Sohaib I. Awan is the Host of Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib. Recognizing the dearth of serious pop culture discourse, Sohaib launched Fictional Frontiers in June of 2008. In addition to hosting duties, Sohaib serves as Executive Producer, Talent Supervisor and Liaison, Public Relations Director, and CEO of Fictional Frontiers.
Sohaib is also the founder and CEO of international transmedia company, Jabal Entertainment, LLC. He is the creator of IDW Publishing's Jinnrise. An animated series based on Jinnrise will premiere in 2018.
Prior to Fictional Frontiers, Sohaib was the founder and managing partner of The Law Offices of Sohaib Awan. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond, his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Camden, and Management Certification from The Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania).
In addition to his efforts on Fictional Frontiers, Sohaib is an active member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar. He is a duly qualified and admitted attorney, with mediation and conflict resolution certification from the Community Mediation Center of Harrisonburg, VA.
Sohaib is also a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) and voting member of the Critics Choice Awards.
Tara Bennett is the author or co-author of several movie and TV companion books including DK's Official Lost Encyclopedia, The Art of 300, The Art of Terminator Salvation and 24: The Official Companion Guide, Seasons 1 through 6. She has also written nearly a thousand interviews and features for print and online publications such as LOST: The Official Magazine, 'Alias’ Magazine, ‘24’ Magazine, SCI FI Magazine, WSJ Speakeasy, SciFi Wire/Blastr, Fandango, Fancast, Newsarama and VFXWorld.com. She is also the East Coast Editor for the world's premiere print sci-fi/fantasy publication, SFX Magazine.
Tara is also an adjunct professor at Rowan University in New Jersey, teaching Film and Television studies. As part of her curriculum, Bennett utilizes programs such as LOST to teach her students how to write for television. Before starting her journalism career, Tara worked as a television producer on the east coast for outlets such as CN8 and Comcast for almost a decade. She then used her expertise to transition into writing full-time about the industry with a focus on scripted dramas and genre-related films.
James Berardinelli was born in September 1967 in the town of New Brunswick, New Jersey (USA). He began writing at 9 years old, and suffered through the traumatic experience of reading chapters of his stories to his entire fourth grade class. However, although is "first love" was writing, too many tales of starving authors scared him off that path, so he decided to become an engineer instead. He attended the University of Pennsylvania from 1985 through 1990, obtaining both a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering. Although he rarely ventured into theaters during his college years, his interest in movies escalated post-graduation. In 1991, the year before he started reviewing, he saw about 30 films. The number jumped to 180 in 1992, when he wrote capsule reviews for personal use. Starting in 1993, the year he "went public" on the Usenet newsgroups, he began seeing between 220 and 250 theatrical releases per year. ReelViews (www.reelviews.net) was born in January 1996 and has been going strong since. James is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The late Roger Ebert called James "the best online film critic in America."
Anthony Del Col. Toronto-based Kill Shakespeare co-creator Anthony Del Col brings both creative and business experience to his numerous media ventures. While attending business school at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada, he held executive Marketing and Finance positions in multi-million-dollar organizations as well as started his career in the film industry through the production of two independent features films, The Nature of Reality (2000) and In Camera (2001). Del Col subsequently attended Academy-Award-winner Norman Jewison’s prestigious Canadian Film Centre Producer’s Lab in Toronto, completing his residency as the youngest producer graduate in the program’s history.
Del Col has worked in the television industry, securing past development deals with Canada’s Comedy Network (Raju's Blind Date) Shaftesbury Films (Global RPS) and the Harold Greenberg Fund (Bikeman). He was also the winner of the 2006 Telefilm Canada Pitch This! competition for the feature comedy, Outsourced, currently in development. He has created financial and marketing plans and strategies for a number of film, television and media companies such as S&S Productions, MAAAX Entertainment Ltd., and World Heritage Productions.
Del Col also spent time in the music industry, working with award-winning manager Chris Smith. Del Col served as a manager for Canadian and international chart-topping musicians such as Grammy-Award winner Nelly Furtado, The Philosopher Kings, Fefe Dobson, Divine Brown, and Kreesha Turner. He assisted with the release of Nelly Furtado’s album “Loose” – which has sold over 7 million albums and over 13 million digital downloads – and oversaw the financial operations of her multi-million dollar 2007 “Get Loose” world tour. He served as Associate Producer on her “Loose: The Concert” DVD, distributed internationally by Universal Music.
Del Col is currently serving a Co-President of Kill Shakespeare Entertainment, a transmedia entertainment company. Along with Conor McCreery, he is the co-creator and co-writer of Kill Shakespeare, which debuted in comic book format in April, 2010. It was listed in the New York Times Holiday Gift Guide and has received profiles from media outlets such as Publisher’s Weekly, Aint It Cool News, Wired, The Colbert Report, Fangoria, The Globe & Mail and CBC. He and McCreery have been nominated for Outstanding Comic Book Writing for the 2011 Joe Shuster Awards for their work on the series. He was a repeat winner of the Telefilm Canada Pitch This! competition in 2010 for Kill Shakespeare and is currently working on the screenplay of the property.
Del Rey/Spectra Bio
Del Rey Books launched with a bang in 1977 with The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, which was the first fiction ever to hit the New York Times trade bestseller list (and stayed there for six months!). Begun by editor Judy-Lynn del Rey with the editorial assistance of her husband, author and editor Lester del Rey, Del Rey Books built its list with such major names as Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen R. Donaldson, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Larry Niven, and in recent years, China Miéville, Naomi Novik, Richard K. Morgan, Peter V. Brett, Elizabeth Moon, and many other rising stars. Del Rey also publishes the Star Wars adult fiction and nonfiction program and many other major tie-in properties.
Spectra has been at the forefront of science fiction and fantasy for over 25 years, publishing some of the biggest names in the genre-including Isaac Asimov, Raymond E. Feist, George R. R. Martin, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Neal Stephenson, Stephen R. Donaldson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robin Hobb, William Gibson, Connie Willis, Keri Arthur and Kelley Armstrong-as well as rising stars Lynn Flewelling, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Mark Charan Newton, Ari Marmell, Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett, and Darin Bradley, not to mention a slew of great writers too numerous to mention! Spectra launched the Star Wars publishing program with Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, and continues to push the envelope in the subgenres of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk, and New Weird, in addition to its strong commitment to traditional fantasy and science fiction.
Ashley Eckstein, like her favorite Disney character, Alice in Wonderland, Ashley Eckstein’s life has been one amazing adventure after another. Bitten by the acting bug after starring in a local production of The Miracle Worker, she never looked back. After numerous television appearances in such shows as Jeff Foxworthy's Blue Collar TV, Disney's That's So Raven, Nickelodeon's Drake and Josh and the film Sydney White starring Amanda Bynes, Ashley soon landed a role that took her career to a whole new Universe!
She originated the role of Ahsoka Tano in the hit animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network. Ahsoka is Anakin Skywalker's padawan and the first female Jedi to ever have a lead role in the Star Wars Universe. After five years of playing such a powerful and iconic character for girls, and becoming a celebrity in the sci-fi world, Ashley found herself in a unique position.
In 2010 Ashley founded and launched her own company called Her Universe (www.heruniverse.com), the first merchandise line made exclusively for female sci-fi fans. Among her tentpole brands? Star Wars, The Walking Dead, and the Marvel Universe . Ashley, a huge sci-fi fan herself, was frustrated by the lack of merchandise geared towards and made for fangirls and soon discovered that she was not alone. She found that close to 50% of all sci-fi fans are women and the stereotype that sci-fi is "for boys" was no longer the reality. With her company, Ashley has also created a community where she is encouraging female sci-fi fans to step into the spotlight and be heard, recognized and rewarded in a world where they have been largely ignored.
On a personal note, Ashley is married to two time World Series Champion and MVP, Major League baseball player, David Eckstein. Together they work with several charities including The Boys and Girls Club of America, Donate Life, Mid-America Transplant Services and The Ronald McDonald House. They also produced David's inspirational book for kids called Have Heart.
Photo: Provided by Jocelyn Knight
Chris Ryall is the Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing, a San Diego-based comic book and graphic novel publisher. In this role, he has been involved in the acquisition of such licenses as Transformers, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, True Blood, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many others. During his tenure thus far, IDW has grown to become the third-largest publisher in the United States at times, and has become the first new Premiere Publisher in two decades.
He is also an Eagle- and Eisner Award-nominated editor and comic book writer, having written over three dozen comics, including Shaun of the Dead, Masters of Horror, Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show, Zombies Vs. Robots (co-created with artist Ashley Wood), Doomed, Beowulf, Groom Lake (co-created with artist Ben Templesmith), and Weekly World News. Ryall has been a contributor to Fictional Frontiers since early 2010, and co-hosted the show once. He now has a bi-weekly segment entitled RyallTime.
In June 2009, his first prose book, Comic Books 101, was released by Impact Books; Ryall contributed a fiction tale to Classics Mutilated, a prose collection of genre mash-ups released in October 2010. His most recent comic book releases are a new Zombies Vs. Robots series, UnderCity, and Infestation: Outbreak, both released in spring 2011.
Zombies Vs. Robots was optioned by Sony Pictures for Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes in February 2011.
Chris previously served as Editor-in-Chief for filmmaker Kevin Smith’s entertainment Web portal for four years, was a corporate speechwriter for American Honda, a creative executive with Dick Clark Communications and an advertising copywriter. He lives in San Diego with his wife Julie and daughter Lucy.
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is the leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages.