Director of new voices
Carole Kirschner is the creator and Director of the CBS Diversity Writers Program. She’s also the Director of the WGA Showrunner Training program. Previously, Carole was Director of Comedy Development at CBS, where she heard over 3,000 pitches and bought hundreds of projects and developed dozens of television series like Murphy Brown and Designing Women. She was also Vice President at AMBLIN TELEVISION, Steven Spielberg’s company. Carole is also an author, speaker and entertainment career consultant. She’s helped hundreds of talented professionals break in, move up and navigate the entertainment industry. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV, or Digital Entertainment is used as a textbook at colleges and universities around the country.
Humanitas Prize Judging Chair
Cliff MacGillivray is a writer/producer. His television credits include series such as The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Stuart Little, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, PB&J Otter, Liberty’s Kids, Captain Planet, and Dragon Ball. Along with writing partner Kelly Ward, he was the 2005 HUMANITAS Prize Winner for Children’s Animation for the “Waking Thor” episode of Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks. He has also written and produced documentaries, including We Made it Through the Rain, a film on domestic violence that focuses on abused women and the alternatives available to them – which has been seen by an estimated 40 million viewers throughout North America.
director of educational outreach
Nina Sadowsky is a film and television writer/producer as well as a novelist. Her thriller, Just Fall, published by Ballantine/Random House, debuted in March 2016. She is developing a TV series based on the book with producer Mark Canton and STARZ. Sadowsky has written numerous screenplays and also has produced many films, such as The Wedding Planner starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, Lost Souls starring Winona Ryder and Northern Lights starring Diane Keaton when she was President of Production at Meg Ryan’s Company, Prufrock Pictures. Sadowsky's second novel, The Burial Society, will be published by Ballantine January 30, 2018, the first of a three-book series. Nina is also an adjunct professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she teaches script development and producing.
director of pLAY LA
Shem Bitterman is a writer who has written over 30 plays and screenplays. His plays have been produced at South Coast Rep, The Actor's Theatre of Louisville, CTG, Geva, The WPA, Cornerstone and many more. Awards include: PEN USA Award (Harm’s Way), CBS/FDG New Play Program (Iowa Boys), Kennedy Center Fund For New American Plays (Beijing Legends), SCR California Playwrights Competition (The Ramp), LA Drama Critic Circle’s Ted Schmitt Award (The Job). In 2009, he adapted and directed the film version of The Job starring Ron Perlman and Joe Pantoliano. In 2014, his teleplay, Betty & Coretta, was nominated for a HUMANITAS Prize. In 2015, his film, Whitney, directed by Angela Bassett, was nominated for an Image Award. Last year his play, The Stone Witch, starring Judd Hirsch, premiered at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. He has taught in communist China and the California prison system. In 2011, he initiated the PlayLab at LA’s Skylight Theatre, which has been responsible for mentoring more than 25 original plays from idea stage to completion.
Co-director of play la
Tim Furlong is a writer/producer/director. His credits include television—How Superman Defeated the KKK and Million Dollar Car Hunters and theater—Road Conversion, Cast Out, and Inconceivable! Tim has produced close to 100 hours of television for History, Discovery, Destination America, HGTV, TruTV, CMT, Nat Geo, A&E and the BBC. In addition, Tim’s plays have been produced at Globe Theatre and the Skylight Theatre.
Abigail Boland served as the regional logistics representative for South East Asia and South America at Adventures in Missions in Gainesville, GA where she managed partnerships with ministry hosts for world wide events. In addition to logistics, Abigail established a Family Development Coordinator position at the Family Center/La Familia in Fort Collins, CO while creating a Family Development program to strengthen families and increase their support network.
Cristina Barbakow has over 10 years of experience in business and financial management within the entertainment industry. Cristina was previously an Account Manager at Stuart Ditsky CPA in Los Angeles and New York. Prior to moving back to Los Angeles in 2010, Cristina was an Accountant at AEG Live for tours such as So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with Stars, and Celtic Thunder.