Join our mailing list to stay up to date on upcoming events, the film festival, the new Film Center and more! →

Our Team

Tess Aston
Director of Engagement
Tess (she/her) is a San Francisco State alum with a major in Cinema. Tess has had a deep love for film since she was a little girl and looks forward to passing on that same love to the youth in our community through True West Film Center. She brings extensive experience in event planning and working with youth. Tess has lived in Healdsburg since 2016 and loves being a part of Sonoma County’s active and vibrant community.
KH headshot
Kathryn Hecht
Founder & Executive Director
Kathryn (she/her) is responsible for True West Film Center's overall strategic, financial, management, fundraising, and operational health. Since founding True West Film Center, she has raised more than $6M for the organization’s infrastructure and programming. With a commitment to equity, she helped True West Film Center earn the community’s trust as a custodian of donor dollars and agent for change. Under Hecht’s leadership, True West Film Center formed strategic partnerships with community stakeholders, nonprofits, and prominent businesses. She was appointed to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board in 2017, and currently presides as chair. Hecht also helped launch The Clover Theater in Cloverdale in 2013.

Kathryn was selected by the Press Democrat in 2022 as one of 23 to watch in 2023 and 2016 as one of 30 Women to Watch in Sonoma County. She received the 2018 Boho Award from The Bohemian and the 2018 Spirit of Sonoma Award from the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. Writer and activist Virgie Tovar also featured her as a "lady boss" in Forbes.

Kim Horton
Office Manager
Kim (she/her) has lived in Sonoma County for over 18 years with her husband and 2 children. She developed a love of classic movies in her youth while watching cinemas at the SF Castro Theatre. Her extensive administrative career has included working in investment banks, various non-profits, in addition to helping small local Sonoma County businesses. She is excited to embark on this next journey working with True West Film Center.
Heather Murray
Teaching Artist
Heather (she/her) is a videographer who worked as an art history college instructor, a museum director, and an art curator before shifting to video production and editing. She has created promotional videos for many Sonoma County nonprofits, businesses, and visual artists, and has collaborated with several local bands on music videos. Her first documentary short focused on the unhoused community in Santa Rosa, and she is currently working on her second documentary short film. She is excited to bring all of her experiences together with her passion for teaching to the Teaching Artist program at True West Film Center.
Colin Stice
Teaching Artist & Tech Lead
Colin (he/him) grew up in Sonoma and Marin Counties. His career as a filmmaker began with the family's VHS video camera and a tradition of going to the movies every weekend, followed by a discussion. Colin later received a BFA in Film Production from Chapman University with an emphasis in Directing. Since then, he has worked in advertising, narrative, documentary, branded content, and social media. His passion for storytelling, filmmaking, and teaching, along with a strong belief in media literacy, has led him to True West Film Center, where he is excited to engage with the community.
Mike Traina
Director of Programming
Mike (he/him) began his career in the film industry as a programmer for the American Film Institute at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. His experience curating American independent films for AFI led to a three-decade career running film festivals in Northern and Southern California. In 1997, he wrote and directed his first feature film, Verses, and has since worked on a wide variety of film and television projects in China, Greece, and the U.S. He has been an invited guest to several film festivals around the world as a filmmaker and juror.

In 2008, he accepted a position at Santa Rosa Junior College and relocated to Petaluma, where he teaches Film & Media Studies. Mike’s insatiable wanderlust has brought him to over 60 countries in the last 20 years. He is a strong advocate for international education. He has spent two semesters teaching in London and one in Paris, where he has engaged students in making films, participating in international film festivals, and visiting major movie studios.
Dania Warburton
Communications & Development Manager
Dania (she/her), originally from Argentina, spent several years living in the jungle in Costa Rica and traveling through Central America and Mexico. For the past seven years, she has been planting roots in Northern California alongside her husband and son. Dania began her career in Buenos Aires, working with startups and nonprofits, helping them tell their stories and achieve sustainable growth while building a robust background in Digital Business and Marketing.

She is passionate about storytelling that inspires and brings communities together, and her zest for the arts and education continues to radiate through her work. Dania is thrilled to join True West Film Center and the vibrant community it serves.
Califa Witsch
Teaching Artist
Califa (she/her) is a Sonoma County native and resourceful filmmaker who specializes in creating meaningful content that educates, inspires, and entertains. She studied Social Documentary at UC Santa Cruz and has worked as a post-production assistant, local content producer, and editor for various film projects. She is currently working on an archival documentary about Holocaust survivors, teaches filmmaking to youth and is a licensed real estate agent in California.

Join Our Mailing List

Stay up to date on upcoming events, education programming and the new film center!