About Spark Filmmakers Collaborative

Our Mission

Spark Filmmakers Collaborative (SFC) envisions an open and loving society that recognizes and values the similarities and differences between us.

Our stories help us see ourselves in each other, dismantling stereotypes perpetuated by lack of representation.

SFC inspires and supports marginalized voices of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual identities and income levels to self-represent through film/video by breaking down barriers to film/video production, as a passion or a career path, with low-cost and free educational, exhibition, resume and community-building opportunities.

Our Vision

  • Prepare marginalized people with visual storytelling skills applicable to any industry or career path – centered on the creation of films 5 minutes and under
  • Provide access to low cost and free instruction related to the business side of filmmaking for those whose goals include careers in film
  • Develop pathways to revenue generation for creators by providing stipend and screening fees via special film programs such as Haudenosaunee Micro Short Film Program
  • Inspire marginalized voices to see themselves as filmmakers by showcasing work by people like them via and easily accessible free short film screening programs like MicroMania Film Festival and Haudenosaunee Micro Short Film Program
  • Support representation in media arts by highlighting the voices and experiences of marginalized creators through public film screenings that include panel discussions and audience Q&As
  • Build cultural awareness by amplifying the work of marginalized media makers to general audiences both in person and online
Filmstrip 1 - Spark Filmmakers Collaborative

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

Spark Filmmakers Collaborative envisions an just and loving society based on the recognition of our similarities and appreciation for our differences.

Our stories help us see ourselves in each other and help dismantle dominant cultural narratives that divide us.

Spark Filmmaker Collaborative inspires and supports voices of all abilities, ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual identities and income levels to share their visions and points of view via films and videos 5 minutes and under.

  • Film/video production can be a complex and expensive undertaking
  • Building an audience and breaking into the entertainment/media industry pose different challenges
  • Success requires building and maintaining professional relationships, and meeting ever-changing industry expectations in an opaque profit-driven system

Our DEI Action Plan

We are committed to developing programming for independent creators to share their work, build connections, grow their storytelling skills, and learn the business side of filmmaking.

We build collaborative partnerships with organizations of like mind to amplify each other, grow our communities, and expand opportunities for independent creators—always focusing our actions on:

  • Intentionally removing barriers to participation through advocacy
  • Building coalitions with Black, Indigenous, and community partners of color
  • Prioritizing the recruitment of board, staff, and teaching artists of color
  • Actively supporting anti-racism advocacy efforts
  • Mentoring the next generation of leaders

Meet SFC’s Executive Director and Wonderful, Creative, & Community Minded Board of Directors

Lukia Costello

Founder & Executive Director, Board President | (She, Her)


Lukia is an artist, filmmaker, editor/VFX artist and serial social entrepreneur with 15+ years experience fostering artistic collaboration and producing public events in Western New York. She is a member of the New York Women in Film, Television and Film Festival Alliance. She also represents Spark Filmmakers collaborative as an organizational partner of Partnership for Public Good.

Lukia has served as a judge for the Buffalo 48 Hour Film Project, Kinofilm Festival UK, and Buffalo International Film Festival. Her volunteer work includes administrative level and board service with local organizations such as:

Steve Rosenthal - Board President - Spark Filmmakers Collaborative

Steve Rosenthal

Board Treasurer | (He, Him)

Steve founded the video/digital film production company Caramax Studio, which produces documentaries, narrative films, industrials, and commercials for broadcast and the internet. Steve is a Director of Photography, Editor, Digital Colorist, and FAA licensed Remote Pilot. His documentary Go Gentle has been viewed more than 48,000 times on Amazon Prime.

Steve is also a musician and was a founding member of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet. He’s been a board member of Chamber Music America, American Composers Forum, and panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dorothea Braemer - Board Member - Spark Filmmakers Collaborative

Dorothea Braemer

Board Member | (She, Her)

Dorothea has been actively involved in providing access to video training and production facilities to historically underserved communities as the former Media Center Manager and Program Director at Scribe Video Center and the former Director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Center. Currently the Co-Director of the Termite TV Collective and active member since 1994, Braemer has produced numerous half-hour television programs for this award-winning video collective covering a broad range of cultural, social, and political themes.

Braemer’s personal media work has been broadcast nationally on PBS, and exhibited internationally at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Television & Radio (now the Paley Center for Media). She has been the recipient of grants and awards from the Sprague Foundation, the Bread and Roses Community Fund, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, the Puffin Foundation, and the Samuel S. Fels Fund, among others.

Braemer has taught film analysis and video production in the Communications Department at Villanova University and is currently Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo State’s Communication Department. She also serves on the board of Locust Street Art in Buffalo, NY.

Julio Montalvo Valentín

Board Sectretary | (He, Him)

Julio Montalvo Valentin (They/His/Julio) is a co-founder of the late CringeWorthy Poets Press and the author of three chapbooks, the latest titled Those Who Pray to Rice (NightBallet Books, 2019). They teach Creative Writing and Composition at various colleges and is also a member of the Latino/a/x arts collective called Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo (LAdB), a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and holds an M.A. in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo State. They have recently completed a Poetry Mural project as the Poetry Teaching Artist for the “Woke Words” BPS program at P.S. 18. Julio is also a board member for the  Spark Filmmakers Collective and a planning committee member of Lit Youngstown 2022 Literary Festival. Aside from joining the inaugural Teaching Artist Mentorship Program with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, you can always find Julio ready for the next writing opportunity to share his love of words through his next project, ProcessPoetry.com (coming soon).

Tracey B. Wilson

Board Member | (She, Her)

Tracey has worked in New York, Los Angeles, and many places in between, acting in everything from dramatic theatre and soap operas to quirky independent films and sketch comedy. She has been an actor/writer/director for award-winning short films, and toured North America four times with Lady Gaga as a performance art photographer—an opportunity that led to publishing the book Heal This Way—A Love Story with Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters in support of LGBTQ & bullied teens.

She plays the titular role in the newly released feature Trew’s Calling and stars in the spin-off series Diary Of A Lunatic. Tracey’s solo series Characters of the Quarantine has kept people entertained during the pandemic. Her next big project is Breeding Awesome, a documentary feature assembled from 15 years of private video journals.

Tracey is also a sought-after live event host, specializing in family entertainment at major sporting events and high-energy charity events all over the country.

David Cloyd

Board Member | (He, Him)

David has led what could only be called an eclectic musical life. He began as a pianist at the age of 4, and spent the next 20 years adamantly pursuing classical music as a pianist and woodwind multi-instrumentalist, completing his Bachelor of Music Performance at the University of Texas at Austin. He began teaching music and performing live—everything from chamber music and pit orchestras to local rockabilly bands, while also teaching himself how to play bass and guitar, and playing as many instruments as possible in a variety of original bands, eventually writing and singing his own songs in some of them. As he was completing his college degree, he won an internship through the Joni Abbott Music Foundation to move to NYC and work at EMI Music Publishing. Soon after, he walked away from it all to pursue his true passion: writing songs and making records.

Today, he is a solo recording artist with ECR Music Group in NYC. Following its worldwide release, his debut album Unhand Me, You Fiend! hit #1 on eMusic’s Album Charts. Cloyd followed on the national success of that album with I Could Disappear, a powerful collection of solo performances, and a fresh take on a Paul McCartney classic “Dear Boy” from the 1971 album Ram. He is currently in the studio, finishing up his third studio album.

Alongside his duties as ECR’s Executive Vice President of Creative Operations, he also spearheads and A&R’s his own imprint, Hook & Ladder Records, home for the developing artists emerging from his Buffalo recording and production studio. He is also an actor, creator, writer, scoring composer, and producer with PizzaDog Studios, the Buffalo production company behind his new web series, Cloyd.

Most recently, he is the co-founder of Buffalo Music Club, a local artists collaborative focused on creating and fostering a vibrant and sustainable local music scene by constantly reimagining the relationship between life, music, musicians, and the community within the city of Buffalo, its surrounding areas, and beyond.

Elizabeth Hayes

Board Member | (She, Her)

Elizabeth Hayes (Lizzy, She/Her) is a radical, queer opera singer committed to unlearning and dismantling the harmful and oppressive systems within the classical music and operatic worlds. Elizabeth has performed with professional regional opera companies and classical music programs throughout
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Colorado, and Paris, France.

Elizabeth has won first place inthe Advanced Division of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) CT chapter; second place in Denver Lyric Opera Guild’s Colorado-wide opera competition; and most recently won first place in the Advanced Division of NATS for the entire Eastern Region. Elizabeth is deeply invested in getting to the truth of what she has to say as a singer and an artist while continuing to recognize her passion for opera and classical music- this has led her to begin work on a short operatic film project Pants Role: A Coming into Queerness Tale. Elizabeth seeks to be a part of the reinvention of opera to push boundaries and radicalize the traditional landscape.

In addition to performing, Elizabeth is currently a remote voice instructor and administrative team member at Parlando School of Musical Arts in Boulder, Colorado and a voice instructor at Buffalo Music Club in Buffalo, New York. Her experience with arts administration has helped her gain insight for the
inner workings of arts organizations and to strike a unique balance between performer, teacher, and