A New Generation of Storytellers panel event

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Join us live on February 28 at 2 p.m. (PST) for a FREE panel event, co-presented with NFFTY, and hear from young independent filmmakers as they share their journeys, experiences and advice! An audience Q&A will follow the discussion.

The conversation will feature the folks listed below. To view the panelists’ latest films, be sure to watch the NFFTY 2020 Showcase shorts package available for FREE during the festival!


(Moderator) Kara Puerschner is an actress, producer, and award winning screenwriter from Mukilteo, Washington. She has won several awards for her screenwriting including two Future of Film awards, Best Drama Screenplay at Hollywood Just4Shorts, an award of merit at Canada Shorts International Film Festival, and third place at the Seattle Film Summit Pitch Panel for a feature she penned at age 13. She most recently co-produced and wrote It’s Hidden Within (2020), a short film which is currently in the festival circuit and has been an official selection in festivals such as Hollyshorts, Seattle Film Summit, Big Apple Film Festival, Vancouver Independent Film Festival, and more. In her free time, Kara enjoys playing the guitar and piano, writing, and learning about forensic psychiatry.



Ciani Rey Walker is an award-winning writer/director whose mission is to tell stories that give audiences a new lens through which to see the world, whether that be through a less-covered aspect of an event/era or through the eyes of an underrepresented group. Walker graduated with a film production degree from Chapman University in 2020 and has since worked for ABC and HBO. She has a passion for fashion and plans to bring social issues onto the fashion filmmaking scene.




Barb Hoffman is a 21-year-old filmmaker/animator that resides in the Seattle area. Her spark for film ignited when she started making home-made music videos with her friends back in 2010. Since then, she has been working on her craft as a filmmaker, and now has a double bachelor’s degree in both Communications and Film Studies from Seattle University.  The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) has accepted her films the past three years and with one also played at the Seattle International Film Festival. She looks forward to finding out where her journey of filmmaking and animating takes her!



Ward Kamel is a Syrian-born, NYC-based filmmaker with a multidisciplinary approach to filmmaking. He strives to depict underrepresented characters in grounded and relatable narratives. He is currently in preproduction for a short film he is set to direct, titled Spring in America, whilst also developing a feature he is writing. The latest short he produced, Aziz, was a semifinalist in the Student Academy Awards®.



Claire Gostin is a filmmaker from Gig Harbor, Washington. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California and is a 2020 graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts with a major in Film and Television Production.

Last year, Claire was selected as one of four students to direct an undergraduate thesis film at USC. That film, Limelight, was a finalist in First Look, USC’s prestigious industry showcase, recently premiered at the 2020 Urbanworld Film Festival, and was named one of the top ten films to stream at this year’s National Film Festival for Talented Youth. Claire hopes to continue writing and directing female-centered dramas that are always infused with a slight touch of humor.


Moira Fett is a New York-based filmmaker whose work examines the contortions of human behavior under the pressures of surveillance, confinement, and social convention. As a 2018 Creative Culture fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Moira wrote and directed ‘Two Birds’ and ‘Practice’. Moira’s films have been screened at numerous festivals, including the Maryland Film Festival, the Florida Film Festival, and the National Film Festival for Talented Youth. In her future work, she will continue to follow themes of entrapment and escape.