Shelley Davis, MFA
Shelley is working on several documentary productions as a director and editor. Influenced by her background in narrative cinema and sound, she uses her life experiences as a Jewish-Italian woman from Florida to tell stories about Jewish people, environmental racism, the climate crisis, underrepresented communities of color in Florida, and storytelling through different art mediums. Presently, she is directing a feature documentary film called Saba and Savta, a story about the everyday life of an elderly Jewish couple searching for their lost family history and preserving what culture they know before their memory disappears. She is also in the early stages of distribution for a film she directed in the Fall of 2022 called Gatekeeper, a portrait of the rural communities of Miami-Dade County, situated in South Florida, and Biscayne National Park presented through the intertwining of a multicultural society and that of a biodiverse habitat. In the Summer and Fall of 2022, she worked as an editor, sound designer, and distribution producer for a documentary film called Facing Fistula, a story about a young woman, Beatrice, in Kenya who has been living with a devastating childbirth injury for nearly a decade that has left her incontinent, shunned by her husband, and outcasted within her community. The film follows Beatrice as she struggles to care for her homestead and her five children until, one day, discovering that she is not alone in her suffering sends her on a journey toward hope and healing.
Throughout her storytelling practice, Shelley uses sound, video, and film. She draws from influences of the cinema verité and direct cinema movements to tell stories rooted in activism, community, social justice, tikkun olam, and immersing audiences in sensorial experiences. Shelley's work has screened internationally, from Israel to Italy and nationally across the United States from Florida to Texas and beyond. Her storytelling and documentary practice is rooted in telling stories that need to be told and empowering underrepresented voices in art and media to share their story.
Kendal Dewitt, MA
Graduate student pursuing a M.A. in Media Industry Studies. Received his B.A. in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University. Areas of research include race in cinema, cultural studies, and Black cinema.
Chandler Gaydos, MFA
While receiving my degree in Cinema at Southern Illinois University, I fell in love with documentary film. This love led me to pursue a graduate's degree here at University of North Texas. I'm interested in poetic and observatory documentary styles and my research interests include rural culture, folklore, and Orthodox Christianity.
Hannah Guerrero, MFA
Growing up in Denton, Texas, I have been close to the University of North Texas since I was born! While completing my Bachelor's degree in Media Arts here, I produced and edited my first short documentary called Will's Worms. It was then that I realized I really enjoyed the atmosphere of shooting documentary-style content. It was also easy for me to express and explore other personal interests like environmental justice and the preservation of planet earth. As I work to complete my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Production and Studies, I hope to continue to produce and research environmental issues and public opinion around those issues. I've recently been studying the public opinion of renewable energy sources and why those opinions may exist. If you have any questions or inquiries regarding my work or interests, feel free to shoot me an email! I'm always eager to expand my mind.
Hallie Harper, MFA
My purpose in life is to connect with people on a personal and individual level, and try to encourage people to open their hearts and minds while also constantly trying to expand my own perceptions and horizons. I most commonly pursue this mission through some form of creating art-- in this case through documentary-- but in essence, my desire is to help build and facilitate compassion, empathy, and understanding to help us as humans better connect and have the capacity to act with love. My mission in life is to never stop learning and growing, and to encourage others to do the same.
Alexya Martinez, MFA
Alexya Martinez is a graduate student at the University of North Texas pursing a Masters in Fine Arts degree with a focus on the Documentary Production & Studies program. While pursing her undergraduate degree in Media Production at the University of Houston, she worked with Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo as an intern where she was given the opportunity to direct several livestock shows such as cattle auctions and horse shows. Alexya continued her ascent in the industry, gaining further experience at FOX 26 Houston where she wrote numerous published articles and co-produced several episodes for the late-night talkshow, 'The Nightcap'.
During her senior year of college, Alexya was chosen to direct a 30-minute episode for 'VideoWorkshop' that included pre-recorded and live segments. During the production process, she oversaw technical aspects of the production and managed finalized the on-air product. The episode premiered on NuDu Tv and showcased the diverse culture within the city of Houston.
Her experience in the media industry has led her to the pathway of filmmaking in hopes to produce several pieces of work. Her area of research focuses on the general public studies, in specifically to answer the question "Why do people act the way they do to this particular situation?". With a minor in psychology, she has always been interested in understanding the way individuals or group of people think and how it affects their actions, whether it is on a day-to-day basis or when it comes to a cultural shift in society.
During her first year of graduate school, she plans to explore the short-term effects of method acting on aspiring actors at UNT. This type of knowledge will push other filmmakers to gain a better understanding of an actor's experience and all parts of film production, both in front and behind the camera.
Mason Shepherd, MA
I am an Afro-Latino male from East Texas, and everyday for me is a performance. I aim for perfection because I feel like one little slip is all it takes to bring you down.
Lauryn Simmons, MA
Having grown up with a passion for reading, books were never far out of reach. Expanding my love for literature led me to pursue a degree in English for my undergraduate studies at Texas State University. Through the Honors program and a wonderful class that taught about the narrative of video games, I completed my undergraduate thesis "Storytelling Through Visual Media: Analyzing Video Game Cutscenes Through a Filmic Lens (Square Enix Focus)", combining my interests in literature, popular culture, and various media all into one. It became a piece of inspiration for the direction I wanted to drive my academic career and led me to the Media Arts program at UNT, where I channel my teenage fangirl roots to transform them into my research interests of fandom and participatory culture in popular culture. All of these interests are combined in my current research project "Still Waiting for My Hogwarts Letter: Participatory Culture and Fandom of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter".
Jeremy Rovny, MFA
One time I performed in a skit at a theatre in Shuakhevi, Georgia. I only knew a handful of Georgian words, but the audience laughed and clapped. Another time I crashed a moped on a small road in Modampalle, India. It hurt. I did a backflip in front of the Eiffel Tower. I'm still trying to top that. I was a background extra in the last Hunger Games movie. Liam Hemsworth looked at me. Most people know me for working in video production.
I do video editing and motion graphics for companies (including Fossil, Pizza Hut, and Hilti). I've directed a couple commercials, and I work in a variety of departments for film and documentary. I was a producer, camera operator, and the colorist on the feature documentary Breaking the Code (2023), awarded Best Historical Film at DIFF and Best Cinematography at STIFF and shown on PBS. I was co-cinematographer on the short documentary Forgotten Ground (2021) shown on PBS, KXAS, and NBC. I worked in the production department on the feature film Caged Birds (2021) which is on Tubi. I was co-cinematographer on the feature documentary 2nd Chances (2017). I was a camera operator on the docu-reality show Mission Reality Season 3 (2015), filmed in Guatemala and Honduras, and streaming on Amazon. I was a camera operator and an editor on the feature documentary Faces of Change (2015), shot in India. I have worked as DP, editor, colorist, VFX, or actor on over 10 short films.
My short film The Odds (2016) was shown on PBS and awarded Best Editing at Fort Worth Bizarre Film Festival. I have produced, written, and directed 5 other short films: Glassfire (2016), Political Digest (2014), Exiled: The Hearing (2013), and Red Window (2009). Before these films, I made dozens of short sketch videos with friends and family. I am currently working on my short documentary Starlit Minds (post-production, 2024) and my feature documentary Lift Up Our Hearts (pre-production, 2025).
Alex Russell, MFA
Jay Zamorano, MFA