Fin and Fur Films is a collection of professional creatives who are passionate about conservation and visual storytelling. We produce films from idea conception through distribution and offer cinematography, production, and directing services. From restoring endangered species to advocating for healthy river flows, we are dedicated to using film as a medium to help conserve wildlife and their habitat. Our team members are adventure-lovin’ folks who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and have a good time, all while making great movies.
BEN MASTERS | DIRECTOR & FOUNDER
Ben Masters is a filmmaker and writer specializing in wildlife and adventure stories. He is most known for directing Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story, The River and The Wall (SXSW 2019 Award Winner) and for producing Unbranded (Mountainfilm 2015 Audience Award Winner). Masters studied wildlife biology at Texas A&M University and founded Fin and Fur Films in 2012. He is the author of two books published by Texas A&M University Press and has written for National Geographic and Western Horseman. A proud Texan, Masters loves riding a good horse through new country, filming wildlife stories that haven’t been documented before, and using movies to help conserve wildlife and wild places.
KATY BALDOCK | FILM & IMPACT PRODUCER
Katy is a film producer, writer, and graphic designer based in Austin, Texas. She has a passion for conservation and visual storytelling, aiming to use creative outlets as a tool to advocate for the protection of natural environments and wildlife. She is a proud East Texas native and studied communications, journalism, and art at Texas A&M University. Katy has worked with Fin and Fur Films since 2017, during which she has been a film & impact Producer for the Texas natural history film Deep in the Heart, Associate Producer for the Emmy-nominated feature documentary The River and the Wall, and Producer for PBS' American Ocelot. Outside of work, she’s typically finding ways to get outside in Austin, baking, reading, or exploring Texas and the western U.S.
JOSH WINKLER | PRODUCER
Josh Winkler is a film producer, videographer, and outdoors professional born and raised in the Texas Hill Country. Driven by his passion for land, water and wildlife conservation, Josh has worked as an outdoor adventure guide for Explore Austin, served as Board Chair at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, was Creative Lead at Explore Ranches, and now dedicates his time to telling conservation stories with Fin and Fur Films. He studied Environmental Science and Philosophy at Colorado College.
RYAN OLINGER | PRODUCER/CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ryan Olinger is an award-winning photographer, videographer and wildlife biologist who has worked with a variety of species. He studied Wildlife Conservation and Management at the University of Arizona and received his Master’s degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town. From Arizona to Africa, he has spent nearly a decade studying mammals, birds and climate change with NGOs, universities and state/federal organizations. Ryan is always looking for an excuse to get outside and communicate what he loves about the natural world to others.
AUSTIN ALVARADO |DIRECTOR/
Austin Alvarado began his career as a wildlife cinematographer in the Big Bend region of far West Texas. After dedicating a large portion of his life to learning the intimate corners of the Rio Grande and the Trans-Pecos, he became entranced with learning how similar or different conservation efforts operate in various parts of the world. He is a proud Texan-Guatemalan who now resides in San Antonio.
SAM KLATT | EDITOR
As a history buff and cinephile, Sam’s passion for film and storytelling sparked at a young age. Upon graduating from Baylor with a BA in Film and minor in history, he moved back to his beloved hometown Austin, where he dove into commercial production, live music cinematography and editing, and eventually transitioned into feature documentary film as the Post-Production Supervisor for director Keith Maitland’s latest documentary Dear Mr. Brody. Sam specializes in editing, post-production workflows, and motion graphics. His editorial work has premiered on PBS and in countless advertisements, while his motion graphics work is featured in commercials and documentaries including Dear Mr. Brody and Ben Masters’ The River and the Wall. When he’s not cutting, you can usually find Sam browsing the used section at Waterloo, playing basketball in Clarksville, or frequenting free swim.
JULI KELLER | EDITOR
Simply put, Falcon Bitch (FKA Juli Keller) spews glittering arcs of white hot lightning from her crooked jaw as she rips across the heavenly dome. She's the answer to your prayers and a damn fine friend. Falcon will help you carve out the story that's quietly hidden within the marble slab of media -- then she'll polish it with fresh perfumes and the finest silks so it may shine with the light of ten thousand stars. Falcon specializes in experimental and documentary editing, stop-motion animation and media management. When she's not crafting stories, you can find her making music, whipping up something tasty, plunging into cool waters, or wandering around in the woods.
PATRICK THRASH | DIRECTOR / CINEMATOGRAPHER
Patrick is a 6th generation Texan who grew up adventuring in the Hill Country. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he has lived and worked as far away as Hungary and Mexico. His passion for people, wildlife, and wild places led him to pursue work as a guide, photographer, and cinematographer. He joined the Fin & Fur team in 2020 for production of Deep in the Heart and has been the “multi-tool” in the camera bag for several Fin & Fur productions. He’s also contributed camera trapping, drone operation, long lensing and DIT on projects for National Geographic, BBC, and PBS. Patrick is a hardworking optimist who believes in the power of visual storytelling and its impact on the conservation and preservation of our natural world.
CHET STEFAN | EDITOR ASSISTANT
Chet is an assistant editor and camera operator from Southwest Montana. His passion for the natural world started at a young age while sharing a backyard with bears, elk and sandhill cranes. He received his BSc in Conservation Biology & Ecology from Montana State University and has researched insects, birds, fish and plants while working for state and federal laboratories. Now, Chet works in the camera and editorial departments and has contributed to commercials, reality television, scripted features, and wildlife documentaries. When he’s not behind a camera or computer, Chet enjoys being outside with skis, rafts, and bikes.
Skip is an Emmy Award-winning wildlife cinematographer based in Austin. He grew up in Texas flipping rocks and climbing trees, ever in pursuit of creepy crawlies and little critters. After receiving his BS in Radio/TV/Film from the University of Texas, he turned his passion for wildlife into a career that has taken him all over the world for National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery & PBS. Skip’s passion for wildlife and conservation are only equaled by his passion for technology. His quick grasp of how to use the latest and greatest camera tech in aid of storytelling quickly advanced his career as a young cinematographer. In 2012, Skip earned an Emmy Award as part of the camera team for National Geographic’s series Untamed Americas. He recently produced PBS’ Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas and is the DP for Deep in the Heart.
Jay Kleberg is the Executive Director of the Gulf of Mexico Trust, working to provide Texas-based, science-backed solutions to the Gulf’s most pressing challenges, and co-founder of the experiential travel company Explore Ranches. He co-produced Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story and was an Associate Producer of The River and the Wall. Jay previously served as Associate Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. He lives in Austin with his wife and three daughters.
Shannon was introduced to photography by his father, a professional freelance photojournalist. From an early age, he was trained to offer brand specific messages using visual imagery. The ability to tell stories with a camera is something that has always fascinated him. With a love for people and the power of being inspired by good stories, his camera has become a vector to engage those who pass in front of the lens. Shannon founded his production company, Cold Collaborative, in 2015 with the desire to be a filmmaker who focuses only on stories that engage us on an intrinsic human level. Shannon has contributed to Fin and Fur productions like American Ocelot and Deep in the Heart with his filming and editing skills.
Nina Vizcarrondo is a Texas-based filmmaker and editor who has worked in the non-fiction film industry for over 12 years. In addition to the Fin & Fur projects she is proud to have worked as an editor on, she most recently edited the documentary "At the Ready," which premiered at Sundance 2021. Her work often focuses on the Latinx diaspora and immigration issues. Nina holds an MFA from UT Austin (thankfully a certain Aggie has given her a chance regardless), where she directed and edited various narrative and documentary shorts.