CC Documentary Grant Fund Selection Committee


Renan OzturkRenan Ozturk '03

Co-Founder, Camp4 Collective

Renan is perhaps best known for his work shooting and starring in the 2015 Sundance Documentary Audience Award-winning film "MERU" - or maybe his co-directing work on the TIFF Award-winning film "SHERPA," creating the National Geographic TV Special Down To Nothing or shooting stills for the National Geographic Magazine itself. Renan is all of these things, as well as a landscape painter, sponsored North Face Climber, and co-owner of Camp4 Collective. He has also directed and shot commercial and television work for Apple, Yeti, The North Face, ESPN, NBC, and Google. Renan thrives when he is both Directing and DP-ing, a camera in his hand, capturing rich human stories with a strong sense of place in the landscapes and cultures that define the modern documentary style. He often co-creates with his wife and creative partner Taylor Rees.

Esther ChanEsther Chan '16

Video Editor

Esther Chan graduated from Colorado College in 2016 with an independently designed major in Visual Media and Social Change and has been pursuing just that ever since. She moved to DC right after to intern on the video team for the Obama White House and then stayed in DC to work as the Video Producer for The ONE Campaign, an advocacy nonprofit. She is now in Boston working as a Senior Editor for Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign.

Peter Mortimer

Peter Mortimer '97

Founder, Sender Films

Peter Mortimer ('96) is the founder of Sender Films, which he started as a do-it-yourself rock climbing video production project in 1999. Peter was joined at Sender by his college friend Nick Rosen in 2004, and over the last decade, the two have enlisted an amazing team to help grow Sender into a leading global adventure film company that produces acclaimed feature-length documentaries, cutting-edge television series and a variety of commercials. In 2006, Sender joined forces with Big UP Productions to found the REEL ROCK Film Tour, which has become one of the biggest climbing and adventure film tours in the world.

Daniel Junge

Daniel Junge '92


Daniel Junge ('92) is an Oscar® and Emmy®-winning director. From his first film -- the Tribeca-winning Chiefs, on Native American basketball -- to his Academy Award-nominated "The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner" and his Academy Award-winning "Saving Face" -- Junge has consistently made provocative, critically-acclaimed films which have shown on over 50 networks internationally including HBO, PBS, and the BBC.

Mike ShumMike Shum '07

Documentary Filmmaker

Mike Shum '07 is a Chinese-American filmmaker who specializes in documentary directing and cinematography. He started in video journalism in 2009, working in and out of east and central Africa. Since then he's covered stories ranging from Eastern Congo's (DRC) M23 rebels to the rise of ISIS in Northern Iraq to a feature documentary about legendary war photographer Chris Hondros, which won the Audience Award at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Courtney Blackmer-Reynolds

Courtney Blackmer '16

Documentary Filmmaker

A native of Northern Colorado, Courtney Blackmer is a documentary filmmaker who is committed to the preservation of Western landscapes and the well-being of those who call this home. Her films highlight the experiences of indigenous peoples, ranchers, outdoor recreationists, spiritual leaders, and social and environmental activists to explore the deep and varied connections between people and place in the Rocky Mountain West. A recent graduate of Colorado College in Film and Media Studies, Courtney values the opportunity to foster cross-cultural communication and empathy through her film work. A fluent Spanish speaker, Courtney works internationally as a producer, director, videographer and editor on documentary films. Her films have been screened at major festivals across the country and on PBS. Her most recent works were produced in collaboration with Robert Redford and National Geographic. She is currently working for Ken Burns in New York City.

Nick RosenNick Rosen '96

Head of Creative, Sender Films

Nick Rosen is a partner, writer, and producer at Sender Films. He is the director, with his partner Peter Mortimer, of the Emmy-winning documentary film Valley Uprising, and a co-creator of the globally acclaimed REEL ROCK films and tour. Nick began working as a writer/producer/director with Sender Films in 2005, and since then has created feature films and TV programs for NBC, The Weather Channel, National Geographic Channels International, and The New York Times Online. He received his BA in political science from Colorado College and his MA at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. Nick has also developed a career as on-screen talent, starring in the yoga documentary, 'Enlighten Up!' (2008), and providing the voice-overs for The Sharp End and the First Ascent series.

Josh LowellJosh Lowell '94

Co-Founder, Big Up Productions

Big UP has produced groundbreaking climbing films since 1997. Founders Brett and Josh Lowell have spent 15 years documenting some of the planet's most outrageous ascents. Our films have earned dozens of awards, including a Sports Emmy for outstanding camerawork. In 2006 we partnered with Boulder-based Sender Films to create the annual REEL ROCK Film Tour, which has developed into the biggest climbing media platform in the world, with over 400 live screening events each fall. We also work with some of the most respected companies in the outdoor industry to create high-quality commercials and authentic branded content and do freelance work in the fashion, music, and corporate worlds. Based in New York, halfway between the cliffs of the Gunks and the media hub of NYC.

Brendan YoungBrendan Young '14

Freelance Filmmaker

Brendan Young is a freelance filmmaker based in Denver. He works on commercial sets and on his own passion projects. When he is not making documentary and branded content films, he enjoys the mountains, croissants, and naps.

Daniel WrightDaniel Wright '13

Documentary Film Producer

Daniel is an independent documentary film producer based in Denver. Most recently, he co-produced THE HUMAN ELEMENT, which explores stories of American communities on the front lines of climate change through the lens of environmental photographer James Balog (CHASING ICE). The film is slated to premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April. After graduating from Colorado College with degrees in film and anthropology, Daniel began working at the Oceanic Preservation Society, the filmmakers behind the Academy Award-winning documentary THE COVE, on their highly anticipated second film, RACING EXTINCTION. After a premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, it had a worldwide broadcast in 220 countries on the Discovery Channel and received a Primetime Emmy nomination. Wright's associate produced MAURIZIO CATTELAN: BE RIGHT BACK, a documentary about the provocative and elusive career of Italian contemporary artist, Maurizio Cattelan. The film premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and was called "uproarious and thought-provoking" by The New York Times. Previous credits include Robert Kenner's MERCHANTS OF DOUBT, and THE GAME CHANGERS, directed by Louie Psihoyos and executive produced by James Cameron.

Ben SturgulewskiBen Sturgulewski '08

Founder, Sturge Film

Co-Founder, Sweetgrass Productions

Sturgefilm founder Ben 'Sturge' Sturgulewski grew up on a rugged and remote island in Alaska's Aleutian Chain, inspiring a life dedicated to the exploration of the world's wild side, and the people who call it home. Infused in all aspects of production as a director, cinematographer, editor, and writer, he's worked in definitively nasty and awe-inspiring conditions around the world-all while bringing a unique and critical cinematic perspective to action sports, documentary, narrative, and commercial pursuits.
Ben's integral work with companies like Sweetgrass Productions, Matchstick Productions, and DPS Cinematic has created many acclaimed films that have appeared in festivals from Banff to Krakow to New Zealand. His projects have won dozens of awards for cinematography, editing, and storytelling, as well as numerous grand prizes, including Powder Magazine's coveted Movie of the Year Award. In online releases, Ben has produced half a dozen Vimeo Staff Picks and viral videos with over five million views. His work with various agencies, collectives, and production houses continues to take him around the world. Ben is based in Alaska.

Zac RamrasZac Ramras '08

Producer, Sweetgrass Productions

A Salt Lake City local, Zac Ramras helped shape Sweetgrass Productions back when the company was run out of a 1987 Datsun purchased from the Colorado Springs Craigslist. Since then he's gone on to produce and shoot films at locations across the world, helping to crack the puzzling logistics of groundbreaking shoots such as the LED-fueled Afterglow (Mountainfilm 2014). He co-directed The Wolf Pack (Mountainfilm 2018) with Nick Waggoner . He recently became a father and is rated in the top 5 sexiest dads of adventure filmmaking.

Nick WaggonerNick Waggoner '08

Director, Sweetgrass Productions

Nick Waggoner was born in a back-alley dumpster in New York City and quickly learned how to talk himself out of arrest and into opportunity. Today, Waggoner lends his urban-tempered initiative to Sweetgrass Production as a director and producer. Sweetgrass - a scrappy collection of filmmakers, adventurers, artists, and dreamers - has built a reputation in the ski film world by taking creative risks and eschewing helicopter shots. Behind the lens, Waggoner uses his Colorado College bachelor's degree in documentary film to tell stories through poetic rhythm and soulful narrative. He is the director of Valhalla , Jumbo Wild (Mountainfilm 2016), Darklight (Mountainfilm 2016), The Wolf Pack (Mountainfilm 2018), and many more.

Cynthia Lowen

Cynthia Lowen '01

Filmmaker and Writer

Cynthia Lowen is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and poet. She is the director of NETIZENS, a feature documentary about women & online harassment, which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. She is also the co-producer/writer of the feature documentary film BULLY, released by The Weinstein Company. She is also the author of The Cloud That Contained the Lightning, winner of the National Poetry Series selected by Nikky Finney.

Doug PrayDoug Pray '83

Documentary Film Director

Doug Pray is best known as a director of feature documentary films about American subcultures and maverick individuals. He has also directed short films and documentary-style commercials for a wide range of major clients and causes. The youngest of four boys, Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, where his father was a geology professor at the UW. His mother was a choir director and painter. Doug lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and two children. He received a BA in sociology from Colorado College and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. His debut film was the highly acclaimed portrait of the Seattle music scene, Hype! (1996) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and inspired him to continue working in the documentary form. He recently wrote, edited, and executive produced The Defiant Ones (2017), a television documentary mini-series that aired on HBO and garnered a Grammy Award and five Emmy nominations.

Meredith MantikMeredith Mantik '11

Film Editor

Originally from Southern California, Meredith holds a BA in English, Film, and Philosophy from Colorado College, and studied Creative Writing at Idyllwild Arts Academy. Upon graduating with distinction from the prestigious National Film and Television School's Editing MA course, she received an AVID Excellence in Editing Award for her work on SWEET MADDIE STONE, directed by Brady Hood. She has recently worked on multiple APS productions including HUNTING LANDS, SPADES, and GOOD MORNING. She has worked as an editor, junior editor, assistant editor, filmmaking professor, screenwriting teacher, freelance filmmaker and photographer, and production assistant throughout California, Colorado, England, and France. She is now an editor based in Los Angeles, California.

Travis RummelTravis Rummel '01

Co-Founder, Felt Soul Media

Travis Rummel is known for his work on DamNation (2014), Red Gold (2008), and Eastern Rises (2010).

Kendall Rock

Kendall Rock '15


Kendall Rock is a cinematographer and actress, known for Metzger (2015), Infinity Baby (2017), and More After This (2014).

Jeremy Flood

Jeremy Flood '15


Jeremy Flood is a filmmaker based out of Denver, Colorado who specializes in cinematic documentary storytelling to advance the causes of racial, social, and economic justice. He is currently the lead video producer for Justice Democrats and was previously the lead video producer for Romanoff for US Senate, and a staff producer accompanying Bernie Sanders during his 2020 presidential campaign.

Mimi Cave

Mimi Cave '06


Mimi Cave is a filmmaker, choreographer, and writer based out of Los Angeles. Her work combines arresting art direction, authentic natural performance, spectacular choreography, and a mischievously off-kilter sense of fun. Extensive training as a dancer led to her choices as a director. Her shorts and music videos have premiered on Nowness and at film festivals worldwide, including the Los Angeles Film Festival, the San Francisco Intn’l Film Festival, SXSW, the UKMVAS, and the Denver Intn’l Film Festival, to name a few.

Anika Kan Grevstad

Anika Kan Grevstad '18

Director, Cinematographer, Editor

Anika Kan Grevstad is a biracial Asian American director from Seattle, now based in Los Angeles. Her short film, WHAT WE FIND IN THE SEA, premiered at LA Shorts Fest 2021 and won Best Short Film at the Santa Fe Film Festival 2022. She has worked as a cinematographer and editor on numerous films including the feature documentaries NEVER CATCH PIGEONS (editor, Newport Beach Film Festival 2021) and THE JOB OF SONGS (cinematographer, DOC/NYC 2021). She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Colorado College with a B.A. in Asian Studies and a minor in Film Studies.

FMS-Doc-Grant-Mentor--Schmitz,-Lila-1.pngLila Schmitz '18


Lila Schmitz is a filmmaker with experience making independent films from scratch and working on big-budget projects as a part of a huge team. Her first feature THE JOB OF SONGS, an Irish music documentary that she directed, produced, & edited, premiered at DOC NYC in 2021 and was a recipient of the inaugural Colorado College Documentary Exploration Grant. Her short documentary JAIEL aired on Rocky Mountain PBS, as did her short fiction film QUEER QAFÉ, which has since gotten 50k+ views on YouTube. Schmitz recently directed three music videos for the titular artist of her short documentary: Jaiel. Her latest short film LOVE IN THE TIME OF CORONA has played LGBTQ+ festivals all over the United States. She has been producing in the documentary world (for PBS, CBS, Richard Linklater,  Bill Guttentag) and currently works at Anonymous Content.


Virginia Lynch Dean

Director, Producer

Virginia Lynch Dean has an extensive background in film, theater and television development and production, including experience in documentaries, commercials, breaking news, publishing, finance, and the arts. She has held a variety of roles in feature films, including producer, associate producer, production manager, second assistant director, location scout, and research director on films such as Santa Claus, The White Stallion, Pumping Iron 2, and The Bear.  Virginia is an active fundraiser for non-profit organizations, serving on the executive committee for The Chapin School Capital Campaign, the Governing Board and the Sustaining Board of Memorial Sloan Kettering, and the Board of the YMCA/YWCA of Greater New York. She has been an active supporter of the New York City Mission Society and Project Learn and is a founding member of the non-profit: Divine Mortgages and organizer of Wings World Quest.


Thomas Crandall '16

Cinematographer, Producer, Editor

Tom Crandall graduated from CC when the major was still called “Film and New Media.” After graduating, he was a PA on Netflix’s “Our Souls at Night,” starring Robert Redford, and the project motivated a move to work freelance on set in Denver. In addition to shooting and editing, Tom worked as cinematographer and producer of the independent feature film JULY RISING, which premiered at the 2019 Sonoma Film Festival. He’s currently editing a documentary feature about a paraplegic sit skier for Level 1. In his free time, Tom makes short films and enjoys being outside.

Aya BlancoAYA BLANCO ’17

Producer, Documentary Filmmaker

Aya Blanco is a creative documentary producer & strategist with a Master’s in Visual and Digital Media. Born to immigrant parents and trilingual in English, Japanese, and Spanish, she is passionate about the power of visual storytelling and collaboration and makes documentaries for and with US and international partners. She has worked for the ONE Campaign, Rocky Mountain PBS, and Freethink Media and was a 2018 NeXt Doc Fellow. She hopes to collaborate with and inspire other first generation women of color in the arts.

Report an issue - Last updated: 03/15/2023