David Haddad, Chair, Executive Committee
David Haddad is the President and owner of Haddad's, Inc. - a studio equipment rental company based out of Pittsburgh, PA. In his 37 years in the business, Mr. Haddad has overseen rentals to more than 2300 feature films and television series. He is dedicated to keeping the film and television industry in Pennsylvania.
Maria Shamkalian, Vice-Chair, Executive Committee
Maria Shamkalian is a union actress, writer, inspirational speaker, and director of Ann Kids Food Program that provides daily free meals to the children of Philadelphia. She moved to USA in 2001 and did not speak any English. Since then, she got her Master's Degree in teaching English, Communication, and Acting; joined SAG-AFTRA; participated in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials; had her work featured in film festivals; staged multiple children's theater shows; got her work published; performed with her poetry and speaking engagements; and organized multiple film industry events and charitable fundraisers. She is a passionate PAFIA supporter.
Amy Sotereanos, Secretary, Executive Committee
Amy Sotereanos has worked in the film industry for over a decade, starting with ICM in Los Angeles as a Business Affairs assistant in the Television Department. Currently, Amy is a Film Transportation DOT/Dispatch professional in Pittsburgh and a member of Teamsters Local 249. Additionally, she is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries and has served as a mobile notary for production and escrow closing companies.
Dave Bowers, Board Member, Treasurer Executive Committee
Dave Bowers is the President of David Bowers & Associates, LLC which provides financial/accounting services to film/television production companies in regards to the PA Film Tax Credits. Mr. Bowers is also a Principal of Film Incentives Group, LLC, a nationwide broker of film tax credits and a provider of financial/accounting services in connection with film tax credits and incentives.
Courtney Gumpf, Board Member, Executive Committee
For more than 10 years, Courtney has worked in production, film, and marketing. Beginning her career as a production assistant and coordinator on commercial sets such as Levi's - "We Are All Workers" and Giant Eagle, she quickly found her way into film. Working at Nancy Mosser Casting as a Casting & Production Associate for several motion pictures including "The Dark Knight Rises", "Perks of Being a Wallflower", and "Out of the Furnace", she utilized her knowledge to help tell the unique story of each client.
Most recently, Courtney, along with business partner, Jennifer Schlieper, co-founded Flying Scooter Productions - an agency focusing on marketing, brand, events, and storytelling for some of the most beloved national and local brands. Through their work, they have become ingrained in the local Pittsburgh community and this past fall were honored to have partnered with the Light of Life Rescue Mission. Through this partnership, they, along with local crew, produced the documentary "Eye of the Needle" to bring awareness to the opioid crisis, an issue that is impacting so many.
Kris Mendoza, Board Member, Executive Committee
With an NYU Film degree & a Wharton MBA, Kris aims to balance creativity and business at his production company, Maestro Filmworks, as an Executive Producer. Having founded the company in 2005, Kris has grown Maestro into a full service production company and boutique creative agency, serving clients in multi-national Fortune 100 corporations, NGO's like United Nations Global Compact, and everything in between. Kris strives to push for diversity in the filmmaking industry in front of and behind the camera, as well as championing stable career opportunities for filmmakers and creatives.
Abdul Alvi, Board Member
Abdul Alvi graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 with a degree in Biology and minor in Theater with a Performance track. After graduation, Abdul sought to focus on acting and modeling through The Docherty Agency and opportunities from Nancy Mosser Casting. He has worked in several movies and TV Shows that have been filmed in Pittsburgh including "Warrior," "Abduction," "Love and Other Drugs," "One Dollar," and many others. During this time, he was signed with American Eagle as the host of their internal TV show and has hosted over 70 episodes. He also lived in Los Angeles for a short duration in order to hone his skills in acting by teaching as an assistant in various acting workshops in the Hollywood area. While in Los Angeles, he was signed to Pantheon Talent as an actor and gained work in unique projects, including video games, such as "Call of Duty Black Ops 3". He is currently a student of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy pursuing a PharmD degree while constantly working in various acting and modeling jobs around PA, OH, VA, and NY. Abdul is optimistic in representing the diverse talent Pittsburgh has to offer in order to maintain and grow the aura surrounding TV and Film in Pennsylvania.
Lela Checco, Board Member
Lela Checco is a seasoned film industry professional with nearly two decades of experience working behind the scenes. A member of IATSE 489 Union in Pittsburgh, PA, her most recent work has been in Craft Services, providing food and drink (and occasional comic relief) to all on-set cast and crew. She has provided sustenance on numerous notable Burgh-based projects, including Outsiders, Southpaw, Fault in Our Stars, Last Flag Flying, Love the Coopers, Concussion, and Where'd You Go Bernadette. Before working in Craft Services, Lela worked in various other capacities in the industry, garnering great insight into the finer details of the field. Lela holds a BFA from Edinboro University and MS from Robert Morris University and, once upon a time, worked for PBS at WQED and WQLN Erie. When she isn't busy coordinating cornucopias of food, she enjoys travelling the world, scuba diving, playing with her Boxer pup, Tito, body painting, and having a good time with friends.
Frank Conforti, Board Member
Frank Conforti, born and bred in Pennsylvania, had a varied career prior to entering the film industry in 2008 as a driver who rose to Transportation Captain on the Pittsburgh portion of The Avengers. He has worked on 20 features and three television shows since 2008. He rose to Transportation Coordinator on Concussion in 2014. He is a member of the Teamsters and of SAG/AFTRA.
Joe Coyle, Board Member
Joe Coyle has been a member of SAG/AFTRA since 1996, appearing as a principal performer in Where Did You Go Bernadette, Promised Land, Jack Reacher, Won’t Back Down, Unstoppable, Paycheck, Ocean’s 11, Out of Sight, Three Kings, Zoolander, Fail Safe, Friends, Oz, Wildfire, Unscripted and Those Who Kill. He has been directed by Gus Van Zandt, Christopher McQuarrie, John Woo, Steven Soderbergh, Tony Scott, David O. Russell, George Clooney, Ben Stiller, Stephen Frears, and Catherine Hardwicke and Richard Linklater.
He produced Can’t Stop Dancing, a feature film starring Margaret Cho, Bob Odenkirk, Fred Willard, Janeane Garofola, Ileana Douglas and Anthony Edwards. He Line Produced The Shangri La Café for Lily Mariye, an entry in American Film Institute’s Director’s Workshop for Women. He also Line Produced Harvey’s Speech for Ivo Cristante.
Joe has written numerous screenplays for TV and film. Most recently he completed Fraternal Order, a feature film and Devine Intervention a television Pilot. Additionally, Joe has written, directed and produced numerous short films.
Joe met his wife, Susan, a Director’s Guild of America Assistant Director, on the set of Three Kings where Joe was standing-in for George Clooney. Joe served as Clooney’s stand-in on 9 feature films and two seasons of ER. He was also Ben Affleck’s stand-in on four feature films.
Joe has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama where he taught On-Camera acting classes. He has also offered classes at Donna Belajac Casting in Downtown Pittsburgh and at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.
Joe lives with his wife and two children: Ava, 15 and Joey, 13 in Sewickley, PA after moving from LA in 2005. He holds a BA from Temple University’s School of Communications and Theatre.
Susan Ransom Coyle, Board Member
Susan Ransom Coyle has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 2001 working as an Assistant Director on studio produced feature films such as LAST FLAG FLYING, PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, FENCES, WARRIOR, WOUTHPAW and YOU ARE MY FRIEND. She also has worked on numerous network and cable television shows like CASTLE ROCK, WILDFIRE, IN PLAIN SIGHT, OUTSIDERS, SUPAH NINJAS, ONE DOLLAR, and THOSE WHO KILL. She is a native of Pittsburgh and a graduate of Beth Park High School. Upon graduation, she attended New England College in Henniker, NH majoring in Technical Theatre where she learned to direct theatre. Throughout her career, Susan has developed a reputation for hard work and dedication to the production. In the process, she has established herself as a reliable local source for LA and NYC based production executives who travel to Pittsburgh to take advantage of the PA Film Tax Credit.
Tiffany Echo Wolf, Board Member
Tiffany Echo Wolf is a filmmaker, production designer and multimedia artist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2007, Tiffany formed a multimedia collective and production company under the name Lost Sugar Disco. For the past ten years, she has gone on to maintain studio space for local artists, design stages and produce and design hundreds of hours of film, television, and live event production in the United States and for international production companies. Following her directorial premiere for her short film, Doorway of 1,000 Churches, Tiffany continues to expand her vision in the arts through stop motion animation, producing and directing music videos and producing spatial and time based art.
Paula Gregg, Board Member
Paula Gregg has been ingrained in the Pittsburgh film community since the early 90's. Her first job was as a stand-in for a lead actress. When they told her she was too short for the job, she had a pair of orthopedic tennis shoes made that gave her the three inches she needed and the job she wanted. From that moment on she was at home on a set! With jobs few and far between, she started a craft service business that took her up and down the east coast. Paula became known as "Crafty Girl" where she coined her phrase "Don't get nervous...It's just craft service". Paula found a small urban Christmas comedy that she set out to shoot solely independent. Not only did they tell her that a white woman from Pittsburgh wouldn't get it made, but IF she did, it wouldn't see the theaters... "Christmas in Compton" released nationwide in theaters Christmas 2012. Over the last 22 years of working in various positions on films that include Art Department, Swing Gang, Props, Craft Services, Special Effects, Stunts and Producing, Paula knows the labor of love and creativity that goes into making a project come to fruition. Paula Gregg currently sits on the Executive Board of Local IATSE 489 and the Board of Women in Film. She is also a member of PAFIA.
John Horell, Board Member
John received his bachelor's degree in accounting from The Pennsylvania State University in 2004. That same year, he began his professional career with Harry K. Sickler Associates in Tyrone, PA. Currently, John is President of KIZ Resources, LLC. John and his company are recognized throughout Pennsylvania for their experience and leadership in obtaining and monetizing various types of government incentives including the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credits. A strong Advocate for higher education, John serves as a member of the Penn State Altoona Sheetz Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence Advisory Board and the Penn State Altoona Enactus Business Advisory Board.
Daisy Jade, Board Member
Daisy Jade is a professional SAG-AFTRA actress, model, TV personality, and host with over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. Her most recent projects include television appearances on Cinemax's 'Banshee', Netflix's 'Mindhunter', Lifetime's 'Faith Under Fire', and CBS's '$1'. You can also see her in numerous commercials and campaigns, including PA Lottery, The Rivers Casino, Penn State, Huffy Bikes, and Dick's Sporting Goods. She is the on-air talent for Pittsburgh's CW (WPCW-TV), representing the station at live events and producing commercials, web videos and content for their website and social media outlets. Other past industry roles include Producer, Director, Shoot Production Coordinator, Talent Agent, Casting Assistant, Stand-in, Stage Manager, and as a Personal Assistant to Tyler Perry.
Daisy is also prominently involved in Pittsburgh's social scenes and philanthropic communities, which led her to establish Glam Life Events & Entertainment, an event planning and entertainment coordination company. She has organized numerous charity fundraisers, film industry events, and premiere viewing parties (including one for the cast and crew members of Banshee: Season 4, which was filmed in the Pittsburgh area. Daisy received a full scholarship to pursue a degree in Film Studies & Theater Arts at the University of Pittsburgh, along with a Film Studies Certificate from Pittsburgh FIlmmakers and a Teaching Certificate for Theater Arts. Her experiences and passion for the entertainment industry have allowed her to mentor others pursuing a career in the business. She is also a proud member of PAFIA, whose mission is to help promote the thriving entertainment industry here in Pennsylvania.
Jeannee Josefczyk, Board Member
Jeannee Josefczyk is a profesional makeup artist and a journeyman of IATSE 798 NY. She has worked in the business for 25 years, working on films, TV series, live shows, concerts and commercials, and as worked with several Presidents of the United States. Ms. Josefczyk is one of the founders for The Pittsburgh Film Workers Association and has been the President of The Pittsburgh Film Workers Association for ten years. Jeannee is also on the board of Women in Film and on the board of Valleywide Credit Union.
Chris Kellett, Board Member
Chris Kellett is an Emmy award winning Production Sound Mixer with over 26 year of production based experience and is the Co-Owner of Sync Speed, Inc, specializing in production audio and communication rentals. Chris grew up in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with at B.A. in Radio, Television and Film in 1991. Chris has had the opportunity to record sound on every type of production, from working with the last 3 sitting Presidents in the White House, to working at the past 22 Superbowls, working on projects above the Arctic Circle to the deserts of the Middle East. He’s recorded sound on local and national commercials, episodic television, live sports events, feature films, independent films and documentaries. Chris was nominated and won an Emmy in 1996. He started his own audio and communications rental company, Sync Speed Inc., in 2003 bringing a new level of convenience and dedication to all production levels of the Pennsylvania film community. Chris was nominated as a member of Cinema Audio Society in 2007. Chris has traveled the world working in the film industry, but most importantly, he has made Pennsylvania his home.
James Mahathey, Board Member
James Mahathey is a Location Manager for Feature Films, Television, and Commercials. Mr. Mahathey has worked in the film industry for 17 years and is also the owner of JAM FILM Productions. JAM FILM Productions is a Location Services, Photography, and Production company based in Pittsburgh, PA.
Dana Michael, Marketing Chair
Dana Michael has worked in production for the last decade. Most recently she was the Art Department Coordinator on HULU/Warner Brother's upcoming series, "Castle Rock" from Stephen King and JJ Abrams. Prior to this, Dana was the Set Dec Coordinator for Season One of Netflix's "Mindhunter" directed by David Fincher. Dana had been the Head Producer at Get-Kinetic in Philadelphia until 2015 winning multiple awards. Clients have included Neil Patrick Harris, NBC10, The Wonder Years, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Bimbo Bread, among others.
Ken Myers, Board Member
Ken was born and raised in the Philadelphia area (North Wales & Upper Gwynedd) and went to North Penn High School. Following graduation from high school, he split his time at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA and the University of Sydney in Australia, Pursuing Coursework in political science, internal relations, political economics and Chinese studies.
Following Graduation from college, Ken moved to Sand Diego, CA and began work with several television productions, most notably the series "Veronica Mars". Shortly thereafter, he returned to the university realm and completed a master's degree in business and Asian studies in Beijing, China and completed his master's theses on nanotechnology while living in the Wudaokou area of Beijing and studying in the Chaoyang business district.
After returning to the U.S., Ken received an invitation from the CEO of an intercultural consulting firm called Icunet to work and live in Passau, Germany. Following a stay of nearly 7 years traveling and doing business throughout Europe, he moved back to the U.S. (Philadelphia) to co-found a hospitality/accommodation brand called Coral along with his business partner, Andrew Carlone. Ken and Andrew have incorporated their experiences in hospitality to cater to high-profile clients, most of whom are from the film and television industry, to provide a luxury 5-star accommodation experience with a comprehensive menu of white-glove services.
David Raynor, Board Member
David Raynor has been a production coordinator in film and television since 2002. A lifelong Pennsylvania resident, he graduated with honors from Temple University's Film and Media Arts program. In addition to being a member of IATSE 161, Mr. Raynor is also a member of the Producers Guild of America and on the Board of Working Film Establishment. His recent credits include M. Night Shyamalan's "The Visit" "Silver Linings Playbook," and the forthcoming "Creed" for MGM.
John Rusk, Board Member
John Rusk is a Producer and Assistant Director who has contributed to the production of over forty feature films and television shows as well as dozens of commercials. His film credits include "Dead Poets Society," "Avalon," "A League of Their Own," "The Pelican Brief," "Outbreak," "Twelve Monkeys," and "The Sixth Sense."
Katie Shenot, Board Member
Katie Shenot is a 2003 graduate of Point Park University with a degree in Musical Theater. Upon graduation, Katie began working with Nancy Mosser Casting in Pittsburgh and is still with the company under the title of Casting Director. Her work includes Film and Television projects such as "Downward Dog", "Love the Coopers", "The Dark Knight Rises", "Perks of Being a Wallflower", "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl", "Banshee; Season 4", "The Fault in Our Stars", "She's Out of My League" and many more. She has also cast hundreds of commercials both locally and nationally. She is a proud member of PAFIA as well as Women in Film and Media. Katie adjudicates for both Point Park and Carnegie Mellon Universities and has served as a judge for the Pittsburgh CLO Gene Kelly Awards. In 2015, Katie was honored with membership into the prestigious Casting Society of America. She's an outspoken advocate for the expansion of the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit and regularly reaches out to actors and background extras from the Mosser Casting Database of over 50,000 people. She hopes to be a representative for the talent of Pittsburgh because without their support, we will never reach that coveted unlimited tax credit.
Ani Smith, Board Member
Ani Smith is an event planner, a production assistant, and an Assistant Supervisor for Ann Kids Food Program that provides over 1000 children with free meals daily. She has extensive experience organizing events of different scales, from charity events with over 800 attendees to car shows with thousands of participants. Ani loves working on film sets and would like to help fight for film tax credits. She has been helping host all the East PAFIA events for the past two years and is looking forward to continuing to contribute her time and energy to helping PAFIA with its mission.
Heather Tassoni, Board Member
Heather Tassoni is the Director of Business Rental Sales in the Greater Philadelphia Area for Enterprise Holdings, who operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. Enterprise has been servicing the film, television, and commercial industry in the Commonwealth for over 20 years by supplying rental cars, trucks, or vans with our J.D. Powers award winning customer service.
Justin Wineburgh, Board Member
Justin B. Wineburgh, President & CEO, Alkemy X, Inc.
Max Zug, Board Member
Max Zug is the General Manager of TC Motion, a motion communications content provider based in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, serving advertising agencies, broadcasters, and corporate communicators. A 1984 graduate of the Temple University School of Communication and Theater, Max started his career as a commercial director in local television, gaining national recognition as a videographer/editor and senior field producer for Group W's PM Magazine at WGAL TV8. He then moved to Ford New Holland as a media producer, followed by VMi Communications as a minority shareholder and staff director. For 14 years, Max owned his own production company, Maxfilms, Inc., which was the go-to source for film between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. As a Central Pennsylvania native, Max knows that geography need never be an obstacle to making a career in the film business. He continues to generously mentor others who share his passion, and remains inspired by the technical magic of motion pictures.