Entertainment and creative arts industries have a vast reach on American culture and society, spanning a diverse range of career opportunities. This industry brings in alumni with backgrounds from a variety of different creative fields. From film & media production to theater and illustration, there are professionals who have drawn from their experiences at UChicago to make their mark on media, television, the silver screen, the stage, and beyond. Alumni will share their experiences about how they took advantage of their UChicago experiences and developed the skills they accrued from their education to ones they now use in the work force.
Brian Ashby, AB'06
Filmmaker, Scrappers Film Group
Mr. Ashby is a documentary filmmaker and a principal of Scrappers Film Group, a Chicago-based production company. He graduated from the College in 2006 with a degree in Political Science. His college activities included WHPK and a concert-promotion RSO he founded. Spending four years on his first film, Scrappers (2010), established his commitment to making socially engaged and formally exploratory work. In These Times called the film "a moving portrait of the precariousness of life and work at the bottom of the American economy, in one of the country's wealthiest cities." He recently co-directed the web series Central Standard: On Education, examining disparities in public education in Chicagoland and is currently co-producing and co-editing The Area, which follows the displacement of a Chicago neighborhood by an intermodal freight yard. Scrapper Film Group, founded 2013, works in the fields of feature films, web journalism, branded content, and nonprofit communications. (Table 30)
Lydia Fu, SB'03, Bachelor of Media Arts'09 (ECUAD)
Illustrator and Motion Designer, Lydia Fu // Art and Design
After receiving her degree in Chemistry, Ms. Fu stayed on at the College to complete a year of research which culminated in a paper published in Nature. She went on to study animation at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and continued to work as a freelance illustrator and motion designer on independent films and publications while teaching at various non-profit organizations for youth and the arts. She has been featured in American Illustration and worked with VICE media, Chicago Public Library Foundation, BITCH media, FAAIM, DCASE (Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), and Full Spectrum Features. She is currently collaborating as a Marketing Communications Specialist with bswift, a healthcare tech startup recently purchased by Aetna. She continues to be an active interdisciplinary professional in the local arts and culture community and has curated and exhibited in shows and festivals internationally. (Table 33)
Linara Washington, AB'99, AB'99
Actor, Poder Entertainment, Inc.
Ms. Washington graduated from the College in 1999 with a degree in English. She has had the pleasure of working at a number of Chicago's most acclaimed theaters and has appeared in myriad commercials nationally and internationally. A supporting role as Keisha, the cute and sassy receptionist, in Barbershop 2 motivated her move to LA where she has since enjoyed roles on Grey's Anatomy, Madam Secretary, Masters Of Sex and NCIS. She has also appeared in movies alongside some of Hollywood's biggest names: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Will Ferrell and Queen Latifah, to name a few. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she continues to act and produce films with her husband, director/writer/editor Andrew P. Jones. Together they have a four year old daughter, and a menagerie of four-legged fur children. (Table 32)
Lucas Wiesendanger, AB'07, MA Sociology 2010 (Yale)
Vice President, Red Wagon Entertainment
Mr. Wiesendanger graduated from the College in 2007 with a degree in Sociology. While at the College, he was part of the circus group Le Vorris and Vox and volunteered with Doc Films. He entered a PhD program in Sociology at Yale, but left after a few years to move to Hollywood. After a several years stint at the Gersh agency, he moved to Red Wagon Entertainment where he is now Vice President under producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. His focus is on developing and producing wide-release feature films. (Table 33)