2018 Special Guests

Matthew Melemseter

Writer/Director of NUCLEAR WINTER

Matthew Melemseter is an undergraduate film student at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Ryan Grams


A man of many hats, literally, but Ryan tends to prefer a gaudy fedora. He’s also a producer, cinematographer, and co-founder of Uptop Films. Some fun trivia: He loves the South Dakota Film Festival, oxford commas and cheese, but hates writing bios about himself in the third person.

Meg Griffiths

Producer, Director of OUR TIOSPAYE // OUR FAMILY

Meg is a producer and co-founder of Universe Creative, a video storytelling agency committed to social good. After working as the Houston Chronicle’s first video journalist, Meg helped lead Teach For America’s marketing team where she built an award-winning team of video creators. She then oversaw content development at
Redbird, a Los Angeles-based marketing firm, as their Vice President of Strategy. At Universe Creative, Meg works with clients like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and other organizations making a positive impact in the world. You can follow her work on Instagram at @storiesforgood.

Scott Faris

Director, Cinematographer, Editor of OUR TIOSPAYE // OUR FAMILY

Scott is a director and editor with roots in education and nonprofit marketing. After teaching 5th grade on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Scott joined Teach For America’s award-winning marketing team as a video producer. He continued to pursue the intersection of education and video storytelling at Redbird, a marketing firm in Los Angeles. He currently co-leads Universe Creative, a video storytelling agency committed to social good. Through Universe, Scott works with clients like The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and other organizations making a positive impact in the world. You can follow his work on Instagram at @storiesforgood.

Brandon Van Vliet

Lead Actor in REST AREA

Brandon Van Vliet has been in the Film/TV industry since 2004 after he co-founded his production company/indie film label, Restraining Hollywood. Since then, he has released seven feature films, numerous music videos, and short independent films. Projects Brandon has worked on, such as “Play Dirty”, “In Harm’s Way”, “Potpourri”, “Hunting Buddies”, and “American Rescue Squad”, can all be found on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. In 2014 Brandon won awards for best villain and best onscreen kiss for the film “Other” at the Z-Fest film festival. As of 2015 Brandon resides in Los Angeles and stays busy working on multiple projects as an actor and producer.

Sean Skinner

Director/Director of Photography for ECHO, Director of REST AREA

Sean has been filming, editing, producing, and directing news stories, documentaries, and short films for more than twenty years. Originally working in TV news, his love for film called him to start Red 23 Films. He then began creating original content. Sean’s short films and documentaries have won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. He has earned Emmys, Associated Press, SPJ, and Telly awards for his work. Sean lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and three children.

Nathan Eby

Writer/Director for TIME DIAMOND: A DIAMOND IN TIME, Sound Design for ECHO and REST AREA

“Chops” Nathan Eby is an award-winning composer, sound designer, and filmmaker based in the Twin Cities. He has contributed to several films that have been seen—and heard—at SDFF in the past: Deepest Cover, The Motivator, The Wolf, Lincoln 666, You’re In Trouble. This year he co-wrote/directed/produced Time Diamond: A Diamond in Time and whipped out his distinctive audio chops for Leading Man, Rest Area, and Echo.

Keith Mullin

Writer/Director of TRIGGERED, Director of Photography for REST AREA

Keith graduated from Metropolitan State University in 2010 with a BA in Screenwriting. He has been involved with over twenty short film productions and has worn just about every hat there is in film production. His work has been selected to screen at film festivals all over the country and has won awards for directing, editing, cinematography, and lighting. He is always eager to get his hands dirty learning a new technique or piece of equipment.

Steven Warkel

Writer/Director of SMALL TALK

Brady Halverson

Producer of SMALL TALK

Dillan Schmiedt

Director of Photography for SMALL TALK

Samuel Lacasse

Editor of SMALL TALK

Elizabeth Chatelain

Writer/Director of SUNDOGS

A North Dakota native, Elizabeth Chatelain has directed several documentary and narrative shorts, including MY SISTER SARAH, winner of the International Documentary Association’s Award for Best Student Documentary, Student Academy Award Finalist, and the DGA’s Best Student Director—Women’s Category Finalist. Her short documentary THE LOST GIRL was winner of the Ruth Landfield Award for Women Filmmakers in 2009. Her work primarily profiles working class women struggling against everyday adversity.

Chatalain’s narrative shorts have screened at festivals across the country and the world, including Interfilm Berlin, Sarasota, IFFBoston, Athens Film + Video, MSPIFF, and SXSW. She is currently working on her debut feature project, SUNDOGS, which participated in the Berlinale Script Station in 2016 and was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finalist. She holds a BA in Film and Media Culture from Middlebury Colleg, and an MFA in Film and Video Production from University of Texas at Austin.

William Freitag


William Freitag has been professionally directing, producing, and editing for over 10 years. In addition to working on “The Collectors”, he is currently producing several movies and a documentary series. Freitag has been involved on hundreds of video projects, large and small, over the years. He has multiple award winning short films and advertisements. He lives in Aberdeen with his wife and two daughters and owns and operates his video production company WF Cinematics.


Ace Steele

Actress in THIN ENOUGH

Ace Steele is from Rochester, Minnesota, and is pursuing a degree in Film Production at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She loves acting, both on stage and on camera. She hopes someday to be able to do anything and everything that has to do with film, Whether it’s to direct, act, produce, or write, she is determined to get it done and to do a good job.

Sydney Kost

Actress in THIN ENOUGH

Sydney Kost is a 19-year-old who is very excited to be a part of this year’s film festival. She loves acting, writing, and hanging out with her friends. She is currently working at Avera St. Luke’s hospital and pursuing her dream of becoming a surgical technician.

Carolina Posse

Producer of THIS IS CINDY

Carolina Posse is an award-winning media producer and educator. She worked in the arts non-profit sector as Programming Director, and ultimately served as Interim Director, of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. For eight years she served as the film curator for Mostra: Brazilian Film Series presented in cooperation with Partners of the Americas Illinois-Sao Paulo Chapter. She has guest lectured for numerous educational and governmental institutions; she has served on juries for the Sundance Institute, Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), the Independent Television Service (ITVS) among others; she currently serves in the Latinx Community Council of the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Posse’s credits include Hot Chili (2004), The Quiet (2005), Path of Least Resistance (2006), Little Green Men (2009), The Scary Ham (2017), This is Cindy (2018), American Fumble (2018), and The Francis Ellis Mysteries (2019). Carolina has a BA in Film, a Master’s in Arts Management and is currently an Assistant Professor at Columbia College Chicago.

Terance Miller

Writer/Director of THIS IS CINDY

Terance Miller is a Chicago-based filmmaker and screenwriter. His short film TONIGHT won several awards, received a Student Academy Award nomination, and had a four-year run at The Music Box Theater playing before midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Terry worked with performers from IO and Second City creating comedy shorts, which lead to development work with Broadway Video. Terry created the Comedy Directing Workshop and has taught advanced film directing classes in the CTVA department at Columbia College Chicago. He is currently adapting his film AV Action into an animated series and developing two feature length screenplays.

Tony Tubes Zerr


Tony Tubes Zerr is a Writer, Director, and Comedian known for his appearance on the 3-time Emmy nominated web series The Screen Junkies Show, as well as creator and host of the online movie trivia gameshow Silver Screen Showdown. You can also see his work on his YouTube home channel Tube Review.

Keith Langsdorf


Keith Langsdorf co-wrote, directed, and edited Time Diamond: A Diamond in Time. In his youth, Keith spent countless hours working on-set during the Minnesota film boom of the 1990s. After high school, Keith continued working in the film industry, but eventually enlisted in the US Navy as a Russian linguist. During his time in the military, Keith continued his passion for films by working on a number of short and feature films while stationed in Baltimore, MD. After finishing his enlistment, Keith returned to Minnesota where he has produced, directed, and edited everything from short films to music videos, documentaries, and commercial productions.