Board of Directors

Akiemi Glenn


Akiemi Glenn is a Honolulu-based scholar and cultureworker. She holds an MA and PhD in linguistics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a BA in linguistics from New York University. With Black and Coharie genealogical ties to the forest and coastal areas of North Carolina and Virginia, her research considers the interplay of space, geography, community, and language. Akiemi's primary interests are in how Indigenous peoples, refugees, captives, migrants, and other diasporic peoples in the Pacific and the Americas use language to construct, navigate, and politicize their identities. For the past seventeen years Akiemi has worked with American Indian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific immigrant, culture-based, and environmental education programs as a curator, program developer, and program evaluator. As a systems-oriented qualitative researcher, she commits her interests in systems, semiotics, and culture to research methods and curatorial practices that explore the rich vectors of change and resilience in community culturework. Akiemi is the founder and executive director of the Pōpolo Project, a Honolulu nonprofit organization that explores Blackness in Hawai‘i and the larger Pacific. Under Akiemi’s leadership and curatorial direction, the Pōpolo Project challenges how we understand the convergence of African and Pacific diasporas in Hawai‘i by offering cultural and educational programming that specifically reframes histories of colonialism and resistance, connections to land, cultural and artistic practice, and the visibility of Black people in the Pacific region.

Anna Page


Anna Page is the Director of Programming at the Hawaii International Film Festival. Page  joined the HIFF team in 2010 and after working in grants and development, education, and programming was promoted to Director of Programming in 2016. Page holds a Master’s Degree in Film Studies from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and has also worked with the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival as Programming Coordinator. She is primarily interested in Asian cinema and wrote her Master’s Thesis on contemporary Japanese film. Anna also holds a BA in Visual Media Communication from American University in Washington DC. 

Anne Weber

Secretary and Director

Anne Weber is passionate about community-- she is an Impact Hub maker, educator, state teacher fellow, columnist, and Teach For America 2013 alumnus. As a co-founder at Impact Hub HNL, she managed community programs, events, marketing, communications, and operations. She is an educator with a passion for building sustainable communities and making social impact and she's committed to the belief that everyone has a role to play in this work. She currently serves on the boards of Kanu Hawaii, Hawai'i Women in Filmmaking, and on the Hawaii Public Radio Generation Listen Leadership Board. In her free time, she actively volunteers with Hui Aloha, Junior League Honolulu, and the AUW Society for Young Leaders. From 2016-2019, she served on the national Advisory Council for the Native Alliance Initiative for Teach for America, lobbying in D.C. on behalf of indigenous students.

Danyale Thomas

Treasurer and Director

Danyale integrates connection, collaboration, and celebration to encourage women through life’s transitions.This integration was the driving force of her 25-year career in the beauty industry and helped form her commitment to finding ways to meaningfully serve the community. She was an enthusiastic leader of the Honolulu WomanSpeak circle 2018-2019.  WomanSpeak circles educate, support and uplift members, so they can develop their personal message, and use their voice to change the world. She presents and curates events for women to genuinely connect and actively engage. The intention is to inspire meaningful connections. Because, it is through the most inspired connections we transform and transcend. Danyale is also a Rapid Transformation Therapy™ Practitioner. RTT offers unparalleled results by combining the most beneficial principles of Hypnotherapy, NLP, Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help people collaborate with their mind so they can lead free lives. She uses  RTT to support and help life and business coaching clients to clarify and transform every aspect of their life and business.

Joe Wilson

Vice-President and Director

Joe Wilson is an Emmy and GLAAD Award-winning documentary filmmaker and human rights advocate whose work with Dean Hamer, his partner in life and film-activism, explores oppression and empowerment among society's most vulnerable communities. His films - which include such titles as Out in the Silence, Kumu Hina, Leitis in Waiting, A Place in the Middle, Lady Eva, and Kapaemahu – have received support from Sundance, Tribeca, Ford Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Pacific Islanders in Communications, and have spurred educational and community engagement campaigns with PBS Learning Media, Teaching Tolerance, Welcoming Schools, the Native Hawaiian Education Council, ACLU, and other partners. Joe served as co-coordinator of the inaugural Good Pitch Local Hawai'i. Prior to film work, he served as Director of the Human Rights and Global Security Program at Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, D.C. and Producer of Pacifica Radio's public affairs program Democracy Now. He received a B.A. in Sociology and Economics from the University of Pittsburgh and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the West African nation of Mali.

Katherine Burke


Katherine Yvonne Mary Burke, MPH, was raised in Connecticut and moved to Honolulu in 2004 after earning a BA in Neuroscience at Mount Holyoke College. Her roots are Greek, French, Irish and Romanche. She is a doctoral candidate in the Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) where her research focus is on the social determinants of health and workforce development. Currently, Kat is a junior epidemiologist in the Pacific Health Analytics Collaborative lab at OPHS where she works as an evaluator for the Hawai‘i Opioid Initiative, a project of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division at the Department of Health.  She is a grantmaker for Hawai‘i People’s Fund, an executive committee member for Academic Labor United, board treasurer for Hui Mauli Ola and a graduate student representative for the Committee on Educational Effectiveness of the Mānoa Faculty Senate at UHM. Her passion is nurturing ancestral connections with plants and pulling weeds. Her favorite genus is artemisia, plants belonging to the moon.

Loryn Guiffré-Fernandez


Loryn Guiffré-Fernandez, MBA, is a results-driven marketing and communications executive with an excellent track record in developing & executing marketing and public relations strategies, exceptional team building and project management ability, and extensive knowledge of cutting-edge social media and digital marketing trends. She was named Hawaii’s 3rd top social media influencer in 2016 at the Digital Media Summit, has been featured in Hawaii Business Magazine as one of Hawaii's top executives (Black Book Issue, 2014), and an expert on utilizing LinkedIn for networking (February, 2015). While working as Director of Marketing and Communications at Maryknoll School, she celebrated winning a Pele Advertising award for an integrated marketing campaign, in partnership with Mix Plate Media. Most recently, she served as the Director of Development at Hawaii Theatre and currently works as a marketing consultant with Mint Communications, a marketing consultancy she established 9 years ago.

Guiffré-Fernandez also served as a Commissioner for the City and County of Honolulu Neighborhood Commission, appointed by Mayor Carlisle in 2011 and serving a five-year term. Active in the community, Guiffré is on the Honolulu Museum of Art ARTafterDARK Advisory Board, the Hawaii Foodbank Alakai Young Leaders Board, served on the Junior Achievement of Hawaii Board, is a member of Metro Rotary of Honolulu, Public Relations Society of America, Delta Mu Delta alumni, former board member for Social Media Club Hawaii, and is a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services Volunteer. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from New Mexico State University and obtained her Master's in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University, graduating as a Dean’s Scholar, with honors, in 2010.

Liberty Peralta


Liberty Peralta is Founder and Owner of Popoki + Tea, a cat cafe in the heart of Kaimuki. By day, she is Multimedia Producer at PBS Hawai‘i. As a graduate of Wai‘anae High School and its nationally renowned student multimedia program, Peralta had an early start in modern storytelling, and is enthusiastic about efforts to instill potentially life-changing storytelling skills, especially in our children. In addition to her board service with Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking, Peralta is also on the board of directors for Searider Productions Foundation, which awards college scholarships to high school graduates of Wai‘anae’s media program. Peralta earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from Hawai‘i Pacific University, where she attended on a full-tuition academic scholarship. She is also a graduate of Launch My Business, an accelerated entrepreneurial program sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Patsy T. Mink Center for Business and Leadership at YWCA O‘ahu.

Taylour Chang

President and Director

Director of the Doris Duke Theatre, Taylour curates and oversees the Honolulu Museum of Art's film and music program. Previously, she served as the Doris Duke Theatre Manager. She received her B.A. from Yale University in Film Studies and Theatre Studies with concentrations on World Cinema and Sound Design. As President of the Yale Film Society, she organized film screenings, lectures, and symposia with the Whitney Humanities Center. Taylour has also written and directed documentaries and short films.

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Leanne Ferrer

President and Director

Leanne Ferrer is the Executive Director for Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC). Leanne Ferrer joined PIC as Program Manager, was promoted to Program Director, and recently Executive Director. She produced PIC’s first series on national public television, Pacific Heartbeat, which features programs that draw viewers into the heart, mind, and soul of Pacific Island culture. She also worked with producers on PIC’s Media Fund Rolling Call, which funds projects with Pacific Islander content for national broadcast on public television. Leanne has over 20 years of experience in the film and television industry. She is an award-winning filmmaker who previously worked for Disney Films, PBS Hawaii, and 1013 Integrated, Hawai‘i’s longest running full-service production company. Leanne is a previously PIC-funded producer whose film, i scream, floats, and Sundays, aired nationally on PBS.

Cathy Betts

Treasurer and Director

Cathy Betts is deputy director of the State Department of Human Services since October 2017, and former Executive Director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women. Cathy has worked in the fields of advocacy for women, family law, violence against women, Title IX, and labor protections for women. She formerly served as the Patsy T. Mink Legislative Fellow in the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s Washington D.C. office. She is a former Deputy Attorney General with the State of Hawaii’s Family Law Division. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association and the Board of Directors for Hawaii Women Lawyers. She also serves as the Co Chair of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Diversity, Equality and the Law (DEAL) Committee, and the Co Chair of the Hawaii Women’s Coalition. Cathy earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law.

Nancy Aleck

Secretary and Director

Nancy Aleck has worked in the nonprofit sector almost all her life (a couple attempts in the private sector were not satisfying). She has also had a lifetime commitment to and passion for peace and social, racial and economic justice. Born in California, she has lived in Hawaii since 1974 and received a Bachelors and Masters from UH Mānoa. Recently, Nancy retired after serving as executive director for Hawaii People’s Fund for 13 years. She is a strong advocate for supporting the voices of the silenced and marginalized; storytelling is a critical tool. Creating opportunities for youth to claim their power and deepen their understanding of identity, relationships, community is an important offering from Hawaii Women in Filmmaking, which she strongly supports.

Katia Balassiano


Katia Balassiano began her studies in anthropology, but eventually gravitated to land use planning. She has worked in the public and private sectors as a planner for approximately 15 years. For four of those years, she taught planning at the university level, including courses in grant writing and communication skills for planners. Katia currently work as the Land Use Permits Division Chief for the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting. Being part of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking is for her a great way to get connected to the local community.

Nicole Edwards Masuda


Nicole is a social justice advocate currently working at the Medical Legal Partnership of Hawai`i, a program of the University of Hawai`i William S. Richardson School of Law, in partnership with Kokua Kalihi Valley. In this role, Nicole works on issues related to fair housing, discrimination, language access, and family law in collaboration with health care providers at KKV. Before joining the small but mighty MLP team, Nicole worked for over 10 years with survivors of domestic violence and their families, both in and out of the courtroom. She believes she began her politicization when, as a child, she was told that little girls were to be seen and not heard. Refusing to be invisible, Nicole started to loudly question all forms of authority, which still lands her into trouble (but it’s always worth it). In all of her work, Nicole calls upon her great-grandmother, Toyo Nitani, who travelled from Japan to Hawai`i as a picture bride in 1924.

Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Lipe (Punihei)


Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Lipe is a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, hula dancer, and educator. She is a recent PhD graduate in the College of Education. Her research focused on how to transform the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) into a Hawaiian place of learning. All of her research and practice is motivated by her role as a mother of two young children and is inspired by the work of many women who came before her. Some of her most influential female role models include: (1) Kathryne Leilani Labonte, her maternal grandmother, who was a great businesswoman and hairdresser for over fifty years despite having only an 8th grade formal education. (2) Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa, her mother, who was the first in her family to graduate from high school since the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom and has gone on to become a professor and change agent at UHM. (3) Merata Mita, a dear aunty and mentor, who was a pioneering Maori filmmaker.

Cynthia Iannce Spencer


Cindy Iannce-Spencer is the Vice-President of the Community Outreach and Education department at the Domestic Violence Action Center. She has worked in the field of male violence against women and children for the past thirty years, the last fifteen with DVAC. Cindy has served our community in a variety of ways. She spent almost ten years at Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office providing advocacy and counseling services to victims of misdemeanor and felony crime specializing in child sexual assault and domestic violence case. Ms. Iannce Spencer has facilitated psycho-educational groups for both perpetrators and victims of intimate partner abuse. Cindy has created and initiated an approach for critical incident de-briefing with individuals and organizations. At DVAC Cindy has provided mentoring, leadership development and oversight of the various programs at the DVAC agency including supervision of the advocates, attorneys and paralegal teams, civil and criminal outreach programs, volunteer and practicum students programs, community and capacity building and public awareness and education campaigns. 

Tricia Nakamatsu

Secretary and Director

Tricia serves as deputy prosecutor for the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, City and County of Honolulu, alternating between duties as a trial attorney and legislative liaison. While she has always appreciated the cultural and recreational value of film and media, she truly came to recognize their societal impact and power for change when she organized a series of screenings and events around the thought-provoking film, Miss Representation. Since that time, Tricia has strongly supported the growing movement to “put more women behind the cameras,” to empower women and girls to “tell their own stories,” and encourage this unique perspective that has been far-too-uncommon in the American film industry. In her spare time, Tricia enjoys cooking, travelling, and pursuing community and cultural interests through two other non-profit organizations that are also close to her heart: Hawai’i Women Lawyers and Punalu’u Yin Sit Sha Society.

Tai-An Miao

Treasurer and Director

Tai-An Miao is a community-based planner pursuing her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning. She has provided technical assistance to programs serving youth and families in Hawaii for the past six years. She has been studying and practicing planning for nine years. She is currently the Project Coordinator of the Hawaii Civil Citation Initiative (also known as Ho‘opono Mamo), helping to design and facilitate a collaborative planning process for a juvenile arrest diversion program based in Kalihi.

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Former Board Directors

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Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking

We are a 501.c.3 non profit organization

EIN 46-3144513

1050 Queen Street #100

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96814