With a background in film and performance, Vanessa Silva and Heather Hentila developed Footlight Entertainment, along with Ainsley Strachan and Chelsea Gray, at the end of 2014 with the production of their first short film. They did so with the vision of creating characters they not only wanted to portray as actors, but to see more of on television and in films.

Since then, Footlight Entertainment and, subsequently, Footlight Studios and its divisions, have received awards in filmmaking from production to cinematography and editing, since its inception. Footlight Studios, produces a wide mix of entertainment from films to episodic television to web series and beyond, creating a vast opportunity to work with a variety of incredible filmmakers from all walks of life, continuing the vision of creative equality. 




After attending university in NY and England for her passions - performance and filmmaking - Vanessa Silva received a degree in Marketing and Advertising with an emphasis in Media. Ultimately, her lifelong passions propelled Vanessa in front of - and behind - the camera. She has acted, and continues to act, in an array of new media, episodic series, industrials, and short and feature films.

In addition to regional performance academies, Vanessa has trained with the
Stella Adler Studio of Acting/Art of Acting for Acting Technique, The Juilliard School for Voice, The Groundlings School for Improvisation, and is a Specialized Training Alumni with The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Camera Acting for Film and Television.

Behind the camera, Vanessa has had training in conjunction with Sundance, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Canon Hollywood, Shane Hurlbut ASC, AbelCine, ARRI Academy, Filmmakers Alliance and NBC/Alliance of Women Directors. She continues to write, DP, direct, and produce a variety of films, series, and beyond.

Digital Cinema Society
Filmmaker’s Alliance
Alliance of Women Directors
International Screenwriters Association

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Chelsea Gray graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Multimedia Production, and a focus on new media technology entering the traditional entertainment space. With her knowledge in Production, and passion for storytelling, Chelsea runs a successful Media Marketing Agency, focusing on meaningful content to create a cohesive brand identity and voice across all platforms. 

Chelsea has been acting professionally since 2014, appearing in various commercials, web series, independent feature films, television series, and stage productions. 


She has trained with The Groundlings for Improvisation, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for performance and instruction, and has studied scene study and audition technique at Margie Haber Studio, Anthony Meindl Actors’ Workshop, and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Her love of bringing new tech and marketing techniques into the world of filmmaking has aided in driving her mission forward, to bring LGBTQIA+ voices to the forefront in all forms of media storytelling. 

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Heather Hentila graduated from Penn State with a degree in Psychology, while attending a regional performance academy for acting. Upon graduation, Heather joined Vanessa Silva in developing Footlight Entertainment, and subsequently Footlight Studio, with the vision of creating relevant and complex characters they not only wanted to portray as actors, but to be able to see more of on television and in films.
Heather has appeared and starred in various commercials, stage productions, web series, episodic television, and films. In addition to regional performance academies, she has trained with The Groundlings for improvisation and The American Academy of Dramatic Arts for performance and instruction. 

Behind the camera, Heather uses her degree in psychology to aid in character development and story arcs, as a producer, writer, and director. Her passion for filmmaking in front and behind the camera fuels her mission to always evolve and learn as a filmmaker. She's had extensive training in directing, camera, production, showrunning and writing, and continues to revolutionize herself as an actor and filmmaker.


Digital Cinema Society

Filmmaker’s Alliance

International Screenwriters Association



Ainsley Strachan has been involved in entertainment from an early age. In 2010, she embarked on professional acting classes, and, in 2012, decided to sprout away and search for projects of her own. It was apparent that her love for acting quickly grew into a passion for filmmaking and in 2014 she joined Vanessa Silva and Heather Hentila, and subsequently Chelsea Gray, to build what would later become Footlight Studios.


While continuously making content, Ainsley graduated from California State of San Marcos with her Bachelors degree in Media Studies. As her love for the combination of film and education grew, she widened her knowledge and spent a year abroad in England, studying film at the University of Central Lancashire, and began working on her Masters degree in Education shortly thereafter.


Ainsley utilizes her Masters in Education to help foster the learning environment on set and shares her knowledge of writing, acting, and filmmaking with creatives in front of and behind the camera. Her skills in communications, media and education continue to provide positive attributes during every step of the filmmaking process. In addition, Ainsley continues to write, produce, and act in a variety of different projects across a multitude of mediums.  


International Screenwriters Association




"Vanessa [Silva] is breaking new ground and pushing boundaries with her filmmaking. It takes a unique person who has the resolve and courage to be able to do that. A person with vision who can look past the standard tropes and clichés of our craft. Perhaps someone who was writing screenplays as a child when the other kids were playing in sandboxes. Vanessa is that person. She is pushing herself and the industry with a fervor that will not be outmatched."

​- Script Summit, March 2019
"In the Spotlight: Vanessa Silva"

"I’d love to see [the industry] grow into something where we no longer have to worry about fighting for equal opportunities and it just is – all the while continuing to make something great with passion at the forefront. And, at the end of the day, I just want to be a part of that.”

- IndieActivity Magazine, June 2018
​"Interview with Filmmaker and Actor Vanessa Silva"