Based in Austin, Texas, Fin and Fur Films is comprised of professional creatives who are passionate about conservation and visual storytelling. From endangered species to complex water issues and backcountry expeditions, we are dedicated to using film as a medium to give wildlife a fighting chance and advocate for the preservation of wild places. Fin and Fur produces independent films from idea conception to finished product, as well as offers cinematography, production, and directing services. Our team members are adventure-lovin’ folks who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and have a good time, all while creating quality content.
BEN MASTERS | DIRECTOR & FOUNDER
Ben Masters is a filmmaker and writer specializing in wildlife and adventure stories. He is most known for directing the feature length documentary 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 2015. 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 | PRODUCER
As a lover of the outdoors, conservation, and visual storytelling, Katy has a passion for using creative outlets such as photography, design, and writing to advocate for wildlife and wild places and spread awareness about conservation issues. She is a proud East Texas native, studied communications, journalism, and art at Texas A&M University, and now lives in Austin. Katy’s work with Fin and Fur has included serving as Associate Producer for the Emmy-nominated The River and the Wall, Producing American Ocelot, and helping produce the annual Wild Texas Film Tours. Outside of work, she’s typically finding ways to get outside in Austin, baking, reading, or exploring areas of western Texas and the U.S.
JAY KLEBERG | PRODUCER
Jay Kleberg is the co-founder of Explore Ranches, connecting travelers with more than one million acres of historic ranches in the American West. He is producing the feature-length wildlife documentary Deep in the Heart: A Texas Wildlife Story and was Associate Producer of the award-winning documentary The River and the Wall. Jay previously served as Associate Director and Director of Conservation Initiatives for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Prior to his work in Texas, he co-founded a Brazilian-based adventure travel outfitter and conservation organization and worked for the National Parks Service. Jay is a graduate of Williams College and holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. He is a published writer and lives in Austin with his wife and three daughters.
AUSTIN ALVARADO | CINEMATOGRAPHER
Austin is a dirty desert dirtbag turned river rat turned wildlife cinematographer, residing in Far West Texas. Austin's passion for outdoor recreation and conservation drives him to try to constantly be pushing his creative take on storytelling. He is equally proud of being Texan, Guatemalan and Far West Texan.
RYAN OLINGER | 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.
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.
SKIP HOBBIE | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
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.
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.
Hillary Pierce is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who floats between the city life of Austin and the deserts of Far West Texas. A North Carolina native, she has spent the better part of the last decade producing feature documentaries in Texas, including Keith Maitland's 2016 films TOWER and A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY and Ben Masters' 2019 THE RIVER AND THE WALL. Hillary helped bring the Wild Texas Film Tour into fruition, producing both the 2017 and 2019 tour events. She most recently produced Emmy Award-winning director Maisie Crow's forthcoming documentary feature, AT THE READY, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
John Aldrich grew up in Florida, but was raised by Texans and got here as fast as he could, studying Film and Government at the University of Texas ('94). He received his Master's in Documentary Filmmaking from the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida ('00) and lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area for the next ten years (seven of them as a producer/editor for National Geographic Television) before returning to Texas. Since then, his work includes producing, editing and shooting the feature docs AN UNREAL DREAM: THE MICHAEL MORTON STORY (CNN, December 2013, SXSW Audience Award) and AUDUBON (PBS, April 2017) as well as shorts for GQ, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Yeti, Natalie Merchant and Bob Schneider. John was the editor for THE RIVER AND THE WALL (March 2019, SXSW Louis Black Lone Star Award) and continues to edit and shoot for other Fin & Fur Films projects.
Alex Winker is a colorist and editor with a passion for beautiful imagery and naturalism. Ben Masters gave him his first job his freshman year of college, and saved him from the hellish pit of Los Angeles shortly after he graduated by bringing him on as the camera assistant and assistant editor of The River And The Wall. After the film wrapped, Alex went on to work as a commercial colorist in Austin, working grading everything from wildlife documentaries, to Top 40 Pop music videos. He went on to be the lead colorist at BL&S Post, and is still intimately involved with every Fin and Fur Films project from production through post, helping to manage their image pipelines and master their images to look as stunning as possible. When Alex isn’t editing or coloring he enjoys paddling rivers and making music videos with his friends.
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.
Josh is a photographer, videographer, producer, and outdoors professional who has spent the majority of his career in the non-profit space. Born and raised in the Texas Hill Country in and around Austin, Josh's passion lies in documenting and protecting wildlife and wild places in Texas and beyond. His work for Fin and Fur's Deep in the Heart has ranged from operating remote camera traps for ocelots in South Texas, to filming white-tailed deer along the Rio Grande, to writing and submitting grant applications to fundraise for the film. In his other life, Josh is the Creative Lead at Explore Ranches and the Lead Guide at Off & Out.
Patrick is a 6th generation Texan who grew up hunting, fishing, and adventuring in the Texas Hill Country. A graduate of Texas A&M University, he’s lived all over the globe from Hungary to Mexico and his passion for people and wild places has led him to work as a photographer, filmmaker and guide in Montana, Utah, and Texas.