Justin Brown

Festival Director

Justin R. Brown is an Emmy-winning writer, director, editor, and sometimes actor who has been with the Flint Youth Film Festival since its beginning. He has a background in the world of media and independent production, working in various roles with iMichigan Productions and the Peaceful Warriors Foundation, as well as founding his own production company MopHead Artistics. He has a passion for all things creative and enjoys learning new things. He holds a BA in communications and MA in liberal studies from the University of Michigan-Flint, and an MFA in filmmaking from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Justin now takes the lead as Festival Director and is ready to take what he has learned and help move the Flint Youth Film Festival forward. 

Jessi Opperthauser

Assistant Director

Jessi Opperthauser has had a fascination with film and television since she was a small child and knew that one day she’d be working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. She has interned with iMichigan Productions and is gaining more and more experience by working on as many local film productions as she can. She will soon graduate from Mott Community College and begin studying at Central Michigan University to major in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts.

Samantha Kohlhorst

Workshop Instructor

Samantha Kohlhorst is a budding creative force in the film industry. A former student of the Media Arts and Entertainment Technology program at Mott Community College, she has put what she has learned to work as part of crews for both local and national productions. Most recently she has been putting her skills to work with various projects for the Peaceful Warriors Foundation and iMichigan Productions.

Shanna Strowenjans


Shanna Strowenjans is a Festival Intern who is studying Business Administration and Marketing at Mott Community College. This is her first year returning to school, and her first year working with the Flint Youth Film Festival. She has a passion for helping people reach their full potential and is full of great ideas and creativity. She hopes to become involved in the community and looks forward to her future and the future of the festival!

Audrey Vanhouten


Audrey Vanhouten is a Festival intern and student at Mott Community College in the Photography program. She has been doing photography since a young age and has always enjoyed capturing the beauty she sees in this world. She has always been inspired by magazines such as TIME and National Geographic and the amazing images printed there. One day she hopes to travel to many different places taking photos of the things she sees.

Taylor Williams


Taylor Williams is a unique young writer, with an eclectic lens in film. Studying cinematography at Mott Community College she graduated from Carman Ainsworth High School, along with working in the Digital Media Arts program at Genesee Career Institute. She has been starstruck by the film industry since she was a child. With an amazing ear and talent for music as well, the young star brings bright ideas with a zeal to learn even more on her journey as a screenwriter with the Flint Youth Film Festival.

Amari Lee


Amari Lee is a graphic design major studying at Mott, with a passion for the creative world and all the elements within it. As an intern, she plans to broaden her horizons and discover more about her newfound interest in film. She believes in taking opportunities and welcomes new experiences. She’s thrilled to be a part of something so inspiring and impactful within her community. 

Jacob Schmidt


Jacob Schmidt is a Festival Team intern and majoring in graphic design at Mott Community College. He has a passion for the arts, specifically all facets of animation and its history. He has always been awestruck by filmmaking and has made many films in the past with a yearning for a greater understanding of cinematography and flow. The design that encompasses everything in our day to day lives is also a point of interest to him and he hopes that this opportunity can develop him as a person and further lead him down the road of graphic design.

Michael Johnson


Michael Johnson is a Festival intern and current student at the University of Michigan-Flint. He is an easy-going guy that likes to socialize with a passion for the arts. He enjoys film and photography as well as drawing and writing screenplays every once in a while. He is happiest when outside and prefers to read while outside as well. He has a keen interest in advertising as it has the potential for him to use all his skill sets in one title. 

Donna Ullrich

Founding Director/Mentor

Donna Ullrich has 32 years of media teaching experience and considers students her true creative medium. She is more committed to helping them become the best communicators and professionals they can be than working in her own medium – writing. She also has 35 years as a successful communications professional, and 20 years of teaching experience at the University of Michigan-Flint. She has an M.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Central Missouri and a law degree from the University of Detroit. Her undergraduate degree is in teaching with majors in journalism and theatre. She is the author of two children’s books and along with Brown, she is the co-founder of iMichigan Productions.

Rodney W. Brown

Founding Director/Mentor

Rodney W. Brown is an Award-winning television producer. He has been a PBS producer in Washington D.C. and was Senior Executive Producer for University of Michigan Public Television, where he created and produced over 300 hours annually of original programming.  Brown is the President of iMichigan Productions, a digital consulting company. iMP creates content that is entertaining and audience building while working with aspiring young media students as a mentor with a peer-to-peer creative approach to become their bridge to the media jobs of the 21st Century. Brown teaches Media Production, Documentary Productions, Media Entrepreneurship, and Film Studies at Mott Community College.

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