Board of Directors

Northwest Film Forum is overseen by a volunteer board consisting of 5 to 19 members.  The role of the board is to advance the mission and ensure the organization's long-term health.  The board is composed of community members ranging from filmmakers to community members and business professionals.


Peter J. Vogt, President
Sudeshna Sen, Vice President
Joanne Ort, Treasurer
John DeShazo, Secretary
Sandy Cioffi
Matthew Dresden
A.J. Epstein
Megan Griffiths
Nicholas Hanauer
Matt Isaac
Miriam Marcus
Jonathan Marlow
Alan Pruzan
Nesib CB Shamah
 

Peter J. Vogt, President

Peter J. Vogt is an award-winning filmmaker with over 30 years experience in the film industry. His work has premiered at festivals such as Sundance, New York Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, and Bumbershoot, as well as art centers such as the Center On Contemporary Art. His work regularly runs on regional and local PBS, and his 2004 Up Thornton Creek aired nationally. Highlights include: Hype! which premiered at Sundance and achieved worldwide theatrical release;  Nuts&Bolts, winner of a special jury prize at the 2000 Seattle Film Festival and shortlisted for the prestigious AFI's digital film award. Peter is part owner of Optimistic Camera.

 

Sudeshna Sen, Vice President

Sudeshna Sen taught Classical Japanese literature and language at the University of Washington, University of Utah and at UC Berkeley as a Postdoctorate Fellow. She has a Ph.D in Classical Japanese from University of Oregon. She retired from teaching in 2012 so she could focus more on making films rather than analyzing them with her students. She also serves on the board of TheFilmSchool. 

Her short film Julia's Farm (2015) had its world premiere at the 13th Riverside International Film Festival in April 2015. She has worked on several local films such as My Last Year With The Nuns (dir. Bret Fetzer 2014), The Very Private Work of Sister K (dir. Johan Liedgren 2015) and post-production ADR for Big in Japan (dir. John Jeffcoat 2014). 

Sudeshna lives in Seattle with her husband Parvez Anandam and two kids.

 

Joanne Ort, Treasurer

Joanne Ort is a forward-thinking Certified Public Accountant with expertise providing financial advice, accounting, payroll and tax planning services to creative clients in the film and entertainment industry. Joanne’s credits include feature films Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas, and Sold, and the documentary Console Wars as well as the 2015 Washington Filmworks Innovation Lab project Strowlers and most recently Wallflower. Born and raised in the Seattle area, Joanne received her Master's degree in Accounting and her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington. She is a member of the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants, has over 20 years’ experience providing business consulting, accounting, and tax services to closely held businesses and individuals. She is a board member of Women in Film Seattle and is looking forward to joining the creative and talented board of Northwest Film Forum as their Treasurer.

 

John DeShazo, Secretary

John DeShazo is an actor, theatre and film technician, and woodworker.  He has collaborated creatively on projects with Northwest Film Forum, Annex Theatre, Typing Explosion, The Film Company, Megan Murphy, Matt Wilkins, Web Crowell, Herbert Bergel, Firehouse Theatre Project, Ampersand, Implied Violence, Empty Space Theatre, and Saint Genet. John works for Meyer-Wells.

 

Sandy Cioffi

Sandy Cioffi is the founder and executive director of fearless360º, a new media and virtual reality production company in Seattle. Sandy recently founded and directed SIFFX 2016, a showcase of the most current and creative thinking in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 360° immersion. As a 2016 Stranger Genius Award nominee, Sandy has been recognized as a cultural innovator.
 
Sandy has produced and/or directed several films as a film and video artist, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187, and Just Us. She has worked with human rights organizations in using video as a documentation and verification tool - specifically providing video evidence during the 1998 Marching Season in Northern Ireland. She documented the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003. Sandy was also a frequent guest on the NPR show Rewind which ended production when host Bill Radke left Seattle for Los Angeles. Sandy has also created media design for live performance at the Annex Theater, Hugo House, The Seattle Repertory Theater and On the Boards.
 
Sandy has worked with young people extensively as an artist in residence and through the mentor/apprentice film program at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. As a long-time educator, she has also taught film at Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts.
 

Matthew Dresden

Matthew Dresden focuses on international and China law, with a focus on technology and entertainment law and Chinese transactional and IP work. He represents a wide range of companies, from start-ups to NYSE-traded companies. His work has included matters for film studios, cable channels, film and television production companies, video game developers, magazines, restaurants, wineries, international design firms, product manufacturers, outsourcing companies, and computer hardware and software companies.
 
Before attending law school, Matthew worked in Hollywood for eight years as an independent filmmaker and as a production executive for Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons Pictures. Before that, he spent three years as a graduate student in computer science at Stanford University. He has also worked as a journalist, a transportation planner, a food critic, and a website designer.
 
Matthew was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spends his free time watching movies, hiking, cooking spicy food, and relaxing with his wife and daughter.
 

A.J. Epstein

AJ Epstein produces theatre, music and independent film through his company, The Ethereal Mutt, often exploring Science through Art. His credits include the off-Broadway shows, An Oak Tree, with Tim Crouch, Mike Daisey’s How Theatre Failed America and his film and TV credits include Lynn Shelton’s We Go Way Back; Guy Maddin’s Brand Upon the Brain!; Tim Crouch’s England at The Henry; and Survival Skills. Seattle Weekly has named him Seattle’s Best Lighting Designer (2004), and his work as a designer and light artist have been seen in theatres and galleries worldwide. He sits on the boards of The Lark Center for Play Development in New York and Humanities Washington. He studied with Mabou Mines and toured with AC/DC, Rod Stewart and the Eagles. In 2010 he opened West of Lenin, an 88-seat black box theater in Seattle.

 

Megan Griffiths

Megan Griffiths is an independent filmmaker who received her MFA in Film Production from Ohio University School of Film before relocating to Seattle in 2000 and becoming part of the city's burgeoning film community.  In 2010, Megan directed The Off Hours (starring Amy Seimetz, Scoot McNairy and Ross Partridge), which premiered at Sundance and went on to receive an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Cinematography as well as the Best Director Award from the Ourense Film Festival in Spain.  In 2012, Megan directed Eden (starring Jamie Chung, Matt O'Leary and Beau Bridges), which premiered at South by Southwest Film Festival and won both the Audience Award and the Emergent Female Director award.  Megan was the recipient of the 2012 Stranger Genius Award for Film. 

 

Nicholas Hanauer

Nicholas Hanauer earned his degree in Philosophy from the University of Washington and has worked at the family-owned Pacific Coast Feather Company, where he continues to serve as Co-chair and CEO. In the 1980s he co-founded Museum Quality Framing Company, and in the 1990s he was one of the first investors in Amazon.com, where he served as adviser to the board until 2000. He founded gear.co, which merged with Overstock.com in 2003, and Avenue A Media, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2007. In 2000, Hanauer co-formed the Seattle-based venture capital company, Second Avenue Partners, which advises and funds early stage companies. He is the co-author, with Eric Liu, of The True Patriot, and co-founder of the League of Education Voters, a non-partisan political organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in Washington. He serves on the boards of Cascade Land Conservancy, the University of Washington Foundation and the Biosphere2 climate research project.

 

Matt Isaac

Matt Isaac is the former Film and Media Arts Curator, Program Director, Executive Director, and Development Officer for media arts and cultural organizations in New York. He has curated, produced, initiated, managed, or presented projects at Artists Space, Queens Museum of Art, Electronic Arts Intermix, New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop), Margaret Mead Film Festival, Knitting Factory, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, and CEPA Gallery, among many others.
 
He founded and was Executive Director of Perimeter Media + Culture Projects, a 501(c)3 cultural organization that presented film festivals (including the New York Animation Festival), media arts exhibits, educational workshops, and international arts exchanges in collaboration with consulates, arts organizations, and festivals in more than 20 countries.
 
Matt helps artists, organizations, and projects with publicity and promotion, and has participated in the production of and funding for film and television productions, including several documentaries broadcast nationally on PBS.
 
He has served as a review panelist for public funding agencies (including the New York State Council on the Arts re-grant program), a juror for film and media arts festivals, and as a presenter and moderator for public panels and discussions.
 
As a business development consultant, Matt has helped design programs and secure more than $30 million in funding for cultural organizations, film and arts projects, and non-profit agencies.
 
He has helped conceptualize projects, and strategize for and secure a wide variety of federal, state, municipal, and private grant funding for new and existing programs.
 
He has an MA in Communications / Media Studies from The New School for Social Research in New York City.
 

Miriam Marcus

Miriam Marcus produces independently financed feature film productions through her company, Moody Independent. Moody Independent develops original content and offers production management services to the film community. Miriam has produced 19 pictures since 2002 with budgets between $1M and $7M. Recent films include Altar Rock (2016), Grey Lady (2014), and Crooked Arrows (2012), including a slate of direct to TV movies for cable channels such as Lifetime and Ion Network. Miriam relocated to Seattle from the east coast 5 years ago and is thrilled to bring her experience as a producer to the NWFF community.

 

Jonathan Marlow

Jonathan Marlow is an incessant curator, composer, cinematographer and intermittent film producer and filmmaker with a handful of award-winning films to his credit. Prior to his role as Chief Strategy Officer of Kanopy, Marlow was (or continues-to-be) affiliated with numerous film festivals (including Telluride, Crossroads and Camera Obscura), film institutions (Northwest Film Forum, San Francisco Cinémathèque, Canyon Cinema, the Flaherty Film Seminar) and technology-centric film distribution companies (notably Amazon, VUDU, Fandor and others). In addition to Marlow’s articles and interviews for numerous online and print publications, he is known to host screenings throughout the world showcasing remarkable films that are generally unavailable elsewhere.

 

Alan Pruzan

Alan Pruzan is a founding partner of Forrest-Pruzan Creative, product invention studio specializing in games and toys. He was one of the original game-makers at ENTROS in Seattle, creating a wide variety of physical and social entertainment experiences. His background is in film and video arts, and he worked for many years in the media arts scene, both as a facilitator and as a multi-media artist. 

 

Nesib CB Shamah

After a lengthy sojourn around the country, working on sets and collecting experiences, Nesib CB Shamah settled in the Pacific NW attending the Seattle Film Institute with a focus on cinematography. Highlights include: the music series Destination Unknown, feature music documentary Lemolo: A Beautiful Night, dark comedy Worst Laid Plans and producer of the sci-fi short Haskell. Most notably CB is the co-director and producer of the Emmy-nominated live music documentary Welcome To Doe Bay.