We are a group of artists, entrepreneurs, small business owners and lovers of the independent spirit

Lisa deSouza – Founder & Executive Director (Leadership)

After graduating from the prestigious boarding school, Deerfield Academy, Lisa moved to New York where she attended Columbia University. Always an artist at heart, Lisa’s practical side gave way to…

Sean McBride – Associate Festival Director (Leadership)

Sean McBride is a rising star on the Los Angeles comedy club circuit and has made multiple appearances on Hulu’s “Comedy Time”. He is also a highly regarded writer-producer, and in 2018 he produced the psychological thriller, “LIVE”, now streaming on Amazon Prime, and his scRedd Foxx biopic, “Seeing Redd” is currently in development. You can catch Sean performing all over Southern California at Cosmic Comedy Shows.

Michele Nassif – Operations Coordinator

Michele Arrieh Nassif is a local writer who started her career as a news journalist and editor/contributor for a publishing company. A Wisconsin native, Michele studied English Literature/Writing and Humanistic Studies at St. Mary’s College-University of Notre Dame. She recently received a degree in Filmmaking from College of the Canyons and completed a Certificate in Screenwriting at UCLA. She is passionate about empowering women artists and bringing a film festival to Santa Clarita. She also works as the Associate Producer for MySCV.Life, SCIFF’s community web series supporting local artists, non-profits, and businesses.

Film :

Kevin Roy – Program Director (Leadership)

With over 20 years’ experience making movies, Kevin Roy started in the film industry as a 1st Assistant Director in the Houston independent film scene while still attending college. Upon…

Corey Nathan – Interfaith Program

Corey Nathan Engaged Citizen, Creative Businessman, Executive Producer, Host Corey Nathan started out as a stockbroker by day while studying at a theatre conservatory at night. Since then, he’s been…

Eric Strong – Screening Committee Director

Eric Strong is a bi-coastal Actor/ Singer/ Writer, currently based in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Being fortunate enough to be a working artist, Eric has performed in all seven continents. Currently he is attached to a major motion picture filming in Germany in 2024. With a background in Opera and Musical Theater, Eric was Male Lead Vocalist for Crystal Cruises, the highest rated luxury cruise line in the world, for thirteen years. He has successfully made the transition to film and television appearing in major roles on NBC, Netflix, and HBO.

Chris Studenka – Production Director

Christopher Studenka is a professional actor and filmmaker born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He attended The J. W. Sexton High School before graduating from Central Michigan University. A versatile actor of over 100 credits, Chris has played a wide range of parts from dramatic and dark to comedic and all-American. He has won numerous awards for his acting as well for films he has written and produced including the feature film “Run Rabbit.”. He splits his time between Scottsdale, Arizona and Los Angeles. He is an avid marathon runner and has modeled running apparel and shoes for a major sporting goods running catalog.

Music :

Earl Powell – Music Director

Earl Powell is a Grammy, Billboard & Gold acclaimed American Songwriter and Music Producer from Chicago, IL, whose love for music began in elementary school. As a minor, Earl earned many music accolades & placements, including 1st chair (Trumpet), Band President, Musician of the Year, Chicago’s All City Band, and national acknowledgment in Who’s Who In Music.

Tony Oberlin – Technical Director

Switch, also known as Tony Oberlin, is a versatile artist who has been writing songs and DJing since 1989. Starting from rhyming on street corners and in schoolyards, he has DJed at numerous New York bars and clubs, while also performing his own songs at open mics and artist showcases. Notable performances include opening for artists like DMX, Slick Rick,KRS-One as well as Common, R.A. The Rugged Man, and Prodigy of Mobb Deep. Switch’s involvement extends to modeling for Rebel Behavior Jewelry and Clothing brand, acting on Gotham and web series like Sons Of Kingston, and being a member of Blaze The Mic NY as their DJ. He has faced challenges but remained driven, and his music reflects his life and thoughts.

Visual Arts :

Kathy Gonzales – Artistic Director

Kathy Gonzales worked in the entertainment industry for HBO for over 20+ years. Some of her accomplishments while at HBO were supporting productions such as Band of Brother in Paris…

Comedy :

Susie Clayton – Program Director

 Oftentimes people look at a successful enterprise and think, “Who’s the person making all this magic happen? And the answer is… Susie Sitcom. While she doesn’t have her own show yet, Susie does hold the Guinness Book of World Record for most comedy specials produced in a calendar year for Funny Media Group in 2022. Susie was born and raised in Chicago comes to LA with her two a background in Marketing, Finance and Culinary Arts. A corporate events producer and stand up comedian from Chicago. She is a Mom of two and has a calling to making people laugh. 

She is also the Comedy Director for the Santa Clarita International Film Festival.