Michelle grew up in Denver, Colorado, the youngest child of Czechoslovakian immigrants who escaped from the Communist regime in the 1960s. Her father is the only known man to escape Czechoslovakia by scuba-diving, and the subject of her current feature film Red Star. Showing an interest in drawing and the arts at an early age, Michelle performed in children's theater, lettered in Drama (portraying Yente the Matchmaker in "Fiddler on the Roof"), and was an award-winning illustrator and writer for her high school newspaper and Model United Nations team. She earned a BFA in Film Production at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2000, and studied under avant-garde legend Stan Brakhage. Her student film "The Redemption" won the Goldfarb Award for Best Student Film. Michelle received her MFA in Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University. "Citizen" (2001) is a bittersweet compilation of optically-enlarged Super 8 films shot during her parent's years together in New York. Her thesis film, "Bettina in the Fog" (2004), is an experimental narrative about the effects of epilepsy on the daily life of a ballet dancer and won the Thunen Memorial Scholarship. During this time, Michelle campaigned alongside Francis Ford Coppola on behalf of the Musee Mecanique, a penny arcade formerly situated at the Cliff House in San Francisco, which was facing eviction from its home of cultural heritage. Michelle served on an advocacy committee, and documented the historic moving of the famous antique collection to its current home at Fisherman's Wharf. Michelle has filmed live performances and documentaries for circus performers at Teatro Zinanni in San Francisco, most notably her collaboration with the Castors brothers ("Antipodiste," 2007) and Manuela Horn ("Yodelwood," and the music video "Highway to Yodel-Ay-Hee-Huuu," 2013 ).
As a graduate student, Michelle founded Cinefemme, a non-profit organization which provides fiscal sponsorship and support for women filmmakers, and has served as Executive Director since 2007. She is an award-winning director, producer, writer and editor dedicated to advancing women in the professional ranks of cinema. Michelle’s industry credits include work for advertising agency BBDO, Logo’s “Gay for Play Starring RuPaul,” HBO, FYI, OWN, World of Wonder, The History Channel, Sony, Universal, MJA Advertising, and NASA. Michelle's distinctions include Best Music Video at LA Femme Film Festival, Goldfarb Award for Best Student Film, and Thunen Memorial Scholarship from the Illuminating Engineers Society. She holds an MFA in Cinema from SFSU, and BFA in Film Production from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Michelle is also a certified paralegal, artist, mother and writer. The youngest daughter of political refugees who fled Communist Czechoslovakia in the 1960’s, she is producing two projects about her family's historic escapes: Red Star documents her father's return on the 50th anniversary of his escape, and The Rebel, a narrative feature film in development. Michelle raised $25,000 in 2015 on crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark for Red Star and is concurrently in production and post-production. She continues to make waves in the gender parity in Los Angeles with several groundbreaking programs launched through Cinefemme. She speaks several languages, including Czech, Slovak, French and Italian.