Board of Directors
As of April, 2011, The Philadelphia Cinema Alliance’s board members include Claire Kohler, Eric Moore, James Houck, Herb Lipton, John Herzins and Raymond Murray. Its singular goal is to present the best of international cinema to Philadelphia-area movie-lovers with its year-round program of film festivals, special film events, film discussions and mystery screenings.
Courtney Custer (Board President)
Courtney Custer has worked in television sales and marketing for the last 12 years. Co-Owner of Hoopskirt Productions Inc, a multimedia marketing company in Philadelphia, she has been the face of many national brands on QVC as well as a selling strategist, talent trainer, copywriter and director of DRTV & commercial spots. She has worked on campaigns to increase the national sales of many recognizable brands including Buxton, Gloria Vanderbilt and Samsonite.
Prior to working in TV Marketing, Courtney was a Founding Artistic and Business Director of the first Viewpoint Theory based theater company in Philadelphia. She has a BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts and has been an actress in many classical and modern theater performances in the Philadelphia Area, as well a character actress in film and TV.
As a professional spokesperson, Courtney was the face and voice of The International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival/QFEST in 2010 and 2011, the largest LGBT Film Festival on the East Coast. She lent her abilities to that organization as a fundraiser co-chair for A Dinner with Kelly McGills. Custer has often used her spokesperson/performance skills for charitable organization, acting as an Emcee and raising funds at live events. Most notably, Custer and her business hosted a fundraiser in 2009 for the DEAFF Organization, a non-profit hearing-impaired school for children in Zambia, and were able to raise all the funds needed for the school to purchase a permanent plot of land.
Jim Duffy (PCA Treasurer)
Jim Duffy was born in Philadelphia and raised in the suburbs, Jim attended the University of Notre Dame where he graduated with a major in Accountancy and a secondary major in German. He spent two years working as an external auditor for KPMG LLP where he obtained my CPA licensure and now works in the Accounting Operations Group at Comcast’s Cable Headquarters. He has lived in Philadelphia for the past two years and in his free time enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants in the city, summers at the Jersey shore, and skiing in the winter.
Claire Brown Kohler (Secretary)
Claire Brown Kohler, who graduated from Kirkland College in 1976 with a BA in Anthropology, is a founding member of TLA Entertainment Group. Started in 1981, she and her partners ran the TLA Theater on South Street until it closed in 1987. They branched out into DVD sales and eventually decided to return to their film exhibition roots by starting the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (PGLFF) in 1995. In 2000, the International House contracted TLA to run the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. A new non-profit entity was formed in 2001, the Philadelphia Film Society, which ran the renamed Philadelphia Film Festival and PGLFF until 2009. Claire was on the board from 2001 until 2009 and served as Secretary several of those years. In 2009 a new non-profit was created, the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance, which now runs the renamed QFest, the annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
Robert J. Morrison
Robert J. Morrison has over 35 years experience as a writer/producer in the advertising industry. His extensive marketing experience included early career term at BBDO (New York) and McCann-Erickson (New York, Toronto and London) and later as executive creative director at several Philadelphia advertising agencies and is the recipient of over 235 national and international creative awards. He continues his professional endeavors as founder of The Project Group, which focuses on strategic and creative development in the pharmaceutical industry. Recent creative projects include the development of The Fine Art of Tangible Assets with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors guiding collectors and institutions to utilize their collections for philanthropic endeavors, m(eye)environment – Kids Exploring Digital Photography with Olympus, Adobe, the University of the Arts and Hussain Aga Khan for whom Mr. Morrison curated his recent photography exhibition: Focused on Nature.
Keith Brand is a Professor in the Department of Radio Television and Film at Rowan University teaching courses in Sound Communication and Radio Production. Mr. Brand is the host/producer of ‘Sleepy Hollow’, an eclectic weekend morning music program broadcast on WXPN FM in Philadelphia. He is currently Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of PhillyCAM, Philadelphia’s public access media center and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of Independents in Radio. Mr. Brand has had a major interest in Queer Film since writing an extensive annotated bibliography on the subject during graduate school at Temple. He currently lives in Germantown.
Ian Opitz is currently a student at Temple University, studying Tourism and Hospitality Management. His previous internships with the Wawa Welcome America festival, and ESM Productions have thoroughly exposed him to the festival industry. While at school, Ian is the President of Temple’s local chapter of Meeting Professionals International, and also enjoys being involved with the LGBT groups on campus. He hopes to help expand the student audience for Qfest, and become even more involved with Philadelphia’s LGBT community.