The Milwaukee Independent Film Society (MIFS) established the Pace-setter Award thirteen years ago to bestow upon persons that are dedicated to advancing filmmaking in Wisconsin.
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Currently, an adjunct professor at Marquette University, Melody Herr holds an MFA in Writing for Film and TV from Emerson College. She’s known to say, “If you’ve seen the movie 8 Mile, then you know my life – minus the rapping.” Growing up three blocks north of Detroit’s famous dividing line meant she had to be as industrious as the factory next door. Both hardworking and adventurous, she fled Detroit and spent years living and traveling around the world with her growing family. Now she escapes through her passion for telling universal, female-driven stories that connect on an emotional level. Infusing heart and levity into her work balances out the heavy themes that she often explores.
Having projects place in several contests in recent years, Xed Out, her latest produced short, won Best Drama at the London Indie Short Film Festival in 2021, along with awards from Toronto, Vancouver, and other festivals around the world. She recently produced DIFFRACTION, a feature film written and directed by Kris Holodak, which is currently in post-production.
Writer/Director Kristin Holodak has been drawn to image making ever since she was a child and begged her dad to let her hold the family camera while on vacation, sneaking a picture after being explicitly told not to touch any of the buttons. She holds an MFA in film production from Boston University. Currently, she is a professor of digital media at Marquette University. Prior to that, she spent fifteen years creating productions for clients such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, while at the same time, creating her own art in the form of short films. She has written and directed 10 films, and worked in various capacities on several others — winning jury prizes and audience awards at festivals around the country. She recently wrapped principal photography on her first feature film, Diffraction.