Upcoming Events & Programs



Meet our smashing lineup of experienced female powerhouses.

LAURA ANNALORA, PRESIDENT

Wearing hats as diverse as Freelance Producer, Development Consultant and Talent Manager, Laura Annalora has almost two decades of film and television experience, and her work has aired on multiple platforms in over 170 countries.

Annalora has a sixth sense for developing original content that sells. She currently runs her own production company, Queens’ Suite, working with clients like Harper Collins and WebMD to create commercial and branded content. She also freelances as Head of Production for Cannon Lady Pictures, a new independent production company producing scripted and unscripted content. Prior to that, Annalora was at Bat Bridge Entertainment. There she managed a team of development producers and oversaw exclusive network development deals that produced original content seen in 100 million U.S. homes, with two billion viewers digitally. Her strong guidance as Head of Development at Bat Bridge Entertainment led to the successful creation of the Emmy-nominated series, High Profits for CNN, and then went on to develop the Emmy-winning documentary, Disgraced, for SHOWTIME. Prior to Bat Bridge, she was Director of Global Development & Production for National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild, working with over 150 production companies and agencies worldwide to develop original content. Annalora fielded, reviewed, and green-lit innovative TV pilots, one-offs, and series. During her stint as Development Producer and Consultant in Washington, D.C. Annalora made global impact by advancing unique content for independent production companies worldwide, and pitched and sold original ideas to networks, digital platforms, and corporate clients with budgets ranging from $50k-$750k per hour.

Annalora takes a hands-on approach working with field crews, editors and pitch executives to transition ideas into compelling pitch packages. She is accomplished at sourcing strong on-camera talent and crafting pitches for concepts that have included Emmy and Gemini award-winning documentaries, as well as BANFF World Television Award winners. Her unscripted programs have been picked up by major cable networks including National Geographic Channel, CNN, and Showtime.

Annalora brings a fresh perspective and creative ingenuity to quality entertainment.

Contact Laura at president@wiftaustin.org.

CHIARA MCCARTY, VICE PRESIDENT

Chiara (Russi) McCarty is an actress with a strong desire to tell stories that inspire, that open people's minds to different perspectives, that give hope, that shine a light in dark places, and that give a voice to the voiceless.

Chiara received extensive training in Los Angeles, attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA) in Hollywood and the Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College (LACC), a three year acting conservatory focused in theatre, where she earned a Certificate of Advanced Acting in Theatre, as well as an Associates of Arts in Theatre. She continues to studying the craft of acting at Crash Acting Studio under the guidance of Benjamin Mathes, who has transformed her work by helping her create from a more truthful and vulnerable place.

Some of her most recent roles on the stage include Nora in the world premiere of Trade With Klan (Southwest Theatre Productions), Sister James in Doubt (Hill Country Community Theatre), and various characters in Askew Theatre Company's Out of the Box Play Reading Festival, a virtual production featuring 12 amazing 10-minute plays written by 12 award-winning playwrights from around the U.S. Her most recent film roles include Molly in the indie feature film What About Molly? and Vivían in the indie short film Vivían. You can also catch her on Amazon Prime as Cleo in the filmed stage performance of Kill All Politicians, and as the Schoolteacher in the short independent film Spindletop: The Beginning.

Chiara is also Director of Free Listening for Urban Confessional: A Free Listening Project, a grassroots movement determined to challenge the status quo and whose mission is to spread the message of non-judgmental, compassionate listening to the world.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She moved to Austin in 2018 with her loving and incredibly supportive husband. She believes there is great power in storytelling.

Contact Chiara at vicepresident@wiftaustin.org.

FELICIA VÁSQUEZ, TREASURER

Felicia Vásquez is a multifaceted analyst developing as a financial figure in film. After graduating from UTEP, she worked as a banking professional when a government contract allured her to Austin in 2017.

The pandemic helped her realize a passion for storytelling & collaboration. On this journey, Felicia looks forward to working with fellow film creatives & their projects, bringing enthusiasm to each challenge.

Leisurely, she spends time at swimming holes, reading sci-fi/fantasy, or improving her sewing skills, & loves family movie night!

Contact Felicia at treasurer@wiftaustin.org.

JESSICA SLOAN, SECRETARY

Jessica Sloan is an agent with Collier Talent Agency. Jessica assists in the on-camera department and is in charge of the voiceover department. Jessica is a true Austinite. She grew up in South Austin and still lives there today.
She graduated from Texas State University with a BA in Broadcasting and a minor in Theatre. After graduation, she realized that her true love has always been the Entertainment industry.

Jessica started off her career in the business as an intern for the Austin Film Society, Detour FilmProductions and Troublemaker Studios. During her stint at Troublemaker, her colleagues recognized that Jessica had a great eye for talent and that she worked well with actors. They strongly encouraged her to get into casting/agenting. Jessica researched casting directors and agents and came across Heather Collier. Fortunately, Collier Talent needed a new intern so Jessica joined the agency in 2006.

Contact Jessica at secretary@wiftaustin.org.

KIRTANA BANSKOTA, COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS CHAIR

Kirtana Banskota is a first-generation Nepali American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. A producer, writer, director, and actor, Banskota wears multiple hats when it comes to the entertainment world. She is the founder of Banskota Productions, an international production house based in Austin as well as Kathmandu Nepal that celebrates storytelling from all across the globe. Banskota wrote and co-produced the very first audience interactive Bollywood Theatrical Production called The Big Fat Indian Wedding in Austin, TX.

Banskota is also the co-founder of the Nepal America Film Society and the Nepal America International Film Festival, both based in Maryland. In the year 2020 during the global pandemic, she co-produced the Coalition of South Asian Film Festivals with six other international South Asian festivals making it the largest virtual South Asian festival. Banskota recently co-founded the Austin South Asian Film Festival, which will see the red carpet for the first time in March 2022.

Her documentary short, Nepal Snehi Kaakha, was an award winner at the 2018 Filmaka competition. Her recent film produced during COVID, Ghar Aau (Come Home), has been selected to screen in numerous film festivals across the globe. Banskota is also the co-author and co-producer of For Love, a film that competed and won several awards at the 48 Hour Film Festival in San Antonio. She is also the Executive Producer of the archeological show A World Beneath, who's pilot episode is currently being pitched to various network channels.

Banskota looks forward to bringing a fresh and diverse perspective to WIFT Austin. With strong roots in South Asia and the US, her goal is to build bridges between cultures through cinema and entertainment.

Contact Kirtana at communitypartnerships@wiftaustin.org.

KELLI HORAN, DEVELOPMENT CHAIR

Kelli Horan is an independent filmmaker and artist in Austin, TX. Since moving from Tucson, AZ, she has written, directed, and produced feature and short films that have been featured in festivals such as Boston SciFi Film Festival, SXSW, Other Worlds Film Festival, Arizona International Film Festival, and more.

Active in the filmmaking community, Kelli was previously the Screenwriting Co-Director and Programmer at Other Worlds Film Festival (2020), a member of Women Communicators of Austin, and Marketing Chair for Women in Film & Television Austin (2019). She loves to support fellow independent filmmakers to make their visions come to life in the best way possible.

Along with filmmaking, she enjoys creating artwork primarily in the medium of pyrography. Her work has been shown at Art for the People, Cherry Cola Dog, Black Lagoon Gallery, and more. You can view her current artwork here.

Contact Kelli at development@wiftaustin.org.

ASHTON ALLISON, EVENTS CHAIR

Contact Ashton at events@wiftaustin.org.

SARAH HENDRICKS, MARKETING CHAIR

Sarah Hendricks is a professional storyteller. Her job is to share the history, message, experiences and journey of a company and its brand with their customers and fans through marketing, social media, and public relations. Whether it’s a behind the scenes look or a simple hashtag, there is a story in every nook and cranny of a business. Sarah wants to find that story. And she wants to tell it.

Her passion is creativity and the ever-changing industry. Everyday there is a new trend to be discovered or an innovative app to help improve storytelling and increase revenue.

In addition, she is also an improviser and has written and performed stand-up comedy.

Contact Sarah at membership@wiftaustin.org.

CHANTELLE JAMES, PODCAST CHAIR

Chantelle James is an award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter & actress with 15 years of industry experience. After three years of full-time training at the Actors Center Australia, Chantelle moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and TV. She landed jobs as an actress in film, TV, and new media projects and made her first short film, Ordinary, discovering her love and passion for film-making.

She moved to Austin in 2019 and launched production company Lady Alchemist Films in 2020, whose mission is to create stories written by female-identifying folk that offer the audience a less-explored point of view in the hope of raising awareness and encouraging positive change.

Her film projects OrdinaryAt The Edge of Night, and Her Mind in Pieces, have screened and won awards at film festivals including St Kilda Film Festival, Golden State Film Festival, Venice Shorts, Melbourne Indie Film Festival, Prague International Film Festival, Global Impact Film Festival & San Antonio Film Festival.

Contact Chantelle at podcast@wiftaustin.org.

ASHLEY FLORES, PROGRAMS CHAIR

Ashley Flores believes that powerful storytelling has the profound capability to enact a more just, equitable and compassionate world. She is a versatile writer-producer and educational consultant who applies her expertise in research, media-development and curricular design to develop entertaining content that has an enduring impact. In 2021, she was Segment Producer for Blippi’s Treehouse, a new live-action series for preschoolers, currently streaming on Amazon Kids+. This same year, a short film she produced For Rosa premiered on HBO Max; the feature is in development. Her production experience spans a decade, as co-owner of Texas Made Productions, she produced, wrote, directed, edited commercials for notable clients including; American Heart Association, Lexus of Austin and Foster Angels. Most recently, Ashley and her producing partner, were one of 10 producing teams selected for the Producer’s Guild Inaugural PGA Create Program, and are recipients of a $50K Google grant that will support production of their short film.

Ashley’s expertise is in creating and delivering high-impact learning experiences through transformative curriculum and innovative pedagogy. Most recently, Ashley worked for USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, where she advised students, coached faculty and served on the DEI council for School of Cinematic Arts. She is also a USC guest lecturer.

Ashley earned her MFA from the USC Peter Stark Producing program in 2020, while in the Stark program she worked for companies including; Hello Sunshine, Nickelodeon and Devon Franklin Entertainment. Ashley is also a proud graduate of Texas State University, where she received her BFA in Mass Communication and Master’s degree in Education.

Contact Ashley at programs@wiftaustin.org.

TORI ROSE, SOCIAL MEDIA CHAIR

Tori Rose works on set and in post-production regularly on feature & short films, commercials, and music videos around Austin, TX. She also enjoys volunteering for other film related organizations, festivals, and gigs that come around.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Southwestern University with a minor in Philosophy where she received the Laura Kuykendall Communication Student of the Year Award. In 2017, Tori achieved a Master of Arts from Texas State University in the same field with a focus on Qualitative and Rhetorical research in Critical Media Studies. At both universities she worked in critical media studies, which furthered her love and passion for narrative and lived experiences in media as important for representation and beyond. Tori also continues to work in academic research currently studying presenteeism (working while sick) and intersectionality in media. Recently, she co-authored an article called, "#RepresentationMatters on TV: A critical textual analysis of intersectional representation at work on NBC's Superstore," in the communication journal Feminist Media Studies.

She believes in the power of film and media to shape lives and collective/individual identities and enjoys being a part of the creative process on the ground and in research.

Some other activities Tori enjoys in her life include hula hooping, running, playing video games, hanging out with her pets, traveling to new places, and discovering new hobbies to try.

Contact Tori at socialmedia@wiftaustin.org.

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