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SIFF: Catalyst Conversations

  • SIFF Film Center 305 Harrison Street Seattle, WA, 98109 United States (map)

Women, Film & Tech

A stimulating free conversation led by Seed&Spark's Emily Best around extraordinary tools and ideas that are revolutionizing the landscape of independent film.


Beth Warshaw was, most recently, Co-Director at The Vera Project, the largest all-ages music and art venue in the United States. Before moving to Seattle, she produced the daily NPR music program The World Café. She has also been the Production Director at WXPN, the noncommercial radio station in Philadelphia, where she produced live & recorded shows. She has taught classes at the University of Pennsylvania, and participated in the Black Lily Film & Music Festival (now the BlackStar Film Festival). Beth founded & built Girls Rock Philly, a music & empowerment organization for girls & women, for six years and served as board member of the international Girls Rock Camp Alliance. She currently works in operations for The Derschang Group, is a board member of Rain City Rock Camp for Girls and is Co-Founder and C.O.O. of Echo.

Courtney Sheehan is the program director at Northwest Film Forum, where she leads year-round film exhibition and events programs. She has worked as a film curator and event producer for theaters and festivals on three continents. On a year-long Watson Fellowship, Courtney traveled to twenty film festivals and media centers in India, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. As a journalist, Courtney has covered film events ranging from TIFF and SXSW to the world's largest documentary festival (IDFA in Amsterdam) and South America's largest animation festival (Anima Mundi in Rio de Janeiro). Her publications include Bitch Magazine, Senses of Cinema, The Independent, and NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies. She is also the co-founder of Cine Migratorio, a migration-themed film festival in Santander, Spain.

Julia Fryett is a curator and cultural entrepreneur focused on art, film and technology. Based in Seattle, she is the founder of Aktionsart and also works independently as an art advisor and consultant. She has over ten years of international experience and has served as an arts advocate on Steering Committees for Americans for the Arts and Obama's 2008 National Arts Policy Committee. Prior to forming Aktionsart, Julia worked in a curatorial and sales capacity at the Mugrabi Collection in New York. Julia holds an MA in Film Curating from London Consortium - a unique collaboration between London Film School, University of London, Tate, ICA and the Architectural Association. She received a BA in Literature, a BA in Public Policy Studies and Music Minor from Duke University. Julia founded BLACK BOX in 2013.

Melinda Fox is a seasoned organizer and campaigner who cut her teeth on several winning state ballot initiatives, and Obama's run for President in 2008. She went on to hone her advocacy skills in Washington D.C. as a fundraising executive for The Humane Society of the United States, including forming their political arm, and served as Vice President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition before joining a startup in business development for the world's fastest growing social action platform - She has served on several boards including the international Girls Rock Camp Alliance and Reel Grrls. She now dedicates her time to building Echo as Co-Founder & CEO.


Emily Best founded Seed&Spark to make a contribution to the truly independent community in which she would like to make moving pictures. In 2011, she had the great fortune of producing her first feature with a remarkable group of women. The spirit, the community and the challenges of that project, Like the Water, inspired Seed&Spark. Before producing Like the Water, Emily produced theater, worked as a vision and values strategy consultant for Best Partners, ran restaurants, studied jazz singing at the Taller de Musics, tour guided and cooked in Barcelona, and before that, was a student of Cultural Anthropology and American Studies at Haverford College. Emily was named one of the 2013 Indiewire Influencers, 2014 New York Women of Influence, 2015 Upstart 100. Emily is touring film and tech festivals around the world as a part of the #StayIndieTour to educate filmmakers and learn their best practices in connecting with their audiences to build a sustainable career. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in crowdfunding for film, and contributed to over 300 campaigns to date.

Earlier Event: May 28
Knut Asdam
Later Event: May 31
Over Deliver Every Time