Board President
Steve Bernier

Board of Directors
Thomas Bena
Joanna Cole
Anne Evasick
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Jeffrey Kusama-Hinte
Dawn Porter
Mitch Rubin

Advisory Board
Natasha Bacigalupo Ziff
Lisa Berkower
Alan Berliner
Laurie David
Catha Day-Carlson
Mollie Doyle
Scott Frank
Jill Iscol
Jan Kaplan
Arleen McGlade
Claudia Miller
Edward Miller

Mahsa Noble
Nancy Parrish
Jessica Roddy
Tobias Vanderhoop
Monina von Opel
Marilyn Vukota



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Thomas Bena-  Founder, Executive/Creative Director

With a degree in marketing, Thomas graduated from UMASS Amherst in 1989. Working in the business world wasn’t for him, so after nine short months he headed to Australia to “find himself” and to intern at The Australian Institute of Marine Science. Almost a decade later, his passport filled with stamps, Thomas landed on Martha’s Vineyard, where he learned to work as a carpenter. In 2001, he enlisted the help of friends and family and founded the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival. For the past twelve years, he worked on One Big Home, his first documentary feature. He is hopeful that the MVFF will one day have a barn to work out of, one that will allow his team to continue to develop their programs and offerings. Contact



Brian Ditchfield  -  Programming/Managing 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 Shack Productions, with which he produced and wrote a nationally distributed feature film and award-winning shorts and documentaries. While in the Windy City he also was the program manager for the Chicago Loop Alliance with which he helped produce the first Looptopia, Chicago's all-night arts festival attended by 250,000 people each year. He moved back to the Vineyard in 2006, became the business manager for the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, and assisted his wife in starting her own theater company, ArtFarm, before finding a happy home at the MVFF. Contact



Hilary Dreyer  -  Operations Manager & Filmmaker Liaison

An Island girl, born and raised, Hilary grew up with a love for the ocean, her home community, and a passionate curiosity about the rest of the world. She explored this interest in cultural diversity through the examination of global film. In 2009 she enrolled at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where she not only studied cultural anthropology, Latin American Studies, Spanish, and Media and Society, but also spent a year in Mendoza, Argentina, and Cochabamba, Bolivia, where she produced a documentary on the fermented corn drink "chicha" and its use in religious festivals. After graduating in 2013, Hilary spent the summer working for the MVFF, and then continued on to Iceland, where she was a Guest Services Intern at the Reykjavík International Film Festival. Hilary is thrilled to be back working with the incredible team at MVFF. Contact


Molly Purves -  Ad Sales & Screening Sponsorship

Molly has been handling the ad sales for MVFF since 2008 and every summer you can see her manning the box office at the Summer Film Series on Wednesday nights in Chilmark. She loves working with everyone on the MVFF team and one of the delights of the job has been watching the festival grow and blossom into a remarkable organization that really serves its community. Molly also writes the Aquinnah column for The Martha's VIneyard Times and performs at the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse when she has the opportunity. For fourteen years, she lived in New York City, where she attended NYU and received her B.F.A. in acting--which led to a long waitressing career in the city. She now lives in Aquinnah with her husband, Curtis, and her son, Rodeo. Contact


Kara O'Sullivan - Festival & Volunteer Coordinator

Kara fell into film in the 90’s when interning at a start-up magazine in Manhattan put her in touch with several luminaries of the documentary film world. Her first project, working as a researcher and associate producer for Aviva Films, was a doc on Will Rogers for PBS’s American Masters series in 1994. When a stopover in Colorado turned into a 16-year love affair with altitude, Kara segued to producing natural history and expedition films for American Adventure Productions before transitioning to festival work with the Aspen Film Festival and, later, producing for local television Channel 16. A proponent of living your dreams, Kara left the mountains for a life in New Zealand before the siren call of the grandmother lured her and her husband and wee girl back to the Island and MVFF. Contact


Ben Durrell  - Director of Children's Events

Ben’s work, while rooted in a conceptual design framework and often made physical via furniture, manifests itself in no one particular form or use. He has participated with design collectives (such as Release1, an organization which he co-founded) on international exhibitions, and also on smaller-scale custom furniture commissions and concept-to-mass-market projects for corporate retailers. For the past fifteen years, the experience and process around objects and spaces has been his focus. Throughout all of his projects, Ben displays a heightened sensibility to an object's "in-the-worldness," inhabited interiors, and contemporary design pedagogy. His thinking and work around design, youth, and children’s experience in the creative process has been shared via lecture at Planningness, Sapient Nitro, RISD, and the Toronto Design Exchange, to name a few. He designed exhibits for Boston Children's Museum for ten years, and spent two years as Director of Product Development for the youth arts and design nonprofit Artists for Humanity, before moving to Martha's Vineyard with his wife and two little ones in 2015.  Contact


Mariah MacGregor - Education Coordinator

Mariah is an Islander, born and raised. After high school, she left for MassArt in Boston, where she earned a dual BFA in photography and art history. After undergrad, she made the pilgrimage to New York City, where she lived and worked for a few years, always returning to the Island in the summer to work with horses. She finally decided that while photographing shoes and weddings was super fun, it wasn't spiritually fulfilling, or changing the world in any enduring way, so she returned to MassArt to earn an MA in teaching. Since then she has taught in a variety of capacities, from traditional school settings to camps, to summer programs at the local libraries. She is currently also the visual art teacher at the Chilmark School, continues to work with horses, and attempts to make her own art, often late at night. She is so excited to have found a new outlet for teaching the creative arts. This position at the MVFF is a natural evolution on a path of artistic learning and teaching; you never know where you'll end up! Contact


Chris Mara -  Technical Manager, Projectionist

Chris has been doing film production for 30 years. After beginning in his native NYC with corporate and independent productions, Chris relocated to Martha's Vineyard in 1986 and was the original cameraperson, along with Steve McQuiggan, at Channel 58 in Vineyard Haven. Since 1991 he has been at Galen Films in Vineyard Haven, working on broadcast and various video projects. Chris started helping out the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival during its first year and in subsequent years became one of the principal projectionists. Contact



Lilian Robinson  -  Copy Editor, Programmer

Lilian has been editing for the MVFF since 2007, and also helps program the March festival. When not editing or watching films, she is often on long-distance hikes. Contact



Dana Edelman  -  Music/Performance Director

Dana signed on as the MVFF's Music/Performance Director in February 2013 and has embraced the role from day one. He is a singer-songwriter/performer best known for his recent music video with son Jaiden Edelman, "The Massachusetts Song (You Athol)," that gained widespread attention upon its release on YouTube. He is also a music composer for video, film, and television. Dana is a passionate family man with great love for the Island and is thrilled to be able to collaborate with the MVFF team. Contact


Anne Evasick -  Programmer

Anne is the owner of Martha's Vineyard's best independent video and DVD rental store, Island Entertainment. She is a film projectionist and maven--familiar with essentially every film you've ever or never heard of. Beyond a passion for cinema, Anne walks dogs and is the proud mother of Peter.



Jeremy Mayhew -  Graphic Design

Jeremy makes films, illustrates, and animates things. He's been playing with moving images for over 20 years. His first opportunity to use a video camera came at age eleven when his father--a commercial harpoon swordfisherman--had him document their summer voyages, 200 miles offshore. Following a childhood of commercial fishing, coupled with an obsession with comic books, music, and fine art, Jeremy attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he primarily focused on traditional filmmaking and animation techniques, history, and theory (with 16mm cameras, reel-to-reel recorders, flatbed editing tables, and so on). This base cinematic language, and an ongoing interest in improvisational jazz, electronic, and minimalist music, led him into a playful relationship with music production, sound design, and more recently, motion graphics. Jeremy is currently working as a freelance motion designer and cinematographer. He continues to create films and music from his home on the Vineyard. Contact


Jeremy Gates -  Graphic Design