SouthSide Film Institute

Board of Directors

248896_10150223905527057_3660043_n Benjamin Bertalan
Ben has always had an interest in film. He has gone from writing term papers on the history of the Academy Awards to writing film criticism for The Allentown Times. He has been on the film selection jury since the very first year. This librarian always enjoys hearing good book and music recommendations. It is always hard for Ben to choose his favorite movies, but here are some of his top picks: Ed Wood, Ghost World, The Girl on the Bridge, The Big Lebowski, Nights of Cabiria, The Guatemalan Handshake, The Lady Vanishes, Swingers, Double Indemnity, Shaun of the Dead, American Splendor, Sunrise and Two Family House.
  Jennifer Cotto – Director
Jenn is a native of the Pocono Mountains, but 18 years ago her career in healthcare brought her to the Lehigh Valley and she’s been enamored with it ever since. In her spare time she enjoys other local festivals, restaurants, events, and going to the movies with friends. Jenn has been a member of the SouthSide Film Festival jury for eight years. 2017 was her first year as a board member, and 2021 was her first year as SSFF Director. She enjoys all types of movies – drama, action, independent, even animated family films. Favorites include JAWS, Pulp Fiction, The Princess Bride, and the MCU films.
Dennis Douvanis
Carol J. Gilmore Carol J. Gilmore
SSFF Jury Committee and Board member Carol J. Gilmore is crazy about photography, museums and movies. As movies go, she’s especially fond of indie, foreign, and documentary films and loves visiting independent/art house cinemas throughout the region and New York City. A Lehigh Valley resident since the late 80’s, Carol has a soft spot for non-profit arts and social service organizations and has served on several other area boards including the former AIDS Services Center; Godfrey Daniels; and the Lehigh Valley Photography Club, where she has served as president for several years. Carol is employed as an editor for Cadient, a Malvern, PA-based ad agency.
Ann Knerr – Board Secretary
5135_113490327056_4722939_n Glenn Koehler – Vice President
Glenn is an Allentown resident and a lover of all things Lehigh Valley. In his spare time he visits various valley restaurants, festivals, and enjoys nightlife and concerts in the area. Glenn’s interest in film first began in high school after watching a series of documentaries and indie films at recommendation from his astrophysics teacher. Glenn is also a volunteer fireman, involved heavily in the Pennsylvania Wing Civil Air Patrol, and on the Disaster Action Team with the Red Cross. Some of his favorite films include School Ties, Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, Requiem for a Dream, Rushmore, Un Chien Andalou, and Blue Velvet.
0008-1 Gary Krall – Board Treasurer
Gary, a native of Bethlehem, is a finance and accounting professional who has worked for over 35 years in manufacturing and local government around the Lehigh Valley. Gary has been the treasurer for the film festival since 2009. He enjoys a variety of musical genres such as rock, jazz and folk but is especially fond of progressive rock music. He has a huge music collection of cds, and concert videos. Over the years he estimates that he has attended over 200 concerts. He is also a home theater enthusiast and enjoys watching science fiction and comedy films as well as his favorite sport ice hockey in his man cave. Among his favorite films are Blade Runner, the Alien franchise, Local Hero, Moonstruck, the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, all of the Marx Brothers films as well as classic TV shows like the Sopranos, Fargo, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Gary holds degrees from Moravian College and Penn State and lives with his wife Pattie.
Lorraine M. Pasquali – Volunteer Coordinator
Lorraine has had an interest in film and photography since childhood. Her first camera was the Kodak X-15 Instamatic. (It’s still in her collection!) “I think I get it from my dad, he was always taking slides and movies.” Although she has mostly worked with still photography, she developed a renewed interest in film-making via the SouthSide Film Festival Documentary Workshop. Today, she rarely leaves the house without her digital camera, a point and shoot model with video capability. How any of that translates into BA in Political Science, nobody knows. Film fave raves: “I love what I call ‘Going to the movies’ movies. You grab a big bucket of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the ride.” Examples: LOTR series, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter.  Her portfolio can be viewed here:
Jeff Vaclavik – Board President
Jeff has been the owner and operator of Deja Brew Coffeehouse and Deli in South Bethlehem since 1995. During his years in business, Jeff has been involved in many community events and committees. Jeff is an avid reader and music listener with a particular love of The Beatles. His primary hobby is following Penn State football. He’s also been known to watch a film or two. Three of his favorite ‘overlooked’ films are My Favorite Year, Wrestling With Ernest Hemingway and Nobody’s Fool. Jeff and his wife Georgeann welcomed a son, Brady, in October, 2004. “Out of all the events in which I’ve been involved, the SouthSide Film Festival has been, by far, the most work but the most rewarding.”