is a Los Angeles native whose distinctive writing and filmmaking voice she attributes to her Mexican and Midwest heritage, in addition to being on the spectrum.
As a Directing Fellow of The American Film Institute, where Michelle earned her Master of Science in Directing, she was the Mary Pickford and Remy Martin Foundations' Grants recipient. Michelle was interviewed by American Film Magazine, Seattle Times, and by the New York Times who described her award-winning short film, Pinfeathers, as having a “Salammbô-like decadence ...” Pinfeathers was awarded at the Chicago International Film Festival. Michelle was featured in an AFI Lifetime Achievement red carpet-event broadcast on CBS.
The American Film Institute describes Michelle as a "...gifted, original talent and ... true storyteller."
She is the writer of When Rent is Due, a play that premiered at New City Theatre in Seattle. She authored All the Leaving, a novel that has been translated into Spanish and published in Mexico.
Michelle also holds a Bachelor of Science in digital filmmaking from the Los Angeles Film School and is currently at work on a documentary series about neurodiversity.
As a Buddhist practitioner, Michelle believes that being a volunteer is the practice of employing one's compassion for a high purpose. Ms. Espinosa spent three days a month in prisons for fifteen years facilitating the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) for inmates. AVP is a process by which inmates and community members learn communication, coping skills, and deeper self-awareness as alternatives to violence.
For three years, Michelle was a volunteer responder and on-call manager for the Los Angeles City Mayor's Crisis Response Team. CRT is called on the scene of fatalities or multi-casualty incidents by L.A. Fire and Police Departments–to assist witnesses and families–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 was recommended by Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, for the President's Volunteer Service Award and bronze medal, which was awarded to her by President Barack Obama.