Sumi Parkekh | November 2023
Sumi is the Executive Director for the Group Effort Initiative (GEI), an organization launched and financed by Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively that exists to create a pipeline for members of underrepresented communities to get real experience towards lasting careers within the entertainment industry. To date, GEI has secured over 1,230 entertainment jobs for its participants and works in over a dozen cities across the world. Prior to her role at GEI, Sumi held several positions in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, including the Executive Officer to the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, where she served as a thought partner to the Deputy Mayor and as the Mayor’s Business Team Director and entertainment liaison, focusing on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within Hollywood. While in Mayor Garcetti’s office, she started the Evolve Entertainment Fund, an alliance between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, dedicated to building career pathways into film, television, and music for women, people of color, and low-income Angelenos.
Zach Grenier| November 2023
Zach is an American character actor of film, television and stage. Grenier has appeared in numerous films and television shows. Most recently he portrayed the pivotal role of Irwin Reiter in “She Said,” the story of two female writers’ efforts to break the Harvey Weinstein scandal. He is perhaps best known for his role as David Lee, a lawyer at the law firm Lockhart/Gardner, in the CBS drama series "The Good Wife." Grenier appeared in 44 episodes of the show between 2010 and 2016, and his performance earned him critical acclaim. Grenier's other notable television credits include "Deadwood," "24," "Law & Order," "Boardwalk Empire," and "The Blacklist." He has also appeared in films such as "Fight Club," "Tommy Boy," "Donnie Brasco," and “Twister." In addition to his work in acting, Grenier is also a talented writer and director. He wrote and directed the short film "Pas de deux" in 2000, which won several awards at film festivals. He has also directed episodes of the television shows "The Good Wife" and "The Blacklist.
Moreena Hashim| November 2023
Originally from the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Moreena H. Hashim (she/her) is a visual artist with a passion for storytelling using stills and moving images. A graduate of Montclair State University with a degree in Filmmaking and Sociology, she has crafted impactful media projects for nonprofits and indie artists in addition to earning production credits on Starz Raising Kanan, NBC The Equalizer, and Paramount SMILE. While establishing her creative voice as a screenwriter and filmmaker, Moreena aims to expand her skill set within visual culture and media archives. Narratives that center Black and Queer communities are a strong focus within her work. When Moreena takes time away from the media, she enjoys adventures in nature and spending time with her pet turtle, Olie.
James Kenvin | November 2023
James is a creative writer and producer with a passion for storytelling. Currently serving as a Creative Producer at Warner Brothers Discovery, James collaborates with showrunners and directors to create captivating promos for highly acclaimed titles such as “The White Lotus,” “Succession,” and “The Last of Us.” Following his graduation from Temple University in Philadelphia, James began writing, producing, and editing documentary shorts at NowThis News. When he’s not in the office or on location, James enjoys the exciting life of endlessly scrolling through TikTok and hanging out with his cat.
Justice Jamal Jones | November 2021 and November 2022
Justice (He/They) is a filmmaker, actor, and writer based in New York City. Jones is one of only 10 filmmakers chosen as Sundance Ignite x Adobe Fellows this year. The fellows were chosen from a broad global pool of more than 1,600 entrants to the Sundance Ignite x Adobe Short Film Challenge. Jones is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Arts Therapy for “Marginalized” Groups. As a self-proclaimed Black queer alchemist, they integrate Black Feminist and Queer theory into their art alongside Black diasporic spiritual pratices, transforming everyday mundane western occurrences and conjuring them into serendipitous collisions of of progressive storytelling, that center the marginalized. Recently their debut film “How To Raise A Black Boy” has been recognized at Cleveland International Film Festival, Outfest Fusion Film Festival, and at Atlanta Film Festival, where Jones won “Filmmaker to Watch.'” The film also had its digital premiere with NOWNESS. Justice is also the founder of Rainbow Farm Productions (Rainbowfarmprod.com), and they are developing their first feature film “Crossroads Blues.” Finally, Justice was also a guest speaker and virtually visited with Orange HS student film classes last year during the pandemic to share his knowledge.
Susan Greeley | March 2017 & 2018, November 2022
Susan has over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry with an expertise in worldwide film distribution, acquisitions, programming, and business development. Currently, Susan is the Associate Short Film Programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival and Tribeca Enterprises’ United In-flight Program. Previously, Susan was the VP of Global Distribution and Business Development at Shorts International where she was responsible for licensing films across all channels worldwide. She initiated the Oscar Nominated Shorts theatrical release and negotiated theatrical, television, and VOD deals. Prior to Shorts International, Susan was VP of Worldwide Distribution and Acquisitions at Doug Liman’s HYPNOTIC where she created distribution strategies for ground-breaking branded entertainment programs including Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker, and the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival. Throughout the ownership changes her responsibilities increased and she became responsible for the worldwide sales department at Wellspring Media, managing the distribution of over 1000 hours of programming and over 300 feature films, including leading the sales team for the critically acclaimed and Award-winning Feature Documentary film, TARNATION at the Cannes Film Festival. Susan has been a Jury Member/Panelist for numerous festivals including the Student Academy Awards, AFI Film Festival, CFC Worldwide Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, GEN-ART Film Festival, Calgary Film Festival, NYU First Run, Columbia University.
Sara C. Clarke | November 2020 and November 2018
Sara is the former Showtime Network Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy, Analysis, and Collaboration. She led analysis and strategic recommendations that helped Showtime Networks sustain subscriber growth and exceed its performance targets. Her team applied technology-driven solutions to increase the flow of information and ideas throughout the organization. Sara designed and executed an annual summer internship program, empowering interns to develop recommendations to promote Showtime programming, improve brand awareness, and drive growth. Sara served on the WICT NY Board for seven years, overseeing the Prime Access Executive Mentoring program, among other initiatives. She received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. Sara is also a graduate of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and attended the WICT Senior Executive Summit at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Bobby Brown and Maya Singletary| November 2020
Braynard “Bobby” Brown is an entertainment law attorney with a B.A. and JD from Notre Dame, and an MBA from Yale University. He also played football for the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. Together with Maya Singletary, they are two of the dynamic hosts of the live show “Ball Hog Sports Talk” on Facebook every Friday morning. The MC (B Brown), The Maverick (Maya), & The Maestro (DJ Jon Quick) guide you through an intersection of sports, business, & entertainment. They often have special guests from the sports and entertainment world and discuss relevant topics, where they say they rarely agree … so they argue ... oops, they mean debate! Maya is a budding documentary filmmaker in her own right and is currently working on a documentary film project that focuses on NCAA black collegiate football players and their efforts to take their power back during this year of Black Lives Matter and Covid-19. Both Maya and Bobby are local creatives, who seek to lift up the youth in our community by giving their time and expertise.
Jeremy Moss | November 2020 and November 2018
With a resume that reflects his eclectic approach to art, Mr. Moss began his career as a photographer eventually working in fashion photography and later, expanding into journalism where he shot for Business Week, The New York Times and many others. He began to be more active in painting and fine art, winning many prizes at juried exhibitions and leading to opportunities to become expand his experience by becoming an expert art jurist himself. Mr. Moss, who resides in Orange, NJ, works in several media including photography, mixed media and painting. His experience as an artist has given him opportunities to organize and curate festivals like the Maplewood Art Walk, and running the art show for the Hat City Street Festival for Valley Arts in Orange, NJ. Working with ValleyArts has broadened his horizons. He was the chairperson of the Valley Arts Visual Arts Committee, co-founded Open Orange, one of the region’s largest juried art show founded Slice of Orange, another local art show and curated the Firehouse and Orbital Galleries. He is the former Executive Director at Valley Arts, Inc.
Bernadette Aulestia | November 2019 and March 2018
Bernadette is the former President of Global Distribution for Home Box Office, Inc. She was responsible for overseeing all distribution operations of the company’s services and platforms worldwide. Internationally, she was responsible for the operations of HBO branded networks in 67 countries. Domestically, she led distribution efforts for the premium networks HBO and Cinemax. Aulestia oversaw HBO’s Affiliate Marketing group and headed digital distribution efforts. Prior to joining HBO, Aulestia worked at Univision Communications, Inc., Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., and Kidder, Peabody, Inc. She holds a BA from Brown University. She oversaw HBO and Cinemax’s acquisition efforts and was responsible for the marketing of HBO’s subscription video on demand services (HBO on Demand/ Cinemax on Demand), multiplex channels and advanced products including high definition and broadband. She also oversaw the marketing efforts for the Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Gay and Lesbian audiences.
Lisa Davis | November 2019
Lisa is a partner in the Entertainment Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC, a top flight entertainment law firm in NYC. She represents businesses and celebrities in the film, television, publishing, music, theatre, and sports industries. She is recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2020 (Entertainment), by the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association (2019 Beacon of Industry Award), by Crain’s New York Business 2017 as a “Leading Woman Lawyer in NYC”, by The National Law Journal (“Outstanding Women Lawyers” 2015), by Savoy magazine in their “Most Influential Black Lawyers of 2015,” and in Variety’s “Power of Women New York Impact Report” (2014). Ms. Davis advises on a full range of transactional matters - focusing on film (both feature and documentary), television, publishing, live stage and branded entertainment. Ms. Davis represents directors, writers and performers in film and television, as well as playwrights and bloggers. In her sports practice, she represents top athletes in their “off the field” activities, including endorsements and investments. Ms. Davis is chair of the board of the Urbanworld Film Festival Foundation.
Matt Smollon | November 2019
Aside from being Founder and Director of the SOMA Film Festival, Matt is a veteran writer of film, television and many other creative endeavors. He has written over 20 original screenplays including Second City’s BuzzKill (Indican 2012), as well as Rooters and Figs of Newton with writer/director Steven Kampmann (Back To School, Stealing Home). He has written for hire for independent producers on such projects as Boardwalk, Mob Mentality, The Grape (TV), Checkered and Takeoff, as well as many others. Matt has had three screenplays optioned by Miramax Films and was employed as a full time development executive/writer at Shooting Gallery Films (Sling Blade, You Can Count On Me, Croupier). He worked with the writer Bruce Graham (Anastasia, Steal This Movie) on a story pitch based on his own idea titled Fruits vs. Vegetables. Matt has written and produced webisodes for Sports Illustrated, for SI.com. He is the creator/producer of the documentary series Life in the D about a behind the scenes look at the daily grind of life in minor league basketball. In his former position at Wiley Publishing, he wrote, directed and edited long and short form content for web promotion. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Pete Chatmon | March 2017
Pete Chatmon is the guy you want behind the lens. He currently directs episodes of "Insecure" on HBO and "Blackish" on ABC among many other shows. His debut feature, “Premium”, starred Dorian Missick, Zoe Saldana, and Hill Harper and premiered on Showtime. Chatmon also wrote, produced, and directed “761st”, a documentary on the first black tank battalion in WWII, narrated by Andre Braugher. Chatmon received the 2008 Tribeca Film Institute “All Access” Program’s Creative Promise Narrative Award for the screenplay “$FREE.99″, written in collaboration with Candice Sanchez McFarlane. Through Double7 Images, his Media + Marketing collective, he has directed content for ad agencies, Porsche, Proctor & Gamble, Lenovo, Universal Pictures, and other brands. Chatmon’s career began in 2001 with the Sundance selection of his NYU thesis film, “3D”, starring Kerry Washington. His upcoming project, the short film “Black Card”, will begin traveling the international film festival circuit in Spring/Summer 2015. Please visit PeteChatmon.com for details on Production Consulting and Speaking Engagements. Specialties: Media Production, Marketing, and Consulting Related to Both.
Deniese Davis | March 2017
Deniese Davis has produced countless music videos, short films and various online content. In the web-series realm she is best known for producing Issa Rae's award-winning web series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”, which accumulated over 17 million views with seasons one and two combined. As a freelance producer she has worked with companies such as Macro, AwesomenessTV, All Def Digital, Pulse Films, Caviar Films, Valhalla Entertainment, and AlrightTV, including a brief stint as Head of Production for Marlon Wayans’ digital network “WhatTheFunny?!” (WTF Studios, Inc.) in 2012. She is currently a Producer on the HBO comedy series “Insecure” starring Issa Rae and continues to produce and oversee content for Issa Rae Productions. She also serves as COO of ColorCreative.TV, an exclusive launchpad for diverse and emerging writers that she co-founded with Issa Rae in 2013. Originally from Las Vegas, NV, Deniese graduated from CUNY-Brooklyn College in New York with a BA in Film Production and minor in TV/Radio. She is also a graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory (MFA, Producing ’12), where she was awarded the prestigious Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer Scholarship and was the 2012 recipient of the Debra Hill Fellowship that is given by The Producer’s Guild of America (PGA).
Greg DePaul | March 2018
Greg wrote the screenplay for the film Bride Wars, starring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, which grossed over $100 million. He also wrote Saving Silverman, starring Jack Black and Amanda Peet. He has sold TV scripts and screenplays to Miramax, Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM, and Village Roadshow studios. Greg is also the author of Bring the Funny: The Essential Companion for the Comedy Screenwriter, published by Focal Press. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, The Collective-NY, and the founder of the Stillwater Writers. He teaches Writing the Half-Hour TV Comedy at the New School and NYUSPS in the Center for Applied Liberal Arts.
Alysha Pamphile | November 2021
Alysha is currently the Integrated Producer for Sponsored Content at Complex Networks, where she oversees, manages and produces all sponsored content for Complex Verticals: Complex Originals, Complex News, Sole Collector with budgets that can range upwards of $1M. Formely a Producer/Videographer for America’s largest hip hop radio station HOT 97, WBLS and LIB and handles Public Relations and Communications at Emmis Communications, she was also a cast member of Black Girl Podcast, a podcast about sisterhood, pop culture and the personal experiences as 20-something-year-old, career-focused black women. The five-woman cast all hailed from Hot 97, hip-hop’s most notorious radio station, and its parent company, Emmis Communications. It was there that the podcast idea evolved from a 10-second Snapchat video to a blueprint for a new venture. Alysha graduated from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Newark with a Bachelor of Arts in Video Production. Finally, Alysha is also a former mentor at FilmBoot24 who is a two-time Grand Jury Prize winner!
Erin Harper | November 2018
Filmmaker and educator at Pratt Institute. Erin produced the feature film, “My Best Day” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Her first short film, “Passion” received New York state funding for development into a live improvised film about a Polish jazz violinist, which toured jazz and film festivals internationally. She worked as Barbara Hammer’s first digital cinematographer on her award-winning short, “Maya Deren’s Sink” (awarded a Teddy for Best Short Film at Berlin International Film Festival) and as a camerawoman on her latest project, “This House, A Film about Elizabeth Bishop.”