo

She is a U.C. Berkeley grad and attended film school at the University of Washington. KP enjoys taking classes at CCSF and had a lot of fun stepping in to assist with set building and design on Saltwater. She is a professional writer specializing in nonprofit fundraising (www.nonprofitcopy.com), is a managing partner for the San Francisco comedy team Fifi & Fanny (www.FIFIandFANNY.com), and is currently working on a book about San Francisco due out in 2014.

Suzanne Russell's BIo
Suzanne Russell's BIo

Suzanne Russell, a San Francisco Bay Area native, has spent her career in the cosmetology industry, beginning as a makeup artist and hair stylist traveling the country for Clairol. She owned a salon in Santa Cruz for several years and then achieved a tenured position as instructor and coordinator of the Cosmetology Department at the College of San Mateo. She is a San Francisco resident currently studying filmmaking at City College of San Francisco.

Uri Smith's BIo
Uri Smith's BIo

Since he was five years old, Uri knew he wanted to be an actor. Since then he has been in many school plays and taken various drama classes, learning the craft of acting. Now a student at San Francisco State University, he is interested in not only film acting but working behind the scenes on projects that catch his attention, such as Saltwater, where he has worked on the production team and as a production assistant on set.

Erick Steiner's Bio
Erick Steiner's Bio

In 2010, Steiner joined Studio BAYCAT, a community outreach program, to empower the Hunter's Point District of San Francisco through film. There he was mentored by industry professionals and completed three short films. Steiner is the founder of SF New Wave Cinema, a boutique video production company, where he is the producer of commercial content, short films, and music videos. He is an artist of experimental films, and is slated to direct his first feature film in the near future.

Joe Stimach's Bio
Joe Stimach's Bio

Joe Stimach has attended City College of San Francisco for two years and plans to go on to get his Bachelor’s degree in film production. Saltwater is the first full length film he’s worked on, but he hopes to one day direct his own feature films. He has served on the Saltwater team since pre-production, worked as a camera assistant while on set, and currently continues on the Documentary Team where he is assisting in editing documentary footage.

Elizabeth Strong's Bio
Elizabeth Strong's Bio

Becoming a filmmaker has always been Elizabeth Strong's dream. She went on to graduate from Chapman University where she majored in film production and theatre, and minored in photography and sociology. Her fervor for storytelling, art and learning about people has taken Liz around the world and allowed her to contribute to numerous projects. A true believer in independent cinema, Liz is excited to be apart of the Saltwater team.

Ava Tong's Bio
Ava Tong's Bio

In the day time, Ava has a normal “nine to five” office job but at night, she has a tendency to come out and play. Ava is a product of Bindlestiff Studio, located in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district. Her most recent roles include Production Manager for Matthew Abaya’s feature film, “Vampariah,” kulintang musician for the 2012 sold out show, “A Pinoy Midsummer” and co-founder of a new, all-female collaborative comedy group, “Granny Cart Gangstas.”

Vivian Tam's Bio
Vivian Tam's Bio

Though Vivian graduated from UC Davis with a degree in finance and marketing, her true passion lies in the creative world, including cooking, music and filmmaking. Her background includes working in advertising and computer-related industries for a number of years. Prior to joining Saltwater, she produced the short, “Coffee Date,” and has been involved in other films while in Los Angeles. She is delighted to be a part of the Saltwater team and to be able continue making films.

Traci Watson's Bio
Traci Watson's Bio

An industry expert (20+ yrs. experience) Traci brings, funk, style and class to every creation making her the stylist of choice. She is celebrated for her unique eye for clothing & colors while specializing in cutting edge style and with her artistic vision and impeccable attention to detail. She enjoys working with clients to come up with individualized styles for them. Traci is most fulfilled by helping people grow professionally, and volunteering/ co-facilitating Women's Empowerment Group.