THE STAFF

KATHRYN HECHT

Founder and Executive Director

Kathryn (she/her) is the founder and executive director of AVFilm. She is responsible for the overall strategic, financial, management, fundraising, and operational health of the organization. She is a seasoned entrepreneur, executive leader, and community builder. Kathryn serves as the Chair of the Economic Development Board of Sonoma County. She was selected by the Press Democrat in 2016 as one of 30 Women to Watch in Sonoma County. Kathryn received the 2018 Boho Award from The Bohemian; the 2018 Spirit of Sonoma Award from the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, and was featured as a “lady boss” in Forbes, 2019.

TESS MCHAFFIE

Project Manager

Tess (she/her) is the Education and Engagement Manager for AVFilm. She is a San Francisco State alum with a major in Cinema. Tess has had a deep love for film since she was a little girl and looks forward to passing on that same love to the youth in our community through AVFilm. She brings extensive experience in event planning and private childcare.

Tess has lived in Healdsburg since 2016 and loves being a part of Sonoma County’s active and vibrant community.

CHELSEA KURNICK

Development Coordinator & Festival Programmer

Chelsea (she/her) is a writer, artist and community organizer. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Positive Images, an LGBTQIA+ Center of Sonoma County. Kurnick received a 2019 Discovered Award for Emerging Writers from Creative Sonoma. Her poetry was featured at the Museum of Sonoma County. In 2018, she co-organized the Bay Area Arts Fest, a film festival about sex workers’ rights. In 2019, she created Father’s Gay: a queer music festival. She joined AVFilm as a Film Programmer in 2021 after participating in panels during the 2020 festival.

CONNIE WHITE

Film Booker & Consulting Programmer

After falling in love with film while living in Paris on a student visa, Connie (she/her) returned to Massachusetts and applied for a job at Harvard Square’s historic Brattle Theatre. Over the next three decades, she managed theaters, launched film festivals, worked in distribution, and finally settled into film buying.

A founding member and sustaining contributor to the Art House Convergence, she stays abreast of all things germane to independent cinema exhibition, and above all, remains an advocate for bringing people together through film.  

SCREENING TEAM

Programming Advisory

The Screening Team is a diverse, 30-member committee. Each member of the team is charged with vetting titles submitted to the AVFest and explicitly rounding up diverse points of view. With criteria set by AVFest staff, at least three members of the Screening Team review and critique each film before it screens as part AVFest. Interested persons may submit inquiries to screeningteam@avfilmpresents.org.

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