Debra Pinger, Festival Director, takes her post after serving more than four years as the Development Director, then Managing Director of the Nashville Film Festival, (NAFF) one of the nations’ largest and oldest film festivals. In that role, she managed festival sponsors, media, and government relations, as well as festival marketing. NAFF is an Academy Award Qualifying Event in three short-film categories, a rare feat among film festivals with three competitions: film, screenwriting and music. Previously, in Cincinnati, Pinger was executive director of the VIA Institute on Character, a nonprofit organization from the Mayerson Foundation in the science of positive psychology.
Susan Brownknight is Executive Director of LADD, Inc., the non-profit agency that organizes the ReelAbilities Film Festival in Cincinnati. Susan is the former development and public relations director. LADD has 150 staff members, a $7.5 million budget, and serves more than 500 adults in Hamilton County with housing, life-skill training, employment services and day-services.
In 2013, Susan was named director of the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival and grew it into the largest film festival highlighting the lives of people with disabilities in the U.S.
Molly Lyons, J.D. is the Development Director of ReelAbilities Film Festival and LADD, Inc. Molly brings to her role a broad experience in research and prospect management in major consolidated campaigns, experience gained at the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Cincinnati Museums Foundation. She provided strategy and coordinated operational giving campaigns for the division of philanthropy. She is a highly-skilled researcher who uses both public records and publicly available records in her research.
Lisa Desatnik, Director of Public Relations Lisa is a communication consultant and contractor who has devoted much of her over 25 year career to developing creative tactical ideas for raising awareness and nurturing relationships in support of events, nonprofits, and businesses making a positive impact. Along the way she has earned numerous regional and local awards for her campaigns. Lisa was hired to develop and implement strategic marketing and public relations promoting the 2015 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival and is excited to be part of the 2017 team as well.
Jesse Byerly is the Multimedia Specialist for ReelAbilities, Cincinnati. In his role he oversees branding, media creation, and film screenings. He was one of the first teachers for Stages for Youth Filmmaking Camp and helped in developing the Mini-Micro Cinema. In the ReelAbilities North America program, he manages relationships with filmmakers and distributors. A filmmaker and artist, Jesse has a BFA from Northern Kentucky University in New Media Art. He is an AmeriCorps Alumni and has lived in Costa Rica.
Chris Weigand, Data Management Specialist, manages the data systems for ticketing, membership and competitions and brings to his role a passion for film and computer technology.
Sara Bitter, National Field Director. Sara is a strong Cincinnati-based, national advocate for people with disabilities. Through her educational outreach programming, she has reached thousands of students and led them in activities and conversations around differences and inclusion. It’s through these class sessions that she is shifting ideas about disabilities at the youngest level and changing life for the better for all of us.