Thirteen women and a young girl smile for a posed group photo at a bowling alley.

Our Team

WIF advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries—to achieve parity and transform culture.

WE BELIEVE

Gender parity—defined by equal opportunity, pay, and representation—is a requirement of healthy civil society.

Despite progress, systemic bias in the screen industries persists; it manifests in forms both conscious and unconscious.

This bias is intersectional across race, ethnicity, ability, age, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Awareness of systemic imbalance is the precedent to Culture Change. Culture Change is the precedent to Policy Change.

Parity is only possible when decision-makers change culture and policy, and hold themselves, their teams, and their businesses accountable for its implementation.

Parity is good business. Parity, inclusivity, and equal representation are non-negotiable requirements of sustainable media businesses.

OUR TEAM

STAFF

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Kirsten Schaffer

Kirsten Schaffer

Chief Executive Officer

Kirsten Schaffer

Chief Executive Officer

Kirsten Schaffer

Kirsten Schaffer is the Chief Executive Officer of WIF, the preeminent organization that advocates for women in the screen industries—to achieve parity and transform culture. She has been instrumental in launching ReFrame, an industry-wide initiative to advance inclusivity and gender equity, as well as starting a variety of programs at WIF to increase the skill set and opportunity for film and TV makers. Previously she was the Director of Programming and then Executive Director of Outfest. She is widely credited as having grown Outfest into the leading LGBT media arts organization that it is. During Schaffer’s tenure at Outfest, she shepherded three new programs for the organization: the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival, and OutSet, the Young Filmmakers Project. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management, and arts administration. She is a graduate of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, AIM (Arts Innovation and Management), and the Wells Fargo New Executive Director Institute. Kirsten was named one of POWER UP’s “Top 10 Women in Show Business,” and was the recipient of a “Women in Business” Award from Senator Liu. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Maikiko James

Maikiko James

Senior Director of Programs

Maikiko James

Senior Director of Programs

Maikiko James

Maikiko is Senior Director of Programs of WIF, overseeing member programs including Fellowships, Emerging Careers, and the WIF/Black List Episodic Lab. She co-founded INSIGHT, a WIF community for women of color in entertainment, in 2018. She previously produced impact campaigns with Active Voice, including those for Food Inc., Welcome to Shelbyville, Gideon’s Army, and Kids for Cash, and was a Special Project Advisor on the WIF-supported documentary Seeking Asian Female. Maikiko holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

mjames@wif.org

Nesli Akkol

Director of Development

Nesli Akkol

Director of Development

Before joining WIF, Nesli handled institutional fundraising – with a focus on grants and corporate sponsorships – for the American Film Institute (AFI), where she also had the pleasure of raising funds and awareness for iconic inclusion programs such as the DWW+ (formerly known as Directing Workshop for Women) program. Nesli also held leadership positions at various human services and arts nonprofits in Los Angeles that prioritize women’s rights and advocacy, including the first domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles. Since 2010, she has also been actively involved with the esteemed nonprofit movie theatre, the American Cinematheque, by providing pro bono assistance with their grants, events, and capacity-building efforts.

Additionally, she has been serving on the Board of Directors for the Alcott Center for Mental Health Services since 2021, and more recently as the Secretary of the Board. She also owns a bilingual and magazine-style blog to explore Los Angeles through meaningful connections. As an immigrant woman with a bachelor’s degree in film, Nesli is deeply committed to increasing access to opportunities for female, non-binary, and LGBTQIA+ populations and considers WIF her dream job, which combines her nonprofit activism and film background.

Erica Fishman

Director of ReFrame

Erica Fishman

Director of ReFrame

As of 2024, Erica Fishman is the Director of ReFrame™, the coalition of industry professionals and partner companies founded in 2017 by WIF and Sundance Institute with the mission to increase the number of women of all backgrounds working in the screen industries.

Previously Head of Production for Paul Feig’s Powderkeg, a voice driven studio that aims to champion new comedic voices with a special commitment to female, LGBTQ creators and filmmakers of color, Erica oversaw the production slate and Powderkeg: Fuse incubator in partnership with Google. Fuse short films have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival and more than thirty festivals around the world. Prior to joining Powderkeg, Erica independently produced projects ranging from digital content to narrative features and is also a DGA member / Assistant Director with credits including The Americans, Phil Spector, The Affair and more.

In her role at ReFrame, Erica will work with the ReFrame Ambassadors and partner companies to implement the initiative’s key programs, including: the distribution of the ReFrame Stamp (a mark of distinction for productions that demonstrate gender-balanced hiring practices), the ReFrame Rise program in support of mid-career women directors, ReFrame ReSource (the open source, research-based toolkit for advancing equity in the screen industries) and a forthcoming program activating men as allies in the fight for equity.

efishman@wif.org

Chandra Jackson

Director of Marketing and Communications

Chandra Jackson

Director of Marketing and Communications

Chandra Jackson is an impassioned and innovative marketer, communications strategist, and advisor for world-class organizations. Before joining WIF, Chandra held positions in marketing at Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, where she led the development and execution of strategic marketing campaigns, content creation, and partnerships for dynamic programming. She has a special interest in stewardship and equity, and has been appointed as a grants review panelist for various cultural agencies. Chandra also serves as President of the Advisory Board of TeenTix LA, a nonprofit that ensures equitable arts access for young people. Her work is guided by radical entrepreneurial thinking and a commitment to advancing storytelling as a catalyst for social change.

Chandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Manhattanville College and a master’s degree in Performance Studies from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, with a focus on Art and Public Policy. 

Andria Wilson Mirza

Director of International Programs

Andria Wilson Mirza

Director of International Programs

From 2021-2024, Andria led ReFrame, Hollywood’s gender equity coalition founded by Sundance Institute and WIF, and is now leading WIF’s international initiatives in partnership with WIFTI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was previously the Executive Director of the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, Canada’s largest queer media organization, where she co-founded the world’s only feature financing forum for LGBT films.  She is currently on the advisory board of Hire Survivors Hollywood and the management committee of MyConnext, a soon-to-be launched initiative of Anita Hill’s Hollywood Commission. She consults for GLAAD’s entertainment team and collaborates with numerous organizations in the US and abroad on programs related to gender and the screen industries.

Andria is a CMPA Award-Nominated producer and the co-founder of Baby Daal Productions, which she runs with her wife, filmmaker Fawzia Mirza. In 2023 she produced THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS, their Pakistan-Canada co-production that has screened at TIFF, SXSW and the BFI.

awmirza@wif.org

Sonia Rosario

Director of Operations and Events

Sonia Rosario

Director of Operations and Events

srosario@wif.org

Laura Marie Salinas

Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships

Laura Marie Salinas

Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships

Ms. Salinas is a results oriented media executive with a proven track record and over 20 years of excellence in creative development, television production, corporate communications, sales and distribution.

Her passion for projects lends itself to strong leadership with the ability to mobilize colleagues with positive results. Laura served as the Vice President of Sales covering the US and Latin American markets with Avalon Distribution; a multi-award winning talent management, live promotion and television production group with offices in the UK and the US and represented the company at MIP, MIPCOM and NATPE.

Laura is a proud advocate for diversity and positive cultural awareness and has championed this cause since her University years – directing attention to the portrayal of Latinos in the Media with her thesis work: “Latinas in Broadcast Journalism” published by the UT Press. Her commitment to leveling the playing field continues today. She served as a mentor on the prestigious Producers Guild of America Power of Diversity Master Workshop which guides and encourages producers of color.

She has produced on high profile television shows, worked for the media institutions of CBS NEWS NEW YORK, KVUE NEWS -Austin, KHOU- Houston and WFAA in Dallas and has overseen complex communication strategies during her tenure as Director of Public Relations for Corporate Fund for Children, a non-profit children’s advocacy agency based in Austin, Texas and as Director of Communications for Si TV (the bilingual start up cable channel) in Los Angeles, CA.

Laura’s diverse media relations experience, coupled with a solid production acumen and ability to drive brand awareness through communications makes her a unique force in the industry.

lsalinas@wif.org

Camille Lowry

Senior Events Manager

Camille Lowry

Senior Events Manager

Camille has dedicated her career to advancing diverse organizations through event strategies, communications, and diversity consulting. Prior to joining Women in Film as Senior Events Manager, Camille worked for the search firm Spencer Stuart and Brickson Diamond’s advisory firm Big Answers in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to create vital cultural shifts and powerful messaging. Camille led special events and media relations for the Annenberg Foundation for 11+ years, launching and growing projects like the Annenberg Space for Photography. She began her career in film, working for directors Jonathan Demme and Robert Altman, as well as 20th Century Fox Features and ABC. As a storyteller/journalist she has also written for a range of publications. Though born in Tanzania and raised in Berkeley, she credits her years in New York for molding her into the woman she is today.

clowry@wif.org

Melissa Verdugo

Melissa Verdugo

Senior Manager of Career Programs

Melissa Verdugo

Senior Manager of Career Programs

Melissa Verdugo

Melissa Verdugo is a versatile producer in the television, film, and live event space. She got her start in theater production and arts education before moving to the live comedy space as the Director of Corporate Booking for LEG Live. She soon combined her backgrounds to become a Talent Manager for Levity Entertainment, building a strong roster of stand-up comedians and comedic and Broadway actors over the course of six years before moving on to producing full time. Her credits include producing over 15 stand-up specials for Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime; numerous pilots for Travel Channel and Food Network; national campaigns for Taco Bell, Dr. Pepper, and Angel Soft with Deutsch LA; the inaugural year of the Cabo Comedy Festival; and the 2016 Financing Intensive for WIF. Melissa is currently in development on numerous scripted projects and strives to tell stories that positively impact our world.

mverdugo@wif.org

Ala' Khan

Manager of Marketing and Communications

Ala' Khan

Manager of Marketing and Communications

Ala’ Khan is a storyteller and filmmaker focused on community based storytelling – uplifting the authentic and diverse stories of BIPOC communities. Currently serving as the Marketing and Communications Manager at WIF (formally, Women in Film), Ala’ is an advocate for increasing representation on and behind the screen by empowering people and communities to take control of their own narrative.  Ala’ is also a freelance video producer, director and consultant, specializing in diversity, justice and multicultural appreciation and personal narrative development. Ala’s award winning short documentary, “A Prayer Beyond Borders” is a lens into the intersection of immigration advocacy and faith based organizing on the US- Mexico Border.

Ala’ is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley where she studied Latin American history. She also pursued graduate-level communications and digital media at the University of Washington. Ala’ is a lifelong community activist in pursuit of justice, racial equity and immigration reform. Faith and spirituality are what ground Ala’ and motivate her work and engagement with the world. Ala’ feels immensely blessed to be from Southern California where she loves soaking up the sun and engaging in the beauty of her diverse communities.

Toni-Marie Gallardo

Toni-Marie Gallardo

Manager of Development

Toni-Marie Gallardo

Manager of Development

Toni-Marie Gallardo

Toni-Marie Gallardo is an L.A.-born filmmaker who seeks to subvert The System from within! They also host knowledge-sharing and community-building events among other women and non-binary filmmakers of color. Currently, they work as the Manager of Grants & Membership at WIF. They hold a B.F.A. in Drama from NYU Tisch School of the Arts; the first of their family to leave California since their grandparents immigrated to the U.S. Their work has been featured in Refinery29, IndieWire, WearYourVoiceMag, and more.

tmgallardo@wif.org

Christy Kleppinger

Manager of Individual Giving

Christy Kleppinger

Manager of Individual Giving

Christy Kleppinger is a screenwriter and director living and working in Los Angeles. She serves as the Manager of Individual Giving at WIF, working with all major donors within the organization. Originally from the mountains of Wyoming, she studied film at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Her credits include the feature film School Spirits, the award-winning short film The Summoning, and being selected for WIF’s 2020 Financing Intensive. Christy began her career working with talent at CESD Talent Agency and Nickelodeon’s Talent Development & Outreach department. Before joining WIF, she was the Manager of Business Development, Casting for Backstage.

ckleppinger@wif.org

Raissa Reis

Manager of Emerging Careers

Raissa Reis

Manager of Emerging Careers

Raissa Reis (Hi-ee-sa Heys) is the Manager of Emerging Careers at WIF, overseeing member programs for underrepresented filmmakers at the start of their career, as well as programs for the general WIF membership. She identifies as a queer Brazilian-American and hails from Framingham, MA. Raissa earned her B.A. in English and Media Studies from the University of San Francisco, as well as a certificate from the UCLA Writing for Television professional program. Prior to WIF, she worked at an experiential marketing firm and freelanced for live events such as the Teen Vogue Summit, MTV VMAs, MTV Movie & TV Awards, the Grammys, and the Emmys. She is also a filmmaker and most recently wrote and directed her first short film, which went on to win several awards at film festivals across the country.

rreis@wif.org

Becca LaMantia

Program Manager, ReFrame Stamp

Becca LaMantia

Program Manager, ReFrame Stamp

Becca LaMantia is a writer and producer who began her career as an improviser and sketch performer. She is a graduate of The Second City and has also performed at iO Chicago and The Annoyance Theatre. With a BFA in Producing for Film and Television, she has worked with BBA Talent, Paul Feig’s Feigco Entertainment, and Chris Hemsworth’s Thematic Entertainment. As ReFrame Coordinator, she focuses on the ReFrame Stamp in partnership with IMDbPro, a mark of distinction for gender-balanced productions.

rlamantia@wif.org

KC Stone

MarComms Coordinator

KC Stone

MarComms Coordinator

KC Stone grew up in a small town outside of Los Angeles proper. Though they didn’t gain their fully fledged passion for the arts until their adolescence, the industry was always in the periphery of their childhood as a far-fetched dream. Today, they are an entertainment professional with a collective decade’s worth of experience that they’re excited to bring to the table in their position as WIF’s MarComms Coordinator. They’re hoping to shake up the industry and make it a home for all!

kcstone@wif.org

Pimvenus Clark

Development Coordinator

Pimvenus Clark

Development Coordinator

Pimvenus Clark is a writer and director born and raised in Bangkok. She has a B.A. in Film & Television production with a minor in Screenwriting from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her short film, Summon a Fiend, was chosen as one of Omeleto’s World Best Short Films in 2021. She loves telling stories about fragile familial bonds often on the backdrop of whimsical dark fantasy. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her adorable Maltipoo, who offers zero protection against spooky things.

pclark@wif.org

A.C. Lamberty

ReFrame Coordinator

A.C. Lamberty

ReFrame Coordinator

A.C. Lamberty (he/him) is a filmmaker and entertainment professional based in Los Angeles. An alum of Boston University’s film and television program, he brings half a decade of industry experience to his position as the ReFrame Assistant at WIF. Previous roles include working with the Directors Guild of America’s Special Projects department producing the annual DGA awards, and associate producing the award-winning Radiotopia podcast “The Truth.” He is passionate about work that recognizes the importance of intersecting identities in entertainment to make tangible, industry-wide change. He’s also very passionate about George Michael.

Amelie Tsoungui

Programs Coordinator

Amelie Tsoungui

Programs Coordinator

Amelie was born in Yaounde, Cameroon and moved to the US in 2003, and eventually settled in Chicago. She received a BFA in Film and Television with a Concentration in screenwriting from DePaul University. Prior to WIF, Amelie worked at A3 Artists Agency and Artist and Brand, a boutique agency focusing in brand deals. In her free time she likes to write screenplays, read, work out, and watch films!

atsoungui@wif.org

Amy Bear

Amy Baer

President

Amy Baer

President

Amy Bear

Amy Baer is an accomplished film producer and executive with over 35 years of experience in the entertainment industry. Throughout her career, she has supervised and produced films that have collectively grossed over $2 billion worldwide. Baer is the founder of Gidden Media, launched in 2012 after raising a seven-figure development fund. She has produced – via that fund – several notable films including the 2017 IFC romantic drama MARY SHELLEY starring Elle Fanning, Bleecker Street’s inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS starring Aldis Hodge and Greg Kinnear (which won the Audience Award at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival), and the 2024 drama THE APPRENTICE starring Sebastian Stan and Jeremy Strong. Baer also produced the 2013 hit comedy LAST VEGAS starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline.

Baer was most recently the President of Landline Pictures, a film production label she launched in February 2020 in partnership with MRC Film (AMERICAN FICTION), and focusing on producing films for 50+ audiences. Under Baer’s leadership, Landline Pictures produced the 2022 Paramount+ release JERRY & MARGE GO LARGE starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening, and is set to produce the upcoming HBO Max romantic comedy THE BACK NINE, starring Renee Zellweger and to be directed by Michael Patrick King.

Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011),
launching the division for CBS Corp. She spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as 1997’s MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION (2001), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), THE HOLIDAY (2006) and the Oscar nominated MONEYBALL (2011) She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney.

Margie Moreno

Margie Moreno

Executive Vice President

Margie Moreno

Executive Vice President

Margie Moreno

Margie Moreno serves as International Creative Lead for YouTube Originals, for which she oversees LatAm content (series, films, documentaries) and global initiatives. As an accomplished television executive she has produced Emmy-nominated titles and record-breaking shows (scripted and unscripted) for both international and U.S. markets.

Prior to YouTube, she served as the Vice President of Production and Development for NBC UNIVERSO, led the U.S. creative division of international production company Promofilm/Globomedia, and held various posts at such notable media companies as Turner Networks’ TBS Superstations, Lionsgate, and Mandalay Entertainment.

Outside of the office, Moreno serves as Chair of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) where she began the Diverse Women In Media Initiative, Vice Chair of Step Up Women’s Network Western Region Board, and is the Vice Chair of Programs for Colour Entertainment.

Syrinthia Studer

Syrinthia Studer

Executive Vice President

Syrinthia Studer

Executive Vice President

Syrinthia Studer

Syrinthia Studer serves as Executive Vice President of Live Action Films for Nickelodeon Awesomeness Live Action Studio. She is responsible for all aspects of live action feature content for the Kids and Family Studio, which encompasses development, production, acquisitions, and co-financing. A 20-year industry veteran, Studer most recently served as Paramount Pictures’ Executive Vice President, Worldwide Acquisitions, where she oversaw the global content acquisitions business, acquiring films for domestic and international theatrical release and distribution across multiple home entertainment platforms including streaming and digital VOD.

Studer is known for her ability to identify and nurture films across genres for global audiences. Among her notable acquisitions are the breakout comedy BOOK CLUB starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen, which grossed $100M in the worldwide box office; Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, for which she acquired home media rights via a multi-picture relationship with IFC Films; and numerous internationally distributed film festival favorites.

Prior to Paramount, her career included business development and promotional marketing roles with national theater circuit Loews Cineplex Entertainment and Fortune 500 companies including General Mills and IBM.

She serves as Vice President of the Board of WIF, a legacy advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women working across the screen industries. She is a returning executive mentor and newly appointed Board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters Los Angeles. And, she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Nicole Brown

Vice President

Nicole Brown

Vice President

Before TriStar, Brown was an EVP at Good Universe, originally formed as Mandate Pictures, where she oversaw the development of the company’s slate of films. Movies she shepherded and helped produce during this time include NEIGHBORS, THIS IS THE END, LAST VEGAS, EVIL DEAD, the HAROLD AND KUMAR franchise, Independent Spirit Award-winning 50/50, NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST, THE POSSESSION, and WHIP IT. A Los Angeles native, Brown got her start interning at Miramax while attending Columbia University. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa, she was accepted into the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC, but instead chose to work for producer Marc Platt where she worked on projects such as the LEGALLY BLONDE franchise, HONEY, and the hit musical WICKED. Brown is an Academy member and a mentor for ReFrame Rise and Sony’s Mentorship Initiative.

Monica Levinson

Treasurer

Monica Levinson

Treasurer

Monica Levinson is a prolific film and television producer with an expansive career of diverse projects. Working alongside top innovators in entertainment, she is frequently lauded for her passion to protect and further the creative aspects of filmmaking, with a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Her recent credits include: BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (for which she won the 2021 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and has been nominated by the Producers Guild for the PGA Awards’ Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures), Tara Miele’s WANDER DARKLY, David Oyelowo’s THE WATER MAN, Aaron Sorkin’s THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, and “Women In Film: Make it Work!” (CW’s virtual benefit highlighting WIG’s #HireHerBack initiative).

Levinson served as President of Production of ShivHans Pictures from its inception in 2014 through 2019 and oversaw all aspects of film and television development, production, post-production, financing, and distribution turnover. There she produced a distinctive slate of projects including TRUMBO, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, BEIRUT, THE POLKA KING, and BRIAN BANKS.

Before joining ShivHans, Levinson’s credits include BORAT, BRUNO, ZOOLANDER, DODGEBALL, and Larry David’s CLEAR HISTORY. Starting her career in broadcast news in her hometown of Washington, D.C., she made her transition into narrative storytelling working with visionary directors including Alan J. Pakula and Sidney Lumet.

Levinson is a member of AMPAS (Producers Branch), PGA, DGA, and on the leadership team for Women’s Production Society. On films she produces, she started a training program for underrepresented groups, is a founding member of INDIE (representing independent films in various endeavors), mentors young filmmakers, and often guest lectures at universities.

Eryn Brown

Secretary

Eryn Brown

Secretary

Eryn Brown is a talent manager at Entertainment 360 and artist advocate who has helped build the careers of acclaimed writers, directors and actors from around the world.  As demonstrated through her clients’ work and her social activism, Eryn believes in the power of positive cultural change through art and representation.

 

Victoria Alonso

Victoria Alonso

Victoria Alonso is a prominent film, TV, and Animation Producer in Hollywood. Alonso served as the President of Production & Animation at Marvel Studios for almost two decades and is recognized for her significant contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). While at Marvel Studios, she produced over 35 blockbuster films, including the Academy Award-nominated BLACK PANTHER and 15 TV series for which she received 2 Emmys. In 2023, Alonso produced ARGENTINA, 1985 for AMAZON STUDIOS. This independent film received a Golden Globe, a Goya award, as well as a BAFTA and Academy Award nomination for best international film.Alonso’s expertise extends beyond producing, as she has championed diversity and inclusion in the film industry. She has been a vocal advocate for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion and has actively worked to increase representation both in front of and behind the camera. Additionally, Victoria Alonso has received several prestigious accolades for her work. She has been included in Variety’s top 100 Women in Entertainment for the last five years and Forbes Most Prominent Latin Personalities. Her dedication and accomplishments have made her a highly respected figure in the entertainment industry worldwide, and she continues to shape the landscape of blockbuster & indie filmmaking with her visionary approach and commitment to inclusivity.

Tara Duncan

Tara Duncan

President, Onyx Collective. In her first year at The Walt Disney Company as President of Freeform, Tara Duncan spearheaded the formation of Onyx Collective, a premium content brand focused on elevating artists of color and underrepresented voices. Onyx’s debut project, SUMMER OF SOUL (OR WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED), won numerous accolades, including the Academy Award®  for Best Documentary feature and was distributed theatrically and across Hulu, Disney+ and ABC.  The Onyx team quickly followed this success with the Emmy-award winning docuseries THE 1619 PROJECT in collaboration with Nikole Hannah Jones and the New York Times, Peabody award-winning documentary AFTERSHOCK directed by Tonya Lewis Lee and Paula Eiselt, scripted drama REASONABLE DOUBT and comedy series UNPRISONED starring Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo

Onyx Collective’s roster of prolific creative partners includes Ryan Coogler (BLACK PANTHER), Destin Daniel Cretton (SHANG-CHI and the LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS), Prentice Penny (INSECURE), and Yara Shahidi (GROWNISH) among others. 

Before her executive role at Disney, Duncan joined the company through an overall deal with her production company tetravision. She executive produced the docuseries Hair Tales, alongside Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis and Oprah Winfrey, THE OTHER BLACK GIRL, an adaptation of Zakiya Dalila Harris’ acclaimed horror comedy novel and the limited series UNDER THE BRIDGE starring Riley Keough and Lily Gladstone. 

Her industry tenure includes roles as a senior creative executive at Netflix and a creative executive at AMC, beginning her career at Section Eight, the production company founded by George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh. Duncan has been recognized by Vanity Fair, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter for her impact on the industry, and last year, she received the prestigious Essence Black Women in Hollywood Award.

Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra is a Golden Globe winner and an Emmy nominee for her work as the Director/Producer of “Transparent.” Recently she directed THE HIGH NOTE for Working Title and Focus Features, starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Ice Cube, June Diane Raphael, Dakota Johnson, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Ganatra’s previous film LATE NIGHT, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, premiered at Sundance. It sold to Amazon in a record-breaking deal and garnered the highest streaming numbers of the year.

Her acclaimed debut feature CHUTNEY POPCORN, with Jill Hennessy and Sakina Jaffrey, won audience awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Newport Film Festival, Outfest Los Angeles, and many more. Her sophomore feature COSMOPOLITAN, starring Carol Kane and Roshan Seth, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival.

In television, Ganatra directed Liz Sarnoff’s pilot, “Highland,” and sold a drama project to ABC and a comedy pilot to NBC, with Amy Poehler producing. She was the Co-Executive Producer/Director for “Better Things” with Pamela Adlon and the Co-Executive Producer/Director on “You Me Her.” She also created CODE ACADEMY for the ITVS/PBS series “FutureStates.” Ganatra has directed episodes of “Girls,” “Dear White People,” “Future Man,” “Mr. Robot,” “Shameless,” “Married,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Last Man on Earth,” “Love,” and “Black Monday.”

Jen Hollingsworth

Jen Hollingsworth

Jen Hollingsworth is an accomplished executive and leader with a unique blend of expertise in both film and artificial intelligence domains. As Chief Commercial Officer at Flawless AI, she spearheads innovative strategies and drives revenue growth for emerging Gen-AI technology in the entertainment industry, working with industry executives and content creators to maximize scalable positive impact and expand partnerships for the firm. Jen is responsible for bringing Flawless’ transformative capabilities to Hollywood in a responsible way, working with the artistic community to revolutionize the content creation process and empower artists to capture a worldwide audience in a new way.

With an illustrious career in entertainment that spans over two decades, Jen’s journey began in the film world, where she flourished as a visionary leader and trailblazer. Prior to joining Flawless, Jen was Chief Operating Officer of the Motion Picture Group at Lionsgate, where she played an instrumental role in shaping the future of the $1.5Bn motion picture business. Her strategic acumen and keen understanding of the industry dynamics were vital in streamlining operations, optimizing processes, and fostering successful collaborations with key stakeholders. 

In her role as COO, she was responsible for overall business strategy, finance, and organizational design; she added or built teams to support transformation, data and intelligence, inclusive content, and global licensing for location based entertainment, gaming, and consumer products. Her strong financial discipline resulted in record profit margins for the film group during her tenure, and her deep expertise in deal-making was vital in closing the $412MM purchase of Summit Entertainment and the $56MM sale of Mandate Pictures, as well as over $3Bn of film financings, including the global blockbuster Hunger Games, Now You See Me, and John Wick franchises, and the Academy Award winning La La Land.

Jen is a passionate and insightful leader committed to developing people through coaching, mentoring and skills enhancement; and she is focused on cultural diversity and inclusion as business imperatives. At Lionsgate, she established the Culture Coalition, was a Founder and Executive Sponsor of the Women’s Empowerment Group, and Lead Sponsor of the MBA Internship Program. Jen joined Lionsgate in 2007 from Mandate Pictures where she was Vice President, Finance & Corporate Development responsible for all financial planning, cash management and film valuations.

Jen served on the Board of Atom Tickets, an innovative movie ticketing company, from 2016-2023. She co-founded the non-profit Female Executives in Media and Entertainment (FEME) in 2014 and continues to serve on its Advisory Board. She is a Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences where she serves as a mentor in the Academy Gold Program and serves on two Executive Committees. Additionally, Jen serves as a mentor for UCLA and University of Michigan students, and is a frequent guest lecturer at both schools. Hollingsworth is an avid athlete and fitness enthusiast having run several marathons and competed as a former professional football player in the National Women’s Football Association (NWFA). Hollingsworth holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Alumni Board of Governors, and a BS in Finance from Indiana University.

Helen Huang

Helen Huang

Helen Huang

Helen Huang

Prior to writing-producing, Helen Huang procured over 1,500+ titles—cutting-edge stand up comedy specials, award-winning documentaries, and feature films—for Showtime Networks, where she worked for 12 years in Content Acquisitions. In 2011, she was recognized by the State of California for her volunteer leadership, and in 2016, she was a Nominated Changemaker at the United State of Women—the inaugural women’s summit convened by The White House during President Barack Obama’s tenure—and a participant of the U.S. Department of Labor’s second Worker Voice Summit. Huang has served as an Advisor to the L.A. Film Festival, on the Nominating Committee of the NAACP Image Awards, on the Board of Directors of WIF, on the Board of Directors of Junior League of Los Angeles, on the Board of Advisors of the Middleburg Film Festival, as a co-chair of ViacomCBS’ ERG for Asian American media professionals (AMP), and on the Seattle International Film Festival Official Competition Jury. A former member of SAG and CAPE, she is a current member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmy Awards), Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS), and Colour TV (Executive branch). She is the first film acquisitions executive of Asian descent in U.S. television history.

Jamila Hunter

Jamila Hunter

Jamila Hunter

Jamila Hunter

Jamila Hunter is the Executive Vice President of Programming and Development at Freeform, Disney’s millennial and Gen Z network that connects to its audience with bold original programming. She returned to Disney in January of 2020 after acting as President of Khalabo Ink Society, Kenya Barris’ production company. Prior to this position, Hunter was Senior Vice President of ABC Comedy. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the development of all new network sitcoms. Under her leadership, ABC launched the highly rated reboot of “Roseanne” and “The Conners.” Before stepping into this position, Hunter was Vice President of ABC Comedy, where she worked on projects ranging from the Emmy-nominated “black-ish” to audience favorites “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Last Man Standing.” Hunter also developed short-form content for ABC’s digital initiative, abcd. Prior to joining ABC, she worked her way up the executive ranks through through various development roles in Comedy, Alternative, and Digital Programming at NBC, Bravo, OWN, and 20th Century Fox Television. Hunter started her career with NBC’s Olympic Division after graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She resides in North Hollywood, CA with her husband and daughter.

Niija Kuykendall

Niija Kuykendall

Niija Kuykendall is the Executive Vice President of Production at Warner Bros. Pictures where she oversaw the films JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH starring Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield and JUST MERCY starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. In her time at Warner Bros., Kuykendall has overseen the production of movies such as A STAR IS BORN, THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, IT, KONG: SKULL ISLAND, Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR, and EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, as well as MAGIC MIKE and MAGIC MIKE XXL.

Kuykendall is a graduate of Brown University and began her career as an Editorial Associate in Corporate Communications for Viacom Inc. in New York City. In 2004, Kuykendall moved home to Los Angeles to work in film as a Development Assistant for Beacon Pictures. She then moved to Twentieth Century Fox as a Feature Film Creative Executive before joining Warner Bros. Pictures in 2008. She is on the Boards of Brown University’s Women Leadership Council and the Emma Bowen Foundation for Multicultural Interests in Media. Kuykendall is also a member of the Executive Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Veronica Kwan Vandenberg

Veronica Kwan Vandenberg

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg is President of Distribution for Universal Pictures International (UPI), overseeing UPI’s and UIP’s operating companies, as well as its independent partners and sales agents. Based in Los Angeles, Kwan Vandenberg shepherds the theatrical distribution strategy for Universal Pictures, Focus Features as well as UPI’s international production and acquisition titles. Prior to joining Universal, Kwan Vandenberg served as President, International Distribution and Growth Initiatives at Warner Bros. In this role, she had oversight of international theatrical distribution activities, including local productions and a special focus on theatrical strategy and partnerships in China. Prior to that role, Kwan Vandenberg was President, Worldwide Distribution, Warner Bros., where she helped realign the international and domestic distribution divisions. She also served as President of International Distribution for 15 years, overseeing all international sales and distribution matters. Kwan Vandenberg is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. With a strong belief in mentorship Kwan Vandenberg has been a two-time mentor in Women In Entertainment’s mentorship program with THR and BBBSLA, as well as mentoring young women throughout her career at WB and Universal. She earned her MBA from Loyola Marymount University, whereupon she worked as a research consultant for the German American Chamber of Commerce and published several articles in the German American Business Review.

Davida Lara

Davida Lara

Davida Lara is the Executive Vice President of Payroll. With over 20 years of experience, Lara is recognized as a national thought leader and excels in taking action in payroll process implementation. She is a frequent speaker at many key global forums including ADP, KPMG, and PWC and has recently appeared at the C3 Convention, Human Resources Association Forum, the Association of Film Commissioners International Conference and the Hollywood IT Society Summit.

Lara has gained extensive expertise developing systems and process automation, and training personnel. She has been responsible for developing global mobility best practices and payroll shared services. Additionally, she has led initiatives involving international assignment policies and guiding state incentive policy guidelines.

Lara combines a high level of proficiency in business applications, process and organizational management in leading Entertainment Partners’ (EP’s) Payroll Services teams. Prior to joining EP, Lara was the Senior Vice President and Head of Global Payroll for The Blackstone Group, where she oversaw global payroll operations impacting over half a million employees. Prior to that, Lara was the head of Global HRIS and Payroll at Harman International Industries, directing system strategy and implementation for more than 23 countries.

Throughout her career, Lara has headed numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives, and continues to be a voice for empowering women. She sits on the Board of Directors for The Rowan Center: A Sexual Assault Resource Agency. Lara received a B.S. cum laude, from the School of Business at Albertus Magnus.

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee

Michelle Lee is Director, Domestic Programming for Apple TV+. Joining Apple in 2017, Lee has creatively driven the Emmy, Critics Choice, and SAG Award-winning drama “The Morning Show” and Imagen Award-winning anthology series “Little America.” She is also shepherding upcoming series such as Nicole Kidman’s “Roar,” Rose Byrne’s “Physical,” Brie Larson’s “Lessons In Chemistry,” Joseph Gordon Levitt’s “Mr. Corman,” Nick Stoller’s “Platonic,” and the adaptation of the international bestseller Pachinko.

Prior to Apple, Lee served as the producing partner of Emmy Award-winning writer and showrunner Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”). At their prolific Universal Television-based company, True Jack Productions, Lee developed and produced a variety of projects, including Hulu’s critically-acclaimed Aaron Paul/Michelle Monaghan drama “The Path” and the Matt Reeves/Hilary Swank Netflix space drama “Away.” Prior to that, Lee spent two years as Vice President of Television at the production company of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (“Sleepy Hollow,” “Fringe,” and the “Star Trek” franchise). She began her career as a television executive at the Mark Gordon Company (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Ray Donovan”).

She is also a graduate of the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC’s School of Cinema and Television.

Bianca Levin

Bianca Levin

Bianca Levin is a partner at Beverly Hills-based Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, where she has practiced law for the past 19 years and serves on the firm’s Executive Committee and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She represents emerging and established actors, writers, directors, producers, multi-hyphenates in their film and television deals, as well as branding and endorsement opportunities. With a background in corporate and financial transactions, she also structures “empire building” business ventures for clients to form companies and obtain ownership stakes through partnerships outside of the traditional  licensing model. She is on the board and executive committee of Baby2Baby, a non-profit that provides children living in poverty with the basic necessities that every child deserves. Bianca grew up in New York but now resides with her husband and daughter in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from Yale with a B.A. in History, and holds a J.D. degree from Yale Law School. Before joining Gang Tyre, she practiced corporate law at Sullivan & Cromwell.

Tracy McKnight

Tracy McKnight

Tracy McKnight is an award-winning music supervisor, record producer, label co-founder, and former Head of Film Music for Lionsgate. She’s a triple-film nominee for the 2020 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards with 1091/CNN Films’ critically-acclaimed documentary HALSTON (winner), CBS Film’s box office hit FIVE FEET APART, and Netflix’s TALL GIRL. Tracy has recently music-supervised Ed Burns’ EPIX TV show “Bridge and Tunnel,” Mona Fastvold’s “The World to Come” and Pedro Kos’ REBEL HEARTS. 

Her resume of over 170 projects showcases a balance of studio films (A WRINKLE IN TIME, BAD SANTA 2, DRAFT DAY), acclaimed documentaries (FREE SOLO, SPACESHIP EARTH, MATANGI / MAYA/ M.I.A.), independent films (THE MESSENGER, OFF THE BLACK, COFFEE AND CIGARETTES), Television Series (HBO’s “The Vow”), and Netflix films (BABYSITTER 2: KILLER QUEEN, THE HALF OF IT, TALL GIRL).

Tracy co-runs Node Records, a boutique soundtrack label, recent releases include Academy Award-winner Rachel Portman’s solo album ask the river and multi-instrumentalist Ariel Marx’ solo album Luthier. As well as Daniel Blumberg’s score to THE WORLD TO COME, Nat Geo’s FREE SOLO Emmy-winning score composed by Marco Beltrami, and 1091/CNN Film’s HALSTON score composed by jazz legend Stanley Clarke.

Andrea Nelson Meigs

Andrea Nelson Meigs

Andrea Nelson Meigs

Andrea Nelson Meigs

Andrea Nelson Meigs is a Partner/Agent in the Talent & Literary Departments at United Talent Agency (UTA), having built a clientele over 20 years that consists of actors, writers, producers, and directors. In addition to negotiating their deals in television, film, and theater, she has also secures multi-million dollar branding and book deals for them.

Nelson Meigs’ clients are ones that impact and influence pop culture all around the world. To name a few, she represents: Beyoncé Knowles Carter—multiple Grammy-winning artist, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee, international superstar and icon; Roger Ross Williams—Oscar-winning short film director and Emmy-winning documentarian; Quvenzhané Wallis—the youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar in the history of the Motion Picture Academy for her performance in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD; Ellen Burstyn—the Tony, Emmy, Oscar, and Golden Globe-winning actress known for films such as THE EXORCIST, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, and ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE; Stefon Bristol—winner of Best First Screenplay at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards for SEE YOU YESTERDAY; and Aunjanue Ellis—nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Ava DuVernay’s limited series “When They See Us,” who most recently can be seen in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” and Lifetime’s “The Clark Sisters,” which were just nominated for Critics Choice Awards.

Nelson Meigs received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in Boston, her Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law, and is a member of the California State Bar. Later, she worked with Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, but then she decided to change paths and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She left practice of law and started in the mailroom at Creative Artists Agency, and in a relatively short period of time, she worked her way up the ranks to become a Motion Picture Talent Agent (only the second African-American in the history of the agency). She has since become a dominant force in the entertainment business as a trailblazer—breaking ground for other young women and people of color to follow.

Nelson Meigs accepted membership with the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016, is an establishing Board member for TIME’S UP, and in 2018 she joined the Board of Directors for WIF. Along with being a member of the Council of Motion Picture and Television Fund, she is a steering committee member of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), on the Advisory Committee for the Black Film Foundation (BFF), and is a new member of the Ebell Theater of Los Angeles.

Gaude Paez

Gaude Paez

Gaude Paez

Gaude Paez

Gaude Paez is Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Affairs at Riot Games, where she lead’s Riot’s communications discipline, oversees the company’s corporate social responsibility (“Karma”) efforts, and is building Riot’s global government affairs function.

Ms. Paez is an accomplished communications expert with nearly two decades of leadership experience in the global media and entertainment, technology, and advertising industries. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications at leading streaming service Hulu, where she sat on the executive management team and led the communications practice during a period of growth that saw Hulu’s paid subscriber base more than triple. Among many successes, Paez and team architected the company’s multi-year communications strategy supporting Hulu’s entrance into the live TV streaming market, helping drive Hulu + Live TV to become the largest digital MVPD service in the U.S. today.

Prior to Hulu, Paez held leadership roles at Fox Broadcasting Company, Veoh Networks, and Yahoo! Inc., and began her career in New York at global agency BSMG Worldwide (now Weber Shandwick). She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University and is completing her Master of Business Administration at Oxford’s Said Business School.

Shivani Rawat

Shivani Rawat

Shivani Rawat is the Founder and CEO of ShivHans Pictures, a production and finance company that supports the visions of independent filmmakers while collaborating with creatives to produce dynamic and groundbreaking feature films outside the Hollywood studio model. Rawat’s recent films include WANDER DARKLY, THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, the Academy Award-nominated TRUMBO, the Academy Award-nominated CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, DANNY COLLINS, BEIRUT, and THE POLKA KING. Her upcoming films include THE WATER MAN, BADMASH, and THE ICE ROAD. In 2019 Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures expanded into distribution, including a co-distribution deal with Bleecker Street for U.S. rights to HOTEL MUMBAI, followed by BRIAN BANKS, which ShivHans also produced.

Rawat is a Board member of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, as well as a member of the Producers Guild of America, WIF, and Film Independent. She is a supporter of various industry-related organizations including Time’s Up, the California Innocence Project, the Horizon Award, the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and in 2019 served as a sponsor for HUMANITAS, honoring film and television writing. She recently provided seed funding for WIF’s #HireHerBack initiative, which supports inclusive hiring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rena Ronson

Rena Ronson

Rena Ronson

Rena Ronson

Rena Ronson is a Partner and the Co-Head of the Independent Film Group at leading global talent and entertainment company United Talent Agency (UTA). One of the industry’s preeminent packaging and finance executives, Ronson specializes in global film finance, distribution, and marketing strategies for independent and co-financed features, helping the world’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers see their work reach global audiences.

Throughout her career, Ronson has helped package, structure financing for, and sell numerous high profile films, including Oscar-winning I, TONYA, ROOM, and ICARUS, and Oscar-nominated films HIDDEN FIGURES, THE BIG SICK, LADY BIRD, and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, among many others. She is also known for working with acclaimed filmmakers on their directorial debuts, including Greta Gerwig’s LADY BIRD, Haifaa al-Mansour’s WADJDA, Don Cheadle’s MILES AHEAD, Marielle Heller’s DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Joey Soloway’s AFTERNOON DELIGHT, Crystal Moselle’s SKATE KITCHEN, and Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN. Additional films include THE FATHER starring Anthony Hopkins and THE MAURITANIAN starring Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Ronson is a supporter of the growing documentary business and has expanded UTA’s reach working on several impactful documentaries including Lisa Cortés and Liz Garbus’ ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, Jeff Orlowski’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, Bryan Fogel’s ICARUS and THE DISSIDENT, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s ATHLETE A, Jon Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, and Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick’s ON THE RECORD.

Prior to joining UTA in 2009, Ronson was Co-Head of William Morris Independent, where she helped create the first global film finance division at a major talent agency. Before becoming an agent, Ronson was a veteran sales and distribution executive. She helped establish and ran Lakeshore International, a division of Lakeshore Entertainment, after leading its acquisition of the TransAtlantic Film Library, where she had previously worked.

Ronson is a perennial fixture on annual lists of the top women in filmmaking, and proudly serves on the Board of WIF, and as a ReFrame Ambassador.

Jurnee Smollett

Jurnee Smollett

Jurnee Smollett is an award-winning actress and activist. Smollett can be seen starring in the Amazon MGM Studio drama THE BURIAL, alongside Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones, released in 2023. Smollett is also featured in and executive produced the independent drama WE GROWN NOW, which was nominated for Best Feature at the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards. She recently wrapped production on the crime thriller THE ORDER, opposite Jude Law and Nicholas Hoult. Smollett led and executive produced the Netflix original thriller LOU alongside Allison Janney. She starred in the Netflix action film SPIDERHEAD that same year. In 2020, she played Black Canary in Warner Bros DC Universe’s BIRDS OF PREY. Smollett is known for her role in the critically acclaimed HBO drama series “Lovecraft Country.” Her performance earned a Critics Choice Super Award for “Best Actress in a Horror Series” and nominations for an Emmy Award, Critics Choice Award and NAACP Image Award for “Best Lead Actress in a Drama.” Her breakthrough performance came at the age of 11, starring in EVE’S BAYOU opposite Samuel L. Jackson, for which she won the Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Youth Performance. Other film credits include THE GREAT DEBATERS with Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry’s TEMPTATION, HANDS OF STONE opposite Robert DeNiro, GRIDIRON GANG, and BEAUTIFUL JOE. In addition to film, Smollett has had several television roles, including WGN’s critically acclaimed drama “Underground,” HBO’s cult classic “True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood,” “House,” ”NYPD Blue,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Talitha Watkins

Talitha Watkins

Talitha Watkins

Talitha Watkins

Talitha Watkins is President and Head of ColorCreative Management—a management and production company. ColorCreative was founded by Issa Rae and Deniese Davis with the mission of delivering women and people-of-color creators best-in-class representation to build career-defining brands through ownership, commercial success, artistic fulfillment, and visibility amongst the multicultural community and industry at large.

Formerly a Motion Picture Agent and Cultural Executive at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Watkins is based in Los Angeles and represents producers, writers, directors, and actors. In addition, Watkins helps build out CAA’s multicultural business and capabilities including the multicultural leadership event CAA Amplify.

Previous to CAA, Watkins spent seven years as Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at Universal Pictures, where she worked across all marketing divisions, including publicity, media, digital, creative, research, and partnerships, to maximize the studio’s outreach efforts to African American audiences. While at Universal, she worked on numerous films, including the multicultural blockbusters FAST & FURIOUS 6, FURIOUS 7, and the record-breaking STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. She was also instrumental in supporting the success of African American films, such as the box office hits THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY and RIDE ALONG.

Prior to Universal Pictures. Watkins was an Assistant General Manager with Telepictures Productions, Inc. and oversaw operations, sales, and marketing for five female-focused digital properties in the Warner Bros. portfolio, including Ellentv.com, Extratv.com, and TyraShow.com, as well as worked in a development capacity for Essence.com.

Watkins is a Board member of the WIF, Saturday Morning, and Made in Her Image organizations.

Ida Ziniti

Ida Ziniti

Ida Ziniti is Co-Head of the Motion Picture Literary Department at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Ziniti works in the Los Angeles office and represents many of the world’s leading storytellers, including Margot Robbie, Julia Roberts, Emilia Clarke, Rachel Brosnahan, Matthew Heineman, Zazie Beetz, Ryan Gosling, Phil Johnston, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Cathy Yan, and Maggie Betts, among others.

Ziniti began her career at Paradigm Talent Agency. She joined CAA in 2014.

She graduated from Boston University with a degree in Journalism. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and toddler.

Lisa Callif

Lisa Callif

Counsel

Lisa Callif

Lisa Callif

As a Founding Partner of Donaldson + Callif, Lisa Callif is the go-to attorney for all things clearance. With extensive experience in clearance, fair use, and copyright issues, she is a leader in overcoming legal hurdles, and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards—among her many accolades are recognition as a Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyer and a Daily Journal Top Entertainment Lawyer, as well as her ranking by Variety on the Dealmakers Impact Report and the Best and Brightest list. Callif’s practice focuses on representing independent filmmakers in all aspects of their moviemaking, including financing, production, and distribution. She cuts through red tape for her clients, enabling films to be made and distributed, and works tirelessly to preserve artists’ voices so that they can shine a light on stories that otherwise might not be told.

In addition to representing filmmakers, Callif serves as counsel to multiple non-profit organizations, including Film Independent, which produces the LA Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards, and WIF, whose mission is to promote gender parity in all aspects of media. Callif is also one of the few attorneys in Los Angeles to represent live theaters—she represents the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and other Los Angeles-based theater companies.

Along with partner Michael Donaldson, she has co-written two books: The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking and Clearance and Copyright, 4th Edition.

Callif regularly publishes articles about emerging issues in entertainment and copyright law, and is often quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Variety, Intellectual Property Magazine, and more. Callif and Donaldson were featured on the cover of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, for which they co-authored an article about fair use and its application in documentary films.

Callif graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a B.S. in Communications, and worked in the music industry in New York City and Los Angles before obtaining her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law. She previously served as an adjunct professor at Southwestern, and is a frequent speaker at Film Independent, American Pavilion, the International Documentary Association, and UCLA, where she also teaches legal basics at the UCLA Summer Producer’s Workshop.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Dustin and her two children, Diggy and Liam.