Advisory Council, Cynthia Calley currently is a project coordinator and executive assistant and supervisor that directly works with singer songwriters along with film & TV composers for the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency. She has closely worked with such clients as James Taylor, John Williams, Glen Ballard, Thomas Newman, and Eric Idle. Prior to working at GSA she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Adelphi University, studied and worked abroad in London at the British American Drama Academy, (BADA) and was an actor in London, New York City, and Los Angeles. This included acting in such projects as the film, F-Stops, TV series, Channel 101 and LA sketch comedy that was directed by Wendi McLendon-Covey. One of her biggest passions is to be of service and support women & orphans around the world. In the past she helped raise funds for Make A Change, (MAC) foundation which involved cross self - sustainability for Kibera and Machokos, Kenya. She is very excited and happy to be a part of PTAFF.org.
Advisory Council, Nathan George (Deceased) was an African-American actor who was active from 1968 to 1997. He co-won a 1969 Obie Award with Ron O'Neal for Charles Gordone's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "No Place to be Somebody." This performance also received a Drama Desk Award. George has also directed for the stage. He directed a production of Ron Milner's Who's Got His Own at Center Stage in Baltimore in 1970, and Cummings and Bowings, a play based on poems by E.E. Cummings, for the U.R.G.E.N.T. Theatre in New York in 1973. In film, George has acted in Brubaker (1980), Klute (1971), Serpico (1973), Harsh Light (1997), his last film, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) and was one of the leads in Short Eyes (1977). Nathan was the Founder and Executive Director of Blue Nile International a bold and innovative film production company.
Board Member, Matthew L. Morris - Matthew L. Morris is a Business, Entertainment and Family Law attorney. His practice The Morris LawPractice is located in Woodland Hills, Ca. Matthew graduated from Southwestern Law School and received his bachelor’s degree from University of California-Riverside where he studied Sociology-Law & Society. He worked alongside the Consulate of Belize in creating a Non-Profit organization for incarcerated Belizean Nationals. During Law School Matthew L. Morris clerked for the Business and Legal department of NBC Universal Film Music. Matthew also spend time in law school clerking for a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Matthew has always emphasized diversity in culture, learning and practice.
Board Member, Leonard Noisette - Leonard Noisette is the director of the Justice Fund for U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. In this role, he leads the foundation’s efforts to reduce mass incarceration, eliminate harsh punishment, and promote system accountability.
Prior to joining the foundation, Noisette served as the longtime executive director of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, an innovative public defender office renowned for its development of community-based, full service representation of clients. He was a member of the Executive Session on Public Defense, sponsored by the Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Kennedy School of Government, through which he co-authored The Best Defense is No Offense: Preventing Crime Through Effective Public Defense, N.Y.U. Rev. L. & Soc. Change, vol. 29(1) 2004.
Noisette received his B.A. from Queens College, City University of New York, and his JD from NYU School of Law. He is an adjunct professor at Fordham University Law School.
Board Member, Captain John W. Pruit - John W. Pruitt, III was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon graduating from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, John went on to attend and graduate from The U. S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduation John was commissioned as an officer in the U. S. Coast Guard where he served for 23 years, retiring as a Captain. John Also received a Master’s in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.
Within the entertainment industry John has worked as the Director of the U. S. Coast Guard's Motion Picture and Television Office (MOPIC), in Los Angeles, California, and worked to tell the story of the U. S. Coast Guard by partnering with productions around the world in various projects from reality, documentary, and scripted TV to cinema. He also worked as an entertainment consultant and TV personality on a variety of entertainment projects including scripted and reality TV, documentaries, and cinema for numerous entertainment companies including 20th Century Fox, Film Nation, Original Productions, and Playtone.
As a consummate volunteer, John is a member of the board of directors of the Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival and the North Valley Military Institute, and is the Commandant of Cadets of the California Cadet Corps at the Harvard Westlake School. His efforts have been recognized with the NAACP Roy G. Wilkins renowned service award and he was nominated for a Locations Manager of The Year – Federal Employee award.
Advisory Board Member Alaina Talebreza is a seasoned fundraiser and education advocate, having worked for many years in development for Stanford University Medical Center, as well as public and private schools and organizations throughout the East and West Coasts. She is a collaborative team-builder with a commitment to excellence and a passion for service, having served in numerous volunteer capacities over the years. As a Princeton graduate and former model and actress, Alaina brings a unique perspective and outstanding interpersonal and creative problem-solving skills to the organizations she serves. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons enjoying volleyball, hiking, and service to her faith and the community at-large.
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.
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.
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.
Programming Director Nicole “Soul” Creary - I am "Soul" a native New Yorker from the Bronx. My first love and dream for a career, was being a triple threat (singer, dancer and actress) after watching the TV show Fame. After years of working in schools supporting our youth, my desire to express my creativity burned and I am now finally living my creative dream through making movies, as a Director, Screenwriter, Producer and Actress. I also Sing and write Poetry. After witnessing so many youth's struggles, I am using film as a catalyst for change to support and be a voice for disenfranchised youth/people. Now I can say, YES, I am living my purpose!
Events Coordintor Elizabeth Olmos is an Academic Specialist who works in the non-profit sector. Ms. Olmos believes in the importance of creative expression as a means to achieve self-awareness and influence others to bring about social equity. She has taught writing courses at CSULA, which, along with her experience as a creative writer, have reaffirmed her belief in developing one's voice and creating spaces where individuals, specially from underrepresented communities, can speak up and be heard. This is her second year assisting PTAFF in creating a safe space where artists and the public can come together.
Website Manager & Developer Jonathan Schwartzman is from the New York area and currently studies Communications and English Literature at Bar Ilan University in Israel. He is assisting various nonprofits and organizations, such as Project New Yorker and Future Technologies Inc., to build and design their websites while improving their online marketing strategy. Jonathan is also an avid artist, photographer, writer, and manage of Yoni Art Co. (www.YoniArt.co). He is a lover of nature and enjoys cycling and hiking during his spare time. As an artist himself, Jonathan is happy to help the PTAFF team in their mission to display the artwork of so many talented individuals in order to positively impact the world.
PR Coordinator Nava Amoona is a third-year Communication major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. Due to her upbringing, Nava has always felt a special connection to LA rooted causes. She spends her free time volunteering for a diverse range of non-profits across the city. Using her educational and professional experience, she is thrilled to join the Pembroke Taparelli Arts and Film Festival team and help shed light through art on the underserved or on marginalized issues.
Blu Lindsey (Blu Yogi), a person of life and spirituality has been involved in the film industry for more than 13 years.
Starting out as a student of the art of acting while active-duty military. After Blu fulfilled his duty to the Navy, the very next day he was in a play.
Since then he has been in many shorts, films, shows, and online media of all budget sizes and experience levels.
Blu’s hope and service he would like to give is for the entertainment industry to serve people and not just the box office while keeping the box office happy too.