Board of Directors 2012-2013
|IN THIS SECTION|
|Esmée Einerson, VP/Communications|
|Anne Hubbell, VP/Development|
|Anna Gerb, VP/Membership|
|Iri Greco, VP/Programming|
|Susan Steiger, VP/Special Events|
|Octavia Taylor, Secretary|
|Eileen Newman, Treasurer|
|Amanda Lin Costa, Communications|
|Robyn Watson, Communications|
|Marivonne Basten, Development|
|Christina Brown, Development|
|Marica Chacona, Membership|
|Susan Sheppard, Membership|
|Thea Kerman, Esq., Programming|
|Ylana Kellar, Programming|
|Simone Pero, Special Events|
|Caren Spruch, Special Events|
|Marsha S. Brooks, Esq., Legal Counsel|
Alexis Alexanian, President
Alexanian is an independent film and television producer. She started her career in production on big-budget studio films, including A League of Their Own, Mississippi Burning, Bonfire of the Vanities and Striptease. Alexanian is the co-founder, along with her brother David, of Elixir Films, an independent production company dedicated to character-driven, passion projects for film and television. At Elixir, she produced the international TV series Long Way Round, featuring Ewan McGregor, which aired on Bravo, as well as Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State, released in 2007.
Prior to Elixir, she co-founded, along with Gary Winick, InDigEnt (Independent Digital Entertainment), New York's groundbreaking digital initiative funded by the Independent Film Channel (IFC) and dedicated to producing low-budget, talent-driven features. While at InDigEnt, Alexanian produced Sundance favorites Pieces of April, Tadpole, Tape, Chelsea Walls and Personal Velocity, which garnered her an Independent Spirit Award.
Esmée Einerson, VP/Communications
Einerson is the digital media and content producer for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. As designer of its content syndication strategy, producer of J.P. Morgan Insights (video) podcasts and developer of J.P. Morgan Funds branded channels on iTunes, YouTube and Twitter, she has improved brand eminence, reach and SEO. She also managed the social media and video/podcast strategies for Deloitte LLP, producing its podcasts and recruiting videos, and conceptualizing and producing online conference experiences. Einerson has worked in TV, film and commercial production for HBO, Studios USA and Hallmark Entertainment, among others. She co-founded Stage Shadows, Inc., an audio theatre company that produced radio drama live at The Museum of Television & Radio, broadcasted over NYC's WFUV (90.7 FM).
Anne Hubbell, VP/Development
Hubbell is Eastman Kodak’s East Coast Regional Account Manager for Studio and Independent Feature Film, working with over 100 projects annually. She oversees studio contracts, negotiates with productions, advises filmmakers, and does outreach at film festivals and industry events. As a freelance producer and consultant, she has worked on film and television productions, and not-for-profit media and arts events. She is currently developing and producing several narrative feature films, including two Sundance Lab projects, and is writing an animated feature. Hubbell is on the board of the New York Production Alliance and is a member of IFP and PGA.
Anna Gerb, VP/Membership
Gerb is Executive Producer/Head of Production at Washington Square Films (WSF), where she oversees corporate operations, production finance, and all commercial, film, television and documentary productions. Independently, she is developing a romantic comedy with fellow NYWIFT member Kate Bernstein. Prior to WSF, Gerb was Partner and Executive Producer at Spank Films, an award-winning commercial production company in Toronto. There, she produced the Directors Guild of Canada- and Genie-nominated feature Blood with acclaimed director Jerry Ciccoritti; the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In addition to award-winning commercials, including a Cannes Gold Lion, Gerb has produced short films and documentaries for the CBC and the Movie Network that have been honored at festivals worldwide. She has been producing for 15 years, and is a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, New York Production Alliance and PGA.
Iri Greco, VP/Programming
Greco works as an independent video producer for TV and new media. She is the founder of Panforte Productions, a visual media company specializing in lifestyle content, video production and consulting services. She has worked with celebrity chefs Bobby Flay, Sara Moulton, Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali. Greco has created and produced web series for FoodNetwork.com and several Hearst web platforms. Recently, she partnered with Brake Through Media, producing documentary, commercial and promotional content in the competitive endurance sports cycling and triathlon. They have filmed with top talent in pro cycling, including Lance Armstrong and Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong. Greco's TV work has appeared on Versus, Universal Sports, FoodNetwork, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fine Living, HGTV and PBS.
Susan Steiger, VP/Special Events
Steiger has provided legal representation to corporate and entertainment clients in the worlds of theater, publishing, film and music for over 25 years. Her clients include theatrical and motion picture producers, music publishers, book publishers and performers for whom she drafts and negotiates their agreements. She advises clients on intellectual property rights, including trademarks and copyrights, and provides corporate services for companies. After working at several prominent entertainment firms and a major record company, she established her own firm. Before law school, she was an associate producer at ABC News Special Events, where she worked on political conventions, elections, the space program, and science documentaries, and later on, at 20/20. She is on the board of the Irish Repertory Theatre and a co-producer of a production of Menopause The Musical.
Octavia Taylor, Secretary
Taylor passed the New York State Bar in 2002 with a singular focus: to be an advocate for artists working in film and television. Her time working at companies like Uptown/MCA Records and Fox-TV convinced her that artists were in need of assistance in dealing with both legal matters and business endeavors. She has worked for entertainment boutique law firms and corporations, including a stint at VH1. In 2008, Taylor began working at Disney/ABC Domestic Television as a production attorney, where she is responsible for all legal and business matters for the production of a game and reality show. In her spare time, Taylor reviews and drafts agreements for actors, producers and writers and volunteers her services to local film and TV productions. She received her BA in Communications from the University of Virginia and her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (Yeshiva University).
Eileen Newman, Treasurer
Newman is the Managing Director of the Tribeca Film Institute. Previously, she was Executive Director of the National Board of Review and Senior Director of Programming at the Independent Feature Project, and had served as Executive Director of Film/Video Arts for many years. She is active in the New York film community, serving on the boards of the New York Production Alliance, Manhattan Neighborhood Network (Board Chair) and the advisory board of NYWIFT. She often speaks on panels about independent media and has been a juror and panel member for the Miami International Film Festival, the Jerome Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Amanda Lin Costa, Communications
A graduate of Emerson College's film program, Lin Costa has worked for 20 years in the film, television and performing arts community. Starting as a production coordinator, she moved on to working in the "vanities" on Broadway as well as in film and commercials, working with companies such as Disney, MTV, and Dreamworks and artists such as Whitney Houston, Tony Bennett, Nicole Kidman, and Liam Neeson. When her daughter left for college, Lin Costa had her own fresh start. She began directing and producing her first documentary and quickly crossed over into scripted content. Her new life as a writer and producer finds her helming an adaptation, a biopic and a feature-length documentary. Docu-style branded content is her specialty.
Robyn Watson, Communications
Watson is the Director of Employee Communications and Engagement at Time Warner Cable, where she is responsible for creating strategic communications initiatives that drive key business results and supports the creation of high-performing and culturally dynamic employees. In addition to being an active member of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), she sits on the board of directors for Entertainers for Educations Alliance (E4EA), an entertainment industry nonprofit that uses athletes, musicians and high-profile individuals to promote higher learning and personal achievement among urban youth. She is a graduate of Emory University and holds a master certification in Strategic Organizational Leadership and Human Resources from Villanova University.
Marivonne Basten, Development
Basten is a veteran sports media executive who is currently President of MVB Media Consulting, a business advisory firm focused on sports and entertainment. Her firm’s clients have included international sports teams, sports business executives, sports representation firms, entertainment producers and digital media producers. Prior to founding MVB Media, Basten was a Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for IMG, one of the world’s largest sports marketing and media companies. She spent almost 20 years at IMG, where she negotiated, drafted and closed multimillion dollar media deals for a variety of domestic and international sports and entertainment companies, including sports federations and governing bodies, college conferences, sports teams, and entertainment production companies. She also handled sponsorship and site deals for clients and IMG-owned properties as well as contracts between IMG-represented talent and television networks and/or sponsors. Basten earned a BA (cum laude) from the University of Pennsylvania, and a JD from Notre Dame Law School, where she was a Kiley Scholar.
Christina Brown, Development
Brown is an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist/TV producer. Her journey into news began as a military broadcaster in the Air Force. She then joined NBC's KTSM-TV, where she reported on military and veteran/justice affairs, and anchored daily newscasts. She later moved to Las Vegas as an anchor/reporter for ABC's KTNV-TV. After five years in Las Vegas, she joined NBC News/MSNBC as a network anchor/correspondent. Brown recently launched Christina Brown Entertainment, a production company that develops original content. She is former President/Vice President of Broadcast for the Las Vegas Association of Black Journalists (LVABJ) and is also a member of AFTRA, NATAS and NABJ.
Marica Chacona, Membership
Marica Chacona is Vice President, Program Planning and Scheduling at Showtime Networks Inc (SNI). She is responsible for the development and execution of the monthly program schedules for The Movie Channel, Flix, Smithsonian Channel, Showtime multiplexes and various On Demand offerings. Her position includes longterm strategic planning and collaboration with various departments within SNI, including finance, marketing, on-air promotion and digital media. She also oversees the development of new channels and is one of the key Showtime executives shepherding the launch of a new company-wide programming system. Chacona started her entertainment career in nonprofit, working for the Southwest Film/Video Archives at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she earned her MBA.
Susan Sheppard, Membership
Sheppard is a longtime senior business affairs and legal executive in the TV industry on both the network and production sides. She is currently Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, at RHI Entertainment, handling all business affairs for the development and production of MOWs, original series and digital media platforms, in addition to business affairs and legal matters for RHI's multiplatform distribution business. She has served in similar roles at Lifetime Television, A&E Television Networks and BBC Worldwide Americas. Before her career as an attorney, Shepard was a musical comedy actress on Broadway and national tours, and Equity and SAG member.
Thea Kerman, Esq., Programming
Kerman has over 25 years of legal experience in the entertainment, publishing, merchandising, toy and licensing industries. Her experience includes theatrical films, live action and animated episodic television programs, broadcast and cable television movies of the week, and documentaries. She has extensive experience providing financial, production counsel and other legal services for films produced for major studios, broadcast and cable television networks, as well as independently produced films and international co-productions. She has written articles on protecting original ideas and acquiring rights to properties to be made into films and TV shows. Prior to establishing her own law firm in 1990, Kerman was the Senior Production Counsel for Tri-Star Pictures in Los Angeles, and earlier, General Counsel for the Marvel Comics Group.
Ylana Kellar, Programming
Kellar is an actress, writer and singer whose credits include Everything's Coming Up Ro'ses! (created and written by NYWIFT member Roetta Collins, and directed by NYWIFT member Lee Eypper) and In the Family Way (produced and directed by NYWIFT member Rachel Gordon). She previously served on the board of directors of CineWomen NY. Kellar holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and she is a member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. She associate produced several educational shorts for the Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park Visitors Center in Middlebrook, Missouri, which were produced and directed by NYWIFT member Geralyn Abinader.
Simone Pero, Special Events
Pero is a corporate communications executive and founder of For Impact Productions, an independent firm specializing in outreach and marketing campaigns for media and entertainment companies, independent films, and nonprofits. Her recent work includes development of the Stony Brook Southampton Graduate Film Program with Killer Films and movement building for the Sundance hit Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
. Previously, she was Vice President for Corporate Communications at MTV and earlier, Director of Communication and Marketing at Rainbow Media/Cablevision. Pero also co-produced the award-winning documentary Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy
(directed by NYWIFT advisory board member Alice Elliott) and is an alumna of the Sundance Institute. She began her career on national and global advocacy initiatives, including the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women and the Clinton/Gore ’96 advance team.
Caren Spruch, Special Events
Spruch is the director of arts and entertainment engagement at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She leads the organization’s efforts to work with, influence, and honor those in the entertainment community who promote women’s health. Caren established the Board of Advocates, a group of prominent television, film, and stage actors, producers, and directors who publicly support Planned Parenthood’s mission at national events, in magazines and newspapers, online, and across all social media platforms. She consults with creative professionals to review scripts for accuracy and advises them on incorporating health messages into their scripts. Caren has also organized countless events featuring celebrities for other nonprofits, political campaign fundraisers, and national political conventions, and she has conducted business development efforts in the private sector.
Marsha S. Brooks, Esq., Legal Counsel
Brooks is a partner in the New York City law firm of Brooks & Distler. She has specialized in the areas of entertainment and intellectual property law for over 25 years. Brooks represents producers, writers, directors, rights owners, and for-profit and not-for-profit institutions in the fields of legitimate theatre, motion picture, television, and new media all over the world. She is general counsel for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and New York Women in Film & Television.