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Honorary Board


Ana Philibin. 

Board Member.

Ann Philbin is director of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, since 1999. Under her leadership, the museum has focused on thematic contemporary and scholarly historical exhibitions. She created public programs that regularly feature many of the most provocative and creative thinkers of our time. Ann founded the museum’s Hammer Contemporary Collection as well as the Hammer Projects series, which focuses on emerging artists. Under her direction, the Hammer has mounted more than 100 exhibitions and installations, many which have traveled worldwide. She's also overseen substantial building renovations. The Hammer launch with LAXART “Made in L.A. 2012″, is the first in a new series of biennial exhibitions focused on emerging and overlooked artists from the Los Angeles region. Prior to her tenure, Philbin spent 10 years as director of The Drawing Center in New York, where she curated and organized historical and contemporary exhibitions of works on paper.

Daniela Michel.

Board Member. 


Daniela Michel is the founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival, which was launched in 2003 to support and promote a new generation of Mexican filmmakers; the festival shares an ongoing partnership with the Critics’ Week section of the Cannes Film Festival.  She holds a degree in English Literature from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and studied filmmaking at Mexico’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica. Since 1994, she has written about film in major Mexican media as a print journalist, contributing to publications in The Economist, Viceversa, Somos, Cine Premiere and El financiero. She has also been a presenter for Televisa and Canal 11. Daniela has served as a juror for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Media Arts Fellowships, the Fulbright García-Robles Film Fellowships, J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival, IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam), the San Francisco Film Festival, the Transylvania Film Festival, and the San Sebastián International Film Festival. She was named the Woman of the Year by Montblanc Mexico in 2012.


John Cooper.

Board Member.

John Cooper has been a member of the Sundance Film Festival programming staff since 1989 and assumed the role of Festival Director in April of 2009 after serving as the Sundance Film Festival’s Director of Programming since 2003. His early work in theater, ranging from performance to design, took him to New York City. By chance, he volunteered at the Institute’s Summer Labs in 1989 and fell in love with the process and energy of Sundance. He returned to California to become part of the Festival programming team, which at that time consisted of two people. In the Festival’s early years, Cooper created the short film program and quickly transitioned into programming documentaries and feature films.


Scott Fifer.

Board Member.

Scott Fifer is an experienced nonprofit CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the philanthropy industry. He is skilled in Public Speaking, Nonprofit Organizations, Event Management, International Development, and Philanthropy. Scott is a graduate of American University, Boston College Law School, and ongoing education at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


Gian Franco Brignone. †  

Founder & Visionary of Costa Careyes.

The late Gian Franco Brignone, an Italian from Turin and one-time banker, scoured the globe searching for an unspoiled coastal area with a year-round temperate climate and a stable political environment. When he flew over the jagged cliffs and jungle-covered hills of Costa Careyes in the Pacific Coast of Jalisco in 1968, he immediately knew he’d found his spot. It was an unexplainable enchantment that convinced him to uproot his family in Paris and move to Mexico, making Careyes his own personal frontier.

Realizing that the true magic of Careyes lies in its natural beauty, he set about creating a place where the internationally adventurous could come to experience its splendor without intruding upon it. The world’s most talented, imaginative architects were deployed, local artisans were summoned, and the private estate resort of Costa Careyes was slowly erected on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. He also designed and built beautiful land art sculptures like the Ojo de Venado, Arbol de Corazón, and Copa del Sol. For over 50 years, until his passing in 2021, he closely guarded and preserved Costa Careyes, which encompasses a wild, virtually uninhabited area, stretching along the Pacific shoreline, and includes about 2000 hectares of jungle, mangroves, cliffs, and beaches along the coast of Jalisco. Sitting at the center of the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, this private estate resort contributed a large expanse of wetlands for preservation in 1994.  In September of 2006, he received the “Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca” from Mexican President Vicente Fox, as a recognition for his work over the past 45 years.

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