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About The Festival

Welcome to Ely Film Festival Version 2, where we celebrate stories at the end of the road in Ely, Minnesota.

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.

Lucy Soderstrom

Program Director
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.

Ryan Bajan

Program Director

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.

Shaun Chosa

Lead Screener

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.

Jan Guerin

Lead Programmer

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.

Lacey Squier

Volunteers Coordinator

Lacey Squier serves as the volunteer coordinator for the Ely Film Festival as part of her role as manager of Boundary Waters Connect, a nonprofit sponsor of the festival. Boundary Waters Connect seeks to connect people and resources in ways that grow our Wilderness-edge economy and makes our community even more vibrant – and our Ely Film Festival does just that! Lacey also teaches pie and Slovenian potica at the Ely Folk School, as well as hosts the What’s Up Ely Podcast.

Khayman Goodsky

Special Event Programmer

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.

Jerie Meakins

Marketing Director

With 30+ years in marketing and brand strategy, Jerie is passionate about amplifying northern voices so the Ely Film Festival can be a beacon for filmmakers in the north, offering a platform where their stories are celebrated and heard.   Ely's tranquil pace inspires her professional journey, making it a cherished home beyond their Excelsior roots. 

Brett Ross

Logistics Coordinator

An Ely resident since 1998, Brett has raised two children here, been involved with a number of area non-profit organizations, a youth sports coach and mentor, photographer, radio broadcaster and podcaster. He has a passion for trails- mountain biking, Nordic skiing, hiking and trail running- and thrives on giving back to the Ely community that has given so much to him.