is a Los Angeles native whose distinctive writing and filmmaking voice she attributes to her American west and Mexican heritage along with a love of Jorge Luis Borges fictions. As a Directing Fellow of The American Film Institute, she was the Mary Pickford and Remy Martin Foundations Grants recipient. She was also interviewed in American Film magazine and by the New York Times who described her award winning short film, Pinfeathers, as having a “Salammbô-like decadence ...”
Pinfeathers is the recipient of the Silver Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival.
She was featured in American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award broadcast on CBS. The American Film Institute Conservatory Director described Michelle as a " ... gifted, original talent and ... true story teller."
Her first film, Silence, was showcased several times by The Director's Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles and presented by L.A. Film Forum. She is the writer of When Rent is Due, a play (which premiered at New City Theater in Seattle). She authored All The Leaving, a novel which has been translated into Spanish and published in Mexico.
Ms. Espinosa spent three days a month in prisons for fifteen years facilitating Alternatives to Violence Project for inmates. AVP is a process by which inmates and community members learn communication, coping skills, and deeper self-awareness as alternatives to violence.
Los Angeles Mayor's Crisis Response Team meeting at L.A. Police Department
Michelle used to and hopes to again soon, volunteer as a responder and on-call manager for the Los Angeles City Mayor's Crisis Response Team. CRT is called on scene by L.A. Fire and Police Departments to assist witnesses and family when there is a fatality or multi-casualty incident until the Coroner leaves.
While a practicing mediator and facilitator with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office for twenty years, Michelle was invited to coach students at U.C.L.A. Law School and peer-to-peer mediators in L.A. middle schools.
Michelle's ambition remains, and has always been, to see dispute resolution a mandated part of childhood education.
She also hopes that she witnesses, in her lifetime, what a neurodiverse society looks like.
The Cultivate Empathy Installation is a series of sensory enhanced VR first person glimpses into resonantly human moments in the lives of the most maligned or marginalized. It is designed to fire up mirror neurons and widen out one’s scope of empathy to include more of our human family.