Meet The Team

Rene Lopez

Board Member

Councilmember René Lopez has lived and worked in Chandler for more than seven years. He began his first term on the Chandler City Council in 2015. He is a third generation Arizona native, born and raised in the East Valley. René graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering, with a minor in Direct Energy Conversion.  René is also a third generation U.S. Navy seaman. René has an extensive career in Project Management, with more than 14 years of experience working in telecommunications, energy, and currently in information technology. He currently serves as an advisor on Congressman Matt Salmon’s Hispanic Community Affairs Advisory Council.

Bill Tirone

Board Member

Bill Tirone is a 45 year veteran of the hospitality industry and is Vice President of Hotel Management for HCW Hospitality.  During his tenure in hotels he has housed many film and TV  crews, such notable films as Cocoon II, White Palace and Winter’s Bone. Bill was able to attend the world premiere of Winter’s Bone at the Sundance film festival, where he personally catered a dinner for Jennifer Lawrence and the cast.  In his down time, Bill is an avid film lover.  Some of Bill’s favorite movies are Doctor Zhivago, White Christmas, and Midnight Express. Bill is glad to be a part of the Chandler Film Festival Board of Directors.

Bernard Johnsen

Board Member

Bernard is the founder and managing attorney of Bernard Justice Johnsen Law, PLLC.  He is an experienced probate and trust litigator and estate planner.  Bernard is licensed to practice in Arizona and the United States District Court.  He has appeared in nearly all of the Arizona Superior Courts (including the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Arizona Supreme Court) and represents clients from all over the nation and foreign countries. He also represents and advises other attorneys and mediators. Because Bernard litigates contested trusts and wills, he understands more than just the theory of estate planning.  He has first-hand experience with what causes estate plans to fail and to be challenged in court.  He incorporates this experience into his estate planning to avoid future problems for his clients.

Lynette Carrington

Associate Member

Lynette Carrington has been “seeing stars” ever since she appeared in the classic Steve McQueen film “Junior Bonner” as a toddler. She is an Arizona native with a lengthy background in media, public relations, marketing, business communications and business ownership. During her 15+ years in media, she has interviewed more than 100 celebrities and high-profile individuals on numerous red carpets and for various publications. Most recently, she was the marketing director for Arizona’s largest print and digital publisher. She has been involved with the Chandler International Film Festival since its first year - assisting in bringing in talent, creating buzz about the festival and providing various resources.

TJ Vanklompenberg

Festival Coordinator

TJ is thrilled to be a part of the festival. His first on-screen crush was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. He is terrified of vampires ever since seeing Interview with the Vampire at a young age. TJ is excited to meet all the filmmakers and learn about their craft. He has lived in Chandler for over 10 years & is happy to see film being represented in his community. TJ worked at ASU Gammage where his love for performing arts sprouted. Whether it is on stage, on screen, or behind the scenes TJ is facsinated by the entire process.  He is proud to contribute to Mitesh's vision!

Christien Wenger

Board Member

Christine Wenger is an Arizona Native born in Flagstaff.  She has a love and passion for helping people and animals alike.  Has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Animal Science from CSU with a concentration in large animals.  Was a judge with Block and Bridal and judged many state fairs in the South West. Now, the Sales Manager for Nations Lending in which she helps people get into their dream home.  She has been in the mortgage industry for 20 years and truly enjoys what she does. Everyone matters. She is also very active Ambassador for the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and Director of the Ahwatukee Chapter of Power Networking Team. 

Melody King

Associate Member

Melody King was born and raised in Oregon and moved to Arizona after high school. She developed a passion for creating film and television projects while attending college in Arizona. After college, she headed to Los Angeles, where she quickly found work in post-production at New Wave Entertainment. This allowed her the opportunity to work on a number of projects for some of entertainment's biggest names, such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Sony, and Fox. After her time at DreamWorks, she pivoted into reality television where she took on many versatile producing roles. Some of the many shows she worked on are The Bachelorette for ABC, Undercover Boss for CBS, Solution Street for Disney and Ancient Aliens for History Channel.

Doug Rosepapa

Board Member

“Doug Rosepapa is the Regional Director of Operations with HCW Development and oversees hotel operations and new openings within the company’s portfolio. Previously Doug was the opening General Manager for the Residence Inn Ocotillo and TownePlace Suites in Chandler where he oversaw the hotels operations and sales & marketing efforts.  In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family camping in Northern Arizona and traveling to new places.”

Mitesh Patel

President/Festival Director

Mitesh Patel graduated from S.P University (India) with a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Applied Arts) in 1997, with the highest distinction of  earning the Best Design Award. In 2008, Patel made his first low budget feature film "The man in the maze" which received 12 awards from various film festivals and theatrical distribution. It wasn’t long before Patel started acquiring film rights for theatrical re-release in North America. One of these films, "Delhi Safari", was shortlisted in the Oscar race of 2012. Patel has directed two feature films and has produced/distributed over 10 feature films in the past 10 years, balancing his time between Hollywood and Bollywood. Today, he plans to keep creating art by producing one film every year.

Betty Ramirez

Vice President

Betty Ramirez is a president and a social media marketing director for the Chandler International Film Festival. Working with colleagues on the creative and technical elements, she has expanded CIFF’s social media presence to reach across multiple channels. Her track record of winning results for clients in the local and political online space includes Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke and City Council Members Terry Roe, Jesus Rene Lopez and Mark Stewart. She has helped with online media promotions for Mix 96.9’s Battle of the Burbs, promoted an online writing course for cancer survivors by local author Lynne Hartke, does video and social media promotions for Zerimar Medical Equipment Services which she co-owns with her husband Paul Ramirez, and currently serves as social media vice-president for local non-profit CRW.

Denise Phillips

Secretary

Denise Phillips aka The AZ Green Queen, was born and raised in The Valley of the Sun and is known for her commitment  to a healthier, happier and more sustainable community and planet. As the Executive Director of Harvest for Humanity a local non-profit.  Denise is committed to the mission of growing organic produce, with the help of the community and sustainable methods, in support of people battling cancer.Additionally as a local small business owner she educates and mentors health care professionals and others in lifestyle wellness.  Committing to the helping and supporting people in their wellness goals and journey. When she is not working, you can find her on her 1 acre paradise, in the heart of the CIty of Chandler, filled with over 100 fruit trees, vegetable gardens, dogs, cats, gackle of hens and even a desert tortoise. 

Dave Waltzer

Treasurer

Dave Waltzer was born in Wakefield, MA(Near Boston) in 1974 to Roman Catholic parents.  He comes from a hard working family whose Dad was Mailman and Mom was a homemaker. They divorced when he was 14 and that's when he started working and helping to raise his younger brother and sister along with attending High School.  He was accepted and started attending Babson College in Wellesley, MA after High School. He wanted to be an International Business & Marketing major but was not disciplined enough at that point to complete college. In 1994 he decided to join the United States Air Force. He served 4 1/2 years and was stationed in such exotic places as Misssissppi, Texas, & South Korea where he scheduled and dispatched flights as well as maintained flight records. He was Honorably discharged in 1998.

Ashutos Gangwar 

Festival Photographer

ASHUTOSH GANGWAR is an International published photographer based in Phoenix, AZ. Photography has been his passion since his teenage years, but he started photographing commercially since 2012, when he opened his company AG Photowerks. He is an award winning photographer who specializes in Event, Fashion,Commercial &Advertising photography. 
Ashutosh’s work has been recognized and shared by International celebrity fashion designers like Rocky Gathercole (Avant Garde Hollywood Celebrity Designer), Neeta Lulla (Indian National Award Winner Fashion Designer and fashion stylist whose work has been part of more than 375 Bollywood movies) and Rohit Verma (Artistic Contemporary Indian Fashion Designer). His recent work includes photographing the leading fashion industry event, Phoenix Fashion Week 2019, DB Phoenix 2019 - Luxury Bridal Expo and Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. He has been part of Chandler International Film Festival since 2019.

Barbara Bisanz

Festival Coordinator

Barb spent many years as a special educator and department chair before venturing into film making. In 2011, she co-founded Spinning Reels Productions and has since produced award winning short films. She has been involved with many aspects of feature film making in the areas of production assistant, production coordinator, production manager, producer, catering and post production supervisor. She has lived in Arizona since 2012.

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