Festival Organizers


Shelley Gillespie

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!

Festival Director:

Roger Gillespie

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.