Award winning filmmaker Ky Dickens, directed the highly acclaimed documentary Fish Out of Water. Fish out of Water was a success on the festival circuit, winning four juror prizes and securing international distribution by First Run Features. The film has been hailed as a “tool for reconciliation between the church and LGBTQ community.” It was translated into Spanish, Russian, Italian and French Creole and has screened at over 500 churches and universities. Her second feature film, Sole Survivor, profiles four people who were the only survivors of otherwise fatal plane crashes. The film puts a much-needed face on PTSD and Survivors Guilt. Sole Survivor was acquired by CNN Films for broadcast and theatrical release. It premiered on the network in January, 2014. Sole Survivor was named the “Best Feature Film” at the 2013 BMA Awards. In October of 2013, Ky received the Focus Award for “Achievement in Directing” from Women in Film. Ky has been a documentary juror and panelist for film festivals around the country. She is also member of the Gene Siskel Film Center Community Council. Outside of independent film, Ky also directs critical short videos. She partnered with Rock the Vote & Equality Illinois to direct the Vote Naked campaign, which resulted in over 500,000 absentee ballot requests in Illinois and dramatically impacted midterm elections. In 2011, her short cell phone video about an abandon snowman was chosen as the “Yahoo! Holiday video of the Year” in the United Kingdom. Ky also directs TV commercials with Chicago-based STORY Co. Ky graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Vanderbilt University. She lives in Chicago’s North Park neighborhood with her spouse and daughter.
Alexis has worked for fifteen years in arts and entertainment with a focus on branding, communication strategy and media production for some of the country’s most vital artistic organizations, including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She has also served as the Director of Marketing & Communications for The Joffrey Ballet and River North Dance Chicago. Incorporating film production into her personal and professional interests since 2008, Alexis was Co-Producer on Ky Dickens’ 2013 feature documentary Sole Survivor, and is thrilled to be a part of the Zero Weeks team. Alexis received a B.A. in Psychology and Art History from University of Vermont and her M.A. in Media Studies from DePaul University. She also works as a producer and production coordinator for commercial and non-profit media projects.
Michael has been working as a director, cinematographer and editor for over ten years. After a brief time as a videographer at an ABC affiliate in Michigan, he moved to Chicago and began production work for the local sketch comedy group, Schadenfreude. Working on a wide variety of projects from short films, music videos and corporate videos he soon transitioned into shooting and directing commercials at MK Films Group in 2004 . Michael recently joined Cutters’ production division, Dictionary films, as a director within their international roster. Michael also excels as a father, musician, and lover of his wife, Bonnie.
C.J. has provided editing and motion graphics for clients as diverse as Motorola, Walgreens, Proctor & Gamble, Clorox, Nissan, Seattle’s Best, Sears, Joffrey Ballet, Victory Gardens Theatre, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound and The Second City. C.J also edited Ky’s award-winning feature documentary Fish Out of Water. Time Out Chicago has called his work “slick and dynamic,” which can be evidenced in areas of specialties including narrative short-form and feature-length, music videos, branded content and docu-reality projects. Learn more about C.J. on his website.
Rachel is best known for her evocative blend of indie folk rock delicately infused with distinctly powerful vocals, gentle melodies and heartfelt lyrics. This SoCal native has the whole package—it’s no wonder she’s been aptly described as “something of a mix of The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, PJ Harvey, Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones.” Rachael’s career first took flight when she joined Tegan and Sara on the road as their opener on multiple tours, leading to additional gigs with such notable artists as Ben Lee, Kaki King and Fun. In addition to solo shows in Los Angeles and major cities across the U.S. and Canada, Rachael honed her live show opening for generational powerhouses like Pat Benatar, Peter Frampton and she won over new fans touring the country with the legendary B.B. King.
Aireen creates clean, bold, and smart visual branding. With twelve years of professional experience in art direction, print, web design, rich media, packaging, illustration and social media branding, she has used these skills to develop an expertise in the beverage and restaurant industries. She illustrated and designed the very first Facebook game for a major spirit brand, and her work has been featured on AdWeek.com, AdAge.com, Forbes.com, and Refinery29. Between bringing her brilliant clients’ visions to life, Aireen enjoys snuggling up with her two Boston Terriers and French Bulldog, shaking up a craft cocktail, cooking vegan meals for friends and family, practicing yoga on the daily, running a t-shirt brand called Snort Monster with her husband, Jeff, and co-hosting a movie review YouTube show with children’s book creator and comic artist, Justin Castaneda, called Reels On Wheels. Creep on Aireen’s work and words at AerialArdour.com.
Amy has been producing commercials, films and content for over 16 years. She has had the opportunity to produce many national spots for top-tier clients including McDonald’s, Miller/Coors, SC Johnson, and P&G, just to name a few. She recently produced the award-winning documentary Sole Survivor, a powerful documentary highlighting the transforming experiences of individuals who have been the only survivors of commuter plane crashes. Sole Survivor premiered at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival in 2013. It was Indiewire’s project of the month in September 2012 and received the Best of the Midwest Award for “Best Feature Film” in November 2013. Sole Survivor was acquired by CNN FILMS for broadcast and theatrical release. It premiered on the network in January 2014. Amy is in post production on The City That Sold America, also directed by Ky Dickens. She currently exercises a balance of this production experience and director management, working as an independent director representative and producer. Amy stays active in the Chicago film community by serving on the Gene Siskel Film Center Community Council and is an active member of Women in Film.
Ashley K. Smith is a video editor originally hailing from the East Coast. Since graduating from Ball State University, she has since adopted the helpful Midwestern mentality to her “get it done” hustle and drive as she lends her craft to a number of projects in the city of Chicago.
Don’t let Adina’s small physique and sweet voice fool you. Adina has the mouth of a sailor, the sense of humor of a crude older man, and the courage to take on big risks in all aspects of her life. Adina is a kind, energetic, easy-going, and enthusiastic woman who is passionate about the industry and finding new opportunities to learn and grow from. As a board member of Women In Film Chicago for the past 3 years, Adina stays motivated to connect and inspire people, because she strongly believes in supporting others and helping them achieve their goals. Adina started out as a PA in documentary TV shows in Chicago and moved on to TV commercials where she worked at MK Films with Ky Dickens and Amy McIntyre. After MK Films and various side projects such as local web series and short films, Adina decided it was time to learn post-production for a few years. After having a strong production and post-production background under her belt, Adina now combines everything she has learned along the way and works at an advertising agency in Chicago. Adina is beyond excited to be a part of the Zero Weeks team and is eager to take on what lies ahead.
Kira graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Marketing Communications from Columbia College, Chicago. Kira first met director Ky Dickens when interning on her film Fish Out of Water. Kira is currently working as the Production Coordinator on the film Zero Weeks. Kira has worked as a Digital Marketing Associate in Los Angeles and Chicago. In her spare time, she volunteers for a variety of non-profit organizations and continues to develop her cooking skills. She lives with her dog, Darla.