Festival Staff

Meet the team behind the scenes of DCEFF.

maryanneMaryanne Culpepper

Executive Director

Maryanne Culpepper is an award-winning writer/filmmaker with extensive experience in developing, writing and producing high-profile documentaries and nonfiction series.  She is the former President of National Geographic Studios, where she oversaw development and production of 100+ hours of factual programming annually. She specializes in writing for broadcast, digital and museum platforms through her company Graffiti Works. Current projects include films based in Mozambique and the Baltic Sea, and an internationally touring exhibition for science museums. She is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and an instructor at the Maine Media Workshops.


chrisChristopher Head

Managing Director

Christopher Head has been Managing Director of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital since 2008. He participates in all levels of programming the Festival, including researching and selecting films and negotiating the rights to screen films. He also negotiates with various speakers, including filmmakers and environmental experts so they may attend screenings for introductions and question and answer sessions. He also coordinates with venue partners to select dates, venues, and films to screen as co-presentations, in addition to securing venues where DCEFF is the sole presenter. He maintains all the Festival’s bookkeeping and helps with general office management and hiring. Before joining DCEFF in 2007, Christopher worked in production for Story House Productions in Washington, DC. He graduated from American University with a B.A. in Film & Media Arts. Learn more about Chris and his work here.


jessieJessie Brinkley

Director of Development

Jessie joined the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital as the organization’s first Director of Development in November 2013.  She oversees fundraising efforts from foundations, corporations, individuals and public agencies. Her career as a fundraiser has focused on her commitment to protecting the wildlife and the environment.  She came to DCEFF from Defenders of Wildlife where she was VP for Development.  Before that she led development efforts for National Wildlife Federation and National Parks Conservation Association.  She started her environmental work at the World Wildlife Fund as director of major and planned gifts.


Owen Davies

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Owen joined the Environmental Film Festival in 2010, after working for several years in documentary film and television production. His film credits include Torturing Democracy (Winner, Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award), Bill Moyers Presents: Capitol Crimes, as well as a short film with Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. In addition to his film background, Owen has spent time working with leading global health & development organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the International AIDS Trust. Owen’s passion for film and the environment is rivaled only by his loathing of 6:00AM conference calls.


Brad Forderbrad

Director of Programming

Brad is the Director of Programming for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. He has worked as the director of photography for various documentary projects – including the upcoming film Painted City – and has served as a videographer for local production companies and universities, as well as at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  He holds a BA in Asian Studies from Furman University and an MA in International Journalism from Cardiff University.

 


mollyMolly Berg

Programming Manager

As Programming Manager, Molly supports the Director of Programming in all facets of festival programming and preparation. Molly graduated in May 2015 with a degree in English from the University of Virginia. Prior to DCEFF, Molly wrote film commentary for new media platform Quib, and mentored students in film production at Light House Studio, a nonprofit in Charlottesville, VA.


arjumandArjumand Hamid

Director of Educational Outreach

Arjumand joined DCEFF in 2012 as a programmer with the intention of continuing her dedication to public programming. She came from the National Gallery of Art’s Adult Programming department where she was first exposed to the importance of continuing educational outreach programs for families and individuals outside school realms. Arjumand has a degree in Art History, Political Science and South Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Her involvement with DCEFF has further developed her passion for the environment and strong desire to make a difference.


heidiHeidi Hermisson

Development Manager

Heidi Hermisson joined the Festival as a Development Manager in August 2015. She previously worked at the American Academy in Berlin, where she managed their signature annual event, and at the Brookings Institution, where she coordinated events and programs. She has an MA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, and speaks German and French. Having returned to DC after living in Europe for a number of years, she is enjoying exploring the the rich nature and family-friendly bike trails in DC.


helenHelen Strong

Director of Public Relations

Helen is a public relations consultant in the Washington, D.C. area. For the past 17 years she has worked as the publicist and writer/editor for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. From 1984 to 1990 she wrote and consulted for the World Wildlife Fund and prior to that she served as Public Relations Officer for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program from 1976 to 1982. Helen holds an M.S. degree from Boston University’s School of Public Communication and a B.A. from Smith College. A native of Washington, D.C., she has lived in Europe and traveled on five continents.


saaretSaaret Yoseph

Director of Online Communications and Engagement 

Saaret is responsible for leading DCEFF’s digital marketing strategy, which includes the Festival’s website, e-newsletters and social media content. A multimedia storyteller and producer, Saaret brings nearly 10 years of diverse media experience to the organization. She has a background in online journalism, cultural studies, media education and documentary production, having written, directed and produced a wide range of mission-driven content. Saaret holds a master’s degree in Communication, Culture & Technology, from Georgetown University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English and Africana Studies, from the University of Maryland – Baltimore County.


 

Sam Plakun img_8165

Festival Coordinator

As the Festival Coordinator, Samantha oversees office operations and facilitates team communications at the DC Environmental Film Festival. Before joining DCEFF Samantha worked as an Associate Producer for social issue documentaries in New York City. She holds a degree in Media Arts for Social Justice from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Consortium.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Megan King