Meet the Team
Get to know the faces behind the festival.
Spanning across undergraduate, graduate, and young professionals in Pittsburgh.
Film Festival Director
After teaching Polish language, history of Polish Cinema, and scriptwriting at the renowned National Film School in Łódź and University of Łódź, Jolanta Lion came to Pittsburgh to teach Polish Language, Film
and Culture at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition she created and taught courses on contemporary Polish Cinema and the Cinema
of Krzysztof Kieslowski, and she founded a Polish Film Festival “Through Polish Eyes.” She is currently the Assistant Director of the
Humanities Center at CMU, the Founder & Director of the annual CMU International “Faces” Film Festival, and professor of the Film Festival Course, which she created. Among the festival’s recent centerpieces were appearances by the former First Lady of Poland, Danuta Walesa, Director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), and Director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing). Barry Paris, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Film Critic, wrote: “The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival is my annual favorite, due to the excellence of the choices by its director, Jolanta Lion, who deserves an Oscar in general.”
Sowang Kundeling is a Tibetan-American rising entertainment professional from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s
degree in Business Administration and Film & Visual Media Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. Along with her work as Assistant Director for CMU IFF, Sowang is the VP of Service for the sorority aKDPhi and Co-Head of Production for Pittsburgh’s largest fashion show, Lunar Gala. She is dedicated towards fostering diversity in the film industry and aspires to pave the way for future artists.
Executive Assistant/Development Officer
Akanksha Sahay is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a Master of Entertainment Industry Management. She studied Communication and Media at the University of Michigan where her passion for sharing stories from unique and diverse perspectives was ignited. When she isn’t working organizational magic in the festival, Akanksha likes to, of course, watch movies and eat good food.
Isaac Fisher is a second year Masters of Arts Management student at Carnegie Mellon University. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Isaac cultivated a curiosity for international cultures and worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Daegu, South Korea. After working as a graphic designer and merchandise coordinator in 2022, Isaac returns to the CMU IFF team in the role of Treasurer and Executive Assistant. After graduation, Isaac would like to work in Pittsburgh’s Entertainment Communities. His current cartoon series, The Tourist is available to read at www.incubatorproductions.com. Isaac’s favorite film is the Japanese cult classic Fish Story.
Regis is a Senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying German, French, and West European Studies. He is a programming intern with the CMU IFF, and is most excited to work on the European components of the Festival. Outside of the Festival, Regis enjoys reading and listening to albums.
Katie is a Senior English-writing major at the University of Pittsburgh, with a double minor in history and political science and a public and professional writing certificate. Katie intends to pursue law school and a career as an attorney after finishing undergraduate. Katie is from Waterman, IL, a small farm town outside of Chicago. This year is her first time working with the CMUIFF and was thrilled to join the team. As a part of the programming team, Katie takes part in the film review process. She enjoys encountering new points of view through film and hopes to connect the viewers with experiences different than their own. Katie’s favorite aspect of working with the festival has been furthering her connection to film and media, and she hopes to continue to do so even after the festival’s conclusion.
Programming & Technical Lead
Saniya Singh is a fourth year Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Carnegie Mellon University. This is her first year as a Programming Coordinator with CMU IFF. In the last few years, she has directed and shot promotional material for a jewelry businesses, print covers for independent poetry collections, and a music video. At the 75th Cannes Film Festival, she worked as a screening coordinator, projectionist’s assistant and personal photographer. After graduation, she intends to continue working on video/photography projects and programming films for local theaters. Her favorite directors are Sofia Coppola, Gregg Araki, and David Cronenberg.
Video Director & Creative Lead
Lin You (Zoe) is an independent Director of Photography, artist, & second-year undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University studying all forms of digital media. She pretends to be a rockstar in her very limited spare time. Find her work on lin-you.com or @zo3ylin on instagram
Bunny is a sophomore Costume Design Major at Carnegie Mellon. This is his second year working on the film festival, and is thrilled for this year’s festival! In his free time he enjoys going to concerts, reading and embroidering.
Lead Graphic Designer
Joshua Paris is a freelance graphic designer and graduate of LaRoche University. During his second year with the CMU IFF, Josh is cultivating his longtime interest in cinema, and pursuing his appreciation for printed publication. Josh plans to take his narratively driven design methods to the film or tabletop entertainment industries to follow a passion for world building and storytelling. This year he is leading the creative committee hoping to continue making meaningful connections throughout the Pittsburgh community. You can find Josh and his work on instagram @jparis.design
Head of Marketing
Jai is a first-year Master of Entertainment Industry Management student at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s excited to be working alongside other students who share the same commitment to promoting the diverse cinematic experience that CMU IFF brings every year. He hopes that CMU IFF’s innovative and inclusive approach will establish the organization as a leading force in the Pittsburgh community and is excited to be a part of the organization.
Angela is a Master of Entertainment Industry Management student at CMU. She grew up in Toronto but hates the cold, enjoys film of all kinds, and is excited to be a part of IFF and share these amazing films with the Pittsburgh community.
Yikun has too many interests to live one kind of life. She dreams of experiencing life in every corner of the globe, exploring the world, and immersing in different cultures. And films give her the opportunity to experience different lives.
Before coming to Pittsburgh, Nouman was working in Pakistan for its Central Bank. Nouman grew up in Karachi, Pakistan where it is almost impossible to escape Bollywood’s influence. He is a firm believer that there is no better feel-good movie than Piku. Nouman is excited to see Pakistan’s transgressive pop culture going global with movies like Joyland and he cannot wait enough to bring it to Pittsburgh.
After graduating from the Taipei National University of The Arts, Venetia is now in her first year at CMU, studying her Masters in Arts Management. She is part of the development team at IFF and is one of the programm coordinators of Goddamned Asura. However the world may change, she hopes that art and animals may always be loved and appreciated.
Rue is a first year Master of Entertainment Industry Management Student at Carnegie Mellon University. In her free time she likes reading, watching the same shows over and over, and taking long walks (but not on the beach). After graduating, she’d like to work in TV Production and Development. This is her first year at CMU IFF and she’s excited to help bring the festival to life!
Andrés Mason is a Mexican-American from California and a Computer Science student at Carnegie Mellon University. He is pursuing a career in Software Development to afford art supplies. Currently, the art supplies are going towards a baby claymation project.
Natalia Ramirez is a sophomore at CMU studying Fine Arts with a minor in Film and Visual Media Studies. They like to spend time analyzing movies and learning about new ways to make expressive art across various disciplines.
Cameron Monteith is a senior studying English at CMU, and is the Operations Assistant on the CMU IFF team. Cameron is president of cmuTV and co-editor in chief at The Oakland Review, and has previous experience working for the international publication Film Review Daily and with The Pittsburgh Foundation. In his free time, Cameron is becoming a registered mushroom hunter and relearning how to play the trumpet.
Angela is a freshman undergrad at CMU studying Fine Arts and looking into a minor in Film and Visual Media Studies. She enjoys creating all kinds of graphics to express herself, and she is especially interested in time-based and video art in recent years. She find film to be a powerful container of expressions and all kinds of artistic experiments. This is Angela’s first year at CMU and CMU IFF; she is glad and honored to be part of this amazing crew and so excited for the beginning of the Film Festival
Short Film Competition Co-Director
Rui is a junior major in Film & Visual Media and Statistics. As a filmmaker herself, she works diligently in creating and promoting the film environment and supporting film works.
Short Film Competition Co-Director
LOUMING IZZY QU
Luoming Qu is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Entertainment Industry Management at Carnegie Mellon University. With a passion for storytelling, Luoming believes that films offer a beautiful escape for people to relax and shield themselves from the harsh realities of life. As a member of the Short Film Competition team, Luoming plays a role in organizing the competition event and inviting people to submit their short films on the theme of conscience.