Founded in 2003 by women filmmakers, for women-identified filmmakers, Cinefemme is a 501-(c)(3) organization created to support their artistic projects. Since 2003, we have helped produce nearly 60 independent feature films, shorts, film festivals, and other activist initiatives by women-identified, BIPOC, LBGTQ+, disabled, mothers and other underserved talents. Cinefemme's programs include networking opportunities, mentorship, pipeline initiatives, festivals, and strategies for career advancement for key creatives and above-and-below the line department heads. Our mission is to connect, amplify, and elevate the most marginalized and vulberable artists in society with much-needed resources and community.
Qualifying donations to Cinefemme or any our sponsored projects may be tax-deductible. Cinefemme does not provide tax or legal advice. Cinefemme's Federal Tax ID EIN Number is 52-237-4579.
Checks must be mailed to:
1014 Broadway #477, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Cinefemme accepts donations from government and charitable funds.
At San Francisco State University, three women met while studying for their MFA's in the Cinema Department. Michelle Kantor, Katrina Parks, and Sirpa Nelson recognized the Hollywood film industry lacked gender parity on the highest level. So, they decided to create their own independent filmmaking model by forming a 501-(c)(3) non-profit with fiscal sponsorship, mentorship, and screening programs, empowering themselves - and other women - to make films without permission. This is how Cinefemme was born.
Executive Director / Founder / Board Member / Filmmaker
Michelle Kantor co-founded Cinefemme as a graduate student at San Francisco State University and has served as Executive Director since 2007. She is an award-winning writer/director and producer dedicated to creating a more inclusive industry by empowering women to greenlight themselves through Cinefemme, helping over 40 fiscal sponsorees to date. The youngest daughter of political refugees who fled Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s, she is producing two projects about her family's historic escapes: Red Star (currently in post-production) documents her father's return on the 50th anniversary of his escape, and The Rebel, a narrative feature film in development. With a prolific background in documentary, shorts, and music videos, she works professionally as a producer on RuPaul's Drag Race, directed an episode of Galaxy Confidencial for Time Warner's Desportes Network, and recently shadowed the director on the Paramount scripted television series "Shooter." Her distinctions include Best Music Video at LA Femme Film Festival, Goldfarb Award for Best Student Film, and the Thunen Memorial Scholarship from the Illuminating Engineers Society. Michelle’s industry credits include work for HBO, FYI, OWN, World of Wonder, The History Channel, Sony, Universal, MJA Advertising, NASA and the advertising agency BBDO. he holds an MFA in Cinema from SFSU, and BFA in Film Production from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Michelle is also a certified paralegal, artist, and mother.
Director of Communications
Music video producer, international model, writer, singer, broadcaster, actress, red carpet correspondent and founder of The Fearleaders. Your typical L.A. girl. With fond memories of playing hopscotch on the stars on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard, she was born into an entertainment family. Both parents were musicians and her grandparents owned the historic Hollywood Professional School, famous for its legendary attendees such as Judy Garland, Betty Grable, and Melanie Griffith. Josi utilized her degree in marketing to land her band on dozens of major networks including VH1, Oxygen, USA, Comedy Central, TLC and Playboy TV. As the founder of The Fearleaders, the bad-ass cheerleading squad for The LA Derby Dolls, she again put her marketing skills to test and landing the squad on shows such as MTV, NBC, SPIKE TV, A&E, KTLA and The CW. Her “grindhouse” style music videos have won “Best Music Video” at The Fetish Film Festival, featured at Horrorhound Film Festival, headlined clubs and galleries. Having traveled extensively to over 35 countries she has gained a sincere appreciation for life and will soon be filming her first international documentary film in 2017. Josi’s other passions are yoga, philanthropic work, animal rescue, pit bulls and gore.
Program Director - Dinner With Dames / Filmmaker
Jenna Payne is a scrappy, DIY New Yorker who fell in love with movies at a young age. Her first short film is the award-winning "Feline Frenzy," which screened at festivals, and she is currently developing an Appalachian Godfather tale called 'Shiner for television. The ‘Shinerpilot script was nominated to the 2016 #WriteHerList and made the Hot 100 of Capital Fund’s Screenplay Competition. Aside from writing and directing, Jenna has long advocated for gender, racial, and LGBTQ parity inside and outside of the film industry. She strives for inclusion and hopes to also increase minority and overlooked majority representation in her stories and on her sets, as well as on the sets of others. To that end, she created and runs Cinefemme's Dinner with Dames as the Program Director. She hopes to put some serious pressure on the glass ceiling in Hollywood.
Low key in person, volcanic reserves of energy on set... with a quirky sense of humor that presents unexpectedly.
Kimby Caplan is an award winning avant-garde and documentary filmmaker whose work has screened at venues across the country, including the SXSW Film Festival, The Smithsonian Institute, and the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. Her film, LISTEN, received a 2005 Student Academy Award and also qualified to be nominated for an Academy Award. A documentary lensed by Caplan, Cubamerican, about Cuban Exiles featuring Andy Garcia and Steven Bauer has screened nationally, with a PBS run in 2014-2015. Recently Caplan just wrapped as Second Unit DP on About Scout, an Indie feature starring Jane Seymour, Ellen Burstyn, and Danny Glover, which opens in select theatres in Los Angeles and New York in March, 2016. Caplan is an MFA Cinematography graduate of American Film Institute and resides in Pasadena, CA.
Program Director - The Test Podcast
As an Equity & SAG-AFTRA member, Michal's performed in dozens of plays & over fifty principal / starring roles for radio, television, & film. She's the voice, likeness, & performance capture artist for Tracey De Santa, one of 7 main characters out of a cast of 1000, in the billion dollar video game Grand Theft Auto V. Her starring role in the L.A. Premiere of White Hot at Hollywood Fringe earned her a Best Actress Award & her Ovation nominated company, The Vagrancy, Best Ensemble, with knock-out reviews in ‘LA Weekly’ & ‘The Examiner.’ Performance highlights: roles in Spike Lee’s Inside Man & Quid Pro Quo with Vera Farmiga, recurring on One Life to Live, three separate characters for Law & Order: Criminal Intent, & a performance art piece for The Whitney Museum of American Art. She's in development on her first feature as co-writer / producer / actress, Born That Way, a Sundance Screenwriting Lab second rounder & a Big Vision Empty Wallet Kickstart Diversity Program winner. She's the official Host of The Women’s Independent Film Festival & a Judge on the LA based monologue competition TV show, Tomorrow's Thespians. The Test was born out of a curiosity & love for women trailblazers everywhere. bornthatwaythemovie.com
Program Director - The Test Podcast
Jessica is an actress, comedienne, screenwriter and director. She loves creative, honest expressions of all kinds and genres, but has always had a special place in her heart for comedy. She went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she studied acting and directing for theater. After graduating she directed for several theater companies, including three plays in the NY Fringe Festival. Around that time she trained and performed improv and sketch comedy at a variety of theaters, including Upright Citizens Brigade. She also worked as an Assistant and Reader at a couple of production companies, including for producers Ed Saxon and Peter Saraf at Magnet Entertainment. She later went to the Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program, where she wrote, directed, and produced a strong body of film and TV projects. Many of her films, pilots, and web series have been honored in a variety of festivals and contests. As an actress she’s played a wide range of characters in theater, film, TV and web series. Some career highlights include: Semifinals in the Sundance Writers Lab, a Student Academy nomination, an Audience Choice Award in the Columbia Film Festival, and an award in the New York TV Festival (NYTVF).
Advisory Board Member
Heide Foley has served on the Board of Directors since its founding, and served as CFO for many years. A filmmaker and traveler, she has produced documentaries on Kazak Nomads in Mongolia and the King of Tonga and has directed a short film on the artist Jean Varda. She earned her BA in Liberal Arts at Arizona State University where she studied intermedia with Muriel Magenta in the Herberger Institute School of Art. She earned a certification in Graphic Design from the NY School of Visual Arts and was the Art Director at Mondo 2000 magazine. She is currently a financial professional working as an asset manager specializing in budget forecasts and performance analysis. She also manages site specific areas for large public events for Dominic Phillips Event Marketing.
VP of Events