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2016 PA Trainees

by Co-chairs: Corey Kaplan, John Iacovelli, Jack Fisk, and Tom Walsh, Production Designers

Twelve designers were chosen from a field of fifty-six applicants for the 2016 - 2017 Production Apprentice (PA) Trainee Program. The Art Directors Guild welcomes: Virginia Berg (Savannah College of Art+Design), Dylan Bocanegra (Art Center College of Design), Sarah B. Brown (Southern Methodist University), Laura Santoyo Dangond (American Film Institute), Chad Dellinger (San Diego State University), Ji Young Lee (UCLA), Sita "Tarn" Lerdjarudech (Chapman University), Arielle Ness-Cohn (American Film Institute), Rebekah Scheys (Chapman University), Lauren Spalding (American Film Institute), Margaret Srmayan (Cal State University, Fresno), and Shannon Walsh (American Film Institute). 

Virginia Berg

Virginia earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia where she studied scenic design for theatre and art history. She free-lanced as a scenic artist and set designer along the East coast before attending the Savannah College of Art and Design’s MFA program in Production Design.  As a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Scholarship, and SCAD’s Artistic and Academic Merit Scholarship, Virginia graduated in May 2015 and has since worked in the art departments of various features, shorts, commercials, and web series. She recently moved to Los Angeles where she continues to hone her skill set.  
Dylan Bocanegra

A native of Los Angeles, Dylan Bocanegra graduated from Art Center with a B.S. in Entertainment Design. His passion for the Art Department began on the Warner Bros lot, where he became fascinated by the challenges of budget and time constraints coupled with the artistic processes of story-telling and world building. While attending college, Dylan sought out the new generation of aspiring film makers to work on films produced at AFI, UCLA, and USC. During this crash course in film making, he was able to cultivate his skills – budgeting, drafting, construction, and dressing – in order to effectively translate an idea from script to screen. 
Sarah Brown

Sarah B. Brown is a working Scenic Designer/Art Director who started her career in New York. While in the city, Sarah broke into the off-off-Broadway community as a set designer and scenic painter. After 5 years in New York, she spent 3 years in Dallas, completing her MFA in Stage Design and, designing multiple shows for the regional theatre community. Her work, in Dallas, won her a nomination for the Column Award for "Best Original Scenic Design of a Musical, Non-equity". While in Dallas she also had the opportunity to work as the Art Director on a student feature film. That experience started her down her current path. ...Read More
Now based in Studio City, Sarah has had a year filled with opportunities to work as an Art Department Assistant and is currently working as Art Director on a new concept competition series.
Laura Santoyo Dangond

Laura graduated as an architect from Los Andes University in Bogota, Colombia. She has a diploma in Art Direction from Blackmaria School of Cinema, and a diploma in Ephemeral Architecture and Scenography from Javeriana University. She also lived in Peru and Canada, where she studied Creative Arts, Literature and Languages. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2014, Laura was working on several projects as an architect while taking production design courses and designing short films, until she was accepted to the American Film Institute where she recently received her MFA in Production Design.
Chad Dellinger

Growing up in St. Petersburg, FL, Chad Dellinger was enthusiastic about the performing arts. After completing his BFA in Theatrical Set Design from SCAD, Chad began freelancing in the world of theatre and home construction. While enjoying the surf in San Diego, Chad attended San Diego State University and received his MFA from the School of Theatre, Television and Film. During his time at SDSU, Chad discovered that his passion for theatrical design could be a natural transition for designing for camera. At SDSU, he designed several short films and worked in the design office of The Old Globe Theatre. Since graduation ...Read More Chad has been designing in the L.A. theatre scene,  production designing short films, and working in Art Departments for television.
Ji Young Lee

Ji Young Lee was born in Korea and came to the United States in 2004.  When she was ten years old, she saw her first musical and fell in love with intriguing world of set design.  Following her passion for theater and film, she pursued her dream of becoming a scenic designer for entertainment media.  She received her undergraduate degree at Rhode Island School of Design and majored in Interior Architecture.  Her undergraduate degree helped her explore various spatial design principles and receive ample training on 3d computer programs. After receiving her bachelor's degree, she interned at ...Read More
George Tsypin Opera Factory in New York and helped design Sochi 2014 Olympics opening ceremony.  In 2013, she moved to Los Angeles and started her Scenic Design MFA program at UCLA.  At UCLA, she received advanced training on scenic design, production design, and illustration, and designed the sets for various theater and film productions.  While studying at UCLA, she also worked as an intern at Walt Disney Imagineering and helped design the Shanghai Disney resort opening ceremony.  Ji received her Scenic Design MFA degree at UCLA in June, 2016.
Sita (Tarn) Lerdjarudech

Sita “Tarn” Lerdjarudech is an LA-based artist born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. She earned a B.F.A. in Film and Television Production from Mahidol University International College and for several years, worked in the art departments for international productions shooting in Thailand. She then moved to California and received an M.F.A. in Production Design from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. There she continued to develop her technical and creative skills such as hand drafting, graphic design, computer rendering, model making, set construction, and scenic painting. ...Read More Tarn has designed and art directed various short films and continues to work in filmmaking and set design.  
Arielle Ness-Cohn

Arielle grew up in Chicago, Illinois, in a family that encouraged her to travel, see the world, learn about its people, and ask important questions. With a BFA in Theatre and a Minor in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arielle moved to Israel in 2012. In Tel Aviv, she worked for Gutman Assif Architects, and in television production at Endemol Israel, and Constantine Entertainment on numerous Israeli national series. Since transplanting to Los Angeles where she earned her MFA in Production Design at the American Film Institute, she designed six short films, and Art Directed one feature. Arielle is a ...Read More
designer striving to use both the natural and man-made beauty of our world to share the personal, societal, and cultural stories of its people.
Rebekah Scheys

Originally from Las Vegas, Rebekah Scheys moved to Southern California in 2009 to study film and theatre at Vanguard University. During her time there, she discovered a passion for design and visual storytelling, which led her to continue her education at Chapman University's Dodge College with a MFA in Production Design. Her Chapman thesis film, Straw Dolls - which tells the story of an Armenian family living in Turkey at the beginning of the Armenian genocide - recently won the student Emmy award for Best Drama. Rebekah has designed and art directed several short films and music videos, and currently works as a ...Read More
freelance designer and art department assistant on features, short films, television, and music videos.  
Lauren Spalding

Lauren found an interest in Production Design when she was just fifteen. Guided by a strong passion for storytelling, she studied history and philosophy at the University of King’s College and graduated with a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Following her passion for film design she moved from Canada to Los Angeles to receive her MFA in Production Design from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Immediately after graduation she was hired to design the film trilogy "Mythica" and has completed ten feature films as Production Designer since her graduation three years ago. Lauren received the ...Read More best Production Design award in 2016 from the Filmed In Utah Awards.
Margaret Srmayan

Growing up with an unyielding love for filmmaking, fine arts and architecture, Margaret Srmayan naturally merged her passions into a career in Production Design. Born in Leninakan, Armenia and raised in California, Margaret attended Fresno State University where she earned a double major in Theatre Set Design and Fine Arts Painting. During her years in college, Margaret designed for university theatre productions and interned for award winning shows before moving to Los Angeles in 2015. For the past year, Margaret has worked under a prominent commercial art director who has trained and involved her in projects ...Read More
from start to finish whilst giving her the opportunity to experience every role within the art department.
Shannon Walsh

Originally from Seattle, Shannon Walsh moved to California where she earned her BA in Theater Design and Technology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2008. She completed a fellowship at the American Conservatory Theater in fall of 2010. Working as a properties artisan, scenic artist, design assistant and scenic designer on a variety of performance projects in the San Francisco Bay Area. Clients have included The American Conservatory Theater, Joe Goode Performance Group, Marin Theatre Company and The California Shakespeare Theater. Following her passion for film, Shannon graduated from American Film Institute Conservatory in 2016 with an MFA in Production Design. Her professional experience includes multiple shorts, television, and live events.


2015 PA Trainees

PERSPECTIVE | September/October 2015
by Co-chairs: Corey Kaplan, John Iacovelli, Jack Fisk, and Tom Walsh, Production Designers
Five designers were chosen from a field of forty-seven applicants for the 2015 - 2016 Production Apprentice (PA) Trainee Program. The Art Directors Guild welcomes Aaron Kelly (University of North Carolina School of the Arts), Daniela Medeiros (American Film Institute), Daniel Frank (American Film Institute), Mari Lappalainen (American Film Institute) and Sally Ledger (Chapman University).
Daniel Frank

Born and raised in New York, Daniel Frank attended Colgate University where he studied under a prominent Broadway set designer and earned a degree in art and architectural history. After a stint working in set construction and doing freelance design work, Daniel was hired by a Manhattan-based commercial real estate firm where he spent three years helping to finance development throughout the United States.  Although he continued to do design work when he could, it was not until his acceptance to the AFI Production Design program that he decided to pursue his passion full-time. Daniel moved to Los Angeles in 2013 ...Read More and he has spent every day designing for fim and stage since.

Skills: SketchUp, Vectorworks, Photoshop, InDesign, LayOut, Concept Drawing, Hand Drafting, Illustration, Set Construction.  
Aaron Kelly

Hailing from Wilmington, North Carolina, Aaron Kelly merged his passions of illustration and home filmmaking into a career in film design. During his four years at University of North Carolina, School of the Arts, he designed and held Art Department positions on many short films and music videos, while also crewing on several features and series.
Upon graduating in 2013, Aaron has worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. Aaron has also continued to design, paint, and be construction coordinator on several feature films and ...Read More shorts in his home state, in Miami, and in his new home of Los Angeles.
Mari Lappalainen

Mari was born and raised in Finland, where she graduated as an exhibition builder in 2007. She then started working for a Finnish set construction and design company where she found her interest for the film industry. After three years of working, traveling, and living in New York and London, she graduated with 1st honors from London's acclaimed Wimbledon College of Art, with a degree in Set Design for Screen.
During her studies there, she was involved in various projects ranging from stop motion animation to large scale feature films. A recent graduate from American Film Institute Conservatory ...Read More with a MFA in Production Design, Mari has designed and art directed various short films.
Sally Ledger

After spending the first few years of her life in the U.S., Sally was educated in the U.K., ultimately achieving a BA Honours degree in Film and the Visual Arts at the University of Leicester. As a successful artist and keen drama student from an early age, her emerging love of film during her high school and undergraduate studies led her to focus upon a long term career as a Production Designer.
Completing further studies at the Central St. Martin's and Chelsea Colleges of Art and Design, and having worked on a variety of U.K. film amd television projects, she moved back to the U.S. ...Read More two years ago and recently graduated with a MFA in Production Design, from Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, at Chapman University.
Now embarking upon her professinal career, Sally is delighted to have been selected to enter the prestigious Production Apprentice program at the Art Directors Guild.
Daniela Medeiros

Daniela Medeiros has a double degree -- one in architecture and urbanism from the Pontifical Catholic University, and the other in Industrial Design from the Federal Technological University of Parana, in Brazil -- allowing her to design in different scales from small props to large-scale urban planning.
As an undergraduate, Daniela deepened her knowledge through internships at architecture offices and two international study experiences: a semester at the renowned architecture school ESTAM in Madrid, Spain; and one year at the Visual Arts, Design and Marketing Institute (IADE) in Lisbon, Portugal. ...Read More
After graduation, she studied film for a year and began a post-graduate course in scenic design.
Daniela recently received her MFA in Production Design at the American Film Institute Conservatory, and her professional experience includes work on multiple video clips and short films.


2014 PA Trainees

PERSPECTIVE | September/October 2014
by Co-chairs: Corey Kaplan, John Iacovelli, Jack Fisk, and Tom Walsh, Production Designers
Three designers were chosen from a field of fifty-six applicants for the 2014 - 2015 Production Apprentice (PA) Trainee Program. The Art Directors Guild welcomes Henry Behel (Vassar College), Kedra Dawkins (American Film Institute) and Nathan Krochmal (University of North Carolina, School of the Arts). 
Henry Behel

Henry Behel comes from a theatre scenic design background. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, but headed east for Vassar College, where he received a BA in Drama. He spent the next years designing sets in New York and especially Chicago, where he won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Scenic Design and was nominated for numerous other local awards. He also spent two years in a full time apprenticeship with Tony Award winning Scenic Designer Todd Rosenthal learning drafting and model-making, and with him assistant designed shows at Steppenwolf, The Guthrie, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and on Broadway. ...Read More
Henry came to Los Angeles to dive into fim design and has loved every minute of it. He has since designed a video game commerical and assisted on several union commercials and a feature.
He currently works as an Art P.A. on season 5 of Shameless.

Kedra Dawkins

Kedra, raised in both Orange County, California, and Okinawa, Japan, earned her undergraduate degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in 2010 where she studied theatrical and costume design. With a passion for film, she moved to Los Angeles where she began art directing and designing short films and independent features. At the American Film Institute Conservatory, Kedra honed her technical skills in drafting, concept design, and digital rendering and received an MFA in 2014 in Production Design.
She is also the recipient of the SDSA Leslie Frankenheimer Scholarship.
Nathan Krochmal

Beginning as a young backyard filmmaker, Nathan Krochmal produced multiple award winning shorts and contest videos during high school. His creative drive for storytelling led him to seek formal training at University of North Carolina, School of the Arts, where he graduated in 2014 and received a BFA in Filmmaking, with an emphasis in Art Direction. While in attendance, he designed and art directed multiple large-scale shorts, interned on a feature film, and honed his abilities in hand drafting, graphics, computer rendering, and model making. During his senior year he worked as a pre-visualization and set design ...Read More
consultant at Alderman Company, as well as an assistant to a regional interior designer. Nathan's background in film studies and producion has prepared him for entering the film industry, where he seeks to grow as a storyteller.

2013 PA Trainees

by Co-chairs: Corey Kaplan, John Iacovelli, Jack Fisk, and Tom Walsh, Production Designers
Four designers were chosen from a field of ninety-one applicants for the 2013 - 2014 Production Apprentice (PA) Trainee Program. The Art Directors Guild welcomes Whitney Donald (American Film Institute); and Patrick Scalise (University of California, Los Angeles); and Christopher Ward (San Diego State University); and Kate Weddle (American Film Institute). 
Whitney Donald

Whitney Donald, originally from Tampa, Florida, graduated from Brigham Young University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts. In 2012, Whitney received her MFA in Production Design from the American Film Institute Conservatory. Whitney's AFI thesis film, First in Flight, premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre and has won many awards. Inspector 42, a short film she designed, won Best Drama and Best Director at the 2010 College Television Awards and was the Region II winner for the Student Academy Awards. Whitney has worked as Production Designer on four feature films and she just completed working ...Read More
as an Art Department assistant on Disney's Tomorrowland.
Patrick Scalise

From the suburbs of Boston, Patrick Scalise started his undergraduate education in architecutre at Parsons School of Design. He moved from New York to England to study set design for the stage and screen at London's Wimbledon College of Art, graduating in 2010 with 1st Honors. While studying film design, Patrick was able to intern on several feature films.
In 2010, Patrick moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television, focused in Production Design. A recipient of the Michael Minor and Robert Green Scholarship at UCLA ...Read More
Mr. Scalise was awarded his MFA in 2013.
Christopher L. Ward

After serving in the U.S. Army, Christopher Ward attended Stephen F. Austin State University where he graduated in 2007 with honors, receiving a BA in theater design and technology. For the next few years, he designed scenery for corporate events at a commercial scene shop in Dallas, Texas, including shows for ESPN and the local NBC affiliate. In 2009, Christopher enrolled at San Diego State University, where in 2012 he earned his MFA from the School of Theatre, Film, and Television. He was a recipient of the Lipinsky Fellowship and Funicello Fellowships for design and has designed more than forty productions ...Read More for theater, film, and broadcast television.
Kate Weddle

Originally from central Pennsylvania, Kate Weddle, a writer and designer, earned a BA in 3D animation from the University of Central Florida where she focused on Production Design and Art Direction in digital environments. Kate has woked as a professional Graphic Designer and Art Director in print and other media since 2001, developing her skills in 3D rendering and concept designs. At the American Film Institute Conservatory, Ms Weddle sharpened her skills in drafting, model building and illustration and received her MFA in Production Design in 2013.

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