The HWF Team

Board of Directors and Officers 

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.

Taylour Chang

Vice 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.

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 Manoa. 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 support.

Anna Page


Anna Page, Co-Director of Programming, joined the HIFF team in 2010 as an intern and then as the Grants & Education Coordinator in 2011. In 2012, Anna became the new Director of Program Development. In this role, Page acted as the Festival’s grant writer and education coordinator, as well as a member of the programming team, and new program development leader. In 2012, Anna also spearheaded the Kupuna Lens Film Program, the first ever film production program designed for local senior citizens. Anna was promoted to Co­-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.

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.

Liberty Peralta


Liberty is Vice President of Communications at PBS Hawai‘i, where she oversees major aspects of the station’s promotion of its programming, including, social media, community engagement, and advertising. She previously worked at several local digital and marketing agencies, and as an in-store instructor at Apple. She earned a BA in Advertising from Hawai‘i Pacific University, and is a proud graduate of Wai‘anae High School and its student multimedia program, Searider Productions.

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.

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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