Jerry White Jr. • Festival Director & Senior Programmer
Jerry founded the Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival to promote unconventional storytelling and bring eclectic, unorthodox, and progressive artists together. As a 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 programmed for festivals such as Slamdance and FilmQuest, and has served as a juror for FilmQuest and the Oak Cliff Film Festival, among others. In addition to his festival work, Jerry continues to develop his own short and long-form film, music, and zine projects. www.vidlingsandtapeheads.com • www.jerrywhitejr.com • www.30mom.com
A Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: La cité des Enfants Perdus (City of Lost Children) (1995) Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Let’s see…a simple circus strongman, mind-control drug-delivering fleas, human clones, an elderly scientist who can not dream so he kidnaps children to steal their’s, a cyborg cult, an evil Fagan-esque conjoined twin, a talking brain in a jar, and a clever child thief who teams up with the strongman to find his kidnapped adopted brother. This is off the top of my head having not seen this film in years, so I know there’s a lot more to City of Lost Children. It’s as though Jeunet & Caro decided to fill this film with every passionately-scribbled café napkin idea they had and, upon finishing, realized they had nothing more to say together (they had been collaborators for years and made the excellent Delicatessen together, but this is their last co-directed project). There is so much world-building, character, and story in this film—so many cinematic tricks and tools used to tell their story (incredible set-design, props, prosthetics, cinematography, early-CGI that surprisingly holds up, vaudeville-like physical performances, and costumes by Jean-Paul Gaultier) and yet it still manages to be have relatable characters that you care and root for. Makes me think there should be more co-directed films, though maybe all the push and pull and stress destroyed Jeunet & Caro’s working relationship (or just wrung every last drop from it). Who knows, though if that was the case I have to thank them for the sacrifice—I think this film was worth it.
Andy Menko • Media & Sponsorship 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.
A 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.
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.
A 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!
Emily Vastbinder • Art Coordinator
Emily G. Vastbinder is primarily a painter, but often explores other media. She received her BFA from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. She had a solo show in 2011, 2019, and has also participated in a number of group shows. She currently lives and works in Metro Detroit.
Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Nowhere (1997) Directed by Gregg Araki
Unconventional? This flick makes it a point to flout convention! This is one of the films from Gregg Araki’s Teen Apocalypse Trilogy, and my favorite of the three. A group of teens in L.A. just want simple things: uncomplicated romance, intimacy (however awkward and isolating), fun, to get to a party … oh and survive increasingly violent and uncertain futures. This film turns a famous teen heart throb into a sadistic predator. There’s a gang of misfits wreaking havoc in the area, a TV evangelist brainwashing folks, and there might be a space lizard vaporizing random people. Will these teens survive to see another day, or even get to that party?? An amazing all star cast with lots of surprising cameo appearance. It’s an intense/silly/dark film, comedy, horror, sci-fi, drama all mixed together. Beautiful visuals, striking set design, and an amazing soundtrack. Definitely an old favorite!
Diana Chao • Senior Programmer
Diana is a Taiwanese filmmaker, who earned her BA in English Literature & Linguistics from National Chengchi University (2007, Taipei TW) & MFA in Film Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts (2013, Los Angeles USA) by concentrating in writing & directing. In 2012, she directed to promote an US-China collaboration feature FINDING MR. RIGHT in NYC. In 2014, she worked with the KUNGFU PANDA III team as interpreter at Dreamworks. Dedicated to independent filmmaking, she joined the team of the Vidlings & Tapeheads Film Festival since its founding in 2017 where she is now a senior programmer.
THE RESTORATION (2015) as her thesis, premiered at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival and many film festivals overseas, was awarded “Merit for Cinematography” at Rochester International Short Film Festival (NY, US) and “Best Original Score” at Long Island Film Expo. Her following work MATCH (2017) is a Brazil-US collaboration short that won Best Romantic Short Film at Near Nazareth Film Festival and Best International Short at Festival Angaelica.
Her latest short BIG LITTLE MAN (2019) that received the Taiwan Ministry of Culture’s grant for short films and Taiwan United Fund had its world premiered at Rhode Island International Film Festival and special screenings at Golden Harvest Award’s grant recipient category. www.dianachaos.com
A 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.
Chantal Feitosa • Programmer
Chantal Feitosa is a Brazilian American multidisciplinary artist and educator from Queens, New York. Her works shift between new media and social practice to address themes of racial hybridity, beauty standards, and belonging. She is a 2018 Vidlings and Tapeheads alum for her animation, “My Other Half”. Her video work has been selected for multiple film festivals across the country including the Harlem International Film Festival, the Every Woman Biennial, and the Anti-Racist Classroom’s Represent Film Festival. Chantal has also been awarded artist residencies at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Residency Unlimited, and Smack Mellon’s Artist Studio Program. She received her BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design with a concentration in Literary Arts & Studies. www.chantalfeitosa.com
A Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: Salaam Cinema (1995) Directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
This film was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of international cinema. By blurring the lines between fiction and documentary, the result is a beautiful portrait compilation of individuals whose class, gender, and ability all speak to the different ways in which films can compel us to dream up better worlds. From the beginning, the director puts out an open casting call in the papers for his next movie, but when an overwhelming number of people show up to the audition, he decides to instead make a film about the screen tests for all the would-be, aspiring actors. As we move from one screen test to the next, watching group improv skits, monologues, and interviews, we learn briefly about these strangers passions, expectations, and limitations. By asking every day people to perform in front of the camera, “Salaam Cinema”, questions what it means to be an actor in our lives —whether its the ones we currently live or the ones we would rather have. Are the roles we play the ones we get to chose for ourselves or the ones that we are told to fit into?
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.
A 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.
Jung-Ah Kim • Programmer
Jung-Ah Kim is a filmmaker and researcher from Seoul, South Korea currently based in Chicago. She playfully experiments with hybridizing mediums and distorting image and sound to often articulate the tension between “projection and authenticity” in today’s digital culture and urban life. Her films have been shown in various venues and festivals in both South Korea and the U.S. She received her MFA in Documentary Media from Northwestern University (2019) and has an MA in Aesthetics from Seoul National University (2016). Currently an organizer of Korean film screenings in Chicago, she is interested in alternative/experimental curatorial practice for moving images.
A Favorite Unconventional Narrative Film: The Day He Arrives (2011) Directed by Hong Sang-soo
This is my favorite film by this director. Without any distinct story to grasp, the film follows a male character wandering a village in Seoul, shows him interact with people and how they all live, talk, drink, and pass their days. The days repeat and evolve, running into situations that are always the same yet always different. Somehow you find yourself in the middle of a plot where nothing is remarkable and yet everything’s remarkable. The movie is a maze that terrifyingly resembles your life! I’m just so impressed as to how ordinary the movie seems yet it evokes so many philosophical themes in your mind. One of my favorite movies of all time.
Geoff Marschall • Senior Programmer
Geoff is a film professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette and 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 psychological horror feature shot in Austin, TX. www.bigpicturefilms.net
A 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
Filmmaker Sarey Martin spent a decade in the world of heavy metal and horror as part of Rob Zombie’s management team. She then started a new journey getting a master’s degree in theology and developing her own film projects. Her first directed short film FATHER MARY (2020) about a priest confronting an abusive figure from her past, engages some of her favorite themes: spiritual crisis, female identity, and human relationships.
While working in management, she helped produce five Rob Zombie feature films, and worked on over twenty album releases of artists such as Booker T. Jones, Megadeth, and Devo. Her work since then has included producing film shorts like the award-winning TORTOISE (2018), self-publishing a poetry collection, developing a series called HOMESCHOOLED (a semi-finalist in Sundance’s New Voices Lab), and becoming a Disney Launchpad finalist (2022). More at secretartproject.com.
A 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. www.elainestrutz.com • www.fouraminute.com
A Favorite 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.