To provide filmmakers, actors, and stories of diverse backgrounds with a place to showcase their voice without judgment or insincere reflection; free of stereotypes and degradation. Our goal is to establish a true multicultural experience represented by the world’s independent film community.
Inspire . Embrace . Empower
HOLLIS MCLACHLAN - FESTIVAL FOUNDER
Hollis McLachlan has been involved in the film community for almost two decades. Her beginnings as an actress lead her to discover a love for creating content and producing films. An educator since 2007, McLachlan has worked with moderate to severely disabled pupils, and established a Filmmaking program from the ground up at one of the Special Education Centers where she taught. While attending a graduate course in authenticating multi-cultural literature, McLachlan was inspired with the idea of creating the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, recognizing that if emphasis is placed on authenticating literature for children, there should be the same process held accountable for film. McLachlan's goal is to promote films that share accurate portrayal and reflection of life, without stereotype or degradation, for children and adults alike.
SONJA MEREU - FESTIVAL DIRECTOR
Sonja majored in Gender Studies at UC Davis with a minor in Film Studies. She also earned a degree in Special Education Instruction from National University. Sonja taught Algebra and Cooking at a Nonpublic High School in Los Angeles. During that time she started producing short films and music videos, just for fun. That fun quickly became a new career and she left teaching to pursue producing. Sonja now produces feature films, short films, commercials, music videos and web series in addition to lending support to numerous productions. In 2017 she became the festival director for the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival.
NICHOLAS YBARRA - PROGRAM DIRECTOR,
Nicholas is native to the LA area, a writer/director and certifiable cinephile. He grew up in the IE where his passion for filmmaking and storytelling was apparent from a young age. Thanks to a supportive family and a very strong film program at his high school he was able to begin his career in filmmaking as a teenager. He interned for producer Lawrence Bender (Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting). In addition to writing and directing his own projects (short films, music videos, webseries) he works as an Assistant Director and has had the chance to work with some of cinema’s greats: Ray Liotta, James Caan, Dolph Lundgren, Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Hudson and Rosa Salazar. Nick is currently dedicating his passions to programming LADFF and developing his upcoming series “Oh Joy!”
SETH ALMBERG - FESTIVAL PARTNER, BOARD MEMBER
Seth Almberg has been a film fanatic since childhood and graduated with a degree in Film Studies in 2012 from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is an actor, a singer/songwriter and occasionally works in production. He is currently developing a short film set in Los Angeles. Queer cinema and narrative realism are his favorite film genres.
LUCAS JOHN JUNKIN - FESTIVAL PARTNER, BOARD MEMBER
Lucas John Junkin is a proud Los Angeles native. He is passionate about local politics & currently serves as Co-Chair to the city of West Hollywood's Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board where he works with the city to foster opportunities for LGBT youth. He has worked successfully with his WeHo council members to implement the free "Pick UP Line" trolley service to reduce traffic & drunk driving. Lucas works as a real estate agent at The Collective Realty.
IVON MILLAN - FESTIVAL PARTNER, DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH
Ivon Millan is a actress/singer/producer. Her past film festival coordinating experience includes the Orlando Hispanic Film Festival and its successful run as the only Hispanic film festival to integrate filmmakers from countries with Hispanic heritage from all over the world including the Philippine islands.
Ivon's mission here at LADFF is to help create an inclusive film experience to the community with disabilities and all who attend.
ERIN STONE - FESTIVAL PARTNER, BOARD MEMBER
Erin is an artist, arts advocate and arts administrator born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She spent a number of years working with at-risk youth in the East Valley teaching various subject including photography. Her photographic work has been recognized locally as well as nationally and has exhibited in various Los Angeles based galleries. She is the Co-Founder and Director of a 501(c)3 arts non profit called 11:11 A Creative Collective serving the San Fernando Valley. Erin has over 9 years experience in grassroots activism, community event planning, youth mentoring and community development through the arts. She has taught English through art in India and Nepal and has volunteered for a number of international and domestic social justice, education and environmental organizations. She specializes in community organizing, all things media and design and photography.