Special Guests

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Austin & Meredith Bragg


Brothers Austin and Meredith Bragg have spent years channeling their sibling rivalry into award-winning content. Most recently The Bragg Brothers wrote and directed the MPI Original comedic short A Piece of Cake starring Rich Sommer (Mad Men, GLOW), which was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and has gone on to win several awards, including Best Comedy and the Audience Choice Award in Comedy at the Oscar-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film. Previously, they sold their comedic web series, The Defenders of Stan, to Warner Bros. Television and co-wrote the pilot. In 2016 they won the HP Masters of Short Film competition at the Cannes Film Festival. As producers for Reason TV, their work has garnered three first place wins for Best Comedy at the Los Angeles Press Club Awards as well as a National Magazine Award nomination. Join the Bragg Brothers for a Q&A following the Opening Night screening of Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm. 

Lori Cardille


Lori Cardille is an award winning actress best known for her iconic role as Sarah Bowman in George Romero's, Day of the Dead. Sarah was considered the first strong female role in the horror genre. Her other credits include, a running role on The Edge of Night and Ryan's Hope. She appeared on Broadway with Jessica Tandy and Glenda Jackson. She also created the role of Rachael Fitzimmons in Craig Lucas’s play Reckless. It was during this play that George saw Lori and offered her the role of Sarah Bowman. Lori starred in the movie Parole along side Elen Barkin and James Naughton. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Lori also worked at Trinity Rep. Lori is the daughter of Pittsburgh’s Chilly Billy, Bill Cardille. Join Lori as she moderates the Q&A following Creepshow on Wednesday, November 16 at 7pm and introduces the Chiller Theater Block on Friday, November 18 at 9:45pm.

Ellen Doherty

Chief Creative Officer, Fred Rogers Productions

Ellen Doherty is Chief Creative Officer for Fred Rogers Productions, overseeing the creation of television and digital content for the company’s PBS KIDS series. She is the creator, head writer, and executive producer of the award-winning Through the Woods, a series about nature. Ellen also serves as an executive producer on FRP’s newest series Donkey Hodie and Alma’s Way, which both premiered on PBS KIDS in 2021. In 2018, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy® Award for Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like, the retrospective tribute to the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. An Emmy® Award-winning producer and writer with more than 20 years’ experience in children's media, Ellen began her career as an associate producer on the award-winning PBS show Reading Rainbow. She has a B.A. in Communications from Boston College. Join Ellen for a Q&A following the screening of Butterfly in the Sky on Sunday, November 13 at 1pm.

Darlène Dubuisson


Darlène Dubuisson received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2020. Her research interests and teaching span political and legal anthropology, activist and engaged anthropology, Black feminist anthropology, Black intellectual histories, migration and transnational studies, and speculative fiction and visual culture. Her work weaves together analyses of Black radicalism, feminism, social and political movements, imagination, migration and diaspora, and crises and futures. Her primary geographic focus is the Caribbean and Latin America. Join Darlène as she moderates the Q&A following the screening of Ludi on Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30pm.

Jessica Gurley

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jessica Gurley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and therapist with over a decade of mental health experience. Jessica is the Owner of Social Work Consulting and Counseling (SWCC) LLC which provides therapy, supervision, and consulting services for both individuals and organizations. In 2019 she was awarded with the Who’s Next award by The Include PGH who recognizes Pittsburgh’s First Responders and Helpers. Jessica recently launched a merch line that aims to normalize therapy, and reduce stigma and the suicide rate by promoting positive and influential messages that jumpstarts the conversation about mental health. In a nutshell, Jessica’s and SWCC’s mission is to H.E.L.P.: Heal, Enlighten, Liberate, and Plan with every person she serves. Join Jessica for a Q&A following My Sister Liv on Sunday, November 13 at 7pm.

Laura Heberton


Laura is a producer of award-winning, ground-breaking narrative feature and short films that have premiered at top festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, and Telluride. Projects she has worked on have received support numerous times from organizations such as SFFILM/KRF, IFP (now The Gotham), US in Progress Poland, Austin Film Society, Cinemart and Rooftop Films. She serves on a number of arts non-profit boards and has been on many festival juries. Join Laura for a Q&A following the screening of The Unknown Country on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:40pm.

Edson Jean


Edson Jean was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and raised in Delray Beach, Florida. Upon graduating high school, he moved to Miami to study theatre at New World School of the Arts, where he received his Bachelors in Fine Arts degree. Edson went on to write, direct and star in The Adventures of Edson Jean (2012), which scored an ABFF/HBO official selection. Join Edson for a Q&A following the screening of Ludi on Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30pm.

Kathy Kinsner


Kathy Kinsner is the senior manager of parent resources at ZERO TO THREE. She has 4 decades of experience as an educator and producer of nonfiction media for parents, teachers, and children. Her commitment to early literacy and educational equity is evident in projects that range from her Emmy-winning work as producer on the PBS series Reading Rainbow to the creation of a six-year college and careers program as director of curriculum and instruction at non-profit Roads to Success. At ZERO TO THREE, Kathy has developed a variety of parenting and grandparenting resources. She holds a master’s degree in education/reading from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in television, radio, and film from Syracuse University. She is a proud winner of the weekly New Yorker caption contest. Join Kathy for a Q&A following the screening of Butterfly in the Sky on Sunday, November 13 at 1pm.

Brandon Kramer


Brandon Kramer is a DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of MHP. Brandon directed THE FIRST STEP (Tribeca, AFI DOCS); CITY OF TREES (Full Frame, PBS, Netflix); and the Webby Award-winning documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH. Brandon won Best Director at the 2016 Chesapeake Film Festival and Indie Capital Awards and was a 2022 & 2015 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow. Brandon has directed over 30 short films commissioned by organizations including the AARP and US Institute of Peace. Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in film and cultural anthropology from Boston University. Join Brandon for a Q&A following the screening of The First Step on Saturday, November 12 at 4:30pm.

Lance Kramer


Lance Kramer is a DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of MHP. Lance produced THE FIRST STEP (Tribeca, AFI DOCS); CITY OF TREES (Full Frame, PBS, Netflix); and the Webby Award-winning documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH. Lance was selectedto the 2018 Sundance Creative Producers Summit and 2017 Impact Partners Documentary Producers Fellowship. Lance was awarded four Individual Arts Fellowships by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities between 2014-2022. In 2014, Lance received the DC Mayor’s Arts Award, the highest honor given to working artists in the city. Lance has served two terms as Board Member of Docs in Progress and has been an active member of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA) since 2016. Lance holds a bachelor’s degreein history and film from Dartmouth College. Join Lance for a Q&A following the screening of The First Step on Saturday, November 12 at 4:30pm.

Twila Liggett

Creator of Reading Rainbow

Dr. Twila C. Liggett is the Creator and Executive Producer of the outstanding PBS Children's TV series, Reading Rainbow which airedon PBS 1983-2009. Under her leadership, the series won over 160 awards including 26 national Emmys of which tenare in the Outstanding Children's Series category. Prior to creating the series, she was a teacher (music, and elementary classroom) and school administrator. She subsequently held the position of Nebraska’s Education Department state-wide reading consultant. In 2006, Dr. Liggett was recruited by Marymount Manhattan College as a Professor of Education specializing in literacy and the arts but retired in 2013 to devote her time to her latest project, Betty & Eddie’s Flying Food Adventures, a live action and animated multi-media experience for kids focused on healthy foods. Join Twila for a Q&A following the screening of Butterfly in the Sky on Sunday, November 13 at 1pm.

Lana Link


Lana Link, the Moving Picture Institute’s senior vice president, works with the executive staff to acquire, develop, and produce MPI Original Films. She also works with rising filmmakers in MPI’s talent development programs and runs MPI masterclasses with industry experts. Her various producer credits include narrative shorts A Piece of Cake (Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival 2020, Nominated for Best Narrative Short), Gringa, Melons, The Perfect One, Moving Violation, and Regulation; feature documentaries Incarcerating US, Los Últimos Frikis, and MPI’s forthcoming doc Project Home; short doc Mama Rwanda; and feature narrative Miss Virginia and Pinball. Join Lana for a Q&A following the Opening Night screening of Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm.

Kelvin Morris

Criminal Trial Lawyer

Kelvin L. Morris is a Criminal Trial Lawyer (www.kelvinmorrislaw.com) with experience successfully representing defendants in murder prosecutions, drug distribution prosecutions, and a host of others. Kelvin is a graduate of Radford University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Political Science. He received his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. To hone his skills as a Trial Lawyer, Kelvin attended the country’s premier trial advocacy program, the National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia. He currently serves on the boards of the following two organizations: Allegheny Lawyers Initiative for Justice and Pittsburgh Youth Leadership. Kelvin has been annually selected as a Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers since 2020. In 2021, Kelvin was selected to Ralph Watson’s Classic Events Salute to Legal Excellence. Join Kelvin for a Q&A following the screening of The First Step on Saturday, November 12 at 4:30pm.

Arcadi Palerm-Artis


As a child, Arcadi Palerm-Artis wanted to be a tourist when he grew up. Later, after watching spaghetti westerns on Betamax with his father, he decided he’d rather be a cowboy. Arcadi was born and raised in Mexico City. He has written and directed three narrative short films: Mantra, Background Sirens, and Under the Sun, which received awards and recognition in Mexico and internationally. He has also written for advertising campaigns and collaborated as a writer for various projects, most recently the acclaimed Netflix series Taco Chronicles (Season 1). Arcadi is making his feature film debut with Oliver & The Pool, which he co-wrote and directed, and has been honored with the Best Director award at Santa Fe Film Festival, World Fest-Houston, and Breck Film. Although he no longer dreams of being a cowboy, he has written several screenplays from his current home in Texas. Join Arcadi for a Q&A following the screening of Oliver & The Pool on Monday, November 14 at 7:30pm. 

Edward Rawson

Executive Director

Edward Rawson is Executive Director of Haiti Friends. Mr. Rawson has been connected to Haiti and the Friends since childhood through his mother and Friends founder, Lucy Rawson. His career has been defined by non-profit leadership, business development and fundraising in the US and Haiti. In 2010 Mr. Rawson designed and ran a UN OCHA funded cash for work project in Haiti modeled to offer work opportunities to 7,000 people who were displaced by the 2010 earthquake. Join Edward for a Q&A following the screening of Ludi on Tuesday, November 15 at 5:30pm.

Nick Reid


Nick Reid is a film producer and the Moving Picture Institute’s executive vice president. He is responsible for shaping and executing fundraising strategy, working on MPI Original Films productions, and serving as a member of the executive team. His executive producer credits include Pinball, Miss Virginia, A Piece of Cake (Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival 2020, Nominated for Best Narrative Short), Melons, The Perfect One, and MPI’s forthcoming Original feature documentary, Project Home. Nick is currently executive producing MPI’s forthcoming narrative features, Freedom Hair and Kemba. Join Nick for a Q&A following the Opening Night screening of Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm.

Tom Savini

Special FX Artist

Tom Savini is primarily known for his groundbreaking work in the field of special make-up effects. He is also an actor, stunt performer, and film director. Tom has created makeup and special effects for many films directed by George A. Romero, including MartinDawn of the DeadDay of the DeadCreepshow, and Monkey Shines, and for many other cult classics including Friday the 13thManiac, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Tom directed Night of the Living Dead, the 1990 remake of Romero's 1968 Night of the Living Dead, and the TV shows Tales from the Darkside and The Theatre Bizarre. As an actor and stuntman, he has appeared in films such as MartinDawn of the DeadKnightridersFrom Dusk till DawnPlanet TerrorMacheteDjango Unchained, and Machete KillsJoin Tom for a Q&A following Creepshow on Wednesday, November 16 at 7pm. And also again in the Evolution of Genre Film/TV Panel and the Magic of Special FX Workshop on Friday, November 18.

Doree Simon


Doree Simon is a Pittsburgh-based director and producer whose films cover social impact topics ranging from mental health and women's empowerment to President Obama's first campaign trail. In 2013, she co-directed the feature documentary 99%: THE OCCUPY WALL STREET COLLABORATIVE FILM, which competed at the Sundance Film Festival. Her short documentary IN HER SHOES: INDIA won the 2020 Webby Award for Diversity and Inclusion Video. Doree is currently the director of production at Matador Network, an award-winning global media brand. An NYU alum, Doree’s other short documentary works have screened at festivals including Tribeca and Cannes, and she has produced feature and short documentaries for Marvel and ESPN. She is currently directing a feature documentary on the stigma of substance use and the loss of her brother to a fentanyl overdose. Join Doree for a Q&A following My Sister Liv on Sunday, November 13 at 7pm.