Founding Director Nina Fiore EdM
Nina Fiore is the Founder and Executive Director of Astoria Film Festival, and an Advisory Board Member and Partner for the CTE Film Program at the High School of Art and Design in NYC. Nina has a BA and EdM from Harvard University and has long been involved with content production (for digital media, tv, and film), afterschool education, and nonprofit management. Nina managed the team at Viacom that created and launched the Noggin Channel and also created and produced content for MTV, Comedy Central, PBS, Sesame Street, Paramount TV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Sesame Workshop, USA Networks, WE Networks, Merrill Lynch, Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Channel. She was also Senior Producer of the lifestyle tv show Everyday Elegance with Colin Cowie, and PBS's Wired Science. Nina returned to MTV Networks in 2006 to lead their podcasting, SEO, and social media production, and then began her own business creating and managing digital content for numerous organizations. Additionally, she has worked as an Assistant Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Executive Producer, and Editor on a number of Independent Films. Nina also has over 25 years experience in Education. She managed an After School Program in the Mission Hill Housing Complex in Roxbury, MA, created a Digital After School program at the Children's Aid Society in Harlem, NYC, that served as a pilot program for Intel's Computer Classrooms, and, after graduate school at Harvard, served as Communications Director and Grants Manager for an Educational Research Group at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School that worked with struggling Boston Public Schools. Nina also served as STEM and Art Instructor, and eventually, Director of Education, at Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, where she conceived of creating the Astoria Film Festival, to connect local youth with the filmmakers in the community and with industry professionals. Nina is a disabled woman who homeschools her disabled son, advocates for disability rights, and resides in her hometown of Astoria, NY.
Board Treasurer - Slavko Bogdanov PhD (he/him) is an Astrophysicist at Columbia University where he conducts research on high-energy astrophysical phenomena utilizing space-based NASA observatories. Previously, he was a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Global Fellow at McGill University in Montreal, QC, and a research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA. Slavko holds a PhD and MA from Harvard University and a BS with Honors and Distinction from Penn State University. He resides in Astoria, NY and is a member of our Finance and Executive committees.
Board Secretary - Dauna Williams JD (she/her) is the Founder/Director of LawTechTango LLC, a legal and business consulting firm addressing the connections between law, tech and entertainment, including AI. Dauna is a global attorney, an expert in leading and managing legal teams and operations, and devising cutting-edge, legal solutions and cost-saving, process improvements. Dauna has practiced intellectual property, technology, outsourcing, privacy, marketing/advertising, entertainment, new media and general corporate law for over 25 years. As in-house counsel, she managed these legal practices and related global teams for corporations in the financial and insurance industries, namely Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and MetLife. Additionally, Dauna is a writer, producer and director of independent film and theatre, often with a focus on interactive storytelling. She founded an interactive digital marketing company in 1999 called Content360 and was one of the producers for the Tony-nominated, Broadway production of The Scottsboro Boys. Dauna has a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Brown University. She resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is a member of our Finance and Executive committees.
Yunah Chung MBA (she/her) Yunah Chung is a Korean American creative executive. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts as a film & TV major, she cut her teeth at CAA, followed by MTV. Her lifelong love of Korean cinema naturally led her to blogging about it online over at Dramabeans.com where a global community of K-drama fans continue to engage in thoughtful and enthusiastic discourse. Unable to shake her interest in global cinema, she also developed content and analyzed scripts at Infinite Studios (local producer of Crazy Rich Asians) while completing her dual international MBA degrees in Singapore and Tokyo. She was a Development Executive at 9 Story Media Group in New York where she developed kids & family animated and live action content. Currently, she lives in Japan and serves as the Vice President of Content for a new SVOD platform called Samansa.
Ruth Fernandez (she/her) is a NYC-born Latina artist who is a member of IATSE Local 798 as a HMU (Hair and MakeUp Artist and Groomer) for the film/tv industry. While working in a salon in Chelsea in the early 2000's, she was introduced to her future mentor, who took her to assist on an independent film. Soon after, she found herself working on "Making the Band" with Danity Kane on MTV and was then asked to work on the group’s first video shoot in Los Angeles, which paved the way to her current career. Today, Ruth is the go-to to many, both on and off the red carpet. Among the stars Fernandez has worked with are Selita Ebanks, Brian Tyree Henry, Kane Brown, Laila Ali, Sterling K. Brown, Marlee Matlin, Brooke Shields, Miriam Shor, Gaten Matarazzo and Niki Taylor among many more! Ruth also has extensive experience with editorial, commercial work and high-profile advertising campaigns, including Ray-Ban, Bon Appétit, Interview Magazine Germany, Nylon, GQ, Weight Watchers, Welch's and Verizon. In 2017, she became a member of IATSE Local 798. This was a long time dream of hers, to be able to lend her talents and continue to learn and grow as an artist by working along side the best of the best in the TV/Film world.
Maria Hantzopoulos PhD (she/her) is an Associate Professor, Chair of Education, and Coordinator of Secondary Teacher Education at Vassar College. Before Vassar, she supervised pre-service student teachers at Columbia University’s Barnard and Teachers Colleges and conducted staff development for middle and high school teachers throughout New York City and nationally. She also taught and worked in New York City public schools for 13 years, served on several public school planning teams, and worked with (and continues to work with) a variety of established youth organizations and professional educator organizations. Professor Hantzopoulos’ work has appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed publications and she is the author of the book Restoring Dignity in Public schools: Human Rights Education in Action (Teachers College Press, 2016). She is also co-editor, with Alia Tyner-Mullings, of the volume Critical Small Schools: Beyond Privatization in New York City Urban Educational Reform (Information Age, 2012) and Peace Education: International Perspectives (Bloomsbury, 2016) with Monisha Bajaj. She is currently conducting a multi-sited research project, funded by the Spencer Foundation, on project-based assessment in NYC schools. Professor Hantzopoulos earned her BA from Boston University in History, her MA in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and her doctorate at Teachers College in International Educational Development with a specialization in peace education. She resides in Astoria, NY.
Bryan Korn (he/him) is the Vice President of Creative Content at SONY PICTURES TV - KIDS (formerly Silvergate Media). Bryan is an Emmy, BAFTA, and Annie award-winning Children's Media Writer/Producer of world-class children’s media programming. Focusing on highly-imaginative, idiosyncratic, creator-driven worlds, characters, and brands, Bryan guides IP through every stage, from development, to series, to global commercial success. to 2D/CG animation production. In his current role, he develops new animated television series and crafts pitches for partners like Disney, Nickelodeon, Netflix, and CBeebies. Bryan has also served as the Co-Executive Producer on the Netflix Original animated series Hilda. Season 1 was nominated for a Peabody Award and won 3x Annie, BAFTA, Emmy, Kidscreen, and TAAFI awards. Season 2 won an Emmy for best Animated program for kids. Bryan has also written for Octonauts (Disney), Hilda (Netflix), and Monkey with a Toolbelt (Netflix).. Bryan has a BFA in Dramatic Writing from the Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at the School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase College. He has also done Film Producing coursework at SVA and is a Certified Queens Public Television Producer. Bryan resides with his family in Astoria.
Tikki King (she/her) is Director of Community Experience at WPP, with a focus on Diversity and on supporting the Black Community, especially women, interested in film/media/tv/fashion/design. Tikki has had an impressive career in entertainment and project management, from serving as Director of Communications for Tyra Banks, to creating and running a dizzying array of projects for the President's Office at MTV Entertainment Group where she worked with MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, TVLand, and Smithsonian. Tikki resides in New Jersey.
Marta Márquez (she/her) is the Founder/CEO of Chico&Punky Productions, an independent production company focused on horror tales and films. Marta began her career as a journalist and then developed her career as a freelance producer in New York, Mexico, Cuba, Amsterdam and Spain, working on commercials, television shows, music videos, independent films, and documentaries. Marta is also an experienced filmmaker, having directed “Verano Perro” and “WTNY Bienvenida a Nueva York”, an award-winning Horror Short, shot on 16mm film. Marta has a Master´s Degree in Radio and TV Communications by Universidad Complutense de Madrid and also studied Filmmaking at the NYFA in Manhattan and Screenwriting at EICTV in Cuba. She currently resides in the south of Spain where she works with SkyNews Spain, and is working on her PhD in Film and Philosophy at The University of Córdoba.
Andy Rodriguez (he/him) is the Executive Director of Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria NY. He has over fifteen years of experience in Youth Services and the non-profit sector. His experience includes advocacy for displaced families, designing and implementing dynamic youth programs, as well as program management and administration. He has worked in a variety of environments: schools, community centers, athletic programs and family residences. Andy understands and appreciates the transformative power that youth programs can play in the lives of the young people and families in the neighborhoods they serve. He has lived in Astoria for over 10 years and is excited to be a part of an organization that serves the community. He resides in Astoria/LIC.
Pete Romano (he/him) is the Vice President of Operations at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Astoria NY. Pete grew up in Astoria as the youngest of five siblings, one block from the studio. By 14, he had been hired to pick weeds from the studio grounds, and then he joined the maintenance crew. He became a foreman and a stage manager, before becoming the Vice President of Operations, where he oversees use of all of the Studio stages, including the Backlot, as well as the Zukor Theater. Pete is a veritable encyclopedia of Astoria Film History and one could happily spend hours listening to all of his stories about the films, tv series, actors, and musicians who have graced the halls of the Studios. Pete still lives in his beloved Astoria, with his wife, children, and dog, who are all regularly seen visiting him at the Studios.
Kathleen S Wilson PhD (she/her) is a professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in the Interactive Telecommunications Program and is a founding co-partner of the Rikaroo Film Collective. She has been involved in digital media design, development and strategy since she created interactive multimedia projects for Bank Street College of Education in the 1980s, co-designed SimTown with Maxis and worked as an Executive Producer at Paramount Pictures’ Media Kitchen in the early 1990s. Kathleen was part of the founding team that created Viacom Interactive Services, Viacom’s in-house digital media development group, where she was the VP/Creative Director from 1995-2001. Since then, she has taught, consulted, and created digital media products, participated on a variety of judging panels, and given presentations on digital media creation and strategy to organizations worldwide. Kathleen has an EdD from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, a Global Executive MBA from TRIUM (a joint MBA offered by NYU- Stern, The London School of Economics, and HEC-Paris), an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a BA from Middlebury College. In her spare time she’s a app reviewer for School Library Journal and has published several novels for children and young adults. She resides in Manhattan, NY.
Nina Fiore, Slavko Bogdanov, Dauna Williams, Andy Rodriguez, Kathleen S Wilson
Festival/Industry Outreach Committee:
Nina Fiore, Ruth Fernandez, Marta Marquez, Tikki Mitchell-King, Bryan Korn, Yunah Chung
Community Outreach Committee:
Nina Fiore, Maria Hantzopoulos, Andy Rodriguez
Former Board Members:
Christine Serdjenian Yearwood 2018-2022
Rebecca Bratspies 2018-2021
Pete Tien 2019-2021
Tanya LeMelle 2019-2022