Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director
Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles 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 Women In Film to increase the skillset 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 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, Director of Programs
Maikiko is Director of Programs of Women In Film, overseeing WIF Member Programs including the Production Program, the Film Financing Intensive with Sundance Institute, the WIF/Black List Episodic and Features Labs, among others. She came to WIF in 2014 after six years with Active Voice, working on multiple social engagement campaigns including those of Food Inc., Welcome to Shelbyville, Gideon’s Army, Kids for Cash, among others. She acted as a Special Project Advisor on WIF supported documentary Seeking Asian Female, and co-producer of its sister web project, theyreallsobeautiful.
Amy Guy, Director of Development
Amy joined Women In Film as Director of Development in 2016, using her 25+ years of fundraising experience to build the philanthropic component of the organization. A native of Ohio, Amy began her development career at her alma mater, Kenyon College, and followed at a number of schools, museums, and arts organizations, including four years working on the campaign to build the iconic building for Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland. She has expertise in annual funds, major gifts, grant writing, and campaign planning. Amy received her Master’s in Education from The Ohio State University.
Alison Emilio, Director, ReFrame
Alison Emilio is Director of ReFrame, a joint initiative of Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles. ReFrame is a growing coalition of industry leaders and 50+ Ambassadors – producers, directors, agents, studio executives – to bring about measurable progress in achieving gender equity and advancing female filmmakers in film, TV, and media.
Prior to ReFrame, Alison served as Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for CreativeFuture. Her feature film work includes Lorimar Filmed Entertainment and New Line Cinema (New York and Los Angeles) as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, responsible for the marketing, publicity, and promotional campaigns for more than 25 films, as well as corporate and financial communications. She established the U.S. office of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, generating over $150 million in revenue.
Alison serves on the Advisory Board of the Horizon Award, which advances gender parity in media and provides sponsorship and mentorship to the next generation of female filmmakers. Emilio’s producing credits include Handmade Films’ Dinner at Fred’s, starring Parker Posey, Gil Bellows, and Christopher Lloyd; Drowning on Dry Land, starring Barbara Hershey and Naveen Andrews; and Someone is Watching, starring Stephanie Powers, for Lifetime.
Genevieve Winters, Director of the WIF Sexual Harassment Help Line
Ashley Chrisman, Manager of Operations and Events
Ashley Chrisman was born in Oakland, California, and raised on the south side of Chicago. She developed a strong passion for the arts at a very young age and has worked to cultivate and mold this passion into her focused disciplines of film and theatre. Ashley completed her undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University, where she double majored in Psychology and Film Studies. Ashley went on to complete her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts. While studying at USC, Ashley produced several advanced projects, thesis films and other short projects that have been shown at various festivals around the world.
Melissa Verdugo, Manager of Programs
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 & Broadway Actors over the course of 6 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 Annual Financing Intensive for Women In Film. Melissa is currently in Development on numerous scripted projects and strives to tell stories that positively impact our world.
Katherine Spada, Communications Manager
Katherine Spada is an avid writer, storyteller, and L.A. native. After receiving her B.A. with a dual major in Literature and Film Studies, and a stint living in Sydney, Australia, she started her career working at Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Columbia Pictures. In 2008 she became one of the founding Board members of the Claremont in Entertainment and Media alumni network. Her shift into the nonprofit world led her to work as the Coordinator of Volunteer Programs, and later, Social Media Manager for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. Her social media work has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Forbes, LAist, and more. Outside of work, she hosts the popular Beverly Hills 90210 podcast “The Blaze with Lizzie and Kat,” and has performed onstage at venues including the Upright Citizens Brigade, Flappers Comedy Club, the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Comic Con.
Whitney Skauge, Program Coordinator
Whitney Skauge is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to diverse storytelling and representation. Her works act as an extension of social and political activism with hopes of helping audiences understand themselves and the world around them better. Working previously at the Sundance Institute, the boutique production company Interloper Films, and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, her career has demonstrated a consistent commitment to the art of independent filmmaking. She received her B.F.A. in Digital Filmmaking from the University of Montana.
Angel Hunter, Office Coordinator
Angel Hunter grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. While attending California State University, Long Beach, Angel made various short narrative films and documentaries, became a McNair Scholar, and ultimately graduated with a B.A. in Film Production, with an emphasis in Documentary Filmmaking. Following her graduation, Angel started work at Fox Studios assisting in the Post Production Sound Department, then transitioned to the coordinator for the Security Department and the head tour guide for the lot. She is excited to join the Women In Film team as the new Office Coordinator and is looking forward to bringing her skills to the Women In Film team. When she is not working, she is a story editor and script reader for various projects.