BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Cassandra Falby

Cassandra Falby, MS, LMFT
Board Chair
Psychotherapist, Performance Artist, Filmmaker-Director The Texture of Honesty
West Indian American Genderqueer Femme

Cassandra Falby is a West Indian American genderqueer femme from the Midwest who now calls the Bay Area home. Her commitment to community health and liberation can be seen in her work as a performance artist, as the Program Director at the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, and as one of the founding members of the Femme Collective. Cassandra has a small private psychotherapy practice in Oakland where she sees individuals and couples. She was a member of QWOCMAP’s very first filmmaking cohort and has been a proud supporter of QWOCMAP for many years.
A black and white close-up photo of a Chinese American nonbinary trans person with short black hair, smiling at the camera. They are wearing a light collared shirt underneath a puffy black jacket.

Mel Y. Chen
Associate Professor, Filmmaker-Director Local Grown Corn
Queer Chinese American nonbinary trans person

Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and Director for the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at UC Berkeley, where they get to work with so many fierce and engaged queer, trans, nonbinary, first-generation, immigrant and BIPOC students. They write in academic and arts publications, and teach about intersections of race, gender, sexuality, disability, and humanness with praxis and spaciousness. They were deeply changed by a screenwriting workshop and the 2006 filmmaker cohort, and are part of a queer/trans of color arts collective that has held a sustaining space for more than ten years.

A South Asian nonbinary person with medium brown skin and short black and gray hair, smiling at the camera. They are wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt with a blue and white floral pattern. Behind them is a gray brick wall and leafy green and red plants.

Champika Fernando, MS
Technologist, Filmmaker-Director A Genealogy of Dreams
Queer South Asian nonbinary person

Champika is an alumna of QWOCMAP’s filmmaker workshop where they had the opportunity to interview their father and tell a multi-generational story of migration, sacrifice, and dreaming that ends where their journey continues. Professionally, Champika is a technologist and led a team that created the Scratch Online Community where children around the world create, share, & remix their own interactive stories. Champika has experience building organizations and leading teams across for-profit, non-profit, and academia. They are currently the Lab Lead at Mozilla’s Data Futures Lab, where they fund projects that seek to break down power imbalances in our data economies.

Lynn Sugihara

Lynn Sugihara
California State Registered Dental Hygienist, Filmmaker-Director, Jasmine’s Jubilee
Queer Japanese/Chinese American woman

With 37 years in the dental field, she is also a long-time community activist who has volunteered for APIQWTC, Asian Women’s Shelter, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach. She is a 3rd generation Asian American, born in Berkeley, raised in Richmond.
nat ruiz tofano headshot Image description: A close-up of a Mexican and Chinese person with medium brown skin and short black hair, smiling at the camera. They are wearing a black rimmed glasses and a brown collared shirt over a black t-shirt.

Nat Ruiz Tofano
Nonprofit Manager and Coordinator, Filmmaker-Director, A Boy on the Side
Queer Multiracial Mexican and Chinese nonbinary person

Nat Ruiz Tofano is a queer and multiracial documentary filmmaker based in Oakland, CA. They work as a documentary film Producer and a Coordinator/Programmer for the documentary field. They are committed to decolonizing and reimagining documentary film and storytelling; and lifting up stories from BIPOC and Queer communities. Nat is a proud 2009 QWOCMAP alumni. They are an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, A-Doc (Asian American Documentary Network), a member-owner of New Day Films, and has produced numerous documentary projects that have aired on PBS, WORLD Channel, Al Jazeera English, CCTV-9, and CuriosityStream.
A Náhuat/Salvadoran woman with medium brown skin and long black hair in two braids, smiling at the camera. She is wearing dark framed glasses, a white shirt, and a light pink blazer.

Yanira Arias
National Campaigns Manager, Filmmaker-Director, La Justicia Nace en Mí
Lesbian Náhuat/Salvadoran woman

Yanira Arias is a Temporary Protected Status holder from El Salvador, who migrated at age 27 fleeing gender violence. She graduated from the University of El Salvador with a focus on journalism. She has 20+ years of experience in public policy and immigrant’s rights with expertise in community organizing, mobilization, and capacity building. She was part of the Latino Commission on AIDS for 9 years, where she served as Director of Community Organizing for Latinos in the Deep South, and supported LGBTQI+ groups in Puerto Rico. Yanira joined Alianza Americas in 2014. Yanira enjoys hiking, biking, photography, and art festivals.

ADVISORY BOARD

Aarin Burch
Independent Filmmaker, AARIN BURCH PRODUCTIONS
Director, The Art of Laurel Burch; My People Are… Youth Pride in Mixed Heritage; Michigan Fever; Reflections Unseen 
Cheryl Dunye
Independent Filmmaker
Director, Black is Blue; My Baby’s Daddy; Watermelon Woman; Stranger Inside; She Don’t Fade; DiAna’s Hair Ego Remix; Brother From Another Time; Valencia; Mommy Is Coming; Greetings From Africa; The Potluck and the Passion; TV: Queen Sugar (OWN), Claws (TNT), The Fosters (Freeform), Dear White People (Netflix), Star (FOX), Love Is (OWN),
Mary Guzmán
Independent Filmmaker, ONE OF 9 CUBANITOS FILMS
Director, Do The Math; Mind If I Call You Sir?; Desi’s Looking For A New Girl
Pratibha Parmar
Independent Filmmaker, KALI FILMS
Director, American Masters: Alice Walker; Nina’s Heavenly Delights; Warrior Marks; Khush; Double The Trouble, Twice The Fun 
Jennifer Phang
Independent Filmmaker, AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ALUMNI
Director, Advantageous; Half Life; Target Audience 9.1; Love Limited; TV: The Boys (Amazon), The Expanse (Amazon/SYFY), Cloak & Dagger (Freeform), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC), Quantico (ABC), Riverdale (CW), Major Crimes (TNT), The Exorcist (FOX), Future States (PBS)
Desi del Valle
Independent Filmmaker, Actor, Media Consultant
Director, Cruel, Back to Life Actor; Desi’s Looking for a New Girl; Costa Brava; Mod-Fuck Explosion; Some Prefer Cake; Drift 
Yvonne Welbon
Independent Filmmaker, AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ALUMNI
Former Chair, Journalism and Media Studies Department, Bennett College for Women
Director, Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100; Sisters in Cinema; The Taste of Dirt; Remembering Wei Yi Fang, Remembering Myself; Sisters in the Life: First Love; Missing Relations; The Cinematic Jazz of Julie Dash; Monique 

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