Women in Entertainment





Movies Editor, Paste Magazine;

Creative Director, Sarasota Film Festival


Jenelle Riley is an award-winning playwright and director, who recently landed a best director prize from the L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards in for her acclaimed comedy “A

Kind of Love Story.”


She currently hosts Actors on Actors on PBS, for which she has won two Emmy Awards. She frequently moderates SAG Foundation's Career Conversations Q&As where she has sat down with everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio to Jennifer Aniston.


She is the Deputy Awards and Features Editor at Variety, where she has penned cover stories on personalities like Angelina Jolie, Jessica Chastain and Benedict Cumberbatch

and oversees the popular screening series and Awards Studio.


Director of several features that have won and premiered at SXSW Film Festival, Sundance, and others.  Director of such television shows as Silicon Valley (HBO) and Looking (HBO) and has been profiled in The New York Times, Time Out, L.A. Times and The Huffington Post.



Heather, who has always had a passion for the arts, relocated to Los Angeles after a failed marriage, thinking her new surroundings was where all her dreams could come true...and many did - she raised her two daughters into champions, found true love and committed to becoming a damn good writer/director.


After attending an unconventional film school ( 20 years on set “behind-the-scenes), Heather was able to put her "education" in action and directed her first project, Strayed, a short film about an unusual family, messed-up priorities and cats.


In addition to writing and directing, Heather has written a unique picture book for the artist within us all. She also has victoriously won a comical spoken word competition, bakes cakes with magical qualities and is a double black belt in badassery.


Two time Emmy award-winning MARY LOU BELLI has been directing

television for over 20 years including NCIS New Orleans, Station 19, Pitch, Monk, Famous In Love, Devious Maids, The Quad, American Woman, and Hart of Dixie as well as Wizards of Waverly Place, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, and The Game. Her short film, Straight Eye for the Gay Guy won “Best Mini-short” at the California Independent Film Fest where she also premiered I Heard Something, a thriller that went on to play fests

internationally. She has done ground-breaking, award winning work on web-series. Her most recent The Drink Lonely Wives Book Club is currently on the fest circuit as well as her provocative short, America, about racial profiling.


Mary Lou is the Co-chair of the Women’s Steering Committee at the DGA where she also serves on the Western Director’s Council, and the Leadership Council PAC. She is an Honorary Board member of the Alliance of Women Directors and a long time member of Women In Film.


She has served as judge and/or guest speaker for the CSU Media Arts Fest,

Women In Film chapters in New Orleans and Atlanta, as well as the Cascadia

International Women’s Film Fest. Mary Lou was a judge for the Miss America

Outstanding Teen Pageant, a jury member at the Sapporo Short Festival, Newport Beach Film Fest, and The Voice awards, a lecturer at the Chautauqua Institute, and a panelist for

Women In Film, the DGA, SAG, and AFTRA and the LA Times Festival of Books. She has been a guest artist at the International Thespian Festival for secondary school theatre

where she gave workshops to thousands of teens and high school theatre teachers.


Through her teaching, she supports many of the vibrant diversity programs including ABC/Disney, Sony, AFI’s directing workshop for Women, and Warner Bros. Directing

Workshop mentoring the next generation of directors.


She is the co-author of three books: “The NEW Sitcom Career Book,” "Acting for Young Actors and “Directors Tell the Story” which she

co-wrote with fellow DGA

member Bethany Rooney. She is currently at work on her 4th book, PERFORM: Acting for the Screen for Focal Press. Mary Lou teaches directing part time at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Tim & Christine