Meet the Team
MD Neely leads the team at CIY's Æffect Films. He has directed and produced films in 14 different countries, including films such as “Love Costs Everything,” “Becoming Sons & Daughters” and “Aullido.” MD is a graduate of Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Documentary Film and Editing. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with his family, teaching students about filmmaking, eating Cadbury chocolate and watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Eric Epperson is the senior director of Æffect, CIY’s digital resources and film department. Prior to his current role, Eric served as the programming director for CIY’s MOVE program, a nationally touring event for high school students. Eric has collaborated with some of the most creative people in the country to produce events, award-winning short films – such as “Aullido,” best short film at the 2015 Justice Film Festival – and compelling documentaries – such as “Love Costs Everything.” In 2016, Eric hosted Kingdom Worker Week, CIY’s first ever online event. Eric holds a BA from Ozark Christian College and a Master of Arts from the University of Oklahoma. He has studied writing and improvisational comedy at the Second City in Chicago and is the co-founder and owner of Siblings Improv, where he performs regularly and leads corporate trainings on collaboration and teamwork. He currently lives on Route 66 with his wife and two daughters.
Michael J. Harnett
Director of Photography
Mike Hartnett is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based director of photography and co-founder of VINEGAR HILL and The New American Storytellers. His father was a rocket scientist for NASA and his mother was a painter. He considers cinematography to be the meeting point for where his passion for art and science collide. He loves technology, telling stories and creating a cinematic look to everything that he shoots. Mike has a strong background in documentary work and has traveled to 28 countries around the world. When he’s not behind the camera, he can usually be found behind a piano piano, eating sushi, playing Legos, or with his wife Jocelyn and daughter Evie.
Stephanie Whonsetler is a feature, commercial and shorts producer from Louisville, Kentucky who now calls Los Angeles home. Stephanie has had features at SWSX and Cannes, and received an Emmy for her commercial work. She has produced films in more than 30 states and eight different countries. Before becoming an independent producer, Stephanie worked as a production executive at INSP Studios where she developed their Original Movies division and their slate of feature films. Stephanie is an honors graduate of Denison University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, English and Business. She is a founding member of the Kentucky Film Association, where she sits as Chair over the Special Events committee, and is involved in maintaining and growing her home state's competitive tax incentive. When she is not making films, Stephanie loves to travel, outdoor adventure, and spend time with her niece and best buddy, Adeline.
Liam O’Neill was born in the U.S. but has been living in Ireland for most of his life. He has produced several short films, documentaries and five feature films. His most notable project was “How Harry Became A Tree,” which screened in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival and received Gala Screenings at the Toronto Film Fest. Other feature films include “Meteor,” which received a Crystal Bear in the KinderFilmFest of the Berlinale of 1999, and “Five Day Shelter,” which received the Best First Feature Film aware at the Mons Film Festival. To date in 2017, Liam has served as producer for CIY’s “Unseen” and director for two short films, “Danny Boy” and “Kathleen.” He is currently working with filmmakers on several projects for both TV and the cinema, as well as developing projects with partners in Ireland, Europe and beyond.