Randal Iverson - Rapid City, SD
President, Black Hills Film Festival

Owner, Iverson Productions

Randal is a freelance cinematographer and photographer working through his company Iverson Productions. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications (Photography) from Black Hills State University and years of experience with commercial production in both still and motion. He is used to wearing many different hats, producing, directing, operating, lighting, sound, editing and stills. Some of the companies he has worked for include Lawrence and Schiller, National Geographic Television, PBS News Hour and Crow Ridge Productions. Randal does commercials for BHFF and helps with the technical aspects of the Festival.

Wendee Pettis - Hot Springs, SD
Vice President, Black Hills Film Festival

Business owner, Filmmaker

Wendee is a Spearfish, SD native, currently living in Hot Springs and is a small business owner. She has acted in college and summer theatre and regional commercials. She has  worked on many local films but recently turned filmmaker; writing, producing, directing her own short films, Hikethemovie and Walter's Return. Wendee is the BHFF Social Media guru and posts regularly to keep our followers engaged. Previous board experience includes serving as President of the South Dakota Cosmetology Association, (part of the NCA) where responsibilities ranged from organizing and implementing State Conventions, Seminars, hiring guest artists, budgeting, and monitoring legislation. Wendee is an advocate for the Battle Mountain Humane Society, Breast Cancer Awareness Events and fellow Indie filmmakers.

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Dan Dickey – Hill City, SD
Treasurer, Black Hills Film Festival Board of Directors

Former business owner, Pension Consultant

An Indiana native, Dan worked as a pension consultant in Minneapolis before he and his wife Pat became enamored with the Southern Black Hills and moved to Hill City. They bought Desperados Restaurant in Hill City and ran it for six years before selling it and retiring.  Dan is also the emcee for the Hill City Arts Council Open Stage event that has been running for the last 12 years, showcasing local talent during the winter months. Dan has volunteered for the Festival for many years and is now taking on a financial role with the BHFF.

Jesse Antoine Short Bull - Interior, SD
Board of Directors, Black Hills Film Festival

Writer, Producer for Independent Films

Jesse is a writer, historian, archeologist, and 1960’s garage rock aficionado. Jesse lives in a border town of 65 people that is between the Oglala Lakota Nation and the Badlands National Park in South Dakota.  Jesse received a degree in television production from Oglala Lakota College where his love for film was born. While a student in 2009 he co-founded the Native American Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA) which is a fellowship program that supports tribal college students utilizing indigenous collective and intergenerational leadership approaches and he looks forward to his 10th year with the organization. Jesse is very passionate about screenwriting, currently working on a project set on the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota called Running North. He received a 2016 Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Program Development Grant and attended the Creative Producing Summit at Sundance with the help of a First Peoples Fund grant. Jesse is currently attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His work is inspired by indigenous storytelling and the brilliant teachers who shared its power and responsibility with him.

Richard VanNess - Rapid City, SD
Board of Directors, Black Hills Film Festival 

Owner, Crow Ridge Productions

Sound mixer/recordist

Rick owns Crow Ridge Productions along with his wife Chris. The company provides services to movie and television companies filming in South Dakota in addition to producing its own short films and TV commercials. Rick is an experienced sound mixer/recordist, often recording concerts for South Dakota Public Broadcasting in addition to his film and TV work.  Rick helped manage the Walt Disney production National Treasure: Book of Secrets as an Assistant Location Manager, and has many contacts in the film industry. Rick and Chris started Open Stage in 2008 - the Hill City Arts Council’s winter program for emerging performers - and the Black Hills Film Festival in 2009.  Rick continues to help train students to run sound and projection for these two popular Hill City activities and his expertise in the technical realm greatly benefits the Film Festival’s ability to create a high-quality, efficient program.

Board of Directors

Egija Hartmane-Salem - Rapid City, SD
Secretary, Black Hills Film Festival 

Filmmaker/Producer at KOKLE, a documentary film

Egija was born in Latvia and spent much of her childhood, and later her summer breaks, in the film, culture and art house that was run by her grandparents for more than 40 years. That’s where she fell in love with the art of film making at a very early age. She worked as a freelance feature writer for one of the leading newspapers in Latvia for 8 years, but developed a passion for documentary film making after moving to America in 2006. Egija received her MA in broadcast journalism from the University of Clorado Boulder in 2011 and has been working on various documentary and educational projects since then. She recently directed and produced a documentary film KOKLE that tells a story of three Colorado Latvians that escaped Soviet-occupied Latvia during WWII. Currently, she is on a film tour, showing KOKLE at various Latvian Culture Centers in America. Egija has worked on the media crew for the Boulder International Film Festival for the last 10 years and joined the Black Hills Film Festival in May 2019.

Ryan Hall - Rapid City, SD
Board of Directors, Black Hills Film Festival 

Actor, Writer, Producer for Independent Films

Web Consultant, Production Monkeys, Aberdeen, SD

Ryan Hall portrays the face of the Black Hills Film Festival in advertising and as the MC. He also helps with the website, marketing, and social media. After deciding to pursue his love of film in South Dakota, Ryan produced a low budget feature called Dust of War which gained international distribution. He is a producer on the feature film Tater Tot and Patton which opened the 2018 BHFF and won Best Feature Film. In addition to features, Ryan has produced 5 award-winning short films. He works for a Marketing and Design company, Evergreen Media in Rapid City


Chris VanNess
Executive Director, Black Hills Film Festival

Owner, Crow Ridge Productions

Treasurer, Black Hills Museum of Natural History


A founder of the Black Hills Film Festival in 2009 and now its Executive Director, Chris manages the growing event in Hill City, Rapid City, Spearfish, and Hot Springs and is expanding its reach throughout western South Dakota.  Chris holds a BA degree from the University of Minnesota in theatre arts and brought her experience in event planning and management from Minnesota where she ran the St. Paul Winter Carnival Sled Dog Races for several years. She was also the coordinator for Heart of the Hills Economic Development Corporation for 6 years in Hill City.  Chris co-owns Crow Ridge Productions, a company winning multiple National Telly awards and American Advertising Federation awards for television and cinema commercials. Chris has the ability to initiate new programs, develop and manage a tight budget, and fund raise.

Logan VanNess - Rapid City, SD
Board of Directors, Black Hills Film Festival

Technical Administrator, Black Hills Film Festival

Logan is the man behind the scenes when it comes to everything website and app related for the Black Hills Film Festival. Originally from Buffalo NY he moved to the Hill City area just over 3 years ago. He attended Edinboro University of PA for Computer Science later switching to a major in Mathematics. Logan is also the secretary for the Hill City Arts Council.