Award-Winning Film Director

Tyler Pina | Digital Media Production | Class of 2014

Less than 10 years ago, Tyler Pina was working on films at Kent State. Today, he’s an award-winning director in Los Angeles.

Tyler founded his production company, Neon Flamingo Films in 2017, while he was still working full time producing science and technology-related content for The Verge in San Francisco. At The Verge, he worked on several high-profile projects with NASA, Aston Martin and Volkswagen.

A turning point came when he was able to reunite with several fellow Kent State graduates in San Francisco to direct and produce the short film “88 Cents.” The film tells the stories of inmates’ lives, post-incarceration, highlighting the difficulty of reintegrating into society after leaving the prison system. In creating the film, Tyler hoped to draw attention to an often-overlooked issue.

“I think there is power in filmmaking; we can offer audiences a glimpse into the lives of people that many might not understand. As we learn about these people, we can begin to empathize with them, change our opinions of them and treat them differently.”

Confirm Your Enrollment Digital Media Production Major

Over the course of a year-and-a-half from 2018-19, Tyler traveled the world with “88 Cents,” screening the short film at more than 70 international film festivals and winning 67 awards. While in France for the Cannes International Film Festival, widely regarded as one of the most prestigious festivals, Tyler decided it was time to make a move.

“While I was at the festival, I met a lot of really amazing Hollywood filmmakers and decided it was time for me to migrate south (to Los Angeles) from San Francisco so I could collaborate with them and work on some bigger-budget projects.”

In the past year-and-a-half since Tyler moved to LA, his company has produced several commercials and movie trailers. Currently, he is working on a feature film based on a true story and planning for a theater run. He also plans to release “88 Cents” on streaming platforms in 2020. 

He remains thankful for his Kent State experience.

“There are little things that I've learned from my classes that I still refer back to in my professional life. More importantly, it gave me experiences that have developed my leadership and filmmaking skills. I feel like I graduated not only with a degree, but also with four years of experience and a portfolio of work that was more diverse than many people at my age. That gave me the confidence to move across the country and pursue the work that I love.”

More Alumni

(View All)

  • Photographer, New York City

    Photographer, New York City

    After graduating from Kent State with her photojournalism degree, Brooke DiDonato packed her bags and moved to New York City — her “midwestern dream” — and has been growing her career as a freelance and gig-based photographer there ever since.

  • Senior Creative, RYOT Studios (NYC)

    Senior Creative, RYOT Studios (NYC)

    Isaac Versaw launched his career in advertising and visual communication design in New York City. At his job at RYOT, an immersive film studio that started by making social impact documentaries, his work is focused on advocacy and action.

  • Creative Director, Grad Student

    Creative Director, Grad Student

    Kent State alumnus Joseph Young believes that designers have an important role in creating positive change in communities. His drive to create positive change led him to further his education and pursue a Master of Arts degree in Visual Communication Design (VCD).With a master’s degree, Joseph hopes to gain an understanding of project management.