Staff

 
 
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Tonia Barber, Executive Director

Tonia Barber has been the Executive Director of Dance Camera West for the past 5 years. Barber promoted and produced the West Coast Premieres of Wim Wender’s Pina and Bess Kargman’s First Position, as well as producing the festival in some of Los Angeles’ most prominent venues including the J. Paul Getty Museum, LACMA, Hammer Museum, The Music Center, MOCA  and the Annenberg Beach House. Barber started her career as a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City and continued on to the Broadway stage by age 17. Her credits include “42nd Street” and original cast member of Tommy Tunes’ 9-time Tony winner “The Will Roger’s Follies.” Barber has staged and choreographed numerous plays, commercials and industrials including Budweiser, Salon Selects and Gillette as well as working with fashion giants Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. Barber produced Interstate 84, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was sold worldwide. Barber then Executive Produced the racecar indie, QuattroNoza, which was in competition at Sundance 2003 and won best cinematography. After moving to Los Angeles 2003, Barber wrote, directed and produced the short film, RAW that premiered at Sundance 2005 and screened at the AFI FEST 2005. Barber is currently producing EXALTATION, a documentary capturing sacred dance around the globe, as well as directing documentary short stories for the Marie Claire project "Real Live Real Women".

 

SUSAN GORDON, PR

With a background first in public relations and then onto fundraising, Ms. Gordon's career evolved into working with mostly non-profit organizations when she moved from New York City to Los Angeles and became the special events manager for the Los Angeles Opera, managing over 50 fundraising events annually. Since then she has evolved back to public relations working with many small to midsize nonprofit organizations, focusing on the performing arts. Susan is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and received her Master of Arts degree at New York City's New School for Social Research.

 
 

Board of Directors

 
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MATTHEW DIAMOND, BOARD CHAIR

Matthew Diamond is a versatile 4-time-Emmy Award winning, 3-time-DGA Award winning and Oscar nominated director of film and television.  Matthew has directed several feature length films both for theatrical release and for television and has worked with stars ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to Billy Joel to the Jonas Brothers.  He has directed hundreds of hours of one hour and half hour series and has been the series director for many primetime and cable series. He is also well-known for his work in the music variety field, and has been the recipient of numerous awards in each of these fields. In addition, his work has launched two major franchises, each worth billions of dollars. Credits Include: DANCEMAKER, DISNEY COMPANY -- CAMP ROCK, THESE OLD BROADS, three seasons of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, GENERAL HOSPITAL and GUIDING LIGHT, SHINING TIME STATION, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and 90210.

 
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PENNEY FINKELMAN COX, PRESIDENT

Multi-faceted producer of live action and animated feature films.  Background in both creative and physical production as well as experience in the executive ranks in assembling high profile projects, including starting and running animation companies. Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Animation (5/2002-2007) This included OPEN SEASON, Academy Award nominee, SURF’S UP, which was based on an original idea by Sandy Rabins and myself, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, and HOTEL TRANSLYLVANIA. THE CHUBB CHUBBS and its sequel. Started DreamWorks Animation (with partner Sandra Rabins) THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, ANTZ and the Academy award winning SHREK.

 
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JANIS NELSON, SECRETARY

Janis Nelson is an entertainment attorney with the law firm of Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP, based in its Beverly Hills Office.  Ms. Nelson represents clients across a broad spectrum of the entertainment industry, including production companies and studios, producers and creators of animated, new media and multi-platform content and special effects, individual film, television  and stage producers, book and screenwriters, film, television, stage and commercial directors and performers, and documentary filmmaker.

 
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JULIE MCDONALD

Julie McDonald is co-owner of McDonald Selznick Associates (MSA). She is a pioneer in the field of dance and choreography representation, having formed the first talent agency in 1985 devoted exclusively to dance.   While breaking ground by representing her clients across all mediums of entertainment, she became an advocate for better terms and working conditions for dancers and choreographers and devoted herself to raising the visibility of the art and craft of commercial dance. In 2000 she and Tony Selznick formed McDonald Selznick Associates. (MSA). Their clients represent a who's who in the world of dance and have been nominated for or have won numerous Emmy, Tony, and MTV awards.    They have directed and/or choreographed Cirque Du Soleil productions including KA, Love, and One, television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Mad Men, and Orange is the New Black, Emmy, Grammy, and Oscar Awards telecasts, and films including Across the Universe, This is It, Saving Mr. Banks, the Step Up franchise, and the upcoming Into the Woods Ms. McDonald co-created the American Choreography Awards (1994-2004), an event honoring choreography achievement in media.  She was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Choreographers Carnival and Dance under the Stars Choreography Festival for pioneering the representation of dancers and choreographers.

 
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ROBYN ROSENFELD, TREASURER

Robyn Rosenfeld has spent most of her career developing, producing and, more recently, distributing feature films and tv.  From 1999 to 2001, Rosenfeld Executive Produced CREATURE FEATURES - an original series of HBO Primetime Movies, which premiered Fall 2001 in a two-tiered release on HBO and Cinemax.  As the Executive Producer, Rosenfeld developed ten scripts and oversaw five feature-length productions including: DAY THE WORLD ENDED starring Nastassia Kinski and Randy Quaid, directed by Terence Gross; SHE CREATURE starring Carla Gugina and Rufus Sewell, directed by Sebastian Guttierez; EARTH VS. THE SPIDER starring Dan Aykroyd and Theresa Russell, directed by Scott Ziehl; HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER starring Stephen Culp and Clea Duvall, directed by George Huang; and TEENAGE CAVEMAN starring Andrew Keegan, directed by Larry Clark. From 2006– present Rosenfeld joined the team of High Line Pictures/ Sovereign Films.  She has been developing, producing, and distributing independent feature films such as ANTON CHEKHOV’S THE DUEL.

 
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PAULA WALKER

Paula Walker has put her unique signature on numerous media including commercials, music videos, still photography and narrative film. Partnering with her husband, award winning director of photography Rolf Kestermann, Paula founded Strato Films, a commercial and music video production company.Paula has worked extensively aboard and in the US, which has given her a unique global perspective. She has collaborated on countless television campaigns including BMW, Mazda, Revlon, Nestle, Kodak, Cover Girl, Acura, Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Target, Aveeno, and Bacardi. She has collaborated with innovative companies such as Pilobolus, Pina Bausch, The Frankfurt Ballet Company and The Dance Theatre of Harlem for commercials and experimental dance pieces.

 
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HEBE TABACHNIK

Hebe Tabachnik has been a film curator and has participated as juror, project evaluator and panelist at film festivals in the US, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and China. She is a feature film Iberoamerican Programmer for the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) and Palms Springs International Film Festival, and a short film programmer for LAFF. She is also the curator and producer of the Future Filmmakers Showcase the youth initiative at LAFF. She has worked for the Sundance Film Festival and the American Cinematheque of Los Angeles. Hebe is a member of the Board of Directors of Dance Camera West (DCW) and also serves on the selection committees of DCW and the International Documentary Association (IDA) Awards.

 
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ALLISON DIFTLER

Allison Diftler has worked in the mind/body/movement field for over thirty years. Her deep and diverse knowledge of the human body is drawn from her personal work as a professional modern dancer, dance teacher, personal trainer, and massage therapist. A member of Jennifer Muller/The Works, a modern dance company based in NYC, she performed and toured (US and International) extensively with the company. Allison also taught master classes in Universities and private studio venues throughout the US and abroad. She has also performed in films, television, and theater working with a variety of choreographers. 

Allison has worked with the elderly, people with cancer, and those who have struggled with eating disorders. She has her advanced training certificate in Brain-Compatible Dance Education where she studied under Anne Green Gilbert at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle Washington. She has been a board member of the Visual and Performing Arts Board at the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. Currently she works with private clients and teaches movement to young children at various pre-schools in Los Angeles. 

 
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LYNETTE KESSLER, EMERITUS DIRECTOR

In founding Dance Camera West in 2001, Lynette Kessler launched a film festival that has become a vital part of LA’s evolving cultural landscape. An accomplished dancer, choreographer, and media artist with a MFA in dance from the University of Michigan and a BFA in dance from York University in Toronto, her innovative collaborations and dances for the screen have been shown in film and video festivals worldwide. “In showcasing a new medium that combines dance aesthetics with advanced cinematic technologies, each festival has made a strong statement on the current aesthetics of this evolving art form, presenting an overview of contemporary offerings of some of the most exotic experiments involving dance and the camera.”