Committee Bios

Mary Riser

Mary Riser

Festival Director

Mary Riser created and ran the Fairhope Film Series for 14 years before deciding it would be more fun to show films all at once. Thus, with loads of great help, she directs the Fairhope Film Festival.

Denise D'Oliveira

Denise D'Oliveira

Denise D’Oliveira has lived in Daphne and been active in education and community engagement work in Baldwin County for the past 25
years. She and her husband Sergio can be found seated happily in front of a big screen somewhere every Friday night.

Ben Gall

Ben Gall

Ben Gall, a native from The Netherlands, is a retired entrepreneurial high- tech executive, a contemporary art collector and has started art galleries in his retirement, mainly to help emerging artists. He is our “manus van alles” here at the Festival and we wouldn’t know what to do without him.

Katelynn Jones

Katelynn Jones

Katelynn Jones is a 2014 graduate of Spring Hill College from Dothan, Alabama. Fairhope has been home to her over the past two years and she has since become a member of the Baldwin Board of Realtors and an agent with Roberts Brother Real Estate. When she’s not working she loves to go to the park and play with her two Chow mixes: Harley & Quinn.

Sherilyn McNally

Sherilyn McNally

Sherilyn McNally, a longtime Fairhope resident and theater arts advocate, worked as Extras Casting Director on Scott Lumpkin’s upcoming film. She served as theater director/playwright for 25 years at Theater 98, Theater 8:15, Jubilee Fish Theater, Baldwin Co Libraries, and her own Story Theater Company. She has been a teacher and Fairhope Library Youth Services Coordinator and Executive Director of FEEF. Needless to say, we’re happy she’s joined FFF.

Stephen Savage

Stephen Savage

Stephen Savage is a Spring Hill College professor of photography who also teaches adults at the Eastern Shore Art Center. He believes education should be fun and informative. He is an award winning photographer and a Fellow in Photography at the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His work is in many collections and he offers workshops across the United States.
He serves as the executive director of the Baldwin County Humane Society, and is FFF’s chief photographer.

David Washington

David Washington

A veteran of the printing industry since 1986, David Washington is VP of Sales for Berney Office Solutions, serving the state of Alabama. His love of movies started as a child, seeing John Wayne in True Grit on the big screen. David has been involved with FFF since the beginning, coordinating and consulting on print media.

Dick Bacon

Dick Bacon

Dick Bacon is on the Eastern Shore Recovery Foundation and The Refuge boards. He also serves as Gift Wizard for the FFF and Bartender Extraordinaire. Mr. Bacon prefers to be called “mann om byen.”

Debby Dwyer

Debby Dwyer

Debby Dwyer lives in New Orleans where she keeps a close and experienced eye on the cultural scene. A trained thinker with a background in philosophy, she brings much needed talents to FFF as a film programmer and festival assistant.

Pat Hawthorne

Pat Hawthorne

Pat Hawthorne has an impressive background in business, marketing and events planning. She brings all of these much needed skills, and more, with her to the Fairhope Film Festival. This year, as the City Liaison and Events Chairman, she and her fabulous team will be putting on all the festival parties and make them as magnificent as only the previous owner and President of Grant Event Rentals could.

Chad Kirtland

Chad Kirtland

Chad Kirtland is a film and video aficionado, whose documentary Life Is Better Here: A History of Orange Beach, Alabama played at the 2014 Fairhope Film Festival. Chad is Vice President of 3 Echoes Media, a Mobile-based video production company. He and his family live in Fairhope.

Heather Mentzer

Heather Mentzer

A physical therapist, Heather Mentzer, lives in Fairhope with her husband Will, and her beloved dog Moose. Movies are one of her favorite things in life; she loves the ability of a quality film to entertain, to educate, to enlighten, or to transport her to a new world.

Frank Stickney

Frank Stickney

Frank Stickney has been delighted to support the Festival with a healthy dose of web design skills, graphic art and technical support, knowing his two lovely daughters will grow up in a town bursting at the seams with cultural appreciation thanks to his and others’ continued efforts. (He says “thank you” for joining us.)

Dee Washington

Dee Washington

Dee Washington has been a resident of Fairhope, AL, via NC, for the past 7 1/2 years and resides here with her husband David and their two beautiful daughters. Her avid love of movies began as a child with The Sound of Music and continues strongly to this day! This marks Dee’s 3rd year of working with FFF.

Judy Bishop Woods

Judy Bishop Woods

Since retiring from the hospitality industry and moving to Fairhope, Alabama, Judy Bishop Woods, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, volunteers at various charities in the area. An artist and people person, she is now focusing her volunteering efforts to help make the Fairhope Film Festival a world-class event.

Leslie Counterman

Leslie Counterman

Leslie Counterman is the mother of two teenage boys who are her world. She is from Robertsdale and works in Daphne for an awesome Orthopedic surgeon. In her free time she enjoys watching movies, listening to music, reading, and visiting her favorite place, Disney World. She enjoys spending time with her family and living on the beautiful Gulf Coast.

Nela Forney

Nela Forney

Nela Forney has a strong sense of community. In Birmingham she worked on the renovation of historic Avondale Park. Since moving to Fairhope in 2009, she’s been involved in numerous activities and become an integral part of the town. Nela met early on with the Founders of FFF and has been on the team since Day One. She is in charge of ticketing and the FFF Box Office.

Meador Inge

Meador Inge

Born in Fairhope, Meador Inge is a software developer and Dad. He has been volunteering for the Fairhope Film Festival since 2013. Meador is the Driver and Transportation Coordinator during the festival and makes sure that all of our guests reach their destination on time.

Melissa McCarty

Melissa McCarty

Melissa McCarty recently moved from West Texas to Daphne. She and her husband John, plus her mom Judy, are enjoying the Eastern Shore and its unique lifestyle. A native Mississippian, Melissa’s favorite book and movie are To Kill a Mockingbird with Oh Brother Where Art Thou? a close second.

Cherie Nemens

Cherie Nemens

Inspired by Rebel Without a Cause, Cherie Nemens began racing at any early age and beating all the boys in southern Ohio. She continued with road rallies in Europe and is retired from her business that served the UAW auto plants in the USA. Cherie loves things with both four wheels and four legs—with a deep love for horses, dogs, and cats. A six-year resident of Fairhope, Cherie donates a majority of her time to S.E.L.F., the Fairhope Cat Coalition, the Fairhope Film Festival, and other local causes that enrich our community.

Candice Sturdivant

Candice Sturdivant

Candice Sturdivant has been a highly supportive member of the FFF team. She has been on board since the beginning and has been instrumental in curating films and managing merchandise. Candy also handles the important bookkeeping part of the festival and keeps our head above water. She is a valuable addition to FFF.

Savan Wilson

Savan Wilson

Savan Wilson, PhD, born and raised in Mississippi, lived in Italy, and brings vast experience and education to the FFF table. Her career as educator in Universities has sent her all over the world and back again only to become a valuable asset to the Fairhope Film Festival and many other local organizations. She writes grants for the FFF and is in charge of the evaluations.