ABOUT

MEET THE TEAM BEHIND THE FOUNDATION

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Suzanne Romero

Founder and President

Suzanne Desrocher-Romero is a theatre graduate based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She met George A. Romero while he was working on post-production for Land of the Living Dead. Although Suzanne did not know who Goerge was or viewed any of his films, their relationship blossomed over their mutual passion for the arts, especially Shakespeare and ballet - an area of George's interests that few ever knew. Suzanne learned from George how to view film and appreciate the intricacies of filmmaking. She also learned a great deal about the business of filmmaking.

Suzanne was devastated by George's death in 2017. She founded the GARF to secure George's legacy as a filmmaker, to ensure the preservation of his films and others, and to support the next generation of filmmakers inspired by George's life and work. "George is my compass," Suzanne said. "And he has given me the strength and vision to move on. My hope is that I am not alone in this journey and that together we will move his legacy forward, both as a filmmaker and a man. I love and miss him."

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Tina Romero

Vice-President

Tina Romero, daughter of George A. Romero, is a filmmaker, professor, and DJ based in Brooklyn, New York.  She graduated as a Cinema Studies major from Wellesley College in 2006 before attending the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts graduate film program. While at NYU, Tina received the Warner Bros. Film Award and the Steven J. Ross Scholarship for her accomplishments in filmmaking.

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Jeff Whitehead

Chief Operations Officer

By day, Jeff works in higher education. By night, he is an avid horror screenwriter. Jeff has fond memories of childhood sleepovers with classic horror movies, role playing games (RPGs), comic books, and junk food. George's work always featured prominently, and almost every overnight party screened  Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, or Day of the Dead. Jeff is honored to give back to the legacy by assisting with the website and operations for the George A.Romero Foundation. In doing so, Jeff hopes to help George and his work have an impact for a long time to come.

Ramona

Ramona Streiner

Secretary & Treasurer

Ramona is honored to be part of the George A. Romero Foundation team. She brings a unique creative energy when helping to preserve George’s work and legacy. Born in Germany, Ramona has forged a place for herself in the local creative community. Ramona oversees the GARF's social media in addition to her status as an officer. She is also writing a series of children’s books and is collaborating on a screenplay.  High on Ramona’s list of interests are travel (especially Paris and Scotland), digital art, charitable work, and her four cats.

Christian

Christian Stavrakis

Artistic Director

Christian was fortunate enough to have been “grandfathered” into the Romero film family by his brother Taso, who worked on several of George’s productions. The creative influence of Taso, Tom Savini, and George himself proved irresistible, and Christian grew up steeped in cinema culture and lore. He gravitated towards the arts from an early age, particularly sculpture, painting, and (of course) film. Christian created the memorial bust of George A. Romero on display at Monroeville Mall, and his locally produced 2013 film Mortal Remains has been inducted into the University of Pittsburgh Horror Studies collection.

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Ryan Carr

Artist in Residence

Ryan Carr earned his Bachelor\s degree in Fine Arts  in Illustration from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Ryan’s artistic interests lean to more figurative and anatomical subjects with an emphasis on drawing and fine line detail. Ryan is delighted to join the GARF as its artist-in-residence. He provides original artwork for the GARF newsletter and is currently working on several future projects for fans to enjoy.

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Chelsea Bennington

Marketing Director

Chelsea Bennington is a digital marketing specialist with experience developing digital communications strategies and content marketing campaigns for nonprofit organizations. She works with GARF on digital marketing and fundraising campaigns, as well as managing content and engagement on the GARF Patreon. Chelsea also co-leads two horror-inspired improv troupes in New York City, “Final Girl” and “Spooky Doings” (and produces the podcast of the same name). She loves horror films and is excited to bring that passion into amplifying the GARF’s presence within the horror community.

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Kay Lynch

Event Producer

Kay Lynch is the founder and director of Salem Horror Fest. She has produced and promoted hundreds of events in the art, Queer, and horror communities all over the world. Headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts, she has launched numerous businesses, organizations and projects including a creative co-working space, midnight rock horror show, city council campaign, recycling public service annoucements, teen media program and property photography. She was the director of marketing for Manhunt, Jack’d, and various adult entertainment platforms and has worked with hundreds of notable personalities including Elvira, John Waters, Joe Dante, Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank, DeRay Mckesson, and Sharon Needles.

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Pete Yagmin

Video Production Specialist & IT Coordinator 

Pete is a video production specialist and award winning filmmaker with more than seven years experience in film and video production and more than 15 years experience in other technology fields.  

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Matt Croyle

Creative Consultant

Matt Croyle is an award-nominated creator and is the founder and festival director of the Oil Valley Film Festival in Venango County, Pennsylvania. He is a director of both stage and screen, a playwright and screenwriter, an award-winning cinematographer, and an award-nominated actor. His feature film directorial debut was 'Potential Inertia' in 2014, which he also wrote and served as executive producer, cinematographer, and editor. He is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania (00') with a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Communication and Theater with a focus on interpersonal communication.

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Matt Blazi

GARF Network Host

Matt Blazi is a life-long admirer of horror movies and independent films, and has been attending film conventions for over 20 years. Being a fan of George A. Romero’s films helped Matt discover the world of horror and the filmmaking process. Matt's love of independent filmmaking led him to learn all he could about the making of The Blair Witch Project (1999). In 2013, Matt established The Blair Witch Experience, an annual event celebrating The Blair Witch Project by taking fans on in-depth tours of the locations used in the film. In 2019, he published his first book, 8 Days in the Woods: The Making of the Blair Witch Project.

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Eric Kent

GARF Network Host

A long-term fan of George’s work, Eric Kent has been involved in the online Romero community for the past twenty years. After serving as a forum moderator at Homepage of the Dead, the internet’s number-one destination for Romero’s original “Dead Series," Eric created three websites dedicated to Night of the Living Dead, Martin, and Dawn of the Dead. In 2003, Eric made his first trek to the Monroeville Mall, and can be seen in tour video footage that was featured in the documentary The Dead Will Walk, which has been included on every major release of Dawn of the Dead since then.

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Steve Barton

Guest Relations Manager

Steve Barton, also known as “Uncle Creepy," has built an illustrious career in the horror industry. He is a WGA writer, live event host, television and radio personality, tastemaker and critic, and award winning film producer and editor-in-chief. Steve is perhaps best known for forming one of the industry’s largest and most well-respected media outlets, Dread Central. Steve has crafted dozens of DVD commentary tracks including one for Survival of the Dead with George. He has also appeared on numerous home video special features, and he has acted in several feature films, including Survival of the Dead. Steve is honored to be joining the GARF because George was one of his primary influences and a career-driver. Steve brings along an abundance of experience, and he hopes to contribute high-quality guests for the GARF’s programming. 

LARA

Lara Rupinski

Convention Liaison

Lara is honored to be part of the George A. Romero Foundation team. She brings her knowledge of working with conventions for over 30 years. In addition to her work with the GARF, she actively supports films and actors in the horror industry. She is also an experienced fused glass artist.

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Russ Streiner

Convention Volunteer

Among the Pittsburgh film community, Russ Streiner is best known as a film producer and director who is also at the center of film community leadership. Russ is the founder and chair of the Pittsburgh Film Office (PFO). That leadership has enabled Pittsburgh to have one of the most effective film office operations in the United States. Among horror movie fans, Russ is best known for his role as “Johnny” in the 1968 George A. Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. Russ was also the producer of that film. In educational circles, Russ is a frequent mentor of young entrepreneurs and filmmakers in both classroom and online environments.

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Stephanie Zombies

Convention Volunteer

Stephanie Zombies was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She has been a George A. Romero fan since she was six years old and has had the honor of meeting George multiple times at horror conventions. Stephanie is also an avid horror collector. Her favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. 

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The GARF is dedicated to honoring the life work and cultural influence of George A. Romero, and supporting a new generation of filmmakers and artists inspired by his legacy.

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