Roxanne Peña Founder/Executive Director

Roxanne Peña has 16+ years combined experience related to Audio/Video Production & Film Entertainment with five years of experience teaching in after school programs, the public education system, and abroad in South Korea. She holds an M.A. in Education from Texas State University at Round Rock, graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Communication from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and received an A.A. in Radio, Television, & Film from Austin Community College.

She interned as a Casting Director Assistant for five months in which she managed a portfolio of projects from concept to sizzle. She spent two years working on reality TV shows as a Production Assistant on shows like “He Shed, She Shed”, “Tiny House Nation”, as well as educational series and owns Lot 31 Films– a video production company. Roxanne has co-coordinated several student film festivals such as South By Southwest’s “Make a Film in a Day,” Austin Jewish Center’s “Lights, Camera Chutzpah!” and Vidal M. Treviño’s 4th & 5th “Media and Film Festival.” In 2019, she founded LearnThink Media and coordinated its inaugural summer film camp and Youth Vision Film Festival.

Roxanne has been selected to serve as Laredo’s City Producer for the 48 Hour Film Project, a world-wide film competition scheduled for July 31st to August 2nd, 2020. The film festival and awards ceremony is scheduled August 15, 2020.

Cristina Mendoza Vice-President

Cristina graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. She began her teaching career in science at LJ Cristen Middle School for 4 years and transferred to Trautman Middle where she taught for six years until she took a sabbatical to raise her three children Connor, Cooper, and Lillian. This year marks Cristina’s second year teaching STEM at United Middle School. Additionally, Cristina is the Founder of Living Laredo which was created due to the simple fact that it was difficult to find low cost or free events around Laredo, Texas. Her simple website grew into a popular social media platform on Facebook with over 14,000 active users and in 2018 she was nominated as Small Business Development’s Small Business Media Advocate of the Year for all of south Texas. Cristina received a certificate of commendation from Senator Ted Cruz and a congratulatory certificate from Senator Judith Zaffirini as well.

Juan Paez Secretary/ Producer

Juan has 5 years of experience as a videographer, photographer, and video editor for various local production companies.

He graduated with an A.A. in Drafting and Design from Laredo College in Laredo, Texas. His dream is to work on a feature film production.

Regina Portillo Board Director

Regina grew up in Laredo, TX and spent ten years studying and building her career in both Austin, TX and New York, NY. She specialized in talent management and the complexities of people at work, using psychological principles and research methods to solve problems in the workplace and improve quality of life.

She spent two years as part of the founding team of a successful freelance startup (Skillbridge, acquired by Toptal) and two years as an analytics Associate at Goldman Sachs’ Human Capital Management division.

She graduated summa cum laude from St. Edward’s University with a B.A. in Psychology and holds a M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

George Altgelt Legal Advisor

George Altgelt has practiced law since 2004, and began his career in the Webb County and Zapata County District Attorney’s Office. In private practice since 2006, he brings considerable experience to Altgelt Law Office, which has been serving clients since 2010.

Justin Lopez Video Editor Intern (Spring 2020)

Justin is a student at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. He is expected to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Art with a minor in Communication. Justin has four years of experience as a Videographer and Video Editor and has produced over ten projects. “Southern Nights” (Spring 2018) and “Outside the Norm” (Fall 2016) were screened at the “Shoot to Kill” Student Film Festival. Justin is a Video Editor Intern for LearnThink Media  and hopes to not only gain experience, but also to help the company grow for future generations of artists. His main goal is to become a successful director and inspire other filmmakers to pursue their dreams within the field.

Marcela Morán 2nd Annual YVFF Film Judge

Marcela Morán is an associate professor of communication and a full-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology and Communication at Texas A&M International University. She holds an MFA in Film from Ohio University and a BS in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Morán is an award-winning filmmaker who has been involved in higher education for more than 16 years. Her films deal with migration/immigration, border landscape, women’s issues and bicultural topics, and have been showcased at numerous international film festivals, galleries and conferences. She currently teaches digital film production at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Felipe Martinez 2nd Annual YVFF Film Judge
Felipe Martinez was raised in both Laredo, TX, and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  His main source of inspiration is the mixture of culture in his life and the witness to social problems between U.S. and Mexico when it comes to immigration and families. Felipe wrote and directed his first feature film titled “Aguanta” at the age of 18. It touches on the effects kids go through when families are separated either through immigration problems, divorce, or a loss of a loved one.
Felipe believes the best films are the ones created outside our primary language because it helps directors exercise their visual storytelling muscles in a way that the audience understands the story even if told in a different language. Felipe will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from The Los Angeles Film School in 2021 and will go on to pursue his Master’s degree in Mexican-American Studies.
Max Fernandez 2nd Annual YVFF Film Judge
Brenda Camacho 2nd Annual YVFF Film Judge
Brenda Camacho was born and raised in Laredo, TX. She graduated from Alexander High School, Class of 2012. She then went to Laredo Community College for two years and transferred to Texas State University where she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in 2016.  After graduating, Brenda joined the KGNS Team as an Associate Producer and worked her way up to a Multimedia Journalist / Producer / Anchor.
During the weekdays you can catch her out on the streets getting video and interviews with our elected officials or community members. You can catch her stories on the KGNS New Early Edition, KGNS News Evening Edition and KGNS News at Ten.
On Sunday, Brenda anchors and produces. You can catch her at 5 and 10 giving the news and weather. Brenda is grateful for the opportunity to get to know the community, and inform them on what’s going on.
GJ Castro 2nd Annual YVFF Film Judge
Bert Kiefer Photography Guest Speaker & 2nd Annual YVFF Photography Judge

Bert Kiefer has been a photographer for 12+ years covering over 200 events that does not include his experience with bridal, engagement, and fashion shoots.  He was first introduced to photography by his grandfather who showed him how to use a camera, develop film, print his own photos and the basics of lighting.

At the young age of 13, Bert created a small studio in his home and began taking photos of his sisters, family, and friends. He developed and printed his own black and white photographs. Bert Kiefer knew was that he had to practice every chance he got and once in high school shared his work with his teachers. His dedication proved to be an invaluable resource for his school that he was asked to help create the first photography class where he taught the teachers everything he knew. He also assisted in building the first photo developing lab so students could develop and print their own photographs from school projects.

Bert graduated high school, married, and had two children. Slowly, his passion for photography drifted away and was forgotten.  He rekindled his love with photography when DSLR cameras launched. After working in an office for 16 years, he established Bert Kiefer Photography.

Bert’s favorite part of being a photographer is meeting new people and having the opportunity to work with them in various settings. “It’s a gift to be able to capture important events, hearing the stories, witnessing love stories unfold and watching kids grow up.”

Jerry Ramirez 2nd Annual YVFF Photography Judge

Jerry Ramirez is a radio personality on 107.3 FM. He hosts two shows on the station: 90’s at 9 and 2 Hour Indie Power. Jerry has had a long time passion for communications and has hosted several podcasts over a span of a decade. This opened the door to his current radio career. Shortly after starting 2 Hour Indie Power, indie bands from across the nation started reaching out to him and his crew to host indie shows in Laredo. Jerry also works for one of the largest tech companies in the world and has a passion for photography.

Serena Kong Marketing Assistant Intern (Fall 2019)

Serena is a student studying marketing at Texas A&M International University and a Marketing Assistant Intern at LearnThink Media. She has an interest in learning and helping Laredo grow and become immersed in the arts, especially filmmaking. Serena has a passion for traveling and hopes to bring parts of various cultures around the world to Laredo and help it expand as a city.

 

Alejandra Saenz Sponsorship Assistant Intern (Fall 2019)

Alejandra is the Sponsorships Assistant Intern at LearnThink Media who works with a variety of people to recruit funds for the organization from generous local donors and well-established corporations. She is a student at Texas A & M International University seeking a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Communications. Prior to LearnThink Media, Alejandra has garnered experience through her own photography business, Ale Saenz Photography, which was established in 2012. She discovered her passion for photography thanks to her connection to Laredo’s former wedding photographer Pedro H. Saenz, whose work inspired her to follow in his footsteps from an early age. Working to help her hometown is very important to her and during her educational career she took a sabbatical for a year in 2014 to become an Americorps Alumni for Habitat for Humanity of Laredo as a Volunteer Coordinator/Construction Crew Leader. There she recruited volunteers, planned for the lodging of visiting volunteers, and helped lead builds on the construction site. Alejandra  discovered a further passion for the theatrical arts and film through her educational career and completed “Cookies and Apples”, a play in five acts, which she plans to produce in the future. She has also earned valuable experience within the broadcast and directing team of KLRN at Texas A & M International University and continues to learn every day in order to help the community grow.