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AVFilm Team

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Tess Aston

Education & Engagement Manager
Tess (she/her) 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 working with youth. Tess has lived in Healdsburg since 2016 and loves being a part of Sonoma County’s active and vibrant community.
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Elsa Cavazos

Bilingual/Bicultural Liaison
Elsa (she/her) is a Latinx journalist and freelance writer from Texas based in California. She enjoys writing about womxn related topics but also about relationships, pop culture and more. Cavazos is passionate about Latinx related topics and issues and loves to highlight stories of her culture.
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Morgan Hamilton-Lee

Crew Lead & Teaching Assistant
Morgan (he/him) joined AVFilm as part of the outdoor movie crew and assisted on AVFilm's after-school documentary workshop in Windsor. Morgan has been making movies for 10 years. He received his Digital Filmmaking certificate from the Santa Rosa Junior College in 2021 and was voted Best Indy Filmmaker in Sonoma County by the Bohemian in 2018 and 2019. He loves making and watching movies and has judged for Film Fest Petaluma two years in a row. He is very excited to be working with AVFilm and eager to see what the future holds.
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Kathryn Hecht

Founder and Executive Director
Kathryn (she/her) is responsible for the AVFilm's overall strategic, financial, management, fundraising, and operational health. She has helmed AVFilm for eight years, raising more than $3M for the organization’s infrastructure and programming. With a deep commitment to equity, she helped AVFilm earn the community’s trust as a custodian of donor dollars and agent for change. Under Hecht’s leadership, AVFilm formed strategic partnerships with community stakeholders, nonprofits, and prominent businesses. She was appointed to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board in 2017, and currently presides as chair. Hecht is also co-owner of The Clover Theater in Cloverdale.

Kathryn was selected by the Press Democrat in 2016 as one of 30 Women to Watch in Sonoma County. She received the 2018 Boho Award from The Bohemian and the 2018 Spirit of Sonoma Award from the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. Writer and activist Virgie Tovar also featured her as a "lady boss" in Forbes.

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Kim Horton

Office Manager
Kim (she/her) has lived in Sonoma County for over 18 years with her husband and 2 children. She developed a love of classic movies in her youth while watching cinemas at the SF Castro Theatre. Her extensive administrative career has included working in investment banks, various non-profits, in addition to helping small local Sonoma County businesses. She is excited to embark on this next journey working with AVFilm.
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Heather Murray

Lead Teaching Artist
Heather (she/her) is a videographer who worked as an art history college instructor, a museum director, and an art curator before shifting to video production and editing. She has created promotional videos for many Sonoma County nonprofits, businesses, and visual artists, and has collaborated with several local bands on music videos. Her first documentary short focused on the unhoused community in Santa Rosa, and she is currently working on her second documentary short film. She is excited to bring all of her experiences together with her passion for teaching to the Teaching Artist program at AVFilm.
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Mike Traina

Director of Programming
Mike (he/him) began his career in the film industry as a programmer for the American Film Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. His experience curating American independent films for AFI led to a three-decade career running film festivals in Northern and Southern California. In 1997, he wrote and directed his first feature film, Verses, and has since worked on a wide variety of film and television projects in China, Greece, and the U.S. He has been an invited guest to several film festivals around the world as a filmmaker and juror.

In 2008, he accepted a position at Santa Rosa Junior College and relocated to Petaluma, where he teaches Film & Media Studies. He is also currently serving as Chair of the SRJC Communication Studies Department. Mike’s insatiable wanderlust has brought him to over 60 countries in the last 20 years. He is a strong advocate for international education. He has spent two semesters teaching in London and one in Paris, where he has engaged students in making films, participating in international film festivals, and visiting major movie studios.
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Califa Witsch

Teaching Artist
Califa is a Sonoma County native who grew up in the Healdsburg countryside. In her teen years she learned video fundamentals and loved acting in the Healdsburg High School drama department. Califa majored in “Social Documentary” at UC Santa Cruz, where she studied documentary film in theory and practice. During this time she got her feet wet as a post-production assistant for the harrowing Peabody winning HBO documentary ‘Baghdad ER’ (Alpert 2006). Califa worked for Access Healdsburg TV teaching the community how to use cameras to create their own media, programming and creating local content, including sports events, as well as managing the station for a time. She produced and edited the feature documentary ‘Straight White Male’ (Erlendson 2012) which tells the story of two young transgender men and their journey across the gender spectrum. She also enjoys teaching filmmaking to Sonoma County youth. Califa specializes in creating meaningful content that educates, inspires and entertains.