2023 filmmakers

Rocky Mountain Women's Film is thrilled to introduce you to an extraordinary lineup of attending filmmakers.

At Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, we believe that the magic of a film doesn’t end with the closing credits. It’s in the stories behind the stories, the passion behind the lens, and the creativity that drives filmmakers to bring their visions to life. That’s why we’re proud to present an exclusive opportunity for you to connect with these talented storytellers through our post-screening Q&A sessions.

Brittany Zampella & Maggie Hartmans

director / producer / editor

Maggie Hartmans and Brittany Zampella are creative powerhouses in the world of independent film and storytelling. As a self-starter in the indie film world, Maggie has produced over a dozen shorts and feature films while also working as an award-winning screenwriter. With a background in many creative fields, Brittany worked as a producer for a documentary company where the two met in 2019. Less than a year later, “Farsighted Creative” was born – a dynamic production house dedicated to making the world a better place. “A Good Neighbor” is their first feature documentary together and they look forward to many more.



Jen Gilomen

Director, Producer, Cinematographer

Jen Gilomen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has created films distributed on PBS, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon as well as domestic and international film festivals. She is an Associate of the U.C. Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, Member-Owner of New Day Films, co-founder of the Collective of Documentary Women Cinematographers, former board member of Working Films and director at Bay Area Video Coalition. Jen’s current projects, DELIVERING JUSTICE and BORN FOR THIS, were inspired by her own traumatic, near-death experience in childbirth in 2018. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter.



Chelsea Hernandez

director / producer

Chelsea is an Emmy®-nominated Mexican-American Director and Producer based in Texas. Named as DOC NYC’s 2021 40 Under 40 Class, her feature documentary BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, premiered at SXSW 2019 and won a Silver Telly Award for Social Impact. Chelsea’s producing work spans over 10 years in television and film including UNITED TACOS OF AMERICA (El Rey Network series); and THAT ANIMAL RESCUE SHOW (CBS All-Access). She is currently in post-production on her second feature documentary BREAKING THE NEWS, a co-production with ITVS. She is a member of the Documentary Producers Alliance and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.


Heather Courtney

director / producer

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER –  Heather is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. Her films have broadcast nationally on PBS, including POV, Independent Lens and America ReFramed, and streamed on Netflix and the Washington Post. Her short documentary FOR THE RECORD recently premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Fest, and she is currently in post-production on the ITVS, Ford, and IDA-funded feature BREAKING THE NEWS. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her 14-year-old rescue dog Meeps.



Alexis Neophytides

Director, Producer, Cinematographer

Alexis Neophytides is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in New York City. She is the co-creator/director of Neighborhood Slice, a public television documentary series that tells the stories of longtime New Yorkers. She produced and directed the series 9.99, for which she won a NY Emmy. Her first feature length documentary, Dear Thirteen, premiered at DOC NYC in 2022. Her second feature, Fire Through Dry Grass, co-directed with Andres “Jay” Molina, will be broadcast on PBS in 2023. She is a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Grantee and holds a BA from Brown University and an MA from The New School.



River Autumn Finlay


River Finlay is an award winning documentary filmmaker. Her work has screened at dozens of festivals across the world including Sheffield Doc Fest and featured on Short of the Week, National Geographic, The Atlantic and Remezcla. River’s point of view as a director/producer is rooted in twenty years as an international public health professional. River has a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University and an MA in Film and Video from American University.


Maggie Contreras


Maggie’s directorial debut, Maestra, had its world premiere as an official selection of the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Previously, she was the producer behind documentary films tackling a wide range of topics, from comics to solar energy. Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip (PBS Independent Lens ‘20) is the titular HGTV celebrity and activist’s journey across the USA to examine the antiquated utility monopoly system and how solar holds the key to energy freedom. In 2017, Gilbert also premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures with exclusive SVOD on Hulu. Her work has been seen on AMC, NFL and Quibi. Whether it’s working with brands or in the field on her next film, Maggie is fueled by the power of true stories.


Emma West


MAESTRA is Emma’s first feature film as a Producer.  Previous producing credits span short film, web series and theatre – for which she is a three-time OffWestEnd Award nominee.  She is the Co-Creator/Producer of Shakespeare Shorts, a West End theatre fundraising event in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency, an Associate Producer for Monologue Slam Los Angeles and an alumnus of the BAFTA Los Angeles New Talent program.  


Lina Lyte Piloplyte


Lina’s passion for moving images started while studying journalism in Lithuania and later at the University of Colorado Boulder. The best film school has been New York city, where Lina established herself in 2008 making films for NYLON magazine and fashion brands. For the past 10 years, Lina has been working as a freelance director & cinematographer, making numerous documentaries, commercials, travel content and short films that have been shown on MTV, PBS, Venice Biennale, and various film festivals, including SxSW and IDFA. Lina’s feature-length directorial debut was ADVANCED STYLE, currently streaming on Amazon, after a successful run on Netflix. She just finished PERIODICAL, a feature documentary about menstrual cycle.



Sharon Liese

director / producer

Sharon Liese is an Emmy winning filmmaker. Her films include Critics Choice Nominee “The Flagmakers” (Nat/Geo Disney+), “Transhood” (HBO), and the award-winning documentary “The Gnomist” (CNN Films) which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, won 14 awards, and attracted 16M views on CNN’s “Great Big Story” platform.


Catherine Hoffman


Catherine Hoffman is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker, and TV host. Her works include “Preserving Our Past: Kansas City Stories of Black History” (PBS), “46 Years”, and “Art in the Air” (PBS). She has also produced digital documentary-style shorts that have been nominated for numerous Regional Emmy Awards.



Samantha Sanders

director / producer

Samantha Sanders has written/produced/directed documentary programs for networks including National Geographic, The History Channel, MSNBC, A&E and PBS. Her films and screenplays have won awards internationally including 4 regional Emmy awards. In 2018 Sam co-produced the award-winning fiction feature film American Folk. She teaches film at Columbia College Chicago, where she received an MFA in filmmaking, and at DePaul University. She is a passionate landscape photographer whose love of shooting Lake Michigan (especially in the winter) drew her to this project.



Juanita Anderson

director / producer

Juanita Anderson is a filmmaker, photographer, media educator and curator who was born and raised in Detroit. Her creative work examines the lifeways and cultural histories of people of African descent, the role of the arts in society, and responses to social injustice that amplify the voices of communities too seldom seen on screen. She is best known for her role as executive producer of the Favorite Poem Project, and of the 1988 Academy Award-nominated feature film Who Killed Vincent Chin? (a film by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima), which was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2021.



Susanne Reisenbichler

Film Participant & Co-Producer

Susanne, along with her 7 children, survived a domestic violence relationship for 25 years, chronicled in a world-renowned movie, “The Wolfpack” and on ABC’s 20/20. As a result of her intense and horrific experiences, she is an impassioned advocate for women and children and their personal empowerment. She firmly believes now is the time for the divine feminine to rise and take its rightful place.



Laura Waters Hinson


An award-winning filmmaker and assistant professor at American University, Laura’s films have screened at numerous film festivals and at the U.S. Congress, United Nations, and Smithsonian with broadcasts on PBS, WORLD, ShortsTV, and Curiosity Stream. Her film As We Forgive, narrated by Mia Farrow, won the 2008 Student Academy Award.


Sharon Washington


Nominated for a 2023 TONY Award for Best Book of a Musical as co-writer of New York, New York. She debuted as a playwright with her solo play Feeding The Dragon, which played Off-Broadway at Primary Stages and was nominated for Outer Critics, Lortel, and Audelco Awards. She was the 2017-18 Primary Stages Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence. The play was recorded as an Audible Original and selected as an Audible Essentials Top 100 pick.

As an actor, Sharon was seen as Queen Margaret in the 2022 Public Theater/Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III, broadcast on PBS Great Performances. Recent film and television appearances include Power Book III: Raising KananBull; the short film Birdwatching, co-starring Amanda Seyfried; and the Academy-Award-winning Joker. She also narrates several documentary series for Animal PlanetDiscovery, and NOVA.

Sharon holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Chuck Schultz


When My Sleeping Dragon Woke won Best Feature Documentary Premiere at the Heartland International Film Festival (2022) and was an International Documentary Association’s DocuClub series selection (2020). The Last Crop (2016) explores an aging couple’s struggle to ensure their farm’s future in California’s Central Valley. Chuck was co-director/producer of 5 Days in July (2007), a dual-screen projection installation that revisits the 1967 Newark Riots/Rebellion. Exhibitions: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; Debra Willis’ 1968: Then & Now, New York University Tisch School of the Arts (2008); and the Urban Research Directors Lounge exhibition in Berlin (2010). Director’s Choice Black Maria Film Festival (2008) and Jury Award Best Short Langston Hughes African American Film Festival(2009). The Rural Studio (2001), ITVS LiNKS co-production, chronicles architect Samuel Mockbee and his students’ work in Alabama’s Black Belt, aired on PBS. Exhibition: Whitney Museum of American Art 2002 Biennial and Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture (2006). Chuck and director William Garcia’s film A Day At A Time won Best Documentary at the Heartland International Film Festival (1993).


Behind the Lens

Filmmaker Forums
open to all pass holders

Filmmakers make the festival! Take advantage of one or both of our FILMMAKER FORUMS during lunch on Saturday and Sunday. If you pre-purchased a box lunch they will be available to pick-up at Gaylord Hall just before the forum.

Saturday Topic
OCTOBER 21, 1:15PM


One of our film selections this year, SUBJECT explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen. Join us as we bring together several film subjects and directors to discuss firsthand their experiences in making the film. The conversation will focus on the layered relationship between filmmaker and subject as well as the consequences, good and bad, of having your life on screen.

Sunday Topic
OCTOBER 22, 1:15 PM


Join us for a conversation with filmmakers as we explore the behind-the-scenes decisions that are not always visible in the final film, including what ended up on the cutting room floor, the sometimes-messy production realities, the process of constructing a story from reality, and especially the ethics and responsibility inherent in documentary filmmaking.

Scroll to Top