Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director + Mother/Founder
In 2019, after a combined 25+ years experience – in the film exhibition field and as a mama of two – Lela decided to combine her passions (or the two things she spends most of her time doing) to create a platform that connects nurturers and caregivers around the world, through storytelling. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of mama.film, Lela currently serves as the Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance, a non-profit networking organization that supports more than 200 member film festivals from across North America. She is a founder of Wichita’s Tallgrass Film Association and consulted for various film festivals nationwide including Woods Hole Film Festival (MA) and Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival (AR.) She is a recipient of both “40 Under 40” and “Women in Business” honors from the Wichita Business Journal, has served on many film festival juries and is a frequent panelist and speaker for industry organizations including IFP, The FilmmakeHERS and Film Fatales. She’s recently participated in both the Artist Inc. program through Mid-America Arts Alliance, and The Industry Academy, a program of Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Locarno Film Festival, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Vidiots Foundation.
Lela’s deeply passionate about nurturing the fundamental role that the arts play in the sustainability of contemporary society and future generations. Lela has two daughters, Edie & Margo.
Mallory Martin, Co-Founder mama.film Cleveland & rePRO Film Festival
In addition to being the Director of Programming and Projection for the Cleveland International Film Festival, Mallory Martin is also a co-founder of mama.filmCLE – the Cleveland branch of mama.film, Working within the film festival industry for over 10 years, Mallory has served on multiple juries, as well as participated in panels and pitch sessions. Most recently, she spearheaded CIFF’s first interactive exhibition, introducing the world of virtual reality and new media to the city of Cleveland. Mallory graduated from the film program at Ohio University and began her career by working for the Athens International Film and Video Festival, producing public media broadcasts, and writing and directing short films. Mallory has a son, Ollie.
Debby Samples, Co-Founder mama.film Cleveland & rePRO Film Festival
During the day Debby Samples can be found at the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF) where she serves as the Marketing & Media Director. Over the past 17 years, she has led CIFF’s brand management, media and marketing relations, social content creation, and event series planning. In her personal time, Debby seeks out passion projects that feed her love of connecting people and communities. She is the co-founder of the Cleveland chapter of mama.film. Throughout her time in the film industry, Debby has served on industry panels, hosted roundtable discussions, and engaged with her film industry counterparts to indulge her passion for marketing. She is most at home in a high-paced work environment and attributes any and all success in life to her love of spreadsheets. Debby is mom to a daughter, Bernadette.