Board of Directors

Cheryl Crooks Executive Director
Cheryl Crooks, Executive Director

Cheryl Crooks is a professional photographer and writer with a studio in Bellingham. Cheryl began her career as a journalist and arts critic in Phoenix and was selected as a critic fellow of the O’Neill Theatre Institute. Cheryl then wrote for TIME Magazine, becoming the magazine’s West Coast medical reporter. Since moving to Bellingham, she has served on a number of arts and community boards, including the Mount Baker Theatre, the Bellingham Festival of Music, the Campaign for the Arts, and Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Audrey Sager, PRESIDENT

Audrey Sager is the founder of the New York City law firm of Sager Gellerman Eisner who limited her practice to the field of matrimonial law. She was been named as a Super Lawyer each year from 2006 to 2017 and was recognized as a leading lawyer in New York State before she retired. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was a vice president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. Both she and her husband, Steven Gellerman, are movie lovers. They relocated to Bow, Washington in 2014 where they are enjoying the Pacific Northwest lifestyle.

Lucas Senger, VICE PRESIDENT

Lucas G. Senger is a multi-industry creative professional. Lucas' film projects have been awarded top honors at Tribeca International Film Festival, South by Southwest, Naples, Manchester, and Seattle International Film Festivals among others. He has contributed production leadership to media projects that have been broadcast on Vice, MTV, Fuse, and Sundance networks and platforms. His projects have been featured by Complex, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Indiewire. Lucas' academic work is dedicated to frameworks of management for creative projects and people. Lucas is co-instructor of Western Washington University’s AACSB accredited MBA consulting capstone, Arts Enterprise, and Cultural Innovation program. He was the 2021 faculty recipient of the university's Equity and Inclusion Achievement Award. Lucas is co-founder of Cake Machine; a consultancy supporting creative organizations by providing strategies generating financial stability without limiting creative output.

Shing Root, Treasurer

Shing Liau-Root, CASCADIA’s new treasurer, joined the CASCADIA Board two years ago and has served on its Finance Committee. She moved to Boulder, CO from Taiwan in 1998 where she studied Dance Movement Therapy at Naropa University. After exploring how to help people maintain their emotional health, she refocused her direction to help both people and businesses achieve financial health. She currently is a CPA and working in a local company as an assistant controller. She and her husband, Manson Root, relocated to Bellingham in 2016. Both love movies and theater.

Claudia Puig, Program Director

Claudia Puig is president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and a longtime critic on NPR’s Film Week, a film festival programmer, and cultural consultant. She is currently Program Director for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and in 2020 she was a Senior Programmer for AFI Fest. Puig has been a speechwriter for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and program director for the Napa Valley Film Festival, Mendocino Film Festival, and FilmFest 919 in Chapel Hill, N.C. In addition, she has a film consulting business specializing in cultural consulting and she teaches a college class on Diversity in the Media. Previously, she was USA Today’s film critic for 15 years.

cascadia international womens film festival board of directors advisory
Sati Mookherjee

Sati Mookerjee, Member

Poet Sati Mookherjee is the author of Eye and the award-winning Ways of Being. Her work appears in literary magazines and anthologies, and she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of the Artist Trust / Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship. Her collaborations with contemporary classical composers have been performed and recorded. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Sati founded, and for over a decade ran, Sendan Center, an interdisciplinary child / adolescent mental & behavioral health clinic. She serves on the Whatcom Literacy Council board, and was formerly on the Corporate Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County, a founding board member of CommunityWise Bellingham, and former Board Chair of the Whatcom Community Foundation.

Barbara Bitner, Secretary

Barbara has over 25 years in arts administration and management. She created and presented the "Global Rhythms Performing Arts Series" for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. She served for 10 years as a director at Maui Community College’s Continuing Education program where she founded Art-Tech Maui, a national attended conference to explore the interface of art and technology, CyberCamp a youth program integrating traditional fine arts with technology, and USC-on-Maui, a program to bring top-notch film production classes to Maui to support the local population in telling their stories. She is also the founding director of the Oxbow Summer Art Camp, an internationally attended fine arts program for the highly acclaimed Oxbow School in Napa.

Valerie Dalena
Valerie Dalena

Valerie Dalena is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer. Her
company, Stiletto Rosso Productions, produces film, video, and multi-media
theatre and concert events. Since moving to Whatcom County, she has been very involved in the arts and arts organizations, including Advisory Board, CASCADIA; Board of Directors, Sylvia Center for the Arts; Marketing/ Video Production, Bellingham TheatreWorks; Producer, Pocket Concerts; Producer/Director, FireHouse Studio at FireHouse Arts and Events Center; and co-founder, Whatcom Arts Project. Her career has included West Coast Editor of Glamour Magazine, TV Film Development at Wrye-Konigsberg Productions, and Program Administrator of LA County Inter-Agency Council for Child Abuse and Neglect. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is a former member of Alliance of Women Directors and Women in Film LA and Seattle.

Lynda Moore

Lynda Moore is CASCADIA’s Volunteer Coordinator and brings extensive experience as a volunteer herself for the Pacific Science Center’s “Science on Wheels” educational workshops, researching school enrichment programs, and collaborating scheduling with faculty and volunteers. As an intern with Bellingham’s Technical Alliance Group, she supported event communications, marketing research, and technical support. She also volunteers and trains volunteers for Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre. Professionally, she has more than 10 years of experience in finance administration, county government, medical manufacturing, and systems technology and is trained in cyber security and computer support.

Daniel Larner

Daniel Larner is professor emeritus of theatre, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington University. He was dean of the college, served as WWU faculty senate president, and currently serves on the Fairhaven College Advisory Board. Dan is a playwright and a widely published scholar of American drama and dramatic form. He taught the WWU Scriptwriting Workshop for 35 years, where he was a founder of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. He served for 23 years on the Board of the Mount Baker Theatre and for 40 years on the BOD of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. Dan has been a member of the board of directors of the Bellingham-Whatcom County Public Facilities District, and currently serves as its president.

Cassidy Brooks
Ann McQueen

Ann McQueen joins the CASCADIA board with over 20 plus years of sales experience in media and medical sales. She shares degrees in both art history & business communications. Her sales career has taken her all over the Northwest covering a broad territory from Oregon to Alaska. From a young age, her parents instilled a strong appreciation for the arts, music, and theater. She has attended film festivals such as Sundance, Telluride, Bellingham, and Seattle. Ann moved to Bellingham in 2017 where she is an active member/volunteer with the Bellingham Yacht club along with several local community outreach programs. After volunteering and hosting CASCADIA in 2021 she wanted to utilize her business acumen and passion for independent film to help promote the talented women filmmakers as well as Bellingham's strong arts scene.

Lyn Dennis

Lyn Dennis, a Native American member of the Lummi Nation and the Tahltan Band, owns MyTribeTV, a livestream company that provides video and information about tribal events to Native Americans across the United States. In the past, Lyn served on the Board of Directors for Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc., now known as Vision Maker Media. Her documentary film, The Muckleshoot Sla-Hal Bone Game, premiered in 2016 at the 41st Annual Indian Film Festival and was selected for CASCADIA’s 2017 festival. Lyn has also served as executive director for the Northwest Alliance of Gaming Tribes, chief of staff for the Lummi Indian business council chairman, as well as public relations and communications director for the Lummi Indian Business Council. In addition, she was executive director for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing 58 Pacific Northwest tribes.

Rochelle Robinson

Rochelle Robinson is a screenwriter and co-owner of local female-led production company, Talking to Crows. Rochelle has been a resident of Bellingham for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Western Washington University (WWU), earning degrees in psychology and creative writing. She’s written stuff, filmed stuff, learned stuff, lost stuff. Rochelle has even optioned stuff. Ahhh, the creator’s life. On the side, way out in space, Rochelle serves as founder and editor-at-large for "HamLit," a local literary magazine established in 2019 that features Pacific Northwest short fiction and poetry writers. By day, Rochelle connects with all WWU’s psychology students, serving as program coordinator to possibly the coolest kids on the block. At night, she enjoys jotting thoughts in red ink, ever-exploring her BellingHome food scene, and rewatching episodes of the BBC’s “Sherlock.”

Cheryl Crooks Executive Director

Cheryl Crooks / Executive Director

Cheryl Crooks is a professional photographer and writer with a studio in Bellingham. Cheryl began her career as a journalist and arts critic in Phoenix and was selected as a critic fellow of the O’Neill Theatre Institute. Cheryl then wrote for TIME Magazine, becoming the magazine’s West Coast medical reporter. Since moving to Bellingham, she has served on a number of arts and community boards, including the Mount Baker Theatre, the Bellingham Festival of Music, the Campaign for the Arts, and Western Washington University’s College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Cassidy Brooks

Audrey Sager / Board President

Audrey Sager is the founder of the New York City law firm of Sager Gellerman Eisner who limited her practice to the field of matrimonial law. She was been named as a Super Lawyer each year from 2006 to 2017 and was recognized as a leading lawyer in New York State before she retired. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and was a vice president of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. Both she and her husband, Steven Gellerman, are movie lovers. They relocated to Bow, Washington in 2014 where they are enjoying the Pacific Northwest lifestyle.

Cassidy Brooks

Lucas Senger / Board Vice President

Lucas G. Senger is a multi-industry creative professional. Lucas’ film projects have been awarded top honors at Tribeca International Film Festival, South by Southwest, Naples, Manchester, and Seattle International Film Festivals among others. He has contributed production leadership to media projects that have been broadcast on Vice, MTV, Fuse, and Sundance networks and platforms. His projects have been featured by Complex, Rolling Stone, Spin, and Indiewire. Lucas’ academic work is dedicated to frameworks of management for creative projects and people. Lucas is co-instructor of Western Washington University’s AACSB accredited MBA consulting capstone, Arts Enterprise, and Cultural Innovation program. He was the 2021 faculty recipient of the university’s Equity and Inclusion Achievement Award. Lucas is co-founder of Cake Machine; a consultancy supporting creative organizations by providing strategies generating financial stability without limiting creative output.

Shing Root

Shing Liau-Root, CASCADIA’s new treasurer, joined the CASCADIA Board two years ago and has served on its Finance Committee. She moved to Boulder, CO from Taiwan in 1998 where she studied Dance Movement Therapy at Naropa University. After exploring how to help people maintain their emotional health, she refocused her direction to help both people and businesses achieve financial health. She currently is a CPA and working in a local company as an assistant controller. She and her husband, Manson Root, relocated to Bellingham in 2016. Both love movies and theater.

Cassidy Brooks

Claudia Puig / Program Director

Claudia Puig is president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and a longtime critic on NPR’s Film Week, a film festival programmer, and cultural consultant. She is currently Program Director for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and in 2020 she was a Senior Programmer for AFI Fest. Puig has been a speechwriter for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and program director for the Napa Valley Film Festival, Mendocino Film Festival, and FilmFest 919 in Chapel Hill, N.C. In addition, she has a film consulting business specializing in cultural consulting and she teaches a college class on Diversity in the Media. Previously, she was USA Today’s film critic for 15 years.

AMY McILVAINE, PAST PRESIDENT

Amy McIlvaine moved to Bellingham in 1994 after working in Chicago and New York in institutional fixed income sales. She was employed as a certified financial planner until 2012, when she returned to school to complete a certificate in sustainable food and agriculture. Amy currently operates The Dahlquist Kitchen in downtown Bellingham, which serves as a commissary kitchen for local food entrepreneurs. Amy has served on numerous boards in Bellingham over the past 20 years, and she is currently a member of Sustainable Connections board.

Lynda Moore

Lynda Moore is CASCADIA’s Volunteer Coordinator and brings extensive experience as a volunteer herself for the Pacific Science Center’s “Science on Wheels” educational workshops, researching school enrichment programs, and collaborating scheduling with faculty and volunteers. As an intern with Bellingham’s Technical Alliance Group, she supported event communications, marketing research, and technical support. She also volunteers and trains volunteers for Bellingham’s Mount Baker Theatre. Professionally, she has more than 10 years of experience in finance administration, county government, medical manufacturing, and systems technology and is trained in cyber security and computer support.

Cassidy Brooks

Barbara Bitner / Secretary

Barbara has over 25 years in arts administration and management. She created and presented the “Global Rhythms Performing Arts Series” for the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. She served for 10 years as a director at Maui Community College’s Continuing Education program where she founded Art-Tech Maui, a national attended conference to explore the interface of art and technology, CyberCamp a youth program integrating traditional fine arts with technology, and USC-on-Maui, a program to bring top-notch film production classes to Maui to support the local population in telling their stories. She is also the founding director of the Oxbow Summer Art Camp, an internationally attended fine arts program for the highly acclaimed Oxbow School in Napa.

Lyn Dennis

Lyn Dennis, a Native American member of the Lummi Nation and the Tahltan Band, owns MyTribeTV, a livestream company that provides video and information about tribal events to Native Americans across the United States. In the past, Lyn served on the Board of Directors for Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc., now known as Vision Maker Media. Her documentary film, The Muckleshoot Sla-Hal Bone Game, premiered in 2016 at the 41st Annual Indian Film Festival and was selected for CASCADIA’s 2017 festival. Lyn has also served as executive director for the Northwest Alliance of Gaming Tribes, chief of staff for the Lummi Indian business council chairman, as well as public relations and communications director for the Lummi Indian Business Council. In addition, she was executive director for the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing 58 Pacific Northwest tribes.

Daniel Larner

Daniel Larner is professor emeritus of theatre, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington University. He was dean of the college, served as WWU faculty senate president, and currently serves on the Fairhaven College Advisory Board. Dan is a playwright and a widely published scholar of American drama and dramatic form. He taught the WWU Scriptwriting Workshop for 35 years, where he was a founder of the College of Fine and Performing Arts. He served for 23 years on the Board of the Mount Baker Theatre and for 40 years on the BOD of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. Dan has been a member of the board of directors of the Bellingham-Whatcom County Public Facilities District, and currently serves as its president.

Valerie Dalena

VALERIE DALENA

Valerie Dalena is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer. Her
company, Stiletto Rosso Productions, produces film, video, and multi-media
theatre and concert events. Since moving to Whatcom County, she has been very involved in the arts and arts organizations, including Advisory Board, CASCADIA; Board of Directors, Sylvia Center for the Arts; Marketing/ Video Production, Bellingham TheatreWorks; Producer, Pocket Concerts; Producer/Director, FireHouse Studio at FireHouse Arts and Events Center; and co-founder, Whatcom Arts Project. Her career has included West Coast Editor of Glamour Magazine, TV Film Development at Wrye-Konigsberg Productions, and Program Administrator of LA County Inter-Agency Council for Child Abuse and Neglect. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is a former member of Alliance of Women Directors and Women in Film LA and Seattle.

Ann McQueen

Ann McQueen joins the CASCADIA board with over 20 plus years of sales experience in media and medical sales. She shares degrees in both art history & business communications. Her sales career has taken her all over the Northwest covering a broad territory from Oregon to Alaska. From a young age her parents instilled a strong appreciation for the arts, music and theater. She has attended film festivals such as Sundance, Telluride, Bellingham and Seattle. Ann moved to Bellingham in 2017 where she is a active member/volunteer with the Bellingham Yacht club along with several local community outreach programs. After volunteering and hosting for CASCADIA in 2021 she wanted to utilize her business acumen and passion for independent film to help promote the talented women film makers as well as Bellinghams strong arts scene. 

Sati Mookherjee

Poet Sati Mookherjee is the author of Eye and the award-winning Ways of Being. Her work appears in literary magazines and anthologies, and she is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of the Artist Trust / Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship. Her collaborations with contemporary classical composers have been performed and recorded. A graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Sati founded, and for over a decade ran, Sendan Center, an interdisciplinary child / adolescent mental & behavioral health clinic. She serves on the Whatcom Literacy Council board, and was formerly on the Corporate Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County, a founding board member of CommunityWise Bellingham, and former Board Chair of the Whatcom Community Foundation.

Rochelle Robinson

Rochelle Robinson is a screenwriter and co-owner of local female-led production company, Talking to Crows. Rochelle has been a resident of Bellingham for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Western Washington University (WWU), earning degrees in psychology and creative writing. She’s written stuff, filmed stuff, learned stuff, lost stuff. Rochelle has even optioned stuff. Ahhh, the creator’s life. On the side, way out in space, Rochelle serves as founder and editor-at-large for “HamLit,” a local literary magazine established in 2019 that features Pacific Northwest short fiction and poetry writers. By day, Rochelle connects with all WWU’s psychology students, serving as program coordinator to possibly the coolest kids on the block. At night, she enjoys jotting thoughts in red ink, ever-exploring her BellingHome food scene, and rewatching episodes of the BBC’s “Sherlock.”

Advisory Board

Amy McIlvaine– CASCADIA Past
President, financial advisor.

Everett Aison– Director, Screenwriter, & Co-founder of SVA’s Film School

Mel Damski– Director, Emmy & Oscar Nominee

Polly Miller– Founder, Creative Director, & Marketing Guru

Maria McLeod– Author, Professor, & Media Specialist

Sue Lonac– Professor of English and Film Studies, Whatcom Community College

Lance Rosen –Founder of Dapple Gray Productions, a screenplay development company, former director of Business and Legal Affairs for The Disney Channel

Darrel Hillaire – Founder of Children of the Setting Sun Productions

Chris BiancoDean, College of Fine and Performing Arts, Western Washington University

Sheila Goodwin– Professional Actress (Behind the Mask, The X-Files), Bellingham psychotherapist, and equestrian.

Michael Petryni– Screenwriter & Producer

Dennis Minor – President and Executive Producer of Blue Highway Productions

Jordan Neyens–Producer + campaign coordinator for Soulcraft Allstars, a local storytelling agency. Former Executive Director of Bellingham Pride, 2017.

Bob Goodwin– Executive Producer, Director, Emmy nominee and Golden Globe recipient.

John McGarrity–President of Value Management Corporation and founding member of Whatcom Film Association.

Andy Clay– CEO of Clay Senior Management and Filmmaker

Susie PurvesExecutive Director, Pickford Film Center

Team Members

Tara Nelson – Communications Coordinator & Website Administrator. Owner of Taradactyl Design.

Scout Powell – Outreach Coordinator, Southern California.

Katie Schreiber – Submissions Coordinator. Graduate of Western Washington University’s theatre department and CASCADIA intern for the past two years. Currently also an editor with SoulCraft Allstars.

Founding Board

BOARD PRESIDENT

Cheryl Crooks

VICE PRESIDENT / TREASURER

Dr.  F. Lee Van Horn

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Polly Miller

SECRETARY

Marla Bronstein

DEVELOPMENTAL CONSULTANT

Carol Gipson

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

Everett Aison
Mel Damski

Amy McIlvaine
Susie Purves

Barbara vz Howard
John McGarrity

Julie Trimingham
Sheila Goodwin

Megan Taylor 
Emily Weiner