Our Team

Board of Directors

Richard Tate
Board Chair

Richard Tate is vice president of public affairs at the California Wellness Foundation, where he leads a multidisciplinary team responsible for the Foundation’s communications, community relations and public policy activities. In addition to serving as OUTWORDS’ board chair, Richard is on the boards of Northern California Grantmakers and the Bay Area Surgical Mission.

Henry Briffel
Board Member

Henry Briffel is a corporate development, strategy, partnerships, community relations, and supplier diversity specialist. He currently is founder and director at NAi Systems, a digital technology advisory firm. Henry serves on the board of Tuesday’s Children and has volunteered for The Trevor Project, GLAAD, and The Victory Fund.

Julie Nemecek
Board Member

Julie Nemecek served as senior pastor at three churches in Illinois and Michigan over an 18 year span, and for 17 years as a university professor and assistant dean at Spring Arbor University in Michigan. Since transitioning in her 50s, Julie has served on the national boards of PFLAG and Soulforce, and she was recognized for advocacy work by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Production Team

Amy Bench
Director of Photography

Austin-based cinematographer and filmmaker Amy Bench has been twice nominated for the Kodak Excellence in Cinematography Award, and was recently named a “DP on the Rise” by Paste magazine. Her camera work has screened at many festivals including Berlin, SXSW, and Sundance.

Isabel Bethencourt
Director of Photography

Award-winning Los Angeles-born cinematographer Isabel Bethencourt shot the documentary short Grounded which premiered at the Margaret Meade Film Festival. Her work as a director and cinematographer has been published by The Wall Street Journal, GQ, and Teen Vogue.

Roberto Campos
Editor

Roberto Campos was born in Mexico City, grew up in the Chicago area, and is currently an LA-based editor of commercials, promos, non-fiction programs, music videos, and short films.

Scott Drucker
Director of Photography

Scott Drucker is a Chicago-based award-winning director and cinematographer. His documentary Who is Arthur Chu? premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2017. Scott has also created content for Vice, Hulu, ESPN, and Vocativ.

Connie M. Florez
Director of Photography

Indigenous Hawaiian director of photography Connie Florez has produced and filmed multiple award-winning documentaries and narrative films for PBS national broadcast, Netflix, Amazon and international distributions since 1998 with her company Hula Girl Productions.

Betsy Kalin
Producer

Betsy Kalin is an award-winning director/producer/writer at Itchy Bee Productions. Her most recent documentary East LA Interchange was broadcast on Spectrum News 1 SoCal, and has won ten jury and audience awards. Betsy is currently in development with the feature documentaries Dreaming in Somali and Phoenix: The Life and Death of Alice Herz.

Kate Kunath
Producer / Director of Photography

LA and NY-based cinematographer Kate Kunath made the documentary We Came To Sweat about the Starlite Lounge, an iconic, racially diverse pre-Stonewall queer club in Brooklyn. Kate also produces and directs short-form docs for the digital magazine Roads and Kingdoms.

Florencia P. Marano
Editor

Argentinean editor and filmmaker Florencia Marano is based in Los Angeles. Florencia's award-winning documentaries have been shown in international film festivals, art galleries, universities, and international networks.

Michelle McCabe
Director of Photography

After beginning her career in the world of fashion, celebrity, and lifestyle still photography, Michelle McCabe has been a cinematographer for more than 15 years. Her documentary work has taken her to China, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Malaysia, Ukraine, Cuba, Brasil, and countless other locations.

Howard Shack
Director of Photography

Emmy Award-winning director of photography Howard Shack has filmed all over the world for PBS, Discovery, and National Geographic. Over the course of his career, he has worked for many acclaimed documentary filmmakers including pioneer Albert Maysles, Academy Award-nominee Robert Stone, and Sundance Audience Award Winner Tom Shepard.

Janine Sides
Director of Photography

Cinematographer Janine Sides’ body of work consists of live-action film and TV, music videos, commercials, and documentaries. Her clients have included MTV, Instagram, Fox, Hyundai, Sesame Street, HBO, and Google, and she recently worked on two seasons of the USA Network drama series Queen of the South.

Goro Toshima
Director of Photography

Goro Toshima is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He won a best feature award at the SXSW Film Festival, and a best film nomination from the International Documentary Association. His work has been seen on PBS, HBO, and at the Sundance Film Festival.

Natalie Tsui
Director of Photography

Hong Kong native Natalie Tsui lives in New York. Her award-winning work, which revolves around identity, memory, and subjectivity, has screened at Frameline, the National Queer Arts Festival, and the Festival de Cannes.

Keith Wilson
Director of Photography

Keith Wilson is a San Francisco-based filmmaker whose films have screened at Sundance, the Berlinale, South by Southwest and the Museum of Modern Art. His documentary Deep Inside the Shaman's Den about the performance artist Frank Moore will premiere in 2020.

Staff

Mason Funk
Founder / Executive Director

Mason Funk grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from Stanford University. Prior to creating OUTWORDS, Mason produced and directed award-winning non-fiction films for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Fox Sports, and other major networks.

Tom Bliss
Director of Operations

Tom Bliss is a seasoned operations manager on creative projects. Tom is also a multimedia performance artist and author of the award-winning Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence.

Fin Lee
Archival Assistant

Fin Lee is an experienced archivist currently working toward their master’s degree in library sciences. In addition to their work with OUTWORDS, Fin also works for an illustration agency and as a Los Angeles County library page. 

Oladele “Sogo” Oluwasogo
Transcription Assistant

Nigeria-resident Oladele “Sogo” Oluwasogo is a writer and documentary photographer who believes passionately in the power of the pen and the importance of enabling people to tell their own life stories. He is currently working on a photography project called ‘Identity’.

Sarah Chavez
Webmaster

Sarah Chavez is a southern California native with a background in photography, videography, and web design for her company, Picture Something Productions, and others. Sarah has a BFA in Documentary Filmmaking from Chapman University.