DT | Women in Film
Join Central Exchange in partnership with the Kansas City Film Festival International and Kansas City Women in Film & Television for a panel discussion regarding the importance of female presence in film!
From its humble beginnings in 1997 as the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee, the Kansas City FilmFest International has grown into screening dozens of films annually as well as hosting filmmakers from KC, around the country and around the world. KCFFI has awarded more than $250,000 in cash and prizes in the juried film competition.
In 2018, KCFFI was pleased to screen over 40 short and feature length films from women filmmakers.
Kansas City Women in Film & Television, a Chapter of Women in Film and Television International, has been helping women filmmakers, directors and producers achieve shared goals that once seemed out of reach.
KCWIFT's programs support education, networking and mentoring opportunities in Kansas City and nationwide. The organization also supports programs recognizing women's accomplishments and influence, and continues to develop new and exciting programs that open doors and create opportunities for more women to achieve their goals.
Lonita Cook, Film Critic/Filmmaker
Lonita Cook is author of Awaken the Sleeper, the first installment of the Chronicles of Cyn series. As a film critic she contributes to the KCTV 5's lifestyle show, Better KC, as well as the Act Land website and podcast, and Trailer Park web series. She merrily serves on the board of the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Foundation and continues to support film and filmmakers through volunteerism with organizations like KC Film Fest International and the Sundance Film Festival. She's proud to mentor with the Kansas City Women in Film & Television mentorship program, and is the owner of entertainment company, Cookie Lane.
Veronica Elliott Loncar - Executive Director, Kansas City Film Festival International
Veronica Elliott Loncar graduated from UMKC with a degree in Communications and Writing for the Media, interning at NKH&W Advertising, Fasone & Partners Advertising and the former Kansas City Blues & Jazz Festival. She began working as a copy writer for Fasone & Partners, where she was quickly immersed in producing commercials for television and radio. She struck out on her own to work on independent films, while continuing to produce corporate videos. She gained several more years of filmmaking experience and added live event planning and management as a stage manager for Walmart's Manager Meetings, which consisted of seven days of live performances, speeches and videos for audiences of 10,000. Veronica was Kansas City FilmFestival Coordinator for two years before becoming Executive Director in July 2013. Since then, the Festival's annual attendance has soared to over 8000 film lovers.
Steph Scupham, Kansas City Film Commissioner
Steph Scupham has a role of a lifetime as Kansas City's Film Commissioner. She was raised in St. Louis and started college at Bradley University in Theatre and Voice before transferring to the University of Kansas, graduating with Communications degree with Film Emphasis. In her 20-year career Steph gained early experience as a PA and film loader/camera assistant and later as a television content creator, camera operator, editor, talent agent, commercial producer and director, teleprompter workshop facilitator, live sports audio mixer, talent agent, client services and sales. Steph has worked for advertising agencies like Sullivan Higdon & Sink, production companies like Take Two, TV stations like KCPT as well as two of her own companies.
She is passionate about spreading a vision of a thriving Kansas City production industry and advocating for the vision's reality. She currently serves as a board member of the Kansas City Arts Industry Sector Council as well as Co-VP of the statewide education and advocacy organization Missouri Motion Media Association. In the past she has been on the board of Kansas City Film Festival International and for many years was a regional Emmy judge.
Since establishing the KC Film Office after a 10-year absence (re-opened October 2014), she has led efforts to bring in and give assistance to hundreds of film, TV and commercial productions, including NBC's American Ninja Warrior (twice since she started in this role), Netflix series Queer Eye and the Cannes award-winning film, American Honey. Steph represents the region at annual events and festivals like AFCI Locations Expo in LA, Sundance Film Festival and annual industry meet-ups in Los Angeles and New York.
She collaborated with the City of Kansas City to architect the city's first ever local film incentive, making KC the first city in America to create a local incentive without also having a state incentive.
She has a husband, Sam, a beautiful bonus kid, Cassie, and one hilarious dog, Tater who has his own Insta @TaterTotJones_KCdog.
Nicole Esquibel, Filmmaker/ Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the School of Visual and Communication Arts, Avila University
Nicole Esquibel is an award-winning video and filmmaker, writer, and poet. She is a graduate of the prestigious University of Iowa's MFA-Film and Video Production program. Her theoretical articles and written works of fiction have appeared in publications such as Sinister Wisdom and Our Voices. Ms. Esquibel's films and videos have screened both domestically and internationally, including winning the "Between the Lines" award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. hush, the first film created under her production company Flying Dragon Films, received tremendous critical acclaim and the project was a closing night selection for the Kansas International Film Festival and screened at the Hot Springs International Documentary Film Festival.
Recently she completed, La Pucelle, an experimental retelling of the trial of Joan of Arc, shot on Super16mm. Tu Me Quieres Blanca (You want me White) 2010, is a found footage project inspired by a poem by Alfonsina Stori, which seeks to explore the secondary role of Chicana women and Machismo in 20th Century America. Esquibel is author of The Image and the Border: the Films of Willie Varela, a chapter in Experimental Film: The Missing Frames. She's currently in pre-production on a feature length documentary, Neva (working title), examining the death of Neva Arlene Romero, a 21year-old college student and a series of bombings that took place in Boulder Colorado in the spring of 1974.
Erin Zimmerman, President, Kansas City Women in Film & TV (KCWIFT)
Erin P.S. Zimmerman is the owner of EZ Visibility, where she serves as the Visibility Guide, helping marginalized voices create fun, sustainable action plans to grow their brands and make a name for themselves with ease. A graduate of the University of San Diego, Erin majored in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Film and Leadership. She has worked on the marketing and production teams for a Top 10 movie theatre chain, Take 2 Production Company (now Hint), and co-founded DoubleTake Productions, a photography and videography company, with her twin sister.
She has been featured in The Huffington Post, and on podcasts like Grief: A Love Story, Women's Side Hustle Society, and The Know Like & Trust Show, is a regular guest on KCTV5's Better Kansas City, and is an internationally award-winning director and producer. Erin is also the President of Kansas City Women in Film and Television, and holds multiple volunteer leadership positions in the metro area. She currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband.