DIGITAL ARTS, FILM & TELEVISION (DAFT) is a non-profit media-arts educational organization founded in 1969 whose primary mission is to promote the creative use of film and electronic media. We do this through the annual Michigan Student Festival, numerous workshops, conferences and presentations for teachers, students and media professionals.
DAFT is a Non-Profit 501(c)3 Organization. DAFT's work in the media arts depends on the efforts of volunteers and the financial support of our membership and the business community. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. Here is a link to DAFT's posting on GuideStar.
Cultural Data Project Link - More below
Mailing Address: PO Box 1443 Royal Oak, MI 48068
Board of Directors
President / Focal Point Instructor
Mike Conrad is a teacher of Video and Television Production at Royal Oak High School, Royal Oak, Michigan. Prior to the classroom, Conrad served 20 years in the Broadcast industry, earning the ABC Radio Circle of Excellence Award in 2002. He holds a BFA in Broadcast Communications and a MAT in Career Technical Education, both from Wayne State University, and a 1991 graduate of Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. In 2012, Conrad guided his students to the grand prize of Ford Motor Company's Drive One 4UR Schools national video competition. He was also recognized as the 2014 Specs Howard School Media Educator of the year, the 2017 Courageous Persuaders recipient of the Courageous Leader Award, and the 2021 DAFT Michigan Film Teacher of the Year.
Stephany is Romeo High School's Video Production teacher and joined the DAFT board in the Fall of 2016. She loves films and love encouraging her students to follow their passion of filmmaking. Her program began as a club and quickly grew into a highly sought after elective. She became interested in DAFT because it had been so helpful to her students and for its programs, training and overall hard work!
Jennifer began her media career in the television industry working at several stations across Michigan. She spent the majority of her time at WXYZ in Southfield. After completing her study of Communications at the University of Michigan and Television Production at Specs Howard School of Media Arts, she decided to pursue a teaching career and obtain her teaching degree from Wayne State University and later on, her Masters in Media Arts from Wayne State. She began teaching digital media arts in 2008 at GASC Technology Center in Genesee County. Currently, she teaches media at West Bloomfield High School and is the co-producer of the Orchard Lake Film Festival.
Treasurer / Festival Co-Director
Kevin Walsh is senior producer of My Michigan TV with Motown Digital in Troy, Michigan and author of Video Direct, a nationally-selling text for secondary video production. He founded the blog MyMediaDiary.com featured regularly in Huffington Post and co-produces Digging Detroit., the historical documentary video series and podcast. His freelance production company, MMD Productions, LLC, specializes in professional, corporate and event video and photography. Previously, Kevin taught for 28 years language arts and video productions in Royal Oak, West Bloomfield and Southfield and has served as Campus Humanities Chair for University of Phoenix's Detroit Campus and 2 years as Marketing & Enrollment Director for Motion Picture Institute in Troy.
Adam has been teaching since 2007 and started the Troy Athens TV class in 2010. He also coaches soccer at Athens and work as a creative content producer for the Troy School District.
Annette Frank is an arts educator and advocate who has worked in the classroom and beyond for over 35 years. She earned her Masters in Art Education from Wayne State University and taught in Dearborn Public schools and Henry Ford Community College. Annette has been part of DAFT since 1980, serving as board president for 14 years and is currently DAFT treasurer. She also worked on the production committee of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival since 1994 and coordinated their teacher grants until retiring in 2018.
Jody Gaber is the Director of the Media Communication program in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication at Lawrence Tech. She brings more than 20 years of experience in Los Angeles at feature film and animation studios including Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, and Walt Disney Animation. She has also worked in a variety of management and creative positions in advertising, digital visual effects, web communication, live television, video and film production. Her film projects include working as the Art Department Coordinator on George Clooney’s “Ides of March”, Rob Reiner's "Misery", and working as Visual Effects Coordinator on Barry Sonnenfeld's "Addams Family Values".
She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Communication and Art Direction from the College for Creative Studies. Gaber also attended Otis-Parsons College of Art and Design for postgraduate studies in Production Design and she attended UCLA for postgraduate studies in Set Design.
Nina Barlow Glover
Board Member / Bookkeeper
Nina is an independent accountant for small business and non-profit organizations. She loves helping DAFT support the next generation of Michigan's film and video artists.
Board Member / Focal Point Instructor
Joe has taught student Film Making for over 20 years and recently retired from his role as Digital Media Production teacher at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights. He has guided his students to national awards in Film Making at Scholastic Arts, SkillsUSA , and the “Grand Prize” Award for Volkswagen of America’s Buckle Up and Go Far” Campaign. His students have won numerous awards over the last fifteen years and have gone on to directing, producing, and editing in both the film and television industries. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Michigan University in Art Education, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Saginaw Valley State University.
Board Member / Community Outreach
Ted Houser is a Detroit-based filmmaker and video editor. After graduating the University of Michigan in 2005, he moved to Los Angeles, working as an editor. He returned to Michigan in 2013 to focus on making films in Detroit. Ted serves as an organizer and promoter for the Cinetopia Film Festival. He also is part of DAFT’s outreach to schools, making visits to both promote DAFT events and provide career path advice
Jennifer Leonard is a graphic designer and production artist at Northern Sign Co. in Pontiac , and freelances as Cat's Eye Graphics in Holly. Jennifer studied photography, cinematography and animated filmmaking under the instruction of John Prusak. She also studied illustration and graphic design at Kendall College of Art. Her film, "Flea Funk" was an award winner at the 1985 Michigan Student Film and Video Festival. Jennifer has been on the DAFT board since 2005.
Kurt is a founding member of Motion Picture Institute. He has worked professionally in the film industry for over thirty years in numerous positions from production assistant in the mid 1980s, to a camera tech at Victor Duncan the largest renter of Panavision cameras in the midwest to producer. His producing credits include the independent features films Hellmaster (1992), Dark Heaven (2004), Dark Fields (2011), Mimesis Night of the Living Dead (2013), The Dogs’ Fighter (2014) and The Dark Below (2015). He is currently writing and producing a TV Pilot for the comedy The Monster Show. Kurt is a graduate from the University of Michigan and is acting CFO of Motion Picture Institute. Kurt is also president of The Michigan Association of Career Colleges and Schools.
Board Member Emeritus
John Prusak, DAFT board member for more than 50 years, was an art and media teacher at Wayne-Westland Community Schools. He has taught at U of M, Cranbrook, OCC, CCS and WSU. Many of his former students have careers in media production and have gained national recognition.
Jason Roche is an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Detroit Mercy. A documentary film director, writer, and producer, his most recent documentary Stealing Home has won multiple awards and was selected as an official entry at the 2014 Baseball Film Festival at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. Before moving to Michigan in 2009, Prof. Roche taught at several colleges in NY and PA, and worked as a reporter and news anchor at WSYR in Syracuse.
David Serio is an Education and Public Programming Specialist at the Arab American National Museum (AANM). He holds a M.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Arabic from Wayne State University. Mr. Serio joined the AANM in January of 2011, initially as an AmeriCorps, later being hired as a full-time Educator and Public Programmer. As an Educator and Public Programmer, Mr. Serio has conducted educational presentations and workshops throughout the Mid-West. Mr. Serio also helps in the planning and implementation of youth programs and cultural events, such as the SURA Arts Academy, a youth photography program. Mr. Serio is also the Curator of the Arab Film Festival and manages all of AANM’s film programming, both at AANM and at offsite locations around the world. Mr. Serio is also the Volunteer Coordinator and responsible with growing and managing the volunteer program. Mr. Serio continues to implement educational and cultural programming to audiences far and wide.
Board Member/Festival Co-Director
Kathy Vander is an award-winning independent filmmaker with numerous documentary directorial credits produced by Vander Films. She has also been active with DAFT for over 20 years as a participant and instructor in workshops, a past president, current DAFT board member and Michigan Student Film & Video Festival Director. She also works at LearnCom on Broadway (in Detroit!) as a Project Manager and Video Producer for web-based training and video projects.
A graduate of the University of Detroit-Mercy in Communications and a two time graduate of Specs Howard School of Media Arts, Donald Walker has been a member of the radio broadcast community since 1988 and the digital media arts community since 2011. He has worked as announcer at WJFM 93.7fm Grand Rapids and in Detroit at Mix 92.3 and Oldies 104.3 WOMC. Donald spent ten years at the Specs Howard School of Media Arts as a teacher and Director of Education. Donald has earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Phoenix served as the Program Director of 90.9 WDTR Detroit Public Schools, Production Director for WRCJ 90.9fm Detroit’s Classical and Jazz Station, videographer and editor of Digital Media Arts for the Detroit Public Schools’ Communications Department and now Director Multimedia for Detroit School of Arts' (DSA) Film, Video and Audio Production program.
Bill has been teaching creative arts since 2003, and is currently the Media Communications instructor at the Careerline Tech Center in Holland, MI. Bill received two B.S. Degrees from Ferris State University, one in Printing Management and one in Technical Education; and also has is Masters in Career and Technical Education from Ferris State University. Bill was the 2014 recipient of the Courageous Leader Award, as a part of the Courageous Persuaders video competition the award was sponsored by Wall Street Journal, and advocates to his students the importance of creativity and competition.
DAFT was founded in 1969
DIGITAL ARTS, FILM & TELEVISION (DAFT) is a non-profit educational organization that has been providing services to its members and the state of Michigan since 1969. The founding members of DAFT (some still active) were teachers, librarians, and filmmakers. DAFT's mission is to promote media literacy through the creative use of film and video. DAFT does this by conducting workshops and conferences for teachers and media professionals. DAFT actively develops student involvement in media arts and studies through our annual statewide festival, scholarships and special workshops for students and provides support for emerging media artists through promotional and fiduciary assistance.
The Michigan Student Film Festival
The Michigan Student Film & Video Festival, the longest running DAFT event, began in 1969 with a handful of 8mm and 16mm films. Now video productions comprise the majority of the nearly 350 entries for the Festival, which is co-sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts and held each spring. According to the American Film Institute, it is the longest running student film festival in the nation providing a public venue for the work of students in grades K - 12, as well as giving recognition and significant awards to young media artists.
Focal Point Video Workshop
DAFT has presented Focal Point Film/Video workshop, an intensive week of "hands-on" video study for adults and mature high school students, since 1972. A second intensive workshop for teachers and other interested adults was Art In Motion, a week-long workshop that focused on the study of all kinds on animation that started in 2004 and ran through 2012.
Student Animation Workshop
The DAFT Student Animation Workshop was started in 1992 to address the growing interest in animation. A group of 22 high school students from across the state were selected to take part in this residential workshop where over four weekends the students learn the art of animation using traditional methods as well as the newest technology. This workshop ran through 2011.
Art in Motion Workshop
From 2005 to 2013 DAFT offered Art In Motion, another summer workshop that explored all kinds of animation but this time for teachers and interested adults. In 2010 the Art in Motion team of artists won a national competition with an animated video on 21st Century Skills that was selected to be shown at the National Summit for 21st Century Skills in Washington D.C. in 2010. https://daftonline.org/2010/08/student-of-the-21st-century/
Since 2013 DAFT has presented a pair of symposia designed specifically for Media teachers and their students. They offer sessions on a variety of aspect of media production, equipment demonstrations and an unparalleled opportunity to network with others teachers, students and media professionals.
DAFT also advocates and represents the interests of film and video in statewide venues and conferences. We have made frequent presentations at the Michigan Art Education Association, worked on draft committees regarding arts policy and advised media organizations about the issues of media education. DAFT was designated by the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Board to select students to represent the art of film and video at this annual celebration of the arts held on the campus of Western Michigan University.
We have worked quite intently to develop a statewide (and now extending nationwide) network of students, teachers, video artists and media professionals.. Many students who have had their first training and/or recognition through DAFT events and workshops have gone on to media careers. Notable among these are Sam Raimi, director of films like Spiderman and The Quick and the Dead and Doug Chiang, art director for Star Wars Phantom Menace and a winner of three Academy Awards. While we take great pride in their accomplishments, we are just as proud of all the students who have learned to create and evaluate media through their DAFT experience.
Michigan Governor's Arts Award
In 2006 DAFT was the recipient of the Governor's Arts Award for small arts organizations in recognition of many years of advocacy of media arts education. DAFT has hosted a variety of programs and initiatives over the last 40 years. Some have changed, grown or been set aside in an effort to meet the ever changing demands. In order to reflect the growth of the medium and the demographics of our program participants, DAFT has changed its name from Detroit Area Film Teachers to Detroit Area Film &Television to Digital Arts Film & Television, yet we humbly remain “DAFT.”
Noted DAFT Alumni
Past Festival Winners & DAFT Camp Participants...
DAFT is a 501c3 Organization
DAFT is a 501c3 non-profit educational organization. Membership and contributions comprise the bulk of our annual budget are are tax deductible under IRS guidelines.
MICHIGAN COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS
The Michigan Arts and Culture Council provides significant financial support for DAFT's programs. The mission of the The Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC) is broad, yet simple: To encourage, initiate and facilitate an enriched artistic, cultural and creative environment in Michigan. MACC does this by increasing the visibility of arts and culture throughout the state, supporting arts education, encouraging new, creative and innovative works of art and broadening cultural understanding.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS (NEA)
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America's rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more about NEA.
MICHIGAN CULTURAL DATA PROJECT (CDP)
Download DAFT's CDP Report (PDF)
The CDP is a powerful, online management tool designed to strengthen arts and cultural organizations. This unique system allows users to track their own financial and programmatic performance over time and to benchmark themselves against comparable organizations in specific disciplines, geographic regions and budget sizes.
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