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.

2019 Festival Administration

Copa Shorts Film Fest is a volunteer organization. We thank all of those who support us and make the festival and off-site events possible.

Stephen Wade Nebgen
Steve Wargo
Jason Stahl
Matthew Sugerik
Brent Michael Davids
Shylo Carr

Emeritus – Julianna Joyce Feher

Original Cover Art
Mai May Tallwing
Judy Tallwing


Website Design
The Social Baboon LLC


Logo Design
Taylor Lynn Slaughter

Film Block Prep
Bronco Studios
Poston Butte HS

Gina D’AbeIIa
Shylo Carr
Julianna Feher
Steve Wargo
Stephen Wade Nebgen
Jason Stahl
Matthew Sugerik
Brent Michael Davids


Screen play Jury
Roger Gillespie
Shelley Gillespie
Laurie Fagen

ASU Intern
Chris O’Brien


Without the help of many volunteers, Copa Shorts Film Fest would not be possible. Thank you to:

2019 Donors

The following individuals have pledged their support to Copa Shorts Film Fest, Inc. through their generous financial gifts.

Dawn & Paul Bick
Philip Gillespie
Andrew McAleavey
Katherine Polmanteer

Gina D’Abella
Nathan Hardman
Chris O’Brien
Mai May Tallwing

Linette Caroselli
Nathan Hardman
Gina D’Abella
Mai May Tallwing
Sheri Davenport
Anonymous-Benevity Fund

Vice Mayor Henry Wade
Council Member Nancy Smith
County Supervisor Anthony Smith
Mayor Christian Price
Council Member Marvin Brown
Council Member Vincent Manfredi

Business Donors

City of Maricopa
Arizona Commission on the Arts
Orbitel Communications
Maricopa High School DECA
Desert Dimond Casino
Howard Designs
Catering by Helen
Stephen Wade Nebgen, PLLC

Ahwatukee Realty
National Endowment for the Arts
The Social Baboon
Global Water Resources
MidFirst Bank
Fry’s Food Store