Crew 2019

VTFF2019 Crew

Jerry White Jr. • Festival Director & Senior Programmer

Jerry founded the Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival to promote unconventional storytelling and bring eclectic and progressive creative people together. As an director, actor, and producer, Jerry has screened films at over a hundred film festivals worldwide, winning numerous awards and securing international distribution for 20 Years of Madness, a film more than two decades in the making. He earned his M.F.A. in Film & Television Production from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and B.A. in German Language and Literature from Oakland University. Since 2015, he’s been a programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival, served as a juror for FilmQuest and the Oak Cliff Film Festival, and added programming duties for FilmQuest in 2017.  In addition to his festival work, Jerry continues to develop projects as a multi-hyphenate, myriad-hat-wearing creator.

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. 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 and social media outlets. Seraphine Collective thumbThe 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.

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 • 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.

Diana Chao • Senior 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 thirteen days.

Nicole Diroff • Programmer

Nicole is currently a senior at Oakland University, where she studies film and philosophy. She enjoys shooting and editing her own films, but she is particularly passionate about film criticism. As such, she is the Editor-in-Chief of Screen Culture—a journal dedicated to undergraduate screen criticism. Starting as a festival attendee in its first year, becoming a volunteer in its second year, and now becoming a programmer in its third, Nicole adores the vibe of Vidlings and the communal power of film festivals.

Macunaima thumbFavorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Macunaíma (1969) Directed by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade
Macunaíma is born a fully grown man and is cursed with bad fortune. He travels from the jungle into the city of Rio de Janiero, where greediness, cannibalism, and political allegory ensue. As part of the cinema novo movement in Brazil during the 60s and 70s, the film tackles issues of inequality while simultaneously feeling like a psychedelic trip.

Summre Garber • Senior Programmer

Summre Garber is a producer and programmer of films. Besides producing four short films and directing one about a podcast that helps put people to sleep, 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. She has also been a Senior Programmer for the Bentonville Film Festival for the last two years, in addition to screening and consulting for a number of other festivals, including AFI and IFFLA. She is happy to let anyone know who asks that in 2017 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 • Senior 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.

Yu Jung Hou • Programmer

Born and raised in Taiwan, Yu Jung grew up a self-conscious girl who escaped into the world of novels and manga, giving her the perfect storytelling roots for her present-day career. During her three years at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Yu Jung developed a reputation as an editor/director. One of the films she worked on, Drone, was a Student Academy Award finalist in 2015, and her directorial debut FaFu also got the nod from multiple festivals including Best Shorts Competition Awards. In light of how much movies and shows have entertained as well as saved and transformed her, Yu is dedicated to create narratives that convey the world in a unique light that reveals itself once you give it a chance.

Mirror Mask thumbFavorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Mirror Mask (2005) Directed by Dave McKean
A lot of unconventional film came out before and after Mirror Mask that I probably love just as much, but Mirror Mask has always held a special place to me because it convinced me that everything I very greedily wanted to do for life could find its place in one movie. I hadn’t decided that I wanted to make films yet, nonetheless Mirror Mask definitely planted the seed, for better or worse. I loved music, photography, creepy-yet-stunning-and-interesting-(not trying to traumatize you) drawings/paintings, performance art, and story. Mirror Mask had it all. On top of that, I was about the same age as the main character when I first watched it, and I was just as confused, scared, angry, curious, self-centered, and eager to prove something. Being able to end a chapter with her made me feel, as weird as I was, that my future, like hers, would be ok.

Geoff Marschall • Senior 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 • Senior 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!

Elaine Strutz • Programmer

Elaine is a Detroit-born Emmy Award-winning film & TV editor, writer, and director who’s been making movies since high school.

Since graduating from NYU’s Film & TV program at Tisch, she’s edited for shows such as Discovery’s KILLING FIELDS and SAY YES TO THE DRESS: ATLANTA, digital series such as BROAD CITY and Eko’s THAT MOMENT WHEN…, and feature documentaries such as Academy Award-winning director Zana Briski’s REVERENCE.

Her most recent short, GET ACTION, in which she wrote, directed, and co-starred premiered at Nitehawk Shorts Festival and went on to screen at numerous others.

In 2015, she co-founded Four a Minute Productions, a boutique video production company based in Los Angeles, with content featured on the Huffington Post, the front page of Funny or Die, and more.

At Land thumbFavorite Unconventional Narrative Film: At Land (1944) Directed by Maya Deren
My favorite kind of films are auteur-driven because of the resulting freedom of a filmmaker’s vision, and this Maya Deren’s Avant-garde dreamscape couldn’t be more originally her own. Burned into my brain is the image of Deren crawling out of the sea – followed by a daring cut-to her crawling onto the table at a claustrophobic dinner party. Her vision and magnetic on-screen appearance haunts me years after watching.

Qiyue Q Sun • Programmer

Qiyue Q Sun is a Chinese writer and filmmaker, as well as a producer and editing enthusiast. Q received her bachelor’s degree in Theater, Movie, and Television at Nanjing University, P.R. China. Currently, she is an MFA candidate in Film and Media Arts, Temple University, Philadelphia. Her most recent work, EMPATHY (a digital love letter), an essay documentary about a break-up, has screened at festivals all over the world. At the moment, Q is working on her MFA thesis project Big Trouble in Little America, a four-part short form event series about four nameless Chinese girls’ quirky attempts to cope with America.

Transformers the PremakeFavorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Transformers: The Premake (a desktop documentary) (2014) Directed by Kevin B. Lee
This film is an explosion of information. It showcases how little money it can cost to make one of the best documentaries about our time (if you don’t consider time as money). On a more serious note, as a master in video essays, Kevin B. Lee showcases what one can accomplish with presumably all the knowledge in cinema and a new storytelling tool.

Xixi Zhu • Programmer

Born in Chengdu, China, Xixi is a growing filmmaker recently graduated from SCAD with an M.F.A. in Film and Television as a producer and director. She has worked on several documentaries and independent films since her BA. Xixi is full of enthusiasm and energy for creativity, and plans on expanding her career to participating in international filmmaking.

Stranger than Paradise thumbFavorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Stranger Than Paradise (1984 Directed by Jim Jarmusch
Stranger Than Paradise breaks a lot of Hollywood filmmaking traditions. There is no “main story,” instead Jarmusch uses a series of poetic long shots (there are only sixty-seven shots in the whole film!) to portray a placeless, pointless, and timeless “new world.” The film reflects the nihilism of young people brought on by the rapid development of capitalism in the eighties.