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Dr. Stephen Wheeler Joins The San Diego Film Foundation Board

Dr. Stephen Wheeler Joins The San Diego Film Foundation Board

As The San Diego International FIlm Festival prepares for the 20th Anniversary of the Festival this October, Tonya Mantooth, CEO/Artistic Director announces the addition of San Diego Arts Advocate, Dr. Stephen Wheeler to the Board of the Foundation.

According to Mantooth, "We are in a time of great transformation with the work we did last October to present the San Diego Intl Film Festival in our Virtual Village. It truly reimagined our organization from a primarily San Diego/Southern California based event to an international year round content provider focused on the power of cinematic storytelling. As our organization broadens its reach, we are thrilled to have such a powerhouse advocate for the arts and philanthropy as Stephen Wheeler join our Board. His passion for social justice and storytelling falls in line with our goals at the festival - and we look forward to having him on our leadership team."

Dr. Stephen Wheeler is a fourth generation Southern Californian, born and raised in Claremont, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, after earning his undergraduate degree from Stanford University. After dental school, he completed a three-year oral and maxillofacial residency program at the L.A. County/USC Medical Center.

Dr. Wheeler recently stepped back from his private practice which was based in Encinitas and focused on implant dentistry for nearly 40 years. Since retiring in December of 2018 Wheeler has focused on his belief that your sixties and seventies are the "age of significance." Now is the time to "give back," mentor those following in our footsteps, and leave a lasting legacy. He also is enjoying more time to devote to his family including his wife Lynne, their two married daughters, sons-in-laws and four grandsons.

Wheeler shared, "When we first became involved in the Film Festival to learn more about the film industry....I had no idea how this involvement would affect my outlook on the world. The focus of the festival to "explore issues of global impact" to "increase empathy and understanding in an increasingly diverse and complex world" has truly opened my eyes. The experience of watching "movies" has taken on a much more meaningful role now. I was deeply moved by many of the films I saw in the last three years. I found insights into PTSD, suicide, growing up in refugee camps, living in slums, suffering through war, and social injustice. I have traveled around the world and seen the slums in India and Africa, the devastation of war in Europe, and The Remains of the concentration camps in Poland. These experiences have made these films even more impactful for me and I have come away realizing that they could "change the world". This is why I am joining the Board of the San Diego International Film Festival. I would love to help "change the world!"

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