Speaker Series

Next Event: Sexual & Gender Abuse in the Workplace

In the wake of an explosion of sexual misconduct cases rocking the entertainment industry, Women In Film presents Sexual & Gender Abuse in the Workplace. Moderated by WIF President and Welle Entertainment President and CEO Cathy Schulman, a panel of experts will speak about power-based gender abuse, sexual advances & intimidation and sexual ‘quid quo pro’ harassment plus share personal experiences and case studies…

Scroll down for complete bios

Tuesday 11/28. Doors at 7 PM
West Hollywood Library

(WIF Members, be sure to log in for your free ticket)

This event is co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board. It is also presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood’s WeHo Arts program. For more information, please visit www.weho.org/arts or follow via social media @WeHoArts.

The Women In Film Speaker Series features filmmakers and industry leaders across many areas of entertainment who share valuable professional insights into the art and craft of film, television, and media-making. Past events have included experts in production, entertainment law, pitching, digital funding and crowdsourcing, screenwriting, and many more. Speaker Series events also always provide Members and guests time to network and learn more about who’s in the room. The Speakers Series is generally held monthly on the last Monday of the month. It is co-sponsored by the West Hollywood Women’s Advisory Board. Please visit our calendar or sign up for our newsletter to find out about the next event!


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 earlier this year. Welle Entertainment is co-ventured with Primary Wave Entertainment. 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, who is nominated for a 2017 DGA Award, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination.  Her upcoming releases include The Space Between Us (February 3), directed by Peter Chelsom and starring Gary Oldman and Asa Butterfield; and The Foreigner, directed by Martin Campbell and starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. 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, Crash received 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 has been the 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.


Heather Graham discovered her passion for acting at an early age and caught the attention of filmmakers with her breakout role in Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Graham went on to score unforgettable roles in the 1997 classic Boogie Nights, for which she received the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, 1999’s Austin Powers:a The Spy Who Shagged Me and starred opposite Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifinakis in 2009’s The Hangover.
Most recently, Graham starred opposite Edie Falco in NBC’s Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders. The eight-episode anthology series was based on the famed murder case of brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez in the early 1990s.
Next up, Graham will star in Half Magic, a film she wrote, directed, and produced. This rauchy, female-driven comedy follows three women set out on a hilarious search for self-fulfillment while overcoming the roadblocks in their personal and professional lives.
Her recent films include Dwight Little’s The Last Rampage, based on the true story of murderer Gary Tison’s attempted escape from prison to Mexico, and Emanuele Della Valle’s noir drama Wetlands, opposite Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Last year, Graham voiced the Lionsgate animated film, Norm of the North, alongside Ken Jeong and Rob Schneider. She starred alongside Ellen Burstyn in Lifetime’s Flowers in The Attic, and its sequel, Petals on the Wind. The films, based on the famous novels by V.C. Andrews were instant hits, garnering the network one of its highest rated original movie performances of recent years. Graham reprised her role in the third installment, If There Be Thorns, which premiered in April 2015.
In April 2014, Graham joined the cast of Showtime’s Californication for its seventh season. Graham played a woman from Hank’s (David Duchnovy) past whose arrival upended his life.
In May 2013, Graham reprised her role as Jade in the hit comedy The Hangover 3, released on May 20, 2013. She also co-starred in Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price, which debuted at the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals, and released nationwide on April 26, 2013. Graham’s character finds herself caught between her lover, Dennis Quaid, and his son, played by Zac Efron, while coming to terms with her small-town life.
Graham has starred in About Cherry (2012) Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, and 5 Days of War (2011). She also starred with a stellar ensemble in Emilio Estevez’s Bobby, about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, which premiered at the 2006 AFI Film Festival.
Throughout her career, Graham has worked with some of the industry’s most respected actors and directors. Her performances include that of a doe-eyed girl in Swingers, with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn; an ambitious young actress in Frank Oz’s Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy; and the tragic Mary Kelly in Albert and Allen Hughes’ From Hell opposite Johnny Depp, as well as roles in The Guru with Marisa Tomei; Hope Springs opposite Colin Firth; Committed with Luke Wilson; Ed Burns’ ensemble Sidewalks of New York; James Toback’s Two Girls and a Guy with Robert Downey Jr.; Lost in Space with Gary Oldman and William Hurt; and Six Degrees of Separation starring Will Smith.
Graham executive produced and starred in the feature film Cake, a romantic comedy also starring Sandra Oh and Cheryl Hines. In 2004-2005, she received rave reviews for her guest starring stint on NBC’s critically acclaimed series Scrubs. On stage, Graham made her theatrical debut off-Broadway in Playwrights Horizons’ Recent Tragic Events.

Rosette Laursen is from Northern California and trained in classical ballet at schools such as the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She graduated with a BFA in Dance from Dominican University/Lines Ballet in 2010, and then moved to LA after signing with the Bloc Dance Agency. Rose booked TV/film and commercial gigs as a dancer including CSI New York, Mac Cosmetics, Van Halen, and Lacoste. Rose always had passion for writing and comedy, and began taking TV writing classes at UCLA extension, as well as taking improv and sketch at UCB. She quickly realized she loved writing and producing more than dance, and began working various industry desk jobs as a PA and assistant to gain experience and build her resume. She is currently assisting the EP and Director on an upcoming documentary series.

Kathleen Tarr is a University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School graduate, Lecturer at Stanford University in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, former Skadden Fellow (“legal Peace Corps”), and member of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Women’s Media Action Coalition. As the latter, Kathleen co-authored the Women’s Media Summit White Paper on Gender Inequality in Film and Television (2017) and co-chairs the Media Incubator Task Force with Deborah Goodwin.
During law school, Kathleen assisted in the authorship of Japan’s first university-level sexual harassment policy, and as a Skadden Fellow, she developed some of the U.S.’s first public interest outreach programs to disabled female military veterans. Kathleen published a law review article on veterans disabled by military service that was twice cited by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and her most recent law review article Bias and the Business of Show: Employment Discrimination in the “Entertainment” Industry was touted by filmmaker, screenwriter, and activist Maria Giese as “the MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT published on the issue of discriminatory hiring practices in Hollywood since The New York Times published the ACLU letter to the EEOC in May 2015.”
Bias and the Business of Show evolved from Kathleen’s General Session presentation with special guests Amy Pietz and Edward James Olmos at the 2015 State Bar of California Annual Meeting and is companion to her annual Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry and Awards at Stanford UniversityMarch 9, 2018 marks her fourth Getting Played symposium at Stanford University – named after her 2010 documentary on (un)equal employment opportunities in the entertainment industry – and second year of Getting PlayedX, similar symposia hosted by other companies and organizations (2017’s Getting PlayedX was hosted by Salesforce-SF).
Kathleen’s Getting Played: who’s playing you?! documentary received Honorable Mention at the 2010 International Black Women’s Film Festival; her short I Have All The Feelings was an Official Selection in 2014. In 2015, her short sci-fi film Early Aliens was an Official Selection at ASTRONOMMO: Speculative Fiction on Film + Black Women. 
Overlapping these myriad careers, Kathleen’s acting credits encompass stage, film, commercials, television, and video games including House M.D., Sundance award winner Dopamine, and Sim City. She is also a Women’s American Football League draftee and indoor rowing world record holder.

Cynthia S. Bamforth
Partner – Law Offices of Timothy Bowles, P.C.

Ms. Bamforth has a strong skill set and extensive experience in California employment law issues including harassment prevention training, employee handbook compliance, wages (including overtime), meal and rest breaks, leaves of absence, and terminations.
Prior to joining Bowles Law, Ms. Bamforth served as in-house counsel for a group of affiliated businesses supervising all legal affairs business- and employment-related litigation.
Ms. Bamforth is dedicated to helping companies develop sound employment practices for secure growth, through education and counseling. She is known for her exceptional communication skills and ability to defuse potentially explosive situations in the workplace.
Ms. Bamforth received her Bachelor of Arts in government from Wesleyan University and her J.D. degree magna cum laude from Seattle University Law School. She also served as Associate Editor for the Seattle University Law Review.
Raised amid a family of lawyers, Ms. Bamforth also employs her legal skills in pro bono work for a number of social betterment groups.

Casting Director/Producer/Director Tracy Twinkie Byrd has been in this business for 27 years. Originally from Brooklyn New York, Twinkie started her casting career in Music Video then later moved to Los Angeles to focus on Film and Television. Some of her projects include: Filly Brown (Gina Rodriguez break out role), Being Mary Jane, Southside with You (Barack and Michelle first date) and Fruitvale Station. She is now focusing her talents to Producing and Directing. Her directorial debut, The Counter:1960 is being submitted to film festivals for 2018.



2017 Speaker Series

January – Women In Film Shorts Night: SECRETS & DISCOVERIES
CRUSH (Rosie Westhoff)
EVERYBODY DOES IT (Megan Brotherton)
NODAL (Linda Dahlem)
TATTOO YOU (Lisa Kenner Grissom)
THE GIRLS I KNOW… GET THEIR HANDS DIRTY (Lauren Ciaravalli & Victoria Vaughn)
WASTE (Justine Raczkiewicz)

February – Navigating the Landscape in the New Golden Age of Television
Stephanie Allain, Executive Producer, “Dear White People,” “Crushed”; Women In Film BOD
Davah Avena, Writer/Producer “East Los Angeles,” “Devious Maids,” and “Daytime Divas”
Amy Israel, SVP Original Programming, Showtime Networks
Nancy Schreiber, Prolific, award-winning cinematographer
Moderated by Kirsten Schaffer, Women In Film Executive Director

March – Tales from the Trenches
Joan Harrison, Head of Scripted Development, Asylum
Iris Grossman, Talent Manager, Echo Park Entertainment
Ilene Kahn Power, Former Vice President of HBO Films
Moderated by Lucy Webb, Producer, Writer, Actress & Comedian

April – Special “I Love Dick” Screening and Panel
Jill Soloway, Creator of “I Love Dick”
Sarah Gubbins, Creator of “I Love Dick”
Kevin Bacon, Star of “I Love Dick”
Moderated by Kirsten Schaffer, Women In Film Executive Director

May – Building a Truly Inclusive Media Culture
Tchaiko Omawale (Writer/Director/Producer, SOLACE)
Gina Reyes (Story House Entertainment)
Negin Salmasi (Writer/Director/Producer)
Roya Rastegar (LA Film Festival, Director of Programming)

June – 2017 Mini Upfronts Recap Screening

Pecado Original – Jean Lee
No Light and No Land Anywhere – Amber Sealey
Crowns – Halee Bernard
Pathways – Florencia Krochik
5th Passenger – Morgan Lariah
#iAmThatBoy – Lagueria Davis
Or Die Trying – Chelsea London Lloyd
Kimi Hanna Fashionista Ninja – Ren Hanami
California’s Forgotten Children – Melody C. Miller
Mixed – Aris Mendoza
On the Market – Cameran Surles
Dark Arts – Bao Xiong
Shiner – Gabriela Gonzalez
Surviving Me: The Nine Circles of Sophie – Leah Yananton
The Do-Over – Jennifer Mangan
Somebody’s Mother – Mandy Fabian
Battery Park – Annunziata Gianzero
2 Self Help Books Away From Being Perfect – Kimberly Young
A Whole New Irving – Alexandra Komisaruk
Proud of Me – Adrianne Richards and Mandy Fabien
Everything but a Man – Nnegest Likké
Stretched – Zoe Quist

July – PR and Marketing: Insight to Navigating your Project for Success

ANDREA CHUNG, Independent Film Producer and Film Executive
MICHELLE CZERNIN von CHUDENITZ MORIZN, Founding Partner, Popular Press Media Group (PPMG)
PAMELA RODI – Creative Director, Rodi Marketing & Strategic Marketing Consultant
LISE ROMANOFF, Managing Director / CEO of Vision Films, Inc

Leah Gordon. International Marketing & Media Consultant


2016 Speaker Series

January – Member Shorts Night : Truer Words


“The Haircut,” directed by Alexis Korycinski
“Kimi Kabuki,” directed by Yoko Okumura
“Muted,” directed by Rachel Goldberg
“Stealth,” written by Melissa Hoppe and directed by Bennett Lasseter
“Wayward,” directed by Kira Richards Hansen and produced by Pelle Folmer

Curated by Morgan Green and Ashley Chrisman

February – The Directors’ Panel 
Lake Bell (In a World, Children’s Hospital)
Nisha Ganatra (Transparent, Chutney Popcorn)
Jennifer Phang (Advantageous) 
Moderated by Effie T. Brown (Dear White People, Real Women Have Curves) 

March – Music in Television 
Colleen Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Music at Nickelodeon, Kids & Family
Frankie Pine, Music Supervisor (Army Wives, Magic Mike, The Newsroom)
Alicen Schneider, SVP NBCUniversal Television Music Division
Moderated by Thomas Golubić, Music Supervisor (The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under)

April – Good Rep 
Tara Kole (Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown)
Jennifer Levine (Untitled Entertainment)
Chelsea Radler (CAA)
Dana Sims (ICM)
Jonathan Howard ( Thor, The Dark World)
Moderated by renowned entertainment attorney, Nina Shaw (Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano)

May – Diversity In Practice  
Grace Borrero Moss (Manager of Entertainment Diversity Initiatives, NBC Entertainment)
Brett King (Vice President, Creative Programming, Diversity & Inclusion for Sony Pictures)
Gina Reyes (Director, Creative, Fox Audience Strategy)
Heather Washington (Manager, Emerging Writers Program, NBCUniversal).
Moderated by Ellen Huang, Director, EEO & Diversity at SAG AFTRA

June- No Speaker Series 

July – New Trends in Distribution
Sumyi Antonson (VP of Marketing & Distribution, Drafthouse Films)
Danielle DiGiacomo (VP of Acquisitions,The Orchard)
Sean Flanagan (Marketing and Sales Manager, Quiver)
Grace Royer (Independent Film Group, UTA)
Laura Lewis (Film Finance Agent, CAA)

August – Perfect Pitch
STEPHANIE ALLAIN – Producer, Homegrown Pictures; Director, LA Film Festival
NAKETHA MATTOCKS – VP Original Movies, Disney Channels Worldwide
TANYA LOPEZ – Senior Vice President, Original Movies, Lifetime

September – VR Pioneers
ALETHEA AVRAMIS, Producer – Specular Theory
NANCY BENNETT, Chief Creative Officer and General Manager of Virtual Reality – Two Bit Circus
KIMBERLY COOPER, Founder & CEO – Prologue Immersive
CATHERINE DAY, Head of Unscripted – Jaunt
EVETTE VARGAS, CEO, Writer, Director, Multiplatform Storyteller – Digital Reign Productions
LOUISA APRING, VR Consultant and Head of Industry Relations / Interim COO Innerspace VR

OCTOBER — Clearing the Hurdle
LAKE BELL (director, IN A WORLD)
MICHELLE SATTER, Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program

NOVEMBER– Producing 101
Deniese Davis (“The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”)
Kelly Thomas (SPA NIGHT)
Giulia Caruso (SPA NIGHT)
Ashley Chrisman, Independent Producer/Women In Film Staff


2015 Speaker Series

June – What Film Festival Programmers Want
Jacqueline Lyanga of AFI
Roya Rastegar of Los Angeles Film Festival
Kim Yutani of Sundance
Lucy Mukerjee Brown of Outfest

July – Perfect Pitch
Deborah Liebling, President of Ben Stiller’s company Red Hour Films
Amy Baer, CEO of Gidden Media
Stephanie Allain, Director of the LA Film Festival and producer of Beyond the Lights and Boyz n the Hood
Naketha Mattocks, VP of Original Movies at Disney Channels Worldwide

August – The TV Market

Shelby Stone, producer of HBO’s Bessie
Sasha Alexander, actor on hit TV show Rizzoli and Isles
Sandra Stern, COO of Lionsgate TV
Donna Pennestri, Associate Publisher of Variety
Moderated by Sharon Lawrence

September – The Business of Digital
Ronit Cohn, Fullscreen Director of Talent Relations & Marketing
Laura Fischer, Yahoo Originals Head of Production
Tamara Krinsky, Pemberley Digital Co-Producer, Writer & Story Editor
Robyn Marshall, Awesomeness Films Executive
Brittany Turner, Adaptive Studios VP, Digital Video

October –  Facts & Figures: Exploring the Data on Inequality in Film
Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Director of the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative – USC Annenberg
Adriana Alberghetti, Partner – WME
Maria Bello, Actor, Activist Author and Producer
Michael De Luca, Producer

November – Inclusion On Screen: Casting for Today’s Audiences
Sharon Bialy, (The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad)
Sarah Halley Finn (Crash, Iron Man, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Vickie Thomas, (Straight Outta Compton, The Hateful Eight, D’Jango Unchained)
Gary M. Zuckerbrod (Pulp Fiction, Cold Case, Rizzoli & Isles)


Highlights from 2014 include:

Emily Best: Crowdfunding to Build Independence, Seed&Spark
Joanna Colbert: Producer & Casting Director
Dara Marks: Script Consultant, How To Write Your Best Story
Gita Pullapilly: Case Study on Financing for the Indie Film, BENEATH THE HARVEST SKY
Elsa Ramo of RLaw, PC: How To Legally Protect Yourself When You Create, Produce, & Exploit


Thank you

WeHo Arts aqua_closed