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BILL TRUE

Department Chair, Head of Screenwriting

Scottsdale School of Film and Theatre

Bill’s debut feature, Runaway, was hailed by critics as "Brilliant" and "Hitchcockian" as it premiered to universal accolades at Tribeca and Toronto.  It went on to screen worldwide at Avignon, Woodstock, Vail, Palm Springs, and other top festivals.  Bill also took the top prize at the Austin Film Festival for his work on Runaway, which was subsequently released by eOne Films.

He got his start as a stage actor and director.  As an actor, Bill worked with legendary lyricist Tim Rice, starring in the title role in the American premiere of Rice’s rock opera, Blondel.  As a director, Bill was selected to participate in the Guthrie Theatre’s exclusive Director’s Lab.

Bill transitioned to playwriting, studying under Tony Award-winner and Oscar nominee Mark Medoff.  Bill was named one of New Mexico’s Best New Playwrights with his play, Hell is a Diner.  He was also a company member and dramaturg for Desert Playwrights Theatre Company.  In 2014, Bill’s multi-media homage to the silent film, He Who Gets Slapped, opened to rave reviews.  Slapped went on to be staged at the LA Theatre Center as part of the Kennedy Center for the Arts theatre festival.  In 2018, Bill directed the Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre’s hit Main Stage production of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

As a screenwriter, Bill was honored as a Bush Artists Fellowship grant recipient.  He has since developed feature and television projects with The Film Collective, NBA Entertainment, Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures, Warner Horizon Television, Veritas Entertainment, eOne Television, Echo Lake Entertainment, and more.

Bill has also been a featured panelist and jurist at the Austin Film Festival, Scriptfest/The Great American Pitchfest, and Screencraft’s Nashville Writers Conference.  He’s been a featured speaker for industry organizations including the Independent Feature Project, Women in Film, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Phoenix Screenwriters Association, and the Northwest Screenwriters Guild.

In addition to his work in Hollywood, Bill is Faculty-in-Residence for screenwriting at the acclaimed Scottsdale School of Film+Theatre.

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TONI ROSS

Founder of the Jerome Indie Film Festival

Festival founder, Toni Ross, has had a special love for the town of Jerome from the time she was 6 years old.    As an Arizona native, she considers Phoenix her hometown but she will forever consider Jerome her heart town.

Toni discovered the magical, crumbling and enchanting ghost town with her family on a road trip in 1972.  Then it was a genuine ghost town filled with hippies who had seemed to begin to set up camp and take ownership in love.  She vividly remembers the colorfully painted VW buses and feels that even as a child she felt the free spirited energy Jerome had then that she still feels during each visit. This was many decades before it became the beautiful international art mecca it is today.  She explored and knew every inch of Old Jerome back then.  She begged and begged her dad to bring their family back at least three to four times a year.  Her and her sisters would crawl through broken windows in the high school and what is now the Grand Hotel and her mission was to scare her younger sisters as she would moan down the hallways like a ghost.  She collected broken glass, bottle caps and old cans throughout the town to take home with her to remember where she hoped to live someday as the crumbling stairs and stilted homes always beckoned her to call her favorite town home.

Because of her love for the town, she chose to open up an art gallery (The Enchanted Mission) there and resided in a little apartment above the gallery (owned by Lee Christensen) on the weekends for several years. As she owned her gallery and resided in Jerome, she also helped organize the Jerome Jamboree.  She did this for many years.  She had adored bugs since her childhood and later became an avid bug & bus collector.  She attributes her drive to be apart of the Jerome Jamboree planning as it took her back to memories decades before of loving seeing the hippie buses and volkswagons lining the streets of the ghost town.  Helping organize the Jamboree was a perfect fit for her as it included her favorite Arizona town and her love for bugs and buses. On top of that she did this during the time she owned her gallery and lived in Jerome.  For her, every combined element was a dream come true never knowing that her greatest dream – the Jerome Indie Film Festival was right around the corner; a venture that would combine all of her greatest loves.  When her heart yearned to create a film, music and art festival there was no question in her mind.  Jerome would be the festival’s home.

As the Jerome Indie Film Festival goes into year 5, Toni is thrilled to bring visitors from around the world to the festival that introduces them to the truly magical towns of Jerome, Clarkdale and Old Town Cottonwood.

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Jason David Scott

Assistant Professor, School of Film Dance and Theatre,

Arizona State University

Dr. Scott is an Assistant Professor at ASU, where he also serves as the Assistant Director for the Film and Media Production program.  Before receiving his MA and Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara, Dr. Scott worked in the entertainment industry as a marketing specialist and in feature film development, and continues to work as a writer and consultant for marketing firms in New York and Los Angeles.  

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VIET Vienne LE

Chairwoman of Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

Viet Le serves as chairwoman of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce and is a Legal Executive with comprehensive legal background and proven track record in M&A activities, policy development and program implementation. Valued member of senior executive team adept at proactively applying seasoned, diverse legal experience to broad business strategies. Expertise includes M & A, ethics & compliance, litigation management, international law, employment law, business contracts & negotiations, and trade compliance.