Mark W. Travis & Elsha Taya Travis

Founders and Directors of the Travis International Film Institute (TIFI)

Mark and Elsha Taya Travis

Our mission is to:

    • Embolden directors, actors, and writers in the art of fearless storytelling.
    • Add to the beauty of our world by supporting and creating powerful, imaginative, character-driven stories and films.

    MARK TRAVIS brings his talents and experience in directing, acting, writing, consulting, coaching, and code-breaking to every project. More about Mark

    ELSHA TRAVIS adds her gifts of art, poetry, intuition, dream alchemy, and embodied imagination to the fertile mix. More about Elsha

    Together, MARK and ELSHA invite magic.

    Mark W. Travis and Elsha Taya Travis

    Meet our team of gifted and highly accomplished directors

    Jon Amiel

    Jon Amiel

    Los Angeles, California

    Jon Amiel is a director/writer/producer with an illustrious career in theatre, film and television. After 10 years working his way from fringe theatre to the Royal Shakespeare Company, he moved to television and a career with the BBC that culminated in the multi-award-winning SINGING DETECTIVE. Over the next 15 years Amiel directed a number of major feature films including; SOMMERSBY with Jodie Foster and Richard Gere, COPYCAT with Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter, ENTRAPMENT with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE with Bill Murray, THE CORE with Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank, and CREATION with Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly.

    Since then Amiel has focused largely on television. He directed the pilots for “EYES”, REUNION, WEDDING BELLS, and DAMAGES, and has directed and produced episodes for shows as diverse as THE TUDORS, THE BORGIAS, HALT & CATCH FIRE, 7 SECONDS, AQUARIUS, OUTSIDERS, AMERICAN GODS, THE CLEANING LADY, CARNIVAL ROW and THE WALKING DEAD.

    Anna Ditges

    Cologne, Germany

    Anna Ditges is a screenwriter, director and producer, and a member of the Filmbüro NW and the Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren.

    A fierce and dedicated student of The Travis Technique, she completed the 16-week Intensive Travis Technique Director’s Lab in 2021 and now serves as the Travis International Film Institute’s official representative in Europe.

    Her multi-award-winning documentary, I Want You – Meeting Hilde Domin (2008) was shown at numerous international film festivals and was viewed by over 33,000 visitors in German arthouse cinemas. In 2015, her second cinema documentary film, “Who owns the city – Citizens in action” was also successful at international festivals, generating a great deal of social debate on the subject of democracy and codetermination.

    Anna’s films and screenplays have gained her many awards, including:

    • Emden Screenplay Award – Finalist 2020-2021
    • Deutsche Film- und Medienbewertung (FBW) – Rating Commended 2020
    • Förderpreis des Landes NRW – New Talent Award Film 2009
    • German Film Prize – Shortlist 2008
    • Image-Art-Editing Award Documentary Film – Nomination 2008
    • DEFA – New Talent Award 2008
    • Cologne Media Prize – Category TV 2008
    • Biberach Film Festival – Documentary Film Prize 2007

    “For me, making films is like stopping time. Examining a life under a microscope. Observing a strange world up close. Empathizing. I can say in real life: Stop! Look here – a life, which could be yours.”

    ~ Anna Ditges

    Diego Silva Acevedo

    Atlanta, Georgia

    is a passionate filmmaker born in Colombia who has been honored with five EMMY Awards, including one in the category of Outstanding Director Short Form. He has traveled the world to develop additional expertise in content creation for digital channels, tv commercials, as well as big-screen movies.

    During his years in Spain, he studied 3D Animation and 3D modeling. After graduation, he worked at Silsa 3D Studios where he led the audiovisual production and post-production efforts for advertisements, shorts, and feature films.

    Diego Silva Acevedo moved to the United States in 2016 and has done works in advertisement, music videos, short film, and PSA with different brands, including Cox Media Group, Toyota, NFL, NASCAR, and Mundo Hispánico digital network.

    In 2018 he directed GUNS, a short film about gun awareness which became their official selection. It was shown 15 times at film festivals worldwide and garnered 7 major awards. HUNTING SOULS is his debut project for 2021, a horror-thriller film.

    Marty Pasetta with daughter Layla

    Marty Pasetta, Jr.

    Los Angeles, California

    has directed over 250 hours of live, 700 episodes of multiple camera episodic, and ten years of single camera dramas. Pasetta was the Executive Producer/Director for My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s comedy concert series finale in 2019.

    Lewis Webster

    Milton Keynes, UK

    Director, Editor and Producer, Little Orchard Media Ltd. The buyer of burning RV’s. Downhill faller. Boat sinker.

    The thing that I love about the filmmaking process is the fact you have to leap before you know where it is you are going to land. You have to trust and collaborate with the people around you – help them see where you are aiming for and let them make positive choices that will help you get there … but be willing to change that landing spot if you need to. Just try and avoid too many albatrosses on the way down… they’re endangered. Happy jumping.

    Rob Sarkies

    Auckland, New Zealand

    Born in Dunedin, Rob Sarkies is an acclaimed New Zealand filmmaker, scriptwriter and director. Sarkies is well known among the NZ film industry and is best known for his hard-hitting crime drama Out Of The Blue (2006) about the 1990 Aramoana shootings of which he was born not too far away from.

    Rob made his feature debut with black comedy Scarfies that premiered at Sundance and became an instant cult hit in New Zealand.  His follow-up was  Out of the Blue, an acclaimed dramatisation of the Aramoana massacre that premiered in Toronto where it was picked up by the Weinstein Company. His third feature was buddy-comedy Two Little Boys starring Bret McKenzie and Hamish Blake, premiering at the Berlinale in 2012.

    Rob’s features have all performed at the NZ box office, won numerous NZ Film awards (including ‘Best Film’ twice) and sold widely internationally. His short films (Dreammakers, Signing Off) also played and sold widely, winning awards at festivals around the world.  

    Rob’s feature length television projects include Consent – an acclaimed drama based on the Louise Nicholas story that won ‘best television feature’ at the 2014 Moa Awards and Jean, about vintage aviator Jean Batten that took 9 silver and gold awards at the New York Festivals International Television and Film awards. Jean also took out 8 of 10 awards for Television Drama at the 2017 NZ Television Awards including Best Director and Best Drama.

    Rob was set-up director for episodes 1-3 of Matchbox/NBC Universal production Wanted shooting in NZ and Thailand. Wanted  was nominated for an International Emmy and sold to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sundance Selects.

    Rob was also a director on the acclaimed first and second season of German-NZ  series The Gulf. This series has sold worldwide, including being picked up by Amazon Prime.

    Rob is currently in development on a number of high-end feature and television projects including Demolition of the Century, Pike River, and The Ark.

    Carl Drake

    Auckland, New Zealand

    Born in the UK and living in Auckland, NZ since age 18, Carl is an actor, director, producer and acting coach who has worked on over 30 productions in TV, film & theatre. Highlights include appearing in the wildly successful Pop-up Globe, performing to an audience of over 100,000 in 2016, and playing Henry in ‘The Great Maiden’s Blush’ (Winner of Best Independent Feature at the 2016 NZ Film Awards). Carl has directed numerous plays which have received a clutch of awards. In 2018, he formed Café Theatre which won 3 awards in the Short+Sweet Festival, including Judges Choice Award.

    Carl has had masterclass training in the Meisner Technique and Mark Travis Technique, along with other approaches which he uses in his own teaching, including Jeremiah Comey, Ivana Chubbuck, Mathew Harrison, Uta Hagen, combined with the psychological and neurological principles of NLP, Meaningful Learning, Body Language, Carl Jung & Dr Jill Bolt Taylor, and many more. He is now undergoing certification training on the Mark Travis Technique.

    Mary Angiolillo

    Mary Angiolillo

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Mary Angiolillo is a theatre director and acting coach. She teaches a variety of film courses at FAMU, (the Film & Television Academy of Performing Arts), at Prague Film School, and at the Anglo-American University of Prague.

    Since meeting Mark and Elsha Travis at the 2015 CILECT conference on Working with Actors in Munich, Germany, she has been exploring the Travis Technique with directing and acting students from around the world. Mary and her students are excited by the effectiveness of this approach and often wonder: Why aren’t more directors working this way with actors?

    Vasco Viana

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Writer and director from Portugal, Vasco is currently finishing his Master’s in directing in FAMU, in Prague and writing his thesis on Mark Travis’ Interrogation Process. He is the co-founder of Grand Acting Studio in Prague, a workshop for actors and directors which aims to exercise different directing techniques on film. His latest film Split Leap got nominated for two awards, in Prague and Kosice International Film Festival.

    Codrut Miron

    Codrut Miron

    Calgary, AB, Canada

    Visual communicator dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration, Codrut has a passion to forging the “image” through constant improvement in Graphic Design, Photography, Videography, Web and UX Design. Collaborations with filmmakers, storytellers, musicians have opened doors and perspectives to new horizons.


    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Los Angeles, California
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Cologne, Germany
    Auckland, New Zealand

    Email Us