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.



Anna Hayman, Operations Manager,

Anna Hayman recently relocated to San Diego from New York City, where she was the Managing Director of CultureHub, the Art & Technology center at La MaMa. At CultureHub, Anna produced over 300 multimedia productions by artists from New York, Los Angeles, Seoul, Belarus, Iran, Italy, and the U.K, among others; and oversaw numerous community and education initiatives that used the media arts as a tool for social engagement. Other producing credits include: OBIE award winners The Provenance of Beauty and Myopia/Plays;  Audelco winner Angela’s MixtapeHavana BourgeoisPing Pong Diplomacy, and Drama Desk nominee Billboard at 59E59 Theaters; and the film Fingernail Moon, which will screen at Amsterdam’s New Vision International and Garden State film festivals. As a performer, her credits include OBIE award winners Benten Kozo and Jennie Richie; numerous New York and regional productions, voiceovers, and featured vocalist on compositions by Donald Johnston, Joel Forrester, and others. She holds a BA in Theater and Film Studies from Barnard College, a Postgraduate Diploma from Drama Studio London, and an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College.



Larry Silveira, Education & Outreach Coordinator,

Larry combines his lifelong love of cinema with his passion for education by coordinating our Youth Media Education programs. These include camps, after-school workshops, and partnerships with school districts, libraries, and community organizations. He holds a B.A. in Social Science from San Diego State University, an M.A.  in Teaching and Learning from Point Loma Nazarene University, and an A.A. in Video Production from Mt. Hood Community College.


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,

Growing up in San Diego, 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.




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,  Exhibitions and Marketing 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 grew up in San Diego 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.”


Amanda Barcena,  Bookkeeper,

Amanda graduated from SDSU with a Bachelors in Psychology. Amanda worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association as the right hand to the Executive Director managing all financial aspects of the San Diego Chapter of this non-profit organization, as well as assisting the Health Care Director with weekly clinic visits to their Muscle Disease clinic. Prior to this position, she worked at a post-secondary vocational training facility providing accounting assistance to the Senior Accountant, as well as assist the President and Vice President of the training facility with day to day operations. At MACSD, Amanda Barcena is responsible for day-to-day financial management of the organization, in partnership with the outside bookkeeper. Amanda has over 9 years experience in administration, HR, and financial management. Amanda Barcena has attended various trainings geared towards the financial health of nonprofits, budgeting and employee retention.


Shanna Trenholm, Consultant/Grant Writer

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




Gabriela Espinal, Teaching Artist

Gabriela is a San Diego-based documentary filmmaker, video journalist, and digital media instructor. Espinal attended the University of California Santa Cruz, double majoring in the History of Art & Visual Culture and Feminist Studies. During her time at UCSC, Espinal served 2 years as a producer of a Student Cable Television broadcasting organization. Espinal has been editing on industry software for over 15 years. She attended Creative Performing Media Arts (CPMA) Middle School, where she began editing on Final Cut Pro 7 at the age of 10.

An inaugural Fusion Rise Up Be Heard Journalism Fellow, Espinal has her camera work and investigative journalism featured on Netflix. During this fellowship, Espinal was mentored by Dax Tejera then Senior Producer of AMERICA with Jorge Ramos. She and her team were awarded the 2017 Cynopsis Social Good Award for their coverage. Born and raised in City Heights, she utilizes her technical knowledge of video production to pass the mic to youth in her community and amplify the work they do to better our world.

The past 4 years, Espinal has mentored students in our Youth Media Tech Camps, Teen Producers Project, as well as many of our offsite educational residencies.



David Jones, Teaching Assistant



Natalie Kackzorowski, Teaching Artist

Natalie is an award-winning producer, director, editor and storyteller. She studied at the University of Texas in her hometown of Tyler, Texas, and received an Associate in Arts in radio and TV communications, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Journalism with a minor in speech communication. After graduating she relocated to San Diego, where she began volunteering on an indie late-night format talk show called “Tonight in San Diego.” On the show, she developed her skills on and off camera by starring as a recurring comedy vlogger called “Comic Connie.” Her portrayal of Connie became a fan favorite on the show and celebrated San Diego’s pop culture fandom community. After producing over 70 episodes of “Tonight in San Diego,” Natalie retired from the show as Executive Producer and Director, and moved to Washington, D.C. to begin work with a creative agency. Her work with major brands such as SYFY Channel, Nickelodeon, Lowe’s and The CW has been honored with several awards, including 3 Silver Tellys. Most recently, her first 48 Hour Film Project entry won 6 awards in the 2019 Washington, D.C. 48 Hour Film Project, including Best Film. Her sci-fi film, In Memoria, which she co-wrote and edited, will go on to compete at the international level at Filmapalooza 2020 in the Netherlands next spring. Natalie has also spoken at TEDx San Diego about the cultural, social, and developmental impact of fandom and following your dreams.



Mizar Martin, Teaching Artist

Mizar is a Mexican artist based in San Diego. Her education as a Cultural Anthropologist reflects on her work as a filmmaker, photographer, illustrator and tattoo artist. As an Anthropologist, Mizar has focused her research on Central-American and Haitian immigration to Mexico. She became dedicated to arts education in 2012, when she worked at a refugee shelter in Southern Mexico. In 2014 she discovered her passion for teaching arts to vulnerable youth. Her dedication to social justice is seen in her photography book A Medio Camino, which shows the contrasts between the southern and northern Mexican borders, and her debut short film No Hay Vuelta Atrás, a portrayal of the struggles of young refugees fleeing from the gangs of Central America. Mizar has been a teaching artist for various education programs at the Media Arts Center San Diego since 2018.



Ryan Parks, Teaching Artist

Ryan is a Media Developer and YouTube instructor specializing in digital entertainment. He was Owner/Operator of a San Diego based digital media firm. Holding a B.A. in English Literature, he values the art of storytelling and believes the key to any impactful artistic experience lies in the way the story is told. He is driven by the promise of innovation and expansion in cinema and digital media brought on by the next generation.

He has served his community by coaching extracurricular sports for organizations such as AYSO and the Cajon Valley School District, working with youth 5-18 years old. He has also worked with at-risk youth at the Oceanside-based Resilience Program, sharing his knowledge and expertise to a classroom of eager young minds. His personal mission is to equip youth with the knowledge and skills to thrive in the current digital renaissance and become leaders on the leading edge of industry. Through independent study and dedication to his craft, P. Ryan Parks is attached to some of the biggest hits in entertainment.



Erik Ruppert, Teaching Artist

Erik is a live-broadcast studio technician and filmmaker based in San Diego. He graduated from Grossmont College with an A.S. in Media Communications and Video Production. From there, Erik went on to San Diego State University and received a B.A. in the Critical Studies of Television, Film, & New Media. Erik got his first job in broadcast television as a Production Assistant for a national news network and filled many roles from operating cameras and audio boards to editing video under strict deadlines. He was then promoted to Director and piloted multiple broadcasts a day. Erik now works as a Studio Technician in local San Diego news where he fulfills many roles every day. Erik understands the importance of the digital arts and the power behind mass media, now more than ever. It is his mission to ensure that students have a firm grasp of storytelling, as well as the tools, both professional and ethical, to navigate the modern age of digital storytelling.



R. Brock Scott, Teaching Artist

Brock is a commercial photographer, videographer and graphic designer from San Diego. Brock’s visual journey started in 8th grade after watching a friend make black and white prints in the school’s darkroom. Soon after, he combined his love of photography and music by photographing all the concerts he attended in Southern California. By his senior year of high school, he had several commercial photography clients. His technical training followed at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara where he received a BA in Advertising and Illustration Photography. In 1996 he opened Brock Scott Photography, a full-service content creation studio specializing in people, product and promotional content for local and Fortune 500 companies. Brock was the contract photographer for the athletic departments at the University of San Diego and UC San Diego from 1996 until 2018. Brock taught a year-long K-5th art and photography class called Art is Everywhere after his children’s school dropped all of its art classes. He taught private classes in digital photography and videography to students ages 10-60 years old, and has mentored college students in photography and video, helping them to grow as artists and business professionals. Brock continues to operate his studio, working with local San Diego businesses, artists and musicians creating digital content for social media, web and print. You can see Brock’s work at:


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