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ABOUT NYWIFT
IN THIS SECTION
Alexis Alexanian, President
Margarita Sophia Cortes, VP/Communications
Anne Hubbell, VP/Development
Destiny Lilly, Special Events
Simone Pero, VP/Special Events
Octavia Taylor, VP/Programming
Anita Katzen, Treasurer
Maria Miles, Secretary
Terry Greenberg, Communications
Robyn Watson, Development
April Hattori, Special Events
Annetta Marion, Membership
Maura Kelly, Programming
Rosalind Murphy, Programming
Heidi Brod, Development
Flo Mitchell-Brown, Communications
Jamie Zelermeyer, Special Events
Claire Shanley, Membership
Marsha S. Brooks, Esq., Legal Counsel


Board of Directors 2015-2016

Alexis Alexanian, President
Alexis Alexanian is President of Production at Locomotive, an independently financed film and television company founded by Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Alexandra Kerry. She started her career in production on big-budget studio films, including A League of Their Own, Mississippi Burning, Bonfire of the Vanities and Striptease. Alexanian is the co-founder, along with her brother David, of Elixir Films, an independent production company dedicated to character-driven, passion projects for film and television. At Elixir, she produced the international TV series Long Way Round, featuring Ewan McGregor, which aired on Bravo, as well as Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State, released in 2007. Prior to Elixir, she co-founded, along with Gary Winick, InDigEnt (Independent Digital Entertainment), New York's groundbreaking digital initiative funded by the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and dedicated to producing low-budget, talent-driven features. While at InDigEnt, Alexanian produced Sundance favorites Pieces of April, Tadpole, Tape, Chelsea Walls and Personal Velocity, which garnered her an Independent Spirit Award.

Margarita Sophia Cortes, VP/Communications Margarita Sophia Cortes is an entertainment publicist whose career began in 2000 at PPV coordinating PR efforts for award-winning programs and critically acclaimed specials. In 2005, she joined JGPR agency to oversee dozens of indie film and DVD campaigns ranging from Robert Greenwald’s Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price and Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me to Robert Klein: The HBO Specials and Sex and Lucia to Dirty Dancing: The Limited Edition. In 2009 she established MSophia PR and led campaigns for Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest; the award-winning documentary, Restrepo; the critically acclaimed Starlet, The Deep Blue Sea and Any Day Now and Oscar® nominated Monsieur Lazhar.  

Anne Hubbell, VP/Development Anne Hubbell is Eastman Kodak’s East Coast Regional Account Manager for Studio and Independent Feature Film, working with over 100 projects annually. She oversees studio contracts, negotiates with productions, advises filmmakers, and does outreach at film festivals and industry events. As a freelance producer and consultant, she has worked on film and television productions, and not-for-profit media and arts events. She is currently developing and producing several narrative feature films, including two Sundance Lab projects, and is writing an animated feature. Hubbell is on the board of the New York Production Alliance and is a member of IFP and PGA.

Destiny Lilly, Special Events Destiny Lilly is the owner of Destiny Casting, a boutique casting company specializing in short film and video projects. Over seven years in casting, she has cast more than 150 commercials and branded video projects. She is the Casting Consultant for the Live Action Short Film Program at SVA where she mentors graduate and undergraduate students. She recently cast the short film A Poet Long Ago written by journalist Pete Hamill and directed by Bob Giraldi which premiered at The Hamptons International Film Festival. While serving on  the NYWIFT programming committee, Destiny has produced programs on topics including casting independent films and film festival programmers. She is a graduate of Emory University and The Central School of Speech and Drama.

Simone Pero, VP/Special Events Pero is a corporate communications executive and founder of For Impact Productions, an independent firm specializing in outreach and marketing campaigns for media and entertainment companies, independent films, and nonprofits. Her recent work includes development of the Stony Brook Southampton Graduate Film Program with Killer Films and movement building for the Sundance hit Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. Previously, she was Vice President for Corporate Communications at MTV and earlier, Director of Communication and Marketing at Rainbow Media/Cablevision. Pero also co-produced the award-winning documentary Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy (directed by NYWIFT advisory board member Alice Elliott) and is an alumna of the Sundance Institute. She began her career on national and global advocacy initiatives, including the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the Clinton/Gore ’96 advance team.

Octavia Taylor, VP/Programming Octavia Taylor passed the New York State Bar with a singular focus: to be an advocate for artists. She began her legal career working at a music boutique law firm where she reviewed and negotiated music agreements for emerging producers and employment agreements for music executives. After a stint at VH1, Octavia enjoyed being involved in the creative process of a television show so much that she began to pursue a career as a television production attorney. She eventually worked for both the Disney ABC Television Group and BET as a production attorney and as a marketing attorney for HBO. Octavia is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a service organization, and Fred’s Team, which is a fundraising program for marathoners who raise money for cancer research. Octavia received her BA in Communications from the University of Virginia and her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Anita Katzen, Treasurer Katzen has worked as a tax accountant for her entire career, with a focus on entertainment clients. Entertainment clients include actors, film, television and music producers, directors and writers. Katzen focuses on corporate and personal tax and cash flow. Katzen has served on the New York State Society of CPA’s Entertainment, Sports and Art Committee for the past 15 years and was treasurer of the National Association of Women Business owners for 5 years.

Maria Miles, Secretary Maria C. Miles is the founding partner of an entertainment law firm with offices in New York. Maria’s practice focuses on all areas of entertainment law including, film, music, publishing, fashion and new media.  Most recently, Maria served as general counsel for a multimedia start-up overseeing a diverse range of matters including technology licensing and intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights and patents), both in the US and abroad. Prior to her role as in-house counsel, Maria was counsel to award-winning actors, writers, producers, television hosts, multi-platinum recording artists, and corporations in the fashion and sports industries related to their entertainment matters.

Terry Greenberg, Communications Veteran studio marketing executive Terry Greenberg has enjoyed an extensive career in both film and television. Following several years in the cable industry, she transitioned into motion pictures, overseeing campaigns for Paramount Pictures and The Walt Disney Company that included Top Gun, Fatal Attraction, Ghost, Pretty in Pink, Toy Story, Aladdin and Evita, among many others. In addition, Terry has contributed her Hollywood savvy to the New York Film Festival and has segued into documentary filmmaking. Her recent projects include Carol Channing: Larger Than Life, and an array of A-list panels for the DOC NYC Film Festival.

 

Robyn Watson, Development Robyn Watson was until recently the Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement at Time Warner Cable, where she was responsible for creating strategic communications initiatives that drive key business results and supports the creation of high-performing and culturally dynamic employees. In addition to being an active member of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), she sits on the board of directors for Entertainers for Education Alliance (E4EA), an entertainment industry nonprofit that uses athletes, musicians and high-profile individuals to promote higher learning and personal achievement among urban youth. She is a graduate of Emory University, is pursuing a Masters in Science in Leadership from Benedictine University, and holds a master certification in Strategic Organizational Leadership and Human Resources from Villanova University.  

 

 

April Hattori, Special Events April Hattori is Director of Communications at Expeditionary Learning. She has more than 10 years of communications experience at established and entrepreneurial organizations, including Disney, McGraw-Hill, Standard & Poor’s, Allstate, and Press Play Productions. April also mentors first generation college students in the New York Needs You non-profit. In addition, she has served on the boards of Town Hall and the Workshop Theater.

Annetta Marion, Membership Award-winning director and Primetime Emmy-nominated producer Annetta Marion’s experience in television and film includes documentary and reality television, as well as narrative film, commercials, music videos, and internet content. Annetta is currently directing on the acclaimed TV series Oprah’s Master Class, profiling entertainment icons including Tim McGraw, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, Berry Gordy, and Lenny Kravitz. She was also the showrunner on season three of the series, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy, a first for the network.  Annetta’s producing experience includes ESPN’s 30-for-30 feature documentary “You Don’t Know Bo,” which earned the highest-ever rating in the network’s history.  She’s a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women; and a member of both the Director’s Guild of America and the Producer’s Guild of America.

 

 

Maura Kelly, Programming Maura Kelly is an Emmy-winning producer and media consultant for TV, digital and special events. She is the founder of Purple Mountain Media, an independent company specializing in development, project management and community engagement campaigns. She has worked with the Jim Henson Company, PBS Kids, Facebook, Southern Star, and Bill Moyers. Formerly, Kelly was an executive producer at WNET/PBS for over 15 years where she produced award-winning programs, developed revenue streams and created strategic alliances Prior, she was a Director of Marketing at Townley Associates, producers of the WSJ Report. Currently, Kelly writes on entrepreneurs and emerging technology trends for the Huffington Post.

 

 

 

Rosalind Murphy, Programming Rosalind Murphy is an independent marketing consultant with diverse experience in film marketing, social media strategy and event management. Prior to working as an independent consultant, Rosalind worked as Executive Engagement Manager at Microsoft and Marketing Director at Film Life, Inc. While at Microsoft she launched the successful quarterly Women Executive Forum and received the Microsoft Diversity Inclusion Award for developing innovative relationship programs for women executives. Rosalind’s is an active board member of La Casa de Pedro and member of Women's Association of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. 

 

 

Heidi Brod, Development
Heidi Brod has been an active part of the New York Film community as an IFP Panelist and a member of New York Women In Film and Television.  She has over 20 years of experience in the industry. She joined Miramax Films in 1991 as a script reader and quickly was promoted to Development Executive running the story department.  She was instrumental in developing award-winning films such as Shakespeare in Love, Gangs of New York and Like Water for Chocolate.  She also helped to develop Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Producers (Musical Theater).  She currently works as a writer and freelance story consultant.  She contributes to Huffington Post as well as created an online newsletter focusing on health and beauty.  She is currently finishing her first Teen Fiction novel.  She lives in New York with her husband Jon and their two children, Caylin and Logan.

 

 

Flo Mitchell-Brown, Communications Flo brings over 20 years of entertainment industry leadership, management, and operations experience to her role as Vice President of Payroll Operations New York at Entertainment Partners. She also has extensive experience working with non-profit entities through various Board positions and philanthropic work. She is honored to have served others within her personal and professional communities, and she is extremely proud of her work collaborating and planning events and initiatives in the non-profit sector. Flo currently sits on the Executive Board for NYPA and is Co-Chair of the NY Lounge at Sundance, along with numerous leadership roles in the community at large.

 

 

 

Jamie Zelermeyer, Special Events Jamie Zelermyer is a New York based Independent Producer.  Most recently she produced Ratter starring Ashley Benson and Matt McGorry which premiered at Slamdance in 2015.  She was the VP, Physical Production at Focus Features / Rogue Pictures for six years ending in November 2012.  At Focus she oversaw such movies as Admission, One Day, Jane Eyre, Sin Nombre and Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Prior to Focus Jamie was a Line Producer and Production Manager working on films such as Igby Goes Down, Boys Don't Cry and You Can Count on Me. Over the years, she has had the privilege to work with a number of notable directors including Steve McQueen, Lone Scherfig, Kenneth Lonergan, Cary Fukanaga and Kimberly Pierce.  Jamie is a graduate of Bard College.

 

 

Claire Shanley, Membership Claire Shanley works at the intersection of technical, creative, and strategic concerns for production & post. In her current role as the Managing Director of Sixteen19, a full-service post production company, Claire oversees locations in NYC, LA, London, and New Orleans. A board member of the Post New York Alliance, Claire is active in advocacy for public policy that benefits the industry as a whole. She earned a BA from Columbia College of Columbia University and an MFA in Film & Video from the City University of New York, then worked as an editor and technical specialist. Claire serves as the Co-Chair of the board of the New York City LGBT Community Center. 

Legal Council

Marsha S. Brooks, Esq., Legal Counsel Brooks is a partner in the New York City law firm of Brooks & Distler. She has specialized in the areas of entertainment and intellectual property law for over 25 years. Brooks represents producers, writers, directors, rights owners, and for-profit and not-for-profit institutions in the fields of legitimate theatre, motion picture, television, and new media all over the world. She is general counsel for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and New York Women in Film & Television.


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts