MFI is lucky to have a community of filmmakers and coaches who are willing to guide and mentor our students. Many of our artists and mentors come back to us year after year. All of our guest artists and mentors are based on availability.
2019 MFI Mentors
Geoffrey Owens was born on March 18, 1961, in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Geoffrey Louis Owens. He is an actor and director, known for The Cosby Show (1984), The Paper (1994) and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005).
Chris Wedge studied at the State University of New York at Purchase, where he received a BFA in film, and soon after that, he went on to study at Ohio State University, earning him an MA in computer graphics and art education.
Wedge began his career as an effects artist for films such as Tron (1982). In February 1987, he founded Blue Sky Studios, along with Carl Ludwig, Dr. Eugene Troubetzkoy, Alison Brown, David Brown and Michael Ferraro. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the studio helped create visual effects for television commercials and films like "Alien Resurrection" (1997), "Star Trek: Insurrection" (1998), "Fight Club" (1999) and "Titan A.E." (2000). Wedge produced the short animated "Bunny", in 1998, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. After Wedge directed the critically acclaimed feature film "Ice Age" (2002), Blue Sky Studios was finally established in to one of the top animation studios in the United States.
Bill Finkelstein wrote and produced various television series, among them LA Law, Cop Rock, Civil Wars, Murder One and Law & Order. Recently his script for The Bad Lieutenant was made into the movie starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes, directed by Werner Herzog. Bill Finkelstein has won two Primetime Emmy Awards. He teaches screenwriting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Previous & Recurring Guest Mentors
Actor, director, producer Tony Goldwyn is taking multi-tasking to a new level. He recently took on the controversial figure Warren Jeffs, starring in the Lifetime movie, "Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs." Produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
He co-created and executive produced a series "The Divide" for AMC Studios. In addition to acting on the show, “Scandal”, Goldwyn has directed episodes of the show in the second, third and fourth seasons of the series. Other televisions directing credits include prestigious programs such as "Dexter," "Justified," "Law & Order," "Damages," "Grey's Anatomy" and "The L Word," among others. Goldwyn made his feature directorial debut with "A Walk on the Moon" starring Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen. Additional feature directing credits include "The Last Kiss," based on Gabriele Muccino's "L'Ultimo Bacio", “Someone Like You," and "Conviction."
As an actor, Goldwyn first caught audiences' attention with his portrayal of the villain in the box office smash "Ghost." He went on to appear in numerous other films including "The Pelican Brief" with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, "Kiss The Girls," Oliver Stone's "Nixon," "The Substance of Fire," "The Last Samurai" opposite Tom Cruise and the recent remake of Wes Craven's classic "The Last House on the Left." He is also familiar to children as the title voice in Disney's animated feature "Tarzan." His television acting credits include "The Good Wife," "Dexter," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Without A Trace," "The L Word," the HBO Mini-Series "From The Earth To The Moon," "Frasier," "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women.”
Marcia Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden is an American Academy Award-winning Actress. You can catch her on CBS' "Code Black". Although she had acted in a movie as early as 1986, in the little-known The Imagemaker(1986), her first mainstream role was as a sultry femme fatale in the Coen Brothers, Miller's Crossing (1990). Harden thereafter worked steadily in supporting roles, including the portrayal of Ava Gardner in Sinatra (1992), a television biopic about Frank Sinatra. Harden also worked in the theater and, in 1993, was part of the Broadway cast of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America”, winning acclaim for her work, including a Tony Award nomination. She returned to moviemaking in the mid-1990s, continuing to turn in superb supporting performances in films and television.
Harden got a chance to truly show her quality on-screen in 2000, with Ed Harris's Pollock (2000), in which she played Lee Krasner, artist and long-suffering wife of Jackson Pollock. Harden's performance was deeply moving and unforgettable and earned her the Oscar and New York Film Critic's Circle awards for best supporting actress. Continuing to work prolifically in features and television, she earned another Oscar nomination in 2003 for her supporting role in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003).
Giancarlo Esposito is an American actor and director. He has played Gustavo "Gus" Fring on the AMC shows Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, a role for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics' Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards.
He has appeared in Spike Lee films such as Do the Right Thing, School Daze, and Mo' Better Blues. His other film appearances include Fresh, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, The Usual Suspects and King of New York. He has portrayed Sidney Glass/the Magic Mirror on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution. He has had roles in two Netflix original series: The Get Down, wherein he portrays Pastor Ramon Cruz, and Dear White People, which he narrates.
TODD KOMARNICKI is a prolific writer, producer, and director of film and television as well as an acclaimed novelist. His first novel, Free, was published by Doubleday in 1993 and his second novel, famine (Arcade 1997), received tremendous reviews and was subsequently translated into French, Italian, and German. His third novel, war, was published to exceptional reviews in July of 2008 by Arcade.
Komarnicki’s screenplays include SULLY directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks, which opened #1 at the box office to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. Komarnicki has also written PERFECT STRANGER starring Bruce Willis and Halle Berry, an adaptation of the international bestseller; THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN, which is set for release in 2018, and stars Mel Gibson and Sean Penn; KURT WARNER PROJECT for Fox Studios; MERCURY 13 at ABC, a TV pilot about the first female astronauts, which he is producing with Jessica Chastain, and a reboot of the DIRTY HARRY character for Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. TV.
Komarnicki is the president & founder of the production company Guy Walks Into A Bar. Komarnicki and Guy Walk partner Jon Berg produced the Christmas blockbuster ELF, starring Will Ferrell and directed by Jon Favreau. The film amassed over $220 million worldwide and has become a perennial favorite every
Aaron Tveit is an American actor and singer. He is known for originating the roles of Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale Jr. in the stage version of Catch Me If You Can on Broadway. He is also known for his recurring role as Tripp van der Bilt on The CW's teen drama series Gossip Girl and for his portrayal of Enjolras in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables. Tveit also starred as Mike Warren on the USA Network series Graceland. Tveit recently starred in Grease Live as Danny Zuko.
Daniela Taplin Lundberg
Daniela Taplin Lundberg is the founder of the recently launched Stay Gold Features, a New York-based finance and production company. She has produced over 25 features including the recent Sundance hit, PATTI CAKE$, Cary Fuknaga's BEASTS OF NO NATION, Micheal Showalter's HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS starring Sally Field and Lisa Cholodenk's THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT. Lundberg is a member of AMPAS and YPO and sits on the board of the Signature Theatre.
Robert "Bobby" Moresco is an American producer, screenwriter, director, and actor. His credits include the films 10th & Wolf and Crash. Moresco's script for Crash won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which he shared with co-writer Paul Haggis. He was also a co-producer of Crash and has acted in three films and also made guest appearances in shows such as The Equalizer, Miami Vice, and Law & Order. He has written scripts for the television series EZ Streets, Millennium, and The Black Donnellys.
Jane Musky a production designer and art director, known for YOUNG GUNS, GHOST, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, RAISING ARIZONA, MONA LISA SMILE, HITCH, NOTORIOUS and many more. She has been married to Tony Goldwyn since April 18, 1987.
Moss began his career at New York's famed cabaret Upstairs at the Downstairs and went on to appear on Broadway in numerous productions including Joe Layton's Drat! The Cat!, Neil Simon's God's Favorite, directed by Michael Bennett, Burt Shevelove's So Long 174th Street, Gerald Freedman's The Robber Bridegroom, and Gene Saks' I Love My Wife.
After teaching in New York at Juilliard and Circle in the Square, he moved to Los Angeles and founded The Larry Moss® Studio. It was here that he directed and developed Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree. The Syringa Tree opened in New York in September 2000 and won the Obie Award for Best Play of 2001, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Circle Critics Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, a Drama League Honor and a nomination for the John Gassner Playwriting Award.
Moss coached Sutton Foster in Broadway's Anything Goes (Tony Award); Helen Hunt in As Good As It Gets (Academy Award); Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry and Million Dollar Baby (Academy Awards); Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile (Academy Award nomination); Hank Azaria in Tuesdays With Morrie (Emmy Award); Jim Carrey in The Majestic; Tobey Maguire in Seabiscuit; Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination); The Departed (Golden Globe nomination); Blood Diamond (Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination); Shutter Island, Inception, J. Edgar (SAG and Golden Globe Award nomination) andWolf of Wolf Street (Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination). Moss's teaching career includes US, Canada, Australia and Europe. His book on acting, The Intent To Live, was released by Bantam Dell in 2004.
Carolyn McCormick w holds a BFA from Williams College as well as an MFA from American Theater Conservatory (A.C.T.). She is best known for starring in "Law & Order" as well as the films "Whatever Works" and "Enemy Mine".
Besides film and television, Carolyn's theater credits include:
Broadway: Equus, Private Lives, The Dinner Party. Off-Broadway: The Open House (Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel nomination), Family Furniture, Black Tie, Ten Chimneys, Celebration, Privilege, Biography, EVE-olution, Dinner With Friends, Ancestral Voices.
Regional credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha...(Papermill Playhouse), Saint Joan (Denver Center), The Father (Geffen Playhouse), Uncle Vanya (Old Globe), Present Laughter (Williamstown), Much Ado...(Seattle Rep).
Richard Kind, a Drama Desk Award winner and Tony nominee for the Broadway hit The Big Knife, is an accomplished stage, screen and television actor who continues to redefine the term character actor. Kind is starring as Sam Meyers in the Amazon Original Series Red Oaks. He appeared in the 2013 Best Picture Academy, Award-winning Argo.
Additional film credits include The Visitor and The Station Agent, among many others, as well as voicing characters in A Bug's Life and Cars. In television, besides his infamous roles on Spin City and Mad About You, Kind starred in the acclaimed HBO series Luck, has guest starred on many shows, and has had recurring roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Gotham. On stage, Kind has starred in the smash hit Broadway musical The Producers, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Candide, and Bounce, among others. Kind started his career in Chicago with the Practical Theatre Company, founded by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brad Hill and Gary Kroeger.
David began casting in Los Angeles in 1994 and moved back home to New York to continue my work in the casting business in 2005. He worked on a wide variety of projects such as national network commercials, network promos, political ads, feature films, short films, documentaries, corporate industrials, music videos, PSA’s, webisodes and voice-overs for both TV and radio spots.
Some of the directors he has worked with include David Fincher, Tom Hooper, Tony Scott, Peter Berg, John Singleton, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Doug Liman, Phil Morrison, and Errol Morris. I’m currently a Casting Director with one of the busiest companies in New York, Beth Melsky Casting.
In September 2016 he began work as a professor at the Pace School of Performing Arts instructing on-camera classes entitled “Acting for Film/TV” in the BFA program. I’ve also guest lectured at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Adelphi University, NYU Tisch, The Boston Conservatory, The Maggie Flanigan Studio, The Actor’s Green Room, The Actor’s Connection, ACT NOW, Weist-Barron, One on One and Paul Michael’s The Network NYC. I’m also a frequent contributor to Backstage’s “Commercial Break” Advice column.
DAVID CADY is widely regarded as the foremost teacher of commercial acting technique in New York City today. In addition to teaching at private studios around the city, he is a professor at NYU, Pace University, and AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy), where he teaches musical theatre performance.
David became interested in casting while receiving his BFA at NYU and serving an internship at Playwrights Horizons. His first casting job was assistant to casting director Bonnie Timmermann on the original “Dirty Dancing,” Roman Polanski’s “Frantic” starring Harrison Ford, Hector Babenco’s “Ironweed” starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, and the third season of “Miami Vice.”
David became a casting assistant at Grey Advertising, where he was introduced to the commercial casting process. From there he went to Donna DeSeta Casting, where, for over 26 years, he personally cast over 2000 commercials. Additionally, he and Donna cast various independent films, the dance sequences for Disney’s “Enchanted,” and the world premieres of Michael John La Chuisa’s “The Petrified Prince” and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Whistle Down the Wind,” both directed by Harold Prince.
Ben York Jones
Ben York Jones attended Chapman University. Jones' screen writing credits include the 2011 Sundance Grand Jury Prize recipient "Like Crazy," and the tense family drama "Breathe In," staring Felicity Jones and Guy Pearce. As an actor, Jones received praise from The Hollywood Reporter and New York Magazine for his leading role in the 2010 Sundance competition film "Douchebag," and can be seen in the 2013 Emmy and Cannes Lion award-winning web-series "The Beauty Inside." He also stars in the Vimeo Staff Pick "Safety" opposite Rory Uphold and the tonal short film "Waves" opposite Keith Stanfield. In 2015, Jones completed work on his screen adaptation of New York Times Best Seller "Between Shades of Gray" which he re-titled "Ashes in the Snow" to avoid confusion with the "50 Shades of Grey" franchise. The film was shot in Lithuania in the summer of 2016. Also in 2016, Jones' original screenplay "Newness" was picked up by Lost City and Scott Free, and fast-tracked into production. He is represented by CAA.
Gil Talmi is a world-renowned EMMY nominated composer, producer and recording artist with a passion for socially conscious projects.
Some of Gil's most recent work includes Chavela (Aubin Pictures), Straight/Curve (Epix), Desert Migration (Best Revenge Productions), Remittance (Greenmachine Films) and The Memory of Fish (Reelblue), narrated by Lili Taylor, which had its world premiere at SIFF 2016. In 2017, Gil's score for Chavela was nominated for Best Original Composition - Feature Film Score by the Music & Sound Awards. 3 Documentaries which Gil scored premiered simultaneously at Doc NYC 2015: All Rise, The Lost Arcade (26 Aries) and Love Between The Covers (Blueberry Hill Productions).
Gil has scored the Peabody Award-winning documentaries Between The Folds (PBS Independent Lens), Who Killed Chea Vichea? (PBS) and New Year Baby (PBS Independent Lens), winner of the Amnesty International 'Movies That Matter' Award.