Meet the Team
Shelley Gillespie, Executive Director of Copa Shorts Film Fest, is the idea person behind this new festival. Her love of film, coupled with a desire to create a great event for filmmakers and film lovers, is the motivator behind CSFF.
In addition to collaborating on Saving Liberty, the quarter-finalist- placed screenplay winner in the American Zoetrope contest, Shelley’s multi-faceted background includes years as an award-winning journalist (The Communicator, Arizona Republic), an educator and adjunct professor (CAC, NAU), writing coach, marketing consultant and author. (Hiking for the Couch Potato: A Guide for the Exercise-Challenged)
She’s assisted a national non-profit in raising $9.3 million, increased membership for a Girl Scout group by 70%, developed and coordinated training programs for a 2,000-employee government, and managed a shopping mall and created their marketing programs.
Shelley holds a BA in English from Vassar College and an MS in Educational Administration from State University of NY at Albany.
She invites everyone to come, have fun!
Roger Gillespie – Festival Director
Screenwriter, producer, film critic and host of the monthly “3-Hour Movie Critic” event at UltraStar, Roger Gillespie has been involved in film, broadcasting and journalism since high school.
He has independently written and co-written over 10 feature-length screenplays including quarter-finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s annual, internationally renowned American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest for his full-length feature, Saving Liberty. [Benjamin Franklin is transported out of his time zone where he finds a 21 st century future that’s the opposite of what he had hoped. His biggest problem – he now needs to get back to 1775 to reset history!]
An alumni member of Ball State University’s Film and Broadcasting School, and Hal Croasmun’s Screenwriting U, Roger is the first to tell anyone that he can teach you how to format a screenplay in a few minutes, but “it’s the story that matters, and that takes a little more time.”
Gina D’Abella, a Native Arizonan, began her career in sales and marketing representing large corporations in the Phoenix area. For the past 19 years, Ms. D’Abella has been the Executive Director of Environmental Concerns Organization, Inc. (ECO). ECO focuses its efforts on environmental stewardship and sustainable community development projects. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Ms. D’Abella is the Chair for the Pinal County Open Space & Trails Commission.
An accomplished public speaker, proficient grant writer and administrator, she has provided grant writing training for CSFF. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communication from Arizona State University.
Her love of film spans various genre: documentaries, comedies, action and suspense.
Julianna Joyce Fehér was onstage by age three and on television by age six. When the writer/director bug bit hard, she wrote and directed three stage plays for her city’s theater group.
Attending the screenwriting program at UCLA, she joined Central Casting, working as an ‘extra’ in films and television. After graduation, 20th Century Fox hired her, where she worked her way up to Executive Assistant to Bob Cook, President/COO of Twentieth Television.
While writing for Fox, Julianna became a member of WGA. She was on the team that introduced “American Idol.” At Twentieth, she also wrote for Fashion House and Rules of Deception. Currently, she has a film about to be released and an adapted film script being pitched by an Indie Film company in Los Angeles.
With over 35 years in professional television, video and feature films with over 7,000 projects, Steve Wargo has collected an array of awards for his work as Director of Photography (DP), including Romans Road, which won at the Cancun Film Festival.
He has an uncanny ability to “get the shot.”
In 2005, Wargo was the DP on both The Hoax, shown on NetFlix,and The Controller, with a multi-year run on STARZ In-Demand Kids and Family.
Wargo was the first member of the Arizona Chapter of The Independent Feature Project, a national organization that advances independent films and film producers. He recently received his FAA license as a drone pilot.
BRENT MICHAEL DAVIDS
Film Composer Brent Michael Davids is the country’s top award-winning American Indian composer and a citizen of the Mohican Nation in Wisconsin. Davids received the Best Original Music Composition award in 2015 at the Native American Indian Film Festival of the Southeast for his orchestral score to Iroquois Creation Story, which also won top honors for Native American film at CSFF 2017.
His career spans 40 years with original orchestral scores for film like Silent Enemy (1996), The Business of Fancy Dancing(2002), Dreamkeeper (2003), The World of American Indian Dance (2003), Last of the Mohicans (1929/2003), Bright Circle (2007), Raccoon and Crawfish (2007), and Opal (2012) that have appeared on ABC, NBC, Hallmark, CBS, NPR, PBS and NAPT. Davids received his MS from ASU.
STEPHEN WADE NEBGEN
Mr. Nebgen has been practicing entertainment law for close to twenty (20) years and been involved in the entertainment industry for close to forty (40) years. His clients include film, television and theatre companies, actors/actresses, musicians and many authors and painters.
In addition to his law practice, Mr. Nebgen is a producer with credits in film, television, theatre and music. He is also a professor at numerous colleges and is currently the Chair of the Community Advisory Committee to the Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre and is a member of the Arizona Production Association and serves on the Membership Committee.
Matt Sugerik is a photographer and video producer at a children’s hospital in Cleveland, OH. His love and passion for film led him to Arizona State University, where he is finishing his degree in Film & Media Studies. His main interest lies in screenwriting, which he intends to pursue further in postgraduate studies and eventually teach. He especially enjoys films that are able to push boundaries without sacrificing story.
He lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife and two children, and they hope that there is an opportunity for a relocation to the Southwestern US in their future