Guests

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Bre Blair

Actor - Swamp Lion

Bre Blair is an actress and producer with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Along with her current role on hit CBS drama S.W.A.T, prior television credits include NarcosShamelessFlakedThe UnitStation 19 and as the female lead in Game of SilenceNotable film credits include Last Vegas opposite Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro and her leading role in The Babysitters Club, and Universal Studios will be releasing her new feature film Two Yellow Lines later this yearBre also likes to share her talents in theatre, recently sharing the stage with actor and playwright Scott Caan in This Isn’t 40 and with Melanie Griffith in No Way Around But Through. Bre will appear in the Q&A discussion following the November 12th screening of Swamp Lion. 

Day Bracey

Q&A Guest - One Pint at a Time

Day Bracey is a comedian, producer, and podcaster. He is the co-host of the award-winning Drinking Partners podcast & comedy series, founder of the Barrel & Flow Fest, and friend to ales near and far. Day will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of One Pint at a Time. 

Teresa Conn

Q&A Guest - Open Field

Teresa Conn is co-owner and coach of the Pittsburgh Passion, along with co-owner NFL Hall of Famer, Franco Harris. The Pittsburgh Passion was the first women’s tackle football franchise to broadcast their games on a major TV network and to be featured on ESPN and in Sports Illustrated. Teresa will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Open Field

P.J. Gaynard

Director of Photography - Cyril

P.J. Gaynard is a Pittsburgh-based filmmaker, educator, and showman. He creates material as Goat Milk Fudge Productions, along with help from many other filmmakers. Along with directing and producing work, P.J. is an accomplished director of photography whose work has been displayed internationally in theaters and on-demand. He was ranked #23 in the book The Top 100 Indie Filmmakers in The World Part II. He has a BFA in Film, Video, and Animation from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MA in Humanities/Humanistic Studies from CalState Northridge. He is a member of IBEW 5, IATSE 489, and an honorably withdrawn member of IATSE 728. P.J. will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Cyril. 

Sami Grisafe

Film Subject - Open Field

Sami Grisafe became the first female in California to play Quarterback in a men’s Varsity DI high school football game, captained Team USA to 3 World Championships, and was named World MVP twice. Sami’s roots as a trailblazing female athlete and dynamic performer have merged. In collaboration with producers KOIL and Eren Cannata (Demi Lovato, Andra Day), Grisafe performed and co-wrote all of the songs on the Open Field Soundtrack. The soundtrack is soaked in empowerment with auto-biographical lyrics, live-game audio, driving beats, and anthemic melodies. Tracks like these are often paired with high-stakes, adrenaline-laced action, but rarely by a gritty female vocal, and never by the athlete that’s lived them. Sami has garnered 5 Grammy Pre-Nominations, performed an acoustic version of her original song, Key of Us, on an episode of Showtime’s Original Series, Work in Progress, was named Chicago Music Awards Rock Entertainer of the Year, and was awarded Action ICON’s Dare 2 Be Different Award. Sami will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Open Field. 

Lisa Horton

Q&A Guest - Open Field

Lisa Horton led the Passion to 2 National Championships and 6 Division Titles over the course of 15 All-Star seasons at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Passion. She has been named League MVP 3 times in her career. In 2017, Horton was selected for the Women's U.S. National Tackle Football team which won the Gold medal in Langley, B.C. Lisa will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Open Field. 

Zora Iman Crews

Co-Director - The Daphne Project

Zora Iman Crews is an Atlanta born, New York City raised actress and writer. She is a proud graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and Syracuse University’s Drama/Acting programs. Last May, she graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, with an MFA in Writing. Favorite past acting credits include The Bacchae at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Richard III at Shakespeare’s Globe of London, and featured extra work on the Netflix Series Orange Is The New Black. Up next for her is starring in the original horror short Drawing From Life, written and directed by Amanda Sonnenschein. Zora will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Daphne Project. 

Leslie J. Koren

Director - Now Return Us to Normal

Leslie J. Koren is a filmmaker and artist whose work has been exhibited at venues such as the Wexner Studio Film/Video Residency, UnionDocs, Hamptons Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, IFC’s Split Screens, Cleveland International Film Festival to name a few, and distributed through Tribeca Film Institute’s Reframe Collection. She was the recipient of a residency and post-production fellowship from the Wexner Center for the Arts, in Columbus, Ohio for Now Return Us to Normal. She has worked in film and television production at PBS and A&E Networks and distributed a comedy web series on the festival circuit. She is the recipient of several awards including the Philadelphia Fellowship to the Flaherty Film Seminar and the Harry Friedberg Film Grant through the Philadelphia Psychoanalysis Foundation that fosters significant films highlighting psychoanalytic insights. Leslie will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Now Return Us to Normal. 

Mark Knobil

Director of Photography - The Bread, My Sweet

Mark Knobil is a Cinematographer & Director of Photography. Mark shot his first National Geographic Special, Bali: Masterpiece of the Gods in 1992. That led to a whole world of broadcast documentaries for National Geographic, PBS, BBC, and The Discovery Channel in locations such as Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Peru, Egypt, Japan, Kazakhstan, Bali, Pittsburgh, and Tanzania. He also shoots commercials and dramatic programs. Mark will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Bread, My Sweet. 

Magnus Kristiansen

Producer - Swamp Lion

Magnus Kristiansen has worked with media and tech-startups in Silicon Valley for 7+ years, project managing marketing campaigns for Disney/Marvel's Avengers, Sony Pictures' One Direction - The Movie and Adidas feat. Justin Bieber. Kristiansen runs the production company 20/20 Pictures out of Oslo, Norway. He has produced three feature films, The Comet (“Best Sci-Fi” Rhode Island FF, Austin Film Festival 2017) and As I Fall (Special Jury Award, Black Nights FF 2018 and 4 Amanda Award –the Norwegian Oscar- nominations). Magnus will appear in the Q&A discussion following the November 12th screening of Swamp Lion. 

Kathy Kuras

Director - Open Field

Kathy Kuras doubles as an independent filmmaker and long-time leader with the Y, pioneering the first video storytelling production department for the YMCA national office. In 2011, Kathy co-founded Vanguard Muse, an independent music and film company, with Sami Grisafe. Vanguard Muse’s first studio album, Atlantis, received 6 Grammy pre-nominations. In 2021, Kathy received the Breaking Barriers Award from the Women’s Football Alliance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium for her work on her first feature documentary film, Open Field, which premiered at the Austin Film Festival in 2020 and won the Best Documentary Audience Award at the Riverside International Film Festival in 2021. Kathy resides in Austin, TX, where she is the President & CEO of the YMCA of Austin. Kathy will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Open Field. 

Diana Little

Film Preservationist - The Bread, My Sweet

Diana Little has served as Head of Film Preservation at The MediaPreserve since 2010. Diana has helped to preserve media collections found in museums, university libraries, historical societies, Hollywood studios, private collections, and corporate archives, and she takes pleasure in knowing that her work contributes to greater access to the cultural heritage found in these institutions. Diana consults for the NYWiFT Women’s Film Preservation Fund and is a veteran Home Movie Day host. She is a graduate of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman Museum and holds a B.A. From Vassar College. Diana will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Bread, My Sweet. 

Melissa Martin

Writer/Director - The Bread, My Sweet

Melissa Martin is the writer and director of The Bread, My Sweet, a little film made long ago by a bunch of wonderful and talented nuts. Martin is deeply grateful for the work and dedication of them all. She is especially indebted to Adrienne Wehr and the family of Susan Hartford without whom this new version of the film would not exist. The film's beautiful score is Susan Hartford’s; it remains an ongoing reminder of her musical gifts, her reach toward perfection, and her sweet humanity. Melissa will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Bread, My Sweet. 

Niels Mueller

Director - Small Town Wisconsin

Niels Mueller is an award-winning writer and director from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose films have premiered to great acclaim at the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Tadpole (Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Stanford), which Niels co-wrote, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and The Assassination of Richard Nixon (Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle), which Niels co-wrote and directed, had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and its North American premiere at TIFF. Niels is also an accomplished show-creator, writer and producer of network television, including the CBS series The Defenders (Jim Belushi, Jerry O'Connell). Niels will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Small Town Wisconsin

Andrew Paul

Director - Cyril

Andrew Paul is the founder and producing director of Kinetic Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, where he has directed many plays. He previously co-founded the acclaimed Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (PICT) and served as the company's producing artistic director from 1996 to 2013.  Under his leadership, PICT produced more than a hundred plays, festivals devoted to the plays of Samuel Beckett, John Millington Synge, Harold Pinter, and Anton Chekhov, and two successful international tours. Andrew’s production of Three Days in the Country received its West Coast premiere at the Antaeus Theatre (L.A. Times Critics Pick) in 2017, and he has directed many acclaimed productions in Las Vegas. Cyril is Andrew's first feature film. Andrew will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Cyril. 

Mark Clayton Southers

Writer - Cyril

Mark Clayton Southers and his family reside in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District. He is an award-winning playwright, stage director, scenic designer, photographer and theatrical producer. He is the founder and producing Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company where he has produced well over 160 full-length and one-act plays, including August Wilson’s complete 10-play Pittsburgh Century Cycle. He has written over 20 full-length and one-act plays including Miss Julie, Clarissa and John which ran at the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival and had a three-week run in 2017 at Scotland’s prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Mark will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Cyril. 

Robert Strauss

Film Preservationist - The Bread, My Sweet

Robert Strauss is VP of Preservation Technologies. Robert also developed/manages The MediaPreserve, an audiovisual laboratory devoted to conversion of motion-picture film, grooved or magnetic audio formats, and videotape from analog to digital files. The MediaPreserve produces archival masters, edit masters, streaming files, and metadata for museums, libraries, archives, and industry. Robert will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Bread, My Sweet. 

David Sullivan

Actor - Small Town Wisconsin

David Sullivan began his acting career in 2004 in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Primer. Since then, David has forged a highly successful feature film and television career, being a series regular most recently in The Wilds for Amazon Prime. He’s recurring on a number of others such as Goliath with Billy Bob Thornton, the HBO series Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams, and was a regular in the acclaimed Netflix series Flaked alongside Will Arnett. In addition to Small Town Wisconsin, he has two other films: Monuments and The Big Bend, both winning several awards this festival season. David will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Small Town Wisconsin.

Alec Tibaldi

Co-Director - The Daphne Project

Alec Tibaldi was born in Australia and has lived in Rome, New York and Los Angeles. He attended the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York and has studied at Stella Adler Studios and The Lee Strasberg Institute. His feature film directorial debut, Spiral Farm, premiered in narrative competition at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2019 and had it's European Premiere at Taormina Film Festival in Italy, where it won the grand jury prize. Alec’s short films have played at film festivals around the world, including the Oscar Qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival. Alec will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Daphne Project.  

Buzzy Torek

Q&A Guest - One Pint at a Time

Buzzy Torek is an audio engineer, producer and founder of Epicast Network, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. Buzzy primarily focuses on podcast engineering, ensuring his client's podcasts exceed industry standards. Buzzy is also a photographer and has been published in Munchies, Vice, Craft Pittsburgh, and more. Buzzy champions for diversity in his many industries, including the food and beverage industry, with a concentration on craft beer. One result of this focus is producing the award-winning Drinking Partners Podcast. On the weekends, you can find Buzzy DJing or photographing at various venues throughout Pittsburgh. Buzzy will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening ofOne Pint at a Time. 

Dr. Cyril H. Wecht

Film Inspiration - Cyril

Cyril H. Wecht received his M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh and his J.D. Degree from the University of Maryland. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology, the American Board of Disaster Medicine, and the American Board of Legal Medicine. Dr. Wecht is actively involved as a medical-legal and forensic science consultant, author, and lecturer, and was the elected Coroner of Allegheny County for 20 years. He has performed approximately 21,000 autopsies and reviewed or been consulted on approximately 40,000 additional post-mortem examinations, including cases in several foreign countries. Dr. Wecht holds faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne and Carlow Universities. He is the author or co-author of more than 620 professional publications, editor or co-editor of 46 books, and a frequent guest on numerous national TV and radio shows. Cyril will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of Cyril.

Adrienne Wehr

Producer - The Bread, My Sweet

Adrienne Wehr served as producer/performer for The Bread, My Sweet. She is ever grateful to Melissa Martin for the invitation to embark upon this indie adventure; all those who said “yes” along the way and brought their funding, skills and vision forth; the audiences who said “yes” and came back, and back, and back again; and those who said “yes” in recent times including Sandra Schulberg of IndieCollect, the allies of Bread20, Bob Strauss and Diana Little of The MediaPreserve, Matt & Chelsea Hartford and the entire Hartford family. We honor our beloved colleague and friend Susan Hartford with this special screening. With her impeccable musical touch she showed us exactly how music and sound serve as a vital character within a film. As your music resounds in the theatre once again, we bow to you dear Susan Harger Hartford, for sharing your gifts so generously. Your light ever shines. Adrienne will appear in the Q&A discussion following the screening of The Bread, My Sweet. 

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