RIFF  TEAM

GEOFFREY MORRIS

Executive Director

Geoffrey is founder and former editor-in-chief of Ridgefield Magazine and five other titles, which he sold in the spring of 2020. He is a veteran of the magazine business—he was executive editor at National Review, a senior editor at Reader’s Digest, and an editor at MBA Jungle. He has written and edited hundreds of articles, book reviews, and editorials and his work has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards. He holds a BA (philosophy) from Hobart College and an MBA from NYU. He lives in Ridgefield with his wife, Martha, and two daughters.

Email: geoffrey@riffct.org

MEGAN SMITH-HARRIS

Festival Director

Megan’s career encompasses documentary, television, film, theater, and radio both in Canada and the United States. She is the president and co-owner of Pyewackitt Productions, an independent production company with a commitment to create high quality, socially relevant programs with a unique perspective. Megan produced, directed and co-wrote the award-winning documentary, The Buddy System and the critically acclaimed feature doc, Trial by Fire: Lives Re-forged which continues to air on PBS. She also helmed three long-form documentaries for the Women’s Entertainment Network (Surrogate Stories, Child Brides, and Polygamy.) She was the editor of Wilton Magazine for six years and programmed and moderated the New Perspectives Documentary Series in Wilton, CT for a decade. Her play, Killing Mom will debut in New York City in Spring 2021. 

Email: megan@riffct.org

BILL HARRIS

General Manager

Bill is Executive Producer and co-owner of Pyewackitt Productions. A television programming executive with 30+ years of broadcast and cable experience, Bill has worked with ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, and spent 16 years as head of production for the A&E Television Networks (A&E, History, Lifetime, and Biography channels). Bill joined A&E in 1994 overseeing Documentary Programming, including the development, launch and unprecedented success of the Emmy Award-winning BIOGRAPHY® series. A multiple Emmy, Telly, Ace, Cine and Vision Award winner, Bill has been inducted into the National Association of Minorities in Cable (NAMIC) Hall of Fame and was named a Cable Maverick by the Cable Center in 2008. More recently, Bill was executive producer of The Buddy System, and on two Oscar® qualifying documentaries, including Digital Dharma and Trial By Fire: Lives Reforged. He is an adjunct professor for the Masters program in Film & Television Production  at Sacred Heart University.

ELLEN LEWIS

Senior RIFF Programmer

While working in New York in the luxury shoe industry and traveling the world both for work and pleasure, Ellen Lewis cultivated a deep passion for the arts. She is an avid theatergoer, ceaseless reader, a museum habitué, and an ardent film lover. Ellen possesses an innate understanding of story and conflict and her background as a competitive ice-skater gives her a keen appreciation for how much hard work goes into making art look effortless. Ellen's global perspective combined with her incisive and thoughtful critiques make her a perfect RIFF programmer.

KEN HOIN

Programmer

Ken Hoin has taught high school history in Bridgeport for the past 12 years.  His previous career included work within the children's entertainment industry with such companies as Disney, Nickelodeon, and Rabbit Ears Productions.  He has earned two Grammy nominations for Best Childrens Recording and numerous other awards.  Ken has been married for 30+ years to his wife, Stacey.  They have three awesome sons and two equally awesome dogs.

REBECCA GATZ

Programmer

Rebecca Gatz has cultivated an interest in the arts from a very young age, reading and watching films and theatrical performances whenever she can. She is currently a junior at Quinnipiac University where she is majoring in Theater with a track in Arts Administration, along with a minor in management. Rebecca is passionate about finding timely and well-crafted films from all over the world to showcase at RIFF in 2020.

JULIA BRUCE

Program Guide Coordinator / Screener

Julia Bruce is a freelance writer who has been a regular contributor to Ridgefield Magazine and Wilton Magazine as well as other TownVibe Media publications. This is Julia's third year as Program Guide Coordinator for RIFF. She is a longtime volunteer both for ROAR Animal Shelter and more recently, for Pets for Vets. 

MARY AWAD

Director of Digital Operations

After graduating from ​Sacred Heart University in 2016, Mary dove head first into the world of digital marketing, journalism and content creation. She has written for Wilton Magazine, Fordham University NewsRoom, the Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot Newspaper, and Z Publishing House's Emerging Writers of Connecticut anthology. As a freelance digital creator, she has created websites, assisted in marketing campaigns, and made videos for many local organizations such as The Pilates Advantage in Wilton, The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk, and the Connecticut Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. She is also a part of the Westport Community Band and Norwalk Gamer Symphony Orchestra. 

BARBARA SCAROS

Volunteer Coordinator

Barbara Scaros is a life-long educator and teacher. Most recently she was the Director of the Edith Winthrop Teacher Center of Westchester, a New York State funded staff development organization where she was responsible for designing programs for eight school districts in Southern Westchester. In her capacity as Director, Barbara created, coordinated and developed programs for teachers and administrators in all subject areas including team-building and mentoring. Currently, she is a consultant in schools, particularly in the area of mentoring new teachers. Barbara is an unabashed film lover and is thrilled to bring her skills to the RIFF team. In addition, she is a die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan and has been to over 30 concerts.

JENNIE CARR

Volunteer Coordinator

Jennie spends her days painting, taking photographs, doing yoga and daydreaming. Happiest at the beach, but perfectly content residing in lovely Ridgefield, CT with her hilarious boys and highly entertaining dog. Jennie was generous enough to donate her artful photograph "Shoelace" to be used as the RIFF 2019 Filmmaker Award and will be taking photographs throughout the festival. Always searching for and finding the beauty and the funny in every situation. Jennie can often be found in the back row of the movie theater with a bucket of popcorn.
 

RIFF  CREATIVE ADVISORY BOARD

LISA CLAIR

Marketing and PR Advisor

Lisa has more than 30 years of experience in Public Relations, Corporate Communications, and Community Outreach Programs.  A principal in ClairStone Communications, LLC since 1988, she has created and executed dozens of dynamic communications strategies for Fortune 500 companies, emerging businesses, and non-profit organizations.  Lisa manages social media platforms and writes for periodicals, blogs, and clients on subjects from antiques and annual reports to zinnias and zoos. A longtime resident of Fairfield, she enjoys the charms and challenges of things that grow, including homes, gardens, animals, and developing businesses. 

JOANNE HUDSON

Founder / Past Festival Director

Joanne is a playwright, screenwriter, and director whose plays have been produced throughout the U.S., most often in New York City. As a Fulbright Scholar in creative writing, she traveled to Iceland to write a play about a scientist who loses her ethics and finds her humanity, “unbidden,” now included in the literature of the Westmann Islands. While there, she was commissioned by the library to write a children’s play on the 1627 Algerian pirate raid on Iceland, “The Absolutely, Positively True Tale of Floki & Loki.” Joanne’s plays have been commissioned, developed and produced by Huntington Theatre Co., Boston Playwrights Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Collective Unconscious, Z-Space, Thrown Stone, East River Commedia, SIPA (School of International Public Affairs at Columbia University), Keeler Tavern Museum, Iceland Fulbright, Vestmannaeyjar Iceland Library and others. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University School of the Arts. She is the founder of the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival (RIFF) and served as festival director in 2016 and an advisor in 2017. 

EMILY KEATING

RIFF Educational Advisor

Emily is Director of Development and Education at the Kunhardt Film Foundation, a not-for-profit educational media company that produces documentary films, interviews, and teaching tools about the people and ideas that shape our world. KFF was established by a family of filmmakers with a mission to put high quality educational programs into the hands of the public and into schools. Prior to her role at KFF, Emily was Director of Eduction at the Jacob Burns Film Center. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature and a focus in film studies and received a master’s degree in education, communication, and technology from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. She lives in Ridgefield, CT with her husband and teenaged twins.

SHANNON LEWIS

Shannon Lewis was born and raised in New York City where she cultivated her love of theater, film and television. She spent countless hours forcing her younger brothers and friends to be in her short films, music videos, and fake advertisements for made-up products. After graduating from the University of Michigan she beelined it back to Gotham to begin her career in production and advertising. Shannon has spent the last eight years with animation and documentary powerhouse Passion Pictures, where as executive producer she is responsible for all United States based development and client relations. 

Virtual Reality Consultant & Advisor

ROBIN PHILLIPS

Event, Promotion & Community Engagement

Robin is the editor of Fairfield Magazine and the organizer of the popular culinary events Taste of Fairfield, WinterFest, and Savor Local. She has over 25 years of publishing experience, on both the editorial and business/promotional sides of books and magazines. Before settling in Connecticut and joining Fairfield Magazine and Townvibe, she worked in New York City with Condé Nast Publications, on such titles as House & Garden, Condé Nast Traveler, and Bon Appétit, and at Meredith Corporation, with Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies' Home Journal. She is a graduate of Smith College and lives in Fairfield with her husband, two teenagers, and two miniature dachshunds.

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© 2018 by Ridgefield Independent Film Festival. Made with WIX by Mary Awad.