TOFF Founder and Director
Pía Cruzalegui is a producer, artist and curator dedicated to creating spaces to show film, video and installation artworks from local and international artists. Her curatorial projects include film, 2D, installation and time-based media artworks. Her artwork has been exhibited in Cuzco, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago, Dubai and Paris. Pía was invited artist-curator at the Zhou B. Art Center from 2014-2015, ACS Gallery and Art NXT Level Projects/33 Contemporary. In addition to the Film Festival, she curates UnLock Hause, An Eclectic Space. The documentation for all of her projects can be found at www.kineticartprojects.com. Pía is an MFA graduate from the School of the Art Institute and has been mentored by Gregg Bordowitz, Matthew Buckingham, Carlos Llerena-Aguirre and Sergio Gomez. For further information visit her LinkedIn and www.piacruzaleguiart.com
Invited Jurors 2017
Coral Pereda is a Spanish photographer and filmmaker who holds an MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in Photography and Design from Elisava School of Design and Engineering, Barcelona and a BA in Communication from IE University, Spain. She has exhibited and screened work at Galería Mitte, CC Las Arenas, Fundació Vila Casas in Barcelona, at the Nightingale Cinema, at Defibrillator, and Expo Art Fair, all in Chicago, Illinois and at SIA Gallery in New York City. Her pieces “Sexteto (Bad Girls Don’t Like Good Girls)” and “This is All You Need to Know” were part of the official selection at Twisted Oyster Film Festival at held the Zhou B. Art Center, Chicago, IL. In the light of that festival Coral led a video art workshop designed for middleschool children. Her work has been published by Vassar Review, the Present Tense Pamphlets edited by the Block Museum at Northwestern University and Peripheral Visions Art. I have been awarded residencies at Arquetopia Foundation Oaxaca, Vermont Studio Center, and La Wayaka Current. Coral has worked for video essayist Kevin B. Lee and as a teaching assistant for the organization Changing Worlds. www.coralpereda.com
Susan Krueger-Barber is a performance artist, painter, writer, tactical urbanist, community organizer, filmmaker, and teacher whose work has shown throughout the country. She has produced films that have played in various festivals such as Slamdance. She recently completed her MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. www.susankruegerbarber.com
Invited Jurors 2015-2016
This year’s invited jurors are Raul Benitez and Gina Kelly.
Carlos Llerena Aguirre is a filmmaker, video artist, printmaker and sculptor. His video art and documentaries have been officially selected in international venues: FLAVIA[2 2013 Festival Latinoamericano de Videoarte, Buenos Aires, Argentina. TOLFA International Short Film Festival 2013, Roma, Italia. Museo de Arte, Parana. (permanent collection) Argentina. Cortoacquario VI Festival Internazionale Cortometraggi, Juried documentary, Santa Marinella, Roma, Italia. Festival Internacional Cine Toluca, FICT 2012, Mexico. Bideodromo 2012- Naziateko Zine eta Bideo Esperimentalen Laialdia. Bilboko, Bereginen Museoa. 1er Festival Latinoamericano de Cortometrajes Ambientales. Albufera 2012, Argentina. Optic Nerve XII, Film Festival. Juried exhibit. Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, North Miami, FL. OMNI, Urban Intervention, Juried exhibit. Art Basel, Wynwood, FL. CLOSE UP. A Riesgo, Pasaguero, Juried exhibit. Video Projections, Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México. His latest feature is an ethnographic documentary, saynatakuna.com/
As an artist, he has represented Peru and the USA with his woodcuts in the Norsk Internasjonal Grafikk Biennale, Norway. The Jubilam X Internationale Grafik Triennale, Norway. Pacific States Biennial National Print Exhibition and The Xylon Graphische International Triennale, Switzerland. Recipient of the Frans Masareel Centrum artist in residence in Belgium and the Venice Printmaking Studio in Venice, Italy. His woodcuts are now part of the Library of Congress’ Permanent Collection.
Carlos has published in international journals, books, magazines, children’s books, and newspapers and holds an M.F.A., in Cinematography from the University of Miami. An M.F.A., in art, an A.M., in Art Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and an M.A., in Graphics from Hunter College C.U.N.Y. and is currently a tenured professor at the University of Miami. www.carlosllerena.com
Gina Kelly is a filmmaker, artist, and educator who works and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She has screened and exhibited internationally in Europe, China, and North America: in 2016 alone her work has screened at Visionaria International Film Festival (Italy), Ethnografilm Paris Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, New Zealand International Film Festival, Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival; in 2016 she was also one of 6 filmmakers celebrated in Cinewomen’s Women in Film Biennial Edition. Her works range from animation installation, music videos, to documentary film,; her high-profile clients have included TV on the Radio, Beirut, Andrew Bird, The Arctic Monkeys, and Oscar-nominated animator PES. She is currently working on her new feature length documentary Driftless, a project which is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas. www.ginagkkelly.com
Raul Benitez has been involved with the Chicago Film Community through the Chicago Underground Film Festival for the past 10 years. He has volunteered at The Chicago Cinema Society before taking over the film programming at Comfort Station Logan Square in 2013. He has partnered or programmed with Chicago Film Makers, Little Mexico Film Festival, First Nations Film Festival, Reeling Film Festival, Chicago Film Archives, Beguilded Cinema, CIMM Fest, La Guarimba Film Festival, South Side Projections, DollHouse DIY, The Wretched Nobles of the Exiled Dynasty, Kartemquim Films, ACREtv, Moving Image Arts, Cinema Culture and Nerivela Mexico. At Comfort Station he oversees the programming and movie screenings, he does the film programming at The Nightingale Cinema and, this year, he volunteers for Chicago Underground Film Festival and Onion City Festival. Raul was named Chicago Screen Gem (2015) by New City and his outdoor film series for Comfort Station was named “Best in the City” by The Chicago Reader (2013) and New City (2015). He is also an IT manager at his real life job.
J Turk is a writer, artist, and a freelance curator based in Chicago. Their most recent curatorial project, Representation Matters: Conversations on Identity and Community, opened earlier this month at the Main Street Museum in White River Junction, Vermont. Prior to relocating to Chicago earlier this year, Josh was the Chair/Curator of Chandler Gallery in the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vermont. Previous curatorial projects include: Salvage, Chandler Center for the Arts, Main Gallery, Randolph VT (2016), Sound & Fury, Chandler Center for the Arts, Main Gallery, Randolph VT (2015) and Art of Place, Chandler Center for the Arts, Main Gallery, Randolph VT (2015). In their writing, performance, and scholarship, Turk considers intersections of language and bodies, drawing from their research into modes of representation and figuration positioned within cinematic, literary and art historical narratives and informed by various theoretic frameworks including Composition, Queer and Trans Theory. Their “The Body Book” is housed within the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. In their free time, Turk can be found lost in YouTube video threads and working through an ever-increasing Netflix Watchlist.
Sergio Gomez: Artist, owner and director of Art NXT Level Projects /33 Contemporary, director of exhibitions at Zhou B Art Center. Sergio is a Chicago based visual artist. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Northern Illinois University. As an art student, Sergio was recipient of the Lincoln Laureate Medallion Award given by the Lincoln Academy and former Governor of Illinois Mr. Jim Edgar. Sergio’s work has been subject of solo exhibitions in the United States, Italy and Vienna. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in US, Mexico, Italy, Vienna and Spain. His work can be found in private and public collections of the National Museum of Mexican Art, Brauer Art Museum, and the MIIT Museo Internazionale Italia Arte among others.
Presently, Sergio Gomez is the Director of Exhibitions at the Zhou B. Art Center, owner & director of 33 Contemporary Gallery, contributor for Italia Arte Magazine, founder of VisualArtToday.com; a curated online exhibition space for international contemporary art. In addition, Sergio is an accomplished graphic designer, Art/Design faculty at South Suburban College, Creative Consultant for Idea Seat Marketing and Advertising and co-founder of 3C Wear LLC.
As a curator, Sergio has organized numerous important exhibitions such as “The National Self-Portrait Exhibition”, “Get Real: New Figurative Realism in Chicago” “CelebrARTE”, “Chicago’s Twelve”, “Chicago’s Twelve at Garfield Park Conservatory”, “Style Bombing” and the “National Wet Paint Biannual MFA Exhibition” which has become a catalyst for emerging painters across the country. Additionally, Sergio has established international art collaborations in Italy, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Chile and China.
Dion Strowhorn is a Chicago based producer, founder and director of The Chi-Town Multicultural Film Festival and Totally Free Productions, LLC. Member of SAG-AFTRA, a recent Diverse Voices in Docs fellow in partnership with Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop. Former co-founder of 9×18 Productions and the Midwest Christian & Inspirational Indie Film Festival.