Executive Board

Amy Baer

President

Amy Baer’s experience in the entertainment Industry uniquely spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Her first film as a producer was the 2013 hit LAST VEGAS (starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) which grossed $136MM worldwide.

In 2012, Baer raised a 7 figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film, the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED) and directed by Haifaa Al Mansour (WADJDA), had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival.  It was released by IFC in May 2018.

Her next film, inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS, will World Premiere at the LA FILM FESTIVAL on September 22nd.  The movie, starring Aldis Hodge (UNDERGROUND), Oscar-nominee Greg Kinnear (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) and directed by Tom Shadyac (BRUCE ALMIGHTY),) tells the story of Brian Banks, an all-American high-school football player committed to USC by his junior year, whose life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape.  With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks got his conviction overturned his name cleared in 2012 after a decade of wrongful imprisonment and parole.

Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011), launching the division for CBS Corp. Baer 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), S.W.A.T. (2002), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), and the 2006 holiday hit THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney.

Baer became Board President of Women in Film in June, 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood, as the entertainment industry faces a broad reckoning over gender disparities and sexual harassment. Founded in 1973, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture.

Baer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1988 with a B.A. in English literature. She is married to producer Matt Baer (UNBROKEN), and has two sons.  In addition to Women In Film, she also serves on the board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America.

 


Deborah Liebling

Executive Vice President

Deborah Liebling has been a significant comedy influencer in film and TV both as an executive and as a producer. She recently partnered with renowned film director Sam Raimi in a new TV company with Skydance Media. Together, they have set up a new series and a feature film at AMAZON, as well as a series at UCP. Debbie is also currently producing several comedy television shows for COMEDY CENTRAL and TRU TV, as well as having just completely a feature film for STUDIO 71.

Deborah was President of Red Hour Films, where, with her partner, Ben Stiller, she has produced four new television series – ANOTHER PERIOD (3 seasons) and the critically-acclaimed, BIG TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – which join THE MELTDOWN WITH JONAH AND KUMAIL (3 seasons) on Comedy Central and THE BIRTHDAY BOYS on IFC (2 seasons) which she produced with Bob Odenkirk.

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Stephanie Allain

Vice President

Stephanie Allain produces award-winning films by writer-directors that make headlines, launch careers and shape the cultural landscape.

She started her film career as a reader at CAA and worked as a Story Analyst at 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Columbia Pictures. In 1990, she supervised John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Columbia Pictures where she worked for a decade.

Allain founded Homegrown Pictures in 2003 and has produced Hustle & Flow, Something New, Beyond the Lights, Dear White People, Burning Sands, French Dirty, Leimert Park and many more.

From 2011-2016 she served as Director of the LA Film Festival turning it into the most diverse film festival in the world, attracting celebrated artists and tens of thousands of attendees.

She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Writers Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and the Dramatists Guild of America. She sits on the board of Women in Film and is a founding member of ReFrame.  She teaches at USC Peter Stark Program.

 


Stasia Washington

Treasurer

Stasia Washington joined First Foundation Advisors in January 2013 with more than 25 years’ diverse experience in the financial services industry. As a Relationship Manager, Stasia works directly with high net worth individuals and families to create customized plans for protecting and growing their wealth, often across multiple generations. She also helps foundations, exempt organizations and endowments to realize their short and long-term financial objectives through effective planning and investment management.

Ms. Washington is active outside of First Foundation. Currently she serves as a Board Member for Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management. Most recently, she served for six years as an Executive Board Member for MusiCares’ for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Stasia is a founding member of the Motion Picture Television Fund Professional Advisory Council.
Recognized throughout her career, Ms. Washington’s honors include the 2017, 2016 and 2015 First Foundation Circle of Excellence Award, National Sales Network’s Women in Sales Excellence Award, the National STEM Top Woman of Color in Finance Award, The American Cancer Society Award of Merit, and The Los Angeles NAACP Outstanding Leader of the Year Award.

Ms. Washington earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.


Tara Kole

Secretary

Tara Kole is a partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.  She has an extensive film and television practice, representing a number of major actors, directors, producers and writers in their entertainment transactions, including Academy Award and Emmy winning talent.  She has structured and negotiated ground-breaking transactions in the media and entertainment industries, resulting in both lucrative financial deals for clients as well as extensive creative control.  In addition, she has helped clients identify and exploit important ancillary revenue sources, such as publishing, endorsements and merchandising.  She has also helped clients build major digital companies that have begun to challenge and shift traditional paradigms in the entertainment and lifestyle business. 

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Cathy Schulman

President Emerita

Cathy Schulman, a Best Picture Academy Award® winning producer and veteran film executive, is the president and CEO of Welle Entertainment, a film and television production and finance company that opened its doors in 2017. Schulman was most recently the Head of Production for STX Entertainment. Having joined the company as one of its initial senior executives, Schulman managed an annual twelve picture slate.  Recent films under Schulman’s purview include the Summer 2016 hit Bad Moms, written and directed by The Hangover’s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate; and  the critical darling The Edge of Seventeen, written and directed by Kelly Freemon Craig, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination.  Under her own Bull’s Eye Entertainment banner, Schulman produced Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar in 2006, Crashreceived Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Among many of the notable films Schulman has produced are  Horns, Voices, Bernie, Soul Surfer, Thumbsucker,  and The Illusionist. She also developed and arranged the financing for Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.

Schulman is the outgoing President of Women In Film, the industry’s leading advocacy organization for women in media, since 2011. Schulman is also a  member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences,  a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor and has taught graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has also served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. She is a notable industry spokesperson and public speaker and most recently gave the 2016 media address for International Woman’s Day at the United Nations. Schulman is a graduate of Yale University, with a double major in Theater Studies and History of Art.  She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.


Board of Directors