Michealene Risley

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Michealene Cristini Risley
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Michealene Cristini Risley is an award-winning writer, director and human rights activist.[1] She ran for the Americans Elect nomination for President of the United States in 2012.[2]


Risley was born and raised in Clawson, Michigan, before spending her teenage years in Troy, Michigan. She graduated from Bishop Foley High School in 1978 and then went on to graduate from Michigan State University with a degree in Telecommunications and minors in English and Advertising.[3] She spent a number of years in Hollywood for such companies as Disney, Amblin and Mattel.[4]


Risley is noted for her recent work as the writer, producer and director for the film Tapestries of Hope, which follows social activist Betty Makoni in her efforts to help sexually abused young women in Zimbabwe through her foundation the Girl Child Network.[5] Risley was imprisoned and then deported to South Africa by the Zimbabwean government for the footage she shot during her time with Makoni and the Girl Child Network. [6][7] After being safely returned to the United States, Risley became a large part of the push for the passing of the International Violence Against Women Act by creating grassroots efforts with over 45 other human rights groups.[8] The film premiered in September 2010 in over 105 theaters nationwide.[9]

In 2000, Risley was appointed as the VP of Production, Development and Consumer products for Marvel Comics.[10] In 2003, she founded Fresh Water Haven, a 501(c)(3) organization that writes, produces, develops and brings to market films, documentaries and books with the goal of raising awareness about global issues that are in need of reform.[11][12] A frequent Huffington Post editorial writer, Risley is a noted Human Rights Speaker.[13] In 2003, Risley wrote, directed and produced Flashcards, a short film on child sexual abuse which won numerous awards and aired on PBS nationwide.[14] Risley co-authored the best-selling book This Is Not the Life I Ordered, alongside Deborah Collins Stephens, Jan Yanehiro, and Jackie Speier, which has sold over 50,000 copies (the book details the friendship of these four women and the ups and downs they faced in their lives).[15] After Running Marvels animation unit Michealene was recruited by Sega of America to build a licensing and Entertainment division from scratch. As Senior Director of Entertainment/Consumer Products at SEGA of America, she recruited and built a small group in Beverly Hills, California and eventually moved the whole team up to Sega headquarters in Northern California---where she became fascinated with the tech world and has never left Silicon Valley. In 2006, Risley founded Fresh Water Spigot, a licensing and creative services agency specializing in consumer products categories; she also conceived, developed, and launched the first Adidas-branded maternity product line, The Power of Two, LLC.[16]

Currently, Michealene is Vice President of Games at Zynga, a San Francisco-based mobile games company.[citation needed]


  • 2010 – Silicon Valley Women of Influence award[17]
  • 2010 – Monaco Film Festival – Special Mention for Inspiration and Strong Message[18]
  • 2009 – Director Finder Series – The Director’s Guild of America[19]
  • 2009 – Best Documentary – WIFTS (The Women in Film & Television Symposium)[20]
  • 2009 – Best Director – WIFTS
  • 2009 – Aloha Accolade Award – Honolulu International Film Festival[21]
  • 2009 – Award of Merit – Accolade Film Awards[22]
  • 2009 – Best Documentary – Louisville International Festival of Film[23]
  • 2009 – Award of Excellence – The Indie Fest[24]
  • 2007 – New Communications Review "Award of Excellence" for live blogs during her filming and incarceration in Zimbabwe[25]


  1. ^ "Michealene Cristini Risley". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  2. ^ Michealene Risley Activist DECLARED CANDIDATE (2012-05-18). "Americans Elect 2012 | Michealene Risley". Americanselect.org. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  3. ^ "Michealene Cristini Risley - Pipl Directory". Pipl.com. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Women's International Film & Television Showcase". Thewifts.com. 2011-12-03. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  5. ^ "Child rape survivor saves 'virgin myth' victims". CNN. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  6. ^ "Insiders - Michealene Risley". MakingOf. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  7. ^ http://allafrica.com/stories/200708230942.html
  8. ^ "Zimbabwe Deports Two US Women Making Documentary On Rape". Voanews.com. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090212151022/http://tapestriesofhope.com/tapestries-toh-team.htm. Archived from the original on February 12, 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Freshwater Haven Inc". causes.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  12. ^ "Shop here for Freshwater Haven - Kepler's will donate 6% back! | Kepler's Books". Keplers.com. 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  13. ^ "Michealene Risley". Tedxcmu. 2010-02-06. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  14. ^ "Stanford's Entrepreneurship Corner: Michealene C. Risley, Fresh Water Spigot". Ecorner.stanford.edu. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  15. ^ "This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down (9781573243056): Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini Risley, Jackie Speier, Jan Yanehiro: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  16. ^ "Michealene Risley". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  17. ^ "Events | Kepler's Books". Keplers.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  18. ^ "Awards 2010 - MONACO CHARITY FILM FESTIVAL". Monacofilmfestival.de. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  19. ^ "Tapestries of Hope - Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)". Libweb.lib.buffalo.edu. 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  20. ^ "Tapestries of Hope DVD". Videoproject.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  21. ^ Honolulu Film Festival. "Aloha Accolade Award Winners". Honolulufilmawards.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  22. ^ Andre Soares (2009-10-12). "TAPESTRIES OF HOPE Screening in New York". Altfg.com. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  23. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120325160117/http://www.ibwff.com/2009/12/free-screening-of-zimbabwean-documentary-on-123/. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ Tapestries of HopeAboutTimelineAbout (2007-11-15). "Tapestries of Hope - Résumé". Facebook. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  25. ^ "Tapestries of Hope: See A Movie, Make A Difference". Shaping Youth. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 

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