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Susie Purves

Susie Purves, Executive Director

For three decades Susie has lead nonprofit art organizations vital to the Pacific Northwest art scene. In 2014, with great enthusiasm, she moved to Bellingham from Seattle to take the position of Executive Director at Pickford Film Center. She takes great joy in working to create important and memorable cultural experiences that explore the many possibilities that film has to offer. Every day she is impressed by the intelligence, competence, humor, and diligence of her colleagues and the PFC board.
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Michael Falter

Michael Falter, Program Director

Michael spent decades teaching writing and film at various universities including The College of Santa Fe’s Moving Image Arts and Whatcom Community College before becoming Program Director of Pickford Film Center in April 2002. During his time he spearheaded the seven-year campaign to remodel a 100 year-old building in downtown Bellingham to the now-bustling current home of the Pickford, and initiated Doctober, PFC’s month-long documentary film festival in 2008. In recent years, Michael has relocated further down the coast to Florence, Oregon where he and his wonderful wife Susan Tive own and operate City Lights Cinemas, after a trip to the beach one summer led them to the closed, defunct cinema and they were inspired to re-open it, bringing the magic of film to a small PNW city once again.
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Ryan Uhlhorn

Ryan Uhlhorn, Operations Manager

For nearly three decades Ryan has worked in film presentation and theatre management. When he gets to break away from scheduling, writing emails, and budgets, you’ll find him doing technical things like playing with cables and repairing equipment, his favorite thing to do at work. If you see Ryan outside PFC’s grip you’ll find him hiking, making pottery, cooking, and occasionally on calm Bellingham evenings throwing boomerangs.
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Lindsey Gerhard

Lindsey Gerhard, Marketing Manager

Lindsey joined the Pickford in 2013, shortly after moving to the NW. She got a taste for event coordinating during her years in Austin, Texas and though she misses the hot hot heat, she couldn’t be happier in Bellingham. Her favorite part of the Pickford is the endless variety of topics in the films on screen. The rotating door of fascinating stories allows her to connect with many facets of the community, while also feeding her need to be a perpetual learner. Lindsey believes that music makes the world go round, and that creating is always more fun with a great soundtrack.
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Ariel Brownstein

Ariel Brownstein, Development and Membership Manager

Ariel Brownstein joined the PFC team in the summer of 2015, coming from a development position in another local nonprofit. She feels very lucky to work at the Pickford, with so many rad co-workers. In her free time Ariel likes to hang out with her little hooligan daughter, hike, bike, and drink beer (as dark as she can get it!) Ariel’s first experience at an indie cinema was at the Capitol Theater in her (almost) home town of Olympia, where she saw Whale Rider with her dad, and he cried and it was awesome and she never let him forget it.
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Ariana Dorshkind

Ariana Dorshkind, Assistant Operations Manager

When she first came to a film in 2011, Ariana immediately fell in love with the Pickford. It didn’t take too long until Ariana became a loyal volunteer for Pickford Film Center. Secretly, she was always just waiting for a position to open up so she could finally work for her favorite organization in town. After a year of working as a projectionist for the Pickford, Ariana soon became the Volunteer Coordinator as well as the Assistant Operations Manager. For all these years, the Pickford has been Ariana’s home away from home, and the people have become her second family. In her spare time (when she has any), you can find Ariana doing all the stereotypical Bellingham things: hiking, drinking beer, and hanging out by the water as much as possible. Email Ariana

Mikayla Nicholson

Mikayla Nicholson, Education Outreach Coordinator

Mikayla was once called “more movie than person,” which she took as a compliment. After transferring colleges three times, Mikayla moved to Bellingham in 2015, and joined The Pickford as an intern a year later. Most of her favorite experiences have taken place at The Pickford, from helping program an anniversary screening of Pan’s Labyrinth, to serving the Bellingham Music Film Festival, to seeing Anomalisa three times. She loves art house theaters and video stores, and now divides her time between both. She enjoys Aaron Sorkin dialogue, Richard Linklater’s ruminations on time, and anything Agnès Varda. Email Mikayla

Hayley McVay

Hayley McVay, Volunteer Coordinator

Hayley got her first job in film as a 35mm projectionist in her dusty hometown of Ellensburg, Washington, nearly a decade ago and has been hooked ever since. In 2010 she moved to Bellingham to attend Western, and graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Film from Fairhaven College in 2014. Since then, she has worked for the Telluride Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, and Landmark Theaters. Hayley does not have a favorite movie in particular, but is a total sucker for the super sad, strange, and self-referntial like; Koreeda’s Afterlife, July’s The Future, and von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark. When she’s not watching emotionally taxing movies for fun (yikes), she can be found at Film is Truth trying to recommend them to people (it’s a hard sell), hunting for cheap vintage junk on craigslist, or at home annoying her fat cat Matilda. Email Hayley

Winnie Griffith

Winnie Griffith, Art Studios Manager

Winnie attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where she studied under Frank Gaard. After graduating she started an independent retail garden center with a classmate and ran it for almost a decade. Winnie has lived in downtown Bellingham since 2002 and worked as a janitor at Pickford Film Center since 2012. She has traveled on 3 continents, has 17 years of bookstore experience, and is proud and grateful to be associated with the artist tenants of Pickford Film Center’s upstairs art studios.
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Darcy Ruppert

Darcy Ruppert, Administrative Coordinator

Darcy’s fondest childhood memories are of building makeshift VHS tape houses while endlessly watching and rewinding her favorite movies. She has worked at local video rental store Film Is Truth since 2015 and believes firmly in the personal and social importance of publicly accessible art. She enjoys movies (and people and things) that are empathetic, absurd, political, or all of the above. In her free time, find her on her couch with a comic and a cat.

Steve Meyers

Steve Meyers, Projectionist + Rocket Sci-Fi Programmer

After growing up on the Olympic Peninsula and attending Olympic College, Steve Meyers moved to Bellingham in 1992 and has been here ever since. He served on the volunteer board at the beginning of the Pickford in 1998, and also served as film critic for the local magazine What’s Up. After his trip of backpacking around Europe for a few months, Steve found that there was an opening upon his return and he was hired. He began working at the Pickford in 2001, balancing it with other jobs (taxi driver, bookstore clerk) to make ends meet. Over time, the Pickford expanded enough that this was no longer necessary. Steve is a lifelong movie fan and science fiction aficionado (both literature and film), especially for the 1950s era which he regards as definitive. Steve is currently working on a science fiction epic novel in his spare time and is still enjoying Pickford projectionist duties.
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Carey Ross

Carey Ross, Projectionist

Carey is the Pickford Film Center’s second-longest-serving projectionist (get outta my way, Steve Meyers!), having been with the theater since 2001, back when movies were still shown on 35mm and the idea of having surround sound was a dream too big to contemplate. She’s been with the Pickford ever since, and has given away more free member popcorn and awarded more prizes to lucky audience members than any projectionist in the Northern Hemisphere. She knows the rest of the theater staff thinks she’s joking when she says she will one day move into the secret storage room under the projection booth, but her love of the Pickford really is that strong. She regrets that time she accidentally swore where the audience could hear her. She was experiencing technical difficulties and under duress.

When she’s not at the Pickford, she’s the Music and Film Editor for the Cascadia Weekly, a position that allows her to support the arts community and have a really good time doing it. She’s also an experienced dunk-tank victim, eating-contest participant, chicken whisperer and Oscar party emcee who gets really excited about petting other people’s dogs. In short, she’s never not having fun.

Kevin Ledford

Kevin Ledford, Projectionist

Kevin grew up in Southern California and got his degree in literature from SDSU. He spent his teen years learning piano and knife-throwing (great combo), and later developed a true love of film. In 2009 he took a film class at Whatcom Community College for fun, and his instructor happened to be Michael Falter (PFC Program Director). The two guys immediately hit it off, and Kevin soon found himself grading papers and occasionally subbing for Michael’s class. The new PFC location was about to open and was going to need projectionists, so Kevin happily jumped at the opportunity. When he’s not watching or researching yet another film, Kevin enjoys creating pyrographic art and photography. His film knowledge is extensive (especially with international and cult), and he’s always ready with a recommendation. Pick this guy’s brain for something interesting to see!

Michael Barone

Michael Barone, Projectionist

Michael joined the Pickford clan in the Summer of 2016 soon after graduating from Western. He received a Film Production major through Fairhaven College, where he and three other classmates made a feature-length film entitled “Gone” as their senior project and premiered it at the Pickford! His work in film started out as a fun hobby that slowly evolved into a lifelong passion and career path, as much of his time is spent working as a freelance filmmaker around town. As his picture shows, Michael also finds astronomy fascinating and he enjoys any movie that involves space as well as sci-fi, thriller, and horror films (although he finds it impossible to pick a favorite film because it’s always changing). On his days off, Michael loves to cook, garden, play video games, think of bad puns, and of course, go to the movies.

Cole Wilder

Cole Wilder, Projectionist

Cole joined the Pickford board in 2016. He is currently a junior studying English with a literature emphasis and film studies at Western with plans to continue his education primarily in film studies. He is also a co-head of Western’s film club, and is also the executive producer of The Mix, a club at Western that films music videos and live shows. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, both locally and around the country, playing with synthesizers, and making film lists.

Pickford Film Center Board of Directors
Becca Shew

Becca Shew, Board President

Becca joined the board in 2012. She is a longtime Bellingham resident and Pickford Film Center supporter. She has attended many local and independent movies in addition to developing creative work that helps with Pickford’s fundraising efforts, including marketing the past NW Projections Film Festival and the annual PFC Red Carpet Affair. As one of the owners of Shew Design, a graphic design and marketing company, Becca is committed to creating a vibrant, sustainable downtown culture. She is passionate about design, letterpress printing, and, of course, movies – with tastes ranging from high art to lowbrow schlock. She may have read every Marilyn Monroe book ever made and has watched 1978’s Dawn of the Dead more times than she can count.

Christina Kobdish

Chris Kobdish, Board Vice President

Chris joined the board in 2013. She has a background in film and video production with a B.S. from the University Of Texas College Of Communication (Radio/TV/Film). Following graduation Chris produced independent film, documentaries, and corporate film and videos. In 2001 Chris moved to Washington and became the Director of External Affairs at Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood, and she now serves as the Director of Planning Development at Unity Care NW. In her spare time Chris loves to garden, explore the many trails in Whatcom County, knit, pickle anything that might be tasty, and of course, watch as much film as possible.

Gennie Clawson

Gennie Clawson, Board Secretary

Gennie joined the board in May 2017. A long time fan and supporter of the Pickford and former Membership Manager, she is delighted to now participate in the exciting behind the scenes governance of the organization. A long time community fundraiser with a proven track record of designing new fundraising programs, she’ll be working on the Fundraising and Events Committees. She recently joined Coldwell Banker Bain as a realtor and uses her integrity, diligence and curiosity to bring about successful real estate transactions for buyers and sellers. Favorite movie genre? Documentaries!

James Willson

James Willson, Board Treasurer

James Willson joined the PFC board in 2002. After a 25 year career in the fire service, he now works with commercial property investments. A long time participant in the Bellingham trail running community, he can often be found slogging through the Chuckanuts training for ultra-marathons.

Meg Weber

Meg Weber

Meg joined the board in 2011. She believes that cinema is one of our most powerful cultural expressions. Meg comes to us with a background in cinema and a master’s degree in cinema from the University of Iowa and a finance background with an masters in business administration from the University of Rochester. Meg serves as Finance Committee chair and blissfully meshes the two sides of her brain at the Pickford. When she’s not being a film fanatic Meg is the Interim Director at the Center for Economic Vitality, a community outreach arm of Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics. The Center for Economic Vitality promotes economic vitality in Washington state through expert advising and applied research for businesses, government and community organizations. In her spare time Meg runs, bikes and laughs with delight at her growing boy.

Dawn Dietrich

Dawn Dietrich

Dawn Dietrich joined the PFC board in 2013. After partnering with the Pickford to screen films for her Western students over the years, Dawn was delighted to join the board formally. She has enjoyed the opportunity of working with the Director and other board members in developing educational outreach to the schools in Whatcom County. Currently, 8,000 middle school students are able to watch a screening at the Pickford as part of the Doctober Film Series! As a professor in the English Department, Dawn teaches courses in literature, film, and media. She specializes in the transition from print to digital culture, helping students become aware of how social and mobile technologies are impacting literacy. She teaches courses in trash cinema, Japanese anime, independent filmmakers, cybernetic fiction, electronic literature, new media, graphic novels, and critical and cultural theory. When Dawn isn’t in the classroom or watching movies, she loves being the mom of two teenagers, a hiker, a gardener, a cook, a yogi, and a reader. She loves the outdoors nearly as much as she loves the Pickford.

Gary Washington

Gary Washington

Gary Washington graduated in from Fairhaven College/WWU With a B.A in Visual communications with focus in social justice in 2012. After teaching video workshop classes and working for a few non profit organizations, Gary now works in marketing during the day and shoots horror films at night. Since then, most of his time is devoted to the local DIY film community, through various projects. In addition, Gary is the co- founder and curator of the horror short film festival Bleedingham. This festival occurs annually in Bellingham, WA at the Pickford Film Center.

Nabil Kamel

Nabil Kamel

Nabil joined the board in 2017. Nabil is an Associate Professor Urban Geography and Urban Planning at Western Washington University. His expertise in urban studies intersects with his personal interests in films especially in relation to the production of urban spaces and practices of everyday life. Nabil has a passion for cinema and has been involved in ciné-clubs and film societies wherever he lived. While relatively new to Bellingham, Nabil is committed to supporting Pickford Film Center and other cultural and arts institutions as progressive forums for public discourse and learning.

Janet Ott

Janet Ott

Janet is an executive and organizational coach, facilitator and workshop leader in Bellingham, WA. Her varied professional background includes a nursing career, college faculty positions, a psychotherapy practice and for the last 20 years, business and executive coaching. For over 30 years she has facilitated two four-day professional and personal effectiveness workshops, ReSet for Excellence and BreakThru to Excellence across North America, helping thousands of people clarify and reach their personal and professional goals. A Vietnam veteran, Janet is a Lieutenant Colonel (retired) with a 22 year Army career. Her passion is being a catalyst for individuals and organizations to create extraordinary results, and to create thriving, authentic, collaborative relationships through provocative conversation. She is equally passionate about cycling, kayaking, hiking, skiing, gardening, adventure travel, and FILM!