The University of New Mexico Department of Film & Digital Arts continues its Mentor Series: Celebrating 30 Years of Film at UNM with How to Find Work and Succeed as a Production Assistant on Monday, April 19, at 6 p.m. The event will feature a discussion with New Mexico assistant directors Forrest Alsobrook, Jon Baran, Melissa Bosco-Laude, Denise Harkins, and Anna Olshansky.
Register in advance for this Zoom event.
Olshansky began her work in the film industry in 2010 as a production assistant, working for minimum wage in New York. Upon completion of more than 600 days on set over the following three years she fulfilled the requirements necessary to become a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA). Since then she has worked as an assistant director in New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New Mexico on features like Creed II and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as on series like The Blacklist and Perpetual Grace.
Forrest Alsobrook is an assistant director who has been working on features, television, and commercials since 2013. He got his start as a production assistant on projects like Westworld, Insecure, and American Sniper. Although native to Los Angeles he moved to New Mexico in 2019 when he joined the Directors Guild.
Melissa Bosco-Laude has been a second assistant director in the DGA since 2017, and has been in the film industry since 2006. Her background is in theater. She lived in Los Angeles for nine years before moving to Albuquerque. She was previously in New Mexico for the movie The Lone Ranger in 2012 as a production assistant. Some of the bigger projects she has worked on are Fast and Furious 7, Goliath, El Camino, and Inherent Vice. Since the pandemic, she has become a certified contact tracer. She worked as a health and safety manager on the film Canyon Del Muerto, and is currently working on Outer Range, a new series on Amazon, as a second AD.
Denise Harkins is an assistant director who has been a DGA member since 2018. After starting as a stand-in and moving through the camera department, she eventually found her calling in the AD department and never looked back. Her credits include Waco, Our Lady of Perpetual Grace, and Army of the Dead.
Jon Baran, born and raised in Albuquerque, has been working in the entertainment world for over 20 years. He has been working in the motion picture industry, specifically, for the last 15 years. Baran has dedicated his carrier to the AD department, motivated by sharing the power of information, and helping everyone across all departments. If you’re weird enough to work in the film industry, chances are, Jon Baran will think of you as an interesting person, and will welcome you into his always open door.
The Mentor Series: Celebrating 30 years of Film at UNM
Just over 30 years ago, a film unit was established at UNM. Headed by Ira Jaffe, who began teaching movie classes at the university in 1972, it was known as the Media Arts program. Since then, film instruction at UNM has gone from strength to strength and now, under the banner of Film and Digital Arts, is nurturing the newest generation of New Mexico film talent.
To celebrate its thirty-plus years at UNM, the department has invited a distinguished group of alumni and film luminaries to talk to students and the community about how they found success doing what they love. Anyone who wants to work in the digital media fields will find this series to be a fabulous source of advice and useable strategies. All events are free and open to the public.