Emily became enamored with the magic of film at an early age, thanks to her two older sisters. She either starred in, or helped film, countless home videos during her childhood (shout out to Rachel and Molly and their stellar choreography, lip-syncing, dance skills, scrunchies, and perms!). The ability to tell stories through a camcorder, and to later watch and experience them with a different perspective, automatically sparked Emily’s love for the movies. She has countless memories of the films she would watch over and over growing up – everything from PETE’S DRAGON to HOME ALONE 2, from FRIED GREEN TOMATOES to SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, or from THE LION KING to MY GIRL – and so many in between. Throughout her education, including obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Film & Media Studies at the University of Puget Sound, Emily studied films from every time period, every genre, and every corner of the world. After graduating, she was hired by the Grand Cinema, where she worked in a variety of capacities – including Director of the Tacoma Film Festival – for more than six years. Her festival work augmented time with the Seattle International and Rainier Independent Film Festivals, and prompted travels to premiere film events like the Ashland Independent, Port Townsend, Portland and Cannes International Film Festivals. In 2013, Emily shifted careers slightly to delve into the nonprofit performing arts field, producing and coordinating a variety of events throughout Tacoma. She currently serves as the Events Coordinator for Downtown On the Go, Tacoma’s resource for anyone who lives, works and/or studies in downtown Tacoma, where she is responsible for managing major events and developing community partnerships. Simultaneous to beginning her new career path, Emily founded the Destiny City Film Festival because of her dedication to support independent film and to build community through sharing the magic of movies. DCFF was born from Emily’s vision of what a film festival should be about – incredible films and curating an engaged audience to support the independent film community. The more we share our stories with each other, the stronger our community will become. Emily is honored to be able to celebrate the talented voices in the independent film community, and to be able to share them with the City of Destiny.
Favorite Movie: Lost in Translation
Guilty Pleasure Movie: The entire Pitch Perfect franchise
Christina was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and loves to call Tacoma home. Her appreciation and passion for film has grown exponentially since she joined the DCFF team in 2015. She is dedicated to her efforts to ensure that Tacoma is a strong and vibrant city, and appreciates how the film and arts communities play a major part in making that happen. A proponent of life-long learning, Christina loves seeing relationships being built and opportunities for education developing through the work done at DCFF. She has attended several film events over the years, including Film Festival Alliance round tables and the Seattle Film Summit. She brings her organizational talents and enthusiasm to her role as DCFF’s Assistant Manager, where she oversees the successful execution of all festival operations.
Favorite Movie: Once
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Mean Girls
Ambriehl has spent her life immersed in a variety of art forms and fell in love with film during her time at the University of Missouri. Her professional experience includes work at True/False Film Festival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, moderating panel discussions at The Grand Berry Theater in her hometown of Fort Worth and volunteering with several film festivals nationwide. In her free time, Ambriehl enjoys expanding her collections of vinyl records and decades-old LIFE magazines, catching up on TCM programming and watching her cats sleep. (Contact Ambriehl at marketing at destinycityfilmfestival dot com.)
Favorite movie: First Reformed
Guilty pleasure movie: Trog
Corbin is a student at Clover Park Technical College studying Digital Entertainment Production with a focus on film. He has always been obsessed with a good story and an impassioned monologue. He hopes to someday travel and tell stories of his own. (Contact Corbin at tech at destinycityfilmfestival dot com.)
Favorite movie: Pulp Fiction
Guilty pleasure movies: Starship Troopers and Independence Day
Film Pre-Screening Team
Mikayla Daniels – Mikayla Daniels is a PNW screenwriter and filmmaker with a BA in film and an MFA in screenwriting. She currently writes and hosts for KSPS Saturday Night Cinema out of Spokane.
Favorite Movie: Night of the Living Dead
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Clue
Mary Hause – Mary is a cinephile who grew up with 35 cent movies at The Blue Mouse. Journey To The Center of the Earth, The Time Machine, and all “Tammy” and Elvis films were big draws. The wicked witch from the west is the only role so far that has caused her to run out of the theater, crying.
Favorite Movie: West Side Story
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Best In Show
James Krick – James is a digital storyteller born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. His professional work specializes in capturing and sharing authentic stories, primarily from non-profits, school districts and small businesses in the Greater Seattle area. He is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University where his BA thesis in Hispanic Studies focused on the rhetoric of documentaries that portray hispanic immigration, primarily from Mexico. In his free time, he loves supporting Middle & High school students as a substitute teacher in Spanish, Video Communications, Photography, Graphic Design, and more.
Spencer Millfelt – Spencer is an aspiring filmmaker. He has a huge passion for cinema, with an emphasis in horror and independent film. He spends much of his time writing and brainstorming ideas of his own, hoping to one day leave his mark in the industry.
Favorite Movies: La La Land, Halloween(1978), The Evil Dead(1981), It Follows (2014)
Guilty Pleasure Movie: The Velocipastor
Kevin Rexroat – Kevin is an experienced writer and fledgling music video producer based in Tacoma. He has been hired to write or rewrite several features and a TV pilot, and his screenplays and teleplays have finished in the finals in multiple international competitions. He has adapted several fiction and non-fiction books and recently led an adaptation workshop at the Northwest Film Forum. He is represented by Gayla Nethercott of The Nethercott Agency.
Favorite Movie: Amelie
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Better Off Dead
Eufemia K. Scarfone – Eufemia is a writer, producer, director, and “global warming refugee” from Venice, California. She first completed the Certificate program in Screenwriting at UCLA Extension, but took a career detour through the world of startups before returning to the arts. She has an MFA in Filmmaking and Producing, and has created a handful of award-winning shorts. Since the pandemic she has been focused on writing feature scripts and her passion project, a Sci-Fi TV series.
Favorite Movie: Goodfellas
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Rock Star
Alena Schoonmaker – Alena is the director of the Spokane International Film Festival. She got her degree in film from Seattle University and also studied film at NYU. Alena spends her free time volunteering at Pawsitive Outreach Spay/Neuter Advocates, singing with the Spokane Spectrum Singers, and writing and directing short films.
Favorite Movie: Jurassic Park
Guilty Pleasure Movie: Beverly Hills Cop
James Venturini – James has a BA in film and theatre and is Associate Artistic Director at Lakewood Playhouse. He also keeps himself busy writing, producing, directing, and occasionally acting in various theatre, film, and audio projects.
Favorite Movie: The Passenger
Guilty Pleasure Movie: The Driver
Monica Valenzuela – Originally from L.A. and currently based in Seattle, Monica loves every aspect of the filmmaking process from idea inception to screening. She’s a trusted, veteran script reader/editor who believes there is nothing without strong, original story. Monica respects the power of film to encourage imagination, enrich diversity, and break barriers. She’s worked on sets fulfilling many roles, most notably as a b-t-s photographer and Producer for the well-received short films “El Camino Solo,” “RETCH,” (winner of the Best Film Award at the Seattle Black Film Festival 2020) and “Such An Honor,” continuing its way through the festival circuit. Her most recent producing project is “Lioness,” Written and Directed by Nicole Pouchet. “Lioness” is proudly the recipient of the Women in Film Seattle Professional Grant and just completed filming. Monica is currently in pre-production for a feature-length anthology project, and is making strides in starting her own production company.
Trevor Williams – Trevor, a self-proclaimed, “professional amateur,” is a musician, photographer, podcast producer, poet, and an apprentice for Tacoma’s Fool’s Play Improv. Williams first became enticed with movies through film score, and got his start as a critic by participating in the Institute of Theater Journalism and Advocacy when he attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2015 and 2016.
Favorite Movie: Akira
Guilty Pleasure Movie: The Room