We’ll be updating additional programmers and our 2018 jurors as they’re confirmed.
Jerry White Jr. | Festival Director & Programmer
Jerry first got involved with film by 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 great 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.
www.vidlingsandtapeheads.com | www.jerrywhitejr.com | www.30mom.com
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.
Seraphine Collective | Music Curator
Since 2013, Seraphine Collective has grown and changed dramatically. The collective now includes many who work tirelessly to advance a supportive and collaborative community of feminist musicians and artists in Detroit. We do this in part by providing opportunities for individuals to connect through music appreciation and expression. We regularly curate shows, festivals, and workshops that feature local and touring musicians, and we continue to feature emerging and established musicians on seraphinecollective.org and social media outlets. The ultimate goal of the Collective is to open a space in the city of Detroit where the diverse community of women, femmes, queer, transgender, and POC adult and youth artists, patrons, and residents can support and foster visibility of this community in a music scene dominated by patriarchal and institutionally racist cultural norms.
Inspired by feminist ethos, our collective aims to be accessible to those who may typically feel excluded from or underrepresented in Detroit’s independent music scenes, and encourages the honest expression of both feminist unity and differences.
www.seraphinecollective.org | www.facebook.com/seraphinecollective
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.
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 working on her next short film “Big Little Man” and developing her first feature project.
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.
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) they have 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. 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. www.sarey.biz
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
In this “documentary,” Marker 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.
Jesseca Ynez Simmons | Programmer
Jesseca is a filmmaker and interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago, IL. Originally from the Bay Area, she received her BA in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, followed by an MFA in Documentary Media from Northwestern University. Jesseca was a finalist for the 2016 American Society of Cinematographer’s Vilmos Zsigmond Award and a 2015 Southern Exposure Film Fellow for the Southern Environmental Law Center in Birmingham, AL. In addition to directing, Jesseca works as a cinematographer and her images have been screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), Hot Docs Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, DocLisboa, Sidewalk Film Festival as well as on National Geographic. Jesseca currently holds the Filmmaker in Residence position at Northwestern University. In addition to filmmaking, Jesseca works in crafting stained glass windows, painting and poetry.
Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: The Illinois Parables (2016) Directed by Deborah Stratman
The Illinois Parables is a historical film like no other. Told in 11 vignettes, we travel through time, like ghosts, in order to explore our all too human nature. Feeling more like a seance than a didactic regurgitation, the audience is compelled to come fourth and think about our own relationship to the way we understand the past. This experimental documentary moves though geographical, ideological and abstract boundaries to create haunting juxtapositions of faith, power and violence. Deborah Stratman’s structure enables one to grapple with moments of Illinois’ past without losing them to damnable textbook histories while also breaking through the illusion of the distance of time.