Music Compositions from Natasha & Sam

February 2021:

One of the most essential collaborations for the short film, Natasha & Sam, was finding the composer: 

Félix Tellier Pouliot.  In this 2-minute video, I feature a few moments of the 7 pieces of music he created for the film:  Learn more about this wonderful Montreal-based musician on his webiste:


Poll Worker 2020

October 2020:

I'm volunteering in the 2020 election as a poll worker in my district, and also making calls to my adopted state of North Carolina.  As Jon Lovett of Crooked Media states, "This is our one ticket out, there are no other trains coming.  Let's all do what we can to keep our country a democracy!

I'm also happy to speak to anyone about the importance of their vote in the November 3rd election and can be reached via:


Natasha & Sam now in marketing

July 2020:

I'm so happy to report that my latest short film, the experimental-narrative, Natasha & Sam now has

it's color grade complete and DCPs are being made for theater screenings.  I hope to be premiering

at film festivals beginning fall 2020.  For more on this short, see my films page.


WICA participated in the 2020 seminars

Feb 2020:

My WICA (Women in the Collaborative Arts) mates and I were proud to participate, Feb. 29th, 2020,

in this years event, put on by Cooperation Humboldt with a workshop discussing the issues facing

women in a male-dominated industry, and how to navigate these obstacles.


Fundraisers: Migrants at the US-Mexico border

winter 2020:

Across January-March I worked with local Humboldt activist, Maureen McGarry, to put on 2

fundraisers to raise money to help migrants trapped for months and years on end in over-crowded shelters, primarily in Tijuana, awaiting the legal process so they can become legal US residents.  We

raised hundreds of dollars for both Border Angels and then were able to give money through a fund

set up by Humboldt Area Foundation: Migrant Assistance in Baja.  And thanks to The Logger Bar, which hosted us in March, right before they closed for the pandemic...


Taught at HSU, fall 2019

I had the honor to teach at my alma mater for my undergraduate degree, Humboldt State University,

in the fall of 2019.  I taught two courses in film production: Filmmaking III and Cinematography.


MFA received, August 2019

I was proud to receive my MFA in Film Production, from Concordia University in Montreal, after successfully defending my thesis and presenting my short film, Natasha & Sam, to my defense team (pictured here), including my advisor, Jean-Claude Bustros, film professors: Roy Cross and Michael Yaroshevsky, and Montreal-based award-winning documentary filmmaker (and fellow Film Fatales member) Juliette Lammers.

June 23_Insta.jpg

BITE ME screens June 23 in Arcata, CA

We are so thrilled that THE JOYFUL VAMPIRE TOUR OF AMERICA will make a stop here in Arcata, CA Sunday, June 23rd.  Screening in the main hall of The Minor Theatre at 4:30pm with a Q&A and after

party to follow.  This screening is being co-produced by WICA.  Writer, Actress, Producer and amazing women-in-film advocate, Naomi McDougall Jones will be here in person, along with their RV and documentarian, Kiwi Callahan. Don't miss out!  For more:


Women in Film talk: WICA & BITE ME creator

June 22nd, 2019, the day before we held the Bite Me screening, we had an intimate discussion in the round, with two dozen fellow artists, about the challenges and lessons learned with Bite Me's Writer, Actress, Producer, Naomi McDougall Jones and WICA members: Maria Matteoli, Cassandra

Hesseltine and Tawny Foskett, at The Creamery in Arcata, CA. Naomi shared much of what she was

thinking about while doing final edit's on her now released non-fiction book:

The Wrong Kind of Women, inside our revolution to dismantle the gods of Hollywood.


WICA women-in-film co-founders

Our nickname for ourselves is WICA (Women In The Collaborative Arts). This image is from our

first gathering, Sept. 2018, at Richard's Goat.  We are 4 filmmakers who cheer each other on, and

support each other's projects, and we produce various events each year which draw in the

community. We all also choose to live 'behind the redwood curtain', on California's rural north coast.

(left to right are the founders of WICA):

Laura Montagna, Maria Matteoli, Tawny Foskett, and Cassandra Hesseltine


52nd Humboldt Int'l Film Festival, 2019

I'm so delighted to have been selected as one of the 3 judges for this year's festival.

HIFF is the oldest student-run festival in the world.  I helped with the festival each year, while

a student at Humboldt State, from which I graduated in 2004.

52nd Humboldt International Film Festival

  • The Minor Theatre, Arcata, CA

  • April 19th-23rd, 2019

NYWIFT Photography Showcase

This photo, taken by Dan VanZant, who also served as Sound Recordist (from Day 1 on set of my

current film, Natasha & Sam) will be one of 30 photographs featured in

NYWIFT's Women Calling the Shots Photography Showcase exhibit:

  • Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

  • at the Whitebox Gallery (329 Broome St, NYC)

  • from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Admission is free.

Teaching at HFF, June 2018

Again this summer, I had the chance to teach at the HFF (University of Television and Film, Munich),

for the cinematography class my friend, Sanne Kurz, takes on, which is comprised of the new crop of

6 students.  This year I did a one-day masterclass which included directing actors, yoga, a sense walk,

and open discussions about the set, preproduction, casting and more.  Sanne's cinematography

students each become directors on a short film that goes through all stages of production, and is

shot on 35mm, then developed by hand, and finally edited by the directors.

Natasha & Sam now in Post

​February 9th-11th, 2018 we shot what I expected to be some "practice scenes" from my feature

script,​ Natasha & Sam (see the post below).  However, such an amazing group of collaborators came together; from actors who gave weeks of their time to explore with me, to a dream crew that signed

on solely from interest in vision of the project and my promises that it would be a fun, sane, creative

and respectful environment.  Working in the beliefs of remembering "the obstacles are the road"

and trying to do less and do it better, we ended up with what will actually be a full on short,

proof-of-concept film, based on my feature.

Rehearsal/Sketch to shoot Feb. 2018

As part of my research, and as well for my thesis, I’ll be doing a production I’m calling Rehearsal /

Sketch. Primarily filmed as a documentary, this will witness myself as director and local actors

developing and rehearsing key scenes from Natasha & Sam

(my dramatic feature in development) and then showcasing the final product of those scenes.  

All the while we’ll be exploring new modes of being on set and collaboration, which are less

hierarchical than the standard Industry practice and in service of the female gaze.  This rehearsal

work will primarily be comprised of improvisations used for rewrites.  

From working in Montreal with local actors, who can be any ethnicity or height, etc. I’ll hone in on

both the characters, the story and my directing practice.

(Note: this evolved to be the narrative short, Natasha & Sam)

Munich - summer 2017

Co-teaching & Crowdfunding talk

I had the honor to co-teach a summer workshop with my friend, Sanne Kurz, at the HFF in Munich

where she is on the faculty.  The workshop was for her cinematography class, as they stepped into

the shoes of a director and made a short film on 35mm.

On July 3rd, Sanne and I presented on Crowdfunding at the HFF and hosted by Münchner

Filmwerkstatt e.V. for a local audience of filmmakers.  Sanne and I shared what we have gleaned

from the 5 crowdfunding projects we have been involved with or initiated, and methods and actions

that lead to success in this endeavor.  

In Focus: Desirée de Jesus

June 2017

Watch the 2-minute profile video I made of  Desirée de Jesus, a Public Scholar at Concordia

University and PhD candidate, whose research is on girlhood in contemporary cinema.

Film Fatales, Montreal

May 2017

I became a proud new, honorary member of the Montreal chapter of Film Fatales.

Film Fatales

MFA Open Studios, Concordia University

February 2016

I collaborated with Farid Yahaghi, for a 16mm projection, with digital projection, on: 

at the MFA Studio Arts "Open Studios" Exhibition at Concordia University