Competition Judges


Diane Strand

Diane Strand is the majority owner of the multi-award winning JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. The Producer at JDS Actors Studio and Founder of the nonprofit 501c3 JDS Creative Academy. In addition, Diane is the Creator and Executive Producer of the show Spectrum of Innovation news and information for Riverside and Digifest Temecula.

JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. was established in May of 2003, with her partner in both life and business, Scott Strand. Their multi award winning corporate video company was built mostly on word of mouth; some of their local clients include Abbott Vascular, City of Temecula, Temecula Chamber, MSJC, Cal State San Marcos and Temecula Valley Hospital.

In January 2010, Diane started a Drama Club program with Scott, which launched in the Temecula Unified School District. There was such a huge response that they decided to create an Actors Studio for all ages to learn the technique and craft of Acting, which is now known as JDS Actors Studio. JDS Actors Studio has launch well over 100 actors into mainstream Film, Television, Commercial and Theater acting careers and provided well over 700 students in the Temecula Valley creative enrichment, self-confidence and leadership skills through acting classes.

In 2014, Diane founded and launched the nonprofit 501c3 JDS Creative Academy (JDSCA), which offers education, training & apprenticeship, programs in all disciplines of visual, performing and digital arts. JDS Creative Academy located at JDS Studios, services the entire Temecula Valley and surrounding regions with a mission to inspire, educate, and enhance achievement in video production and workforce development by providing job skills and hands-on training in the visual, performing and digital arts. JDSCA works with foster and at-risk youth, autistic young adults, developmentally disabled adults and mainstream populations both youth and adults, creating cross- collaborative enrichment, workforce training, and a creative safe environment for all. Diane founded the Digifest Temecula Event in 2017, and created and launched the web series program Spectrum of Innovation in 2018 through JDS Creative Academy.

Diane is also deeply involved with the community and the region’s economic development. Diane/JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. is a member of many business and community organizations. Diane currently is sits on two other Boards in addition to JDSCA: The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest California, as a Board Member, for Riverside County Workforce Development. Diane also serves on the Woman in Business committee for the Temecula Chamber of Commerce. Diane mentors, teaches and trains youth and young adults both mainstream and those with developmental disabilities. In addition to working with the Temecula & Murrieta Unified School districts as an advisor on professional video production and acting as a career goal. Diane is a founding member of the Women’s Business Center of California, Charter Board Member of the North San Diego Real Estate Investors and past executive board member for the EDC of North County San Diego. Diane also had an exciting career in the mainstream entertainment Industry working for Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. on show’s such as; General Hospital, Friends and Veronica’s Closet.

What keep’s Diane balanced the most is the love of her family she is a very proud parent of two wonderful boys and her beautiful girl: Joshua Daniel Strand, 19, and Jordan David Strand, 15, and Jasmine Diane Strand, 10. All three who are namesakes of JDS.

Don Smith

Since his graduation from California Institute of the Arts, Don has enjoyed a varied career producing visuals for the entertainment industry.

As a senior designer for Digital Productions and Whitney-Demos, Don helped
to create over 50 commercials for such clients as TRW, Rockwell, Mercedes
Benz and Samsung. Don also worked on a Mick Jagger music video and feature films such as Lorimar’s ‘The Last Starfighter’, MGM/UA’s ‘2010’ and Tri-Star’s ‘Labyrinth’. While at Digital Productions, the company received a Special Achievement Academy Award for its work in Special Effects and his work received numerous film festival awards and a Clio for Outstanding Commercial.

In his twenty-six year career, Don has been an animator, art director, fine artist, scenic designer and playwright. For the last sixteen years, he has also been a teacher of animation and multimedia at many Southern California colleges, before settling down as a full-time instructor and department Chair of Multimedia at Mt. San Jacinto College.

Johanna Lack

Johanna Lack is an award-winning television producer and writer who has worked on shows for HGTV, DIY, CBS, ABC, and Discovery Channel, which include House Hunters, Designed to Sell, Renovation Realities, Designers’ Challenge, Landscapers’ Challenge, Weekend Warriors, Color Correction, Designing for the Sexes, Rescue 911, and The Insider’s Garden (just to name a few).  As a freelance communications specialist, her work ranged from writing video scripts for JDS Video & Media Productions to building online course pages for a leading online education company to writing press releases that appear in local publications.  Johanna is currently the Program Manager for JDS Creative Academy’s video production job training program, head writer for JDSCA’s Spectrum of Innovation,  and an active member of JDSCA’s Board of Directors.

Laura Berendsen Hughes

Laura Berendsen Hughes is a graphic designer and fine artist. She has a BFA in sculpture from UNC-Chapel Hill and a demonstrated history of working in the Marketing and Design industry.  Her original Illustrations appear in digital and traditional media, and while her work as a graphic artist and illustrator has always been about communication, she has recently returned to working in fine art where the goal is original creativity.

Beverly Stephenson

Beverly Stephenson Has been involved with the local theatrical community since moving to this area in 1980. As an actor her first performance in Temecula was in 1981 in How the Other Half Loves. Since then she has appeared in many shows including Plaza Suite, Mixed Doubles, The Unvarnished Truth, Nunsense, Godspell, Jekyll & Hyde, A Chorus Line, Pride and Prejudice, Dangerous Liaisons, Curtains among others. She also had a stint doing dinner theater, singing telegrams and children entertainment. Beverly has produced, directed, costumed and choreographed many regional productions including, Kiss Me Kate, Grease, Annie, The Wiz, A Chorus Line, George M, West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rumors, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, How to Succeed In Business, Nutcracker the Ballet among others. As a writer, she has written 2 musicals, co-written 1 and edited another. She has written 2 screenplays, a sit-com, and co-written 2 additional screen plays. She also has completed 36 children stories on common courtesies and social graces and last year had her fist book published based on the Nutcracker and a second one is ready to be published. She has a slew of other stories to create and even more costumes to design.

ChéLa McIntyre 

When given the chance to explore rewarding and impactful career opportunities, delving into the freelance world of television production was a risk ChéLa McIntyre was more than willing to take, certain that she would utilize her proficiency to detail with creative ingenuity to lead the way

From the small town of Chesapeake, VA, in 2003, ChéLa ventured towards the metropolitan city of Washington, DC and graduated early from Howard University with a Bachelor of Music Business & Classical Voice. Interning for Black Entertainment Television Network (BET) led her to producing before her 21st birthday. After several years of freelancing across the East Coast for BET, she left DC to expand her craft while simultaneously earning a Masters of Science Degree in Entertainment Business from Full Sail University in 2008. In 2009, ChéLa took her arsenal of faith, education, and dedication to create a path for socially and spiritually conscious artists to the industry tentpole of Los Angeles, CA with nothing but prayer, determination and pocket change. While in LA she garnered production credits from a myriad of reality projects and also added conferences and events to her resume. Read more of ChéLa McIntyre’s bio here

Steve Massa
Steve Massa is currently a Senior Project Manager with the City of Riverside’s Economic
Development Department. He has over 25 years of information and technology experience across both public and private sectors and is currently working on a variety of strategic projects which foster a robust and inclusive innovation ecosystem.  Steve is passionate about helping entrepreneurs find investors, customers and resources, and serves as an executive board member and mentor for Riverside Excite, a technology incubator in Riverside, CA. Read more of Steve Massa’s bio here 

Alex Patrick Merrill 

Alex Patrick Merrill is an artist and visual media designer. He has been actively involved in creative work and study for over fourteen years, painting portraits and movie posters, designing characters for digital and tabletop games, editing and compositing effects for film and video, photographing people and events, and designing visual identities for an eclectic range of individuals and brands.

Alex has been a staff member at JDS Creative Academy since 2019, serving as the organization’s lead post-production and photography instructor. He is also the current head editor for Spectrum of Innovation and lead graphic designer for DigiFest® 2020.



Mario Ortiz

Mario Ortiz is a multiple Emmy award winning director of photography with over 20 years of commercial, corporate and motion picture production experience. He has a passion for camera movement that is evident in the body of his work. As a certified Steadicam/Glidecam operator and Jib owner operator, Mario has much to offer his clients.




Jay Will 

Jay Will is a well-established record producer and songwriter. His credits range from Michael Jackson and, Brandy to new upcoming domestic and international artist. He is also the owner of iRize International, an artist development and management company. His company helps singers all over the world reach their goal of musical stardom through the digital music world. He has helped hundreds of singers turn their musical dreams into a career. His production and songwriting credits cover just about every style of music. He has gotten recording artists charted in country, R&B, dance, etc.  Jay has a strong passion for what he does and believes no dream is impossible with the right executed plan.



More information coming soon…