CEO, Lead Curator | ryan[at]sdundergroundarts.org
Ryan Betschart is CEO of the non-profit charity San Diego Underground Arts, which oversees the San Diego Underground Film Festival where Ryan has served as co-director and head curator since its inception in 2015. Ryan holds a BA in Visual Arts from University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Film/Video from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Currently, Ryan programs for Slamdance Film Festival and has served on the screening committee for Chicago Underground Film Festival.
As a filmmaker, Ryan's films have screened at various festivals and galleries all over the world, including Ann Arbor Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival, Alchemy Film and Image Festival, Antimatter [Media Art], New Orleans Film Festival, Indie Memphis Film Festival, Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, Oxford Film Festival, Winnipeg Underground Film Festival, Sydney Underground Film Festival, among many others.
In 2016, Ryan's film Cup of Stars won a Jury Mention at Slamdance Film Festival and a Jury Prize for his film Pudding at Indie Memphis Film Festival and the Directors’ Award for his feature film Before She Leaves Her Body at the Arizona Underground Film Festival, in Tucson, AZ.
Festival Director, Curator | rachel[at]sdundergroundarts.org
Rachel Nakawatase is one of the founders and the current Festival Director for San Diego Underground Film Festival. She received her BA in 2013 from UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television where she was fortunate enough to study under some of the industries most accomplished costume and set designers. She has worked on numerous feature films, short films, theater, and dance productions until forming San Diego Underground Film Festival with her partner Ryan Betschart. Recently, she has served as a juror for the International Shorts Competition at the 2017 San Diego Asian Film Festival and has co-curated and presented a program of short films at the 2017 Winnipeg Underground Film Festival.
Operations Manager | meredith[at]sdundergroundarts.org
Meredith Sward is a filmmaker, editor, and motion designer whose work spans the genres of documentary, experimental, and commercial filmmaking. Meredith holds a BA in Technocultural Studies from University of California, Davis and has a certificate in motion graphics from the Bay Area Video Coalition. She has extensive experience creating promotional videos used for crowdfunding, commercials, and educational purposes. She is heavily involved with the experimental film community and has volunteered at Artist’s Television Access in San Francisco since 2014. She relocated to San Diego in 2016 and is currently working at the Museum of Photographic Arts as the Digital Media Assistant.
Curator | tyler[at]sdundergroundarts.org
Tyler Betschart (M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), 2015; B.A. University of San Diego California, 2011) is a curator for the non-profit charity San Diego Underground Arts, selecting acts and content for the San Diego Underground Film Festival as well as one of its lead staff members. Tyler has worked as Marketing Director as well as Video Content Creator for multiple crowdfunding campaigns under the San Diego based company, Launchboom. Tyler’s own films have screened internationally at various festivals and galleries, including Slamdance Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and the New Orleans Film Festival.
Community Outreach Coordinator | sterling[at]sdundergroundarts.org
Sterling Anno is a filmmaker, film festival coordinator, and marketing specialist with more than a decade’s worth of experience in a variety of mediums. He has worked for the Oceanside International Film Festival for the past seven years and is the current Director of Programming. He is also the community outreach coordinator and is on the programming committee for the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. Additionally, he works as a reporter, podcaster, and writer for the Microcinema Savant, his blog for film reviews and critiques.
Board of Directors
Karl Miller is one of the original members of San Diego Underground Arts and manages the financial aspects of the organization. He is currently enrolled in the MBA Program at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business, and his previous educational background includes a B.S. in Marketing, a B.A. in Spanish, and a Certification in Spanish <-> English Translation and Interpretation studies.
Karl is a San Diego native and has spent most of his professional life at Strategic Vision, where he started as a college intern and has since worked his way into an executive role. Through his time at Strategic Vision, he has become an expert in research analysis and consumer behavior. He has also worked as San Diego State Ice Hockey’s Play-by-play announcer and media relations manager, as well as a Spanish/English interpreter for the San Diego Unified School District.
Karl has extensive experience as a volunteer, lending a helping hand whenever possible. Among other things, this has led him to work with inner-city at-risk teens through Toledo’s Pet Bull Project, to work the polls during elections, and to dedicate time as a service missionary within the Hispanic immigrant community of the greater Atlanta area.
Above all else, Karl is a proud husband and father of two young boys.
Leehza Caragay is San Diego native who has worked in radio at iHeartMedia, guest services and sales with Excel Hotel Group, and as a dietician and culinary savant.