Kirsten Schaffer

Executive Director

Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles the preeminent organization promoting gender parity in Hollywood. Previously, she spent fourteen years at Outfest, as Director of Programming before being appointed Executive Director in 2009. 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 launched 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 from the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management and arts administration. She is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program 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.

Gayle Nachlis

Senior Director, Education

Currently the Senior Director of Education, Gayle Nachlis joined Women In Film as Executive Director in 2005, following a 29-year career as a Talent Agent and Vice President at the William Morris Agency. When she took the reins at Women In Film, Ms. Nachlis reviewed all programming and conducted surveys of our members and industry leaders. As a result WIF trimmed the ideas that had little traction and created or expanded the programs that are relevant to the community. She broadened WIF’s reach with more and better television and new media programs and retooled the Mentoring and Internship Programs to enable accomplished professionals to support and nurture the next generation. Her goal is to provide women with the resources they need to survive and thrive in the industry.

Amy Guy

Director of Development

Amy begins her tenure at Women In Film as Director of Development after 25 years in fundraising. A native of Ohio, she 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 received her Master’s in Education from The Ohio State University and has finally had it with the cold weather and snow of the north, so is very much looking forward to the sun and mild temps of Southern California. When she’s not working or driving her three teens to soccer and lacrosse, she enjoys playing tennis, running, practicing yoga, watching movies, and listening to music.

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.

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,  An Upright Citizens Brigade and Groundlings trained improviser, she performs regularly around Los Angeles.  Maikiko holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

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.

Briana Elzey

Communications Manager

Briana Elzey is Manager of Communications and Marketing for Women In Film, Los Angeles. Previously, Briana served as the Corporate Communications Manager for Troika Mission Group, an international branding and marketing design group based on LA, NY, and UK, and as a senior associate for Reavis & Associates, PC, a boutique law firm that specializes in entertainment and business transactions. Her past experience also includes work as Chief Legislative Aid for the 200th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she worked across the isle behind the scenes to push through bill HB1264, which allows expert witnesses to testify in cases of sexual abuse. She was also Director of Post-Secondary Scholarships for CORE Scholars, where she oversaw four college scholarship programs spanning a $5million budget.

Briana is a 2006 graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Finance, 2009 inaugural graduate of Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, and a 2018 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College with a Masters in Entertainment Industry Management. Licensed to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Briana continues to remotely practice and has expertise in urban dance, art and music, specializing in intellectual property, contract administration, and communication. She currently lives in LA, is a scratch golfer, plays the saxophone, and is a student of Spanish, Japanese, and French languages, is a current member of the board for the Urban Dance and Educational Foundation (UDEF), and an active volunteer with the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (PVLA).

Laila Hashemi

Development and Communications Coordinator

Laila Hashemi was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and received her BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Right out of college, Laila worked at Anonymous Content and then served as the Media and Marketing Manager at the Slamdance Film Festival for 3 years. At Slamdance, she developed a marketing department from the ground up which focused on supporting independent filmmakers working on the outskirts of the industry. She’s thrilled to be the new Development & Communications Coordinator at Women In Film. When she’s not working, she performs regularly with her Los Angeles-based punk band, The Paranoyds.

Kelly Ching

ReFrame Coordinator

Kelly is the Coordinator at ReFrame — a coalition founded and led by Women In Film and Sundance Institute as an influential group of entertainment industry leaders with more than 60 male and female Ambassadors committed to increasing women of all backgrounds in film, TV, and media.

Prior to ReFrame, Kelly supported the production office of producer Sarah Timberman’s CBS series “SEAL Team.” Working closely with the producers, Kelly pushed CBS executives to balance the writers’ room with a greater percentage of women. For the previous two years, Kelly worked with Dr. Stacy Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on research and analysis dealing with age, race, and gender, where she developed a passion for helping to address Hollywood’s exclusive hiring practices.

Kelly holds a B.A. from the University of Southern California in Communication and Screenwriting. Born and raised in LA, she loves any excuse to escape the dry heat and has traveled to over 25 countries.

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 BA 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.

Women In Film Committees and Advisors

Women In Film thanks the outstanding leadership volunteers and Board Members who dedicate tremendous time and energy to fulfilling the mission of Women In Film.

PSA Production Program

Tessa Bell, Chair

Bonnie Spence, Chair Emeritus

Judith Parker Harris, Founding Chair

Committee: Luann Barry, Michele Blackwell, Roxanne Lane, Cecilia Russell, Natalie Metzger, Shay Moore, Julie Nicholson, Nina Nisenholtz, Betsy Pollock, Gerri Wormser


The Legacy Series

Ilene Kahn Power, Chair and Executive Producer of The Legacy Series

Linda Feferman, Co-Chair and Director of The Legacy Series

Susan Cartsonis, Co-Chair

Dorothea Petrie, Chair Emeritus

Committee: Clare Baren, Producer, Candace Block, Jane Fleming, Pandora Kan, Lisa Lapan, Sharon Lawrence, Deborah Miller, Nina Nisenholtz



Committee: Lauren Williams, Stephanie Austin


Screening Series

Stephanie Allain, WIF Board Advisor



Jane Fleming, Amy Baer, Keri Putnam- Co-Chairs



Stephanie Austin, Chair

Committee: Carol Chacamaty



Concepción Lara and Ghen Laraya Long, Co-Chairs

Committee: Karene Jullien, Maikiko James, Val Farrelly, Betty Bailey, Dakota Bailey, Laura Saitta, Alexandra Boylan, Bridget Jurgens, Kirstie Palmer, Pam Rodi, Rory Gory, Angela Gyetvan, Mhairi Morrison, Meredith Riley Stewart, Marci Urling, Brigitte Waites, Bernadette Wysocki


Women In Film International

Ruby Lopez and Arati Misro, Co-Chairs

Ghen Laraya Long, WIF Board Advisor



Orly Adelson, Danica Krislovich, Sandra Stern- Co-Chairs

Committee: Iris Grossman


WIF in Park City

Lucy Webb, Chair

Committee: Hillary Bibicoff, Candace Bowen, Barbara Boyle, Lisa Gewirtz, Iris Grossman, Jane Fleming, Hannah Minghella, Ilene Kahn Power


For The Record

Mollie Gregory, Chair

Clare Baren, Co-Chair