This past month, three outstanding UCF film alumni visited their alma mater to discuss their experiences in the film and mass media field. Monica Sorelle, Lindsey Denniberg, and Chris Shields offered their unique insights and advice on how UCF prepared them for their careers and artistic pursuits as well as how to navigate the film and television industries. 

Monica Sorelle: 

Monica Sorelle is a Haitian-American filmmaker and artist born & based in Miami. Her work explores alienation and displacement, and preserves cultural traditions within Miami & the Caribbean with a focus on the African & Latin diasporas that reside there.

Monica’s feature directorial debut, Mountains (2023), had its world premiere at Tribeca Festival, where it was awarded a Special Jury Mention in the U.S. Narrative Feature competition. Mountains went on to have its international premiere at TIFF, receive awards from BlackStar, New Orleans Film Festival, Indie Memphis, New Hampshire Film Festival, Film Fest Knox, and Charlotte Film Festival, and screen at festivals around the world, including Glasgow Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, and AFI Fest. Mountains was nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards, with Monica receiving the Someone to Watch Award.

As a creative producer, Monica’s short films have won top prizes at Berlinale, BlackStar, and Miami Film Festival, been selected at Sundance, New Orleans Film Festival, and New Directors/New Films, and acquired by Criterion Channel and Indiana University Black Film Center & Archive.

Her photo and video work has been shown in group exhibitions at various institutions including Oolite Arts, Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, Augusta Savage Gallery, and on PAMM TV, and supported by Pérez Art Museum Miami’s Caribbean Cultural Institute Artist Fellowship, Locust Project’s Wavemaker Grant, and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. In 2023, she received an Ellies Creator Award and was selected as a recipient of the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship. She is a current studio resident at Bakehouse Art Complex. 

Monica is a member of Third Horizon, a creative collective dedicated to developing, producing, exhibiting, and distributing work which gives voice to stories of the Caribbean, its diaspora, and other marginalized & underrepresented spaces in the Global South. 


Lindsay Denniberg  

Lindsay Denniberg is a filmmaker and visual artist from South Florida. Through her production company Pandora’s Talk Box Productions she has released the feature-length film Video Diary of a Lost Girl, the online web-series What’s Inside Pandora’s Talk Box, and is currently in post-production on her second feature, Killer Makeover.  

Video Diary of a Lost Girl premiered in 2012 to wide acclaim among horror and experimental film audiences, winning the audience award at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and Best Feature award at Dark Carnival Film Festival, and screening at notable venues such as 92Y Tribeca (NYC), Alamo Drafthouse (SF & NYC), Ars Independent Film Festival, Artist’s Televisoin Access (SF), Bijou Cinema (IA), Brisbane Underground Film Festival, European Media Arts Festival, Fantastic Film Fest, Hyde Park Arts Center (CHI), Nitehawk Cinema (NYC), PhilaMOCA, Queens Film Festival, San Francisco Independent Film Festival, Shudder Fest (Boston), Spectacle (NYC), Whammy Analog (LA), among countless other cinema spaces, art galleries, museums and university film societies. In 2023, it received Blu-Ray distribution through the American Genre Film Archive and boutique home video imprint Vinegar Syndrome.  

In 2016, Denniberg was named as one of Chicago’s top 50 filmmakers in New City Film magazine. In 2009, she received a BFA in Film Production from the University of Central Florida, and in 2012, an MFA in Film, Video, New Media and Animation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  

Reviews and Interviews:  

AGFA/Vinegar Syndrome Video Diary of a Lost Girl Blu-Ray:  


Chris Shields  

Chris Shields is a filmmaker and film critic based in Los Angeles. He is the co-writer and star of Lindsay Denniberg’s cult favorite Video Diary of a Lost Girl (available from American Genre Film Archive) and her forthcoming film Killer Makeover and he shares the screen with Lloyd Kaufman in Caroline Golum’s film A Feast of Man.  

As a writer he is a frequent contributor to some of the most prestigious film publications in the English language including Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, Cineaste, Reverse Shot, MUBI, and Screen Slate. His writing focuses on experimental film, including extensive writing on his friend and mentor, Ernie Gehr, and Italian film, including first hand reporting from Rome for Film Comment.  

As a filmmaker, his short works have played at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and New York’s IFC Center. His experimental video Channels is featured on the film website PARACME alongside a who’s who of avant garde film artists. He is also the co-creator of the documentary Valton Tyler: Flesh is Fiction about the late Texas based outsider artist. He is also a film programmer who has presented films at Alamo DraftHouse for their ongoing Weird Wednesday and Terror Tuesday series including the cult hit Big Meat Eater.  

In the world of TV, he is a producer on the long running Food Network favorite Worst Cooks in America. He is also the show’s Voice Over artist, writing and performing the show’s iconic opening parodies every season.  


Sarah Fensom  

Sarah Fensom is an art and film writer/critic based in Los Angeles. Her writing appears in Film Comment, Sight & Sound, LA Review of Books, Reverse Shot, American Cinematographer, Screen Slate, Vice, Variable West, and other publications. She served as the associate editor of Art & Antiques magazine for more than a decade and is currently the west coast bureau chief of brutjournal.  

Sarah is the star and co-writer of Lindsay Denniberg’s forthcoming film Killer Makeover, and has appeared in films by Chris Shields, Kevin Tran, and Jimmy Schaus. She has served as a producer on films by Shields and Phil Chernyak.  


Written by Kate Shults and Jimmy Schaus. Edited by the Majdulina Hamed.

Published to Nicholson News on May 7th, 2024.

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