From December 22 to December 30, WIFVNE members will cast their votes via online ballot for new WIFVNE Board members. WIFVNE Board members help connect our community of working in the film, video, and digital media industries in New England -- our amazing creators and collaborators. Enthusiasm is key. Board members can have any experience level, and we encourage anyone with interests such as exploring leadership potential or contributing expertise to apply.
During the nomination period candidates (or those nominating the candidates) were invited to provide a brief biography, a candidate statement (indicates why this Nominee would be an asset to WIFVNE and its members), a statement on any role or initiative the Nominee would like to undertake while on the Board, and a photo. This information is provided below.
The WIFVNE Board is a hands-on working board. Board members are asked to participate in the planning of and/or attendance at events, film festivals, industry gatherings, and other meetings, based on their interests and availability. Board members also manage the organization's social media presence. WIFVNE Board Member responsibilities include the following:
Serve as Ambassador for WIFVNE, including attending WIFVNE and industry events, spreading the mission and purpose of WIFVNE.
Establish and maintain partnerships with other industry organizations and businesses to further solidify the goals and objectives of the organization.
Build WIFVNE membership and member benefits.
With other board members, assume fiscal responsibility for the organization, including raising funds for the organization.
Attend monthly WIFVNE board meetings and committee meetings as needed.
Work as a team member to accomplish goals and objectives of the organization.
Results will be announced on January 5, 2022.
Candidates for the WIFVNE Board (presented in alphabetical order)
Yael Beals began her career producing for television at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where she worked on a series called ESSENTIAL SCIENCE FOR TEACHERS, a science program for teachers; a documentary called INFLUENCING COLLEGE SCIENCE SUCCESS; and Digital Video Science Library. The work was exhibited at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. As an independent filmmaker, she created several films for the CityLab program at the Boston University School of Medicine, including THE SCIENCE OF OPPORTUNITY and SUMMERLAB. (CityLab provided underprivileged students the opportunity to start a career in biotechnology.) In addition, Yael has worked with Errol Morris, the documentary film and commercial director, in developing concepts for books and films. Beals is also developing the limited TV series, BILLION DOLLAR MOLECULE based on the book with the same name by the award-winning author, Barry Werth. This is also a collaboration with award-winning Executive Producer Norman Stephens, award-winning screenwriter John Pielmeier, and Executive producer Julie Snyder. She is also developing a limited TV series, HOOK’s TALE based on the book with the same name by John Pielmeier and Executive Producers Norman Stephens and Ken Atchity. Beals is Co-Producing a feature documentary film about Jewish Resistance to the Nazi Regime during Holocaust with Emmy award-winning Executive Producer Paula Apsell. Beals earned her Master’s degree in film and television from Emerson College and a B.A. in photojournalism from Ohio University. She studied science at Harvard University and is trained as an EMT.
Candidate Statement: For more than two decades I have been telling stories through media visual arts. Two decades ago I moved to Boston to attend Emerson for graduate school for film. After graduation I moved to Kwajalein, Marshall Islands for a few years and then returned to Boston. After beating breast cancer I have returned to filmmaking with a new determination to create media that will entertain a vast audience. I’m a passionate producer and an avid networker. My ultimate goal is to finance feature films and TV series that can be made in New England. I enjoy being around other filmmakers and am thrilled to be a part of Women in Film and Video New England.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: There are many women owned production companies, producers, directors, DP’s, editors and other female crew. My goal is to continue the tradition of what is already working for Women in Film and Video New England. I’d like to promote networking among women filmmakers in New England so that we can hire within our community. I’d also like to explore more opportunities for us to work together and collaborate on projects.
Evelyn Brito is a creative film producer, screenwriter, and director with over 15 years of professional experience in the entertainment industry. She is also an event and marketing manager with several years’ experience in planning events, booking qualified speakers, and engaging attendees. She’s managed several events through her career as well. In addition to the Irish Solas Awards and the Roxbury Multicultural Festival, Ms. Brito has also managed Color Magazine’s Women of Color Leadership and Empowerment Conference, Men of Color Leadership Conference, and the All-Inclusive Awards. Ms. Brito’s film career started in 2001 as a comedy producer for BOOM TV on channel 23 Boston Neighborhood Network in Boston, MA. She held this role for six years, during which she worked as a stage manager for various events and TV productions, videos, and film shorts for local directors. Ms. Brito is currently the writer and executive producer of Bodega Makeover. Bodega Makeover, similar to Extreme Makeover Home Edition, is a docu-reality web series providing store improvements and healthy eating options for local neighborhoods. The host will meet with the business owner to discuss any issues the bodega is facing, act as a consultant, and bring community health experts and designers in the process. Evelyn Brito was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She got her Associates Degree in Visual Communications from Katherine Gibbs School, and studied Film Production at the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood, California. Her greatest passion is to be behind the scenes—producing and directing. Her experience working for nonprofits gives her a unique perspective to write stories that are socially relevant to her local community.
Candidate Statement/Initiative Statement: I am honored to be nominated for the WIFVNE Board. In an effort to continue to support female voices in the film, television, and media industries, I look forward to working harmoniously with other board members and volunteers as well as the management team. For those of you who don't know me, I've been a filmmaker and event producer for over 15 years. As a producer, all my projects have a social impact message and in events, I have worked with corporate executives on diversity and inclusion. I am able to contribute my experience to the following areas: ● Uplifting female voices collectively by using intersectionality ● Focus on inclusion in membership ● Pitch my ideas for diverse content
Grace-Mary Burega is a composer for film, TV, and video games as well as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist on saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Her compositions have been on TV PSAs as well as in short and feature films currently on the festival circuit, and she has scored over 20 films to date. Grace Notes is her media composing company, which specializes in custom music for a variety of projects such as documentary, horror, comedy, drama, animation, and more. Burega is currently a social media and music volunteer for Women in Film and Video of New England. She is the Secretary for the Female Composer Safety League, an organization to ensure the safety, advancement, and empowerment of female composers in the music composing industry. Grace-Mary is currently pursuing her Masters of Music degree at Berklee Online where she is studying film scoring and will graduate in June 2022. She is the Online Representative for the Berklee Film Scoring Network and the president of the Berklee Online Networking Group, where she interviews composers and professionals in the film industry, such as Carter Burwell, Brian Tyler, Anne Dudley, and Ron Jones.
Candidate statement: I have been a member of WIFVNE for five years, and I have been a volunteer for WIFVNE for over a year. As a volunteer, I have helped with social media on Facebook, as well as creating original music for several WIFVNE projects such as the WIFVNE virtual events and the Backlit series with High Output. I have experience as the Secretary of the Female Composer Safety League, an organization to ensure the safety, advancement, and empowerment of female composers in the music composing industry. I understand the importance of empowering women in the film industry and creating an open and collaborative space. I have been a leader for four years as the Online Representative for the Berklee Film Scoring Network and the president of the Berklee Online Networking Group. In these roles, I have led interviews and panels with numerous composers and professionals in the film industry as well as experience organizing and promoting events.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would love to run an initiative to teach storytellers how to better communicate with composers through a series of panels and classes. Using my network, I would be able to create a group of female composers for panel discussions and classes to teach musical storytelling and the storyteller-composer relationship. I also imagine working with members to plan a panel discussion on post-production roles and how they work together: such as film editors, sound editors, and composers. I would love to continue my current volunteer role, by expanding member interaction on social media, increasing posts and engagement for WIFVNE events and membership. I would love to be an ambassador for WIFVNE at different film festivals throughout New England. I would reach out to numerous colleges in the New England region to widen our lens and advocate for professional careers in the New England area.
Heather Cassano is an independent documentary filmmaker, media artist, and educator. She received her M.F.A. from Emerson College in 2017 and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut. Heather’s first feature-length documentary THE LIMITS OF MY WORLD (2018) screened at numerous film festivals across the U.S. and internationally, winning three Best Documentary awards and a Jury Prize. The film is currently being used as a tool for impact by organizations like the National Council on Severe Autism and Autism Canada. THE LIMITS OF MY WORLD is now available on Amazon Prime. Heather is currently in production on her second feature documentary THE FATE OF HUMAN BEINGS, which is supported by the LEF Foundation, UnionDocs, Mass Humanities, and the UConn School of Fine Arts. When she’s not directing documentaries, Heather works as an editor and colorist for independent films. She is also the Shorts Program Director of Salem Film Fest.
Candidate statement: I have been a member of WIFVNE for years, taking advantage of the many programs and connections the organization has given me. Now, I want to give back and help grow this organization. I have earned a variety of skills through my filmmaking, film festival, and educational experience that will make me an asset to the WIFVNE board. I have experience designing impact campaigns, marketing my films, and building community partnerships that I am eager to bring to the WIFVNE board. My experience in film festival organization and higher education has given me impeccable organizational skills and the confidence to host events, workshops, and panels. I look forward to bringing my experience to the WIFVNE board.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would love to see WIFVNE become more involved with students entering the film industry. I hope to help grow this involvement through my position at the University of Connecticut and my connections with other institutions in New England. I would also like to see more of an organizational presence at local film festivals by sponsoring Q&As, panels, and workshops that focus on womxn filmmakers. I would also be interested in starting a screening series, like the one that NYWIFT organizes, that would showcase the creative work of our members. These initiatives would increase community within our organization and elevate WIFVNE in the New England filmmaking community.
A seasoned producer for non-scripted programming, Claudia Croce-Tashman is a recent transplant from Los Angeles and is loving her New England life. With almost 15 years as an industry professional, Claudia’s experience varies from documentary series, to game shows, to competition shows. Claudia is also excited to venture more into the film world, and hopes to execute some new projects in the near future. Professional strengths are team management and motivation, interviewing, and story building. Apart from producing, Claudia is married and is a mother to two boys ages 4 and 6, from whom she draws inspiration, joy and strength every day. Claudia feels lucky to be a part of the Women In Film and Television community, and if selected as a member of the board she aims to bring to the table her organizational skills, a positive attitude, lots of energy, good public speaking skills, and since Claudia loves a good party, she hopes to help in organizing and hosting events. Aside from WIFVNE, Claudia is also a member of the PGA and SAF-AFTRA and WGAE.
Candidate Statement: I am honored to be considered for board membership and I wish to contribute in any way needed. I bring 15 years of professional industry experience to the table but more importantly I bring enthusiasm and good skills set in the areas of presentation skills, organizing and hosting events and project management. I wish to help our community thrive and succeed and I believe strongly in our ability as a team to continue to evolve and become stronger.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would be a good fit for a spokesperson role as I like public speaking and I would love to also help organize and host fundraising events. That said, I am glad to float where I am needed.
Hannah Eaton is a filmmaker based out of Rhode Island. She is committed to creating stories that explore dynamics of human relationships and emotions, as well as our evolving relationship to technology and the environment. She is a screenwriter, director, and producer for her own projects, and is also passionate about supporting other filmmakers through her work as an assistant director, production manager, and producer. As her membership in WIFVNE has been pivotal in building her film experiences and community, she hopes to serve on the board and support this incredible community of filmmakers. Outside of film (and sometimes in conjunction with film), Hannah enjoys designing, sewing, surfing, dancing, running, and leading nature-based retreats.
Candidate Statement: Hannah deeply believes in the power of film to share important stories and to bring more beauty into the world. She integrates her unique set of skills developed as a clinical therapist, program manager, artist, and filmmaker to create a culture of respect, inclusivity, efficiency, and joy on any set or project she works on. She brings over ten years of experience in program development, management, and production, and understands what it takes to conceptualize and execute a project or program. She is both a dreamer and a do-er, highly organized and detail-oriented while keeping her eye on the big picture. If given the opportunity, Hannah would be thrilled to serve on the board of WIFVNE to support this incredible community of filmmakers.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would love to serve in a capacity that both fills a need for the board, and also integrates my unique talents and visions. Specifically, there are currently three roles or initiatives I have in mind if given the opportunity to serve on the board. First, I am interested in creating in-person monthly meetings where local filmmakers can share short 1-2 minute films they create, with the goal of having a place to practice and share creations within the context of a supportive community. Second, I am curious to explore if there is community interest for an in-person retreat to support filmmakers with dreaming about and creating tangible progress on their projects. I have led nature-based trips/ retreats for over ten years, and believe it would be powerful to create a retreat that is specifically for artists/ filmmakers. Third, I am interested in serving as a representative at events or film festivals for WIFVNE. I have served and worked in this capacity for many years. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and sharing information that I deeply believe in (such as the power of WIFV).
Heather Keith is making a career transition into the Film and Television industry. She is currently finding any and every opportunity to work on set while also working on a screenplay of a historical fiction series based on a novel she’s writing. In her previous career, she had 25 years of marketing and sales management experience, building sales teams and launching products for multiple medical device companies. In 2011, she founded a start-up and raised $1.25M from investors. She previously served on the Board of MassMEDIC (Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council). Heather has volunteered for many years as an advisor, mentor, and speaker for Springboard Enterprises (sb.co), an organization that accelerates the growth of entrepreneurial companies led by women through access to resources and a global community of experts. Heather has double bachelor degrees in Biology and Business and received her MBA from Boston University. She plays piano and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and rowing.
Candidate Statement: I believe I would be an asset to WIFVNE because I have a passion for, and a long history of, serving others to strengthen an entire organization or group. I have experience serving on Boards and understand the commitment to outreach, as well as the challenges of creating and executing programs that support and benefit the members. I am comfortable speaking on behalf of an organization and am bold in my advocacy for women’s advancement in fields where we have been historically under-represented. In my time as a WIFVNE member, I have connected members with work opportunities and jumped in to volunteer as needed. I believe my business background provides a strong skill set for gathering feedback from members, listening to the needs of members, building programs to support members, and serving as a volunteer to deliver programs for the benefit of WIFVNE members. It would be an honor to serve you as a Board Member. Thank you!
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I am glad to serve in any role or on any initiative while on the Board. In particular, I would like to focus on finding or creating more opportunities for women to find funding sources and secure funding for their projects.
Dusty Noval is a conglomerate of storytelling; writer directer, producer, actor, educator and mentor. Always a visual communicator, her first chosen career was graphic design, which led to art direction and creative marketing which led to teaching, and then administration. Dusty has taught design, creative writing, entrepreneurship, and teaching methodology. Her administrative positions include an acting conservatory, a nonprofit, and proprietary and private colleges in NY and Connecticut. Within the TV industry, Dusty has worked in Talent, Travel, Casting, and Transcription. She has written as well as and produced her original work. Her screenplays and stage plays have earned her laurels, which include the Austin Film Festival, and The Sam French OOB Festival. Dusty loves learning as much as teaching. Her education includes a B.S. in Visual Arts, an M.S. in Management and M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing. She lives with her line producer husband Ray, and their pitmix rescue Piper in the artist community of Silvermine Connecticut.
Candidate Statement: I was honored to be a finalist for the 2021 Film Star Award, but I didn’t come to the annual meeting to win. WIFVNE was not on my radar before the award, but I was intrigued by the idea of an organization of women helping women create and compete in this industry. I’d been working a vacuum for years, trying to figure out how to bring my stories to life, learning as I went, and surviving on the support of a few kindred spirits. When I found myself at the WIFVNE annual meeting, I quickly discovered a supportive and welcoming group. I instantly felt in my gut that this was an organization worth the investment of my time and energy, heart and soul. I have decades of experience, some talent, and an incredible drive, that I believe would serve an asset to the board.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: By 2015, It had become important to me to create and produce locally and to work with other women as often as possible. However, I had difficulty finding local creative collaborators. I did join NYWIFTV for a short time, but the distance made it difficult to partake in their networking events and programs on any regular schedule. As a WIFVNE board member my goal will be to open doors. I would work on building a more robust membership in Connecticut, increasing our participation in film festivals, and on creating collaborative initiatives with NE based businesses and educational institutions in and outside the filmmaking/TV industry. I would also work to increase awareness of WIFVNE throughout New England, and spearhead local events where our members can gather to pitch their projects, connect as collaborators, and make both professional and personal connections.
Jenifer Stockdale is a veteran teacher and has been writing screenplays for over 20 years. She was pitching movies in Hollywood when it wasn't fashionable to be a woman in film. After a brief hiatus of trying to sell her screenplays, she came back into the industry deciding to produce her own movies. To this date, she has completed more than ten films under 10 minutes with low to no budget, three short films with budgets ranging from $5000-$20,000 and is currently in pre-production with her first feature film.
Candidate Statement: Through many difficult experiences in this film industry, I continue to push through many obstacles as I fulfill my passion for working with films. I strongly believe that determination and motivation will pave the way for women as I have proven through the years and will continue to do so. I bring to the table strength, tenacity, perseverance and a loyalty that is always present. As a teacher, I advocate for the the under privileged youth with whom I work which gives me the skills to be able to support and to seek a resolution which is fair to all parties involved.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I am looking to acquire knowledge of all aspects of being a Board Member for WIFVNE and to work collaboratively with the other members to fulfill WIFVNE's vision for the future.. I am open to any opportunity or position which allows me to utilize my strengths and help accomplish this goal for not only your organization, but also for the future female film makers and screenwriters.
Kathryn Taccone is a co-founder and creative at Open Pixel Studios, a women-owned animation studio. She has been an executive for the last 4.5 years in her business, and has gained experience in multiple industries through her unique background and affiliation with animation, video games, film, and theater. Her passion for understanding how a production comes together has driven her to creating her own curriculum in college all the way to starting her own studio in 2017.
Candidate Statement: I have served on two local boards in Western Massachusetts: The Advertising Club of Western Mass, and WIT: Women Innovators and Trailblazers. I recognize that there are unique challenges that every organization faces, so I understand the importance of listening to everyone's approaches and ideas to arrive at inclusive and productive solutions. I'm proud to be a team player while working every day on making sure healthy boundaries are established in my workplace and personal life. What I can provide for WIFVNE is a unique lens into the animation and video game industries after working as an animator for over a decade, which have a wonderful and beautiful overlap into the film industry in many ways. My skills as a business owner allow me to share insights into improving production pipelines across industries while providing knowledge of leadership development for management and executive teams.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would like to accomplish 3 goals. The first would be to dive deeper into mentorship opportunities for women in film. From opening new doors to students, to creating 'Mastermind' groups to share and bounce ideas off of, we can provide new resources from New England and nationally to create meaningful relationships. The second goal would be to assist in any back-end development of the board for the future. With the influx of new members, new events, and widening the lens, we can create a structure that supports the growing landscape of the organization to scale so JoAnn, Sharon, and Nerissa don't have quite as much work on their shoulders! The 3rd goal would be to create new hybrid events that folks from everywhere in New England can enjoy and feel connected to the community at large.
Rachel S. Thomas-Medwid
Rachel S. Thomas-Medwid is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and independent filmmaker whose films have screened in numerous festivals worldwide. She believes there’s an enormous power in filmmaking and how stories can connect and bind people together through a shared experience.
A few recent honors include being named a 2020 New England Film Star finalist; Best Narrative Short Film Director, Mystic Film Festival, 2020; ISA Top 25 Screenwriter to Watch in 2021; Female Filmmaker Award recipient, Lonely Seal International Film Festival, 2020; Grand Jury Prize, Best Short Film, Paris Independent Film Festival 2021; Best Folk Horror Short Film, Shawna Shea Film Festival, 2021; Best First Time Director, New York Movie Awards, 2020; semi-finalist, Academy Award Qualifying Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, 2020.
Her latest film—shot locally with an all-star New England cast and crew—is scheduled for release in early 2022. Another recent screenplay “The Influencer” was the Grand Prize Winner of the Emerging Screenwriters Shoot Your Short contest and will be premiering at Hollyshorts Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2022.
Professionally, she’s been the news editor of the American Meteorological Society’s monthly magazine as well as the media relations manager for the society for over 25 years.
Her goal as a filmmaker is to continue to tell stories and participate in elevating the role of female filmmakers in the industry while connecting and collaborating with as many people on as many levels as possible.
Candidate Statement: I feel my biggest asset is a genuine enthusiasm, passion for the art of filmmaking, and my desire to work with and connect people within the New England film community. I’ve made valuable connections in the industry through attending film festivals with my screenplays and films worldwide. These personal and professional connections would be a great asset in helping to elevate and expand the film community here.
With my film productions, I’ve proactively expanded the network of cast and crew each time with a focus on hiring more women and minorities, many who I met through WIFVNE networking events. Self-education is also a big focus for me, and I continuously try to learn through webinars, events, and classes on filmmaking. If elected to the board, I would bring the same enthusiasm and energy I dedicate to my personal projects to WIFVNE and the New England film community.
Initiative or role Candidate would like to undertake: I would love to be involved in planning panels for film festivals and events focusing on female and underrepresented filmmakers; and by “filmmaker” I mean cast and crew and the multitude of people involved in filmmaking. There are so many points of view and topics of interest and relevance to explore! Since 2019, I’ve participated in interviews, podcasts, and panels and have learned what valuable communication tools these are for everyone involved.
And as someone who used to hate networking, I’d also be interested in planning creative networking events geared toward members who may be hesitant to put themselves out there to show how valuable networking and collaborating in the industry is.