Paul Metchik – President
Paul Metchik is an attorney in San Luis Obispo, specializing in real estate and business transactions and tax planning. He loves film and has supported the performing arts in SLO County for many years, through his family’s involvement. Sons Aaron and Asher have performed in numerous plays, and his wife Robyn is the former drama teacher at Paulding and Mesa Middle Schools and Nipomo High School in south county. Paul has done everything from promoting the shows, to loading scenery, to buying pizza for the cast. Paul also experienced the ‘art of filmmaking’ as the Executive Producer of 10 YEARS LATER, an independent feature film, written and directed by Aaron, which was shot entirely on the Central Coast of California.
Sandra Duerr – Vice President
Sandra Duerr has just joined the SLO Film Fest board after recently retiring from a very successful 19-year tenure as Executive Editor and Vice-President of The Tribune. Under her leadership, The Tribune was recognized for its public service journalism, including its in-depth reporting on a number of important Central Coast issues. During this time, The Tribune won more than 300 state, regional and national awards, including three McClatchy President’s Awards, the company’s top honor.
Duerr, who was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 1989-90, was president of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 1991-92, where she established the Gary L. Klott Journalism Ethics Fund in 2003 in memory of her late husband. She has been a Pulitzer Prize juror three times and was given the Knight Ridder General Excellence Award in 2000 for her accomplishments at The Tribune. She is an adjunct journalism professor at Cal Poly and is a member of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. Before moving here in 1998, Duerr was a reporter and editor at newspapers in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Kentucky. Duerr is very excited to join the SLO Film Fest board to assist with its growth and development in future years.
Janice Rohn – Secretary
Janice Rohn – Secretary
Janice Rohn is an executive leader and expert in high tech and a pioneer in the field of User Experience. She began her career at Stanford University, working on artificial intelligence, before joining Apple to design products and to help to create the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines. She then moved into building and leading teams responsible for designing digital interfaces for AT&T, Experian, and many other companies. Janice has contributed to many design standards and holds design patents. She teaches courses worldwide, and is known for her expertise on a variety of topics, including design, product management, and organizational strategies.
Janice has been a resident of the Central Coast for almost 20 years. She has been attending the SLO Film Fest for over 10 years, and has also studied film production. Janice is excited to be joining the talented team of Board members and staff.
Tom Walters – Treasurer
For the past 20 years, Tom has worked as a writer, producer and director on numerous internationally distributed documentary and educational films. His most recent, the award-winning “Botso”, became the Critics Pick of the New York Times. After graduating from Cal Poly, he received additional training at the Sony Institute and at the American Film Institute in Hollywood. In 2014, Walters was awarded an Artist In Residence position at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Tom enjoys playing music with The Taproots
David Hardberger’s career has spanned several decades starting in the Universal Studios Optical Department. He’s worked on visual effects for such films as CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, BLADERUNNER(1982), STAR TREK – THE MOTION PICTURE, SPACEBALLS, STAR TREK – WRATH OF KHAN and the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. His other work includes camera technician for the ShowScan filming process, a unit manager for two small features and a live action cameraman and second unit DP on several feature films. David is a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. More recently, he has written and directed two short films that were filmed in the San Luis Obispo area using many local crew members and talent. He lives in Los Osos with his wife, Maggie Means who is a production accountant on independent films, and their two cats.
Kyle Plummer is an award-winning independent filmmaker based in the beautiful Central Coast of California. His first short documentary Korea Remembered, made at the age of 16, was honored by the Department of Defense in 2013 and was made a permanent addition to their historical records. More recently, amongst many other short and feature length projects, Kyle edited and produced the multi-award-winning short documentary Becoming Rich (2018). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Digital Film and has returned to SLO to pursue independent production work in both film and video through SuperImage, Ltd.
Jacqueline del Valle Vitti Frederick is a Civil Litigation and Trial Attorney, with over 30 years of experience in legal cases involving personal injury, product liability, wrongful death, premises liability, sexual assault, domestic violence, professional negligence, real estate, employment law, business, water rights, environmental law, agriculture law, fraud, construction defect, and contract litigation.
Erin McCall has experience in working with nonprofits as well as marketing and the performing arts. She has always enjoyed cinema and live performances. In the past she was the Administrative Manager for the Central Coast Children’s Choir, Executive Director for Canzona Women’s Ensemble and most recently, the Communications and Program Associate at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County. She currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and executive team at Twin Cities Community Hospital where she uses her organizational skills to support operations. She has lived in San Luis Obispo County since 1994 with her husband and two daughters.
As the Public Information Officer for the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments, Anna Devers oversees public affairs and engagement activities for the agency. She also leads the agency’s rail planning efforts and manages the mobility management program for seniors and people with disabilities. Anna moved to San Luis Obispo from Washington, D.C. where she handled communications for the National Association of Regional Councils and polling research for Portico Policy Advisors. She returns to California where she previously held positions in film production and market research in Los Angeles and Culver City. Anna has held an interesting mix of positions under the umbrella of marketing and communications, including experience in writing, copyediting, and publishing; public affairs and media relations; candidate and issue campaigns; event management; film production (i.e., most credits in production office and art department); and market research. Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.
Maria has applied her collaboration and networking skills to all aspects of education, corporate branding, government affairs and community relations. She has been responsible for building capacity through community engagement, promoting sustainability and strengthening strategic relationships for both public and private organizations. Building community and solving problems are core to her approach. Maria holds an MS in management and leadership from Pepperdine University, a certification in paralegal studies from Cal Poly SLO and a BS from Oregon State University.
Josh Brolin has roots in the Central Coast area, having grown up in Templeton, CA before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager. In a high school production there he caught the acting bug, which led him to his feature film debut in Steven Spielberg’s GOONIES. That role led to many more in movies and television, including a long-lasting TV series, “The Young Riders”. While on hiatus from that show he co-founded the Reflections Festival at the GeVa Theatre in Rochester, NY, giving him the opportunity to act and direct. More movie roles came his way and he honed his craft in film, TV and theatre. In 2000, Brolin made his Broadway debut in Sam Shepard’s TRUE WEST (some of the cast wore caps from Templeton Grain and Feed in the show.) His appearance in GRINDHOUSE marked the beginning of a career rebirth that saw Brolin landing roles worthy of his untapped talents. A small but memorable role in IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH followed and the next two films, AMERICAN GANGSTER and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN launched Josh Brolin into the spotlight. Roles in Sean Penn’s MILK and Oliver Stone’s, W ensure that he will be in the spotlight for many years to come. He has recently begun directing and appeared at the 2008 SLOIFF for a screening of his first short film, X, starring his daughter Eden Brolin and Vincent Riverside.
Born in Los Angeles, actor and activist James Cromwell is the son of Actress Kay Johnson and John Cromwell, a blacklisted director who served as one of the first presidents of the Director’s Guild. An early activist himself, went south after the Freedom Rides to join the Free Southern Theater; an integrated company that toured the south. Cromwell has directed at resident theatres across the country and was the founder and Artistic Director of his own company, Stage West, in Springfield, Massachusetts. After returning to Hollywood, Cromwell received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar ® nomination for his memorable performance as Farmer Hoggett in the smash-hit, “Babe.” Cromwell’s recent motion picture work includes “L.A. Confidential,” “Space Cowboys,” “The Green Mile,” “The General’s Daughter,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “The Bachelor,” “The Sum of All Fears”, “The Queen,” and “W.” He has earned Emmy nominations for his work on the HBO original series, “Six Feet Under,” the HBO movie, “RKO 281,” and the NBC drama, “ER.
Jim was born in Hackensack, NJ and lived for short stints in Nevada, New Mexico and southern California, before ending up in San Luis Obispo in 1965. During Jr. High, High School and as a journalism major at Cal Poly, Jim spent 90% of his time at Cal Poly’s radio station, KCPR. As a college student, he started an on-again off-again film club called The Cinema Zoo with artist (and current SLOIFF board member) Paul Karlen, who went on to design the Rainbow Theatre and Palm Theatre logos. Jim opened the single-screened Rainbow Theatre in 1979 in San Luis Obispo and owned and managed it until it closed in 1989. He opened The Palm Theatre in August 1988, and since them it has become the home of the SLO International Film Festival, and is now one of the only solar-operated movie theatres in the world. Jim was one of the original founders of the SLOIFF and we are delighted to have him on the Advisory Board.
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Norman Jewison graduated from the University of Toronto, and then moved to London, England, where he gained valuable experience not only writing scripts, but acting in BBC programs. Upon his return to Toronto in 1952, he began directing TV shows for the CBC. His outstanding work caught the eye of bigwigs in New York, and in 1958, CBS signed him to a contract. He worked on The Judy Garland Show as producer and director from 1962 to 1963, before making his film directing debut with “40 Pounds of Trouble”. Since then, he has taken little time off from making movies, with hits such as “The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming”, “In the Heat of the Night”, which won the Academy Award® for Best Picture; “The Thomas Crowne Affair”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Rollerball”, firmly establishing him as one of Hollywood’s most accomplished and respected directors.
Jewison not only directs, but he also writes screenplays and produces many of the films he has directed, as well as those of other directors. In 1986, he established the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies in Toronto, to help upcoming filmmakers and actors get their start. Not one to be satisfied to rest on his multitude of laurels, Jewison has continued to produce and direct highly acclaimed films, including “Agnes of God”, “Moonstruck”, which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Director, “Other People’s Money”, and “The Hurricane”. A winner of awards from film festivals and film societies around the world, Jewison has been nominated personally for four Oscars® and his films have received 45 nominations and 12 Academy Awards®. In 1999, he received the prestigious Irving Thalberg Award at the Academy Awards®. In 1988 he received an honorary Genie for founding the Canadian Centre for Advanced Film Studies; in 1998 he received the Canadian Film Centre Lifetime Achievement Award; and he has a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. In 2007, he received SLOIFF’s King Vidor Award and has been a guest of the Festival several times since then, including coming back to San Luis Obispo to present the 2010 King Vidor Award to friend and colleague, Alan Arkin.
Raised by two film-loving parents in various California towns, Steve Leone moved to the San Luis Obispo area in 1998 from Fresno to take a job as a full-time English instructor at Cuesta College. Before then, he enjoyed work as a disc jockey, a weekly columnist, a concert promoter, a radio music director, and a facilitation trainer. Since receiving tenure at Cuesta in 2002 teaching composition, film and literature, Steve has found the time to learn surfing and travel abroad. Steve also co-edits Cuesta’s annual student literary journal TELLUS and is the co-organizer of a monthly film and discussion series for Cuesta faculty and staff called “Flex Flicks.” Steve brings to the Festival a passion for independent, character-driven films, and he considers himself a life-long learner and a student of world cinema. He was on the Festival Board for six years and was President of the Board for three of those years.