Film Festival Alliance and Full Spectrum Features are proud to present the 2021 Film Festival Leadership Lab cohort. This group of outstanding individuals was selected by the FFA & FSF teams based on their experience, career goals, and commitment to critically examining the festival industry.
The group includes Lillian Kazanis (Operations Director, Woods Hole Film Festival), Christina Lang (Program Manager, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project/International Queer Women of Color Film Festival), Ceci Leon (Program Manager, Atlanta Film Society), Dominique Oneil (Programming & Hospitality Manager, Frameline), Kristal Sotomayor (Programming Director, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival), Molly Veh (Artist Services Manager, Milwaukee Film), Victoria Yeung (Operations Manager, Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival), and Mariam Zaidi (Executive Director, Breakthroughs Film Festival).
The 2021 Lab was created in partnership with Full Spectrum Features with support from Stephen Sloan of the Humane Leadership Institute, as an opportunity to provide fellows with professional development, support, and networking that promotes agency, equitable leadership, career vision, and essential industry skills. This year, the lab is asking its cohorts to radically reimagine the film festival industry and challenge the status quo to examine and discuss what it means to be a film festival moving forward.
Get to know our 2021 fellows below!
2021 Leadership Lab Fellows
Lillian Kazanis (she/her), Operations Manager, Woods Hole Film Festival (MA)
Lillian Kazanis is a creative executive who is innovative in producing systems of support for the arts and well-being in communities. Her drive for creating events that make a difference is rooted in her desire to give everyone a chance to experience art and health as an integral part of life. Her work is cognizant of the connections between mental, emotional, and physical well-being and the effect the arts have on wellness.
Christina Lang (she/her), Program Manager, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project/International Queer Women of Color Film Festival (CA)
Christina Lang is a queer biracial Chinese-American filmmaker and artist dedicated to advancing justice and equity. She holds a B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Bates College, with a minor in African American Studies. Christina first joined QWOCMAP in 2017 because she is committed to serving and empowering queer and transgender people of color communities. Named Program Manager in 2019, Christina coordinates and manages the International Queer Women of Color Film Festival, the award-winning QWOCMAP Filmmaker Training Program, and QWOCMAP’s boutique Distribution Program with the largest catalog of QTBIPOC films in the world.
Ceci Leon (she/her), Operations Manager, Atlanta Film Society (GA)
Born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., Ceci has always been eager to make her hometown an inclusive space for filmmaking. After graduating from college, she worked for several non-profit organizations aimed to support Atlanta’s film industry. While working in various roles in film, Ceci has also served as the Operations Manager for the Atlanta Film Society since 2017. In 2019, she joined forces as co-producer of the comedy webseries ‘Real Fakes’—her first indie project as a producer. Ultimately, her goal is to be a connector in film exhibition and film production for filmmakers of color.
Dominque Oneil (they/them), Programming & Hospitality Manager, Frameline (CA)
Dominique Oneil is a film programmer and curator based in San Francisco. They have contributed to the programming at Frameline, Palm Springs ShortFest, and Mill Valley Film Festival, and have worked in various capacities at Sundance Film Festival, SFFILM, and Seattle International Film Festival. Dominique is also the Grilled Cheese Eating Champion on the West Coast.
Kristal Sotomayor (she/they), Programming Director, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PA)
Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx festival programmer, documentary filmmaker, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. They serve as the Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Co-Founder/Journalist for ¡Presente! Media, and are on the Editorial Board for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Formerly, Kristal was the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at Scribe Video Center. Currently, they are in post-production on Expanding Sanctuary, an independent short documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by nonprofit Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. Kristal writes the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” for cinéSPEAK.
Molly Veh (she/they), Artist Services Manager, Milwaukee Film (WI)
Molly Veh (she/they) is the Artist Services Manager and EDI Co-Lead at Milwaukee Film. Prior to Milwaukee Film, she worked in arts education and advocacy at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Dramatists Guild of America.
However, they are first and foremost a storyteller. She refined this skill at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she received a BFA in Dramatic Writing. They are also a devoted comic book nerd, cat mom, wannabe tarot reader, and roller derby badass-in-training.
Victoria Yeung (she/her), Operations Manager, Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival (Toronto)
Victoria Yeung is the current Operations Manager at Canada’s largest queer film festival, Inside Out. She believes in the transformative and healing ability of art and strives to always bring critical analysis, and more importantly, fun, to her work. Coming from previous experience at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, she has a background in event production, communications, and anti-oppression work. Victoria is based in Toronto and has been using her pandemic time to tackle an ever-growing watch list (including one very ambitious Nic Cage movie project) and radically daydreaming a better world into existence.
Mariam Zaidi (she/her), Executive Director, Breakthroughs Film Festival (TX)
Mariam Zaidi is a South Asian filmmaker, film programmer, and festival leader based in Toronto, Canada. Zaidi’s work has been funded and supported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Arts Council, BravoFACT! Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent, and the National Film Board of Canada. Alongside her independent film work, Zaidi has held multiple roles at local arts organizations and festivals including the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Regent Park Film Festival, European Union Film Festival, Toronto Animated Image Society, and Images Festival. She currently holds the position of Associate Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, International Programmer at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and Executive Director of Breakthroughs Film Festival.