Our Team

Organizers

scott

Dr. Scott Diffrient

Associate professor of Film and Media Studies, Scott Diffrient began planning the ACT Human Rights Film Festival after receiving the 2014-2016 William E. Morgan Endowed Chair of Liberal Arts. He has attended human rights film festivals around the world with the intention to write one of the first scholarly texts on human rights cinema as well as to establish Fort Collins and Colorado State University as a locus and leader in humanitarian outreach and scholarship. Dr. Diffrient directs festival programming, heading a committee of faculty volunteers that provide input on film selection and related events.
scott@actfilmfest.org

greg

Dr. Greg Dickinson

Department chair and professor, Greg Dickinson heads festival leadership and fundraising, working closely with College of Liberal Arts Dean Dr. Ann Gill and her development staff. He has received the College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award and the CSU Alumni Best Teacher Award. He has also received the National Communication Association’s Gerald R. Miller Dissertation Award and (with his co-authors Brian L. Ott and Eric Aoki) the NCA Golden Anniversary Monograph Award. He writes about ways the buildings and human landscapes engage viewers and users on questions values, beliefs, and action. His work advances critical and theoretical understanding of memory, place, materiality, and everyday life. He has published in numerous communication, cultural studies, and rhetoric journals on coffee shops, shopping malls, museums, and gentrified urban spaces. His book Suburban Dreams: Building and Imagining the Good Life was published by the University of Alabama Press in 2015, and he is completing a co-authored book on the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.greg@actfilmfest.org

carol

Carol Busch

Carol Busch directs festival marketing and publicity, writes festival grants, and manages festival sponsorship. She is the Department of Communication Studies alumni development and communications coordinator and also manages scholarship administration in the College of Liberal Arts. She has extensive experience in nonprofit and small business communications, and moonlights as a freelance writer and guide. Carol graduated with an M.A. in English from Colorado State University in 2002, is a native of Fort Collins, and loves being outside whenever possible.carol@actfilmfest.org

Lindsey Nielsen

Lindsey Nielsen joined the Department of Communication Studies as the ACT Program Coordinator in November 2016. 

Lindsey earned a B.A. in Political Science from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and an MSc in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She has conducted field research in South Africa, France, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Utah, and has interned for the Scottish Parliament and the Mayor of Salt Lake City. Before joining the ACT Human Rights Film Festival team, Lindsey ran political campaigns for Democrats across Utah. Most recently, she worked for an environmental conservation non-profit in Park City, UT where she directed the organization’s social and print media marketing, donor stewardship, fundraising, and volunteer program.
lindsey@actfilmfest.org

kristy

Kristy King

Kristy King is an independent contractor hired to direct festival operations. She has more than 10 years of film festival and special event planning experience including the Starz Denver Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the Stanley Film Festival. Kristy brings passion for the topic of human rights along with professionalism and experience for operationally efficient and well organized events.kristy@actfilmfest.org

Programming Committee

Usama Alshaibi

Usama Alshaibi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969 and spent his formative years living between the United States and the Middle East. He’s an active filmmaker and visual artist, with several short films, documentaries and feature films to his credit. His films have screened at underground and international film festivals, and have been broadcast on television stations across the globe.

The Chicago Tribune, Punk Planet, Senses of Cinema and Variety have covered his work and his short films are featured in Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film. An interview with Usama appears in Studs Terkel’s book Hope Dies Last, and his coming-of-Arab story is in, Homeland Insecurity: The Arab American and Muslim American Experience After 9/11.  

Alshaibi’s films have received several grants, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation award, and an award from the Creative Capital Foundation for the Arts. He is also the winner of the Creative Promise award at Tribeca All Access in New York City.

Dr. Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager

Dr. Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager is an Assistant Professor of Communication, Education Abroad Advisor, and Director of Summer Education Abroad programs in Europe.

She is holder of 2016 & 2012 International Communication Association Top Paper Awards, and a number of communication studies Capstone Awards. Her research and teaching interests are in intercultural and international communication, European studies, conflict, international cinematography, and critical media studies. Feminist perspectives on communication and business leadership with a global mindset are further areas of her scholarly focus. She has published in venues such as Communication, Culture, & Critique; Journal of Multicultural Discourses; Journal of International and Intercultural Communication; Women’s Studies in Communication; Journal of Intercultural Communication Research; Journal of Language & Social Psychology; Studies in European Cinema; Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture and Connections: European Studies Annual Review. 

Rita Brown

Rita Brown has lived in Fort Collins since 2000. In 2013, she retired as Conservation Education Coordinator at the US Forest Service. Since 2001 she has been an active board member of the ERACISM Film and Discussion Series (2001-2015), which presented four films each October that were facilitated by relevant professionals/activists. Before coming to Colorado, she was Special Events Coordinator at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, with responsibilities that included mounting Truman-Era related film and discussion series. She’s happy that the ERACISM Series folded so well into the ACT Human Rights Film Festival and is serving on its film selection committee.

Corey Wilson

Corey Wilson is Vice President of Strategic Brand Partnerships and Sponsorship at the Alamo Drafthouse where he develops and implements studio and entertainment brand partnerships with the company. Corey earned his B.A. in Film Production at Loyola Marymount University and has a 15+ year career working across various platforms of the film industry. Corey brings his lifelong passion for film along with festival and film business experience in maximizing film event opportunities for the community.

Hali Martin

Hali Martin is a senior communications student who worked as the marketing coordinator during last years film festival. She is a passionate film enthusiast who is dedicated to films which introduce and promote diversity. As she is graduating in the spring she looks forward to being involved in the film festival again this year.

Shantel Rizzotto

Shantel Rizzotto is documentary producer. Her films document human interest stories that explore topics such as gender differences, representation, and identity through an ethnographic lens. Her projects including Redefining Waste and Women in Sports. She co-founded Reel Vision, a filmmaking program for at-risk teens. She is also the VP of Marketing and Communications at United Way of Larimer County. Shantel has an MA in Intercultural Relations and Media.

Dr. Evan Elkins

Dr. Evan Elkins is an assistant professor of Media and Visual Culture in the Department of Communication Studies. He researches and teaches in the areas of media and cultural studies, digital media industries and technologies, and cultural globalization. He is currently writing a book about geographic restrictions in digital platforms around the world, and he regularly teaches courses that examine transnational film and TV distribution, diasporic media cultures, and humanitarian media initiatives, among other issues. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The International Journal of Cultural Studies, Television and New Media, The Fibreculture Journal, The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, and several edited anthologies. 

Dr. Kit Hughes

Dr. Kit Hughes is Assistant Professor of Media and Visual Culture. She specializes in nontheatrical film, useful and orphan media, and histories of technology. Her manuscript project, Television at Work, explores how American business developed workplace television as a medium of industrial efficiency, ideological orientation, and corporate expansion. Her research on sponsored film, workplace media, early video formats, and digital humanities methods has appeared in a range of journals and edited collections. Prior to joining CSU, she taught at Miami University, worked as an archivist at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, and volunteered as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2012, she curated a screening of sponsored film shorts, Made in Wisconsin: Industrial Visions of the Badger State, for the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Advisors

Dr. Tony Frank

Tony Frank is the 14th president of Colorado State University, one of the nation’s leading public land-grant research universities with more than 29,000 students and more than $300 million in annual research activity. Since his appointment to the presidency in 2008, he has overseen a period of record fund-raising and enrollment, rising graduation rates, increasing diversity, and unprecedented research
support. He was named Chancellor of the Colorado State University System on June 1, 2015.

Jim Vidakovich

Top business development specialist; media strategist; executive coach and author; Jim Vidakovich brings a diverse and practical knowledge of successful and best business practices that span over 20 years of domestic and international experience. Combining his media sensibilities with a keen business expertise, he has earned the reputation as a top media strategist and business solutions specialist. Jim earned his B.A. in Speech Arts from Colorado State University and serves on the university’s Liberal Arts Development Council.

Bruce MacCallum

Bruce MacCallum is an Emmy Award winning producer and journalist with more than 40 years experience in studio production and shooting on location. Before retiring in 2015 Bruce was a senior producer at Entertainment Tonight. He has extensive experience with broadcast news, working over ten years as a managing editor, producer, and news director. Bruce has won numerous awards for his work including Emmy Awards, Community Service Awards, and awards for excellence.

Jackie Hernández

Currently Jackie serves as the Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises & Content where she is responsible for helping drive audience and revenue growth connecting with America’s fastest growing population, US Hispanics, across 2 major broadcast channels (NBC and Telemundo), 21 cable channels, all digital platforms, as well as working with Universal’s theme park and film divisions. In her role, she works with the Chairman, presenting her long term vision to NBCUniversal’s Executive Committee, and gaining buy in from business leaders on how the Hispanic and multicultural markets needed to be a strategic priority for the company’s growth. As a result she has been able to develop and implement a marketing and content strategy resulting in audience growth.

Neil Shapiro

Neal Shapiro is President and CEO of WNET New York Public Media. He is an award-winning producer and media executive with a 30-year career spanning print, broadcast, cable and online media. As CEO of WNET, he oversees the operations of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and NJTV. Since arriving at WNET in 2007, Shapiro has revitalized programming for all three stations, nearly doubling arts and culture offerings, emphasizing local programming and community engagement.

Earlier in his career, Shapiro was President of NBC News following 13 years at ABC News. He led top-rated news programs including Today, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, and Dateline NBC, and has won numerous awards including 32 Emmys, 31 Edward R. Murrow Awards and 3 Columbia DuPont awards.

Rebecca Marks

Rebecca Marks was appointed as Executive Vice President, NBCUniversal Television Group Publicity, in December 2004. She is responsible for communications for NBC Entertainment, NBCUniversal Television Studio, NBCUniversal Television Distribution and NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, including Bravo, USA, Syfy and Oxygen.

Most recently, Marks had served as Senior Vice President, NBCUniversal Television Group Publicity, since May 2004, following the formation of the newly combined NBCUniversal. Before then, she was Senior Vice President of NBC Entertainment Publicity since July 2001, overseeing all communications efforts for NBC Entertainment.