Sarah Escalante (she/her/hers) joined the team in July 2022 as Executive Director. Prior to NOFS, Sarah worked with the Michigan Theater Foundation as their Director of Programming and Communications and the Festival Director of the Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and ran the gamut of festival roles at genre to regional and major festivals across the U.S. Originally from California, Sarah was an academic lawyer until her lifelong love of film and movie theaters led her to the impactful conversations and experiences found working within the film festival and art house communities.
Monika Leska (she/her/hers) has been with NOFS in various roles since 2010. Originally from Poland, she has a background in organizational management, hospitality, tourism and recreation. Monika is widely regarded as our team’s expert negotiator with an eagle-eye for organizational finances and the production savvy to make NOFF run like a well-oiled machine. She’s modest about it, but Monika is also a movie star, having walked the red carpet at Sundance for voicing a certain infamous jaguar from the Audubon Zoo in the horror short Valerio’s Day Out.
Clint Bowie (he/him/his) is the Artistic Director of the New Orleans Film Society, where he manages the curation of the organization’s year-round programming. He has served on review committees for ITVS, Creative Capital, NEA, FilmNorth, and Latino Public Broadcasting, and has spoken on panels organized by Sundance Institute, Firelight Media, Center for Asian American Media, Palm Springs International ShortFest, ArtHouse Convergence, and others. He has served on the board of directors for the Film Festival Alliance and Advisory Board for the Overlook Film Festival. He previously worked as a print journalist at publications across the country.
MARKETING + COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOREmail
Thirty-five years working in Branding and Design in Los Angeles and New York, and a lifelong passion for film (his first words were “yas, queen” while watching All About Eve from his mother’s lap), have finally landed Fritz in the role he was born for. This native New Orleanian is thrilled to be bringing what he’s learned in his
60 50+ years to the talented NOFS team of fellow film fans. Fritz stands 5’9” tall, has brown eyes, hair some call silver, and is an Aries. After he graduates, Fritz’s future plans include becoming a translator for cats.
Hector Cassini (he/him/his) joined the organization in 2016 as Business Manager. He works with the finance team to provide financial reports, maintain financial controls and assist with the yearly audit. Prior to NOFS, Hector spent a lifetime in the hotel industry working in various financial management roles. All he knows about the film industry he learned from the other people on this page, which he considers a five-star, five-diamond education.
Katie Weiss Porter
FILM + CONFERENCE PROGRAMMEREmail
Zuri Obi is a Haitian-American artist raised with deep cultural roots in magical realism. As a Camerawomxn, she has collaborated with artists such as Solange and Lizzo, and as Creative Producer, her projects have screened at notable film festivals, including Sundance and won top awards at New Orleans Film Festival, AFI and BlackStar. Zuri also works as a Film Curator at New Orleans Film Society, where she champions community-centered cinematic experiences.
Brittany Williams is the Staff Accountant. In this role she works with the finance team to provide financial reports, maintain financial controls and assist with the yearly audit. She has worked in Accounting for almost 10 years with 6 years being in nonprofit. She’s worked with many organizations both as a staff member and as a volunteer throughout her community. Born and raised in New Orleans. Brittany enjoys exploring the city and getting out whenever she can.
Katherine (Kat) Gutierrez (she/her/hers) joined the team in 2021 supporting ticketing & membership services for the New Orleans Film Festival and has since moved into the Development role. A born and raised New Yorker who got here as soon as she could, Katherine holds a strong background in administration and hospitality. She finds peace as a content writer for a women-of-color centered blog, connects to her community as a volunteer for Youth Run Nola, and thoroughly enjoys joining any second line she comes across. She holds very strong opinions about pizza and bagels.
Juliana Goode (she/her/hers) joined our team as Operations Manager after supporting ticketing & membership services in various roles since 2016, and is more than likely the person on the other end of the phone when you call NOFS. Originally from New York, Juliana graduated from Loyola University with a degree in Film & Digital Media, and has worked as a video editor on several local projects. Juliana is also a charcuterie artist–– her colorful boards are the envy of all NOFS staff gatherings. Watch out Martha Stewart.
FILMMAKER SERVICES COORDINATOREmail
Maren Scott (she/her/hers) joined the team as Filmmaker Services Coordinator after wearing many hats in NOFS Programming and Operations since 2021. Maren comes from a long line of educators, community leaders, and creatives shaped by historic Harlem, NY. For the past 10 years, she has leveraged her background in Education and Cultural Studies to amplify the voices of BIPOC and Latinx artists and innovators. Maren is also an international award-winning competitive Angolan Semba dancer and instructor. You can find her making a cameo as “Ms. Shy Hips” in Ekwa Msangi’s film Farewell Amor (and the NOFS voicemail).
Taeler Dillon (she/her) is the Marketing Coordinator of the New Orleans Film Society. Within this role she manages all digital marketing needs relating to social media, social content and engagement, and social media strategy. Taeler is a HBCU graduate, having received a degree in Business Administration & Marketing from Dillard University. Shortly after, she also completed a hands-on digital marketing program at Loyola University New Orleans. She has worked as a marketer for multiple organizations within the tech, higher education, and fitness industries. Taeler is most passionate about advocating for inclusive storytelling throughout her efforts as a marketer. In her leisure time she enjoys attending concerts and festivals, dining out at restaurants, weight lifting at the gym, and watching a classic film.
Tishon Pugh is a Georgia-born, South Carolina–raised screenwriter, filmmaker, and film programmer. She prefers to explore the themes of comically awkward youth, Southern heritage, queerness, and the unusual in her works. To complement her love of film, Tishon is acquiring a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina with a specification in Cultural and Visual Anthropology. Hoping to combine the two, Tishon’s ultimate goal in life is not only to create great stories but help preserve them for the upcoming generations to experience. Tishon has taken up many opportunities to get involved with the film industry over the last few years and has been a cohort in two inaugural programming fellowships with the Athena Film Festival and the Outfest Fusion Film Festival. Outside of any creative endeavors, Tishon enjoys bar trivia, thrifting and occasional rewatches of her favorite tv show, New Girl. As an artist, Tishon’s mission is to make film more accessible to rural areas in the South, expose low-income children to the world of cinema, and play an active role in archiving the Black Southern experience.
Please visit our Jobs page to see open positions.
General inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Member specific questions: email@example.com
Submissions and NOFF-specific inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Press & social media inquiries: email@example.com
Job and internship questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also reach us via phone: (504) 309-6633 or visit us at our office at
1215 Prytania Street, Suite 371, New Orleans, LA 70130
2023 NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL TEAM
SENIOR TICKETING AND CREDENTIALS MANAGER
Juli Shipley (she/her)
VENUE OPERATIONS MANAGER
Woody Shticks (he/him)
Elvira Castillo (she/her)
PRINT MARKETING + COMMUNITY PARTNER COORDINATOR
Stephanie Tell (she/they)
Zain Hashmat (he/him)
Lalibela Walto (she/her)
VIP LOUNGE + RECEPTION COORDINATOR
Bailey Braud (she/her)
Sean McCreavy (he/him)
Maureen Wheeler (they/them)
Ted Moree (he/him)
Madeline Tess Peters (she/her)
OFFICE + CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT
Heather Sandel (she/her)
Jared Van Eck (he/him)
Jenny Slattery (she/her)
LEAD PARTY PLANNER
Nicole Hershey (she/her)
Chante Ward (she/her)
Maria Hinds (she/her)
Emily Diament (she/her)
Miles Perez (he/him)
Oliver Parker (he/they)
VENUE + HUB MANAGERS
BOX OFFICE MANAGERS
PROJECTIONISTS + AV TECH
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS + RUNNERS
See programming team bios here.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Andy Armstrong
- Monique Gougisha Doucette
- Cary M. Grant
- Jay Huffstatler
- Alissa Kantrow
- Valerie Lamb
- Dodd Loomis
- Beverly Matheney
- Virginia McCollam
- Jonathan McHugh
- Mamta Melwani
- Gina Monette
- Lori Ochsner
- Donna Santiago
- Lisa Thompson
- W. Howard Thompson
- Jason P. Waguespack
- Susan Brennan
- Jen Coolidge
- Stephanie Durant
- Alexa Georges
- John Goodman
- Taylor Hackford
- Wendell Pierce