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.

    Marty Pasetta with daughter Layla

    Marty Pasetta, Jr.

    Los Angeles, California

    As a television producer and director, Pasetta has overseen multimillion dollar budgets and holding pivotal roles responsible for orchestrating and overseeing the production of television content and events, ensuring alignment with the creative vision, brand guidelines, and strategic objectives.

    He has specialized in Live Events for twenty-five years where there is only one opportunity to execute flawlessly, and that is what he does best.  He gets it right the first time. This is one of the key reasons CBS has trusted Pasetta with some of their most unique high-budget live projects. Pasetta works often with A-List stars and C-Suite corporate clients.

    Pasetta has directed over 250 hours of live television, 800 episodes of multiple camera television episodes and ten years of single-camera scripted content.

    Criss Angel hired Pasetta to direct and produce his new series “Criss Angel’s Magic with the Stars for 2023.

    When George Clooney decided the time was right to reintroduce American television viewers to live drama by producing and starring in the live production of “Fail Safe” on CBS, he called Pasetta to direct the live broadcast for this landmark production.  The results: Statues in 4 categories for technical and artistic excellence.

    In December of 2022 Pasetta was the Showrunner & Director for the very successful Smosh Live “Under the Mistletoe”.  In 2017, his live Smosh special won the Streamy Award for Best Live Show of the Year.  It is still the most watched comedy in YouTube space history.

    Pasetta directed 200+ episodes of @Midnight for Comedy Central.

    Pasetta has been recognized for his work as a television director with multiple nominations for Emmy Awards.  He was nominated for Outstanding Direction for Motion Picture for Television for “Fail Safe” as well as for the prestigious Director’s Guild Award. Starring George Clooney, Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, Brian Dennehy, and Sam Elliot, among others, “Fail Safe” was the first movie to be shown live on American television in 39 years.

    Pasetta was nominated for Best Director Special Class Emmy for his work on “Trial by Jury.”  When MTVE needed a top professional to make web-casting history in Europe, they called Marty Pasetta, Jr., winning the Promax Gold Award for the webcast, “The European Music Awards…Live and Online.”

    Pasetta has shot music performances for more than 200 groups including Ariana Grande, Khalid and Ricky Martin for NBC.  He directed the Latin Grammy Person of the Year special and the live Pre Tel for the Latin Grammys for four years.


    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.

    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.

    Vasco Viana

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Vasco Maria Basto Viana is a Portuguese-born film director, writer and editor, based in Prague and Porto, who is passionate about collaborating with other creative minds to tell intimate and truthful stories which explore the nuances and contradictions in the search for human connection.

    Vasco graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from ESAP, Escola Superior Artística do Porto in 2013, with a concentration in Fine Arts and Multimedia, and completed his Masters in Contemporary Art in the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto, in 2015.

    From 2015 to 2018, Vasco lived in Barcelona, where he discovered his passion for cinema and completed a one year post-grad in Film Directing, in Nou Prodigi. It was in Barcelona that he wrote and directed his first two short films, The Spinning Wheel and The Labyrinth.

    In 2018, he moved to Prague to study directing in the Master’s program at FAMU, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague, Czech Republic.

    From 2018 to 2023, Vasco directed over ten short films, music videos and a theater play, and is completing his first feature, his graduation film The Smetanovo 5, a fake documentary about four international flat mates stranded in Prague during the pandemic. His short film Split Leap (2018) placed finalist in several film festivals, and won the Milan Gold Awards.

    In 2020, he founded the Grand Acting Studio, a workshop for amateur actors, where they explore various techniques in directing actors for film. There, he directed five short films, including two with Ukrainian refugees, in the scope of the pro bono project “Acting 4 Ukraine.”

    In 2022 he co-founded Sizzle Real, a company dedicated to shooting showreel scenes for up and coming actors in Prague.

    In 2023 Vasco graduated from his FAMU Masters, and got accepted into the Midpoint Series Development Programme with his new series Behind the Wall. His short film Fantasma recently got nominated for FEST in Espinho, and CURTAS in Vila do Conde.


    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.

    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.

    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?

    Codrut Miron

    Codrut Miron

    Calgary, AB, Canada

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

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    Auckland, New Zealand

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