About The Festival

Welcome to the inaugural film festival of Ely, Minnesota, where we celebrate stories at the End of the Road!

Ely, Minnesota, is a small town located near both waterways and national forestland in northeastern Minnesota. Because of its location adjacent to Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely has become an important crossroads of history, culture, and recreation. The festival will feature local, regional and national filmmakers, who will present works that explore themes of identity, community, connection to place, adventure and creativity. Our films will captivate our audience and make them think about the world around them in new ways.

Our Team

Jacob White

Festival Director
Jacob has lived and worked in the Ely area as a seasonal canoe guide since 2011. He owns and operates White Pine Productions, a small video production company that collaborates with organizations and businesses whose work is rooted in shared community values. Jacob received his education at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts - Maurice Kanbar Institute for Film and TV, where he cut his teeth working on all kinds of productions and as a community organizer. In 2022, his feature length film Home on Earth screened at the first Minnesota International Film Festival in Duluth, Minnesota, followed by a showcase from Ely’s own Reflections Dance Company. Jacob believes in the power of visual storytelling to change and shape our world in a positive way.

Shaun Chosa

Program Team Member
Shaun Chosa is a self-taught artist with a background in graphic design. He uses photographs as the basis and starting point for the images and paintings he creates. Being raised by a young single Native mother, who was a painter herself, led Chosa to witness, and sometimes partake, in various aspects of many different cultures in addition to Indigenous ones all over the United States. The artist lives and works in Ely, Minnesota, and he is a Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa citizen. He has two cats and spends most of his time creating art in his studio. His usual pastimes include exploring art, reading, and enjoying cinema from around the world.

Khayman Goodsky

Program Team Member
Khayman Goodsky (Bois Forte band member) is a local two-spirit Ojibwe filmmaker who has lived in Duluth, MN, most of her life. She decided to pursue DIY filmmaking in the freshman year of college. Her work usually contains key values and teachings from her Ojibwe culture mixed in with experimental art. Several of her works have played in the Duluth-Superior Film Festival and other local film festivals. Khayman has also been involved with youth work since 2016 and is dedicated to helping queer youth feel more safe and welcome in the world.

Ryan Bajan

Program Team Member
Boozhoo akinaa wiiyaa. It is an honor to be involved in the planning and facilitating of the End of the Road Film Festival. Exposure to the arts, stories, and building authentic community are some of my greatest passions. Our family of 6 children live on Robinson Lake in Ely, though many nights are spent in the wild woods surrounding the area. I currently serve as the Ojibwe Culture Teacher at the Nett Lake School, on the Nett Lake Reservation, with over 15 years working in schools. I also lead programming across the state with Waawaate Programs, our land-based teachings organization. In addition to teaching, I own and operate Woods and Waters LLC, an excavation, hardscape, and forestry business.

Lucy Soderstrom

Program Team Member
Lucy serves as Director at Ely Folk School, where she was initially drawn to its encouragement of the curious mind. She is excited about the upcoming End of the Road Film Festival and loves the opportunity to work with folks of diverse creative backgrounds.

Vladimir Perez Vacalla

Program Team Member
Vladimir Perez Vacalla was born in Pucallpa, Peru, before moving to Costa Rica. In 2020, Vladimir moved to Ely, MN, with his husband after a multiple decades long career managing restaurants and the hotel department on cruise ships. He fell in love with Ely at first sight. Vlad's other passions include sports, volunteering, cooking and sharing meals, and spending time outdoors exploring all of the beauty that nature shows him. Vlad is thrilled to be part of the programming team for the End of The Road Film Festival. He looks forward to bringing a diverse viewpoint to the project and helping forge Ely's first International Film Festival.

Jan Guerin

Program Team Member
Jan has lived in Ely for the last 7 years and finds it to be a welcoming, beautiful part of the world. Before living in Ely, she lived and worked in Milwaukee where she taught English Literature, Film Studies and Communications both on the high-school and college level. She’s excited to be part of the launching of The End of the Road Film Festival. It is such an excellent contribution to our community and will make our cold winters much warmer.

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