Crew 2017

VTFF2017 Crew

Jerry White Jr. | Festival Director & Programmer

Jerry got his start making home movies as a teenager in the suburbs of Metro Detroit. His ’90s public access TV show, “30 Minutes of Madness”, spawned a feature documentary that received rave reviews and extensive coverage in MovieMaker Magazine, Hollywood Reporter, and dozens of other major media outlets before getting picked up by STARZ. After study & work stints in Germany and Japan, Jerry earned his M.F.A. in Film & Television Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2013. As an actor, director, and producer, he has screened films at over a hundred film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards as well as securing international distribution. Since 2015, he’s been a programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival, served as a juror for FilmQuest and the Oak Cliff Film Festival in 2016, and added programming duties for FilmQuest in 2017. Jerry founded the Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival to help promote unconventional narrative filmmaking and bring progressive and eclectic voices together. His other passion projects include making music, writing weird fiction, and lucid daydreaming. | |

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Brazil (1985) Directed by Terry Gilliam
I love so much about this movie. The performances, the look of it—how it confounds expectations of the hero’s journey and has a damsel in distress that’s far tougher and more resourceful than man who (literally) dreams of rescuing her. It is so alive and full of ideas that you get the sense Gilliam thought this might be the last movie he’d ever make, so best make it count. The cast is incredible. Jonathan Pryce does so much with a protagonist who is rather unexceptional and only dimly aware that he’s been an unwitting career villain; a functionary of a cruel system. “Brazil” rewards multiple viewings and many of the supporting characters seem to be starring in tandem movies of their own (DeNiro!). Michael Palin as the cheerful face of absurd fascism is both funny and horrifying. Like many of the characters in this film, he proves that sometimes the most terrible thing you can possibly do is your job well.

Alana Carlson | Art Coordinator

Alana is a bunny rabbit that’s been hanging around the periphery of the Vidlings & Tapeheads crew for a number of years. She adores vegetables, grains and fruits and has recently expanded her diet to include “cat food” (fish). She keeps her warren tidy and her hair long. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts (2003, Concentration: Painting) hails from Kendall College of Art & Design, which is a good school if you’re into that kind of thing. 

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: True Stories (1986) Directed by David Byrne
David Byrne acts as host/narrator to an interwoven series of tales inspired by tabloid headlines and set in fictional Virgil, Texas as they prepare for their “Celebration of Special-Ness.” Combining musical, art and comedy genres, this film is full of oddly delivered asides from Byrne, as well as quirky, out-there, yet somehow still relatable dialogue from the rest of the cast (including Spalding Gray, John Goodman, and Swoosie Kurtz). Plus, it’s got a great soundtrack!

Andy Menko | Sponsorship & Media Coordinator

Andy spends his days editing videos and writing computer programs. He graduated from The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan in 2005 and co-founded the Metro Shorts Film Festival that same year. In his spare time, Andy enjoys playing classic and modern video games, watching movies, and spending time with his wife and three kids.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Pi (1998) Directed by Darren Aronofsky
“Pi” was unlike anything I’d seen when it came out. Low-budget, but it didn’t feel like it. Gritty black and white without it coming off like a gimmick. And a great soundtrack! Bold framing choices and extreme angles centering around the main character force you to follow his descent into madness and self-discovery.

Frank Stephens | Music Coordinator

Frank is a musician who’s spent the past thirteen years working in the fringes of the Detroit music scene. He’s played with a wide variety of bands including Diamond Hens, Jura, Pthalo Sky, and Pinkeye among many others.  As well as performing, Frank was a key organizer for the 2011 and 2013 Axis Mundi festivals, each involving over a dozen performing musical acts and visual artists, and helped curate two of the ambient/space rock oriented Sonic Lullaby festivals. He is currently studying music production and is a fan of retro gaming, watching Criterion Collection films, and spending time with his girlfriend and their cats.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Rejected (2000) Directed by Don Hertzfeldt
What starts out as an irreverent joke for creatives used to having to curtail their tastes to working with the commercial market quickly descends into a surreal nightmare. This is infinitely quotable and filled with hilarious non-sequiturs, while presenting a underlying warning to those who hide much of their own personalities to fit into an unrealistic ideology: let the crazy out or the crazy will get you.

Claire S. Callow | Programmer

Claire graduated summa cum laude from the Wayne State University Film Studies program in 1998. An avid and self-described movie freak, her favorite genre is sci-fi. Favorite directors are P.T. Anderson, Jane Campion, and Howard Hawks, but she’s more likely to be found binge-watching “The Mindy Project” or “Star Trek” reruns. Her senior thesis title was “The Monstrous Mother,” exploring all manner of mama in sci-fi films. This has been very fitting and helpful in her current career as a stay-at-home mother of two.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Moon (2009) Directed by Duncan Jones
Jones’ “Moon” presents a dark and austere view of space with moralistic questions and a deeply affecting, emotional and humorous performance by Sam Rockwell. A modern sci-fi classic, it examines themes of isolation, technology, and bureaucracy.

Diana Chao | Programmer

Diana is a Taiwanese filmmaker, who earned her BA in English Literature & Linguistics from National Chengchi University & MFA in Film Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts by concentrating in writing & directing. In 2012, she directed a US-China collaboration feature “Finding Mr. Right in NYC.” In 2014, she worked with the “Kung Fu Panda 3” team as interpreter at Dreamworks. Dedicated to independent filmmaking, she joined the team of the Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival as their programmer. “The Restoration” and “Match” are her first two independent shorts after graduation. Currently, she’s developing her first two features “Record” and “The Man With the Compound Eyes” with Each Other Films, 120E Films and Sequoia Entertainment.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: 3-Iron (2004) Directed by Kim Ki-duk
A young drifter and a girl he rescued in his journey wander from one and another empty houses to fill them with love and life. Compared to the silent couple—not a single word is exchanged between the two of them throughout the whole film—everyone else around them is loud, argumentative and talkative without much meaning expressed. It’s an absolutely cinematic and poetic piece that explores the relationship between silence and voice, home and dwelling, and more importantly, between emptiness and existence. Oh, by the way, this amazing film was shot in 13 days. 

Summre Garber | Programmer

Summre is a producer and programmer of films. Besides producing four short films, Summre was the Director of Operations at Slamdance for four years until 2013 when she became the Co-Captain of the Documentary Programming Committee and has maintained that role ever since. Currently, Summre is also a Senior Programmer for the Bentonville Film Festival for the second year in a row. She is happy to let anyone know who asks that in 2016 she watched over 500 film festival submissions. Summre received an MA in Film Theory from San Francisco State University.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: The Wolfpack (2015) Directed by Crystal Moselle
Six brothers spend their entire lives in a small Lower East Side apartment, learning everything they know about the world through movies. Their passion for film motivates them to shoot recreations of their favorite scenes with exquisite detail to acting, shooting, art design and costumes. A viewer may often not be able to distinguish one brother from another, but it ultimately doesn’t make a difference. This story never gets bogged down by the details and facts. None of that matters in the search for a more “ecstatic truth” (as Herzog would say), in this case that the power of film and art can be a savior for many, despite the conditions they come from, and a true catalyst for change in the world.

Diane Hodson | Programmer

Diane is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and educator. Her work has screened at festivals around the globe, including SXSW, Hamptons International, and DokuFest. She was recently a contributing producer on the hit podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, and teaches filmmaking and storytelling at New York University and the Jacob Burns Film Center.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: The Dazzling Light of Sunset (2016) Directed by Salomé Jashi
Highlighting the absurd and the poetic through static wide shots and an eye for beautiful compositions, Salomé Jashi invites viewers into her native country of Georgia to question the very nature of what it means to film and be filmed.

Lo Lankford | Programmer

Lo is a Southern native, NYU film grad and current L.A. dweller. An early graduate of “The Big 3” (Hearst – Cosmopolitan, Time Inc. – Entertainment Weekly, Conde Nast – Jane) she has also written, produced and edited for NBC, Paste Magazine, MTV and several others. Lo has traveled all over the world covering film festivals as a critic and is a screener for AFI and SXSW.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Un Chien Andalou (1929) Directed by Luis Buñuel
This early film-era silent surrealist film is one snobby pick, I know, but it’s a favorite amongst many cinema studies students for good reason. A collaboration between celebrated Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dali, it was Buñuel’s first film and ran for eight months in Paris upon its release. Picasso was at the premiere! With no conventional plot, the chronology is disjointed, jumping from “once upon a time” to “eight years later” without events or characters changing much. It uses dream logic — or Freudian free association, if you please. 17 minutes of black and white art house pleasure!

Geoff Marschall | Programmer

Geoff is a freelance cinematographer currently teaching cinematography and screenwriting at United International College in China. Originally from Pennsylvania, he received his BA in Film from Vassar College and MFA in Film Production from USC. He has shot films, music videos, and documentaries all over the world. His most recent project is a documentary about aboriginal groups in Taiwan.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims (2005) Directed by Kankurô Kudô
A bizarre road film following a gay couple in Edo period Japan on their quest to get clean from heroin. They encounter strange samurai, unusual animals, and even death as they travel across Japan. Anachronistic cultural references abound in this comedy ending with a beautiful message about love.

Sarey Martin | Programmer

Sarey began her career with assistant gigs at Maverick Films and E! Entertainment, before beginning a decade-long partnership at boutique management firm Spectacle Entertainment Group. At SEG, she primarily oversaw the careers of various rock stars, and became right-hand to producer/manager Andy Gould and long-time client, Rob Zombie. She amicably departed Spectacle in 2016 to pursue her own writing and producing projects.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) Directed by Terry Gilliam
The third in Gilliam’s “Imagination Trilogy” is a delightful telling of The Baron’s fantastical adventures, wherein his only real enemy is old-age and Death itself. Whether the tales are true matters not, for their power and meaning prevails!

Parisa Rezvani | Programmer

Parisa is a DIT and Colorist for commercials, TV shows, and films, based in Los Angeles, CA. In her spare time, she explores and creates projects as a Visual Anthropologist. But really, in a majority of her spare time, she is a television/film addict, who loves and is inspired by all forms and structures of audio/visual storytelling.

Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Sans Soleil (1983) Directed by Chris Marker
Chris Marker in this “documentary” meditatively plays with the concept of memory as un/real, and as personal perception compounded by/to social consciousness. Layering multicultural imagery with a soft feminine narration, he gently asks his audience to rethink time and place as shaped from recollection.

Millie Ho | VTFF2017 Program Artist

Millie Ho is a writer and illustrator. She draws your dark side at Creepify Me and makes nice cat things at feel fine feline. When it comes to art, Millie is intrigued by contradictory emotions and aesthetic juxtapositions. By playing with contrasts in her illustrations, she hopes to capture all facets of an idea and create maximum emotional impact. She lives on the web at and tweets @millie_ho. | |

Favourite Unconventional Narrative Film: Tarnation (2003) Directed by Jonathan Caouette
“Tarnation” is part home movie, part documentary of mental illness, sexuality, abuse, and drug addiction, and a whole lot of experimentation (both technically and personally). Famously costing $218 to make and compiled mostly of Super-8 footage taken by Jonathan Caouette over two decades, “Tarnation” is a gut-wrenching and often moving examination of a troubled mother-son relationship and a young man’s recovery from trauma through his love of film.

Antonia de Barros | Juror

Antonia is a filmmaker based in LA. She studied at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts Film & Television grad program then transitioned into her career in post-production on projects such as Star Trek Beyond and How To Be Single. She is currently working as an Assistant VFX Editor on the Netflix drama Stranger Things.

Andrea Eis | Juror

Andrea Eis is an artist working in film, photography and works on fabric. She has shown her work in France, China, Greece, Hungary, Scotland and Sweden, as well as around the United States. Andrea has her MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art; BFA in photography/film/video from Minneapolis College of Art and Design; and BA in classics and anthropology from Beloit College. She is Professor and Director of Cinema Studies at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.
Andrea Eis Art

Calder Greenwood | Juror

Calder has been making art his whole life, in various mediums: narrative film, music videos, shorts, street art, cardboard statues, halloween costumes, sets and props. He’s a director, writer, production designer, propmaker, set builder, model maker, and VFX artist. Calder lives in downtown Los Angeles with his guard dog, A1334462, among his many creations.
Asobi Productions

Meera Menon | Juror

Meera Menon is a writer, director, and editor.  In 2013, her feature directorial debut, Farah Goes Bang, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; as the film’s co-writer/director, Meera was awarded the inaugural Nora Ephron Prize for a groundbreaking woman filmmaker by Tribeca and Vogue. That year, she was also showcased as one of Glamour Magazine’s “35 women under 35 running Hollywood.”  She was selected to be a fellow at 20th Century Fox’s Global Directors Initiative. Her second feature, a female driven Wall Street drama titled Equity, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Sony Pictures Classics.

She received her BA in English and Art History from Columbia University, and her MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Meera’s father, Vijayan Menon, is a film producer and founder of Tara Arts, which has served as a cultural ambassador to members of the Indian diaspora for over thirty years, showcasing various musical and cinema artists from South India. As a result, Meera grew up in the South Asian film industry and won a national television award in India for her performance on the hit TV show “American Dreams” when she was 18. In addition to her filmmaking career, Meera has worked as a curator for contemporary film and video art festivals in Paris, Miami, and New York; in 2008, she curated an exhibition of over 100 independent artists at New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel. 

She works and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, cinematographer Paul Gleason, under the commercial banner Elephant Shoe Pictures. Meera tends to use humor as a defense mechanism, and wonders if the U.S. Department of Defense might consider doing the same.

Ethan Minsker | Juror

Ethan Minsker’s descriptors include writer, filmmaker, artist, and publisher, creator, and editor-in-chief of Psycho Moto Zine, which has been in publication since 1988. Minsker is a founding member of the Antagonist Movement, an East Village/LES-based group of artists, writers, and musicians that promotes lesser-known works by up-and-coming talent. This group was recently featured in his newest film, Self Medicated, a documentary on the struggles artists face to stay happy. Self Medicated: a film about art won the DIY award at the 2014 RxSM Film Festival. Ethan was also the recipient of the ACKER Award for Visual Arts 2016.
Man In Camo Trailer

Andrea Claire Morningstar | Juror

Andrea Claire Morningstar is a filmmaker, artist and educator living and working in both Detroit, Michigan and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Across mediums, Morningstar tells stories that have a palpable intimacy between maker and subject. Morningstar’s work asks the viewer to appreciate the human vulnerability on both sides of the camera, and calls for a greater degree of intimacy between the observer and the observed in everyday life.

She has BFA in New Genres from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design and an MFA in Filmmaking from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She has taught filmmaking at Interlochen Center for the Arts, The Maine Media Workshops, University of Missouri – Columbia, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools and Detroit Future Schools.

Her short films, photographs, installations and performances have exhibited in festivals and galleries in the US and abroad. She has also produced several stories for radio, print and web. Her passion for documentary work started with a radio piece called My Pen Pal, about a young girl’s unlikely friendship with a demonized leader of a foreign nation, which became a feature story on This American Life.

Thu Tran | Juror

Thu Tran is an artist and writer making videos, videogames, and comics. She has produced work for Museum of Moving Images, Super Deluxe, and was the co-creator, co-writer, and host of cooking series Food Party for IFC and Late Night Munchies for MTVother. Her new comic book, Dust Pam, comes out this summer through Peow Studio. Currently, she lives and works in Brooklyn NY, with her precious cat, Silk. | | twitter: @thutran666 | ig: @thuuuuuuuuuuuuu (13 u’s)