Born in Philadelphia, educated in Boston, and trained in Los Angeles, Derek J. Pastuszek is an award-winning filmmaker whose stories live on the border between the literary and the cinematic. He holds a BS in Film & Television and a BA in English Literature (from Boston University, 2012); and a Master of Fine Arts degree (from the American Film Institute Conservatory, 2015). He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. In 2013, Pastuszek began his studies at the AFI Conservatory, where he developed, workshopped, and completed several feature scripts, TV pilots, and web series – which have placed highly in a number of industry screenwriting competitions -- and also penned an award-winning 2015 AFI Thesis film, The Duke: Based on the Memoir ‘I’m The Duke’ by J.P. Duke, which won acclaim at a number of international film festivals. In 2016, his first film as writer and director, [solitary], a narrative short film exploring one prison inmate’s psychological descent while being held in solitary confinement, premiered and has been playing in festivals across the map as well -- winning numerous awards on its journey, including Grand Prize at the Cine Gear Expo Film Series Competition and Grand Prize at the March on Washington Film Festival (2016). In addition to working as a reader for multiple production companies, Pastuszek is currently developing projects for both film and television as well as directing music videos for various bands/labels in Los Angeles. He recently earned his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that he has dedicated himself to practicing every day.