Who We Are
The Vermont International Film Festival is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich the community through film
VTIFF Executive Director
Orly Yadin, Executive Director of VTIFF since Jan 2012, is a filmmaker and producer of both documentaries and animation films and series. Prior to making films, she was a film researcher on historical programs and in 2001 she founded Footage Farm – an archival footage collection based in London with international clients. Orly has also taught documentary film history and theory in universities in England and at Burlington College. In 1995 she co-founded and ran Halo Productions specializing in animation films. Many of Halo’s short films won international awards at festivals, and one, Silence, was short-listed for the Academy Awards. A Vermont resident since 2004 and a US citizen since 2010.
VTIFF Board of Directors
Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, President
Paula Willoquet-Maricondi is Dean of the Division of Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College. She has a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature & Film Studies from Indiana University, and a MA in French from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the editor of Framing the World: Explorations in Ecocriticism and Film; Pedro Almodóvar: Interviews; and Peter Greenaway’s Postmodern/Poststructuralist Cinema. Prior to moving to Vermont in 2013, Paula taught film studies at Marist College in New York. She was born and raised in Brazil.
Lorna-Kay Peal, Vice-President
Lorna-Kay Peal’s careers have included serving as a public school educator, as art museum curator in Cincinnati, OH, as executive director of SEABA in Burlington, VT, and chairperson of the Fleming Museum’s Advisory Board at the University of Vermont. She is involved with local issues and consults with small businesses and artists
Luke Baynes, Secretary
A native of Pittsfield, Mass., Baynes is a 2003 graduate of the University of Vermont. After a stint in the Pacific Northwest, he returned to Vermont in 2005 and worked as a reporter on the Williston Observer. He is now a freelance reporter. A student of film since the age of 14, he has particular admiration for the films of Howard Hawks and Yasujiro Ozu. As part of his perpetual search for the American Dream, Luke has 47 states on his travel résumé.
Kevin Meehan, Treasurer
Kevin Meehan is an attorney with a lengthy career helping organizations in all areas of human capital strategy and program implementation. He has testified before the IRS , Department of Labor and committees of Congress on employee benefit programs legislation. Kevin served as an Executive Officer and a Member of the Board of Directors of Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson) where he was the Region Manager for North America operations. Kevin has also served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Management Consulting Firms. In 2009 he was selected as one of the two integration leaders for the merger of Watson Wyatt and Towers Perrin. He retired from Towers Watson at the end of their 2010 fiscal year. Kevin has a history of supporting innovative organizations in the film industry.
Blackmer is a poet and teacher; she worked for many years at Burlington College as a faculty member and chair of arts and humanities. She has volunteered with the Vermont International Film Festival since 1998, and has a special interest in Cuban film and filmmakers. Blackmer oversees the Vermont Filmmakers’ Showcase™ in the festival. She is also active in VAMP, VTIFF’s latest program: Vermont ArchiveMovie Project.
Cluse is a business owner in downtown Burlington. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in photography. In 1997 she and her husband moved to Vermont and opened Penny Cluse Café in less than a year. She has connections with local business owners and local artists. She’s been an educator and, to quote her: “I have some artistic moments. The best job I have in relation to the restaurant is coordinating Penny Cluse art exhibits. We show many local artists, but I also dedicate several months a year to fundraisers and group shows”.
Larry has resided in Vermont since 1986, first living in Jericho, then Underhill and now downtown Burlington for the past 7 years. He originates from south Louisiana where he lived until 1974, when he moved to Boston. With a professional history including work in prisons, hospitals, government and the non-profit sector, in addition to consulting in the for-profit arena, Larry brings a wide range of experiences and education to the Board.
Garen Daly has been in the Boston/New England film scene for far too many years. His career started as a cinema manager which morphed into an operator for several of Boston’s better known art houses. He revived such places as the Somerville Theatre and the Dedham Community Theatre. He is an award winning programmer/consultant who continues to produce the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival & Marathon, the oldest genre festival in the country. Currently he sits on the Filmmaker’s Collaborative board of directors.
Ford is currently the Senior Manager for Local Content at Vermont PBS, bringing local programming to broadcast by creating partnerships with filmmakers, institutions and area organizations. Eric graduated with a BA in Communication from the University of Southern Maine, and worked in television production in Portland, Maine and in Vermont at WCAX-TV. Ford was the Communication Director at Burlington City Arts from 2006-early 2016. Ford was also the co-founder of the Burlington Film Society which began in 2012, and has served on festival programming committee of VTIFF since 2013.
Arnie Malina recently retired from the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts where he served as Artistic Director and Chief Programming Officer for 16 years as well as Artistic Director of the Discover Jazz Festival, 1997-2013. Arnie grew up in New York City. He was an enthusiastic film attendee in the city where a major inspiration was the wave of European directors in the 50’s and 60’s. Arnie received a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Colorado. In 1976, he founded the Helena Film Society / Helena Series for the Performing Arts in Montana. He spearheaded the $2 million renovation of the Lewis and Clark County Jail into the Myrna Loy Center. Malina has served on the boards of the ACLU of VT, the National Performance Network, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Chamber Music America, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival and others. Malina has been a volunteer for many years with Everybody Wins, a reading mentoring program in the Burlington Public Schools.
McKee is the President and CEO of the Wake Robin Corporation. Patrick has directed human service agencies in Vermont and Ithaca, NY for the past twenty five years. He holds graduate degrees from Columbia University, and the University of Oregon. He had considered attending law school but fell asleep while taking the LSAT. Early in his career he worked in the state hospital where “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was filmed. As an undergraduate he had the good fortune to meet and interview Milos Forman, Rex Reed, Judith Crist, and Vincent Canby and has maintained a strong interest in film since. He is not typically a name dropper unless forced to produce brief bios. It is a pleasure to join the VTIFF board.
A transplanted Montrealer, Sherrill has lived in Burlington since the late ’60s. She has worked as a free-lance photographer, PR for Champlain Association for Retarded Citizens, Project Director of Humanities Council Grant and producer of audio-visual show, “From Charity to Rights”. Currently, she is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor and serves on the board of Burlington City Arts.
A bat biologist in a former life, Ben completed his doctoral work on tent-roosting bats in Ecuador, but has since transitioned to a career in finance. Several years ago, he moved with his family from Cambridge, MA to Burlington and now serves as the investment director for a local financial planner. Rinehart brings to the board a background in business and finance as well as a passion for (in no particular order) travel, film, skiing, music, food, and vintage guitars.
To be recognized as a premier showcase for quality cinema in the region.
- To be a vibrant year-round hub and resource for the film community.
- To provide a platform for the appreciation of film as an art form in its own right.
- To foster an appreciation of theatrical exhibition as a way for the community to gather, enjoy, and exchange ideas.
- To enhance respect for and a sophisticated understanding of world cultures and concerns.
The specific purposes of VTIFF are:
- To fight for the recognition of cinema as an art form equal to other arts
- To ensure that film culture becomes a vital part of the state’s cultural focus
- To contribute to the creative economy
- To present an annual “destination film festival” in the Burlington region that fosters a love and understanding of the art of film and related creative media; to provide a festive, educational atmosphere for its presentation; to celebrate films that showcase the extraordinary variety, vitality, dramas and adventures of people across the globe.
- To serve the state and border communities by providing curated film programs and by partnering with other regional film festivals
- To bring films to parts of the state that have little or no access to the best of independent film from around the world
- To be active throughout the year by curating and presenting film series
- To support groups interested in presenting specific film series
- To partner with other film organizations to maximize resources
- To create a place of connection for area filmmakers and with all disciplines of the art form to meet, share ideas and develop professional relationships