Board of Directors
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Natasha Bacigalupo Ziff
Monina von Opel
Thomas Bena - Founder, Creative Director
In 2001, while working as a carpenter on Martha’s Vineyard, Thomas founded the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. Now in its nineteenth year, the MVFF is a year-round cultural institution. It offers free filmmaking classes in the Island schools, workshops for children, a thriving summer film series, and an annual March film festival. In 2004, Thomas started shooting his first documentary feature, One Big Home. The film chronicles his efforts to understand the trend toward extra-large summer homes. It took 12 years to make and has screened in more than 100 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Citizens in Honolulu, Vancouver, Truro, and Provincetown have used the film to galvanize support for their own town/city bylaws limiting house size. Thomas has spent almost three years traveling to speak about One Big Home, and continues to do so. The film is also available on iTunes, DVD, and Blu-ray disc. He has recently launched an interactive website to help the conversation continue to grow: www.onebighome.com Contact
Hilary Dreyer - Executive Director
Born on the Island, Hilary grew up with a love for the ocean, her home community, and a passionate curiosity about the rest of the world. This curiosity has lead her to explore different forms of storytelling, and ultimately receive a degree in visual anthropology. Connecting the Island with filmmakers and special guests, and using film as a way to explore new places and perspectives, is something that particularly excites her. You can find her in the water surfing, in the woods running, or on the beaches at sunset. Most recently, she’s working on conquering her fear of public speaking. Contact
Brian Ditchfield - Programming Director
Brian grew up on Martha's Vineyard, where he first became passionate about the creative arts. After studying at Boston University's College of Fine Art, Brian moved to Chicago and formed a production company, with which he produced and wrote a nationally distributed feature film and award-winning shorts and documentaries. He moved back to the Vineyard in 2006 and shortly after found a happy home at the MVFF. In his 10+ years with the MVFF, he has helped expand the Festival, Summer Film Series, and Cinema Circus. He has also overseen the addition of educational programs and a filmmaking department. Contact
Ollie Becker - Director of MVFF Productions
Ollie was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, where he developed an interest in creative writing while a student at West Tisbury Elementary and MVRHS. When he graduated from Bard College in 2008, that interest had merged with filmmaking and he then spent 9 years in Los Angeles writing and producing unscripted series for the television networks CBS, History, and Discovery. Having produced over 200 hours of original content at all levels, from associate producer to showrunner, he's excited to bring his skill set back to the Vineyard and work for the MVFF to tell compelling stories about the people and places that make up this unique island community. Contact
Danielle Mulcahy - Filmmaker
Danielle is a multidisciplinary filmmaker with an extensive documentary and creative catalogue. An accomplished solo videographer and director, she has collaborated with farmers, children, dancers, musicians, and numerous other filmmakers. She graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, with a BFA in film and illustration. Danielle is a full-time resident of Martha's Vineyard, working and living in the artist community and running her small business, BarnYard Saints Art, with her fiancé Walker. Contact
Madison Ibsen - Operations Manager
Growing up, Madison split her time between Seattle and Martha’s Vineyard, where her family had small seasonal businesses. After graduating from MVRHS, she attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, receiving a BA in psychology. Although it was not her original plan, Madison has become an office worker extraordinaire and is thrilled that her skill set can be used to benefit the Island nonprofit community. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, helping her family continue to grow their small businesses, and spending time with her boyfriend and their two cats. Contact
Lilian Robinson - Copy Editor, Programmer
Lilian is a Vineyard native whose editing career began in sixth grade, with a stapled student literary magazine for which she also drew the cover. She was then copy editor, co-editor-in-chief, and occasional caricaturist for both her high school and college student newspapers. An alumna of Bard College, she majored in literature (thesis subject: Flann O’Brien) and also studied art history, painting, music, and Latin. Her best friend was a film major who introduced her to avant-garde cinema, which she still follows avidly. She has been editing for the MVFF since 2007, and also helps program the March festival. In addition to editing, she is a member of the Tisbury Conservation Commission and a long-distance hiker who has walked 13,000 miles on North American long trails over the last 19 years. Contact
Aaron Teves — Graphic Designer
Aaron was raised on Martha’s Vineyard and has been an active member of the Island community his whole life. He is a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, from which in 2020 he will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture, with a concentration in nature, culture, and sustainability. His work is primarily concerned with architecture, design, and material practices as a central part of cultural identities, which has taken him to locations such as Portugal and South Korea for research. Most recently, he lived in Rome, Italy, for an artist-in-residence program focusing on printmaking and photography. In his free time Aaron loves drawing, bookmaking, photography, and being outdoors whenever possible.
Anne Evasick - Programmer
Anne is a film projectionist and maven—familiar with essentially every film you've ever or never heard of. For many years, she was the owner of the Island’s iconic video and DVD store, Island Entertainment. She now manages the movie theater in Edgartown. Beyond a passion for cinema, Anne walks dogs and is the proud mother of Peter.