Meet Our Team 2022

Pearl Gluck, Co-Founder, Artistic Director
Gluck’s work has been part of the Sundance Lab, Cannes, PBS, and won prizes such as Best Actor, Best Film, Best Debut Feature and Best LGBT Short at festivals worldwide. Her first documentary feature, Divan (2004) opened theatrically at the Film Forum in NYC and premiered on the Sundance Channel. Her award-winning fiction feature, “The Turn Out,” as well as her short films, “Summer” and “Write Me” are currently screening at festivals. She continues to make both doc and narrative films that explore themes of faith, class, and gender. She teaches Screenwriting and Directing at Penn State University.

Celesta Powell, Operations and Outreach

Tasha Bourjaily, Operations
Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, Tasha provides administrative support to the Bellisario College of Communications.

Katie Miller, Event Planning and Hospitality
Katie Miller works as an administrative support assistant in the Math Department’s Graduate Program. She was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania and loves cats and coffee. She is excited to help coordinate the Centre Film Festival this year.

Dr. Yoav Friedman, Fulbright Fellow
Dr. Yoav Friedman is a Fulbright Fellow at the College of Education at Penn State University. Beforehand, Yoav was the Head of the R&D Authority at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem. Yoav is a researcher in the field of European cultural diplomacy and leads the EU-funded Jean Monnet REACTIK research network on the role of culture in international relations. Yoav co-founded the JLM-IMPACT entrepreneurial center in Jerusalem and co-founded the Centre for the Studies of Holocaust Visualization at Bezalel Academy.

Farshid Ahrestani, Event Photographer
Freelance photographer Farshid Ahrestani is a wildlife biologist with a passion for nature and adventure travel. He has photographed birds, animals, people and landscapes in India, Africa, South and Central America, and the State Parks, among others. Farshid lives in State College and currently works as a cloud computing consultant.

Murtaza Jalali, PR Associate
Murtaza Jalali is a Journalist who has two Bachelors degree in Persian Literature and Political Science with a Master’s degree in International Relations from Afghanistan University in Kabul, Afghanistan, and is thrilled to be part of the Centre Film Festival as a Media Assistant.

Adrienne Waterston, Web Guru + Design
Adrienne Waterston is an artist, graphic and web designer, entrepreneur, and film buff living and working in State College, PA. Adrienne teaches a Photoshop & InDesign class at Penn State, is building an app, does freelance work and is starting a community art space/print shop/ceramic studio/coffeeshop with her partners Lynn Anne Verbeck & Melissa Heartsong in Philipsburg PA.

Haley Singer, Design
Full-time Freelance Graphic Designer, currently doing projects such as, social media management and content creation, brand design, and logo design. At the beginning of 2020, I moved from Baltimore, MD to Central Pennsylvania where I am from.

Kevin Harrison, Social Media
With a passion for art, Kevin pursued a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts at Kutztown University. He fell in love with Painting and Photography, which were his concentrations during school, and minored in Art History. Kevin has been in several juried shows including the Banana Factory Arts and Education Center in Bethlehem, PA. He got an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Arts at South Hills School of Business & Technology. Kevin has strong art concepts and experience with communication, networking, collaboration, advertising, budgets, and scheduling.

Ivy Nguyen, Event Management Intern
Ivy Nguyen is a senior majoring Business Management at Penn State University. Alongside with her bachelor degree, she is also working to acquire a Meeting and Event Management Certificate. She is extremely excited to be part of the Centre Film Festival as an Event Management and Hospitality intern. Ivy hopes to study master in Event Management in New York post-graduation and wishes to expand her knowledge and plan more large-scale events in the future.

Meet Our Programming Committee

Catharine Axley, Programming
Catharine Axley is an independent documentary filmmaker and professor of Film Production in the Bellisario College of Communications. Her most recent film, ATTLA, aired nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens series and screened at the Centre Film Festival a year prior to her joining Penn State!

Kevin Hagopian, Programming
Kevin’s been teaching film in college since he was 20 years old- and he’s loved the movies since he was a lot younger than that. He teaches film studies at Penn State, where his research specialties include the Hollywood cinema and the colonial & post-colonial cinemas of the world.  He’s very proud to work with the Centre Film Festival team to bring the art, the ideas, and the community of film to Central Pennsylvania.

David Sidore, Programming
David Sidore has been teaching film studies for thirty years and recently joined the faculty at Penn State. His research focuses on Post-Cold War culture, especially as represented in the media of the period. He is looking forward to helping bring a diverse collection of films and voices to the communities of central Pennsylvania.

Lior Sternfeld, Programming
An Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies whowork on social history of the modern Middle East with a focus on the Jewish communities of the region.

Denise Sullivan, Programming

Gabby Sumney, Programming
Gabby Sumney (Any Pronouns) is an experimental media artist who makes films, videos, prints, and expanded cinema works that explore issues of race, migration, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability status. Gabby is also an Assistant Professor of Film Production at the Pennsylvania State University and the creator of This Week in Experimental, a weekly newsletter focused on providing resources to experimental artists seeking creative, intellectual, and exhibition opportunities.

Ahron Taub, Programming, Creative Consultant
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is a poet, writer, and Yiddish literary translator. He is the author of two books of fiction, Beloved Comrades: a Novel in Stories (2020) and Prodigal Children in the House of G-d: Stories (2018), and six volumes of poetry, including A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems (2017). Yermiyahu’s most recent translation from the Yiddish is Dineh: an Autobiographical Novel by Ida Maze (2022). Please visit his website.

Meet Our Student Team

Qinci (Cynthia) Zhang, Poster Artist
Qinci (Cynthia) Zhang is a senior at Penn State majoring in Science with a minor in Art. She was born and raised in China. Despite her soon-to-be-obtained degree in the science field, she hopes to get into a MFA program and continue studying Fine Art afterwards. Cynthia is very excited and honored to have this opportunity to participate in the merch designing portion for the Centre Film Festival 2022.

Alicia Chiang
Alicia Chiang is a photojournalism senior at Penn State University. She was a photojournalist at day, and a documentary filmmaker at night. Her multimedia documentary project about Lynn Hall, an unknown cousin building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, is published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interactive. She is thrilled to be helping the film/video production team for the Centre Film Festival.

Aida Shadeck
Aida Shadeck is a fourth-year Film Production major at Penn State University. Though an aspiring writer, she’s greatly enjoyed taking on more post production duties for the Centre Film Festival. Aida looks forward to graduating this spring and finding ways to make art wherever she ends up.

Catherine Boyle
Catherine Boyle is a first-year student in the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University. She is planning on majoring in Film Production and is a big movie fan. She is thrilled to be a part of the Centre Film Festival committee.

Maeve Brown
Maeve Brown is a first year PSU student in the Bellisario College of Communications studying print and digital Journalism. She is excited to explore her major and it’s opportunities further and is really enjoying her major related courses so far! An avid writer, Maeve plans to get an internship Sophomore year and study abroad her Junior year. She loves watching films and always enjoy a good comedy so is very eager to help volunteer for the upcoming Centre Film Festival!

Jack Brumagin
Jack Brumagin is a first year Journalism major at Penn State University. He is specifically planning on going into Digital/Print Journalism in sports media. He is also a big fan of movies. Jack is excited to work for the film festival because of his interest in all different genres of film. Jack’s favorite movie of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Kate Delmonico
Kate Delmonico is a first-year Broadcast Journalism major at Penn State University. Kate has always had a passion for film and is thrilled to be involved in the Centre Film Festival’s social media team. She is excited to gain experience and learn more about the field.

Lulu Douglas
Lulu Douglas is a first-year Journalism student at Penn State University. She is interested in digital and print journalism and also plans to minor in economics. She is excited to be a part of the Centre Film Festival’s student jury and planning committee. During the festival, she will also be conducting interviews and writing stories about both films and filmmakers. Aside from academics, Lulu enjoys playing guitar and cooking a variety of meals.

Ned Groome
Hello! I’m Ned Groome. Originally from The Netherlands, I am a third-year Film Production Student at Penn State University. I have worked in and been involved with entertainment for a long time, originally in theatre and now in film! I love working with cameras and hope to work in cinematography after college. Outside of film I love to ride my bike, cook and play/listen to music. I’m so excited to be a part of the Centre Film Festival this year and become more involved with film in and around Penn State.

Anabelle Preciado Higgins
Anabelle Preciado Higgins is a first-year Film Production major at Penn State University. She highly motivated to immerse herself in all parts of her major as well as all aspects of the entertainment industry. She is proud to be part of the Centre Film Festival as a videographer and to serve on the student jury. She hopes to study-abroad or get an internship in NYC/LA next year.

Mia Huang
Mia is a first-year Advertising and Public Relations major at Penn State University. Very interested in behind the scenes

Connor Maloney
Connor Maloney is a first-year Communications major at Penn State University. He is passionate about cinema and is excited to be a part of the Centre Film Festival.

Dylan Molis
A Freshman from North Carolina with a passion for filmmaking and creativity. When Dylan has a vision, he tries to do whatever is possible to make it a reality.

Andin O’Brien
A freshman at Penn State majoring in advertising and PR, Andin in is from Rochester, New York where she grew up with my two younger sisters. She’s always been interested in the way festivals are run and is excited for the opportunity to be able to help with this one!

Alexandra Scaggs
Allie Scaggs is a first-year Communications major at Penn State University. She is interested in all parts of Communications, specifically with design and within the music industry. She is eager to be a part of the Social Media and Print Design committees for the Centre Film Festival.

Lucy Schilling
Lucy is a first-year student at Penn State in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Although she is undecided now, she is thinking about studying journalism and wants to minor in Spanish. She is also a rock climber and a snowboarder.

Nadya Solometo
Nadya Solometo is a first-year digital and print journalism major at Penn State University. She has always had a love for film growing up, and was so glad to continue the exploration of that through her freshman seminar class this year. She is currently helping as being apart of the film and editing crew for the Centre Film Festival and is also a member of the jury. Nadya also loves reading and coffee !

Milan Varia
Milan Varia is a first-year journalism major at Penn State University, looking to minor in political science. He has always had an interest in scriptwriting, cinematography, and film, and this class became the perfect way to keep developing this interest. He is on the Student Jury and the Web Design team. Outside of films, he loves to play guitar and MMA.