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STAFF
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Mia A. Farrell 

Director, Hanson FilmTV Institute - 2022-2024

Mia A. Farrell was the Director of the Hanson FilmTV Institute from August 2022 to July 2024. She came to Arizona from having most recently worked in London at the British Film Institute, where she served as PR Manager, BFI Festivals, across the Institute’s two biggest film events: the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival. In her time at the BFI, she also managed the BFI London Film Festival Critics Mentorship Programme, which trained mentees from underrepresented communities in the art and processes of film criticism and writing and opened the door to their getting paid work in media and achieving their first bylines. 

With over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry, Mia has worked on numerous international publicity campaigns and has represented films screening at festivals such as the Berlinale, Festival de Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, San Sebastián, Toronto and Venice, amongst others.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, she worked in non-fiction television production and development until she became interested in PR.  She started working in personal publicity at Susan Geller & Associates before turning her focus to international film publicity at the global public relations firm DDA for nearly ten years, and then as Vice President of International Publicity at Paramount Pictures.

She has worked on hundreds of titles from the best filmmakers in the business, spearheading worldwide tours and while in London developed theatrical release campaigns as a consultant with Lionsgate UK.  She has also held roles as a Senior Festival Publicist and PR Manager in the official press offices for the Sundance, Tribeca and BFI London Film Festivals, which led her to develop a particular expertise in the film festival landscape and enabled her to advise documentary and narrative filmmakers on how best to navigate it.

While at Hanson, Mia was proud to bring a globally inclusive perspective to the Institute and University, building on its existing legacy to support, encourage and inspire students and the community alike. During her time in Tucson she brought a first class slate of films, filmmakers and entertainment industry professionals to engage with TFTV's students and developed student programs for film festival intensives at Sundance and SXSW for the first time ever at the University. She was also responsible for a very special "in conversation" event with AMERICAN FICTION's Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director Cord Jefferson and students from TFTV and UA's African American Student Affairs - a highlight of her time at the Institute.

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"It has been a pleasure to collaborate with the Institute on the DocScapes screenings and workshops, as well as a wide variety of other events featuring distinguished media professionals." 
 
—Beverly Seckinger, Professor, UA School of Film, Theatre & Television

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Vicky Westover 

Director, Hanson FilmTV Institute - 2004-2020

 

A native of Washington, D.C., and a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, Vicky received training in non-profit arts management through the National Endowment for the Arts and worked in the field for 30 years. She is a producer/director of film and film events, a film programmer, and a photographer. Vicky directed numerous repertory seasons of cinema, international film festivals, competitions, and special programs with noted filmmakers. Vicky was the original Director of the Hanson FilmTV Institute at The University of Arizona from 2004-2020. She was the co-director and programmer of Native Eyes Film Showcase for and was the founder and co-director of Tucson Cine Mexico, the first and longest-running film festival in the United States to showcase contemporary Mexican cinema. Vicky served as an adjunct faculty member in The UA School of Theatre, Film & Television, where she created and taught Professional Practices and Film Programming and Exhibition. She currently is co-director of Cinema Tucsón and programs for diverse film venues.

Prior to moving to Tucson, Arizona, Vicky was the Executive Director of the Baltimore Film Forum where she produced numerous film festivals, including the Baltimore African American Film Festival and Baltimore Russian Film Festival. Vicky was the Founding Producer of Independent Eye (Maryland Public Television) and has produced short and feature-length films. Her film credits include the documentaries Apache 8 (Producer);  Hippie Family Values (Executive Producer); Almost an Island (Executive Producer); Firelighters: Fire is Medicine (Producer) and Final Vows (Producer /Director).

Vicky has served on numerous non-profit boards, committees, and panels, including for the AFI in Washington, D.C.; the HBO/NALIP Documentary Awards; CineFest San Antonio; and Cinema Tropical Awards. She has received awards for her work, including a Governor’s citation for promoting filmmaking in Maryland and a nomination for an Arizona Governor’s Arts Award.

FELLOWS

Fellows

UA Hanson FilmTV Institute Fellows (Hanson Fellows) are individuals with significant film and television industry experience and who provide services to the Institute. They contribute to diverse Institute programs and to students’ career development by teaching workshops, making presentations in classrooms, and mentoring students. We are very grateful for their service.

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Victoria Lucas

Victoria Lucas currently works as an independent film producer and operates her own professional screenplay development service for producers, production companies and screenwriters. She also shares her experience and knowledge of films as the on-air host of Arizona Public Media’s weekly “Hollywood at Home.” 

Victoria’s 20-year career as a motion picture development and production executive at major studios and independent film companies began when she was hired by director/producer Ron Howard; first as a script reader, then story editor, then Creative Executive at his Imagine Entertainment.  In later years, she worked as Associate Producer and Director of Development for multiple production companies where she helped develop projects involving major actors such as Antonio Banderas, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Wesley Snipes.

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Lorna Soroko

Lorna graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and worked as an entertainment attorney in L.A. before moving to the creative side of the business, where she served as VP of Creative Affairs for a production company at Twentieth Century Fox and at Warner Bros. Lorna worked with writers and producers to develop new TV series and movies, and she also wrote and produced TV projects, winning a national television award. 

 

Currently located in Tucson, Lorna is writing novels, consulting on TV projects, running a private investigation agency, and making settlement videos in wrongful death legal cases. She also enjoys moderating entertainment industry panels and teaching pitching workshops for the Hanson FilmTV Institute.

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Eren Isabella McGinnis

Mexican American filmmaker Eren Isabella McGinnis has produced over 20 movies including The Southern Sex, Tobacco Blues, The Girl Next Door (shortlisted for an Oscar), Beyond the Border, The Spirituals, Precious Knowledge, and Carnival of Stolen Dreams.  She was honored by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers with the Documentary Filmmaker of the year award.  

McGinnis has a degree in Cultural Anthropology from San Diego State University and a certificate in Film and Video Theory and Production from the University College Dublin, in Ireland.  McGinnis is one of the co-founders of Café Sisters Productions, an all-woman filmmaking collective dedicated to bringing a feminist edge to their creations.  As a Fulbright scholar, she spent a year writing and filmmaking in Juchitán, México.

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Sande Zeig

Sande Zeig directed and produced six films including Central Park which premiered at Sundance in 1994, The Girl, from a short story by Monique Wittig, which premiered at Toronto and Berlin in 2000, and Apache 8, a documentary about the first all-women wildland firefighting crew from the White Mountain Apache Tribe, broadcast on PBS in 2011. 

 

Zeig co-founded Artistic License Creative, a new media and digital marketing company, and was the founder of Artistic License Films, a New York film distribution company.

 

She has received the following grants and fellowships: VisionMaker Media Research & Development Grant (2020), Native American Public Telecommunications Production Grant (2010), The MacDowell Colony Artist’s Fellowship (1990), The Astraea Foundation, New York (1984) and California Arts Council, Artist in Residence (1979).

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Craig Huston

Craig Huston is a UA alumnus whose 30-plus year career in film and television production found him working not only on Hollywood studio lots but also on far-flung location shoots in 22 states plus a dozen foreign countries including Borneo (Malaysia), Russia, Morocco and the Philippines. (Yes, you can look him up on IMDb.) 

Craig moved back to Tucson after retirement; transitioning into volunteer work with the UA School of Theatre, Film & Television as a student mentor, guest-lecturer and adjunct instructor.

 

He was honored in 2015 as the UA College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year, and he remains an active member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild (SAG/AFTRA).

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Jonathan VanBallenberghe

Jonathan VanBallenberghe is a documentary filmmaker raised in Juneau, Alaska, now based in Tucson, Arizona.  His films have screened at festivals including SXSW, Tribeca (Special Jury Mention for Best Documentary Short), Arizona International Film Festival (three-time winner of Best of Arizona), American Conservation Film Festival, and the Loft Film Festival. 

He has received Gold Addy Awards for his cinematography as well as many grants, including funding from Vision Maker Media for the production of Almost an Island, his forthcoming documentary about Inupiaq life in Kotzebue, Alaska. His independent films include In the Company of Moose, The Ostrich Testimonies, and more.  With his wife, Sharon Wahl, he runs Open Lens Productions, which produces online content, broadcast commercials, documentary films, and full-dome planetarium shows. 

Headshot credit: Tom Willett

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Sharon Wahl

Sharon Wahl is a writer and documentary film producer living in Tucson, Arizona.  Her stories have appeared in The Iowa Review (Tim McGinnis Prize), the Chicago Tribune (Nelson Algren Award Finalist), the Harvard Review, and many other journals. 

 

Her film credits include Guru (Jury Award for Best Documentary Short, Tribeca 2011) and The Ostrich Testimonies (premiere SXSW). Other awards include grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and residencies at Villa Montalvo and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. In 2005, she and Jonathan VanBallenberghe started Open Lens Productions. Their current film, Almost An Island, received a Public Media Project Fund grant from Vision Maker Media in 2018.

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Will Conroy

Will’s scripts include Transsiberian (2008) starring Woody Harrelson and Sir Ben Kingsley, and Five Minutes Mr. Welles (2005), directed by and starring Vincent D’Onofrio. In development is his To Build a Fire (2020) co-written with Transsiberian director Brad Anderson, and All Through the House (2018) now with Michael Mailer Films. Will has also penned Nocturne, an adaptation for Shooting Script Films, Echo, with National Book Award nominee Thom Jones, Mac Dog Dog Williams, with National Book Award nominee Chris Offutt, and The Blind Man of Seville, an adaptation for Filmax International.

Will is currently President of the Arizona Inn, a family-owned resort hotel created by his great- grandmother Isabella Greenway in Tucson in 1930.

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