We Are :

  1. Professionals

  2. Educators

Real Ideas Studio:

Our organization was founded by a

group of education leaders in the US

and Canada, who wish to foster

emerging creative professionals.


Participants of our programs come

from around the globe and have

diverse backgrounds within film,

design and public relations.  

Real Ideas Studio has run filmmaking programs at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Slamdance Film Festival (concurrent with Sundance). In the past, we have also funded filmmaking micro-grants while producing short and feature films around the world. Our mentors come from diverse backgrounds within the creative arts that span practice, education and corporations.

Maxim Jago   Filmmaker / Certified Trainer: UK

Networking Director

Maxim is an award-winning writer, author, BAFTA-shortlisted director, and experienced editor, with over 60 productions under his belt. He directed, shot and edited a feature-length documentary film and is now developing a feature-length fiction production. As a specialist in media technology, Maxim is an Adobe Master trainer, Avid Trainer, and Grass Valley Master Trainer, working directly for those companies as a trainer and very often a ‘trainer trainer’. He has been published in magazines and quoted in books describing media production and post-production. Maxim has created training programs for organizations like the BBC and Euronews. He has worked with a very broad range of technology and creative organizations, including Panasonic, JVC, Skillset, the Director’s Guild of Great Britain, multiple BBC regions, Sky, multiple universities, ERTU in Egypt, ABC in Australia, Soho Editors, Sumners, Films @ 59, Rolls Royce, and Fighting Films. More information about Maxim, including interviews with him about his work, can be found at:

www.maximjago.com and www.123training.co.uk.



James Kenney Filmmaker: USA

Feature Film Producer and Vice President

James Kenney is a documentary filmmaker and has a motion graphics background. Jim developed and produced Other Than, a feature documentary for Real Ideas Studio in 2012. He is the Creative Director of InterStitch Films, which produces films and has designed titles and animated graphics for dramatic and documentary projects. His work includes three internationally-screened short films and the feature-length documentary, Polack, a film about Polish jokes. Jim completed the Practical Film Laboratory at Pixar Animation Studios. Film projects to which Jim has contributed have been honored by prominent international film festivals and organizations, including The Sundance Film Festival and The Academy of Motion Pictures. Jim was an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts, where he taught for 13 years. He is also the Founder and Director of SF Shorts: The San Francisco International Festival of Short Films.

Ricky Mastro   Filmmaker: Brazil

Managing Coordinator and Alumnus

Ricky Mastro is a director, actor, writer, party producer and radio host.  His films have been screened at over 200 film festivals around the world, including at the Berlinale Film Festival.  His film, Five Minutes, was screened on 5 continents. Ricky received a B.A. in Drama degree from the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) and a B.A. in Film from the Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (São Paulo, Brazil). He is entering the M.A. program in Cinema at Anhembi Morumbi (São Paulo, Brazil), studying LGBT short films. His next film project is a documentary in Tel Aviv about gay circuit party life; and he is a two-time participant in the Real Ideas Studio Cannes program. You can see more of his work at www.rickymastro.com.

Mark Sloss   Filmmaker: UK, France, and Asia

Cannes Program Director, Board Member, Mentor & Alumnus

Mark Sloss is from Glasgow, Scotland. He is currently developing a feature thriller in Taiwan, based on networking done at last year’s Cannes festival. He got involved in film making while living in Hong Kong where he made documentary films in and around South East Asia. He wrote and directed Vanille his first short drama, shot in Paris, which was shown at the SFC Cannes 2009 and played in the French Film Festival UK.  During the Real Ideas Studio program Cannes 2008, he won ‘Emerging Director’ for the film ‘My Universe’. He has a Masters in film making from the University of Wales International Film School. He has an extensive range of experience including script writing and development as well as production management. He has managed and directed the Real Ideas program in Cannes 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Mark has been living in Paris, France since 2008.

Erik Adolphson Writer / Actor of Showtime’s Next Stop for Charlie

Founding Board Member, Alumnus, and Mentor

Erik Adolphson is a writer, producer, DP and star of Showtime’s current series, Next Stop for Charlie. He is a professional writer and film editor, living and working in Los Angeles. Erik is a graduate from University of South Carolina where he studied Media Arts and Film Studies, and of Full Sail in Florida with a degree in Film Studies as a post production specialist. Erik participated in the 2006 Real ideas Studio at the Cannes Film Festival, where he won “Emerging Director” and “Best in Show Documentary” awards. Because of his work with the “Independent Lens “on PBS, Erik was selected as a US delegate to attend INPUT in Taiwan. He was awarded substantial state and federal grants to shoot CIVIL in Upstate South Carolina, a film he wrote and edited. You can find more at Erik's website.

Sebastien de Castell  Dir. Film Prod., Vancouver Film School

Board Member and Mentor

As Director of Strategic Program Development for Film Production, Sebastien is responsible for enhancing the overall educational vision at Vancouver Film School. Sebastien de Castell is an interactive designer and project manager. Sebastien has worked in many facets of the entertainment industry from acting to choreographing swordfights to designing interactive tools for social networks to performing as a professional musician. His clients have included government, corporations, and non-profits including Finning Canada and Zeros 2 Heroes Media.

Claire Erwin  Sr. Community Mgr., Adobe WW Education

President and Founder

Claire Erwin is the original founder of Real Ideas Studio. In 2006, Claire created the Adobe Reel Ideas Studio competition and program to occur during 2006 Cannes Film Festival. She worked with leading film institutions to build a faculty and professional mentor teams that would provide the best possible experience to the participating students. In 2008, the program became a non- profit organization managed by a board of directors made up of the same faculty and professional mentors who established the program vision. Through Real Ideas Studio, the impact is a global collaborative of some of the best talent to come in the visual arts industry. Claire continues to carry a community role for Adobe as she managed the world wide education communities working closely with faculty and institutions from around the world. Another well know program that Claire has managed is the Adobe Design Achievement Awards for Adobe since it's inception in 2001 and has continued to provide opportunities for the students recognized by the program with industry.

Eric Finkelman  Assistant to the Head of TV Literature, CAA

Founding Board Member and Mentor

Eric Finkelman works in the Television Literary Department at the

Creative Artist Agency, a prominent entertainment and sports agency

headquartered in Los Angeles. His background in visual effects and

production brings the eye and experience of a filmmaker to RIS

programs. His recent productions include a feature film with the late

Dennis Hopper as well as Jacqueline Bisset and Chris Kattan. Eric is

an Adobe Design Achievement Award-winner and also previously worked with the design and animation house Psyop. He has been honored by publications and festivals around the world, including Computer Graphics World, STEP Inside Design, Digital Arts Festival in Japan and the LA MinDV Film Festival. To learn more about Eric, visit www.originalcitypictures.com.

Leona Guidace  Director, Bakkus Communication

Secretary and Founding Board Member

As Secretary on the board of Real Ideas Studio, Leona coordinates communications, building relationships with alumni and partnering educators. Leona has taught Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and has served on their Speakers Bureau. At Robert Guidace Design and Consulting, Leona provides consulting services for Adobe Systems, Inc. While consulting for Adobe on educational programs, Leona also has had the unique pleasure of interfacing with educational professionals at premier art and design institutions and universities worldwide. Leona holds a BFA from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.  

Bun Lee  Creative Director, Motion Soup Studio / Educator

Founding Board Member and Mentor

Bun Lee is a Creative Director of Motion Soup, a collective of filmmakers, designers, and musicians in Vancouver, Canada. He is an expert in motion graphics and editing. Bun's career in digital design began in the smouldering underground music scene of his native Hong Kong where he became an award winning mix master in the coveted Mixing Championship through the infamous DMC (Disco Mix Club). Bun has taught at the Vancouver Film School's Digital Design Program in visual effects and compositing, and continues to work with students as a mentor on matters of cinematography, lighting, editing and sound engineering.

Nick Olsouzidis  Sound Designer / Engineer: US and UK

Managing Coordinator and Alumnus

Nick Olsouzidis works with sound. In 2010 he obtained a BEng in Electronic Engineering with Music Technology. He has recorded, mixed and produced music for independent artists, bands and 3 to 15-member orchestras performing various genres and styles. Nick joined Real Ideas Studios at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. He met and collaborated with like-minded people to produce the short documentary "Being France" which received a distinction. Naturally, he was drawn into film and desired to further explore the relationship between sound and image. In 2011 he obtained a masters in Post Production and Sound Design for Film and Tv. Nick has now composed music for more than 10 short films that have screened internationally in film festivals and hopes to continue being involved in engaging films made by engaging people as his career develops.

Tim McCubrey  Managing Director, SF Shorts / Attorney

Treasurer, Cannes Program Director, and Mentor

Tim McCubrey directed the Real Ideas Studio Cannes programs in 2010 and 2011. He is an attorney licensed to practice in California. In addition to his legal background, Tim holds a Masters of Science in Television, Radio, and Film from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a BFA in Theater Arts Management. Tim is the Managing Director of the San Francisco International Festival of Short Films (SF Shorts) and is the Treasurer of Real Ideas Studio.