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Board of Directors, Festival Judges, and Associates

Festival Founder / Programming Director: B. R. Tatalovic

Serb-American motion picture artist and educator. Immigrated to the U.S. from Yugoslavia in 1988 (as 22-year old). In his 20s/30s worked as: union steelworker (USWA), machinist, VHS rental clerk, and home repairs "handy man". Known today (or, since early 2000s) as: multimedia artist, screenwriter, and producer/director/actor. His accolades include: independent film awards, regional congressional awards for small business startup, Emmy-Foundation award from Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) for producing, as well as multiple festival awards for film/video. Exhibited worldwide: over 100 international film festivals and conventions, including special screenings at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA, 2017), and Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA, 2005). Tatalovic's directorial work includes several short films, music/concert programs, one documentary film, and two narrative fiction feature-length films (distributed internationally). He's also an accomplished screen actor, with several lead/supporting roles in American independent films. Tatalovic holds an MFA degree in Film and TV Producing from Chapman University's Dodge Conservatory (Hayde Scholar). Since 2009, he teaches film and media studies at Cuyahoga Community College (tenured faculty), and he's a proud member of American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS).

Festival Manager: Deborah Ochwat

A native of Cleveland, Debbie Ochwat has a business management background with over 20 years of experience in the post-secondary education sector with expertise in finance and HR. Her professional accolades include: the Leadership Award in 2011 from Career Education Corporation for the eastern region, as well as additional awards for compliance and training company-wide. Her film industry experience includes independently produced feature drama “Lux in Tenebris” (distributed via worldwide streaming, 2017), as well as casting, publicity work, and various positions on independent short film projects.


Festival Mascot and co-dedicatee: Augie Starr the Dog (2010-2022)

This one-of-a-kind "Cojack" dog (Corgi + J. Russell Terrier) was our beloved pet and an actress who appeared in couple of independent shows. IMDb search her name for details.

Official Judges

The festival engages highly experienced and qualified producers, film artists, writers, and media educators from Ohio - as official judges for submitted content. Our past event judges included:

  Tina Hobbs, award winning independent film producer and casting director

  Robert Graziosi, award winning screenwriter and independent film producer

  JoAnn Hess, award winning screenwriter

  Cigdem Slankard, film educator and media producer

  Cindy Penter, motion picture artist and media educator

  Mary Davis, screenwriting educator

  Tom Tennant, independent journalist, film critic, and publisher

  Miriam Bennett, professor of film/film artist

  Amena Choudhury, award winning screenwriter

  Catherine Lamb, higher education specialist (film/media)

Associates, Volunteers, and Donors

Special thanks to the following individuals and org. for their help:

  Vim Jayaseelan, film director/videographer

  Max Hyde-Perry, music artist/volunteer

  Scott T. Morrison, event photographer

  Amena Choudhury, donor/contributor

  Diana McKoy, donor/contributor

  Catherine Lamb, venue/event communication coordinator

  Cuyahoga Community College

  MDI Studio and Johnny K. Wu, producer

  Discovery Photo

  Dr. Scott E. Brosius, producer


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