Festival Committee Members:

Joshua E. Young

Co-Chair, Co-Founder - Programming and Operations Manager



Joshua is a prolific Producer/Director holding an Associate of Arts with a Media Specialist Certificate from Rock Valley College, as well as, B.A. in Communications and M.F.A. in Independent Filmmaking and Digital Imaging from Governors State University. His film credits include Producer/Editor of sci-fi/thriller THROUGH DARKNESS (currently in postproduction), Producer/Editor of independent, short documentary SEARCHING FOR LADY DAY: A PORTRAIT IN STEEL (2017), Unit Production Manager of independent, horror feature RAYMOND DID IT (2011), and Producer/Writer/Director of short, action/comedy RUN (2010). During his education at GSU, Joshua climbed the production ranks of the full-service studio facility on campus from production assistant to Director/Executive Producer of the Department of Digital Learning. His television credits are extensive and include: National Endowment for the Humanities grant-funded production "Veterans Speak: War, Trauma, and the Humanities" (Producer/Director), "Respond to Violence: The Impact of Mental Health” (Production Manager/Director), “Reflections on Fatherhood with John W. Fountain” (Associate Producer/Editor), “Respond to Violence: Communities in Crisis” (Editor). He has also helped to develop courses in GSU’s Media Studies Program and taught studio-based television production.
Contact me at: jyoung4@govst.edu


Suzanne E. Patterson

Co-Chair, Co-Founder - Filmmaker and Audience Liaison



Suzanne's passion for film began at age 6 when she joined a film club for children in her hometown of Dumfries, Scotland. As a young Columbia College student, Suzanne attended film classes led by Sun-Times Film Critic Roger Ebert which cemented her close affinity with the art of motion pictures. She manages The Knowledge Exchange, a lifelong learning program at Governors State University’s School of Extended Learning where she leads a Cinema Studies course presenting on various film topics including Understanding Culture through Foreign Film, The Brontës in Film and The Power of Short Film. Suzanne also leads post film Q&As for various venues and organizations within the metropolitan Chicago area.
Contact me at: spatterson3@govst.edu


Sharon Morrissey

Fundraising & Sponsorship



Sharon Morrissey, M.P.A. joined GSU’s School of Extended Learning as Director of Strategic Initiatives in 2019 after almost seven years as the Cultural Marketing Director for Governors State University. Sharon has worked in marketing, fundraising, and communications for non-profit organizations, corporations, higher education, consulting clients, and creative agencies. A Chic Evans Scholarship recipient during her years at University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and a former AmeriCorps VISTA, Sharon believes in philanthropy, and is an active supporter of multiple GSU and community initiatives. Sharon’s expertise and enthusiasm for diversified fundraising, strategic planning, and partnerships is catching, making her a valuable asset to the Chicago Southland International Film Festival.
Contact me at: sbanaszak@govst.edu


Amanda Martinez

Graphic Design and Web Manager



Amanda is a Motion Graphic Designer who earned her B.F.A in Photography & Digital Imaging from Governors State University. Since graduating from GSU in 2013, she has been working for Governors State University as a Digital Design Specialist on an array of productions, as well as, various freelance gigs. Some of her film credits include Searching For Lady Day: A Portrait In Steel (2017), Lonely Souls (2017), #ShandaDidWHAT!? (2019), and The Hoods (2019: currently in production). Her television credits include National Endowment for the Humanities grant-funded production "Veterans Speak: War, Trauma, and the Humanities", "Respond to Violence: The Impact of Mental Health”, and “Respond to Violence: Communities in Crisis” just to name a few. Additionally, Amanda’s experience includes music videos, promotional videos, title sequences, live sports graphics, online learning programs, applications, websites, invitations, flyer/ posters, and event planning. Her skills span the entire gamut of television production. From motion graphics, VFX, 3D modeling and animation, to editing, sound design, live graphics operating, and set design, Amanda can make any project come to life.
Contact me at: aziaja@govst.edu



Uriah Berryhill

Staff Coordinator and Guest Services



Uriah is a TV, Producer/Director in Digital Learning and Media Design at Governors State University. Uriah received an Associate’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism at Lincoln College, B.A. in Communications, and M.F.A in Independent Filmmaking and Digital Imaging from Governors State University. During his time at GSU he worked as a production assistant on a number of productions. He works on most of the commercial work for the university, and teaches production courses for the Media Studies Program. He also mentors student workers in the Digital Learning and Media Design department. Uriah has a passion for film, and admires the art behind creating independent films.
Contact me at: uberryhill@govst.edu


Megan Smith

Social Media Coordinator & Student Committee Member



Megan received her B.A. in Digital Video Production at Ball State University. Currently, Megan is pursuing her M.F.A. at Governors State University in Independent Filmmaking and Digital Imaging. At GSU, Megan works as a Production Assistant in the Department for Digital Learning and Media Design. As a production assistant, she has been involved with numerous productions. Some production credits include numerous promotional videos for Global Brigades/Study Abroad and GSU as well as various roles in American Psychological Association productions. She has written, directed, and edited her own short films. In the future, Megan hopes to continue her passion in film and build her skills.

Contact me at: msmith39@student.govst.edu  


Advisors to the Festival Committee


Daniel Nearing



Daniel is a Professor of Independent Film and Digital Imaging at Governors State University, where he is a three-time winner of faculty excellence awards. His work as a writer-director includes CHICAGO HEIGHTS and HOGTOWN. Nearing is a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, served as the inaugural Filmmaker in Residence for the City of Chicago, and was named Chicagoan of the Year for Film by the Chicago Tribune in 2016-17. He continues to enjoy teaching at GSU while undertaking his current production of SISTER CARRIE, a black and white period love story set in Chicago, Montreal and Paris.
Contact me at: dnearing@govst.edu


Alexis H. Sarkisian



Alexis is an Emmy award-winning documentarian and marketing communications management professional who specializes in working with nonprofit organizations. With experience as a radio television broadcast manager and global marketing executive, Alexis currently is an independent management and marketing consultant for corporate and nonprofit organizations. She also teaches leadership and communication at three local universities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also manages marketing and special events for Governors State University’s library.
Contact me at: asarkisian@govst.edu


Lana Rogachevskaya

Executive Director, Center for Performing Arts at GSU



Lana is a Ukrainian-born arts professional and an educator with a passion for cultural community-building. Over her 18-year career, Lana has advanced cultural diplomacy with the American Russian Young Artists Orchestra, implemented media plans for Lincoln Center, nurtured artists at the Tanglewood Music Center, and cultivated regional cultural hubs at Brooklyn College, NYC, and now as Executive Director of the Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University. At the helm of a multi-disciplinary presenter with 200+ annual events, Lana is passionate about arts access. The signature series at GSU includes a vibrant Arts in Education program, serving 20,000 youth, and a Made in Chicago series that cultivates first-time attendance for members of underserved populations.
Contact me at: srogachevskaya@govst.edu


Marc Menet



Marc Menet is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Independent Film and Digital Imaging at Governors State University as well as a member of IATSE Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild. Menet has nearly twenty years of professional film and television experience with projects he shot nominated for local as well as prime time Emmy awards. Additional credits as a camera person include The Daily Show, The Bachelor and Bachelorette, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, Project Runway, People Magazine Investigates, Crafting Lovecraft Country, and Built to Last. His feature documentary directing debut, Defending a Monster, recently had its world premiere at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Marc is honored to be a part of the festival and can’t wait to see this year’s films.
Contact me at: mmenet@govst.edu