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.


Sheppard Salusky, President
John DeShazo, Secretary
James Brown, Treasurer
Peter J. Vogt, Vice-President
Lyall Bush, ex officio
John W. Comerford
A.J. Epstein
Megan Griffiths
Laura Bell Hammarlund
Nicholas Hanauer
Brad Lenz
Alan Pruzan
Lance Seth Rosen
Steven Schardt
 

Sheppard Salusky, President

 

Shep Salusky attended the San Francisco Art Institute at the age of 17, where he made "Night of the Moles," a black and white 16 mm science fiction parody starring Jerry Mathers (the Beav.)  He went on to receive a degree from Berkeley, which was followed by doctorate in Psychology from the University of Washington and a fellowship at Yale. Today he has a private practice in clinical psychology and continues to make films, including Expert Witness, starring Charles Napier, which has been seen around the world.  In 2006, Shep completed another feature film, The Greenan Tapes, which opened the Local Sightings Film Festival. (Each of these films won several awards.) His other projects include a hip hop music video, a dance project, a documentary on Native American health in the Puget Sound region, and several scripts in development.

 

John DeShazo, Secretary

John DeShazo (2000, Secretary) 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.

 

James Brown, Treasurer

 

James Brown, Treasurer is a business entrepreneur, amateur musician, film producer, and father of two. His background includes book publishing, work in the software industry, and filmmaking. Jim is Managing Director of Blackbird Properties, a real estate development firm, the owner of Jet City Guitars, and part owner of Boise Hawks Baseball Club.

 

Peter J. Vogt, Vice-President

Peter J. Vogt (2004) 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.

 

Lyall Bush, ex officio

Lyall Bush is the Executive Director of the Northwest Film Forum, a Seattle based film arts organization dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of film as an art form. We inspire and facilitate the creation of artistic film and support the development of the local film community through exhibition, education and artist support. Previous to the Film Forum he was executive director of Richard Hugo House. He has published personal essays and pieces on film for over a decade and is at work on a collection of short stories, which he periodically showcases along with the singer-songwriter, Devin Sullivan.

 

John W. Comerford

John W. Comerford is President of Paradigm Studio, an award-winning independent film and television production company based in the Pacific Northwest. His most recent critically acclaimed film, Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense, is distributed by The Documentary Channel (TV), FilmBuff (VOD), Indiepix (DVD), and Mercury Media International (Foreign Sales for all media). Current feature film projects include a supernatural thriller based on Northwest indigenous mythology, a romantic comedy set in the International District and a story based on true events surrounding a mass-shootong in Seattle’s music rave scene. Also, in the offing is the next iteration of the Icons Among Us® trans-media platform entitled Earth Shakers which focuses on environmental sustainability visionaries. Distributors and exhibitors of Mr. Comerford's work have included Showtime, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, South by Southwest, AFI Fest and the Cannes Film Market. 

 

A.J. Epstein

AJ Epstein (2001) 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 (2010) 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. 

 

Laura Bell Hammarlund

Laura Bell Hammarlund (2012) received her BA in Drama and a Certificate in Arts Management for the Performing Arts from the University of Washington.  She also has a certificate in historical documentary filmmaking from George Washington University.  She has worked on numerous films and videos, including for KCTS-TV, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Women in Film awards ceremony in Washington DC, and a PBS documentary titled, A Force More Powerful. Past experience also includes project management in post-production at Pinnacle Post and Alpha Cine in Seattle and Henninger Media Services in Arlington, VA.  Laura is a 2012 graduate of Seattle University’s MFA in Arts Leadership program and currently works in marketing and development at Seattle Musical Theatre. 

 

Nicholas Hanauer

Nicholas Hanauer (1998) 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.

 

Brad Lenz

Brad Lenz (2008) is the owner and executive producer of LenzFilms, a Seattle-based company specializing in the production of television commercials and industrial films. A graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University, he has taken part in over 2000 film and video projects. He began his career as an intern at AlphaCine in Seattle and later joined the staff at Kaye Smith Productions. He went on to found Beggar Boys Films, a music video production company, and OberLenz Films, the production company responsible for a Seattle Super Sonics ad campaign that won a coveted Golden Lion at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. 

 

Alan Pruzan

Alan Pruzan (1999) 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. 

 

Lance Seth Rosen

Lance Seth Rosen (2012) is an entertainment attorney. Prior to establishing a practice in Seattle in 1992, he served as Director of Business and Legal Affairs for The Disney Channel.  He has been actively engaged in the production of dozens motion pictures. Prior to becoming a lawyer he was a professional actor with many television, film and stage credits.  He also founded two regional theatre companies, where he produced, directed and performed in many plays.  Mr. Rosen has served as an Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at Seattle U., and on the Boards at SIFF and other arts organizations.  He is a member of the Washington, Oregon, and California bars.

 

Steven Schardt

Steven Schardt (2010) began his relationship with Northwest Film Forum as a committed audience member and volunteer, culminating in the popular callboard, which now has 900 members. Steven studied English and American Literature at Harvard College, after which he worked at D.E. Shaw & Co, a hedge fund in New York, and at Amazon.com in Seattle, Washington, and Paris, France, working in recruiting, business development, and marketing. Since 2004, he has directed short films and one feature-length film, Treatment. He produced Lynn Shelton's Humpday, which garnered a Special Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and had its European premiere in the Directors’ Fortnight category at the Cannes Film Festival. He has also produced Shelton's Your Sister's Sister, which was bought by Focus Features, and her latest film, Touchy Feely.