Founder/Executive Director – An accomplished actress, producer and editor, she has been acting professionally for over a decade. As lead actress of the award-winning horror-action film, Hanah’s Gift, Melanie won best actress at the IndieFest Film Festival. Her character was so popular with young women that it spawned two fan clubs in Southern California. Standing six-feet tall, a former basketball standout and licensed physical trainer, she possesses a presence and charisma that is groundbreaking in feature films — More Clint Eastwood than girlfriend-next door. Melanie has overseen the production of two indie feature films as well as multiple shorts and commercials. She is an adept video and sound editor, graphic design, 2D motion graphics, and specializes in polishing troubled projects.
Co-Founder – Zac admits it! He is a film nerd. He was always drawn to the toughest female characters – not the femme fatales, but the surly, never-giving-up kind – Katharine Hepburn, Ann Sheridan and Bette Davis, to name a few. He loved those characters, but felt they could go further and be the kind that can take a punch and give plenty more back! His first film action script had a tough, female heroine who took on the bad guys and he hasn’t looked back. He feels a great action script with a female lead makes things so much more interesting and gives a unique perspective to even run-of-the-mill actioners. A prolific writer, Mr. Baldwin has authored nearly 200 screenplays, 50 stage plays and six novels, and has had over 30 projects produced. He has directed three feature films, including award-winning Hanah’s Gift which won an Audience Choice Award. Mr. Baldwin has won multiple awards for direction, writing, acting, and producing. He has been an acting teacher in Southern California for over a decade. He is also a trained stuntman and stunt choreographer, having performed and choreographed stunts for over a dozen films. Mr. Baldwin is also an accomplished musician.
Board of Directors – With a passion for both film and women’s rights, it was natural that John Halbert would gravitate to the Artemis Women In Action Film Festival. A student of philosophy at Swarthmore College and of cinema at the University of Southern California, Mr. Halbert approaches film by probing and challenging its conventions, particularly those which pertain to gender. His mother instilled in him at an early age the principles of feminism and the importance of respecting all women, while his father demonstrated the great value of a strong and loving male support for gender equality. Mr. Halbert likes to say that, as a filmmaker, he intends to never make a movie that does not pass the Bechdel test.
Ms. Sheena Metal
Board of Directors – Sheena Metal is an entertainment icon who has anchored numerous radio shows for over 15 years in Los Angeles. Her current top-rated talk show, “The Sheena Metal Experience,” airs daily on the City Of Angels’ hottest new station, LA Talk Radio, where Sheena has interviewed movie stars, TV icons, Broadway legends, studio heads, writers, doctors, chefs, shark experts and ghost hunters…just to name a few. Metal also hosts two other weekly shows for LA Talk Radio: “Music Highway” and “Haunted Playground”.
Metal first grabbed the attention of LA radio fanatics spending six years on the then “Howard Stern” station KLSX (97.1 the FM Talk Station) where she helmed five successful shows. Her untouchable wit, unforgettable voice and unflinching fan base have proven Sheena to be an undeniable radio presence.
Known for her biting sense of humor, Metal has appeared as a comedic commentator on “National Inquirer TV,” hosted All Access Music Awards, and headlined two long-running stand-up comedy nights at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood. For more information, press references and photos of Sheena Metal, visit her comprehensive online website www.sheenametal.com.
Financial Advisor – Malissa Wise is the Owner and President of Wise Business Decisions, which was established in 1998. She specializes in accounting and financial consulting for small businesses ($500K-$5M). Malissa assesses and creates a specialized structure to maintain accounting and bookkeeping systems for a wide variety of clients and businesses. To further financial goals, she affords her clients the opportunity to understand how their business is performing through the interpretation of financial statements and by creating easy to understand retrospective and prospective evaluations.
Prior to Wise Business Decisions, Malissa worked in the transportation and telecommunications industries performing financial and operational managerial responsibilities for 10 years. During her corporate career, she gained experience working with a variety of departments planning budgets combined with assessing financial problems and general problem solving. Acting as liaison between corporate finance and operational and supporting divisions, she was able to cultivate a company-wide perspective of business function that allows her to help her clients better understand the financial aspects of their businesses. Malissa has a BS in Finance from University of Southern California, an MBA from California State Los Angeles, and has her CPA license.
Board of Directors – Heidi Mastrogiovanni is a graduate of Wesleyan University and was chosen as one of ScreenwritingU’s 15 Most Recommended Screenwriters of 2013. The comedy web series she writes and produces, “Verdene and Gleneda,” was awarded the Hotspot on the Writers Guild of America’s Hotlist. Heidi is fluent in German and French, though she doesn’t understand why both these languages feel they need more than one definite article.
A dedicated animal welfare advocate, Heidi lives in Los Angeles with her musician husband and their rescued senior dogs. She loves to read, hike, travel, and do a classic spit-take whenever something is really funny.
“Lala Pettibone: Standing Room Only,” the sequel to “Lala Pettibone’s Act Two,” will be released by Amberjack Publishing in August of 2018. Both novels explore the themes present in all Heidi’s work… It’s never too late to begin again, and it must be cocktail hour somewhere.
Iranian Correspondant – Maryam Haddadi is accomplished graphic designer, documentary filmmaker and video director originally from Iran, holding a master degree in Visual communication and certificate from DFG Documentary Filmmaking Group London. She also graduated from Limkokwing university of Creative Technology in Malaysia. She is a member of Iranian Youth Cinema Society and has a certificate in filmmaking. She has her own cultural-art company SETAK, stablished in 2014. She also works as an art consultant and university lecturer in the field of graphic design.
Her first film, “Salto,” screened at more than 10 festivals and won awards from Melbourne City Independent Film Awards and Phoenix Film Festival. Maryam advocates for women rights and freedoms. Additionally, Ms. Haddadi has published papers in Iran and authored the book “Line as a Visual Element in Mise-En-Scene.”
Eric is based in Upstate NY and has been producing and marketing film festivals, conferences, movie premieres, parties at major film festivals and concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Utah, Connecticut, Boston, New Jersey, Manhattan, Albany and Buffalo since 2005. Some of Eric's Credits include the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival, New York State International Film Festival, Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival, Silicon Beach Film Festival, Seal Beach Film Festival, Marina del Rey Film Festival, San Pedro International Film Festival.