2008 Executive Committee
The Utopia Film Festival is being organized and presented by a dedicated group of local citizens of Greenbelt and surrounding areas of the state of Maryland. Among the educators, public servants and variously engaged members of our committee are the following who make up our Executive Committee.
Chris Haley - Festival Director
A DC native, serves as Director of the Study of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives, was featured in the PBS special, Partners of the Heart, as the central figure, Vivien Thomas. He also appeared in episodes in seasons #2 and #3 of HBO's, The Wire. He co-founded and hosted the community access tv and radio series, UNDISCOVERED, which debuted in 2004. The radio version currently airs on WRYR-LP 97.5 FM out of Sherwood, Maryland. His short movies, The Studio, and, B&B, premiered at the Greenbelt Utopia Film and Video Festival and Annapolis Film Festival, respectively, in 2005.
Erica Ginsberg - Program Chair
Erica Ginsberg is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Greenbelt, Maryland. She produced the 2003 documentary Crucible of War about how ordinary people have rebuilt their lives after the 1990s wars in former Yugoslavia and is currently producing and directing Avenue of Aspirations, a project about the historical development of 16th Street in Washington DC and how changing institutions along the street have reflected larger changes in American society. She is the co-founder of Docs in Progress, an organization dedicated to building and empowering the Mid-Atlantic documentary film community. She has also served on the board of Women in Film and Video-DC, is the curator for the 2008 Council on Foundations Film Festival and has done previous paid and volunteer work for other film festivals, including the Washington Jewish Film Festival and Silverdocs.
Susan Gervasi - Promotions Chair
A documentary filmmaker and journalist whose news and feature stories have appeared in The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, The New York Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle and other publications. Her documentary, Tessamatuck, on the story of local citizens fighting to preserve a slave burial site in Prince George's County premiered in last year's Greenbelt Utopia Film and Video Festival.
Chris Logan - Finance Chair
Actively involved with developing multimedia training products, e-learning courses, and implementing corporate Learning Management Systems to plan and manage training records for over 25,000 technical employees. As a training Director, he established training program policies and procedures that met emergent ISO and Carnegie-Mellon's Capability Maturity Model standards. His ongoing interest in film and studio TV production was reinforced after completing field and studio course certifications at Montgomery Public Access Television. He and his wife Barbara moved to Greenbelt five years ago and quickly got involved with community activities including Greenbelt Home's (GHI) Woodlands committee, Marketing committee, Friends of the New Deal Arts (FONDCA), and the GHI Sustainability Design and Planning committee. Chris?s energy consulting background in energy conservation and alternative energy systems is being used to chair the Energy Efficient Home working group. Chris is currently the Treasurer of FONDCA. He holds an engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts with graduate studies at the University of New Hampshire and George Washington University.
Joe Gareri - Webmaster & Graphics
Joe has a background in graphic arts were he started as a press operator working for several years in a variety of print shops. Joe has an interest in technology and graphic design and has been building web sites for a few years as a hobby. A graduate of Boston University in American Studies, he also holds a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Maryland. Joe and his wife, Holly Wheeler, moved to Greenbelt seven years ago and have been active in the local community.
Thomas X. White - ex Officio
Tom is a retired association executive. He continues to consult for the pharmaceutical industry in the area of technical and environmental affairs. He and his wife Helen have resided in the city of Greenbelt for the past 47 years. For most of that time, Tom has been active in Greenbelt social, community, cooperative and political organizations. He was an elected member of the Greenbelt City Council from 1973 through 2003, and, in that capacity, served as the Council Liaison to Greenbelt Access Television, Inc. (GATE), a community-based local access organization that promotes education and training for film/video arts in Greenbelt. GATE is also the principal sponsoring organization for the Utopia Film Festival. Tom is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of GATE.
The Utopia Film Festival desires passionately to identify, promote and engage entertaining and enlightening cinematic works of all genres and styles. Seeking always to provide its audience and filmmakers an enjoyable experience, this event also pursues works that tackle humanity's never ending quest, in all it variables, for the perfect 'utopian' existence.