Speakers at the

2015 New Urbanism Film Festival

(Scroll down for more details.)

Appearance schedule may change without notice.

Howard Blackson


Howard Blackson is the President of the Board of the California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism.  He was part of the San Diego Civic Innovation Lab and now works for Michael Baker International. Blackson will be speaking after the Urbanism Economies Short Films Saturday at 4pm.  He’ll also be on the CNU California Panel discussion after the Urban Design Short Films Saturday at 8pm.

Josef Bray-Ali

Josef Bray-Ali

Josef Bray-Ali is the owner of Flying Pigeon LA. He is active in the Los Angeles bicycling community. Josef, an active bicycling spokesperson, devotes a significant amount of his time to researching, writing and advocating on behalf of bicycles and the benefits of a transportation plan for bicycles. His efforts have included support for narrowing streets in Highland Park’s business district in order to evoke an era when residents walked to nearby shops rather than flying past them in cars. Bray-Ali will be speaking on the role of bicycle activism is shaping public policy following the movie Aftermass: Cycling in a Post-Critical Mass Portland, Sunday at 2pm.

Melissa Bruntlett

melissa bruntlet

Since 2012, Melissa Bruntlett, co-founder of Modacity, has been sharing her stories and experiences as a woman and mother living a car-free, two-wheeled lifestyle in the city of Vancouver, BC. Through online interactions and attending various urbanism events, Melissa quickly noticed that she was often one of the only women in the room. Since then, she has set to find out why women still make up a minority in the urbanism world, and discuss the importance of bringing them into the conversation. In this workshop, Melissa will discuss barriers faced by women, why it is important to encourage involvement to build more inclusive vision for our cities, and strides that have been made by women throughout North America, both historically and today.  Melissa will be the host of Women in Urbanism Workshop Saturday at 3pm.

Tamika Butler

Tamika Butler

Tamika Butler is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a nonprofit organization with over 1,500 members that engages cyclists through advocacy, education and outreach across the county. LACBC builds a better, more bike-able Los Angeles by bringing diverse communities together to improve the bicycling environment and quality of life for the whole county.

She received her J.D. in 2009 from Stanford Law School, and in 2006 received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Tamika currently serves as the co-chair of the National Center for Lesbian Rights Board of Directors and is also an advisory board member for the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center’s Fair Play for Girls in Sports program.  Nona will be speaking after the movie SPOKE Sunday at 4pm.

Diego Cardoso

Diego Cardoso, artist, L.A. Planning Commission

Diego Cardoso is METRO’s Executive Director for Planning and Implementation.  He has served on the LA planning commission and is largely responsible for much of what there is to like about LA’s upcoming Bike Share program.   In addition to his active transportation cred, he is also the artist behind the poster art for this year’s festival.  Cardoso will be presenting with his team following the Active Transportation Short Films Saturday at 1pm.

Caroline Cicero

Caroline headshot

Growing up in Chicago, architecture, neighborhoods, and demographic change intrigued Caroline Cicero from a young age.  In her 25 years as a gerontologist, urban planner, and social worker in Los Angeles, Caroline has worked to make communities and housing better for people across their lifespan.  Caroline teaches classes on aging, social policy, and design and environment at the University of Southern California, Davis School of Gerontology.  One of her favorite research interests is how older people and their housing issues are represented on film.  Cicero will be a judge for the Urbanism Filmmaking Challenge Sunday at 8pm.

Craig Detweiler PhD


Craig Detweiler, Ph.D., is Professor of Communication and director of the Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture at Pepperdine University.  He’s written comedies for the Disney Channel and directed documentaries featured on ABC.  Foreword honored iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Livesas the 2013 Silver winner for best books about Popular Culture.  His additional books include Into the Dark a study of the top ranked films on the Internet Movie Database and Halos and Avatars about the influence of gaming on the emerging generation. A longtime Angeleno, Craig has lived in Pasadena, Duarte, Chinatown, Culver City, and Malibu.  Detweiler will be a judge for the Urbanism Filmmaking Challenge Sunday at 8pm.

Chris Elisara PhD


Chris Elisara is the founder of the Center for Environmental Leadership and is a board member on the national board of the Congress for the New Urbanism.   Elisara will be joining us on stage on Sunday night during the awards presentation to give an update on CNU’s work across the country and invite you to attend CNU24 in Detroit.

Scott Epstein


Scott Epstein is the Chair of the Mid City West Community Council.  The council works in conjunction with the Los Angeles City Government to highlight needs and issues facing neighborhoods.  The MCWCC recently received an award for their work on a Bicycle Friendly Streets project (which was highlight at the 2014 New Urbanism Film Festival) the project also received a funding grant from the county metro authority to implement the project.  Epstein will be leading a walking tour of Street Art on Melrose Ave. Saturday at 10am.

Adriane Hoff
adrienne hoff

Adriane Hoff is a popular featured performer on the storytelling circuit in Los Angeles.  She is a frequent public transit commuter and writes the brilliant commuter blog “Hoff the Beaten Path” which chronicles car-free living in Los Angeles. Adriane will be performing in BUSted Friday at 9:30pm

Gerhard Mayer

gerhard mayer

Gerhard Mayer is an architect with Arquitectonica, a global design firm specializing in high density residential projects, in Downtown Los Angeles.  Gerhard is also a veteran of several local non-profit groups, and he served as chair of the AIA’s urban design committee. He will be speaking about the future of urban design in Los Angeles following the Architecture Films Saturday at 11am.

Neal Payton

Neal Payton

Neal Payton is the west coast director of Torti Gallas Partners, the leading architecture and planning firm focused on New Urbanist design. Payton has won several awards for his design projects in and around South California.  Payton will be speaking at the New Urbanism 101 Short Film screening Thursday night at 7pm.

Josh Paget

josh paget

Josh Paget is the founder of the New Urbanism Film Festival.  He is also a board member of the Mid City West Community Council, and serves as the Co-chair of its Transportation Parking & Streetscape Committee.  Paget will be speaking after the New Urbanism 101 Short Films screening Thursday at 7pm.

Peter Quintanilla

peter quintanilla

Peter Quintanilla is an urban planner at Placeworks in Orange County.  He has worked on New Urbanism projets all over the world including for the Prince’s Foundation and DPZ.

Rev. Andrew Barnett

andrew barnett - Copy

Andrew Barnett serves as the Chair for Environmental Studies and Food Justice in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.  Barnett will be speaking after the movie Our Food Chain, Sunday night at 6pm

Rebecca Sansom

rebecca sansom

Rebecca Sansom is the director of “Trainsforming America” the feature length documentary exploring America’s relationship with Rail travel.  Sansom also hosts Envirotainmentt Tonight,  a webseries exploring issues and highlighting influencers in fields such as the environment, active transportation and green living.  Rebecca will be hosting red carpet interviews and backstage interviewers with filmmakers and guest speakers participating in the festival.

Scott Schultz


Scott Schultz is the founder and host of the popular storytelling show “BUSted: True Tales of Getting Around Los Angeles told by people who don’t drive.”  Schultz hosts with humility and flare, invites performers and audience members to share their public transit story.  Every story has to begin with the bus number “So I was riding the ___” and the crowd goes wild, instantly recalling their own familiar crazy stories from whichever line is the subject.  Scott will be hosting BUSted Friday at 9:30pm

Riley Sobel


Riley Sobel just started 8th grade. She is an active bicyclist and avid gardener.  She will be leading a seed bomb making workshop following the movie Can You Dig This on Saturday at 6pm.

Martin Torner


Martin Torner is an award-winning story teller who has performed all across the country.  He’s also a bicyclist and train fanatic. He will be performing in the Friday  night show BUSted.

 Jeffrey Tumlin

jeffrey tumlin

Jeffrey Tumlin is the 2015 Paul Crawford award winner. The award will be presented to Tumlin by the CNU California Chapter on Saturday night at 8pm, prior to the screening of urban design films.  For more than twenty years, Jeff has led award-winning plans in cities from Seattle and Vancouver to Moscow and Abu Dhabi. He helps balance all modes of transportation in complex places to achieve a community’s wider goals and best utilize their limited resources. He has developed transformative plans throughout the world that accommodate millions of square feet of growth with no net increase in motor vehicle traffic.

Nona Varnado

nona varnado - Copy

Nona is the executive director of Bicycle Culture Institute, a Los Angeles based non-profit dedicated to connecting people to new (bicycle) ideas. BCI builds and maintains a resource library to help other organizations develop their communities and promote culture based initiatives to make the bicycle an esteemed part of everyday life in America. She is also the founder of LA Bike Trains, a free educational and encouragement program to get adults commuting by bicycle in LA. Varnado will be speaking after the movie Spoke on Sunday at 4pm.

The Board of CNU California


Board members from the California Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism will host a panel discussion after the Urban Design Short Films Saturday at 8pm.

Dan Zack

dan zack

Dan Zack is the assistant director of development and resource management for the City of Fresno. He has been the downtown development director for the City of Redwood City.  Zack has spoken on issues of development, tranist, new urbanism, and smart growth all over Central California and at the Vancouver Urban Forum. Zack will be speaking following the Urbanism Economies Short Films Saturday at 8pm.

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