Suburban Supernova

a saga of space travel, high school, and mortal anxieties

steven markowitz


Steven Markowitz - Headshot.jpg

Steven Markowitz, a dreamer from the dreary suburbs of New Jersey, grew up writing the first chapters of epic fantasy novels, shooting films on a cheap VHS camcorder and drawing sci-fi comic books. He recently completed his MFA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts for Film Production, focusing on the crafts of directing, writing, and editing.

Throughout his time at USC, Steven worked to blend the mediums of live action and animation, diving into the imagination of his characters and taking audiences to unseen worlds; holding a BFA in Animation from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He currently has several short films he edited on the festival circuit, from Pop Rox, a coming of age dramedy and an official selection of the 68th Berlinale, to Masks, a drama inspired by the Pulse nightclub shooting and winner of three awards at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, with more to come soon.

Suburban Supernova is his most ambitious project yet, blending live action, stop motion, and traditional 2D animation on a journey through the imagination, high school, and the far reaches of the universe.




Eelum Dixit began his career as an actor in Nepal, where he counts himself fortunate to have shared the screen with the now famous Gal Gadot in the Israeli TV series Kathmandu (2012). He also attended the 62nd Berlinale Film Festival with his acting debut in the feature film Highway (2012). Since then, Eelum turned to screenwriting, directing and producing. He completed two Nepali language feature films before doing his MFA in Production at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. 

Having completed his MFA in May, Eelum is a Los Angeles and Nepal based Writer/Director with two independent short films Kichkandi (2018) and Babu (2018) now in post-production. He is also Vice President of Development at the Los Angeles based studio, SuperSight Media, Inc.

As a kid, Eelum found his voice first in the role of Veruca Salt in a school production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Every now and then, he is still known to throw himself to the ground screaming for a squirrel or a golden ticket.

don ohmer


Don Ohmer is a filmmaker born and raised in Southern California. Growing up, Don pursued all manor of interests from poetry, literature, to  lacrosse, football, and even volunteer firefighting. However, Don’s first love has always been film.  Don began studying film at Moorpark College before transferring to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. By the end of his first semester at USC, Don produced the award winning MFA Thesis The Best and the Loneliest Days which went to the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Métrage.

Since then, Don has worked as a  producer on a dozen more short films, digital advertisements, and commercials.  His films have been showcased at around the world at festivals like Universe Multicultural Film Festival, Tokyo Lift-Off Festival, Polish International Film Festival, and many others.




Adriana Serrato is a cinematographer based in Los Angeles, California. After receiving her BFA in Visual Arts from Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C., she went on to pursue her MFA in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where she further developed her love of photography and enhance her skills as a cinematographer.

During her time at USC, Adriana had the opportunity to shoot twenty short films, along with four thesis films, ranging across several genres, including documentary, comedy, drama, and horror. Her work has received recognition and excellence awards at California Film Award, Ouchy Film Awards, Roma Cinema DOC, Nevada International Film Festival, Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Adriana recently had the opportunity to work with ARRI on several shoots for their company. She earned the AMIRA grant on her latest film Elwood Takes A Lover, directed by John Palmer. Adriana continues to expand her portfolio, shooting music videos, commercials and short films around LA.




Hayley Trafzer was raised in the small town of Yucaipa, California. Despite being a middle child, she had a surprisingly idyllic childhood. Most of her spare time was spent dancing, singing, and reading anything she could get her hands on (including every single Baby-Sitter’s Club book ever written). 

She attended USC where she was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, and a cheerleader for one year. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the School of Cinematic Arts with an emphasis on Critical-Studies. At that point, she realized that as much as she adored studying the history of films, what she really wanted was to be making films, and so she decided to return to USC to pursue her MFA in Film & Television Production.

She is currently in her final semesters of the program, and excited for the chance to direct her thesis project, Girl Gang.

seamus o’malley finnegan



Seamus O'Malley Finnegan is an Irish filmmaker born and raised in San Francisco, California. He spent most of his young life pursuing a football career, which led him to play at Washington University in St. Louis.  It was there that Seamus realized his true calling and began filmmaking, due to his lifelong love of movies.  Keen on learning as much as possible about film, he immediately enrolled in the Production Division of USC's School of Cinematic Arts.

An avid fan of all things action/adventure and sci-fi, Seamus is pursuing his dream career of directing and editing with the goal of inspiring and entertaining audiences through film.

shealyn biron


Shealyn Biron is an innovative Costume Designer whose design work includes independent films, music videos, short films, student productions as well as being a member of the Costume Department on many upcoming feature films.

She is based out of Los Angeles and earned dual degrees in Fashion Design and Costume Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Inspired by history and human psychology, Shealyn strives to create costumes that accurately depict a character beyond the limits of their dialogue to further materialize directors’ visions.

She believes that costume design is an integral part of visual storytelling and hopes to introduce audiences to a character’s complexities through the intricacies of their styling and appearance.

jon bower


Jon Bower is an aspiring music supervisor/editor hailing from Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is currently assistant to the President of Music at Warner Bros. Pictures, and recently earned his MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC, Jon had the privilege of providing production/post sound services for nearly three dozen projects, and loves learning how to best tell stories sonically. As he enters his career, Jon hopes to help preserve and advance the magical marriage of music and the moving image into the future of media-making.

In addition to WB Pictures, Jon has had the great fortune of working toward this dream through internships with the music departments of Warner Bros. Television and Universal Pictures. Academically, he has most recently presented at the annual Music and The Moving Image Conference at NYU, and wishes to continue exploring sonic media scholarship alongside his music supervision endeavors. Before coming to LA, Jon received his BA in Film and Music from the University of Michigan in 2014, and played trombone with the Michigan Marching Band—Go Blue! 




Originally from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, Rochester based  composer/guitarist Billy Petito believes that music and sound create the immersive environment needed to effectively tell a story. Music really is half of the picture!

Petito began his music career as a teenager performing in a multitude of ensembles in school, in local music programs after school, and with various ad-hock bands throughout the DC area. It wasn’t until his studies at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Jazz Guitar Performance, and a minor in Audio Engineering, that he discovered a passion for composition and for collaborative visual media.

Petito regularly collaborates with filmmakers, animators, video game designers, and other composers in order to produce music for games, film, TV, commercials, and the concert hall. Several of the short films that Petito has scored have received recognition at numerous film festivals, and he has worked as a composer, producer, and performing musician on several TV and radio advertisements. For more information, please visit:

lily darragh harty


Lily is a 1st Assistant Director who prides herself on her ability to chose her projects based on the passion of the team, a quality which served her well in the production of ‘Suburban Supernova’, one of her favorite projects.

In addition to her work as an AD, Lily is a writer/director with several short films out and more in development, and also works as a documentary editor.





Kara Sullivan entered the world of casting in 2003. She started Kara Sullivan Casting, a casting company located in Los Angeles and New York, in 2004. Current and recent films include Underdogs Rising starring Chris Pang, To Pimp A Butterfly starring Bai Ling, and Immigrant starring Harry Hamlin. KSC's web series credits include multiple shorts for CryptTV, The Rich and the Ruthless starring Richard Brooks and Victoria Rowell, Love Work and Other Demons, The Vampyr Resistance Corps, and Romancing the Joan starring the legendary Joan Rivers.

Commercial and industrial clients include Lowe's, Little Tikes, Tasty Bites, MC2, Kellogg’s, and Hallmark, as well as casting for "That’s Revolting," an industrial web series for Millipore starring Florence Henderson.

In addition to her work as a professional casting director, Kara is privileged to work with USC's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts as a casting advisor. This past Summer, she returned as casting professor for the USC/Shanghai Tech Directing Master Class, an exclusive professional program for a group of elite directors from China. 

Recent award-winning films include: The Thing in The Apartment (2017 Tribeca Film Festival), Farah Goes Bang (Tribeca Film Festival: Nora Ephron Award Winner), Pop Rox (NBCU Shortsfest Finalist), The Rich and The Ruthless (ISA 2018 Award for Best Ensemble Cast).



Sean Malony is an animator and the Creative Director of Apartment D, a full-service stop motion studio that specializes in creating scroll-stopping animation. Since his youth, Sean has been fascinated with both art and science, spending endless hours doodling dimension-hopping mutants while learning about everything from dinosaurs to distant planets. These interests eventually lead to his first ever animation at the age of 14, depicting a green mutant getting smacked in the face with a dodgeball.

After attending RIT's School of Film and Animation, Sean moved to Los Angeles with his close friends and officially began his career in animation. 

Fast forward and Sean has animated for such series as the Emmy Award winning Robot Chicken, Supermansion and Buddy Thunderstruck, while pursuing freelance 2D and stop motion work, from zombies fighting ninjas to possums with trash-eating superpowers. In 2016 Sean became a founding member of Apartment D, erupting out of the continued collaboration of friends striving to create compelling cartoons. The studio has since created animated videos for Nickelodeon, Mattel and Verizon, and amidst many upcoming projects is developing its own original series. Through Apartment D, Sean hopes to propel the craft of animation into new realms of visual dynamism and make exciting educational content that inspires others towards their own brand of explosive awesomeness.

Sean's favorite cartoon as a child wasThe Magic School Bus, and his favorite as an adult is a tie between Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Kung Fu Panda. Then and now, he hopes to embody the philosophy to “take chances, make mistakes, get messy.”

ilana schwartz


Ilana Schwartz (@javadoodles) is an animator/content creator living in Los Angeles. She's worked for Disney, Nickelodeon, Starburns Industries, DreamWorks TV, etc. and has collaborated with music artists such as Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, and Nick Cannon.

She draws on coffee cups in her spare time and creates animated GIFs for fun. She's also addicted to coffee but doesn't have a problem with it.

As a kid, she enjoyed cartoons and video games. That has not changed.

Suburban Supernova © 2019 University of Southern California