Film Festival Alliance

Monthly Archives: December 2021

2022 SIO Diversity Pass Recipients


In an effort to increase the diversity of film festival professionals, organizers and programmers with access to Sundance Industry screenings, FFA partnered with the Sundance Industry Office for the fourth year, to award 8 FFA members who identify with historically underrepresented communities with 4 comp and 4 half-priced SIO Passes. FFA is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2022 SIO Diversity Pass Program. Looking forward to Sundance 2022!

Of the 2022 recipients, seven are women or non-binary, and the group represents African American, Pakistani, Asian-American, South Asian, and Latinx cultures, as well as the disabled community.

Neha Aziz, Cleveland International Film Festival and Austin Asian American Film Festival
Roxbury International Film Festival
Lisa Simmons, Roxbury International Film Festival
Lukia Costello, MicroMania Film Festival
Vianca Vega, Oak Cliff Film Festival
Rabia Sitabi, Horrible Imaginings/ Amsterdamned/ Halloween Horror Show Amsterdam / CinemAsia
Inney Prakash, Prismatic Ground, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Freep Film Festival
Krupa Kanaiya, ​​Atlanta Film Festival
Ivonne Cotorruelo, Cleveland International Film Festival

2022 Proposed Board of Directors Slate

Below is the list of nominees who make up the 2022 proposed Board of Directors slate. Each director serves a three year (3) term and may run again one time for a consecutive three year (3) term. Please return to Election Runner to cast your vote.

New Nominees

Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director of Facets Multi-media since 2020 navigated the organization through the passing of its founder Milos Stehlik, and its reopening after the Covid pandemic. Prior to that she served as Interim Program Director with Illinois Arts Council. A long-time theater administrator, she co-founded Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre leading its growth from infancy to an annual audience reach of 60,000 people and $2M operating budget. Karen has served as Strategic Partnerships Co-Chair for the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre, Steering Committee Chair of Ingenuity’s Strategic Partnerships Committee and sat on grant review Theatre Panels for DCASE and Illinois Arts Council. Currently, she sits on the League of Chicago Theatres Board of Directors and the iHeart Media Local Advisory Board.

Albert Chow started from the ground up – as a Production PA; and has since straddled front of house, production and technical side of events. Besides his three most recent festivals (New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SIFF), he has also worked at Sundance, Mill Valley, SXSW, Doc NYC, NewFest, Woodstock, Rooftop Films and Hamptons International Film Festival.

Larry Laboe is Co-Founder and Executive Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), an organization committed to highlighting and connecting emerging filmmakers and storytellers worldwide. Larry is a member of the Producers Guild of America and has been a Faculty Member at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and L Art University in Shanghai and Beijing. He is a Board Member of the BRIC Foundation, a Committee Member of SAGindie and the Co-Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Entertainment, Arts and Media Committee. Larry has produced scripted and unscripted streaming series and commercials, directed by talent such as Joseph Gordon Levitt, for some of the world’s leading brands, networks and studios, including Disney, NBC, CBS, VEVO, Dailymotion, MTV, DEFY Media, Comedy Central, Verizon go90, Amazon, Complex Media, IKEA, Mountain Dew, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Verizon and Smuckers.

Shellie Schmals has been the Film Programming Manager at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival since 2014, where she plays a lead role in selecting the nearly 800 films that are considered for each annual Festival. She has 25 years of experience in the non-profit universe, holds a MBA from Brenau University and EDM in Higher Education Administration from the University at Buffalo. As a talent wrangler and producer/emcee, Shellie is involved in many projects including Roxie Roz burlesque, Georgia Pinup Posse, DanceATL and most recently, curated a burlesque/short film collaboration with the Philadelphia Jewish Film & Media (2021). She is an active member in Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta, where Shellie sits on the Board of Directors as Vice President of Programming, coordinates WIFTA industry panels at Dragon Con (Film Track) and for the nationally known Cinema Life Collective, is past co-chair of the WIFTA Short Film & Talent Showcase (2017-2020) and past WIFTA Secretary (2016-2020).

Barbara Vásconez is the Program Manager at New York Women in Film & Television. Before joining NYWIFT, she held the position of General Manager at the Quad Cinema for three years. She has worked for a variety of film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Hamptons Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, DOC NYC, and the Nantucket Film Festival. Her spare time is spent programming panels and creating unique community engagement opportunities for the New York Latino Film Festival. In 2019, she launched and founded the Ville Film Festival in Somerville, New Jersey. In 2020, she joined the Ecuadorian Film Festival as Co-Director. Her educational goals include working to develop film programs in New Jersey that improve film education for low income students. She works on amplifying the Latinx community and speaking on important issues like immigration and minimum wage. She is committed to the importance of film as a means of community engagement. Barbara has a degree in Film and Video Production from the School of Visual arts in NYC and holds a Business certificate from W.O.R.C in Philadelphia.

Returning Board Members

Linda Broker is the Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Women’s Film. Currently in its 34th year, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is the oldest women’s film festival in North America. Linda’s passion for film as a catalyst for the community began when she started volunteering for the festival in 1994. During the following seven years, she served the festival in various capacities, including Programming chair and Operations chair, before being hired as the first executive director of the organization in 2001.
Linda has led the organization through a period of tremendous growth and today RMWF has an active year-round presence. In addition to the November festival, three other events take place annually, including a Filmmakers Retreat. Screenings are also hosted regularly in the RMWF “microcinema” and the Film in the Community program offers free screenings throughout the year in diverse locations throughout Colorado Springs.

Alyx Picard-Davis is the Executive Director of deadCenter Film. In its 20th year, deadCenter has grown from a one-night screening of Oklahoma short films to a year-round organization with award-winning programs that provide free film classes to 3,000 high school students each fall, free film seminars for hundreds of working professionals each quarter, free film screenings every month, and an annual film festival that brings 33,000 people to downtown Oklahoma City for the most exciting weekend of the year. A long-time volunteer for the festival in host, events, transportation, and programming, Alyx was hired full-time in 2013. She has worked with budding rock stars at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, and she currently serves on UCO’s Alumni Board where she graduated with a BA in English-Creative Studies. She worked in the production office on “The Killer Inside Me,” the star-filled serial killer film made in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She co-produced Lance McDaniel’s award-winning film “Swirl,” and the 2017 OKC48 film “Previously on Alley Cats.” She continues to produce and advise on a few short films every year.Kevin Sampson, Executive Director, DC Black Film Festival

Kevin Sampson is the Executive Director, DC Black Film Festival. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, radio show/podcast, and hour long film review TV show. He has served as the director of the Rosebud Film Festival since 2013. He created the DC Black Film Festival in 2016 in an effort to create a space to exhibit quality productions by and about people of African descent. In 2017 Kevin launched Picture Lock PR to represent some of the many great independent films he sees on a regular basis. Kevin received the 2018 Donald H. McGannon Award for his work with women and people of color in media. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, North Carolina Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. His weekly radio show can be heard on Fridays on WERA 96.7FM.

Erica Thompson is the Deputy Executive Director of Ashland Schools Foundation. Erica has held numerous staff positions at the Milwaukee Film Festival as well as the Ashland Independent Film Festival, where she most recently served as Executive Director. She now leads an education foundation while providing consulting services to film festivals. Her particular areas of interest and expertise lie in finance, ops, and appreciation of cat appearances on Zoom.