AlumNow: Filmmaker following path to happiness

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Jefferson Stein is a young, up-and-coming director whose pursuit of happiness has garnered a lot of buzz in the world of indie films and commercials. Since graduating from Hillcrest High School in 2007, his path has led him to a storyteller’s life.

Stein took a few minutes to bring us up to speed on what he’s been up to.

What are you doing now?

I’m a filmmaker. My latest short film, “Tumble Dry Low,” premiered on the festival circuit in January of this year and has played at 20 film festivals in the U.S. and abroad. We screened in competition at the Oscar-qualifying Seattle and Athens International Film Festivals and won the Gold Remi for Live-Action Short Narrative at the 48th Worldfest Houston International Film Festival. I also direct commercials. I got my start when I directed and sold a spec commercial to Budweiser while enrolled in film school. I signed with the production company 3008 in January, directing a campaign for FRAM with UFC contenders Johny Hendricks and Donald Cerrone, which shot in L.A. and North Carolina. I have also directed commercials for TGI Fridays.

Briefly list career and/or personal highlights.

I was honored this summer to be named by one of the leading industry publications, SHOOT Magazine, as one of the year’s up-and-coming new directors. My work screened in the annual SHOOT New Directors Showcase at the Director’s Guild of America Theater in NYC.

What was your favorite subject or activity/involvement in high school?

I loved AP European History. I had a great teacher in Mr. Hearne. The class was especially engaging because it was so broad, allowing for me to learn a little about a lot of things and then go deeply when I found a topic that was interesting to me. European History also introduced me to Art History which was one of my favorite classes in college.

Who was your favorite teacher?

I had many favorite teachers. I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, but they know who they are. We had an all-star cast of AP teachers at Hillcrest.

What lesson did you learn in high school or beyond that has served you well through the years?

High school taught me how to navigate bureaucratic systems. I was fortunate enough to be elected Class President senior year and served on the Dallas ISD Teen School Board. It can be very difficult to get projects made in the film industry and being exposed to such a system as a 17 year old has helped me tremendously as an adult.

College/University and degree earned:

University of Texas at Austin – Business Honors Program (B.A. 2011)

Art Center College of Design – MFA Film (attended 2011-2014)

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