NOFS Year-Round Team

We’re dedicated to promoting, nurturing, and amplifying the diverse voices of of our local and Southern filmmakers and facilitating conversations through film and film-related programming that inspire, educate, challenge and entertain our audiences.

Join our team by visiting our Jobs page and help us build a vibrant film scene in New Orleans!

Clint Bowie

Clint Bowie

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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. 

 

 

Hector Cassini

Hector Cassini

BUSINESS MANAGER

Hector Cassini (he/him/his) joined the organization in 2016 as a contracted 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.

Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Lisa Davis, (she/her/hers) specializes in fundraising, marketing, and community engagement. Before NOFS, she served as the development director at several private independent schools and ran her brand marketing consulting firm, Founded. Lisa is a proud New Orleanian, deeply committed to the betterment of the community and passionate about supporting the arts and culture. She enjoys volunteering at nonprofit events, attending festivals, and learning more about the world through travel. She is a member of Salon 22, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and founder of Mom Force a subkrewe of Chewbacchus.

Sarah Escalante

Sarah Escalante

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Sarah Escalante (she/her/hers) assumed the role of Executive Director at NOFS in 2022. Prior to joining NOFS, Sarah served as the Director of Programming and Communications for the Michigan Theater Foundation and as the Festival Director of the Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With a background spanning various festival roles across the United States, Sarah transitioned from her academic career in law to pursue her passion for film and its ability to spark meaningful conversations. She is also actively involved in the film community, serving on the board of the Film Festival Alliance and is a member of the Louisiana Workforce Coalition.



Juliana Goode

Juliana Goode

OPERATIONS MANAGER

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.

Monika Leska

Monika Leska

MANAGING DIRECTOR

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.



Zuri Obi

Zuri Obi

FILM + CONFERENCE PROGRAMMER

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.

Tishon Pugh

Tishon Pugh

PROGRAMMING COORDINATOR

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.

Maren Scott

Maren Scott

FILMMAKER SERVICES COORDINATOR

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).

Lynn Sylvan

Lynn Sylvan

TECHNICAL MANAGER

Lynn Sylvan was raised in Northwest Florida and lived there until she moved to the New Orleans area in 2019. Lynn is also the Tech Manager for the New Orleans Film Society as well as a writer and filmmaker. She is currently working on her first novel.

Fritz Westenberger

Fritz Westenberger

BRAND STRATEGY DIRECTOR

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.

Brittany Williams

Brittany Williams

ACCOUNTANT

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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PRESIDENT
Elston Howard

PRESIDENT-ELECT
Laura Ashley

VICE-PRESIDENT
Doug Spearman

TREASURER
Jeff Teague

SECRETARY

PRESIDENT EMERITUS
Karon Reese

BOARD MEMBERS

  • Andy Armstrong
  • Monique Gougisha Doucette
  • Tiffany Vega Gibson
  • Cary M. Grant
  • Ariel Harris
  • James Douglas Hislop
  • Valerie Lamb
  • Dodd Loomis
  • Beverly Matheney
  • Virginia McCollam
  • Jonathan McHugh
  • Mamta Melwani
  • Gina Monette
  • Stephen Rehage
  • Donna Santiago
  • Lisa Thompson
  • W. Howard Thompson
  • Melissa Townsend
  • Jason P. Waguespack

HONORARY BOARD

  • Susan Brennan
  • Jen Coolidge
  • Stephanie Durant
  • Alexa Georges
  • John Goodman
  • Taylor Hackford
  • Wendell Pierce

NOFF Programming Team

Clint Bowie

Clint Bowie

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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. 

 

 

Farrington

Farrington

Programmer

Trent Farrington, an Atlanta-based arts organizer hailing from the US Virgin Islands, Farrington has worked in various roles now for 4+ years with service and curated programs all over the US. Farrington has been known for being dedicated to changing the conversations on Black and Queer voices in Independent Cinema. His advocacy efforts include destigmatizing AIDS/HIV, for which he was honored with the 2021 Project Innovator award from THRIVE SS. Notably, Farrington played a critical role in the 2023 Groundwork Regional Lab review committee with Firelight Media, selecting eight documentary filmmakers to receive $45,000 each for completing nonfiction stories from the US territories. Farrington’s impact extends beyond his roles in curating. He is one of the youngest members of the Georgia Film Critics Association and co-owner of a Prophouse/Art Studio in Woodstock, Georgia Proplifter. His preferred name is just Farrington, in honor of his heritage from the Antilles.

Zandashé Brown

Zandashé Brown

Programmer

Zandashé Brown is a storyteller and writer/director born-and-bred in and inspired by southern Louisiana. As a daughter of the abandoned American South, she blends Black Southern introspection and spirituality with surrealistic horror to tell stories about neglected places and peoples. Brown is an alum of the 2022 Sundance Screenwriters Lab and Directors Lab for her debut feature-in-development, THE MATRIARCH, as well as an alum of the 2021 Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program and the 2015 Emerging Voices Directors Program. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film for 2022.

 

Kate Mason

Kate Mason

Programmer

Kate Mason is a writer, performer, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Her artistic career blossomed in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she studied improv, sketch, acting, and drag performance. In addition to programming for the New Orleans Film Festival, she is a programming and events associate at Film Independent, where she produces film screenings, live reads, and panels. Her favorite movies are Three Women, Safe, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Mommie Dearest.

Zuri Obi

Zuri Obi

FILM + CONFERENCE PROGRAMMER

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.

Rashada Fortier

Rashada Fortier

Programmer

Rashada Fortier is a New Orleans based producer and programmer. Her aim is to support work that focuses on narratives centered around women protagonists, particularly women of color. Rashada holds a B.A. in Communications specializing in film and television from Seton Hall University, and a MFA in film from the University of New Orleans. Rashada currently works as an assistant production coordinator in the film industry. She also serves as a narrative shorts programmer for both the New Orleans and Atlanta Film Festivals.

Tishon Pugh

Tishon Pugh

PROGRAMMING COORDINATOR

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.

Zain Hashmat

Zain Hashmat

Programmer

Zain Hashmat is a filmworker and filmmaker based in New Orleans, LA. He has spent the past 3 years working in different positions for the New Orleans Film Society as well as on various sets around the city as a Production Assistant. As a programmer and storyteller, he is deeply interested in contemporary Southern stories told through a tender, comedic lens that heightens the everyday. His personal work explores modern struggles seen through a nostalgic viewpoint rooted in film history, the machinations of the cinema, and Southern culture. Much like his favorite films, he’s short and sweet.

Amber Love

Amber Love

Programmer

Amber Love is a festival programmer and filmmaker based in Chicago, IL whose work is deeply invested in community and the interpersonal relationships that support us. Her own films have explored Afrofuturism, alternative families, and Black heritage, and have been supported by PBS, IF/Then, Kartemquin Films, Short of the Week, and NeXt Doc, as well as screened at festivals including Doc 10 and the Camden International Film Festival. She was a 2022 Kartemquin DVID Fellow, a 2020 Sundance Art of Editing Fellow, and an inaugural recipient of the HBO and The Gotham Documentary Development fund in 2023. As a programmer, she has worked with the New Orleans Film Festival since 2016.

Ryan Craver

Ryan Craver

Programmer

Ryan Craver is a filmmaker who draws from the deep well of his Southern upbringing and the irreverent, experimental legacy of queer cinema to inspire new notions of the American family. Ryan was a 2023 MacDowell Fellow, and his work has received support from the Sloan Foundation, the Davey Foundation, SFFILM, and the Tribeca Film Institute. He is currently developing a television series based on his first short film, Truck Slut.

Lynn Sylvan

Lynn Sylvan

TECHNICAL MANAGER

Lynn Sylvan was raised in Northwest Florida and lived there until she moved to the New Orleans area in 2019. Lynn is also the Tech Manager for the New Orleans Film Society as well as a writer and filmmaker. She is currently working on her first novel.

Stephanie Tell

Stephanie Tell

Programmer

Stephanie Tell is a film curator, researcher, and festival worker. She programs in the Narrative Features (lead) and Narrative Shorts areas of the New Orleans Film Festival, as well as the Narrative Features category at the Atlanta Film Festival. Stephanie is currently completing a PhD dissertation through the University of Melbourne, Australia, focusing on cultures of horror and masquerade on film. Her research interests broadly span liminal and ritual studies, genre cinema, and the possibilities of the cinematic carnivalesque. In another life, Stephanie lived on a warm, dry rock as a contented land iguana.

Amada Torruella

Amada Torruella

Programmer

Amada Torruella is a Salvadoran artist, filmmaker, and film programmer raised in El Salvador and Canada, and based between El Salvador and California. Amada is passionate about exploring memory, grief, Central American landscapes and the relationship between people and home. Amada’s work has been featured in The New Yorker, BlackStar Film Festival, Philadelphia Latino Film Fest, amongst others. Since 2014, Amada has worked as a film programmer and has programmed for Indie Grits, New Orleans Film Festival, SFFILM Film Festival, Wildscreen Festival and Alharaca El Salvador (Feminist Newsroom).

Dani Leal

Dani Leal

Programmer

Dani Leal is photographer, film programmer, and projectionist born and raised in Miami, Florida but based in New Orleans, Louisiana where she has lived for 11 years. Her personal work explores intergenerational narratives, and different manifestations of Love. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout Louisiana since 2018. She is currently a collective member of The Front, an artist-run space in Bywater, New Orleans, where she curates her own work, and those of others, throughout the year. In 2021, after having worked in New Orleans film production for several years in various capacities, Dani began working around the country for film festivals as a projectionist, which subsequently inspired her interest in film programming. Primarily working with Documentary Features, she programs for New Orleans Film Festival and Assistant Programs for Tribeca Film Festival. Her programming interests gravitate towards slower cinema and unconventional story telling.

Bo McGuire

Bo McGuire

Programmer

Bo McGuire was born the queer son of a Waffle House cook and his third-shift waitress in Hokes Bluff, Alabama. The first movie he truly fell for was the music video for Reba McEntire’s “Fancy.” He was a Ryan Murphy + Half Initiative Mentee and one of FilmmakerMagazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” His feature debut, SOCKS ON FIRE, won the jury prize for best documentary feature at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. He belongs to the first church of Dolly Parton.

Autumn Johnson

Autumn Johnson

Programming Fellow

A December 2022 graduate from the University of Houston with a double major in Media Production and English Literature. Autumn possesses a strong passion for creative direction, narrative storytelling and empowering the creatives around her. She currently works at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston as a Communications Coordinator and at Houston Cinema Arts Society as a Marketing and Administrative Associate and is continually building her independent studies in Black film and the film industry.

Han-‘Naeh Belser

Han-‘Naeh Belser

Programming Fellow

Han-’Naeh Belser (she/her/hers) is an African American artist, screenwriter, film programmer, and producer born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama. Her Southern roots have inspired fantastical and romantic narratives that center Black women who often go unnoticed in modern mainstream narratives.

Jillian Desirée Oliveras

Jillian Desirée Oliveras

Programming Fellow

Jillian Desirée Oliveras is a Boricua artist, storyteller, and administrator. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography and minors in Social Work and Graphic Design, Jillian firmly believes in the power of art as an agent of change, and their professional experience has centered on trying to highlight the many ways art and community intersect. They received a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration at the University of New Orleans, with a thesis exploring performing arts organizations in the aftermath of disaster. Jillian is a board member for The NOLA Project, and has screened films for the New Orleans Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and Sundance Institute’s Documentary Fund.

Lizzie Doria

Lizzie Doria

Programming Fellow

Lizzie has ten years of experience producing narrative films, documentaries, shorts, and commercials as co-owner of indie production company Worklight Pictures. Films she’s produced have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca, and of course her hometown New Orleans Film Festival. She was a fellow in the inaugural Southern Producer’s Lab and a past recipient of the #CreateLouisiana French Culture Film Grant. Born and raised in South Louisiana, Lizzie values films deeply rooted in the American south and queer films that make her feel the unexpected. When she’s not watching movies, she’s blabbing about them on her queer film podcast Subtextual, learning to bind books, or daydreaming about next year’s Mardi Gras costume.

2023 NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL TEAM

PLANNING STAFF

SENIOR TICKETING AND CREDENTIALS MANAGER
Juli Shipley (she/her)
juli@neworleansfilmsociety.org

VENUE OPERATIONS MANAGER
Woody Shticks (he/him)
woody@neworleansfilmsociety.org

PRODUCTION MANAGER
Elvira Castillo (she/her)
elvira@neworleansfilmsociety.org

PRINT MARKETING + COMMUNITY PARTNER COORDINATOR
Stephanie Tell (she/they)
stephanie@neworleansfilmsociety.org

HOSPITALITY COORDINATOR
Zain Hashmat (he/him)
zain@neworleansfilmsociety.org

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Lalibela Walto (she/her)
lalibela@neworleansfilmsociety.org

VIP LOUNGE + RECEPTION COORDINATOR
Bailey Braud (she/her)
bailey@neworleansfilmsociety.org

CREDENTIALIST
Sean McCreavy (he/him)
sean@neworleansfilmsociety.org

TECH COORDINATOR
Maureen Wheeler (they/them)
maureen@neworleansfilmsociety.org

CONTENT COORDINATOR
Ted Moree (he/him)
printtraffic@neworleansfilmsociety.org

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Madeline Tess Peters (she/her)
madeline@neworleansfilmsociety.org

OFFICE + CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT
Heather Sandel (she/her)
info@neworleansfilmsociety.org

TECHNICAL CONSULTANT
Jared Van Eck (he/him)
jared@neworleansfilmsociety.org

DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT
Jenny Slattery (she/her)
jenny@neworleansfilmsociety.org

LEAD PARTY PLANNER
Nicole Hershey (she/her)
nicole@neworleansfilmsociety.org

PARTY PLANNER
Chante Ward (she/her)
chante@neworleansfilmsociety.org

GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Maria Hinds (she/her)

PUBLIC RELATIONS
Emily Diament (she/her)

NOFF INTERNS

MARKETING INTERN
Miles Perez (he/him)
miles@neworleansfilmsociety.org

OPERATIONS INTERN
Oliver Parker (he/they)
oliver@neworleansfilmsociety.org

VENUE + HUB MANAGERS

Alyssa Schell
Angel Ohome
Antarah Hasan
Brian Thompson
Daniel Lafrentz
Haley Kastner
LaKesha Glover
Rideia Wilson
Sam Heth
Travis O’Callaghan

BOX OFFICE MANAGERS

Adrienne Thomas
Christine Tremblay
Joseph Sabados
Kennedy Sutterfield
Samantha Morse
Shantrell Green

PROJECTIONISTS + AV TECH

Cassady O’Brien
Daniela Leal
Daneilla Jenkins
Derrick Bell
Dominic Sanders
Erik Bartney
Maya Lewis
Saiya Miller
Zachary Pine

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS + RUNNERS

Benjamin Cole
Gracie Novotny
Jake Generalli
Katalea Ford
Markis Blackwell
Ruby Green
Stephen Poole
Zane Piontek

CONTACT US

General inquiries: info@neworleansfilmsociety.org

Member specific questions: members@neworleansfilmsociety.org

Sponsorship specific questions: lisa@neworleansfilmsociety.org

Submissions and NOFF-specific inquiries: noff@neworleansfilmsociety.org

Press & social media inquiries: fritz@neworleansfilmsociety.org

Job and internship questions: jobs@neworleansfilmsociety.org

You can also reach us via phone at (504) 309-6633 or stop by our office at 1215 Prytania Street, Suite 371, New Orleans, LA 70130 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays from 10 AM – 5 PM.