Ethan van Thillo, Executive Director / Founder – Media Arts Center San Diego,

Ethan van Thillo is Founder and Executive Director of the Media Arts Center San Diego. Since 1989, he has been working in media arts field programming Latino film festivals for the University of California, Santa Cruz, Cine Acción in San Francisco, Cine Estudiantil at the University of California San Diego, and the National Latino Communications Center in Los Angeles. Ethan has curated 100s of programs at festivals and/or special events in 45 libraries across California, Mexico City, Morelia, Las Cruces, Nuevo Laredo, San Antonio, Tijuana, Sacramento, and San Diego. In 1995, Ethan transformed the Cine Estudiantil into the San Diego Latino Film Festival. In 1999, to broaden the scope of the festival following four successful years, Ethan established the non-profit Media Arts Center San Diego in 1999. Under the umbrella of MACSD Ethan has developed & created innovative new community based media programs such as the California state-wide Digital Story Station initiative, Teen Producers Project, Youth Media & Tech Camps, Mobile Stories, Speak City Heights, The People’s Post, Video Production Services Department, and the new Digital Gym community technology center and movie theater. Ethan has served on various funding panels including San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture, Latino Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller Foundation’s 2004 Film and Video Fellowships, California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts’ funding panel for Media Arts. Mr. van Thillo has also been asked to speak at such national conferences as National Association of Latino Independent Producers, National Association of Latino Arts & Culture, and National Alliance of Media Arts & Culture.



Ryan Kuratomi, Media Director,

Ryan Kuratomi graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and has worked on productions in the San Diego and Los Angeles regions in both production and post-production departments. Ryan leads Media Arts Center’s Video Production Services team which produces content for various clients such as the YMCA, San Diego Natural History Museum, United Way and SDG&E.




Moisés Esparza, Exhibitions Manager,

Moises graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies with a concentration in Psychology. Currently, he is a Master of Arts candidate in the Television, Film, and New Media Department at San Diego State University. His past professional experience includes internships at Summit Entertainment and The Weinstein Company, where he assisted the heads of development and acquisitions departments with a multitude of tasks.



Tracy Griffith, Bookkeeper,



Larry Silveira, Education & Outreach Coordinator,

Larry Silveira earned an Associate of Arts in Video Production from Mt. Hood Community College in 1995 in Gresham, Oregon. After briefly working in film and video production in San Diego, he pursued a career as an educator. He graduated from San Diego State University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and later earned a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2007. After ten years teaching high school social science, Larry is looking forward to his role as Youth Media & Outreach Coordinator because it is an opportunity to combine his interests in education and cinema.



Natalia Valerdi-Rogers, Education & Outreach Manager,

Natalia Valerdi-Rogers received her M.F.A. in Dance and Technology from the University of California, Irvine with a concentration in dance film and interactive video installations. Natalia’s early artistic career dissolved the intersections of video projection design, choreography, and arts education. She toured a guest artist and guest lecturer to Cuba, Europe, Mexico and throughout Southern California for over 20 years. As Associate Director of the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective (PRDC), she collaborated with Patricia Rincon as an artist and administrator for ten years. The collaboration produced dance and film work focused on research around border cultures, the immigration debate and the American Dream. She produced PRDC’s Salon Dances Series, co-produced the Blurred Borders Dance Festival, toured Europe, including the TANZINOLTEN festival, and researched indigenous cultures in Mexico. Natalia also designed video projection art for choreographers Yolande Snaith (UK) and Alicia Rincon (USA). Her passion for arts education evolved through her work as Dance & Technology Lecturer at the University of California, and as Adjunct Instructor at San Diego City College and Southwestern College. She work with students and teachers in the San Diego community as a Teaching Artist with Collaborations of Teachers and Artists, and as Residency Programs Manager at Arts for Learning San Diego. She continues to work on supporting youth make positive contributions to society through media arts, and raising the voices of underserved communities as Education and Outreach Manager at the Media Arts Center San Diego.




Juan Lopez, Exhibitions Coordinator,

As a San Diego native, Juan Lopez was fascinated by film at a very young age. The under-representation and portrayals of Latinos in film drove him to ameliorate the conventional. He attended The Los Angeles Film School, where he was able to take part in crews of various short films and TV shows. When he returned to San Diego upon graduating, Juan joined Media Arts Center as a marketing and PR Program Associate for the Digital Gym CINEMA. Mr. Lopez also coordinates PR efforts and the Community Partners program for the San Diego Latino Film Festival.




Rosana Marques, Marketing & Special Events Manager,

Rosana Marques was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An avid traveler and lover of of the arts, Rosana has an educational background in advertising and marketing. Her previous professional experiences include media planning at ethnic and mainstream ad agencies located in Sao Paulo, New York, and Los Angeles. Shortly after moving to San Diego, Rosana joined the MACSD team in 2015 to gain practical knowledge in Event Planning. She has since been coordinating Marketing & Special Events for the Media Arts Center San Diego.




Marco Chavez,  Cinema Associate,

Marco is a local San Diego filmmaker. He’s been working with Media Arts Center San Diego’s Digital Gym CINEMA for over three years. Additionally, he has worked with the organization’s annual San Diego Latino Film Festival in both box office and in video editing.




Kristian Perez-Franco,  Cinema Associate,

Kristian Perez-Franco is an aspiring filmmaker and all-around movie lover. He previously worked as a manager at the Landmark Hillcrest Theatre where his appreciation of independent film grew. He brings his discerning eye to the Digital Gym’s line-up and helps program the Digital Gym on the Blvd and Modern Classics film series. He is a San Diego native and enjoys stocking the Media Arts store with unique items that speak to local culture as well as new and hard-to-find soundtracks and scores on vinyl from his favorite films.”




Shanna Trenholm, Consultant/Grant Writer

Shanna is a writer, coach, and consultant who has worked closely with MACSD since 2010. A San Diego native, Shanna understands the needs of our community and assists us with prospect research, fund raising development, and grant writing.




Brian Jenkins, Youth Media Arts Instructor
Brian Jenkins is a filmmaker and editor based in San Diego. His most recent documentary film, Answering the Call – the American Struggle for the Right to Vote, starred civil rights icon John Lewis and was featured on Rachel Maddow, Esquire, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Young Turks, Vox, and Slate. In addition, his production company Riot House Pictures has produced commercial video content for MLB, FICO, Intuit, Eliel Cycling, Illumina, Knockaround, and DOPE. He joined the Media Arts Center team as a lead instructor for the Teen Producers Project in 2018.



Joshua Salaises, Youth Media Arts Instructor

Joshua was born and raised in central Texas. He attended the University of Texas in Austin, where he majored in Marketing and minored in film. After graduating, he became a data analyst and teaching fellow for AmeriCorps with the Boston, non-profit Citizen Schools. He was the lead analyst and also taught after school classes in ELA and STEM enrichment. Joshua created curriculum and led project based courses such as College Readiness, Solar Cars, Video Game Design, Spoken Word, and Documentary Film. It was the last course that reignited his interest in film, particularly documentaries. He moved  to San Diego in 2015 and continued working with students throughout the county: as Enrichment Instructor in Lemon Groove, Del Mar, and Encinitas school districts, and private tutor in La Jolla, Del Mar and East Village. Additionally, he resumed studying film, received a certificate of documentary production from City College and is currently working on his first feature length documentary.



Nathaniel Pope is a filmmaker based in Southern California. He has been teaching at Media Arts Center San Diego for the past year. Specifically focusing on our Youth Media & Tech Camps. He grew up in San Diego, where he developed a love of wild animals and conservation biology. He went on to film school at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. in Film & Media Studies from the University of California, Irvine. He has been influenced by Francois Truffaut, Tom Tykwer, and George Lucas, among others. His movies are marked by warm hearted adventure and the eyes of rebellious youth. Currently he’s in the M.F.A. program at USC’s prestigious film school.



Simon Christopher
Simon graduated from a technical collage with an Associates of Arts degree in Multimedia Design. Upon completion he was driven to pursue another direction with filmmaking and ended up moving to Hollywood CA, where he attended The Los Angeles Film School receiving a degree in Directing and a double minor with Cinematography and Editing. Simon has worked on various projects over the past 15 years ranging from photography, web design, graphic design, and video production.



Alex Wesser is an artist from New York City. There, she earned a degree in Photography and Sociology from Marymount Manhattan College. Dedicated to promoting social consciousness through visual and tactile means, documentary work has become the perfect marriage of her studies and deepest intentions. A renaissance woman at best, disorganized hyper-thinker at worst, Alex’s repertoire includes writing, spoken word, sculpture, installation work, stranger outreach initiatives and community building exercises, social-work, activism, photography and videography. Her work has been exhibited in New York City and she now lives, films and teaches in San Diego with hopes of being just a bit warmer all year long.



Quyên Nguyen-Le is a filmmaker and teaching artist born and raised in southern California whose work has been exhibited internationally. After a brief time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Quyên instead completed degrees in Comparative Literature and Philosophy/Politics/Law at USC; then moved to Santiago de Chile to study Spanish with an emphasis in politics. Quyên was a recipient of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation’s three year fellowship at Focus Features/ NBCUniversal and the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival’s fellowship for emerging media artists.


Andrew Norbeck


Need to contact us? Please contact: 619-230-1938 / / 2921 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104.