2016 Festival Team

Jolanta Lion

Jolanta Lion // Festival Director

Whether she was negotiating with everyone she met for possible funding, arguing with volunteers whether a minivan could pass for a “car service,” or fighting the universe for more hours in the day, Jolanta often found herself in conflict as she prepared for this year’s festival. Her passion for independent filmmaking spawned a new conflict this year - Jolanta versus Smart Phones - a case to win young audiences’ attention. For the 10th Anniversary, Jolanta launched the CMU IFF Youth Outreach Program, in which middle-school and high-school students will screen films with directors featured in this year’s lineup and foster their passion for independent cinema. She also launched the Weekend Intensive course- “Faces of Conflict,” in which students will use the festival films as a starting point for film and conflict analysis. Amidst all her conflicts, Jolanta is hoping she’ll be able to sit back and enjoy her favorite film The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls.

Alex Heald

Alex Heald // Assistant Director, Logistics Coordinator

As a current Master of Entertainment Industry Management student at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, Alex has found a way to pair his love for films and pop culture with his ability to effectively make a lot of spreadsheets. Originally hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, with several brief sojourns in New York City and Abu Dhabi, he has loved his time in Pittsburgh and looks forward to moving to Los Angeles this summer to continue his masters program. In his downtime, Alex enjoys running, exploring new cities via their food and beer selection, and writing about himself in the third person. His favorite film of the festival is Magical Girl (do NOT miss it), and his favorite of all time is a dead heat between Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Gattaca.

Quelcy Kogel

Quelcy Kogel // Assistant Director, Creative Director

Quelcy became one of the first “faces” when she worked closely with Jolanta on many creative aspects of the inaugural film festival- Faces of Democracy in 2006. After graduating from CMU with degrees in Architecture, Spanish and International Relations, Quelcy eventually found passion for work as a freelance food stylist, food blogger (www.withthegrains.com), interior designer, photographer and event designer. Even when she left the country for an extended period of time, Jolanta shipped her screeners for review. She returned for 10th Anniversary as a Creative Director. Her favorite films this year are The Here After and Magical Girl. See more of Quelcy’s creative work on her site www.quelcy.com

Cynthia Tam

Cynthia Tam // Assistant Director, Communications Coordinator

Cynthia has seen many faces during her time with the festival: Migration, Others, Media, and Work. She is moved by great storytelling in all forms, whether on the page, through dialogue, in podcasts, or, in the case of the festival, on the screen. She is currently an administrator at Einhorn Media Group. Conflict itself is a conflicting force in Cynthia’s life that both makes her want to stay in bed under the covers and conversely inspires her to get up and engage. She hopes you find yourself similarly moved after attending this year’s film events, especially her favorite selections: Coffin in the Mountain, The Here After, and Tales.

Twesha Mitra

Twesha Mitra // Webmaster Extraordinaire

Twesha, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics. She is excited to combine her technical and creative skills as she takes on the role of webmaster for the festival this year. She is looking forward to bringing Taj Mahal and Dreamcatcher to Pittsburgh. Outside of her academic interests, she trains in classical Indian Dance, mentors for Strong Women Strong Girls, runs half marathons, and dabbles in photography. Twesha hopes to travel the world one day and feed her wanderlust.

Zhaoyan (Ian) Ai

Zhaoyan (Ian) Ai // Webmaster Extraordinaire

Zhaoyan loves coding and exploring the world. Raised in a family of chemists in mainland China, he has been an exchange student in Singapore, obtained his Bachelor degree in Hong Kong and Master degree in US in chemistry (therefore he speaks Mandarin, Cantonese and English). Now Zhaoyan has jumped out of his comfort zone again to pursue a Master degree in Information Sciences at University of Pittsburgh. He is proud to demonstrate his zest in programming and bring his technical skills to support the festival this year.

Jayne Juffe

Jayne Juffe // CMU IFF Youth Outreach Program Intern

Jayne was always a film fan. Her mother raised her with a wide range of film tastes, and she couldn't be more grateful. She's a writer and loves to write about films. When her department head suggested an internship at the CMU International Film Festival, she knew she couldn't pass up the opportunity. Jayne loves watching films of every genre. Her favorite film this season is Taj Mahal.

Jewel Mensa

Jewel Mensah // Social Media Manager

Jewel is an avid music fan and can easily recommend a few good songs to add to your playlist. When not listening to music, he can be found behind the screen watching a film or the lens shooting for a new project. Before Jewel became a Master of Entertainment Industry Management student at Carnegie Mellon, he majored in Media Studies as an undergraduate at Pomona College, where he spent most of his time exploring critical theory, Foucault, topics of intimacy, and power relations in various permutations.

Chase Couture

Chase Couture // Logistics Coordinator

Chase Couture is a first-year Master of Entertainment Industry Management student in the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. His background in programming blockbuster and cult films for the Florida State University Student Life Cinema is what initially drew him to this festival. He is thrilled that this experience has exposed him to dozens of incredible international films and cannot wait to share these stories with you. His favorite film from the 2016 lineup is “A War”.

Julie Zhang

Julie Zhang // PR and Marketing Manager & Short Film Competition Coordinator

Julie Zhang, a native of Shanghai, China, contracted a terminal case of the movies when she saw The Lion King in 1995. Her current treatment includes pursuing a Master of Entertainment Industry Management degree at Carnegie Mellon University and being an aspiring writer on the side. She is notoriously bad at picking a favorite film among any category. But for this year’s festival, she would not mind watching Coffin in the Mountain a couple of times a day.

Nick Yuan

Nick Yuan // Short Film Competition Coordinator

From Chongqing China, a city famous for its hot weather and hot food, Nick is a food lover and always seeking different cuisines. He is also a detective fiction fan and horror movie lover. James Wan, David Lynch and Hitchcock are definitely his favorites. After graduating from Boston University dual degree in Film & Television and Economics, he moved to LA to digging more in the entertainment industry. By combining his love in art and business, Nick is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Vicky Peng

Vicky Peng // Short Film Competition Coordinator

Vicky was born and raised in central China and went to Beijing to study creative industry management. Her passion for film business flies her all they way from the other side of the world to the Steel City. She is currently pursuing a master degree of Entertainment Industry Management at CMU. Seeing herself as an explorer, Vicky loves the surprise and wonder in the real-world adventure as well as in the virtual journey with film characters. Her next phase of life will begin at Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Angie Li

Angie Li // Short Film Competition Coordinator

Angie was born and raised (and misses the food) in Shanghai, China. She majored in English and history as an undergrad, loved them so much that she switched to a completely new field, entertainment industry management at graduate level at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a frequent traveller and a train enthusiast. While a journey from Beijing to Finland on the Trans-Siberian Railway is her dream trip, she is still struggling, anticlimactically, with her driving license here in Pittsburgh.

Gabrielle Zara Bucci

Gabrielle Zara Bucci

Zara is a Stage/ Production Major in the School of Drama. She has worked and trained for several years in the realm of theatre in the field of Stage Management at such locations as the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center, Wicked- Broadway, and Cirque du Soleil’s KÁ in Las Vegas. She sports her outgoing and energetic vibe wherever she goes, as she has learned from a very young age that almost everyone has an inner freak. “We’re all bizarre, some of us are just good at hiding it,” is the great message she took away from her favorite movie, The Breakfast Club.

Evan Carson

Evan Carson

Evan is from Western Massachusetts where he often would attend screenings at Amherst Cinema a local independent theatre. His love for film has translated to artwork here at Carnegie Mellon and he hopes to direct both film and video in college and as a career. His favorite films is Taj Mahal due to its masterful cinematography and unique perspective on a hostage crisis.

Samuel Day

Samuel Day

Spacial experiences are what make Sam get up in the morning. Film, architecture, sculpture all included. As a kid, he was obsessed with drawing superheroes and walking city streets. It naturally became a ritual to go see off-beat international movies with his parents. (Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, MA is the secret spot). That long standing tradition is why he's apart of IFF: to help keep the amazing tradition of cinema-going alive and well. As an architecture major, Sam uses his design skills to help fuel the social media side of IFF events.

Keval Gala

Keval Gala

Keval is the kid who’s famous (read: infamous) for asking all the questions in class. He’s got a wide array of interests – debate, vegan cooking, sustainable development, glade skiing, photography, you name it – but when he matriculated (who uses that word?) in the College of Engineering at CMU, he found to his dismay that none of that helped him choose a major. So he’s currently double majoring and double minoring; we’ll see how that goes for him. When he’s not rereading Harry Potter or having a word named after him – “to keval” is to strike up a conversation with a random stranger – he’s involved in some facet or another of the film festival. A student of Hindi and French, he absolutely loves languages, which is why his favorite film this year is Taj Mahal.

Ariel Lee

Ariel Lee

Hailing from New Jersey, Ariel is a senior studying International Relations & Politics and French at Carnegie Mellon University. When she's not watching films, she can be found exploring new cities, experimenting with photography, and discovering specialty coffee shops. Her favorite film this year is Cartel Land.

Eliza Lo

Eliza Lo // Photographer

Spending her childhood in Shenzhen, China and Pasadena, California, Eliza Lo understands the benefits and conflicts of having a global perspective. And that is exactly what she loves the most about Carnegie University International Film Festival. She believes that, with the variety of international films on distinctive topics, the 10th CMU IFF can successful showcase the importance of seeing unique perspectives on controversial conflicts. A sophomore business and psychology student, Eliza is working with the fundraising and marketing committees as well as an event photographer. She is more than happy with the opportunities to apply both academic knowledge and artistic talents through IFF.

Neel Tiwary

Neel Tiwary

Neel Tiwary is currently a sophomore at CMU. He can often be found drinking Mountain Dew in excessive amounts. He is originally from California and hopes to end up back there after graduating. On campus, Neel dances for CMU Bhangra, a high-energy Indian folk dance team who are one of the most recognized collegiate teams on the circuit. His favorite movie ever is Shawshank Redemption, from the festival is 3.5 Minutes, 10 Bullets, and favorite film character is Lou Bloom, from Nightcrawler.

Mick Zomnir

Mick Zomnir // Fundraising

Mick was born in Pittsburgh and fell in love with films during his undergraduate studies in Boston, thanks to a screening of Woody Allen’s “Love and Death.” He is currently a graduate student in the CMU School of Computer Science, and in his spare time he enjoys playing squash, discovering new films, and worrying about when the sun will burn out and what that will do to the sunscreen market. His favorite directors include Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, Luis Buñuel, and Stanley Kubrick, and his favorite film in the festival this year is Hanna Polak’s “Something Better To Come.”

Yingran Zhao

Yingran Zhao

Studying Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University, Yingran is THE enthusiast about the entertainment world. Whether it is the moment when she is diving in the water or the moment when she is sweating on the mountain, the only thing she has ever thought about is how to have more fun with music and films. By working on the PR committee for the international film festival, she is achieving a fun life. She has always believed that everyone has the right to make life better, which probably is the reason for her favorite film in this season: Something Better To Come.

Special Mention

Jay Einhorn

Jay Einhorn, Creative Director of Einhorn Media Group

Jay Einhorn, a CMU alumnus, founded Einhorn Media Group (EMG) over 25 years ago and has since built up a firm that would pull 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 that set the language for the visual ‘face’ of each festival. www.einhornmediagroup.com

Max Harlynking

Max Harlynking // Festival Trailer Filmmaker

Max Harlynking is a Junior Information Systems major at Carnegie Mellon University with a passion for filmmaking and interactive media. Max is currently hard at work on his fifth short film and enjoys keeping himself much too busy with creative projects and extracurricular activities. In his spare time, Max also enjoys watching films, finding obscure music, and writing short stories and screenplays. Max wishes to continue getting inspired to learn about the world and create new and exciting things as often as possible.

Kyle Pattison

Kyle Pattison

Kyle is a graphic designer by trade, but most of the time, he prefers to ditch his shoes and don his other hat- that of urban farmer. In 2015, he founded Hazelwood Urban Farms and is working to convert vacant lots in one of Pittsburgh's food deserts into an organic farm. He’s also a passionate advocate for honeybees and sits on the board of Burgh Bees. When the sun goes down, Kyle can still occasionally be found illustrating and designing. His sketch became the barbed wire faces of conflict you see on the festival materials. www.kylepattisondesign.com

Chris Sprowls

Chris Sprowls

Special thanks to Christopher Sprowls, the talented face behind the camera, who made our portrait session such a blast! Check out his work, book him, and get yourself in front of the camera too! www.christophersprowls.com