Meet Our Team 2023

Pearl Gluck, Co-Founder, Artistic Director
Pearl Gluck is the co-founder and artistic director of the Centre Film Festival. 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, (2018) as well as her short films, Castles in the Sky (2023),  Summer (2018) and Write Me (2020) are screening at festivals and available on platforms such as Amazon, ChaiFlix, and Netflix. 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.

Aida Shaduck, Operations Manager
Aida is from Erie, PA, where her love of art, nature, and community were first instilled. She recently earned her BA in Film Production from Penn State, where she was also a Rock Ethics Fellow. Still living State College, she is happily working to make film more accessible for her new community. Aida loves to cook, crochet and go on long bike trips. So far, she has ridden the Pine Creek Trail, Presque Isle State Park, Eliza Furnace Trail, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, The Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path, and many times to Boal City Brewery! 

Bri Wiegand, Operations Manager
Bri Wiegand is a composer, sound designer, percussionist, dancer, and filmmaker. She uses her wide interests to create multi-media music and soundscapes through technology and movement. Recently, she composed the score for feature film Spooky Action directed by Rod Bingaman. Wiegand spends her time performing in State College and around the United States with local new music group, Open Music, the Williamsport Orchestra, and as a soloist. Her recent commissions include Matchstick Percussion and loadbang. Outside of music, Wiegand works as a freelance audio engineer and videographer in State College. She lives with her partner and three black and white pets.

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

Sam Rudy, Press & Public Relations
Meet our PR pro Sam Rudy! A Native of Centre County, Sam fell in love with the arts while attending Penn State. After 40 years on Broadway in public relations, he is happy to be back for more of the same. 

Matt Jacobs, Videography and Photography
Matt Jacobs is a filmmaker, photographer, and musician from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Though he had many artistic passions growing up, his interests eventually fixated on telling stories with the camera. Since graduating from Penn State in May of 2023, he has been doing freelance photography and videography full time under his own company, Matt Jacobs Productions.

Angelique Redwood, Copy Editor
With an innate passion for the written word, Angelique Redwood has spent the past few years growing her portfolio through the creation of blogs based in mindfulness & spirituality, creative writing, and book reviews. When she’s not pressing pen to the page, she’s either immersing herself in nature, satiating her large reading appetite, or indulging herself in all things entertainment, whether that be through movies, television, or music.

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.

Adrienne Waterston, Director of Art & Design
Adrienne is an artist, graphic designer, web guru, mom, nature-lover, and entrepreneur, among other things. She enjoys listening to music, creating things, hanging with her friends, dancing and making (and eating) yummy food. She has lived in State College for the past 13 years, which ties the record for longest place to date. Adrienne joined the festival in 2021 and has been helping ever since. She is just as comfortable designing a logo as she is coding a webpage, taking a photograph or quilting a collage. You can find her reluctantly @adriennewaterston.

Programming Committee

John Affleck, Programming Committee
John Affleck is the head of the Journalism Department at Penn State, and sometimes works in the documentary space as director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. In collaboration with 2020 PSU alumnus Paddy Cotter, he’s made four short films, three sports documentaries and a narrative film. He’s happy to see the Centre Film Festival grow and thrive. 

Catharine Axley, Programming Committee
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!

Dr. Yuliya V. Ladygina, Programming Committee
Yuliya V. Ladygina is assistant professor of Slavic and global and international studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research in Eastern European literatures and cultures, focuses on questions of cultural memory and cultural exchange. She is the author of Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist (Toronto UP, 2019), and she is currently working on her second book project, The Reel Story of Russia’s War against Ukraine, which examines the post-2014 cycle of Ukrainian war films. Her articles on related subjects appeared or are about to appear in East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies, East European Jewish Affairs, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Journal in Cinema and Media Studies, KinoKultura, Slavic Review, Studies in World Cinema, and Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture.

Kevin Hagopian, Programming Committee
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.

Tracy R. Peterson, Programming Committee
Tracy is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation and serves as the director of student transitions and pre-college programs in the college of engineering at Penn State. He is responsible for coordinating transition programs for commonwealth campus students entering the college of engineering. He is also responsible for youth programs, policies, and collaboration geared towards pre-college students that will enhance college readiness and foster inclusion. Tracy maintains an interest and advocacy in media representation and the portrayal of Indigenous peoples in historical and popular culture. He is passionate about social justice, transformation, and being an instrument for social change.

David Sidore, Programming Committee
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.

Denise Sullivan, Programming Committee
Denise Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Sullivan Point Strategies, a consulting firm focused on inspiring connections, impactful community partnerships and memorable events. She has more than two decades of experience in the corporate, non-profit, sports, entertainment, and arts and culture industries.

A 2001 graduate of Penn State with a degree in Communications and Media Studies, Denise’s most favorite classes included Comm 150 and anything film related…a perfect fit for the Programming Committee! 

Locally, she is a LEADERSHIP Centre County Board Member and Class of 2022 Alumni, and a Board Member of the Centre County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. Denise is also an Advisory Board Member for Today is a Good Day, a nonprofit that supports families navigating the NICU journey, and The Satell Institute, the leading CEO member organization dedicated to Corporate Social Responsibility. She is also a Class of 2018 fellow of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia.

Gabby Sumney, Programming Committee
​Gabby Sumney (Any Pronouns) is an Experimental Media Artist and Cinematographer 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.

Amy Dupain Vashaw, Programming Committee
Amy Dupain Vashaw serves as the director of audience & program development at Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts. In this role, she collaborates with artists, connecting them to educators, the community, faculty & students, clubs & organizations and anyone with an interest in the performing arts. Her role also includes curating the CPA’s season, in concert with and with input from many voices. A first-generation college student, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in film history, theory & criticism, and her master’s degree in Public Adminstration. 

Student Design Team

Julie Ammon, 3rd year PSU student
Julie Ammon is an artist, designer, and aspiring filmmaker from State College, PA. She is a 3rd-year student at Penn State University where she is studying Digital Arts & Media Design and Film Production. 

Emma Ballerini, 3rd year PSU student
Born and raised in Massachusetts. Emma is a Junior at Pennsylvania State University, University Park studying Digital Arts and Media Design. Emma is studying digital painting, 3D modeling, and animation in her major. With a passion for creating merchandise and advertisements she is honored to work and collaborate with others in the production of this festival. 

Alivia Cross, 2nd year MFA PSU studen
Alivia Cross is a Second year MFA in scenic design candidate at the Pennsylvania State University. She plans to focus her studies on scenic design, as well as the intersect between art, education, and safety. This semester she is the scenic charge art for PSU’s Fall Semester. During the summer of ’23 she traveled to Prague, Czech Republic to study sustainability practices within theatre arts. Alivia looks forward to designing Urinetown in the upcoming the PSU Centre Stage season. Lastly, as a Philipsburg resident, Alivia is glad to be a part of the Centre County Film Festival and bring people to the beautiful downtown Rowland Theatre.

Lamisse Hamouda, 3rd year PSU student
Lamisse Hamouda is an Egyptian American attending the Pennsylvania State University as a third-year student pursuing a bachelor’s of fine arts in New Media with a minor in Information Sciences & Technology and a certificate in Diversity Studies. She was born and raised in State College, Pennsylvania where Lamisse has always been passionate about the arts from a young age.

Shalini Prasath, 2nd year PSU student
Shalini Prasath is a sophomore studying Graphic Design at Penn State University. She was born and raised on the Philadelphia Main Line to an Indian-Tamil family. Her Tamil culture fostered her love for cinema, as she grew up celebrating Tamil actors and their movie releases. This appreciation led her to the arts, where she now has hobbies in photography, video editing, design, dance, and music. Shalini is interested in filmmaking, with a dream of one day working in film production herself. She is thrilled to be a part of the design team for this year’s Centre Film Festival.

Marissa Scheller, 3rd year PSU student

Marissa, a junior from Pittsburgh, PA, is currently at Penn State University, pursuing a Fine Arts degree with a New Media concentration. Her passion is to embark on a creative journey as a concept artist or storyboard artist for movies, games, or shows.

Driven by a profound love for visual storytelling, Marissa has dedicated herself to mastering the intricacies of digital artistry, animation, and multimedia design. At Penn State, she’s actively participated in the Digital Media Group, where she’s connected with like-minded peers who share her artistic aspirations. You’ll often find Marissa with headphones on, as music is her constant source of inspiration. Her artistic creations are a testament to her love for fantasy and feminine aesthetics, influenced by her cherished childhood memories of Barbie and Disney Princess movies. Her work predominantly features enchanting beings like fairies and mermaids, often bathed in soft, soothing color palettes. Marissa’s artistic vision promises to captivate audiences and transport them into dreamlike realms.

Student Events Management & Hospitality Intern Team

Allison Long, Events Management & Hospitality Intern, 3rd year PSU student
Allison Long is from San Francisco, California and she is a junior at Penn State studying RPTM (recreation, parks, tourism, management). She hopes to one day work backstage with the entertainment industry- either on tour with a band or at the arena- or with the San Jose Sharks, which is her favorite hockey team. She is interning with us to get the feel of what it is like to work in a fast-paced environment and get the experience she needs for her future. Allison hopes that the experience from her internship will help her decide which industry she wants to join as well as allowing her to make connections with a varying amount of people. Her experience in this internship will help her be more prepared to join her career and she hopes to join the team again next year and do it all over again. Allison is ready to join the team and work to the best of her ability, and beyond, to help with the film festival. 

Catharine Aboulhouda, Events Management & Hospitality Intern, 3rd year PSU student
Catherine a junior studying recreation, park, and tourism management. She is involved with Penn State’s Oriana Choir, and is planning on joining Oriana’s THON organization. She is also planning on joining Movin’ On – Penn State’s student run music festival.Catherine loves live music and going to concerts, traveling, skiing, kayaking, hanging out with her friends and family and of course her dog, baking, and reading. She is excited to be involved in the festival and can’t wait to see all the filmmakers and the students come and enjoy State College!

Centre Film Festival Club

Anabelle Preciado Higgins, Vice President, 2nd year PSU student
Anabelle Preciado Higgins is second-year Film Production major as well as a Spanish and Entrepreneurship Minor. As an aspiring director and the co-founder of the Centre Film Festival Club at Penn State, she is passionate about all aspects of film-making and having made wonderful memories at last year’s festival, she can’t wait to once again get involved and share her love with other students. As a State College local she hopes to build the film community on campus and in Happy Valley. 

Ned Groome, Treasurer, 4th year PSU student
Hello! I’m Ned Groome. Originally from The Netherlands, I am a fourth-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.

Sydney Stewart, President, 2nd year PSU student
Sydney is a sophomore film production student at Penn State University. She attended the Canne Film Festival in 2023. She is the President of the Centre Film Festival Club, and is so excited for this years festival!

Happy Valley Communications

Paige Balliet, Account Executive
Paige Balliet is an Account Executive for Happy Valley Communications. Her and her team are thrilled to be working with the Centre Film Festival this semester. She loves watching films and being in the environment of film festivals, so she was immediately drawn to this organization. Paige is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and attended Solanco High School. Now, she attends Penn State University and lives in State College during the school year. She is a junior, double majoring in public relations and communication arts and sciences and earning a minor in digital media trends and analytics. Some of her interests include photography, videography, and writing. 

Isabell Flores, 2nd year PSU student
Isabelle, originally from South Plainfield, New Jersey, is a second year student at the Pennsylvania State University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising with a minor in Digital Media Trends and Analytics and a certificate in Business Fundamentals. Post graduation, she aspires to work for an advertising firm and accomplish what she will be doing for Centre Film Festival for a living. She hopes to use her skills from prior internship opportunities in social media management and digital communications to advertise the week-long Centre Film Festival event to those who may not know about it. She is thrilled to be collaborating with all the people that make this event possible.

Owen Joachim, Account Associate, 2nd year PSU student
Owen Joachim is from Alexandria VA and is currently a sophomore at Penn State University. Growing up, Owen moved around because his father was in the military. Some notable places Owen lived were Senegal and Uganda. Living in different parts of the world has made him self- reliant and resourceful, along with being able to adapt to situations easily. Ever since Owen was in 8th grade Penn State has been his dream school. Owen is currently majoring in strategic Comm with a minor in business. He would like to work in sales and marketing after school. This is currently Owen’s first year in HVC and he is very excited to be working with the Centre Film Festival. He believes that film plays an important role in strengthening and inspiring the local community. Some other organizations Owen is involved with are THON and Greeks care. 

Olivia Kutlow, 3rd year PSU student
Hi, I’m Olivia Kutlow! I am a Junior at Penn State majoring in Advertising with a minor in DMTA and a Smeal Business Fundamentals certificate. Professionally, I aspire to work within the Pharmaceutical industry. I’m incredibly passionate about digital marketing and advertising strategies, as well as helping others! I grew up in Branchburg, New Jersey, and love spending my summers at the Jersey shore. Some of my hobbies include trying new restaurants, exercising, spending time with friends and family, and skiing. I’m very active and enjoy maintaining a busy schedule. I go to the movies very often, and grew up around film! My oldest cousin is a very successful film editor, currently in Los Angeles! My favorite movie is The Blind Side, and my go-to movie snack is popcorn with M&Ms!

Naya Shah, 2nd year PSU student
Naya is a Second Year student at Penn State University in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, studying Enterprise Technology Integration with a Digital Media Trends & Analytics minor. She has a passion for the arts uses her creativity and drive to ensure that she am producing high-quality work!

Ty Tkacik, 2nd year PSU student
A central Pennsylvania native, Ty Tkacik graduated from Curwensville, a small town just outside of Centre County, before pursuing a degree in public relations at Penn State. Ty’s appreciation towards film started at a young age, and movie nights have become a bi-weekly ritual over the last few years. Filmmaking has always interested Ty, but the lessons he learned from the scripts and screenplays of his favorite movies have inspired him to not only work hard to improve his creative writing skills, but also interject his own creative flair into his professional work. Ty’s interests outside of film include his nearly decade old passion for drumming, as well as his love for rock climbing, where he currently works as a climbing wall instructor for Penn State. Although Ty doesn’t live in State College full-time (yet), his love for the local music and climbing scenes have kept him wanting to involve himself with organizations like the Centre County Film Festival which bring talented creative people from across Pennsylvania to the heart of the state in Happy Valley.

Alex Wiersberg, 3rd year PSU student
Alex Wiersberg is from Arlington, Virginia, and is a junior at Penn State studying telecommunications with a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Aside from Happy Valley Comm, Alex has been writing for The Daily Collegian for almost a year and a half, and recently joined The Telecommunications Club as secretary on its executive board. He has also been on the executive board of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi for the past two semesters. Aside from campus involvement, Alex has been a film buff his entire life, which is a big reason as to why he wanted to work with Centre Film Fest. His other hobbies include listening to music, hanging out with friends, and lifting.

First Year Student Team

Niamh Colvin, 1st year PSU student
From Maryland, Niamh Colvin is a first year at Penn State who is currently majoring in Film Production. Niamh has a passion for film, and can’t wait to learn more about the film industry. She is very excited to see what her first year at penn state will bring, and is happy to get the opportunity to become involved in the centre film festival. 

Colin Connors, 1st year PSU student
Colin is a freshman planning to study film production. He is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to Penn-Trafford High School. At Penn-Trafford, Colin worked on Wake Up Warriors, the school’s morning announcements as an anchor and Equipment Manager. He was a Co-Editor-in-Chief for The Warrior, the school’s newspaper. Colin likes to work on all behind the scenes tasks and voice acting.

Dina Florentino, 1st year PSU student
Hi! My name is Dina and I am from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. I am a first year student at Penn State University majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Aside from broadcasting, I take interest in social media and content creating on apps such as Tik Tok and Instagram. When not in class or at the library, I like to spend my time downtown with my friends trying new restaurants and shopping. I also enjoy attending sporting events at Penn State such as the football games, soccer games, women’s hockey games, and soon the men’s hockey games!

Kamryn Greene, 1st year PSU student
Hi I am Kamryn Greene and I am a freshman at Penn State. I am from Lancaster, PA. My major is film production which was something I discovered I loved my freshman year of High school at a boarding school not far from Penn State. In high school I was the general manager of the schools AV club officials which taught me how to be in a leadership role and manage many things at once. My senior year I realized that I wanted to persue film as a career and that is how I ended up at Penn State. In my free time I enjoy binge watching TV series and reading. I am so excited to be apart of this years Centre Film Festival!

Annelise Hanson, 1st year PSU student
Annelise is a Freshman at Penn State University. She is majoring in Journalism and Theatre. She is from Pittsburgh, PA. Annelise is super excited to be involved with Centre Film this year, as a member of the seminar class, and intern.

Alex Harkins, 1st year PSU student
My name is Alex Harkins and I’m from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. As of right now, I’m majoring in broadcast journalism in the school of communications. Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to be in the sports media industry, and hope to get there one day. Being able to talk about sports, and get paid to do it, is something I consider to be a dream. I previously attended Unionville High School for the last 4 years, and just graduated this past June. I’m the 3rd person in my immediate family to attend Penn State, and the 2nd to be in the communications program. I believe the major is so broad, with many different options that fit several different interests. As mentioned earlier, I’ve always had an interest in sports, having grown up following them all with my dad. Although it can be hard at times, I happen to be a Philly sports fan, and will die by my Phillies, Sixers, or Eagles. Hopefully things will turn up soon.

Isabel Isenhower, 1st year PSU student
Isabel is currently a freshman at Penn State University where she is studying film production. During her four years at Penn State, she is hoping to learn how to pursue her dream of becoming an actor and director. She has been studying film acting for seven years, and is very excited to get to learn all aspects of film. She has been involved in musical theater and straight acting starting at the age of 5. She has been involved in 5 years of competition at The Junior Theatre Festival where she received the Freddie G award for best student choreography. She was also in The A Cappella Group for two years, where she received a solo on the song Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, which can be found on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. This song received the award of Best of A Capella 2023, and is currently at 40,370 streams on Spotify. She is planning on joining many clubs that provide involvement with film, as well as singing and dancing. Isabel is so excited to get this amazing opportunity to be on the student team for this year’s Centre Film Festival.

John Lopez, 1st year PSU student
My name is John Lopez. I am from Sharon Hill Pennsylvania. I graduated high school from Saint Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia and I am currently at Penn State University Park with my major being Film Production. The reason I chose my major in film production is because movies and TV shows provided me an outlet to communicate and interact with my family from a young age in a way that couldn’t be achieved through anything else. I love film and television and want to give back, in some way, to an industry that helped me build lifelong relationships. I am a sports fan, a Philly sports fan exclusively. Go Birds! I am also the stereotypical “nerd”, if presented with some type of nerdy pop culture, I’ve more than likely seen and or heard about it. I have a very special tight-knit group of friends I’ve carried all the way from grade school who I absolutely cherish but I hope to forge new lifelong friends while at Penn State! I am honored and excited to be able to work at the Centre Film Festival for the 2023 showings!

Colin Nappi, 1st year PSU student
Colin Nappi is a first year student at Penn State. Colin is from New York and wanted to come to Penn State because of how many opportunities there were. He is especially interested in film over all other forms of media. Colin admires how the ability to send messages through film always fascinated him, considering how difficult the entire process is. However, when a film is able to take advantage of its budget to make something that cannot be scaled by cost, it’s truly beautiful. Some films more than others. Colin is looking forward to gaining more insight into independent films through the Centre Film Festival, as he has always had a soft spot for lesser known, obscurer films. He would like to thank his parents for making it possible to go to the school, and his Professor, Pearl Gluck, for the opportunity to take the class. 

Maeve O’Hara, 1st year PSU student
Hi! My name is Maeve O’Hara and I am from Medfield, Massachusetts. I am a freshman at Penn State and am majoring in Advertising. I am in various clubs around campus such as the Advertising/Public Relations and The Women in Business Club.

Andrew Poplawski, 1st year PSU student
Currently a student in the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Penn State University, intending to major in Finance. Originally from Fairfax County, Virginia (15 minutes outside of Washington, DC). Enjoys playing and watching sports as well as working out and spending time with friends and family. Favorite Movie of all time is Star Wars Revenge of the Sith. 

Kaitlyn Pfeifer, 1st year PSU student
Kaitlyn Pfeifer is a current first-year Broadcast Journalism major at Penn State University. She is thrilled to be apart of the Centre Film Festival Team working on Organization and Management! At Penn State she is involved with PSN News, Shades of Blue A Cappella Group and is an Assistant Choreographer for the Penn State Thespian Society. 

Juno Seidel, 1st year PSU student
Juno is an aspiring film director and is currently attending Penn State University majoring in Film Production. Juno’s dream job would be to work on a documentary series centered around crime, religion, politics, or psychology. In their free time, Juno enjoys painting, reading, writing, and sculpting. They were born and raised in Reading, PA and graduated from Conrad Weiser Area School District. Juno has taken multiple photography and film classes during their high school career and has always taken an interest in creating short films as a young child. Although Hollywood sounds nice, Juno is more interested in bringing awareness to some topics and issues people don’t usually talk about, or have little information on, through the use of cinema. Fictional movies are something Juno likes to watch when they can, but when it comes to producing, they prefer real people’s stories and experiences. 

Erica Speers, 1st year PSU student
Erica is an Advertising and Public Relations major at Bellisario College of Communications. She is from Downingtown, PA and attended Downingtown High School West. 

Allison Tocmo, 1st year PSU student
Allison is a freshman at Penn State aiming to major in Film Production. They are from the Philippines but have lived in State College for the past 12 years. They are incredibly passionate about media production whether they are critiquing a film, making a video, or watching something for fun.