Leadership

Women in Film & Video DCLeadership

The WIFV Board of Directors is responsible for developing programs, governing the organization, ensuring financial stability, and forming partnerships to benefit the membership.  We are grateful to these members who volunteer their time and expertise to benefit the organization and its members.  WIFV is currently seeking candidates for the 2021-23 board term and will host an orientation meeting on May 4.  If interested, RSVP hereGuidelines for Candidates are here.  Candidate statements are due May 11.

President

Cathie Saadeh

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Cathie Saadeh

Cathie Saadeh is an entertainment attorney providing business, production, and intellectual property legal advice to producers, filmmakers, writers, and creative businesses through her law firm, Saadeh P.C., which she founded in 2018. Prior to opening her firm, she served as General Counsel of ACA Compliance Group, a global financial technology and consulting company, for nearly nine years. She also worked as an attorney at two national law firms and a federal government agency. In addition to her legal career, Cathie worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

Cathie currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of Women in Film & Video, Washington D.C. She is a frequent speaker on entertainment industry legal issues, and teaches a class on entrepreneurship for media professionals at American University’s School of Communication.

Cathie graduated from Harvard Law School and The George Washington University and is admitted to practice law in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New York.

Executive Vice President

Sara Barger

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Sara Barger

Sara Barger is an award-winning filmmaker based in Washington, DC who specializes in short form documentaries. Her recent film, “Little but Fierce,” highlights one mother’s journey into the illegal drug market to buy her daughter medicine to treat a rare form of brain cancer, and was part of the Docs in Progress Fellowship Program. She has worked for the U.S. State Department and USAID, filming in developing countries including Iraq, Congo, India, China, Tibet, El Salvador and Honduras. Sara currently teaches filmmaking at American, George Washington and George Mason universities. She previously taught at Old Dominion University and worked for Discovery Channel, as well as developed the production departments for two national public policy think tanks. Sara holds an MA in Journalism from American University and an MFA in film from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Secretary

Dylan Comstock
Mentorship Chair
Dylan Comstock

Dylan Comstock is the creative director of Holaday Graves Media, LLC, a DC-based multimedia production company specializing in short form, docu-style, issue-based video production for educators, government entities, non-profits, and social justice organizations. Most recently, Dylan received a 2019 Silver Davey Award in the category of Education for The School-To-Prison Pipeline: A Holistic Perspective, one of nine videos in a series he produced for the National Education Association and American Federation for Teachers. His passion for video advocacy was cultivated working as a producer and writer for Video/Action, a woman-led non-profit production company which elevates the voices of those often unheard. In addressing a diversity of causes and populations, Dylan enjoys leveraging his experience in wide range of production environments to unite folks around causes. In 2010, he took a position as a content producer and sales executive for Metro Weekly, the District’s LGBTQ newsmagazine. Dylan’s empathetic capacity and interest in storytelling are backed by a degree in psychology and philosophy (B.A.), which he earned with high distinction from the University of Virginia in 2008. Previously, Dylan worked in Los Angeles with Clive Barker’s Seraphim Films, MTV Films at Paramount, and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Accolades: Gold Telly Award – Government Relations, 2018 3 Gold Omni Awards – Government, 2018 Bronze Telly Award – Social Issues, 2018 Silver Telly Award – Social Responsibility, 2019 Bronze Telly Award – Government Relations, 2019 Silver Davey Award – Education, 2019

Treasurer

Monda Webb
Monda Webb

Monda Webb is a storyteller. She is DNA-purposed to gather the whispers of those long gone and tell their stories through books and film. Born during the Civil Rights and Vietnam War era heat of 1968, Monda has absorbed the fire, the rage, the love, the frustration, the urgency of the period, and has become obsessed with – truth. Monda worked as press advance secretary for the first female Mayor of Washington, DC, Sharon Pratt. Following Pratt’s victory, Monda worked at the Office of Cable TV in all aspects of production and won awards for features she produced from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). She has written four books, written and directed two short films that address humanity head on. Monda has won several national and international awards for her first short, Zoo (Volkerschau), a narrative short on the last known human zoo.She has recently stepped out of corporate America to pursue storytelling full-time.

Immediate Past President / Advisory Committee Liason

Robin Noonan-Price
Robin Noonan-Price

Robin Noonan-Price earned her M.A. in Film and Video Production from The American University. After grad school, Robin moved to Georgia where she worked in television sales, traffic and production. She then became a commercial copy writer. Once, in a pinch she had to play the role of a gypsy medium in one of her commercials. That experience made her realize she is better suited to be behind the camera!  In 1994, while juggling motherhood with three young daughters at home, Robin started her own production company. In 1999, she began freelancing for Fairfax County Public Schools and in 2000; she was offered a full-time producer position, where she has been working ever since.  Robin’s primary role at FCPS has been producing Meet the Author. This 30-minute live-streamed studio program provides students from around the country and internationally, with direct access to guest authors, through Skype, email and phone. Robin is a four-time Emmy Award Nominee as producer of Meet the Author, a five-time Telly Award winner and has earned three TIVA-DC Peer Awards.

Members at Large

John Benedetto
Programming Chair
John Benedetto

John Benedetto (“Detto”) moved to Washington, DC to attend American University’s MA program in Film and Video. After graduating with a concentration in Screenwriting, Detto totally expected to end up in NYC or LA in a few short years. Instead, over a decade later, he finds himself fully immersed in the DC media world as a writer, director and editor. He has written for Capital Arts Entertainment, the FBI, and HGTV, has completed six spec screenplays and is currently putting the finishing touches on his first novel. On the post production side, Detto has edited five feature length films and is an award-winning VFX artist, and edited six different true crime reality TV series for networks such as ID, TVOne, and LMN. Looking to expand his resume, Detto co-founded XIII Stories Media, a production company dedicated to developing quality narrative and documentary productions in the DMV area. XIII Stories most recent project, the horror short The Phages which Detto co-wrote and co-directed, is currently being submitted to festivals across the world.

Ericka Boston
Ericka Boston

Ericka Boston specialized in entertainment and lifestyle content for websites and magazines before shifting her focus to filmmaking. As a journalist she covered awards shows, movie premieres and more for a multicultural audience of more than 1 million. Celebrities who’ve found themselves on the other end of her digital recorder include Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington and Idris Elba. Boston directs, produces and writes narrative films. Most recently she produced “In the Age of Monsters.” Boston began her career with award-winning websites like Washingtonpost.com and Firehouse.com. She spent more than a decade at Sister 2 Sister magazine, a national newsstand publication aimed at African-American women, where she was nominated and admitted to the American Society of Magazine Editors. She also received a Knight Digital Media Center News Entrepreneur fellowship and a fellowship from the Journalism Center for Children and Families. Boston earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a graduate certificate in multimedia journalism, both from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Boston volunteers for the Annapolis Film Festival and DC Shorts, and she’s the founding organizer for the famed BlackList’s DC-based happy hour for screenwriters.

 

Sonya Dunn
Sonya Dunn

Sonya Dunn is a transmedia storyteller. She has more than 20 years of experience in different media formats and content creation. Currently, Dunn is the creator, host and executive producer of two radio shows that air in Washington, DC market – MilitaryHomeLife Talk Radio and the Sonya Dunn Show on 96.3 FM HD4. In 2019, Dunn was granted the opportunity to begin a transmedia project centered on Washington, DC’s Sister Cities.  As an award-winning media executive and creative entrepreneur, Dunn specializes in creating various types of media content, digital platform creation, and integration for interactive user experiences. Her directorial debut screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Dunn has previously served as a WIFV board member.  She holds an M.A. in Producing Film, Video and Digital Media, and an M.B.A. with an emphasis on Media Management and Technology., and M.A. in Contracts and Acquisition Management.

Dana Flor
Dana Flor

Dana Flor is a documentary director and producer. Her last film Check It, about a black gay gang in DC premiered at Tribeca . The film is executive produced by Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci and is currently being adapted for a television series. She also co-directed and produced The Nine Lives of Marion Barry that appeared on HBO. A fictional feature film based on that film is being made and Flor is working as a consultant with Spike Lee. Flor wrote and directed the Emmy award-winning documentary Latinos In Beisbol and the Emmy-nominated documentary Cesar Chavez for NBC. She also works on a wide- range of stories for Reuters Television, CNN, BBC, National Geographic, and others – covering breaking news throughout Latin America and around the world. Flor is a recipient of a Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund Grant, three DC Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships, a Pare Lorenz Fund Grant and an AFI Docs/NBC Universal Impact Grant. She also won an Influence Film Award from the Tribeca Documentary Fund.

Tara Jabbari
Tara Jabbari

Tara Jabbari graduated in 2011 from Bradley University with a B.A. in E.lectronic Media. She worked for nonprofits in their media department in the USA and New Zealand for a couple of years. She produced, edited, and marketed online videos for nonprofits on their missions. She also helped share stories such as people escaping religious persecution and teenagers building a better community throughout the globe.  She went on to get her M.A. in Communication, Culture & Technology from Georgetown University. Her research concentrated on two things: marketing in the digital age and how technology can be used as a productive tool for communication despite differences such as generational gaps and locations. She freelances with nonprofits, small businesses and influencers to help with their online presence. Her duties have included editing video, social media marketing and producing podcasts.  Some of her work included spearheading the first online campaign for GoodWeave, a nonprofit advocating for child labor-free products. Within her first week of working for them, their reach increased by 80% and their online audience has continued to steadily grow. She also worked on producing and marketing for the Lauren Ignited Podcast, contacting and scheduling potential guests to interview and participant for the podcasts 5,000+ listeners and online followers each week.

Anna Jhirad
Anna Jhirad

Anna Jhirad was in a Ph.D. program in French and Italian, when she realized that her real love was film. She switched to earn a Masters in film production; launched her first documentaries (exploring the racial violence in Boston); and landed at WGBH, the local Boston PBS station. Since then, she has been a writer/producer on many films on topics from history/biography to science/environmental issues. She has worked with numerous PBS stations, but also with international IMAX Films and independent film producers on programs, a number of which have won significant awards (Emmy, Cine Golden Eagle, Dupont Columbia Award, among others). She has been active in WIFV as a workshop panelist/speaker and as program attendee. She served for a number of years on the Board of Directors for Docs in Progress in Silver Spring, MD, which supports experienced and emerging filmmakers. She is currently directing a historical film on Washington, D.C.’s struggle for representation in Congress.

Steve Lack
Website Chair
Steve Lack

Steve Lack is a sound designer and post-production audio mixer with a 25-year career currently working in the DC area. Steve began his career in L.A. working on music production for broadcast television including SEINFELD and WHO’S THE BOSS? He transitioned into post production audio and sound design in Miami in 2004. A position at Discovery brought him to the DC area in 2006, where Steve does audio mixes for Discovery, Science Channel, TLC, and Investigation Discovery. In 2016, Steve contracted with Mandy.com as business development manager for the Eastern US. This position involved traveling to numerous post-production facilities, setting up meet-ups, and manning booths at industry events such as NAB In Las Vegas and New York. Steve discovered a passion for mentoring and helping industry professionals find production work through connecting and networking. Recently Steve has been working as a freelance audio mixer out of his studio in Northern Virginia working with television producers on post-production sound design and audio mixes.  Steve has served on the Board of Governors for the Chesapeake Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) and as a board member for the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), and is an active member of AES, SMPTE and CAS. In addition to his work in audio Steve, is also the founder of Genlack, LLC, a web hosting and internet infrastructure provider that started out as a production industry resource and has since branched out to small business website hosting services.

Giuseppe Lucarelli
Giuseppe Lucarelli

Giuseppe Lucarelli has worked in various capacities on large and small productions, and in large-scale Risk Control for the top insurance carriers. With an MBA, Master’s in Industrial & Labor Relations, more than 12 years of experience in production, and more than a decade in Risk Control, he is a driven, successful professional who specializes in organizational optimization and professional development. Giuseppe currently runs his own business, Mountain Wind Productions, through which he offers Risk Management consultation services in production and produces feature films.

Emma Mankey Hidem
Emma Mankey Hidem

In a career spanning more than a decade, Emma Mankey Hidem has had the privilege of working with and learning from talented filmmakers such as Academy Award-winning director Ross Kauffman (BORN INTO BROTHELS) and Emmy-nominated director Joe Fab (PAPER CLIPS). She has experience with practically every type of non-fiction media, from feature-length documentaries to news segments to multimedia touch-screen exhibits. She learned to create 360° video in 2013, when VR headsets didn’t even exist, and she immediately saw the potential of this vibrant new medium. In 2015, she launched Sunnyside VR, a video and virtual reality production company. Since then she has created content for brands such as Twitter, Mercedes, Honda, Estee Lauder, and more. During the 2020 pandemic, she expanded her interactive media repertoire and launched THE GAME SHOW OF LOVE, a virtual interactive dating game show that takes place live over Zoom.

Lauren Menkes
Lauren Menkes

Lauren Menkes is a seasoned transactional entertainment attorney with over 25 years experience spanning all aspects of the television, literary, and motion picture industries. Her current roster of clients includes authors, screenwriters, speakers, journalists, directors, producers, actors/reality talent, models, business executives, graphic designers, literary agents and more. Lauren diligently guides her clients in connection with all aspects of the entertainment industry and in the protection of their intellectual property and brand status. As Senior Counsel at Boyarski Fritz, she is working with the firm’s top clients on major precedent setting theatrical and television transactions. She handled the television contracts for ONE VOICE: SOMOS LIVE! A CONCERT FOR DISASTER RELIEF which raised more than 35 million dollars for victims of the natural disasters in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Lauren is an active member of the New York and Maryland Bars and an inactive member of the California and District of Columbia Bars. Lauren graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree from Duke University and received her J.D. degree from Emory University School of Law. In addition to being a Board Member of Women in Film & Video, Lauren participates in several other charitable activities. She does pro bono legal work for Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and is a volunteer docent at Hillwood Mansion in Washington DC.

Fran Murphy
Fran Murphy

Fran Murphy is an independent producer and owner of MurphyWorks. Over the years she has worked for Channel One, The Pentagon Channel, LifeTime TV, PBS, and the Discovery Health Channel. Her commercial clients include Oster, HealthOMeter, Terrastar, EarthBound Farms and Soy Revival. Among her recent projects is a series of documentaries on Black History for Tribune TV. Her documentary about Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar won a Gracie Award. Four of her other documentaries about Washington’s Black History have won an Excellence in Documentary Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.Ms. Murphy is the winner of eight Emmys, four for documentaries, one for public affairs, and three for entertainment programming. She also won the AP Chesapeake Award for Outstanding News Feature in 2004. For more than 20 years Murphy served as the Awards Chair for the local Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She also was elected to two terms as Chapter President from 2004 to 2008.

Malikkah Rollins
Malikkah Rollins

Malikkah Rollins, originally from NYC, is a narrative and documentary producer based in Washington, DC. Malikkah directed her first short with the Maine Media Labs Narrative Director’s Program and recently produced TELL ME ABOUT ORANGE, winner of the Jane Cusumano/WIFV Short Narrative Film Finishing Grant. Malikkah has been 1st AD on several short films and on crew for 48 Hour Film teams. Entering into the doc world based on her passion for social justice, Malikkah is a Docs in Progress Fellow and serves as a researcher on the documentary OH HAPPY DAY. She is also a small group facilitator with the D-Word’s weekly virtual support meetings for global documentary filmmakers. She has just begun research on a doc about menopause and aging.  Malikkah is both a long-time educator and licensed mental health professional; currently she creates professional development programming for international NGOs at Humentum, a global NGO member association. She holds master’s degrees in international relations and clinical social work.

Sharon Sobel
Membership Chair
Sharon Sobel

Sharon Sobel has been involved in television and video production since high school. After some full-time jobs with local government and private production companies, Sharon took her business, Picture This Video LLC, into a full-time venture. She provides freelance production services to area production companies, and script-to-screen production and strategy for businesses, organizations and non-profits. Sharon has held several roles that prepare her for serving on the WIFV board. She was part of the production crew for several Women of Vision Award ceremonies. She has been asked to speak on WIFV panels and present independently for WIFV several times over the years, particularly on topics of business management. She served as the Judging Coordinator for the Regional NATAS chapter for 14 years: this was basically a job based on recruiting volunteers and ensuring the integrity of the Emmy judging process. While there, she grew the NATAS student production awards from one that only had a handful of entrants to one that evolved into reaching schools all over DC, Maryland and Virginia, and gaining their participation.  She is active in community as well. She’s been a member of the Alexandria Jaycees since 1994. Because of her community service projects, her leadership skills, and her commitment to that organization, she was promoted first to a Life Member locally, and then to a Life Member with the state. She has been serving with her church’s livestreaming team for the past four years. Because of her technical background and leadership experience, she has been tasked with leading a team to evolve the church’s video production efforts.

Sheri Ratick Stroud
Development Chair
Sheri Ratick Stroud

Sheri Ratick Stroud graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Theatre. After marriage she moved to New Jersey where she spent 4 years in the administrative offices of the Paper Mill Playhouse, as the Director of Group Sales and Volunteer Services. Upon returning to DC she was hired by the Kennedy Center to produce the Holiday Festival. Leaving there Sheri spent 2 years on cable TV as a segment of the Shoppers Club of Virginia where she gained some local notoriety. Sheri was also part of the Once Upon a Mime traveling children’s theatre troupe. More recently Sheri has been directing, winning the Best Director and Best Production awards for her production of Agnes of God. In the 2019 Capital Fringe Festival, the play she directed, Stuck received 4 out of 5 stars from the reviewers. In 2010 Sheri formed Wonder Pictures along with Rich West of West Production Services. Their first short SPANISH LESSON won a Silver Leaf Award at the Mexico Film Festival in 2011. Their second film THE LAST PAPERBOY won the silent film competition sponsored by Signature Theatre. In 2020, PAPERBOY was selected to be screened at the Rehoboth Film Festival and also won a Recognition Award in the Accolade Global Film Competition along with SPANISH LESSON and their latest film HEROES’ HONEYMOON. In addition to acting and producing, Sheri has also served as a judge for the DC Shorts Film Festival, for the American University’s Media That Matters short script writing contests, for the DC Shorts script writing contest, and has served on selection panels for grants for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Connie St. John
Connie St. John

Connie St. John has been an entertainment industry executive for nearly 30 years. She began her career in publicity at Columbia TriStar Television in Los Angeles. She then joined Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. in Atlanta, first in their TNT Originals division, then heading the PR department for Turner Program Services.  Connie then joined Harpo Productions, managing PR for Oprah Winfrey. While there, she successfully pitched the idea for what would become Oprah’s Angel Network. She also oversaw the PR campaign for Oprah Runnin’ Wild with Tina, traveling on tour with Oprah and Tina Turner.  Later, Connie joined the Public Responsibility department at Sara Lee Corporation, where she and her team addressed issues of concern for women and minorities on a local, national and global scale.  In 1999, Connie returned to LA, and founded her production company No Weapon Productions, which produces family friendly entertainment for the screen and stage. Her award-winning first short film, THE MESSAGE, screened in festivals around the country, as well as at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. In addition to writing shorts, television spec scripts, and full-length features, Connie has written and produced nearly 100 stage plays and skits.  While in LA, Connie launched the marketing department of the Entertainment Industry Foundation and served as the executive director of various nonprofit companies, including the Neighborhood Music School.  After 20 years in California, Connie returned to Washington, DC in 2019. She has re-launched No Weapon Productions, and established a consulting company, the St. John Consulting Group, through which she works with the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts, among other clients. She also serves on the board of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

Richard Volin
Richard Volin

Richard Volin is an attorney and a filmmaker.  He is currently the principal at Volin Employment Law, PLLC, where he helps employees navigate disputes with employers, and counsels small businesses as to their employment litigation, contracts and strategies.  Rich assists WIFV in gathering resources and crafting statements relating to employment law issues, such as sexual discrimination in the workplace and age discrimination in hiring.  Rich also works with creatives, like filmmakers and musicians, who need help with litigation, or with forming and growing their businesses.  Rich has produced and edited award-winning narrative projects, from short films and web series, to a feature film.  From 2009-2014, he was a digital filmmaking instructor at the Georgetown campus of Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts.  Rich received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.

Staff

Melissa Houghton
Executive Director

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Brooke Friedman
Membership/Programming Coordinator

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