2024 Directors

2024 Honored Festival Guest

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Catherine Hardwicke / U.S.


Hardwicke’s career has been nothing short of extraordinary. From her groundbreaking debut with Thirteen to the global phenomenon of Twilight, she has consistently pushed boundaries. Her verité lens captures raw emotions, teenage angst, and powerful narratives that resonate with audiences worldwide. As an outspoken champion for women in film, she shares her honest experiences as a female director in an effort to highlight inequalities in the industry and help to enact change. 

Since making her directorial debut, she has gone on to be one of Hollywood’s most respected women directors. She has tackled almost every genre imaginable–drama, action, comedy and even a Biblical epic.

As an outspoken champion for women in the film industry she lobbies relentlessly for women directors and to bring more female talent to the forefront.

2024 Featured Director

Orit Fouks Rotem - Cinema sabaya

Jules Koostachin / Canada

WaaPaKe (Tomorrow)

Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin (Attawapiskat) is an award-winning filmmaker, mother, writer, performance artist, and academic. With her background in community work, social justice themes emerge in her films, alongside bravery, healing, connection and humor. Jules honors her Cree-speaking grandparents who raised her and her mother, a residential school survivor/warrior. Relying on a creative eye, keen mind and strong heart, Jules’ accomplishments include raising four sons while pursuing academics and art. Graduating from Concordia University’s Theatre program, Jules attended Ryerson University’s Documentary Media master’s program, receiving early recognition with an Award of Distinction and an Academic Gold Medal for her thesis documentary film, “Remembering Inninimowin.” Jules went on to get her PhD in Indigenous documentary and protocols and processes through the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice program at the University of British Columbia. Jules is represented by The Characters Talent (acting) and Lucas Talent (writing, directing).

Sarah Menzies -- The Tracker (2022)

Vivian Cheung / Canada


Vivian Cheung is an emerging Chinese-Canadian female filmmaker born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. She made her directorial debut with her short film, “For Roy,” which earned her Best First Time Director and People’s Choice Best Short at the 17th Mighty Asian Moviemaking Marathon, an annual competition presented by the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. The film continues to win multiple awards and screen in festivals around the world. Since MAMM17, Vivian was selected as a finalist in Regent Park Film Festival’s 2022 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition.  She was one of the fifteen selected science filmmakers to workshop with CBC’s popular show, “The Nature of Things” and one of fifteen filmmakers in the Vancouver International Film Festival’s 2023 Catalyst Mentorship Program.

Pascale Arbillot / La nuit des chasseurs

Marziyeh Riahi / Iran


Marziyeh Riahi was born in Tehran, Iran. She graduated in Cinema from the University of Applied Science and Technology in Tehran and then from the Iranian Youth Cinema Society (IYCS), specializing in film directing.  She is currently editor-in-chief of Short Film News, (http://www.shortfilmnews.com/en), Asia’s first website specializing in short films and documentaries.Her debut short film, “Driving Lessons,” was eligible for the 92nd Oscar Academy Awards in 2020.  Marziyeh is also a member of The Network for Promotion of Asian & Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) and a member of Iran’s Film Critics and Writers Association (ISFCW).

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Maria Valdez / U.S., Guatemala


Maria Valdez is a Guatemalan-born, California-raised, award-winning director. Her goal as a filmmaker is to tell stories that reflect the diversity of the human spirit. Her passion is bringing human interest stories to life from the Latino perspective and amplifying authentic portrayals of Latina characters across multiple genres. She has applied her style to almost every genre and has been recognized for her work ranging from comedy and drama to action. The unifying thread that stitches her stories together is the celebration of family, culture, and the embodiment of strong Latino characters.  


Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Maja Costa / Italy


Maja Costa is a multilingual screenwriter/director. After studying the cello at the Milan Conservatory and getting an MA in Ancient Near East Studies/Egyptology, she studied screenwriting and directing at the DFFB (The German Film and Television Academy Berlin), and attended Serial Eyes on scholarship from Sky Italia. She is currently developing original series for different production companies and broadcasters and adapting the novel E.E. by Nobel Prize laureate Olga Tokarczuk into a feature film. Her award-winning short film “Mångata” (2023) was granted production support by the European Space Agency and has been screened at more than 50 film festivals worldwide. 


Pamela French- A Feminist Lens

Maaman Rezaee / U.S., Iran


Growing up as a queer woman in a persecuted religious minority in Iran helped Maaman Rwzaee develop a dark sense of humor, which she made good use of for her filmmaking career. She went from being expelled from state universities in Iran for political activities to becoming a political refugee in the US. For a few years she pursued an academic career as an assistant professor of film at the University of New Mexico before finally achieving her dream of being unemployed during the Hollywood strike in LA. During all of it, she kept writing and directing films that focus on issues of memory, belonging, and transcultural dynamics, some of which are also funny. Her feature script “Ashes” was a finalist at Sundance Development Lab, and the short films she has written and directed have screened in festivals and galleries such as Blackstar, the  Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles  and Anthology Film Archive. 


Orit Fouks Rotem - Cinema sabaya

Lorena Lourenço / U.S., Brazil


Lorena Lourenço is a proud Latina immigrant and an award-winning writer-director from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is a USC School of Cinematic Arts alumna, and her latest short has been licensed by HBO Max and has been selected for competition at Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (where it screened as Best of Fest) as well as Outfest, Inside Out, Out On Film, Official Latino Film Festival, among others. She was selected for The Orchard Project’s episodic lab where she workshopped her series “Sula and I.” Diane Guerrero is attached to star in that series, and it has received initial support from Mark Duplass.

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Lillah Halla Levante / Brazil


Lillah Halla is a Brazilian filmmaker who graduated from the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV, Cuba. Her short film “Menarca” (2020) was one of ten selected at the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week, licensed by Canal + and MUBI. “Menarca” received awards at the Toronto International Film Festival (2021), the Toulouse Film Festival (2021), Kurzfilmtage Winterthur (2020) and Curta Cinema (2020). “Levante” (Power Alley, 2023) is her debut feature film. Her second feature, “Flehmen,” is currently under development, and was part of Full Circle Lab Nouvelle Aquitaine and Sam Spiegel Jerusalem Lab in 2021/2022.

Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Lilian T. Mehrel / U.S.


Lilian T. Mehrel is an award-winning writer & director whose films have premiered at Tribeca and screened internationally at Clermont-Ferrand. She has received awards from ABC/Disney and Alfred P. Sloan. Featured in Variety, Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, and the New York Times, her body of work includes “Water Melts,” created with MG Evangelista and supported by Google/YouTube and TFI, “Musica Quarantena,” created with Danielle Rhoda starring Elisa del Genio (HBO’s “My Brilliant Friend”), and “The Loneliest,” starring Madeline Wise (HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”).  She earned her BA from Dartmouth with a Senior Fellowship and her MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. A mixed-ethnicity daughter of immigrants, she also authored/illustrated a family memoir and is a PD Soros Fellow. Lilian inspires audiences to laugh and cry with her funny, hopeful swirl of cinematic poetry. 


Pamela French- A Feminist Lens

Kameishia D Wooten / U.S.


Kameishia Wooten is a Los Angeles-based director, writer, and producer who creates provoking, inclusive, socially impactful stories for TV & Film. She got her start working in various production and business affairs roles at Disney, Paramount, and Netflix.  She has made seven short films and a web series.  Most recently, she was selected for the prestigious Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative Program as a shadowing director. She is a 2022 Fellow of Women In Film’s inaugural Shorts Lab supported by Google for a short film she wrote and directed called “Choices.” Her feature screenplay, “Destiny’s Road,” was selected for the Women In Film/Sundance Financing Intensive and Stowe Story Sidewalk Lab. The proof-of-concept short film version of the same name has screened in over 20 film festivals and has received several awards including Best Short Film at the Jamaica International Film Festival and Best Audience Award at the Moorpark Film Festival. Originally from Goldsboro, North Carolina, Kameishia earned her MFA in Directing from Columbia College Chicago. Kameishia also serves as a board member for Alliance of Women Directors. 

Polly Pierce (SLUMP)

Melina Kiyomi Coumas / U.S.


Melina Kiyomi Coumas (she/her) is an award-winning experimental filmmaker from the island of O’ahu. She enjoys experimenting with both narrative structure and the filmic medium while exploring themes surrounding memory, identity and perception.


Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Jan Jalenak / U.S.


Jan Jalenak grew up In Memphis, TN, and started out in New York City as an actor and playwright. As a writer, her plays have appeared at the Greenwich Street Theatre, the Studio Theater, Playwrights Horizons, the Actors Studio, Naked Angels, the Robert Moss Theater, and the Gene Frankel Theatre, among others. Jan is a graduate of NYU and is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and New Circle Theatre Company. Her acting training with the inimitable Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in the 80’s instilled in her a fearlessness to dig deeper with both her acting and writing. After raising two wonderful daughters, Jan is happy to be back in theater and film. After her award-winning short, “You Can Kiss Me,” she produced her current film, “A Shattering,” which she plans to be the beginning of many creations for the screen.

Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Johanne Prégent / Canada


Since her first film in 1987, Johanne Prégent has directed numerous projects for the big screen and television, including “Les Orphelins de Duplessis,” “Les grands Procès,” “Les Intrépides,” and “Scoop.” Her films have won numerous awards in Quebec and elsewhere. She teaches directing, cinematographic writing and character creation at L’inis (L’Institut National de l’Image et du Son in Quebec) and is a screenwriting advisor and scriptwriter-editor on numerous film projects and TV series.


Pamela French- A Feminist Lens

Fatima Nofely / Iran


Fatima Nofely was born in 1988 and became interested in cinema as a teenager.  She began her  filmmaking education by enrolling in a filmmaking course offered by Asghar Farhadi.  She subsequently began a master’s program in dramatic literature at the Faculty of Art and Architecture of Islamic Azad University, Tehran Center Branch in 2016. Eventually she joined the Iranian Youth Cinema Society in 2019.  She began her directing career with the short film “Impersonation” (2017) about the Islamic Republic’s banning of female spectators from football stadiums.  In 2019 she directed a short film, “Wallet,” that won the international grand prize at the 15th Mobile Film Festival in Paris.  In 2020, she made the short documentary film “Derby in Tajrish,” and then in 2023, she made the short film “Hamster,” co-produced in France and Iran.

Orit Fouks Rotem - Cinema sabaya

Delphine Lehericey / Switzerland, Belgium


After receiving a performing arts degree from the University of Paris, Delphine worked as an actress and stage director. In 2007, she shifted her focus to direction with the film  “Comme à Ostende,” which was selected for the Locarno Film Festival’s Concorso Cineasti del Presente. Two years later she co-directed the documentary ‘Les Arbitres[ (Referees)” which was selected for several festivals and distributed by Gaumont. She continued her documentary work with two films for Arte and RTBF: “Mode” (2011) about designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard and “A Chef and her Lucky Star” (2016) about the Michelin-starred chef Isabelle Arpin. In 2013, Delphine released her first feature film, “Puppy Love,” which had its international premiere at the San Sebastián Film Festival.

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Dima Hamdan / Germany


Dima Hamdan is a Palestinian journalist and filmmaker based in Berlin. She spent over 12 years working with the BBC Arabic and World Service in London, with reporting assignments in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. The stories of people she met along the way inspired many of her film projects. A self-taught filmmaker, she has written and directed several short films since 2007. One film, “The Bomb,” had a successful two-year festival tour, winning the Best Female Director award at the Ayodhya Film Festival, and receiving honorable mentions at the Stockholm Independent Film Festival and the Festival del Cinema dei Diritti Umani di Napoli.  Her debut feature film project, “Amnesia,” won the Grand Prize of the Atlas Ateliers of the Marrakech International Film Festival in 2023, and is slated for production in 2024.


Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Claudia Lee / UK


Claudia Lee is an emerging filmmaker based in London. She studied Drama: Film, Theatre, and TV at the University of Bristol graduating in 2016.  Claudia has a strong focus on showcasing female narratives in her filmmaking, but wants to explore female stories across different styles and genres. With a love for both dark horror and joyful musicals, she is navigating her cinematic interests across genres, but always remaining true to her desire to present the female experience from a place of truth and multiplicity. She has worked as a PA to a number of renowned directors such as Ron Howard, Robert Zemeckis, Boden & Fleck, Andrew Stanton, and Kari Skogland. Her experience as a PA has allowed her to shadow and learn a huge amount from some of the world’s finest filmmakers and provided her with a great deal of support and drive to create her own work.”



Pamela French- A Feminist Lens

Andrea Nevins / U.S.


Andrea Nevins is an Academy Award-nominated, Emmy award-winning director, producer and writer. Her keen interest in lives in transition led her to chronicle retired dancers given a late in-life chance to perform. Still Kicking, her first independent documentary, earned her an  Academy Award nomination. 

Her first feature-length documentary, The “Other F Word,” about anti-authoritarian punk rockers donning the cloak of paternal authority, premiered at SXSW and won quick theatrical  distribution by Oscilloscope and network broadcast on Showtime. In examining the huge  transitions NFL football players make from superstardom to relative invisibility, she directed  the 2014 season-opener for Peter Berg’s HBO series, “State of Play.” Her feature Play  It Forward grew out of this work and was selected to open 2015’s ESPN/Tribeca Film Festival.  Critically acclaimed Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie, a Hulu Original Documentary  premiered in April 2018 at Tribeca Film Festival, Hot Docs and on Hulu. 

Orit Fouks Rotem - Cinema sabaya

Jessica Plumb / U.S.


Jessica Plumb is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based in the Pacific Northwest.  She is the creative director of Plumb Productions, a multi-media storytelling company specializing in films focused on the environment, people, and place. She is the producer and co-director of “Return of the River,” a feature documentary about the largest dam removal (to date) in history, recognized with over a dozen festival awards, including Best Storytelling by the International Wildlife Film Festival, and Best Writing from the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards. In 2021, she exhibited a video art piece on climate change at the Kumho Museum of Art in Seoul. She has produced short films for HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, National Geographic Learning, Original Pursuit, the Clean Energy Transition Institute, and numerous non-profit and educational institutions. Plumb holds a BA from Yale University and an MFA from Goddard College. Raised on the coast of Maine, she now lives on the Olympic Peninsula, close to wilderness and waters she loves.

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Coral Knights / England


Coral is an emerging filmmaker from London. She hopes to make sensitive films that give weight to seemingly small, yet significant moments in people’s lives. In addition to writing and directing, Coral works as a casting associate with casting director Lucy Pardee, working most recently on features “Club Zero” (Jessica Hausner), “Lollipop” (Daisy-May Hudson) and “Silver Haze” (Sacha Polak). She was also casting assistant on “Aftersun” (Charlotte Wells). Coral was part of Encounters Film Festival’s emerging filmmakers scheme, Widening The Lens, in 2019. “Roses” is her first professional short film, and she is very grateful to the people who helped her produce it.

Photo of Zahra Torkamanlou

Ruth Hayes / U.S.


Ruth Hayes uses experimental approaches to form and content to animate film, video and pre-cinema devices,. “Wanda” (1990) contrasts feline and feminine desire. “Reign of the Dog; A Re-visionist History” (1994) critiques conventional histories of the conquest of the Americas. “On Our Way” (2011) meditates on contrasts between wild and settled landscapes in western Washington State. Ruth’s flipbooks were featured in “Daumenkino: The Flipbook Show” at Düsseldorf’s Kunsthalle in 2005. Her films “Perilous Experiment” (2016), “Copper Perforation Loop Triptych” (2016) and “Amulet” (2022) experiment with the materiality of analog film. The 2022 Supreme Court decision eviscerating women’s rights to bodily autonomy compelled her to return to animating on paper to produce “Hemorrhage.” Ruth earned her MFA in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts and taught animation in the interdisciplinary curriculum of The Evergreen State College in Olympia for 25 years, retiring with emerita status in 2021.

Pamela French- A Feminist Lens

Greta Schiller / U.S.


Greta Schiller is an award-winning producer and director of documentary films and co-founder of Jezebel Productions, a nonprofit women’s production company founded in 1984. Producing over a dozen films since then,  her work brings lost histories of marginalized groups into the cultural narrative. Her newest  project is “The Five Demands,” released by Icarus Films and playing in cinemas. It was produced with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities,  National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts  and the Library of Congress/Ken Burns Prize. Her other films include  “Before Stonewall” (1985 Sundance Film Festival, 1987 PBS Broadcast, 1987 Emmy Award-winner, 2019 National Film Registry), “International  Sweethearts of Rhythm” (New York Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Philadelphia Film Festival), “Paris Was a Woman” (1995 Audience Award  Winner, Berlinale), and “The Man Who Drove with Mandela” (1998 Best  Documentary, Berlinale, PBS broadcast), among others. 


Orit Fouks Rotem - Cinema sabaya

Sabrine Keane / U.S.


Sabrine Keane (director and producer) graduated from Harvard College with a degree in philosophy where she honed her ability to think about complex ideas and articulate them in a coherent and rational manner. Growing up immersed in diverse cultures, she fostered an appreciation for the nuances that define varying belief systems. She believes in the power of visual storytelling to spark deep thinking and dialogue.

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Kate Dumke / U.S.


Kate Dumke (director) is a storyteller with a boundless curiosity for the human experience and a special interest in cultural/societal influences and women’s lives. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and photography before continuing her documentary studies in New York City at the International Center of Photography’s Documentary and Visual Studies program.

Séréna Robin- made of flesh

Erin Brown Thomas / U.S.


Erin’s collection of aerial art films was birthed organically from her love of the circus art-form.  Once her teacher and now Erin’s artistic partner, Selkie Hom stars in each film which takes the viewer through an emotional journey as told by choreography and art direction. These “Versatile Assassins” films have gained Erin a following and a fantastic reputation in the screen-dance space.

Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Marie Amachoukeli / France

Bio not submitted.


Laura Vandervoort (My Soul To Take)

Kimberly Mendiola & Alyssa Rodriguez / U.S.