The Team

A Bunch'a Hellions

Hell’s Half Mile is a volunteer run organization filled with people passionate about film, music, our community, or all of the above.

Alan J. LaFave

Festival Director, Founding Board President

Favorite Movie: I’ve never been able to answer this question, as it changes over time. But if pressed, I’ll always answer The Fifth Element. It’s the first movie I think of. It’s more an always fun movie, more than a favorite.

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Movie: Uncle John. A beautiful and creative intersection of two completely differently toned stories, with powerful performances and a unique point of view.

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile: I wanted to show our community that we can make things happen in a small city like Bay City if we put in the work, elevate the conversation and listen to our audience. I think we’ve succeeded in our goal and we’ve inspired others to achieve their own, as well.


Don Hessell

Film Programming Manager, Founding Board Vice President

Favorite Film:  The Shawshank Redemption

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile

Film: Wedgerino

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile: Being involved with Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival is an amazing opportunity to bring independent films, music, and original events to Bay City. In addition, it’s a great way to immerse myself among artistic & inspiring people who are constantly fueling my own creativity and need for art in my life. The friends and talented filmmakers I’ve met along the way have been priceless.


Suzette Ulman

Operations Manager, Founding Board Member

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Film: The Happy Poet

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile: I was asked to help in the office the 1st year and have continued to be a part of it since then because I love this Festival! Love being able to see movies that I wouldn’t normally get to see, getting to share those movies with others and to meet so many amazing people, from all the volunteers who help make it possible, to our guests from both movies and music, and our audience!!


Dawn Hessell

Volunteer Manager, Film Programmer, Founding Board Secretary

Favorite Film: The Stories We Tell

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Film: 20 Years of Madness

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile? I love bringing independent film to our community


Leslie Middleton

Facilities & Merchandise Manager, Founding Board Member

Favorite Film: January Man

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Band: The Mud Suns

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile? I really love films.  I have always enjoyed all kinds of films from as far back as I can remember:  classics, westerns, action , independent and block buster.  It makes proud to be part of something that brings something new to my town and have it be something I enjoy.  I am very social and love meeting all the different people that come to the festival, the volunteers, the movie people and festival goers.  You not only talk to them about films but get to know a little about their lives.


Tanner Hansen

Operations Committee, Board Member

Favorite Film: Moonlight

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Film(s): Delinquent, Good Time, Moss 

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile?  Moving from a small town to Bay City, I had never experienced anything like the festival in my own back yard. I fell for the experience in the first day, and I’ve kept coming back. I want others to have the opportunity to experience what I did at my first festival ever year.


Bruce Falcon

Sponsorship Committee, Board Secretary, Board Member

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Band: Ariana and the Rose

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Film(s): Too Late 

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile? Because Alan made me.


Mike Weiss

Virtual Experience Committee, , Board Member

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Band: ???

Favorite Hell’s Half Mile Film(s): ???

Why I’m part of Hell’s Half Mile? ???


Past Board Members