The Board of Art House Convergence is a new governance body established in October of 2022 and charged with rebuilding AHC as a democratic, transparent, diverse, equitable, inclusive organization. As of August 2023, six new members join the inaugural board as the class of 2023.
You can read more about expected duties of the Board here.
Kolby Ari is a Tulsa native merging journalism, urban design advocacy, social and arts work to bring communities together to talk about what matters most, solve problems, and amplify the joys of being a part of a strong neighborhood.
Kolby founded the organization, Dreamland, focused on exhibiting Black and Brown experiences in storytelling that center our joy, healing, and transformation of community. Dreamland works with descendants of the Williams family who originally built the theater in 1914 to best steward the efforts of this community legacy institution and ensure our values match those of the systems of community care that grew and cultivated the Greenwood community it was a part of.
Beth has been with SIFF since 2003, and is responsible for managing the artistic vision of SIFF, including all aspects of programming for the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema’s 6 year-round screens, and the SIFF Education team. Graduating from the University of Iowa with a Masters degree in Northern Renaissance Art History, Beth moved to Seattle in 1993, and has worked as a baker, bartender, art docent, and digital prepress technician. She secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival for short film in 2008. Beth currently serves on the City of Seattle Film Commission. In addition to her daily work in programming, Beth has served on juries and panels in Palm Springs, Park City, Cleveland, Nashville, Calgary, Vancouver BC and Berlin, Germany.
Liana Bender is the Chief Development Officer at the California Film Institute, a non-profit that owns and operates the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, owns the Sequoia Theater in Mill Valley, and produces the Mill Valley Film Festival, DocLands Documentary Film Festival, and CAFILM Education programs. Liana supports the mission of the organization “to celebrate and promote film as art and education” by overseeing contributed revenue alongside a talented team of professionals. Liana has worked in festivals for 20+ years, both overseas in Scotland (where Liana has lived half of her life) and now in Marin County, California. She was a founding member of the Board of TEDxMarin and holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK, and a BA from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Javier Chavez, Secretary
Javier Chavez is a Cuban American film programmer based in Washington, DC. In addition to curating features for AFI FEST, he is a programmer for the AFI Silver Theater, which presents over 700 films a year, ranging from first run to repertory and several festivals, including the AFI Latin American Film Festival and AFI European Union Film Showcase. He serves as Secretary of the board of Art House Convergence and was previously Associate Director of Coral Gables Art Cinema and a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Grant Panelist for Media Arts. He holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Outside the world of cinema, he is a self-taught computer programmer who hopes to fully automate his workday – a task not yet accomplished – and is an avid gamer whose favorite games include “XCOM,” “Hollow Knight,” and “Metal Gear Solid.”
Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer
Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer (she/her) currently serves as executive director of Amherst Cinema Arts Center, is an independent, nonprofit arts and education in Amherst, MA. She’s spent the past two decades of her career in educational technology and film festival production, resulting in the design and delivery of innovative programming and impactful learning experiences. Yasmin Eisenhauer earned her bachelor’s degree at Smith College and her master’s degree in educational communications and technology from New York University.
Logan Crow is an avid and lifelong film lover, with an affinity for horror, cult, avant-garde, and genre cinema. A first generation American born to a Nicaraguan mother and Ecuadorian father, Logan has distinguished himself as one of Southern California’s preeminent film and art house cinema advocates. In 2014 he founded The Frida Cinema, the only non-profit art house cinema in Orange County, CA.
Prior to founding The Frida, Crow’s passion for film led to the formation of non-profit Long Beach Cinematheque, which presented hundreds of classic film screenings, including outdoor presentations at historic Sunnyside Cemetery, in Long Beach, CA. He also started and ran the since-retired, Los Angeles-based classic and cult cinema website MonoCelluloid.com, and served as a founding Board Member of the Cultural Alliance of Long Beach. Along with his service to Art House Convergence, Crow currently sits on the boards of Arts Orange County and Orange County LGBT Pride.
Crow often serves as a guest speaker in the fields of cinema, non-profit leadership, outdoor event planning, and civic engagement, and in his free time enjoys creative writing, film critique and analysis, and spending time with his beloved dog Nomi.
Ben Delgado is the Programming Director at FilmScene, Iowa City’s premiere art house theater. He holds a masters degree from The Ohio State University in Arts Policy and a BA in Communication and Culture from Indiana University. Ben began his programming career at Coral Gables Art Cinema in 2013 where he helped develop artists’ services programs and curated a diverse film selection. In 2017 he joined the programming team of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center playing an integral role in presenting over 800 annual offerings. In his current role at FilmScene, Ben oversees all year round programming including the Refocus Film Festival, a festival celebrating the art of adaptation.
In Fall 2022, Kimel Fryer became the Executive Director of Indie Memphis, which supports the community through its annual film festival, year-round programming, youth program, artist development program, and its Black Creators Forum. Prior to Indie Memphis, Kimel worked in corporate finance for nine years at notable companies such as FedEx Supply Chain, Pfizer, and FCA US, LLC. She is also a multi-hyphenate producer-writer-director. Being involved in creative spaces since childhood, Kimel most recently operated as a producer of the feature film, “Life Ain’t Like the Movies,” which is currently on the Amazon and the Tubi networks. She is also attached as a producer on the upcoming feature film, “The Pact” which is expected to begin production in Spring 2024.
Kimel is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Film Festival Alliance, Women of Color Unite, and Women of Color Filmmakers. In 2023, Kimel was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 leader by the Memphis Business Journal. Additionally, she mentored students through the Indie Memphis Crew Up program in 2022.
Kimel is a Memphis native who graduated with a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Memphis and a J.D. & M.B.A. degree from the University of Tennessee. With her background in finance and law combined with her passion for film, she is finally able to pursue opportunities that allow her to support underserved communities through the art of film. She has two busy little boys, Michael and Kameron, who run her household but compensate her with cuddles when she’s not working.
Ben Godar, Treasurer
Deirdre Haj (Executive Director, Film Streams) was one of the first film festival leaders to join the Festival Forum at IFP, which became the Film Festival Alliance, where she served as the first Vice President of the organization.
Haj joined Film Streams Cinemas in Omaha, Nebraska in May 2021. Current efforts include expanding existing administrative offices, championing “See Change”, a gender parity initiative focused on reaching 50% of all films screened as woman-directed and creating more opportunities for visiting filmmakers and screening films deeper into the local community.
Her tenure in Nebraska follows an outstanding run at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which she led since January 2010. Under her leadership, Full Frame developed into a prized, Oscar-qualifying festival. Achievements during this time include the creation of the nationally acclaimed School of Doc teen filmmaking course, the Teach the Teachers documentary literacy program for educators, and the festival’s celebrated Speakeasy Conversations, including an annual panel addressing the lack of diversity in the documentary filmmaking field. Haj also developed resources to build new offices and the Full Frame Theater.
Haj served as Senior Advisor for Television and Film at Duke University for over five years. Prior to this, she worked as a producer, and consulted between the MPA and government agencies, drawing together Hollywood professionals and federal agencies to create onscreen solutions for public health issues.
Alicia Kozma, Vice President
Alicia Kozma, PhD, is the Director of Indiana University Cinema, an art house cinema dedicated to using film and cinema studies for intellectual development and cultural enrichment. An educator, writer, and researcher, her work is focuses on practical and interventional analyses on the labor of underrepresented populations in the entertainment industries with a particular focus on gendered labor in the neo-art house and below the line production workers. She also works on evaluations of emerging media technologies on the business of theatrical distribution and exhibition business particularly focused on the impacts on independent theaters. Learn more at www.aliciakozma.com.
Arin Liberman (Executive Director, Ragtag Film Society) has spent her professional life immersed in film – from festivals to movie, television, and commercial production work. Raised in Washington, DC, she graduated from The George Washington University in 2006 while interning at the AFI Silverdocs Documentary Festival in Silver Spring, MD. There, she advanced from programming & special events assistant to Festival Producer while working concurrently on shows for National Geographic Television, the Discovery Channel and the Smithsonian Channel, as well as other fest gigs across the country. Liberman started at True/False in 2011 and has worn many hats with the Fest since, from editing publications (including the 10-year anniversary book) to managing the box office, managing the programming team, and serving as the org’s first Chief People Officer. In 2020, Liberman was selected as a Co-Executive Director to lead RFS; the parent organization of Ragtag Cinema and True/False Film Fest. She is a Capricorn sun with a Cancer moon and Leo rising.
Lela Meadow-Conner, President
Lela Meadow-Conner is a Creative Producer and Founder of mama.film – where storytellers, changemakers and nurturers come together to champion humanity through a maternal gaze. mama.film curates films that center women, identity and the human experience. In 2020, mama.film launched rePROFilm, a virtual monthly film series advocating for reproductive justice. In 2021 & 2022 mama.film served as a Satellite Screen for the Sundance Film Festival in Kansas and now operates as a nomadic cinema experience..She has 20 years of experience in independent cinema exhibition, most recently serving as the Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance from 2017-2022. Her filmmaking credits include Chasing Chasing Amy (Tribeca, 2023) Run Amok (2024) and The Spice Poet, currently in development with Priyanka Chopra’s Purple Pebble Pictures. Lela also sits on the board of the Vidiots Foundation, soon to relaunch in the historic Eagle Theater in Eagle Rock, CA and is a member of the Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Garineh Nazarian is the founder and managing director of Venera Films, a small, boutique, distribution and production company working with women filmmakers from the Middle East, South Asia, Asia, Africa and the diasporas, predominantly presenting the cinema to the North American audiences, in order to channel between the cinema of those regions and the North American moviegoers.
Previously, Garineh was the director of the New Releases department at FilmRise, a major indie distribution company based in NYC that released small indie gems such as MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE, DRIVEWAYS, and BEANS. Her last work at FilmRise was the theatrical release of the 4K restoration of the cult movie PARTY GIRL with iconic Parker Posey across the US and Canada.
Prior to settling in the United States for her studies, she worked in film production for over a decade as producer and director on primary mainstream Iranian cinema and TV shows. Working in the spontaneous, impulsive and hyperrealist Iranian film industry taught her to become adaptable with the various streams of the film industry. Therefore, after moving to the US she gradually shifted to film studies, research, and the business of this exciting industry.
Garineh is the founder of the first ever Iranian Women’s Film Festival. She holds two master’s degrees from Columbia University, one in Film Studies and the other in Middle Eastern Studies. Her studies led her to pursue a career in film business to help films from the underrepresented filmmakers become accessible to a wider audience.
Asha Phelps is currently the Director of Administration & Films at IFC Center, specializing in theater and event operations. Her responsibilities also include film accounting, data tracking and analytics, and alternative programming. In conjunction with her duties at IFC Center, she also works annually with DOC NYC, now America’s largest documentary film festival, overseeing the festival’s production operations. She was a 2016 participant in the inaugural Industry Academy International U.S., hosted by Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Locarno International Film Festival. She has a BA in Cinema Studies from NYU. Although a Texas native, she currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Lex Sloan is the Executive Director at The Roxie Theater in San Francisco and one of the founders of the Bay Area Media Maker Summit. Lex graduated with an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University and a BA in Social Change Media from Western Washington University. Sloan is a devoted member LGBTQ+ filmmaking community and is committed to ensuring that queer history is preserved and shared through the power of cinema.
TT Stern-Enzi is the Artistic Director of the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival. He began working in film as a freelance writer and film critic (first with regional alt-weeklies before transitioning to television at the local Fox affiliate) in the Greater Cincinnati region over 20 years ago and remains an accredited critic on Rotten Tomatoes and a member in the Critics Choice Association. He is also a Film Festival Alliance Board Member.
Emelyn is the first Black Latina to own an independent movie theater in New York. She worked in Corporate America for over 20 years and left to build a self-funded independent movie theater from scratch with no experience. The theater has survived floods, covid and more. Now, four years after opening my first theater, she is making history opening a small multiplex in my childhood neighborhood (Brooklyn, NY) that hasn’t had a movie theater in over 30 years. In addition to owning a movie theater, Emelyn is a filmmaker and founder of a film festival that celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.