Austin Film Society Announces New Board Members 2019
September 1, 2019
AFS Announces New Board Members 2019
Leaders in Film and Entertainment Industry to Begin September 1
Austin, TX—The Austin Film Society (AFS) is proud to announce the election of seven new members to its Board of Directors: Robert Rodriguez, John Pierson, Cecilia Conti, LeMel Humes, and Dan Allen will begin on September 1, 2019. New members Lisa Hickey and Riki Rushing joined the AFS Board in May.
“Our new board members’ leadership in their individual fields brings invaluable knowledge, experience, and a great passion for film and the Austin film community,” says AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell. “As we continue to grow and expand our support for Texas filmmakers, their guidance will enhance AFS’s contribution to the global film dialogue. It’s an exciting time for AFS.”
The Board of Directors is an integral part of the Austin Film Society, serving in a governance role and supporting AFS’s mission to create life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyze Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and bring the community together around great film. Their leadership includes forging connections in the community and providing valuable resources and knowledge to further advance the organization. Board member terms last three years.
Bios for the new AFS Board members are below. Photos can be found here.
Robert Rodriguez is a film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor, and musician based in Austin, Texas. He is the founder, co-owner, and president of Troublemaker Studios and the founder and chairman of El Rey Network. He recently formed Double R Productions, which produces media projects across film, television, gaming, and interactive platforms. Robert’s feature films include: El Mariachi, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Faculty, the Spy Kids franchise, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, Grindhouse, Machete, Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, and Alita: Battle Angel. He is currently filming We Can Be Heroes, a young superhero film for Netflix, at Troublemaker and Austin Studios.
Producer, financier, and dealmaker, John Pierson supported the early work of future indie all-stars Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Kevin Smith, and Richard Linklater, along with twenty other first-time filmmakers. He is author of 1996’s best-selling book Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of American Independent Cinema—called “the bible for independents”—and the creator, writer, and host of the IFC magazine format TV series Split Screen, which celebrated the crazy world of indie film from 1997-2000, now back streaming on the Criterion Channel. Pierson served as a lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin where he was named one of Variety’s “Ten Leaders in Learning;” and also hosted a Master Class in UT’s Department of Radio-Television-Film (2006-2012), which included a partnership with the Austin Film Society.
Cecilia Conti is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for the El Rey Network. Born in Buenos Aires, Cecilia grew up in Austin and began her career in film as an intern at AFS to later become part of the publicity team at Miramax Films. Working with filmmaker and director Robert Rodriguez, she helped launch the El Rey Network with him in 2013 as Director of Creative Operations and assisted at Troublemaker Studios for Spy Kids 3D, Sin City, Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, and Grindhouse. Cecilia has an extensive background in digital marketing working at Twentieth Century Fox on films such as A Good Day to Die Hard, The Wolverine, The Croods, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, and Turbo; at Overture Films on Paper Heart, The Visitor, Let Me In, and The Crazies; Relativity Media on Immortals, Limitless, Safe Haven, Act of Valor, and Academy Award nominee The Fighter. Her experience as a producer includes Rebel Without a Crew: The Series, Rebel Without a Crew: The Robert Rodriguez Film School, and other Robert Rodriguez commercials, short films, and music videos.
LeMel Humes is a songwriter and music producer based in Austin. Previously a staff songwriter for Warner Brothers Music Publishing, he skyrocketed into the music business in his early 20s by writing hits such as “Where You Are” for Whitney Houston’s 1987 record “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Humes’ other writer/producer song credits include: “Love Will Find A Way” and “Come Share My Love” by Miki Howard; “He Turned Me Out” by the Pointer Sisters; and Ray Charles’ “Let Me Take Over.” His film song credits include a song for Jonathan Demme’s 1986 breakout film Something Wild.
Dan Allen is the CFO for First National Assets (FNA) and responsible for all financial and accounting aspects of the firm and its subsidiaries, Propel Financial Services, Hunter-Kelsey of Texas, and Stronghill Capital. Prior to joining FNA, Dan was CFO at Circuit of the Americas, helping guide the company through design, construction and two inaugural seasons for the $450 million specialty entertainment venue which annually hosts Formula 1, MotoGP, ESPN’s X-games and over 20 concerts at its Austin360 amphitheater.
Lisa Hickey is the co-founder of the Panacea Collective, a 360-degree event production and experiential marketing firm she started with Autumn Rich in 2018. She began her career as the assistant to Austin event producer Charlie Jones eventually becoming Director of Marketing at C3 Presents. In this role, she played an instrumental role in developing the Austin City Limits Music Festival into one of the largest annual music events in the country, and growing Lollapalooza into an international brand with festivals all over the world.
Riki Rushing is the founder, principal, and owner of Rushing Design, a full-service graphic design company in Austin. Prior to this she was the Marketing and Art Director at High End Systems. Committed to community service and philanthropy, Riki has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Trinity Center for over six years, the Austin-based non-profit organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. She has a deep love of film, music, and the arts and volunteers her time regularly, including being the lead host of the Texas Film Awards in 2019.
About Austin Film Society
Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS supports filmmakers towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, special events, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.