Copyright © 2016-2019 Chandler International Film Festival,  All Rights Reserved.

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.

Dave Waltzer

Board Member

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.

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.

Dominic DeBruin

Associate Member

Dominic DeBruin's passion for the arts began at an early age from the legendary surroundings of his hometown near Asbury Park, NJ.  In 2007, Dominic founded Out Of Order Live Music, an entertainment agency that specializes in negotiating with high profile venues for its clients while organizing and promoting various live music and arts events. Out Of Order Live Music is also a partner with the annual Mesa Music Festival and Prescott Valley Music Festival in Arizona.

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.

Judd Taylor

Director of Programming

Judd Taylor is an Acquisitions Consultant for worldwide sales companies Princ Films & Glass House Distribution, where he’s acquired films SLEEPING IN PLASTIC and SAVIORS. Judd also sits on the Tribeca Film Festival Screening Committee where he recommended award winner BURNING CANE. He also reads for the Slamdance Film Festival Screenplay Competition and provides industry coverage. He previously sat on the Board of Directors and was Associate Director of Programming for the DTLA Film Festival. Previous to joining the festival world, Judd worked in acquisitions for Alchemy on auteur Gaspar Noé’s LOVE, sleeper hit MEET THE PATELS, WELCOME TO ME, and Barry Levinson’s THE HUMBLING. Judd was also Head of Marketing at Cinema Management Group where he marketed Oscar nominated worldwide hit LOVING VINCENT.

Annaa Lopez

Festival Coordinator

Annaa passion for media arts and film started in her Television Production Class in High School. She attained the knowledge of working in a news television production studio and also had the opportunity to compete in various Media Arts skills competitions with an organization called SkillsUSA. At the age of 17, Annaa graduated from high school to start her college education. She went to college and obtained an Associate’s degree in Media Arts from Arizona Western College in 2015. In the fall of 2016, Annaa completed a professional internship with the Disney College Program, giving her the opportunity to explore options in the film production industry. Annaa has a Bachelor’s Degree from Arizona State University in Filmmaking Practices. Annaa enjoy this fast-paced environment where she can contribute to the development of quality products in film and television.

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.  

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. 

Aaron Childs

Board Member

Aaron Childs is the founder and head creative at Journey Maps Live & Local. His show on YouTube is now on it's 3rd season and thriving. Aaron has a passion for telling stories of local businesses through video production and social media.

He also has 2 boys, ages 13 and 15, and the love of his life, Brianna... who loves watching viral cat videos. Him and his brother recently founded a new company call Bamm Tickets. Where they have made huge advances in the ticketing world. Aaron believes in God, Family and taking care of people. He's not only a great guy, but he also set the World Record for the Worlds Largest Printed Map.

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.