Austin Film Society Announces New Members to its Board of Directors

(New AFS Board Members, clockwise from top left: Heather Page, Charles Ramírez Berg, Christopher Rios, Ya’Ke Smith, and Irene Shoghi)

Brady Dyer |

Austin Film Society Announces New Board Members

Organization Welcomes Five Seasoned Film and Community Leaders
to its Board of Directors, September 2020 – August 2023

February 11, 2021 (Austin, TX)—The Austin Film Society (AFS) is proud to announce the election of five members to its Board of Directors: Heather Page, Charles Ramírez Berg, Christopher Rios, Irene Shoghi, and Ya’Ke Smith. With deep and broad experience in the film industry, culture leadership, community involvement, and higher education, the new slate of board members reflects a diverse array of the Austin community. All were elected and began their tenures in the Fall of 2020.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new board members—their expertise, knowledge, and great passion for film and filmmaking will provide us with invaluable guidance in the years to come,” says AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell. “Having thought leaders like these is a huge boost as we embark on our five-year institutional plan for supporting film in Texas.”

New to the Board, Heather Page brings familiarity and unique insight to AFS having served as Interim Studios Director during 2019. “I’m excited to be joining the board during strategic planning with the theme of integrating our programs across all three of our locations,” says Page, referring to Austin Studios, Austin Public, and the AFS Cinema. “Bringing art, artists, and the industry together on behalf of the community is something AFS does well, and I’m passionate about helping as we come back strong in 2021.”

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.

Heather Page
Heather Page is a filmmaker and film industry consultant. Most recently, she served as Austin Studios Consultant and Interim Studio Director for the Austin Film Society. Prior to this, she was the Director of the Texas Film Commission from 2012–2017. During her time leading the Commission, Page redesigned Texas’s incentive program, improved the state’s relationships with major studios, broadened the TFC’s menu of services for small and indie productions, and increased incentivized production and job creation by more than 250%. She has extensive production experience working on sets as a camera operator and a 2nd unit director of photography. Her film projects include Friday Night Lights, Armageddon, ConAir, Master & Commander: The Dark Side of the World, and The Green Mile, as well as commercials, PSA’s, small indie films, and even large-format experience rides for Disneyland

Charles Ramírez Berg
Charles Ramírez Berg is the Joe M. Dealey, Sr. Professor in Media Studies, University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of several books on film and media studies including Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance; Cinema of Solitude: A Critical Study of Mexican Film, 1967-1983; Cine Mexicano: Posters from the Golden Age, 1936-1956; and The Classical Mexican Cinema: The Poetics of the Exceptional Golden Age Films. He is a Member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, winner of every major teaching award at the University of Texas and was named one of the university’s Top Ten Great Professors in 2011 by the alumni magazine, The Alcalde. Ramírez Berg is an AFS Founding Board Member and former Board President from 2001-2003.

Christopher Rios
Christopher Rios is Vice President of Community Development at Texas Capital Bank where he oversees non-profit partnerships and bank initiatives that focus on fostering prosperous and resilient communities. A 2020 McBee Fellow for the Austin Area Research Organization, Rios has served in various non-profit leadership roles for the Central Texas region. He is currently Treasurer and past Chair of CommUnityCare Health Centers (CUC) and past Chairman of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC). He has also volunteered on AFS’s INDIEpendents Committee to assist with fundraising for the AFS Travel Grant and serves on the SOMOS Austin Grant Committee with the Austin Community Foundation. Rios is the recipient of the 2019 Austin Under 40 Award in Civics, Government, and Public Affairs and the 2015 Distinguished Young Leader Award from the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin.

Irene Shoghi
Irene Shoghi has been an avid supporter and AFS member since 2013. Since moving to Austin in 2011, she has been actively involved with AFS as a regular attendee and sponsor at the annual Texas Film Awards, a frequent AFS Cinema-goer, and an enthusiast of many of AFS’s programs. An ardent film fan, she was an underwriter of the 2017 documentary THE CHINA HUSTLE, directed by Jed Rothstein and produced by the same team behind ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM. Passionate about the mission-driven work of organizations that serve the community, Shoghi is also involved with several other Austin nonprofits such as the Sustainable Food Center and Ballet Austin.

Ya’Ke Smith
Ya’Ke Smith is the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and an Associate Professor of Film in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the youngest recipient of the Alumni of Distinction for Professional Achievement award from the University of The Incarnate Word, and previously the Morgan Woodward Distinguished Professor of Film at the University of Texas at Arlington. In 2020, Variety Magazine listed Smith as one of the top Film Educators from Across the Globe. An award-winning independent filmmaker, he has screened and won awards at over 100 film festivals. His work has been honored by the Director’s Guild of America and he has been featured on NPR, CNN, Ebony Online, Indiewire, Variety, Filmmaker Magazine, and Shadow&Act, among others. Smith is also an AFS-supported filmmaker, former AFS film mentor, and a member of AFS’s Filmmaker Advisory Committee.

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 is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds 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, 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.

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