We are proud to announce the Fourth Annual Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival (JTIFF) now scheduled for September 10th through the 13th, 2020 at the beautiful Mauch Chunk Opera House in historic Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
 
The Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival channels the rebellious spirit of the Molly Maguires, welcoming the boldest, most defiant filmmakers to present their work, shatter convention and incite spirited debate.  Our credo is “eyes and minds wide open” and we mean it.  JTIFF cares deeply about diversity and strives to give the under-represented filmmaker a chance.  So we make a concerted effort to promote films by women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and student filmmakers.
 
Last year, JTIFF screened 92 fantastic films from around the globe including 23 world premieres and many more US and Pennsylvania premieres.  These films covered every style and subject, from gritty underground and experimental works to polished traditional narratives.  
JTIFF has grown leaps and bounds over the past three years.  We've maintained our place in “The Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals" out of more than 5,000 on FilmFreeway.  And for the fourth year, we are honored to partner with PBS 39 who will be creating content throughout the festival and will also broadcast select winning films by this year’s best local filmmakers. 
 
Once again, we'll be welcoming films of every genre and budget level, especially work by maverick filmmakers who strive to break boundaries with no fear of controversy.  In short, this ain't your Daddy's film festival.  Genres include drama, documentary, comedy, horror, sci-fi, experimental, animation and LGBTQ subject. 
Late night Saturday, we are continuing our immensely popular GRINDHOUSE program.  So prepare yourselves for the bloodiest and most disturbing films that not only push the envelope, but rip it to shreds.  * Note that no one will be admitted under 18.

 TODD MORRIS

FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & JUROR
Todd is an award winning New York based commercial producer who's been working in the film business for nearly three decades. He's also written and directed several short films and two indie features including the legendary 1996 cult film, "A Gun For Jennifer," that's screened at dozens of festivals around the globe and can still be seen in Parisian art houses from time to time.

JOCELYN O'NEIL 

CO-FOUNDER, CO-DIRECTOR & JUROR
Jocelyn is an actor and filmmaker whose projects have screened in festivals around the country.  A classically trained actor, she's done everything from Shakespeare with The Aquila Theatre Company in NYC, to national TV commercials and lead roles in feature films.  After living and working in New York for two decades, Jocelyn moved with her partner, Todd Morris, to the Victorian town of Jim Thorpe, PA where they co-founded The JIm Thorpe Independent Film Festival in 2017.

 TONY MARTINEZ

PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
In addition to being a full-time student at DeSales University, Tony is a working filmmaker, editor and still photographer. His tireless efforts were crucial in the founding of the first JTIFF and he remains an indispensable member of the our festival team. Tony is also the owner of TM Productions, a multimedia production company that provides photography, video, web and marketing services throughout the greater Lehigh Valley area. 

GILLES BOULENGER 

FRENCH PROGRAMMER & ADVISOR
After creating a French film magazine in 1991 called LE CINEPHAGE and writing books on Oliver Stone, John Carpenter and William Friedkin, Gilles became co-director and head programmer of L’ETRANGE FESTIVAL from 1995 till 2007.  In 2002 he started the French distribution company, ZOOTROPE FILMS, that specializes in documentaries, genre films and arthouse fare.  Gilles lives in Paris.

MATTHEW CURRY 

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR & JUROR
MPC is an audio aficionado for both location sound and audio post production, working on commercials, films, content as well as unique capture and multichannel immersive sound art pieces. Being an internationally-acclaimed musician and DJ helps him compose and design sci-fi sounds and being a nerd helps him with technical know how for AV club and to help festivals like JTIFF.  He has had a long history in production, helping run a Brooklyn-based production company with two stages, Chemistry Creative, as well as operating a recording studio, Transmitter Park Studio.  Before moving to NYC he was mixing for broadcast at Al Gore's news station, Current TV, in San Francisco.

 MTUME GANT

EAST COAST PROGRAMMER & JUROR
Mtume is a NY based Director, Actor and Writer and a graduate of NYC's Laguardia HS & The Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase.  Since his screen debut as “Louis" in the Sundance award winning film, HURRICANE STREETS, Mtume has worked nonstop on stage, screen & TV in such shows as HBO's OZ and had a lead role in CARLITOS WAY: RISE TO POWER.  His 2015 Directing debut, SPIT, screened at two dozen festivals, won numerous awards and was included in The ABFF Independent short film series on Aspire TV.  His second film, WHITE FACE, a critical investigation of whiteness in America, screened at dozens of festivals around the globe and took home many awards (including Best Actor at JTIFF 2017), establishing Mtume as a Filmmaker to watch.

RICARDO JATTAN

JUROR
Originally from Toronto, Ricardo has been a Production Designer working on commercials and features throughout the US, Canada and Australia for more than twenty years.  He has worked on a dozen features and more than 500 commercials and has collaborated with well known directors, producers and celebrities from all over the world.  After two decades in this business, Ricardo is still passionate about his job and knows without a doubt that designing is in his blood.  He lives in Los Angeles.

ANTHONY MONTALBANO

ASSISTANT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Anthony Montalbano works as a production manager and warehouse manager at Chemistry Creative, an event and film production company based out of Brooklyn, NY.  He also works as a freelance grip and an electric for both film and photo shoots.  In his spare time he enjoys writing music and collaborating on creative projects with other artistically driven people. 

AMY PIENTA

ART DIRECTOR
Guns blazin' and champagne bottles in hand, Amy - an award-winning graphic designer with over 20 years in the industry - left behind 14 years of living in the neon desert of Las Vegas and returned home to Pennsylvania. With her, she brought Somersault Letterpress - a boutique letterpress and creative studio that she founded in 2011, and moved here to the heart of Jim Thorpe with her eternal partner-in-crime, Mitch Hanson.

JAY SLATER

UK PROGRAMMER
For the past 25 years, Jay has traveled the globe attending countless film festivals as a journalist and critic, writing for magazines such as Fangoria, Rue Morgue and The Dark Side. He's also written press releases for Quentin Tarantino, co-produced the feature-length thriller, "The Devil’s Business," and for distributors, acquired UK Theatrical rights for "The Horseman," "Pontypool," and video rights for Italian shockers like "Cannibal Holocaust" and "Zombie." Previously, he was the Senior Editor for Black Flame where he proposed novels based on New Line Cinema and 2000 AD properties such as "The Butterfly Effect," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Blade: Trinity" (sadly, "Jaws does Tokyo Bay" never materialized).  Jay's latest challenge is starting a micro-brewery in Surrey.  He loves the mission.

MARISSA STROHLEIN

MARKETING DIRECTOR
After meeting the Sharks on NBC's ‘Shark Tank’ in 2017, Marissa decided to use her ample marketing and graphic/web design skills to help build businesses that she believes in. She is the Marketing Director for Big Creek Vineyard, her family business, and is dedicated to further developing tourism in the Jim Thorpe area. Outside of work, Marissa devotes her time to community service, political and environmental activism, creative writing, and illustration. 

FRANK SUN

JUROR
Frank is a NYC & LA based Director, Cinematographer, Still Photographer and Producer.  He's also one of the founders of the New York commercial production company, XY Content.  Frank got his start shooting the network reality series, 'Survivor' before moving on to indie shorts, features, music videos and commercials. Frank's work as a still photographer has been published in Interview, Cosmopolitan, W, Esquire and other publications in the US and Europe.

AKI SUSKO

DIGITAL MARKETING  DIRECTOR

Aki brings her strategic sales and marketing experience with major companies in New York and Philly to her home town of Jim Thorpe to reach the right online audiences with the newest and most updated info and happenings at JTIFF.  Aki and her digital marketing agency, 40 North Marketing offers high-level marketing strategies and audience development, paired with performance-based digital tactics specific to her client's goals and brand.  

JON WEINBERG

WEST COAST PROGRAMMER
Jon Weinberg is an LA based actor and filmmaker and has appeared on film, TV, stage and the occasional Doctor Who audio drama.  He received a degree in theatre from the University of British Columbia, and continued his training at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art, and the Atlantic Theater Company (founded by David Mamet and William H. Macy).  Jon's award winning feature film and directorial debut, Funeral Day, was released in 2018 by Random Media.  Additional directing work includes music videos, theatre and his award winning short film, Yes You Deserve It!  Jon is currently in development on an upcoming series with producing partners Ethan & Dominic Rains.  Jon is also the author of the award winning photography & poetry book "A Calm Position" (In Due Time Press). 

BRYNN WELLER

ASSISTANT PROD. SUPERVISOR

In addition to being a professional dancer for the past 20+ years and more recently as On-Camera talent for commercials and live events, Brynn currently works as a video editor and a camera operator for TM Productions.  Brynn has also been a valued member of the JTIFF team since its founding in 2017. 

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