Who We Are

Our Story

The Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival, an International Artivist Festival, was founded in 2016 to provide independent artists committed to social justice with a place through which to share their work with our global community. The festival seeks to give a platform to artists who use their voices in film, theatre, spoken word, painting, sculpture, and photography to bring to light such issues as, poverty, gender inequality, homelessness, hunger, physical and psychological abuse, racism, sex trafficking, war, mass incarceration, and grief, among others.

The festival is at the intersection of art and social justice, giving emerging and established independent artists a place to create, thrive, and bring to market work that lets their voices be heard around the world. Through PTAFF, artists are allowed to take risks and tell their stories as they work to change the world.

 

Injustice in many forms is a reality affecting our global community. As artists, we have a responsibility to stand up against injustice. Many artists take action to turn these injustices around through their work. We seek to support and aide these artist as they help to transform, save, and change the lives of those who suffer, creating a sense of hope to fuel our struggle.

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Our Mission

PTAFF inspires conversation and promotes a better understanding of the power that the arts wields in combating the injustices that have become a part of our daily lives.  

We celebrate those fearless artists who are willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of our times, holding themselves accountable for the change they desire to see.

In addition, PTAFF is committed to the following:

  • Affirm the place the arts have in strengthening our universal commitment to Human Rights and Social Justice.

  • Promote the arts as a powerful tool in the global dialogue of peace and mutual respect.

  • Bring together international filmmakers, performers, artists, and educators to present their work and share it with community leaders and community audiences.

  • Promote healing through the arts, celebrate rich cultures, and share diverse experiences on a local and international level.

  • Create a pathway where socially conscious films and artwork can be a part of mainstream film distribution.

The Nathan George, Nuse Dekka, and Sheri Rosenberg Awards

These awards will be given to three individuals or organizations in recognition of their willingness to take up the mantle of activism and use art to take action. We celebrate the fact that through their efforts the lives of others have been impacted positively.  They have brought to light issues others have turned a blind eye to or been too afraid to address. We seek to celebrate and honor those individuals for their bravery, compassion, and love for humanity.

Our Board 

Tequoia Urbina

  • Board Member

Tequoia Urbina is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Georgia State University and Northeastern University. Tequoia has over 25 years of experience in TV and film and dedicates her craft to creating thought-provoking and entertaining content. Her short film, Gehenna, has recently won Best Short Film in the Tech Jxn Film Festival and Best Female Filmmaker award in Venice Shorts.

She is committed to creating characters and opportunities for women and people of color. Tequoia understands that representation matters and strives to reflect that in each of her projects. 

Tiaunte Taru Kelly

  • Board Member

 

His career began when Tiaunte was hired by Steve Manning and Associates to work as a publicist for clients that included, LL Cool J, R. Kelly, Rev Run, and Michael Jackson.  At this point, he decided that he wanted to know every part of the music industry so then he accepted a position at various labels from Miami and Atlanta which ultimately lead to a position with Hidden Beach Recordings/Epic/Sony where he joined forces with Thornell Jones and aided in the career launch of such artists, Michael Phillips, Kindred the Family Soul, and Jill Scott.

Tiaunte was inspired to produce films after a conversation with Michael Mann.   Currently he is working a TV series titled Reverso which he created, produce and directs He has also acquired a producer position on "When We Pray" being executive produced by Jamie Foxx and "The Wraith" created by John Bines.

Oriana MacLeod

  • Board Member

Oriana completed undergraduate studies in Creative Writing and Literature from Antioch University and her MFA at Antioch University Santa Barbara, in Writing and Contemporary Media. As a dedicated writer, she continues to find a way to showcase her artistic talents exploring themes that cut at the heart of American culture in relation to gender, race, and inequality.

 

An experienced creative artist with a demonstrated history of working within the literary industry. Skilled in Short Stories, Teleplays, Theatre Plays, Screenplays, and Social Media.  Along with writing, she is dedicating her time to growing Tribal Pantheon Publishing based in Santa Monica and it’s subsidiary, OneHumanityAlliance.

Team

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Michelle "Andrea" Smith 

  • 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 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. The Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival is Smith's 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.

Deirdre Fisher Kemp

  • Co-Founder New York Festival

Deirdre Fisher-Kemp, is a Minister at New Light Baptist Church, where she also serves as Director of the Social Justice Ministry. Deirdre is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Ambassador and Faith-based Coordinator. She also volunteers for the Red Cross, Gods Love we Deliver and NYC Relief Bus as well as an AIDS advocate and lover of the arts. Deirdre is excited to be a part of the Pembroke Taparellli Arts and Film Festival.