August 9, 2021

Judge Spotlight

Nouf Aljowaysir: New Media Artist + Senior Design Technologist at Medium

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Nouf Aljowaysir

New Media Artist + Senior Design Technologist at Medium

Nouf Aljowaysir is a Saudi new media artist and creative coder based in Brooklyn. Currently, she is working as a senior design technologist at MediumAljowaysir blends art and computation to examine how emerging technologies will shape our future—from branded environments to non-traditional interfaces. Her explorations focus on collaborating with Artificial Intelligence to design speculative futures and new modes of human-machine collaboration. 

Nouf recently premiered Alexa, Call Mom!, an interactive installation that blends smart home technology and storytelling, at the Tribeca Film festival and CannesXR 2020. Alexa, Call Mom! was nominated for a Storyscapes award for new trends in digital media and technical and creative innovations in story creation. 

She also previously worked as the lead researcher in Art & AI at creative agency Havas, algorithmically producing hundreds of images and videos for client ADP – making them the first major organization to incorporate a semi-generative brand identity. She was awarded a residency at ThoughtWorks Arts 2020 and currently serves as a dedicated mentor at NEW INC Incubator. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and festivals in the US and Europe, including the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and SXSW 2019. She studied computational architecture and human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University and earned her Masters from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

Read our Q&A below to get to know Nouf!

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

The major shift in my work has occurred in finding creative ways to adapt my physical projects to digital ones. Asking questions such as: “How can you reconstruct in-person networking and connection through virtual means?”

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I am proud of being a part of the global re-branding initiative for ADP at Havas. We re-branded ADP into an identity that strategically positioned it as Always Designing
for People. We created a flexible design system that uses AI as a signature element to communicate ADP as an influential HR leader.

As a creative technologist, I algorithmically generated hundreds of uniquely-branded images and videos for ADP’s new visual identity. Our innovative use of this emerging technology made them the first major organization to incorporate a semi-generative visual system created by Artificial Intelligence. Our creative process revolved around the question: “How can AI be the artist for ADP?”

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I am a multidisciplinary creative individual that is passionate about the intersectionality of design and emerging technology. I believe that by breaking down these schools of thought, we can explore speculative futures and new modes of human-machine collaboration. From designing with industrial robotic arms to creating an Alexa that can contact the dead, my projects blend art and computation to search for innovation.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

The global pandemic has paused the Location-Based distribution that many creators count on for audience cultivation. The most exciting moment right now is addressing these challenges and exploring different ways to adapt projects for at-home audiences. There is a drive for connectivity and collaborations that perhaps didn’t exist before. It is inspiring to watch how projects unfold in new and experimental ways.

What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?

I was deeply inspired by The Book of Distance, which premiered at the Tribeca Film
Festival earlier this year. It is a VR experience that joins director Randall Okita as he searches for his grandfather, Yonezo. The journey follows generations of Okitas as they migrated from 1930s Hiroshima, homesteaded in Canada, and were forced into a Japanese internment camp.

It is a moving exploration through the emotional geography of immigration and family archives to understand what it means to leave home.

June 28, 2021

Judge Spotlight

Ali Alvarez: Head of Creative, JustSo

Ali works between advertising and documentary filmmaking. She is currently Head of Creative at JustSo creating work for Diageo, Google, Unmind and more. Her branded series for The Olympic Channel, What Moves Me, just won a Webby for Branded Entertainment. Ali directed and produced the  feature documentary, Muerte Es Vidawhich premiered at the Thessaloniki Film festival and has been distributed on iTunes, Amazon and WaterBear. Her films feature on Nowness and have screened at the British Museum. Her ad work has been recognized by Cannes, The One Show, The Emmys and D&AD. She is currently in development on her second feature documentary.

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable landscape of the last year? 

The pandemic and the BLM movement shaped 2020 for me, and it’s work.

First, the type of talent I’m working with – finally I’m able to work with a more diverse set of people. Working remotely has really helped that as they aren’t all London-based. I’ve always tried to champion diversity, but I feel like the industry is really putting energy behind since the events of last summer. It’s getting a bit easier to find new talent. New talent brings different voices. So work  looks different – it has a new sensitivity, a focus on different stories and people. 

Secondly, let’s add to this a realistic result of the pandemic – smaller budgets. This requires a simplicity and single mindedness to work that I think we had forgotten about.

New talent + single mindedness. So far that’s resulting in more honest and human stories that are told with new perspectives.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

Professionally, it’s What Moves Me, a global content series for the Olympic Channel and Toyota, that features top athletes’ stories of overcoming personal challenges to be their best. Stories of depression, anxiety, sexism. (Osaka’s mental health story would fit right into this series.)

Personally, it’s my first feature documentary, Muerte Es Vida, that I made while recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury. It went on to screen at festivals around the world and even has Danny Boyle as a fan.

Actually, as I write this, I’m not sure any project ever is going to mean as much to me as that. 

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? 

I love tequila.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

At the moment, it’s the diversity in talent that is trying to break through. You’re finally starting to see women, people of colour, people from underrepresented communities finally starting to be recognised. This is going to change the stories we tell. A whole part of the world are going to actually start seeing themselves reflected in culture. This excites me.

The effect that this will have, in return, back on culture will hopefully create a wave of people that feel represented, that have a voice and feel inspired to be an active part of culture. Creativity helping to push society forward. Exciting.

What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?

My Octopus Teacher. This movie hits all the right notes of inspiration for me… nature connecting to a person. Learning from animals. Reflecting because of our world around us. It’s just like the other sea story plays continuously in our house – Octonauts. Yes, the cartoon. Loved by my son and always on. We’re all in deep sea life lessons in this house!

April 26, 2021

Judge Spotlight

Jorge Camarotti: Photographer and Director

Born in a working class family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2003, Jorge Camarotti moved to Montreal, where he pursued a career as a professional photographer. In 2017, he published a book, Mile-End Chronicles, a 10+ year photographic collection of portraits documenting the lives and stories of immigrants living in Montreal.

After studying Meisner for two years, he realized that he could use empathy as a tool to spread his views of the world through storytelling.

Since his beginnings in filmmaking six years ago, Jorge has directed a dozen short films, both documentary and fiction, always remaining true to giving voice to the most aggrieved individuals of our society.

Jorge wrote and directed Kinship (2019), which was selected in many reputable film festivals such as Palm Springs International, Maryland, Clermont-Ferrand (Sodec), Regard and which received a nomination at the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards for best live-action short.


How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable landscape of the last year?
I believe last year’s events will be remembered as the tipping point of a whole generation, as it forced us to see life through a completely different lens. Personally, besides the tragic events and so much grief, the forced slow down had a good impact on my work. Before the pandemic, I felt a pressure to “perform and share” what I was doing, but when you’re a writer/filmmaker everyone knows good things take time, and I found that time last year. Since then, besides sharing music playlists every day for the first 45 days of the pandemic, I managed to finally finish developing a TV series’ bible I had been working on for the past 5 years, and I wrote the first draft for my next feature film. The uncertainty about the future forced me to stay in the present, and staying present made me focus on the work process, rather than on the possible outcome of my projects.
What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?
My most recent work I’m most proud of is an Ad campaign for Amnesty International to fight systemic racism in Canada, more specifically in Québec. We assembled a small team (Covid proof) and chose a very simple approach for the commercial, delivering our message in one, 30-second take. I’m thankful for TAXI agency reaching out and giving me a lot of freedom to shoot this spot. I’m also very proud of my short film KINSHIP which received a nomination at the Canadian Screen Awards for Best short live action film. Both projects shine a light onto the struggles of marginalized communities, which are integral, driving themes of my career as a director.
I’m also very excited about my next film Ousmane, featuring Issaka Sawadogo, that I just wrapped production on, with the plan for it to launch in the fall of this year.
What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I always try to give a sense of humanity and empathy to any project I get involved in. With my work I try mainly to raise awareness towards social issues that are oftentimes marginalised. I believe that any form of communication can be used to pass a subtle and subliminal message that, in the long term, can change and improve the lives of people in our society.
What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

Streaming platforms are the most exciting thing right now. It’s hard to break through as an independent filmmaker, and the addition of more and more streaming services gives people like myself more opportunities to bring projects to fruition. Simply put, more streaming sites means more content. Yes there is a problem with oversaturation, but at the end of the day, more voices being heard, and diverse ones at that, is better than only a select few getting their chance.  
What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?
I watched a lot of TV last year, but a show that stood out was, Dark, a German show on Netflix that really impressed me in terms of storytelling and production value. Otherwise, I have been watching a lot of Japanese films lately. Shoplifters was a personal favorite of mine, a great story focusing on social issues.
March 2, 2021


Nasreen Alkhateeb: Cinematographer

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Nasreen Alkhateeb

Nasreen Alkhateeb is an award-winning Cinematographer, who has dedicated the last 10 years creating content that amplifies underrepresented voices. By illuminating racial injustice, marginalized youth, melting ice, women peacekeepers, and the construction of the largest telescope NASA has ever attempted, Nasreen thrives as a leader on diverse storytelling projects.

As a multi-heritage woman of color, Nasreen has a plethora of lenses she sees the world through. Being Black, Iraqi, and disabled she is constantly translating these worlds, with one foot on three continents.

In 2020, Nasreen was chosen as the lead Cinematographer for Oprah on the series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, and the Kamala Harris campaign. In 2019, she produced East of the River that screened the Tribeca Film Festival, and captured two campaigns for NASA and Women’s March, in addition to the Director of Photography on two narrative films highlighting LGBTQ and disabled storylines. In 2016, Nasreen was awarded Cinematographer of the Year by NASA for her work in Greenland. Nasreen has participated in the Sundance Film Festival, and helped program AFI DOCS, The Nantucket Film Festival, The Brooklyn International Film Festival, CINE, TIVA, and the local EMMYS.

What Video/Television piece inspired you recently?

HBO’s Lovecraft Country uses a combination of historically relevant social justice
themes, coupled with stellar production design, to immerse audiences into current
political strife, while keeping them entertained.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your idustry?

Studios, companies, and institutions are being encouraged to touch on human rights

What is one thing The Telly Awards community should know about you?

All of the projects I work on have social justice themes as a bedrock.

1. I was chosen as the lead Director of Photography for Kamala Harris’ campaign. (this
is not public information yet, so please do not share)
2. Night Waking is a film the Frankly Film Festival was just nominated me for Best
Cinematography award. A women lead scifi production, focused on a queer family.
3. East of the River, a film I Executive Produced, was chosen by the Tribeca Film
Festival in 2019. A film that focuses on the school to prison pipeline in Washington
4. In 2016 NASA awarded me Cinematogrwpher of the year for my work in the Arctic
covering scientist measuring the melting ice.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

In 2016 NASA awarded me Cinematogrwpher of the year for my work in the Arctic
covering scientist measuring the melting ice.

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

With 2020 shifting my ability to be on set for 6 months, I was able to dedicate
more time to facilitating the creation of content coming from the disability
community and youths of color communities.

January 27, 2021

Judge Spotlight

Amy Tunick: VP, Operations & Activation at WarnerMedia

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Amy Tunick

VP, Operations & Activation at WarnerMedia

Amy Tunick is an integrated marketing executive and team leader known for developing and executing multi-channel advertising campaigns and leading operations for creative profit centers. She has two decades of agency, brand, and media experience, with a focus on branded content, talent, experiential and partnerships.

Amy is currently driving exponential growth while overseeing operations, production strategy and best-in-class client services for Fortune 100 and 500 advertisers at WarnerMedia (owned by AT&T) in her role as VP, Operations & Activation, Sales Marketing Solutions. She enjoys wearing multiple hats — she leads a team of 15+ who execute custom cross-platform campaigns for domestic and global advertisers of CNN; she oversees operations and financials for Courageous, CNN’s brand studio, as well as the broader News ad sales marketing team; she leads B2B and B2C event marketing for the News division and produced CNN’s upfront event from 2018-2020. In 2020, she also led production strategy for Courageous, ensuring that 80+ video shoots adhered to COVID health and safety guidelines. Amy is a versatile, hands-on leader with a deep understanding of all facets of the marketing, media and advertising industries.

Prior to WarnerMedia, Amy spent 14+ years at Grey Group, a WPP company, where she was President of Grey Activation & PR. She led a team of 40+ to develop and implement integrated brand-building campaigns via pop culture (experiential, partnerships, promotions, influencers, branded content), while building a profit center for Grey. Amy’s team contributed to 30 Cannes Lions wins (i.e., Canon, Volvo, the National Park Service, the American Egg Board, States United to Prevent Gun Violence). Amy has negotiated countless entertainment, talent and cause partnerships with the Hollywood, Digital and Content communities on behalf of brand clients.

Before joining Grey, Amy worked in the famed mailroom agent trainee program at the William Morris Agency.  She lives in Westchester with her husband and two kids.


What video/TV piece inspired you recently?

I recently watched a video from General Mills’ Nature Valley in support of the brand’s partnership with the National Park Foundation.  It features Daveed Diggs from Hamilton and has so many stand out elements.  First, the star power of a beloved celebrity performing a popular, catchy retro song (“I Will Walk 500 Miles” by The Proclaimers) is sure to grab viewers’ attention. The clever and wholesome twist on the lyrics will appeal to consumers across generations.  Also, the corporate social responsibility effort and brand purpose message within the piece is powerful and inspiring.  Finally, my personal connection to the National Park Foundation is that they were my client for many years while I worked at Grey, and we launched the #findyourpark campaign that’s still in market today.  I feel proud of my former clients when I watch this video because I know how hard they worked to get it done, and I believe it will effectively drive awareness of our precious national parks among millennials and Gen Z.


What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

I am inspired by the constant evolution of the marketing and media industries and am grateful to work at the intersection of creativity, culture, marketing, media, entertainment, news and technology. There are several memes floating around right now that visualize the many players in these intersecting industries, such as the one with bubbles of various sizes listing each company’s value and linking to other bubbles that represent its assets/properties.  It is eyebrow-raising to see how much things have evolved in just the past five years.  This global pandemic we’re all still facing today has accelerated the push to streaming and the idea that content and creativity can come from anywhere – in-house, through media/publisher partners, from traditional large agencies or from newer/smaller indie shops. I think these changes will ultimately help some advertisers understand the power of integrated marketing and that’s exciting. One good idea can and should live across many powerful channels. There are many brands, including many Fortune 100 and 500 advertisers, that are still planning their creative and media campaigns in silos. We all need to adapt to the changes and realities of the industry for continued growth and success.


What is one thing the Telly Awards Community should know about you?

I am a versatile generalist, a Jane-of-all-trades, and a right/left brain executive who equally enjoys flexing my creative and analytical muscles. I love leading teams, mentoring people, and juggling macro and micro decisions daily. I’m also nurturing my new pandemic obsessions – midnight baking and daily nature walks.


What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

This goes back a decade, but it was a game changer in so many ways.  I was one of the key players on the Canon “Project Imagination” campaign, which we launched with Ron Howard in 2011 and evolved for several iterations until 2015. This campaign scored a Cannes Lion and demonstrated the power of different disciplines and channels coming together around a single, simple idea:  what if consumer photos could inspire a Hollywood film?  I worked with fabulous creatives, negotiated all the talent partnerships, oversaw execution of two global film premieres at the American Museum of National History and Lincoln Center, and most importantly, drove year on year results for Canon’s camera business, leading to increased brand awareness and sales growth. The “Project Imagination” team of agency partners and clients is still in touch to this day and we’ll always be proud of this collaboration.


How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

Our team at WarnerMedia was challenged in 2020 in so many ways. As head of operations for Courageous Studios, CNN and HLN’s brand studio, I stepped in to play a much larger role with our branded content production team.  When the pandemic began, I was promptly educated in the world of video production.  It was essential that we adapted our film processes to ensure there was no disruption on our current projects and to feel 100% confident that we could maintain the highest safety standards for our crew and talent.  I oversaw the development of our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines and later implemented those guidelines across our team for national and global productions.  We all had to quickly learn the ins and outs of remote shoots and then continually evolve that process, utilizing more and more sophisticated software and equipment to get the highest quality output.  I’m proud to say that despite the challenges that we all faced, Courageous successfully filmed over 80 shoots in the field last year by remaining nimble and adjusting to the changing environment, rules and regulations.  I learned a lot this year, to say the least!

December 15, 2020

Judge Spotlight

Ryan Honey: Co-Founder & Co-CCO of BUCK

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Ryan Honey

Co-Founder & Co-CCO of BUCK






What video/television piece inspired you recently?

The Midnight Gospel on Netflix is one of the most innovative and inspiring series I have seen recently.


What is the most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

The increasing interest in the US for adult animation in the entertainment space.


What is one thing that The Telly Awards community should know about you?

I, my partners and the leadership of our company put our people, our values and our desire to make great work above all else.


What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

At this point in my career, I am most proud of all of all our work for social good and the environment. To quote my fellow Canadian Marshall Mcluhan, “There are no passengers on spaceship earth, we are all crew.” 


December 2, 2020

Judge Spotlight

Joash Berkeley: Owner & Creative Director at Eido

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Joash Berkeley

Owner & Creative Director at Eido

As creative director of Eido, Joash leads a team of multidisciplinary creative professionals who solve business challenges through thoughtful design and animation in an environment of collaboration and holistic development.

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

While our clients are incredibly valuable to us, our primary work has shifted more towards improving internal culture and architecture for greater team unity.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

The Hidden Life of Rosa Parks

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I’m a faith-based creative leader that believes people come first and the product second.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

The opportunity that this global crisis has given us to come to terms with the core issues in our world today.

October 19, 2020

Judge Spotlight

Kavita Lokchander, Director of Creative Strategy, Content Studio at Thrive Global

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Kavita Lokchander

Director of Creative Strategy, Content Studio at Thrive Global

Kavita is a multi-disciplinary creative leader with nearly a decade of experience developing and executing award-winning content and marketing strategies for publishers, tech startups, and agencies.  As the Director of Creative Strategy of Thrive Global’s Behavior Change Studio, she creates custom branded concepts to guide consumers on a well-being journey. Prior to Thrive, Kavita worked at Upworthy where she helped scale their award-winning brand studio, and the social impact agency Purpose, where she helped create a global fan movement for the 2016 Refugee Olympic Team.

Throughout her career, Kavita has valued the opportunity to work on socially conscious and mission-driven projects that make a positive impact.

What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?

When I was in my “quarantine bunker” during the COVID-19 spike in NYC, I discovered so much incredible content. I love American Vandal and Sex Education – they’re hilarious teen comedies that are so relatable and well-acted. I watched the film La Haine (1995) recently and found it to be really powerful and moving in the context of the current civil unrest. I also came across the Youtuber Natalie Wynn and her video essay channel Contrapoints. She explores internet culture with academic rigor, nuance, wit, and fabulous sometimes bizarre costumes. I’d recommend the Cringe Culture video.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

It’s exciting to see the collective movement to challenge institutionalized racism within the media and advertising industries – not just regarding representation in front of the camera, but also behind the camera, in the strategy meetings, and in the C-suite. When you think about some of those notably tone-deaf media/advertising blunders we’ve seen over the last few years, it becomes abundantly clear what can go wrong when you don’t have a diverse team that feels empowered to speak up. As a first-generation American and a person of color, I grew up never really seeing myself reflected in TV and media. So, I’m thankful to be in the media space today with an opportunity to bring my POV to the table.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I love every part of the creative process from blue-sky brainstorming and strategic research to hands on creative production. And doing this creative work is most rewarding to me when I can support brands with missions that strive to make the world a better place.

 What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to work on many exciting projects throughout my career. Recently, I developed Thrive Global’s Science Behind animated-explainer video franchise, that earned our startup brand studio a Webby nomination. The first installment in the series explains how looking up from our digital devices helps our brains focus and think creatively.

In addition, I’m proud to collaborate with creative director and founder Jason Moses on the development of Easier to Ignore, a rich storytelling platform that celebrates the diverse stories of the Black experience in America.

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

It’s been surprising to learn what can be accomplished remotely. We’ve been dialing into film sets and making content with a fraction of the resources we’ve used in the past, but somehow it works. Storytelling is a resilient practice that has transitioned through so many different formats over the last few thousand years or so, so I have a lot of faith that despite all the disruption we’re facing we’ll figure it out and innovate in the process. 



Judge Spotlight

Andy Rowan-Robinson, Creative Director & Head of CG, Framestore NY

Andy Rowan-Robinson is Creative Director and Head of CG for the Integrated Advertising team at Framestore‘s New York studio. Originally joining the team as part of its film department, the last 15 years at Framestore have seen Andy’s passion develop across embracing innovative storytelling, leveraging new technologies and techniques, and fostering a culture of experimentation amongst his team.

 He is the creative force behind some of Framestore’s most notable campaigns, including the award-winning Absolut ‘One Night’ spot alongside BBH, as well as creative lead on Framestore’s longtime work for the legendary GEICO Gecko. In addition to recently directing a series of Gecko spots, he has also flexed his directorial experience for a joint campaign for Visa and Chase Bank.

He has also lent his experience and leadership to Framestore’s VR Studio for Game of Thrones ‘Ascend the Wall’ and ‘Defend the Wall’ experiences, GE’s ‘Nature of Industry’ and ‘Volvo Reality,’ and the award-winning VR component of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. 

Andy has worked on household name brand clients like Nissan, Nintendo, DirecTV, Mercedes, and Pepsi, and claims film credits like Underdog, Narnia: Prince Caspian, Wanted, as well as the Best Achievement in VFX Oscar Award for The Golden Compass.

What video/television piece inspired you recently?

Whatever the latest hit Netflix or HBO documentary is. Like everyone else, I’ve been on somewhat of a binge lately. The new wave of these documentaries are so cinematic, well edited and the characters so carefully built — it’s really inspiring storytelling.

But it goes further than the documentaries themselves, I really like these shows for the avenues of thinking and further research that, when done well, they encourage. What starts with a quick Google of a place or character, after a few page clicks can end up opening a whole new world of ideas you didn’t know existed.

Tim’s Vermeer​, for example, is an older documentary that opened up a whole rabbit warren of research and exploration for me, mainly concentrating on David Hockney’s ideas on how lenses have shaped the way we judge what is real.

What is the most exciting for you at this moment within your industry?

I started out making CGI creatures for film and TV, both of which required large budgets given the powerful computers and expensive machines required for processing data.

Now, CG has been democratized and demand has grown — not only is it much easier to make, but the means are more accessible to anyone. Demand no longer stops with TV or the Silver Screen, our phones have become a primary target, from placing AR furniture in our living rooms, to interactive CG images of sneakers. Interest is exploding for the inclusion of products on Amazon pages, webpages, displays at live events or in a VR headset, as well as various forms of virtual production.

We’re now only limited by the ideas of the artist creating it (and like any creative, the time it takes to refine and iterate those ideas). We don’t need cameras, power hungry lights or sets that physically exist, we can make anything for any display, and audiences are more hungry for it than ever.

What is the one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I’m probably one of the few CG artists that didn’t pursue CG because they watched ​Star Wars a​s a kid. Although my career is built upon producing images with computers, my heart and the foundation of my work comes from old-fashioned analogue drawing with a pencil or oil painting. I see computers as a tool to use alongside other art forms.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I’d have to say the GEICO Gecko. I have a long history with this character, starting as a CG Artist on the projects and later moving onto creatively directing our work with him at Framestore. Recently, I’ve even had the fantastic opportunity to direct some spots.

I love the humanity that we are able to pull from his eyes within his performance, and how we’re so fortunate to be the custodians of a true advertising icon.

How has your work changed this year as a result of the unpredictable 2020 landscape?

At a time when live shooting has been largely put on hold, we’ve fortunately been able to continue working. Many of the projects I’m on currently are full CGI pieces (although some are designed to look as if they were shot through camera), so it’s been a great challenge adjusting our workflows to situations that we’d normally have relied on shooting plates for.

Working from home was initially a challenge, but it soon showed a new way of working that has advantages we can all take forward into the future. I believe opening up remote working to our industry and others has been a big positive.

Alongside the democratization of the technology for creating great work, remote working is lowering the barriers for entry for teams of artists to join together and flex their creative muscles — whether for commercial projects or art. 


July 13, 2020

Judge Spotlight

Mike Middleton, Founder, Guerilla Creative

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Mike Middleton

Founder Guerilla Creative

Michael began his professional career in TV news at the Nine Network Australia, working his way through various roles including sound, camera and editing travel stories for the Today show. 

Leaving Channel 9 he produced several successful TV series, before moving to Norway where he worked at BUG, a VFX and animation production house. The learning curve was steep as he dived into visual effects, cinematography, and stereoscopic technologies, producing motion graphics, corporate films, and commercials for TV and cinema.

Returning to Melbourne in 2008, Michael set up Guerilla Creative and joined forces with his best mate from high school, James Grech. Building the business with small jobs including event coverage and corporate films, they eventually saw the client base grow along with budget, production quality and crew.

12 years later, Guerilla Creative operates out of a 500 sqm studio warehouse, with a team of 7 passionate creatives, working with some of Australia’s biggest brands and agencies. Michael oversees the business but is still very hands on, both on set and in post. 

Your branding is surrounded by using the latest techniques and technologies to keep ahead of the game, what’s something that has newly arisen in the last year that has inspired your work?

Where do I start?

Virtual Production as seen in “The Mandalorian” and how it is becoming accessible to lower budget production through the rendering power of Unreal Engine and affordable VR systems. Bring on practical environmentally-accurate lighting, and shooting VFX in camera!

Also, Augmented Reality and Interactive video are becoming more of a focus.

How has your work structure changed with all of the fluctuation of the 2020 landscape?

As I write this we are going into stage three restrictions after a spike of coronavirus. So the future feels uncertain, but we have already been through it once and we were busier than ever. We communicate more than ever, and we work to still deliver the best we can. It will likely have been 20 weeks at the end of this stint, and we are all really missing each other.

What new and exciting tech do you expect to see in the coming year or two?

We’ll see solid, real-time volumetric “video” capture using depth camera arrays, bringing 3D people to AR/VR. It’s already happening, but tech advancements will mean that voxels will start to replace pixels, and a true blending of gaming and cinema will be finally possible.

What do your Telly wins mean to you and the team?

We were honestly gobsmacked. The last award we won was at a student film festival in 1996. To win 3 Gold Tellys actually feels like a bit of a dream. The recognition really validates our passion to go above and beyond in everything we do.

With the bushfires, the pandemic, social distancing and all that’s going on in the states, this year has seemed really dark, and The Telly Awards have been that little ray of light that has picked up the team and reaffirmed our purpose.

What do you think makes an award winning piece of work? What type of work stands out to you?

For me it’s a blend of cinematic brilliance and a narrative that wakes you up and makes you take notice. Whether it’s a documentary, TVC, animation or comedy, it needs to get the neurons firing and chemicals flowing.

It’s comfortable, relaxed and engaging talent. It’s nuanced editing. It’s technical skills meets creative artistry, and all the behind the scenes work you don’t “see” on the screen.


June 2, 2020

Judge Spotlight

Robert Y. Chang, Coordinating Producer, America Reframed

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Robert Y. Chang

Coordinating Producer, America Reframed

Robert Y. Chang is the Coordinating Producer of America ReFramed. He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology at NYU for his research on the intersection of religion and media. Robert is also a documentary filmmaker whose work has screened worldwide at festivals and is distributed by Documentary Educational Resources (DER). He is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

What video/television piece inspired you lately?

The Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala–when I watched the programming live, I was wowed that their producing team was able to pull it off. A live-streamed, four hour marathon performance of 40 singers–each performing remotely from their living rooms and kitchens around the world.

How have you been adapting your work to the current environment, where COVID has changed the ways we go about our daily lives?

For some parts of my workflow very little has changed — with collaborators around the country — phone calls, video chats, emails, and shared spreadsheets continue to reign. But on the production side it has been a rapid adjustment to incorporating remote interviews with filmmakers and panels to assemble some of our digitally distributed assets. For the independent filmmakers that we work with to bring to national broadcast, so much has changed — especially as many mid-production projects grind to a halt. Additionally, festivals, community groups, and affinity groups have all had to actively rethink what community means in the era of social distancing.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

Straddling the documentary and broadcast worlds, I continue to be excited by how much broadcast audiences hunger for quality documentary programming that speaks to them and the issues they encounter in their everyday lives.  Also, it’s exciting to me that channels, networks, and on-demand content have proliferated and fragmented to such a degree that audiences are now interested in experiencing forms of simultaneity through the media that they consume!

What is one thing the Telly Awards Community should know about you?

Decades ago, my first college internship was at UNESCO. I coordinated international exchanges between scientists and industry in East Asia on the science of kimchi fermentation.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I’m most proud of the work I’ve done to help produce the three most recent seasons of America ReFramed. Last week, in my living room as the season premiere broadcast, I had a verklempt moment.  As I sat back on the sofa and took stock, I was just profoundly glad that public television has the space for the timely, diverse, and distinctive documentaries that comprise the series.