Speakers!
We’ve reached out far and wide to bring you our best lineup yet.

Latoya Flowers

latoyacharisseflowers.com

Latoya is a Documentary Filmmaker, Multimedia Producer and Photographer. She currently works at the Field Museum in Chicago as a Exhibition Media Producer; where she collaborates with exhibit designers, content developers, motion graphic artists, and music composers to produce immersive multimedia experiences for traveling and permanent exhibitions. Latoya recently produced a light show for the SUE Experience, highlighting scientific discoveries of the world’s most complete T.rex skeleton through projection mapping.

She formerly worked at the Adler Planetarium as a Digital Content Producer. She used her experience in documentary filmmaking to produce a series of short videos featuring archival footage from Apollo 8, Apollo 11, and the Gemini Space program for the Mission Moon exhibition.

Latoya graduated from the School of Visual Arts and received an MFA in Social Documentary Film. She worked on the critically acclaimed documentaries; The Interrupters, A Good Man, and Running from Crazy executive produced by Kartemquin and Cabin Creek Films. Her short documentary Derby Girls, was featured in the group exhibition The Sports Show curated by the School of Visual Arts Alumni Society.

Latoya’s photography work was featured in the RAW Chicago Artist Exhibition. RAW showcases indie talent in visual art, film, fashion, music, performance art, and photography around the world. Latoya’s goal is to continue collaborating with various artists in producing immersive multimedia for museums.

Julie Craft

juliecraft.tv

Billy Chitkin

Gernge

Billy Chitkin and Julie Craft are the founders of a Detroit based artist collective called Boxfort. Started as a coworking space for like minded designers and friends, their group helps each other to grow and become better artists. Despite being individual freelancers, the Boxfort group often works together or collaborates when they can, including this year’s titles for Half Rez.

Julie is a freelance motion designer and animator with over 15 years of experience. Recently much of her time has been focused on designing, developing, and animating user interfaces for upcoming electric vehicles. Her work also includes large screen trade show experiences, including automotive reveals for Ford, Toyota, and Lexus at the Detroit, New York, and Toronto auto shows. Over the last 5+ years she has helped lead and grow the Detroit community by running her monthly Mograph Mondays events. These events help people meet and collaborate, as well as learn through presentations by local artists. In addition to the Detroit events, Mograph Mondays has new chapters starting in other Michigan cities (Lansing, Grand Rapids) as well as Cleveland, Ohio and Ottawa, Ontario.

Billy is a freelance 3D Designer & Animator who goes by the alias Gernge. In addition to commercial work, he has taught Cinema 4D as an Adjunct teacher and occasional tutorial maker while being very active in online mograph communities. Helping others troubleshoot problems and collaborating with artists has pushed him to always be improving his own work. He doesn’t like long walks on the beach or writing much about himself but he is happy to share techniques or process about his many personal projects.

Brian McCauley

Flavor

Jason Cook

Flavor

Brian is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago where he received a BFA in Digital Media Production. He has over 12 years experience creating award winning broadcast motion graphics. He began his career creating motion graphics for the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks before moving into broadcast. Brian worked with many post-production facilities in Chicago as well as nearly every Agency before coming to Flavor in 2013 as their Senior Designer. In 2014 he was promoted to Creative Director. Brian has lead numerous successful design campaigns for such brands as McDonalds, Allstate, Sprint and Kmart to name a few. Brian is fueled by coffee and loves watching Star Wars with his kids.

A native of Los Angeles, and an Art Center alum, Jason Cook came up in the advertising industry as a designer, creative director and filmmaker. After close to two decades in the industry, Jason has amassed an incredible portfolio working with some of the biggest brands in the world from Coca-Cola, Campbells, Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet, Fiat, Honda, Helix, and Carhartt to name just a few. Jason was a partner and creative at NYLON for three years followed by a CD position at Superfad in LA.

After another stint as a freelance creative director working around town, Jason joined the Cutters Studios family as the CD of the LA office of FLAVOR. He quickly helped shape the office into a design and conceptual resource to help facilitate their client’s needs. These days, Jason splits his time between design and live action projects. He is inspired by work that showcases a mix of design and visual effects with filmmaking. High concept and idea driven stories are where Jason really shines, and whenever possible, he loves to combine his multiple disciplines to create an amalgam of narrative comedy. Jason’s humor and irreverent sensibility can be seen in his work for clients such as Maytag, Snuggle and Dean’s and his short form work.

Jason also loves tacos. Especially the papas variety.

Chris Schmidt

Rocket Lasso

Chris Schmidt is a Cinema 4D obsessive, 3D artist, educator, and software developer who creates tools, tutorials, and live streams for his new company Rocket Lasso.

Chris has been soaking up all things Cinema 4D since 2000, continuously sharing his encyclopedic knowledge with a large community of artists that he helped foster. He has introduced countless beginners to C4D with his free video introduction series on Greyscalegorilla.com, and his many online tutorials help newcomers and professionals alike.

Chris also co-founded the long-running user group “Chicago C4D” which brings artists, students and the studios of the Chicagoland area together to celebrate 3D in motion design. He co-founded the “Half Rez” Event, the Midwest’s largest annual motion graphics conference.

Chris has worked on various main title and end credit sequences including Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Dumb & Dumber To, and Krampus.

Nick Rivero

Meptik

Co-Founder of Meptik, Nick comes from a background in live video production, having designed the technical systems behind a variety of touring artists, corporate events, and everything in between.

Meptik focuses on creating engaging user experiences in live environments. Their work spans from real-time graphics creation to interactive installations to projection mapping.

Nick serves as the lead on all things innovative and technical at Meptik, and focuses on realizing the technical needs and systems that make events and projects happen.

Nick Denboer

Smearballs

Nick is a video artist based in Toronto Canada. He has developed a unique brand of VFX comedy, combining video remix and animation techniques to create surreal and often absurd videos.

Nick honed his skills working as a writer and bit creator for Conan O’Brien producing and remixing popular culture segments for the show. His groundbreaking short film “The Chickening” (a poultry-infused remix of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”) graced the screens of TIFF and Sundance. Nick’s unmistakable style has found a home in many productions. He has directed and produced ads for Old Spice and KFC, music videos and tour visuals for deadmau5 & Flying Lotus, countless TV shows, films, web and VR projects.

Nick has carved out a career through remixing and repurposing existing footage to produce new and sometimes ridiculous creations.

Our emcee for
Half Rez 8,
Jonathan Desir!

Jonathan Desir was born in NY, raised in Michigan, but now lives here in Chicago! In 2004 he graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in Psychology. He then decided to move to Chicago and pursue a career in post production landing an internship at Red Car. He always had a passion for graphics, stemming from his love of video games, he gravitated towards animation becoming the senior producer for Design at Red Car amongst other positions.

He stayed at Red Car for almost 10 years climbing to the highest position of Executive Producer before the company closed down in August of 2013. At Red Car, Jon worked with clients such as American Family Insurance, Coors Light, McDonald's, Miller Lite and State Farm. And his love for the Design world has allowed him to work on 3D and VR projects as well as traditional Post.

He now works as an Executive Producer for a company called Optimus here in Chicago. He has also been a poet for 12 years and still performs around the city. Or you can find him playing basketball at any court here in the city when not watching his favorite Pistons, Bulls or LeBron James games :)