Contact Heidi
Heidi’s career as a human rights activist and professional began with her involvement as a volunteer coordinator and project manager for the U.S. office of the Tibetan Nuns Project. In 2003, she served as an intern in the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (previously the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus) in Washington D.C., and then as a congressional staff assistant for Rep. Tom Lantos, specializing in non-immigrant visa casework and international human rights. In 2007 she began working with the Palestine-Israel Journal in East Jerusalem, where she launched the Journal‘s first online blog. Heidi’s publications discussing women’s issues, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, can be found in: Open Democracy, Palestine-Israel Journal, Tel Aviv Notes, Working MotherThe Berkeley Daily PlanetThe WVoice, and Kurdish Awakening: Nationbuilding in a Fragmented Homeland. She is a producer of the award-winning feature documentary Honor Diaries, and the highly-acclaimed short film, In Search of America, Inshallah. Heidi has served as the executive director of Women’s Voices Now since 2012.

Contact Leila
Leila Jarman is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and visual artist working at the intersection of women’s rights activism and media. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she completed her BA in Political Science with an emphasis on Middle Eastern Studies and philosophy in 2009 from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. Her works have shown at hundreds of film festivals worldwide, in galleries, and museums including the TATE Britain, Ars Electronica and LACMA and have been featured on media outlets such as VICE, AFROPUNK, MTV, VH1, The Creator’s Project and more. As Creative Director and Resident Filmmaker at Women’s Voices Now, Leila directs the annual international film festival, provides mentorship for filmmakers, produces films and curates screenings, workshops and advocacy events in Los Angeles and abroad. Voice of the Valley, her 2009 documentary directorial debut, followed the professional careers of two self-made Muslim women journalists and their struggle to overcome social and cultural barriers to produce the most important social, political, and economic radio program in Jordan. She speaks Farsi and Portuguese.

Ariel Fintushel is a native Californian poet and educator who has taught college-level Literature and Creative Writing in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. She has a BA in Contemporary Literature from UC Santa Cruz and an MFA in poetry from SFSU. Her work, including comics and audio poems, has recently been published by Lunar Poetry, Welter, Shabby Dollhouse, and Red River Review. You can see a sampling of it here: arielfintushel.com.

Roopashree Jeevaji was born in India and raised in Mumbai. At a young age, she trained in Bharata Natyam, a classical Indian dance from where her interest for acting developed. As a teenager, Jeevaji became the face of Bru Coffee, India’s largest coffee brand. Roopa attended college in the United States where she was awarded a scholarship at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in Los Angeles after Anna Strasberg saw her performance on scene night. She was at the theater for three years. Roopa’s film debut was in the romantic comedy Wedding Crashers. In 2012, she competed against seven thousand actors and comedians from all over the country and was chosen to be among the top 22 to participate in the much acclaimed CBS Diversity Showcase held in Los Angeles. From then on, she has starred in other movies including the soon to be released Taco Shop along with Eric Roberts and Tyler PoseyIn search of America, Inshallah, for which she received the Best Actress Award at the California Women’s Film Festival in 2014; and Disney’s Planes. She also starred in NBC’s OutsourcedCSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and appeared in the ABC’s daytime show General Hospital. In 2013, she was also chosen to be a part of the Producers Mentoring Program at Women In Film.