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 Mereu is a Los Angeles based film and television producer; having produced dozens of projects ranging from feature films, shorts, music videos and web series.
Most notably, Sonja produced the 2016 feature Female Fight Squad (Dolph Lundgren) the 2016 short film Writers Block (starring Jane Lynch), and the 2018 music video for Justin Timblerlake’s smash hit single Say Something.
Sonja produced the 2018 feature film Dead Men, a large-scale, sprawling western shot in southern Arizona. The film was acquired by SONY and distributed as both a feature film and extended cut mini-series. She also produced the 2018 teen drama, Disconnected (Warner Brothers), and the 2018 shot in Nashville, musical-drama The Dust Storm (Hulu).
Most recently Sonja produced the 2019 horror/thriller Do Not Reply starring Jackson Rathbone (Twilight Series) and Courtney Henggeler (Cobra Kai, The Big Bang Theory)
A lover of all forms of visual storytelling, Sonja is constantly active producing music videos, commercials and web content in between narrative feature films. She has produced campaigns for the Los Angeles Chargers and Postmates as well as music videos for Kodaline, Toro y Moi, Olly Murs and many others.
Sonja has served as the post-production producer for ViacomCBS Velocity, overseeing all aspects of post-production for their branded content including Pepsi, Hershey’s, H&M and Spotify.
Sonja is the director of the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, celebrating its 7th year, shining a spotlight new and diverse voices in cinema. She is also a member in good standing with the Producers Guild of America.
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.
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.