About Our Speakers


Keynote Address: Frank Spotnitz, UCLA Alumnus

"Storytelling is not just about plotting. Once the audience engages with a character, they will construct their own narrative alongside yours - and in this internet-driven age, they will share their narrative with others. They might even prefer the plot they've imagined to yours! The only thing you as a storyteller can uniquely deliver to an audience is a satisfying emotional journey that tells them something about the world that they don't know - and makes them think."

Frank is the CEO of Big Light Productions, a London- and Paris-based production company, specialising in international television series, including drama, comedy and documentaries. Since founding Big Light in 2013, Frank has created and executive produced international shows, including the Emmy award-winning The Man in the High Castle, The Indian Detectivetwo series of RansomMedici: Masters of Florence and Hunted. He shares three Golden Globes for Best Dramatic Series and a Peabody Award for his work on The X-Files, and was Emmy-nominated both for writing and for Outstanding Drama Series. Frank divides his time between Big Light's London and Paris offices. 

He will share insights on the changing nature of television, as well as his personal journey from UCLA to CEO. 

Frank received his BA in English from UCLA in 1982 and subsequently his MFA from the American Film Institute. As an undergraduate at UCLA, he served as the Editor of the student newspaper The Daily Bruin and was a professional journalist prior to entering the world of film and television. He is also the proud father of a UCLA alumnus.

Matt DuncanGala Scholarship Donor Speaker: Matthieu Duncan, UCSB Alumnus

Matthieu "Matt" Duncan is the Chief Executive Officer of Natixis Asset Management, an investment management firm based in Paris, France. Matt began his career in the financial services industry at Goldman Sachs, where he held various roles within the equities division of the firm in New York, London, and Paris between 1990 and 2003. He has also held roles within the asset management sector in London, including Chief Operating Officer for Quilter Cheviot Limited and Head of Business Strategy for Newton Investment Management (a BNY Mellon company). A dual US and French citizen, Matt graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1987 with a BA in Business Economics (Magna Cum Laude) and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990. Matt is one of the founding donors of the UCSB Alumni UK Study Abroad Fund which has helped over 20 students study in the UK since its inception in 2013.

CristinaSanchezGonzalezGala Scholarship Recipient Speaker: Cristina Sanchez Gonzalez, UCI Student

Cristina Sanchez Gonzalez is a third year Political Science major at the University of California, Irvine. Given the current political climate in Britain, Cristina decided to participate on a year-long exchange at Queen Mary, University of London through the University of California Education Abroad Program.

A first-generation student, Cristina has funded her year abroad by working as a private tutor and being awarded five scholarships and grants: UCI grant, Cal grant, UCEAP Outside scholarship, Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Heartstone Housing Foundation.