The PA Indie Shorts Film Festival is now in its second year and will be returning to the Pocono Cinema and Cultural Center in East Stroudsburg, PA during November 1 - 3, 2019 for another celebration of independent short films. The festival is currently open for submissions and we hope to see you in November!
Our team consists of artists and professionals from diverse backgrounds.
Samantha Kolesnik is the founder and festival director of PA Indie Shorts Film Festival. She is a filmmaker, writer, and arts community builder living locally in Pennsylvania. Her films, screenplays, and fiction have been recognized and awarded at various festivals and competitions internationally.
Samantha has served as a screenplay judge and guest juror at other film festivals, including GenreBlast Film Festival and Les Femmes Underground Film Festival. She also co-founded the Women in Horror Film Festival and co-directed it for its first two years.
Brian Ashton Smith
Brian is an actor, writer and director. Brian grew up in the very small town of Wharton New Jersey. His interest in acting was sparked in middle school doing school plays. In high school he was very involved in athletics. He broke school records and led his track team as captain, while starring in school plays and playing for the school band. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta originally as a physics major. He graduated with a degree in theatre and a minor in psychology. He is an avid traveler, adventurer and associate artist at Pinch n Ouch Theatre.
Ryan LaPlante is a multiple award-winning screenwriter who dabbles in acting and directing. His produced work has received 47 festival selections, 32 awards (including 8 "Best Feature" and 3 "Audience Choice" awards) and an additional 39 award nominations. His debut feature, "Holy Hell", is being distributed internationally by Indican Pictures, the distributors of "The Boondock Saints" and "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead."
Jonathan Williams has worked as a set dresser on genre productions such as the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things, the award-winning short film, Rainy Season, IFC’s Stan Against Evil and the upcoming James Franco horror heist The Vault.
He is also the promoter of the horror variety show known as Monstrosity Championship Wrestling, which has delighted fans at historic Atlanta-area venues like the Masquerade, Six Flags Over Georgia’s Fright Fest, the Starlight Drive-In and Avondale Estate’s Art-BQue festival.
Jennifer Trudrung is an actress and writer with previous roles in The Vampire Diaries (2009), Goosebumps (2015) and Transplanting (2015). Jennifer is also the owner of Night Frizz Productions, an award-winning independent film production company based in North Carolina.
Brooklyn Ewing is a jack of all trades filmmaker from the hills of West Virginia. She is the owner of Dirt Candy Productions/Photography, and the creator of She Was So Pretty. When she is not behind the camera she is probably traveling the US working behind the scenes on indie films with her crew of misfit talents. Ewing believes in hard work, and the magic of being kind to others.
Garin has a strong background in film. She attended film school at Ohio University and then California State University (CSUN), and ended up working in Hollywood’s film/TV industry for a few years. She’s the screenwriter of the award-winning short horror comedy script The Finicky Cat, which is about a cat that eats human brains. When she’s not writing about brain-eating cats, she works as an arts and culture freelance journalist and is the author of two books: The Beer Cheese Book and Rebels and Underdogs: The Story of Ohio Rock and Roll. She lives in Covington, KY, which has been called "The Brooklyn of Cincinnati."
D. M. Night Maire is an alumnus of the prestigious NYU: Tisch School of the Arts, earning his B.A. with honors in Film & T.V. with a focus on Directing, and Minors in Psychology and Producing for Film & T.V. This native Alpine’s passion for directing led him to pursue a Masters in Directing at the School of Visual Arts under famed music video and commercial director Bob Giraldi. avid co-founded AireBedd, a banner under which he's garnered hundreds of laurels and awards for his various short films and music videos, and produced content for Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Red Bull and the Leslie-Lohman Museum, amongst others.
Mike Lombardo is a writer/director/FX artist who runs Reel Splatter Productions, a small independent film troupe based in Lancaster, PA. In addition to filmmaking and FX, he occasionally writes short fiction which can be found in several anthologies and you can hear him live as one of the co-hosts on The Horror Show With Brian Keene podcast and The Horror Syndicate Lives. Along with artist Chris Enterline, he is the creator of the Hellraiser themed webcomic Cenobun. He recently completed his first feature length film, I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday: a post apocalyptic Christmas movie best described as “The Road meets Miracle on 34th Street“. It is currently on the film fest circuit.
Melissa Kunnap is an actor, writer, and director in Atlanta, Georgia. She most recently starred in the feature film The Righteous due out later this year. When she’s not filming, you can catch her around Atlanta performing with Critical Crop Top in their sketch comedy shows. Her passion for film has expanded from in-front of the camera to behind it as well. She recently wrote and directed the short horror film, Feast, which is set to be released later this year. Her main goal with filmmaking is showcasing the beauty of diversity. She believes when one door closes it’s because a psycho maniac is attempting to kill your creativity so you better handle it like the lady boss you are!
Nathan is an actor, as well as an award-winning screenwriter and director. He is one of the founders and directors of GenreBlast Film Festival.
Christine Gatlin is an award-winning producer/writer/actor from San Diego. In 2016, Christine founded Kanari Storm Productions, producing and writing her first film. That same year she put together a team to compete in the 48 Hour Film Project, winning 3rd place for Best Film with Mug. The following year, Kanari Storm won Best Film for That’s Final, for which she also received a writing nomination. Christine is currently at work writing and prepping for her first feature film. She has a degree in Communications from Pace University.
Raised in Ohio, and currently braving the Arizona heat, Tiffany is a well-traveled, well-read, lover of all things film. While supervising departments at a major credit card company during the day, by night Tiffany helps to support indie cinema and horror through her roles within various genre sites such as being the social media manager for MorbidlyBeautiful.com, as well as administrating popular fan pages for some beloved and talented ladies within the industry. When Tiffany isn't devoting her time to watching films or helping promote various causes in independent cinema, she is doting on her three rescue dogs. "I have not studied film, and have never set foot on a film set, but I would like to think that maybe I can help represent those that simply love movies."
Leigh got her start in the arts when her children discovered theater. She spent years volunteering for the Champaign Park District’s Youth Theater program, learning in all areas behind the scenes including set painting, props, costumes, stage hand, and anything else the directors needed. Eventually she became Assistant Director for the program. When back surgery prompted the need to leave theater, Leigh discovered indie film making. She has worked in the roles of casting, producing, location scouting, props, and special fx makeup for indie shorts such as Words, I Was a Teenage Nosferatu, and Dread Flush. She co-founded a small production company, Looming Castle Productions, which is currently in post production for 2 shorts, and pre production for 1 short. Leigh is also often a guest on the Neil St. Nightmare podcast, which reviews horror movies and talks all things horror.