Festival Director - Michelle “Andrea Meshel” Smith, a native of Kingston Jamaica, started her career as a filmmaker in 2008 with a documentary entitled “I Wanna Be President.” Michelle “Andrea Meshel” Smith has written directed and produced several projects over the last eight years, including three short films “Descent,” “Alone,” and “Necrophilia.” She also co-produced the web series “Real Life.” In addition to producing Michelle “Andrea Meshel” Smith has acted in numerous film and theatrical productions throughout the country. She is committed to portraying positive images of African people.
Michelle “Andrea Meshel” Smith loves and appreciates the power entertainment has to impact the lives of people around the globe. Along with Smith’s passion for the arts in its various forms, Smith has always been a strong proponent for Social Justice. She started the Central Baptist Church Social Justice Ministry and initiated a rights of passage program for the young congregants. The Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival is Smith coupling of her love for the arts and her passion for social justice. She wanted to take action and provide a platform for those “Artivists” (artist and activist) who seek to use their artistic voice for social change.
Smith’s festival experience was honed during her stint as Programmer for the inaugural Diaspora program for the Hollywood Black Film Festival in 2013. Michelle “Andrea Meshel” Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Adelphi University, and a Juris Doctorate from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Business Affairs and Legal - Vical R. Peterson is a graduate of DePaul University’s College of Law and earned a B.S. in Finance from the University of Arizona. Ms. Peterson began her career providing counsel to senior management on employment issues at Pactiv Corporation and subsequently transitioned to a position in media at TV One. She has always had an interest in promoting artistic endeavors, which includes being a member of the California Lawyers for the Arts. To this end, Ms. Peterson has provided legal counsel for nonprofit arts organizations, musicians, managers and producers.
The Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival is important for artivists because it gives them the opportunity to showcase their work in a setting designed to promote the issues they are passionate about. The social justice issues most important to Ms. Peterson are those relating to and promoting equality for those facing discrimination.
Ronald Jackson - Digital Media Analyst - Ronald Jackson is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with B.A. degree in Psychology.
His primary professional experience is as a Financial Analyst building financial models for environmental remediation, antitrust, acquisitions and asset valuation reports. A long-standing interest in design and technology has lead him to digital media analytics where identifying, analyzing and presenting data can enhance problem solving and decision making.
A Los Angeles resident, Mr. Jackson enjoys music, art, biking, hiking, beaches, and sports.
Public Relations - Erin Caesar is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Public Relations. She currently serves as the Co-Director of Public Relations for the Black Student Assembly and as the Director of Social Media for the USC Black Actors Union. She plans to begin a career in marketing and PR in the entertainment industry upon graduation, and hopes to learn more about the world of producing.