After teaching Polish language, history of Polish Cinema, and scriptwriting at the renowned National Film School in Łódź and University of Łódź, Jolanta Lion came to Pittsburgh to teach Polish Language, Film and Culture at the University of Pittsburgh. Jolanta is currently the Assistant Director of the Humanities Center at CMU, Founder & Director of the annual CMU International “Faces” Film Festival, and professor of the Film Festival Course, which she created. The festival’s recent centerpieces, made possible through Jolanta’s efforts, included the former First Lady of Poland, Danuta Walesa, Director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), and Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing). Barry Paris, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Film Critic, wrote: “The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival is my annual favorite, due to the excellence of the choices by its director, Jolanta Lion, who deserves an Oscar in general.” No Oscar yet. Jolanta’s favorite films from this year’s season are Pause and My Friend the Polish Girl.
Delena Obermaier is a recent University of Pittsburgh graduate, where she received her B.A. in Film Studies & History. This is her second year at the CMU IFF, an experience she has greatly valued as she hopes to continue her career in film programming, exhibition, and curation. In addition to the festival, Delena is also Program Assistant at the Andy Warhol Museum. Originally from Chicago, she has a passion in particular for horror, cult, and trash film, with a focus on reception studies & representations of gender and race. As Programming Coordinator, she enjoys experiencing & sharing points of view that are often under or misrepresented in mainstream theaters. Her favorite film of the season is Border.
Peter Geyer is currently finishing his senior year studying Business and Film at Carnegie Mellon University while simultaneously in the first year of his Masters in Entertainment Industry Management. He is from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania (Taylor Swift’s hometown). All his life, he’s loved film; every step in a film’s creation interests him. So when he saw the opportunity to intern with the CMU IFF three years ago, he could not turn it down and he has been with it ever since. In his position as Head Student Coordinator, his creativity and professional skills are consistently challenged. Being exposed to all the unique films made him feel more love towards the art of filmmaking. And while thinking about this year’s theme, he has seen film play an even greater role in the discussion of gender in today’s world. He finds himself thinking about and discussing film every day, which is good because he hopes to combine his love of film with his studies of business as a career. Peter’s favorite film this season is Fugue.
Susie Lee is from Cerritos, California and graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.S. in Business Administration. Initially starting her college career as a pharmacy student, she changed paths to follow her love for the entertainment industry and the power it has to bring people together through storytelling. She is currently a first year graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in the Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) Program. Susie is a head coordinator for Liyana, which is also her favorite film this season.
Cynthia is an administrator at Einhorn Media Group, a small multimedia design firm in the South Side. One of her main roles with the festival this year is to help ensure a visual consistency in its marketing and promotional materials. Cynthia is moved by great storytelling in all forms. She is particularly inspired by a story’s ability to expand your perspective and to amplify voices that are often unheard. Cynthia’s favorite selection from this year’s season is Rafiki.
Mark is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Computer Science. As the Film Festival’s Web Developer, Mark ensures that the web pages are frequently updated and maintained to in accordance with the films and design language of the page. Outside of working on the film festival, Mark enjoys doing any front-end web development and watching action movies. This is his first time working at the festival. He is looking forward to participating in the film festival this year.
Karina is currently a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University, pursuing a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Finance. This is her first year on the IFF team as a development intern. Growing up, Karina has always loved music and storytelling. For her, film was the ideal intersection of her two interests. Karina is excited to be on the team this year because she gets the opportunity to learn more about different cultures and share her passion for film with the others. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the film and entertainment industry. Karina’s favorite films this season are The Chambermaid and Four Springs.
Jackie is a third-year design student at Carnegie Mellon University, and this is his second year with the festival. He enjoys participating in the festival because it brings students together from all around Pittsburgh and people from all around the world. This year, he designed the program booklet. He would like to point out that both typefaces used in the festival’s materials this year (Dala Moa and Graphik) are from independent type foundry Commercial Type, co-founded by CMU Design alum Christian Schwartz.
Sheril Christopher is a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Finance) and a minor in Global Systems and Management. From a young age, films have been an integral part of Sheril’s life. Growing up in an Indian household, she was exposed to various Indian films and grew an appreciation for films’ ability to share stories and connect people. Throughout the years, Sheril also grew a passion for learning about different languages and cultures. She joined the IFF team three years ago, hoping to combine her interest in films and cultures. Currently, she is member of the Development team and a head coordinator for Working Woman and Sofia. Sheril’s favorite film for this season is Sofia.
Harry Deng is currently in the first year of his Masters in Entertainment Industry Management program at Carnegie Mellon. He is from Guangzhou, China. After earning a degree in finance he decided to pursue his passion for film. Starting off as a programming intern, he was very excited to watch movies from all over the world and be involved in the creative process. Later on he was the Head Coordinator for the Short Film Competition where he was very excited to organize the event to celebrate and showcase Pittsburgh student filmmakers. Harry’s favorite film this season is Rafiki.
Jay Einhorn, a CMU alumnus, founded Einhorn Media Group (EMG) over 25 years ago and has since built up a firm that pulls in clients as diverse as BP Oil and US Steel. EMG is a Pittsburgh-based agency with strong roots in graphic design that has evolved to provide specialized services in corporate identity, print design, motion graphics, and web design. Jay leads the aesthetic direction and concept development of each and every project at EMG. He and his staff have partnered with the festival since its inception and have provided professional guidance in the creation of the festival’s identity and promotional materials, which set the language for the visual ‘face’ of each festival.
Becky is a senior at Carnegie Mellon pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science and art (painting) with a minor in mathematics. She is a member of the design team and worked on the poster, t-shirt, and film trailer for this year’s festival. Movies have always inspired her artistically and she has loved the challenge of representing this year’s powerful film selection through design. She is also head coordinator for Sofia, and admires this movie (as well as many others in the festival) for showing how people in other parts of the world persevere through adversity.
Dominick is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, pursuing a dual degree in Computer Science and Hispanic Languages and Literature. Even though he spends much of his time exploring his academic interests, he has always had an appreciation for film after participating in theater and working as a child actor. Dominick decided to join the IFF team after helping out with the festival last year. He welcomes and appreciates the broad perspective of films that are shown throughout the festival as they engage in contemporary topics that are not always highlighted in everyday life. After this semester, Dominick plans to graduate in the Fall and looks forward to traveling abroad to personally experience the unique perspectives offered by the festival. Dominick’s favorite film this year is Dogman.
Meijie is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in Design with minor in Media Design. She is very interested photography and films as both medium are interesting forms of symbols and metaphors. She has been on the IFF design team for two years because she loves the films in the festival and wants to use design to help bring the diverse international films to more people in the community. This year she worked on the design of postcards, theme image, and theme trailer. She especially loves the festival films this year because it really touches on gender, a very intimate topic for everyone and the whole society is still on the journey of exploring it. Her favorite films this year is Four Springs by Qingyi Lu and Obscuro Barroco by Evangelia Kranioti.
SiLang Huang is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh, pursuing the degree of BPhil of International and Area Studies, Politics & Philosophy, and Music. She has been passionate about filmmaking, especially documentary. With her academic background in social science and humanities, she has been trying to incorporate documentary filmmaking with ethnographic research to explore the broader social issues, especially those relate to neoliberalism, migration, and gender. Supported by faculties at the University of Pittsburgh, she gained the opportunity to make her first documentary film which explores the rural-urban migration, especially rural migrant women’s livelihood in China during the 2018 summer. As a programming intern at CMU IFF, she is one the head coordinators of the two Chinese independent films: Girls Always Happy & Four Springs. It is her first time to work in a film festival, and this has become an unforgettable experience to her as she is able to work with a team of film enthusiasts and explore great independent films in her last semester at Pittsburgh before she goes to graduate school in Toronto.
Gauri D. Joshi is a first year Master of Entertainment Industry Management student at Carnegie Mellon. Originally from Pittsburgh, Gauri graduated with a B.A in Economics from Allegheny College but ultimately decided that working in entertainment was her passion. She chose to join IFF to get more exposure to films from around the world. Gauri is the head coordinator for Blindspotting.
Zane Kodama is a current junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Linguistics and Asian studies. Last year he also studied abroad in Japan and is interested in working abroad after graduation. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, especially foreign films. Zane loves filmmaking because of how it can tell universally understood stories and can serve as an almost international language. He participated in the Programming committee and was one of the head coordinators for the festival sneak peek film Woman at War.
Zoe is a fourth-year student at Carnegie Mellon pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture. She is a member of the design team, and event coordination team worked on the film trailer and opening events for this year’s festival. She always found great minds in Independent movies. The movie narrative and lens conversion reflect the great logic and perception of directors, which makes her passionate about putting together the festival.
Joey Liu is currently in her first year of the Master of Entertainment industry Management program at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. She is from Guangzhou, China. Initially pursuing a Bachelor degree at UC Irvine majoring in Film and Media Studies, she decided to get further exposure to the entertainment industry. As part of the event coordination team, she coordinated the film festival events, as well as directing the screening event for the film Pause.
Sasly Ma is a first year Master student in Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She spent her undergrad years in Syracuse University. majoring in TV, Radio, and Film. She is excited to contribute her passion for film industry to IFF, and she loves all the lovely people in IFF.
Mohammed is a first year Masters student at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a major in Entertainment Industry Management. He is from the city of Kolkata, India, and has travelled halfway around the world to follow his passion and work in the live entertainment industry. As part of the IFF team, he assists with marketing and development activities. He believes that the film festival provides audiences with the opportunity to not only expand their knowledge on different cultures, beliefs, and customs, but also engage in thoughtful discussion that help us accept and understand why these differences exist. Film, and all art forms in general, is a great medium for entertainment as well as education; and the fact that this film festival combines these two aspects is what it makes it so special.
Maria is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University, pursuing a degree in Decision Science. Maria has always been interested in film, and decided to join the IFF team this year as a marketing and programming intern to learn about the logistics that go into planning a film festival. She considers being an immigrant, Latina, and growing up with three very different cultures, as integral aspects of her identity. Maria plans on doing a film internship abroad in Cape Town, South Africa this summer, and hopes to later apply to graduate school and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Maria’s favorite film this year is The Chambermaid.
Eesha Rashid, a lifelong fangirl aspires to work in film and television targeted towards youth and young adults. Inherently curious about the world she graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in International Affairs and Economics with a minor in History and Law and Public Policy. She is currently enrolled as a Master of Entertainment Management student at Carnegie Mellon University. Where she hopes to one day lift the stories of youth. As part of the film festival she is involved in multiple departments, however her primary role is as the Youth Outreach Coordinator at CMU IFF. Her favourite film of the festival is Rafiki.
David Shumway is the Director of the Humanities Center at CMU and founder of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. He is also a Professor of English and Literary and Cultural Studies at CMU. His special interests in American culture include film, popular music, and late nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction. He is the author of Michel Foucault, Creating American Civilization: A Genealogy of American Literature as an Academic Discipline, Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis, John Sayles, and Rock Star: The Making of Cultural Icons from Elvis to Springsteen. His next project will concern realism across media in the U. S. during the 20th century, and an investigation of status as distinct from class in contemporary society.
M. Shernell Smith is an Associate Director in the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion. She has been a sustaining presence with the film festival over the past 3 years with support of various project initiatives including the development and facilitation of the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival’s Weekend Course. The course has provided an outlet for the students to engage in culturally enriching intergroup dialogue through film analysis and critical reflection. Her favorite film this season is Rafiki.
Kristy Sun is a first year student of the Master of Entertainment Industry Management program at Carnegie Mellon University. She is interested in film distribution and marketing. This is her first year with IFF and she is very excited to work with all these passionate people in the team.
Thomas is a current junior at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a dual major in communications and film studies. Thomas has been heavily interested in film ever since high school and has been pursuing work in the industry for quite a while. As a member of the film festival team, Thomas has been able to learn more about the foreign film industry, media representation, and filmmaking in general. But more than that, Thomas loves the festival because it brings more original films to Pittsburgh. In an era of remakes, sequels, prequels, and adaptations it’s more important than ever for original films to get made. And it's just as important for people to support these films.
Luran Zhang is from China and graduated from Fordham University with a B.S. in Business Administration. She is now a first year master student at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a major in Entertainment Industry Management. She is the head coordinator for Pause, which is her favorite film this season.
Joy Zhao is pursuing her master degree of Entertainment Industry Management from Carnegie Mellon University. This is her very first year to be in Pittsburgh. The winter here is a little bit overwhelming, but her passion for film thrives. She has just come back from the 2019 SXSW, and will be at the Cannes Film festival this year. She wants to enjoy every moment of her life and explores the world as much as possible. She loves travelling, exploring and sharing. Talking with creative talents always gives her a new perspective of perceiving the world. The film she loves most of this season is 3 Faces directed by Jafar Panahi.