2017 Special Guests

Rick LeFevour

Stunt coordinator and former stuntman Rick LeFevour has a resume that speaks for itself. This is the man who drove the Ferrari in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, who stood in for Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. LeFevour worked his way up from rodeo cowboy to low-end stuntman to one of the preeminent stunt coordinators in the biz. And in addition to working on TV series such as Shameless, Sirens, and his current gig on Chicago Fire, LeFevour also is responsible for awe-inspiring stunts in blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Man of Steel.

Stephen Tobolowsky

Actor/ Writer / Musician / Storyteller

Stephen has over 250 film and TV credits including Groundhog Day, Thelma and Louise, Wild Hogs, Memento, The Goldbergs, Glee, One Day at a Time, Silicon Valley, Heroes, and Mississippi Burning.  He can next be seen in the new Showtime series White Famous     as Stu Beggs (a character he originated on Californication).  Stephen has a new book out this year titled “My Adventures With God”.

Ann Hearn

Ann Hearn (Tobolowsky)  is an award winning actress and director who has been a mainstay of the Los Angeles Theater community for over 30 years.  She has been in movies like The Accused, My Father the Hero and Lorenzo’s Oil and television shows like The Dollmaker, ER, Designing Women, Evening Shade, and Rizzoli & Isles.   Ann also has directed plays like Holy DaysDriving Miss DaisyAnother Part of the ForestThe Color of Rose and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks. She recently has started directing short films, including: Dream Flight,Shelf Life, and Ben Takes Ballet

She is married to Stephen Tobolowsky –  for 29 years!

Jamie Brewer

Jamie Brewer is best known for her breakthrough dimensional role as Adelaide ‘Addy” Langdon in Season 1 of American Horror StoryMurder House opposite Jessica Lange.  Jamie returned to Season 3 of American Horror Story: Coven playing Nan opposite Sarah Paulson as well as season 4Freakshow opposite Neil Patrick Harris as Marjorie.  She will return as a yet unannounced character in Season 7.  Jamie has also appeared in the TV series Southland and Switched at Birth,  Jamie is in two short films playing at the South Dakota Film Festival (Kill Off and Whitney’s Wedding).  


Jamie is the ambassador for Changing The Face of Beauty. She was also the first person with Down Syndrome to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week. Jamie will appear this winter on Broadway as Amy in Amy and The Orphans. She plans to work in this exciting industry for a very long time, while continuing to be an advocate and role model for people with disabilities in all aspects of her life.

Johanna Day

Johanna Day is a 2 Time Tony Award nominee for her roles in Proof (2001) and Sweat (2017) on Broadway.  Johanna also has been very active in film having had roles in the films Unbreakable, Birdman, and The Great Gilly Hopkins.  On television, she is currently a cast member of Madam Secretary and has been on The Knick, Royal Pains, Law and Order, Judging Amy, The Americans, Masters of Sex, Elementary, Alpha House, and All My Children.  Johanna appears in the short film How Far She Went at the SDFF.  

Kerri Lynn Miller

Kerri Lynn Miller is an actress, writer, and producer.  Her TV credits include NBC’s, “Shades of Blue”, CBS’s, “Blue Bloods”, USA’s “Royal Pains”, Bravo’s, “Odd Mom Out”, and LMN’s “I Love You But I Lied”. Her passion is producing and acting in projects that highlight the female’s gaze.  Her most recent short film, Etymology, which she both produced and starred in is in the middle of an exciting festival run. Kerri, resides in Montclair, NJ with her family.

Bettina Bilger

Bettina Bilger is an actress, writer and director. She trained at the William Esper Studio under Terry Knickerbocker. Recent credits include, Billions, Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, The Affair, Netflix’s Friends From College and High Maintenance on HBO.  Bettina is a SDFF alum having directed, wrote, produced, and stared in two previous short films In the Dark and The Room Rental.  This will be her first time attending the South Dakota Film Festival. Bettina appears in the short film, Etymology

Laura Seay

Laura Seay is an actress, director and writer. 
Originally from Seattle, she comes equipped with a near obsessive loyalty to the NFL Seahawks, pine trees, and pretentious third-wave coffee. 
Laura has appeared in several feature films and network shows; including Judd Apatow’s coming-of-age romp SUPERBAD, ABC’s MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D, CBS’s NCIS, NCIS: NOLA, and PURE GENIUS.  
SPEAK marks Laura’s directorial debut.”

Jessica Rothe

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Jessica Rothe has quickly established herself as one of Hollywood’s most in demand leading actresses. Jessica just recently wrapped shooting the title role in MGM’s musical adaptation of the 1983 romantic comedy “Valley Girl,” where she stars as ‘Julie.’ This fall, Jessica will be seen starring in the Universal thriller “Happy Death Day,”. The story centers on a woman trapped in a vicious cycle of her own death, and must solve the mystery to her murder before her chances run out. Universal has slated this film for a wide release on October 13. In January 2018, Rothe will star opposite Alex Roe (“The 5th Wave,” “Rings”) in the romantic drama “Forever My Girl.”
Most recently, Rothe was seen in a supporting role opposite Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land,” which won 6 Academy Awards and 7 Golden Globes.  Prior to that, Jessica starred In MTV’s comedy series “Mary + Jane”.  Other TV credit’s include such series as ABC’s “Happy Endings,” “Blue Bloods,” and “Gossip Girl.” Rothe’s other film credits include: “Summertime”  a supporting role alongside Michael Shannon in “Wolves,”  “Please Stand By,” with Dakota Fanning and Toni Collette, and IFC’s “The Preppie Connection.”   Jessica stars as Andie in the feature film Tater Tot & Patton which will have it’s Regional Premiere at the South Dakota Film Festival on Sat night (Sept 23).

Bates Wilder

Bates Wilder is an actor and a teacher  of the craft.  He’s worked professionally in the business for three plus decades and is thrilled to rejoin the SDFF with two films – Andrew Kightlinger’s feature “Tater Tot & Patton” as well as Alvaro Congusto’s “The Suitor“.  His last visit to the festival was a few years back with “Dust of War”.  His recent films include appearances in “Joy”, “Stronger”, “Detroit”, “Sins of the Preacher”, and “The Spirit of Christmas”.  Bates has taught acting at Boston University, Emerson College, CPCasting, and privately as well.  

Andrew Kightlinger

Madagascar-bred, South Dakota-brewed, Andrew Kightlinger  (Writer/Director ofTater Tot & Patton) credits his third world upbringing and Middle American high school experience for molding his storytelling instincts.  Kightlinger most recently won Grand Prize in the 2016 Slamdance Screenplay Competition.  He’s directed award-winning short films and two feature films with a third currently in development.


Kightlinger studied film at Boston University and worked at The Kennedy/Marshall Company.  Currently sits on the Board of the South Dakota Arts Council.  Represented by Principato-Young Entertainment.

Joe West

Joe West is an award winning songwriter and performer based in the
international art community of Santa Fe, New Mexico. His music has been described as “theatrical folk music” but is influenced by both country and rock. Joe has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, sharing the stage with the
likes of Peter Rowan, Arlo Guthrie, and Violent Femmes. He has created 9 full length CDs of his original music and has created several music videos. Over the last few years, Joe has created a full length rock opera, has produced music for film and television (most notably the EMMY award winning documentary, SPLIT ESTATE) and has
created an all original conceptual radio show called THE INTERGALACTIC HONKY TONK MACHINE. His latest CD, BLOOD RED VELVET, was rated one of the top CDs of 2014 by the London Telegraph and has been featured in the feature film DEATH AND TAXES.

Eleanor Winkler

Eleanor Winkler is a producer from Sydney, Australia, with a focus in comedy and social justice. She is one of the producers of Kill Off made through Bus Stop Films, a non-profit teaching professional filmmaking to people with intellectual disabilities. Eleanor is currently based in Los Angeles, producing episodic and late night comedy for networks including POP TV and TV Land. She has also produced shorts for Funny or Die and Thowing Shade.

Annie Bush

Annie Bush is a New York City based film producer and is best known for raising over $1.6 million for dozens of independent filmmakers and artists via crowdfunding. Annie produced, consulted and raised money for films that have played at Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, LA Film Festival, Rooftop Films and more. As Co-Producer, she recently raised $190K on Kickstarter for Ema Ryan Yamazaki’s feature documentary Monkey Business (LA Film Festival 2017) about the creators of Curious George, Hans and Margret Rey. Annie also Associate Produced the 2017’s SXSW films The Honor Farm (Karen Skloss), LA Barracuda (Julia Halperin and Jason Cortlund) and Through The Repellent Fence (Sam Wainwright Douglas).

Daniela Maximillian

Daniela Maximillian is a NYC based actress and filmmaker as well as one of the founding members of Polyphony Films. For “Splitting the D”  (2014) she acted as Associate producer, Art Director and Editor. Her background in art and illustration dovetailed with her theater education give her a unique eye in the film-making process. She is currently starring in and producing the upcoming Polyphony Film series “Three On a Match”.

Elias Noel

Elias Noel is a NYC based actor, writer and director known for “The Overpass” (2013), “Splitting the D” (2014), and “An Idiot’s Array: A Star Wars Short Story” (2017). He is a co-founder of Polyphony Films, and is currently working on several upcoming projects for 2017.

Chris Beetem

Chris Beetem studied theater in New York City and is a graduate of the William Esper Studios.  Chris’ first role was playing Gena Rowland’s grandson in the film Grace and Glorie, alongside Diane Lane. He then went on to play many parts in film and television, including projects such as Black Hawk Down, Emelie, Mister Popper’s Penguins, J.A.G.,Blindspot, Bull, The Following, and Pan Am. Chris has most recently wrapped production on the gothic thriller Maggie Black, and can be seen as a recurring player on Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, as well as lawyer Mark Payne on Netflix’ Orange is the New Black.  Chris played two roles on the short film Beneath Fiery Skies as Actor and Producer.

Justin Koehler

Justin Koehler, director/ writer/ producer of Floating Horses: The Life of Casey Tibbs, is a South Dakota native who lives and operates in the Denver production scene. Koehler’s worked with projects airing on History, Discovery, HGTV, DIY Network, Weather Channel, as well as films for the U.S. Military and National Park Service. His preceding documentary, The Buffalo King, is an award-winning feature on the film festival circuit, Internationally screened, and garnered PBS distribution throughout the United States. He is currently the Director of Photography for Tipping Point Solutions in Denver. 


Lucia Scharbatke

Lucia Scharbatke is an award-winning producer and alumna of the SDFF. 2013 FALLEN/Gefallen, which was produced and co-written by her, and won “Best International Short“.  In 2008 she founded her company KAAMOS FILM which focuses on fictional and animation films. Since October 2015 she has been lecturing at the University of Nuremberg Georg-Simon-Ohm and is working as a producer for TRIXTER Productions as well as for TRIXTER Pictures. She is the producer of two films screening at the SDFF – Rouff andPeep and the Paperplane

Marek Dojs

Marek Dojs  is a filmmaker, Professor of Film/Video, and Chair of the Communication Program at the University of Mary. He has been involved in teaching film/video production and theory at the university level for almost ten years. As a filmmaker his work has been screened at national and international venues. He is currently pre-producing Stories from the Third Floor, a reflection on war, generational trauma, and his role as the family storyteller. He earned an MFA in Documentary Production from the University of North Texas. He lives in Bismarck, ND with his wife Madeline and their seven children.  Marek is the Director and Editor of You Beautiful Crazy Blind Cripple