Trey Brayden Roper
10/14/96 – 05/23/97
The festival is founded in memory of the festival founder, Toni’s second child, Trey, who died unexpectedly at the age of 7 months. Toni desired to create something good and positive from sadness and tragedy that would benefit the artistic community in the town she loves so dearly.
“The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite; revive from ashes and rise.”
Each year Toni, her mom (Gooma) and her children, Taylor and Chase present the rising spirit award to the most inspired film in honor of Trey.
Festival founder, Toni Ross, has had a special love for the town of Jerome from the time she was 6 years old. As an Arizona native, she considers Phoenix her hometown but she will forever consider Jerome her hearttown.
Toni discovered the magical, crumbling and enchanting ghost town with her family on a road trip in 1972. Then it was a genuine ghost town filled with hippies who had seemed to begin to set up camp and take ownership in love. She vividly remembers the colorfully painted VW buses and feels that even as a child she felt the free spirited energy Jerome had then that she still feels during each visit. This was many decades before it became the beautiful international art mecca it is today. She explored and knew every inch of Old Jerome back then. She begged and begged her dad to bring their family back at least three to four times a year. Her and her sisters would crawl through broken windows in the high school and what is now the Grand Hotel and her mission was to scare her younger sisters as she would moan down the hallways like a ghost. She collected broken glass, bottle caps and old cans throughout the town to take home with her to remember where she hoped to live someday as the crumbling stairs and stilted homes always beckoned her to call her favorite town home.
Because of her love for the town, she chose to open up an art gallery (The Enchanted Mission) there and resided in a little apartment above the gallery (owned by Lee Christensen) on the weekends for several years. As she owned her gallery and resided in Jerome, she also helped organize the Jerome Jamboree. She did this for many years. She had adored bugs since her childhood and later became an avid bug & bus collector. She attributes her drive to be apart of the Jerome Jamboree planning as it took her back to memories decades before of loving seeing the hippie buses and volkswagons lining the streets of the ghost town. Helping organize the Jamboree was a perfect fit for her as it included her favorite Arizona town and her love for bugs and buses. On top of that she did this during the time she owned her gallery and lived in Jerome. For her, every combined element was a dream come true never knowing that her greatest dream – the Jerome Indie Film Festival was right around the corner; a venture that would combine all of her greatest loves. When her heart yearned to create a film, music and art festival there was no question in her mind. Jerome would be the festival’s home.
As the Jerome Indie Film Festival goes into year 5, Toni is thrilled to bring visitors from around the world to the festival that introduces them to the truly magical towns of Jerome, Clarkdale and Old Town Cottonwood.