2014 BigPictureCon Speakers
Theme: Innovation & Collaboration in Film & Digital Media
DENNIS is a 2008 Sundance Film Festival Alumni and Gotham Award nominee for Breakthrough Director for his feature film debut A Good Day to be Black and Sexy. Dennis co-created The Couple (in development at HBO) and Roomieloverfriends (Best Web Series 2013 ABFF). As a visionary he oversees all productions and growth strategies, and works hands on as a writer and director.
NUMA a is an actress, visual artist, filmmaker, and pioneer of online entertainment. She is Co-Founder of the network Black&SexyTV where she nurtures projects from script to screen. She writes for and stars as "Chick" in the popular series The Couple which is being developed as a TV series for HBO with Spike Lee attached as Executive Producer. Numa is co-creator and writer for the network's hit series Roomieloverfriends
MICHAEL C. DONALDSON, Esq
MICHAEL C DONALDSON is an entertainment attorney who has been fighting for independent filmmakers for over thirty-five years. Michael is the past President of The International Documentary Association (IDA) and current General Counsel to Film Independent and Writers Guild of America/West Foundation. He co-wrote The American Bar Association's Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking with his partner Lisa Callif. He also wrote Clearance & Copyright (soon to be in its fourth edition), which is used as a textbook in over 50 colleges and universities.
Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC)
ADAM SHE is the Executive Director of Operations of Actors, Models & Talent for Christ (AMTC) where he oversees the goals, scouting, and day-to-day operations of the ministry. This son of Taiwanese immigrants to the U.S. has become a prayerful Christian leader who combines faith and wisdom with extraordinary fairness. Adam continues to place the mission of spreading the good news of Christ’s love in the entertainment industry as his daily focus. He is married to third generation member of the Millie Lewis legacy, granddaughter Lexy She. They reside in Tyrone, GA with their two boys Jack and Emmett.
Reel Nomad Productions
ALESHIA MUELLER is the owner of Reel Nomad Productions, a Minnesota based media production company that strives to communicate interesting and meaningful stories with the world. Her experience includes various facets of preproduction, production, and post-production for television, documentaries, commercials, and narrative films. This experience informs her current work as Script/Continuity Supervisor. She is bilingual (English/Spanish) and is available for domestic or international work. Recent continuity work includes The Blood Stripe (2014), Santa's Boot Camp (2013), and Death to Prom (2012).
Visual Eye Media
AMANI CHANNEL Amani Channel, MA is a broadcaster, an educator, an award-winning storyteller, a video producer, and a communications professional. He helps brands, nonprofits, individuals and students tell traditional and digital stories. During his career he's worked as a news reporter, PR practitioner, content/community manager, media consultant, and he's an award-winning video producer. He provides media consulting and corporate storytelling services through Visual Eye Media, and serves as an adjunct professor. Channel often speaks at conferences, workshops, and universities across the country about traditional and new media.
Blank Stage Productions
Brent founded "Blank Stage Productions" where he produced several projects and started up an Internet show called ThriveAmerica. Working as a cofounder of Get Connected Brent is constantly conjuring up ways for folks to maximize the networking experience. He created "CineCentral & CrewCall" a speed networking solution, he created the Get Connected Screening Room and works with each of the filmmakers and develops interactive workshop experiences. Currently Brent works as an actor with the J Pervis Talent Agency, a writer for self-produced projects and a hired filmmaker.
BRETT DISMUKE is President of Entertainment for Moguldom Studios and the former SVP of Acquisitions and Urban Programming for Image Entertainment/One Village Studio. He has over 20 years of marketing, sales and branding experience. In addition to locating and securing new content, Dismuke oversees strategic planning, financial management, brand-building and product lines for the division. He also created memorable and explosive campaigns for legendary artists such as Jay-Z, Redman, Method Man and Brian McKnight. Next as Urban Marketing Specialist for Universal Music and Video Distribution, he was the driving force behind stellar marketing campaigns for Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, DMX, Ja Rule and other artists.
CEDRIC PENDLETON knew from early on that he was destined for one of two things: the pulpit or the stage. He chose the stage or, as he would say, the stage chose him. As an Executive Producer for Footprint Entertainment, LLC., Cedric has created touring concerts and stage plays with Tyler Perry, and festivals with some of the country’s popular recording artists and performers. Cedric, like any true artist, doesn’t separate his faith, his life, and his craft. He was committed and passionate from the very beginning; he keeps reaching and working toward greater roles and dreams in the entertainment.
Atlanta Film Festival
CHARLES JUDSON has been a staple in the Atlanta film scene for over 15 years. Charles served as Communications Director, and then Artistic Director with the Atlanta Film Festival. Since 2005, he's been a writer with CinemATL, currently serving as head writer and co-editor for the online magazine dedicated to covering film in Atlanta and across Georgia. In 2014, he founded OiC, a think tank, research, and consulting organization dedicated to supporting creatives and the creative industries. August of 2014 saw the launch of his newest idea, Film Bar Mondays.
Production Accounting and Crew Services, International (PACS)
CHERYL JENKINS is the principal and founding partner of Atlanta-based Production Accounting and Crew Services, International (PACS). Founded in 2009, PACS was launched by Jenkins to fill a growing need in the burgeoning film and television industry in the city of Atlanta, throughout the state of Georgia, and the South East – sourcing and placing qualified production accountants and providing accounting services to production companies. Jenkins went on to become a production coordinator on The Steve Harvey Show before then landing gigs as a production manager on several short films and commercials. She is also president of Women in Film & Television Atlanta (WIFTA).
Atlanta Film Festival
CHRIS ESCOBAR is a first-generation American who has been proud to call Atlanta home for over a decade. Through his background as a filmmaker and live-event producer, Chris has been fortunate enough to help tell Atlanta's story through signature events such as the Peach Drop and Lighting of the Macy's Tree during his time working for Entertainment Design Group. Chris joined the Executive Board of Atlanta Film Festival 365 in 2010 where he was able to help use the moving image art form to help tell more of Atlanta's story, and has been working as the organization's Director since 2012.
CHRIS HOLLAND has worked with film festivals for more than a decade. In the early days of the internet he was a film critic and later he joined the staff of the Austin Film Festival. In 2006 Holland joined film distributor B-Side Entertainment as the Director of Festival Operations, working with festivals like Sundance, AFI Fest, and SILVERDOCS to market films to audiences and to discover emerging new voices in cinema. In 2008 he published Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent Filmmakers and began working as an consultant on marketing and festival strategy with independent filmmakers around the world. Chris currently lives in Atlanta, GA where he serves as the Operations and Marketing Director for the Atlanta Film Festival.
DAVID GEORGE is cinematographer and film educator at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN where he acts as the coordinator of the film program that he helped found. His love of the creative and technical challenges of photography eventually led him to focusing on cinematography. He was producer and cinematographer for this feature film that earned a prestigious Crystal Heart Award when it premiered at the Heartland Film Festival and then released nationwide in 2007. Most recently he served as the director of photography for “Old Fashioned,” a faith based romantic drama scheduled to release theatrically on Valentine’s Day 2015.
David Mayer, Esq
Georgia Lawyers for the Arts
DAVID MAYER, ESQ is the Director of Operations at Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, a non-profit organization that provides free seminars and free legal services to artists and arts organizations throughout Georgia. Prior to law school, David worked for several years in post-production in the film and television industry in Los Angeles. In law school, David worked for The Coca-Cola Company protecting its trademarks, and externed for the Hon. Robert Benham of the Georgia Supreme Court. When not at GLA, David is a contract attorney in the Intellectual Property Litigation group at Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan LLP.
David Martyn Conley
DAVID MARTYN CONLEY is a Writer, Director, and Actor with over 20 years’ experience as a stage and cinematic artist. Through his company, Munirah Entertainment, Conley has written the UpTV original movie, Raising Izzie. As an Actor, Conley has appeared on Network television programs including: Army Wives, Drop Dead Diva, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and Disney’s Let It Shine.
Deborah Riley Draper
DEBORAH RILEY DRAPER is a marketing guru and award-winning filmmaker. Her debut film Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution was heralded by New York Times and Los Angeles Times film critics and film festival selections at St. Louis International Film Festival, Denver DocNights, Elle Croatia Fashion Film Festival, John Hopkins Film Festival, New York Winter Film Fest, L’Oreal Australian Fashion Film Festival and winner of CNN Outstanding Documentary at Martha’s Vineyards African American Film Festival. Deborah is the Client Service Director of Iris Worldwide, a creative agency with 19 offices across the Globe.
BronzeLens Film Festival
DEIDRE MCDONALD is an eight-time Emmy Award-winning documentary maker and educator. In her current role, she is the Founding Artistic Director of the BronzeLens Film Festival. McDonald was Project Leader for the Georgia Entertainment Media Work Ready Region (GEM), a seven county economic development initiative focusing on careers in the entertainment industry. She has taught communications at Clark Atlanta University and also served as the former president of Women in Film and Television (Atlanta).
Deronte L Smith
DERONTE L SMITH wrapped up his film studies at Kennesaw State University in 2001 setting out to produce his first film, Game, which subsequently took home accolades and awards at local, regional and national film festivals. This was Smith’s start to a productive video career, producing numerous music videos, small budget commercials and public service announcements over the next few years.
ELISE HINES started her communications career at The Weather Channel, and then moved to Crawford Communications where she worked for Fox Kids (Latin America), Travel Channel and Discovery Channel networks. Elise was the Executive Producer and co-host for a popular radio show with Atlanta’s V-103 affiliate station. Elise currently works as a writer, producer and director for corporate videos produced at Georgia Power. She is also the CEO of Platinum Works Productions and has written several screenplays with hopes to one day see them on the big screen. The Denver native currently resides with her family in metro Atlanta.
GERALD GRIFFITH is the man behind Atlanta’s VoiceoverCity and the annual "VO Atlanta" Voiceover Conference. Feeling that the Atlanta VO community was underserved, and undervalued, Gerald's initial voice acting ambitions quickly turned to entrepreneurial inclinations as he seized the opportunity to develop an education center, which he built by enlisting the support of local VO professionals and experts from around the country. Atlanta once lacked a significant center of voiceover education, now there's VoiceoverCity and the "VO Atlanta" Conference. In April 2014 Gerald acquired FILMAtlanta, a local meetup with over 3,000 members.
Stage Ten Studios
JOE HOWELL is an executive music producer and President of Stage Ten Studios. Joe has worked in the music and film industries for over 20 years, as an audio engineer, music producer, executive producer and songwriter. Joe worked for ABC Television Channel 31 (WAAY) in Huntsville, AL in audio and video. While working as a recording engineer in studios such as NYC's Chung King Studios, Sony studios, The Hit Factory, Sound on Sound and others, he was able to land a music publishing contract with Polygram/Universal Music Publishing.
Jonathan M Harris
JONATHAN M HARRIS is an instructor of film production at Clayton State University. As a filmmaker, his film and video work has been screened at film festivals nationwide including the San Francisco Documentary Festival, the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival. He is the director of numerous short films including the documentary, Treasure Hunters. He worked in public television as a producer on "C-47: Georgia's Short Film Showcase," and the "World War II Veterans Oral History Project".
Georgia Latino Film Festival
JOSE MARQUEZ is the Director of the Georgia Latino Film Festival and the National President, CEO, and Founder of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA). A 30 plus year veteran of the telecommunications industry Jose Marquez has held various senior positions from implementation and sales engineering to channel development and internet policy at companies such as Sprint, MCI, AT&T Global Crossing and Mi8. In 2011 he was appointed to the Federal communications Commission’s (FCC) Advisory committee for Diversity in the Digital Age where he continues to serve.
JOY BROWN is a graduate of the University of Georgia, Henry W. Grady School of Journalism, Joy holds a degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. Joy found she longed to use her more creative degree and landed at ASV Productions where, for over 15 years, she has utilized her combined marketing and management experience and honed her skills as an account executive, client developer, creative consultant, script writer, and producer. Since 1997, Joy has produced dozens of ASV Productions and conducted interviews, written scripts, edited, and post produced multiple award-winning pieces.
Julie K Roach, Esq
JULIE K ROACH, ESQ. is Director of Volunteer Services for Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. Julie has worked with ASCAP, at The Coca-Cola Company, and several solo practitioners. Julie is an active member of the National Association of Record Industry Professionals board and the planning committee for the Atlanta Bar’s annual LawJam as well as a member of the American Bar Association and State Bar of Georgia Sports and Entertainment Law societies. She looks forward to practicing law to support artists and creatives in the advancement of their careers, and to ensure that their works are respected and protected.
K.L. COLLINS is a Cornell graduate with nearly two decades of entertainment industry experience. He has worked for several studios, including Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks. He wrote for the Showtime series “Soul Food” and penned the novel “The Unveiling: 1.0.” Collins currently teaches screenwriting for television and film at SCAD Atlanta
Keisha Perry Walker, Esq
The Perry Law Group
KEISHA PERRY is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. She served as a member of the Finance Committee of C5 Georgia, a member of The Recording Academy, Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA), and The American Bar Association. She also served as a founding board member of the Atlanta based Black Music Month Foundation. After working in a mid-size debt collection law firm for nearly a year after graduation, Ms. Perry started The Perry Law Group in June of 2005. Since establishing The Perry Law Group, Ms. Perry has served clients nationally and internationally in all of the Firm’s practice areas.
Creative Studios of Atlanta
KEN FEINBERG can call upon a productive three-dimensional career that embodies performing, writing and directing. He has a long list of credits that demonstrate the fortitude of his craft. His broad knowledge of the industry and his devotion to the arts, whether on film, television or stage, has been expressed in his many accomplishments. For over 18 years Feinberg has been directing, writing, producing and acting in award-winning films, hit television series and major theater projects in Los Angles, New York and Atlanta.
Tactix Sales & Marketing, LLC
LARRY JENNINGS is Director of Sales & Marketing at Tactix Sales & Marketing, LLC, an Atlanta-based sales and marketing organization specializing in consulting entertainment properties in the areas of sponsor development and product integration. In 2009, Larry formally launched Tactix Sales & Marketing, LLC where he currently manages an account portfolio that includes Atlanta-based BronzeLens Film Festival, Haiti Consulate General Atlanta, FunkJazz Kafe, the NFL Players Association (Former Players Department) and the Telepictures Productions—producers of syndicated daytime talk shows Ellen, TMZ, Extra and The Real.
Assistant Professor of Film
LY BOLIA, MFA is Assistant Professor of Film/Video, with creative specializations as a writer, director, editor and cinematographer. Bolia’s films have been screened on the Learning Channel, PBS, Comedy Central Network, RDF Media, National Geographic Channel, and at the Lincoln Center. Bolia’s work spans feature films, short films, public service announcements, and political campaign advertisements. Research Areas: Cinematography; Film Lighting & Editing. Degree Track Affiliations: Ph.D. (Moving Image Studies), M.F.A., M.A. (Film & Video). Core Graduate Seminars Regularly Taught: Postproduction, Lighting, Cinematography.
Mehran Moin Films
MEHRAN MOIN is a videographer and editor at Schroder PR. At Schroder PR, Mehran is assigned to shoot and edit video projects that clients hire the firm to produce. His tasks include shooting the videos on location and editing a final product that is tailor made for each individual client. His goal is to capture the unique perspectives and distinct voices of the clients and to convey their stories through the medium of film. Mehran also has experience working with a local Atlanta media company called SourceUno, where he leads video shoots and edits monthly interviews and events.
MELISSA GOODMAN Melissa Goodman has been working for the Georgia Branch of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Atlanta Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists for over 28 years. She has served as the Executive Director since 1992. These two organizations merged into SAG-AFTRA in 2012, where Melissa continues to serve as the Executive Director of the Atlanta Local. Prior to coming to SAG and AFTRA in 1985, Melissa worked at a talent agency in Atlanta.
MELISSA RANDLE is a professional freelance script supervisor and producer/associate producer. Her diverse production experience includes a dozen TV shows, 20+ films, and hundreds of Commercial//Corporate videos & live events, with content in English, Spanish & Portuguese. She is also an active participant in the Atlanta Film Community serving as an advisor/ past president of Women In Film & Television Atlanta, in addition to participating with several local film festivals. As a guest speaker/ moderator she has been asked to cover a variety of topics from networking etiquette, to getting started in the film business, to teleprompting techniques for actors.
The Big Picture Film & Video Foundation
NANCY B. HOWARD is the Founder and Executive Director of The Big Picture Film & Video Foundation, and Founder and Producer the Georgia BigPictureCon Film & Technology Conference (formerly GABPC). She is also an independent film and video producer with over 16 years of production experience. Nancy is a current member and former Board Member of Women in Film & Television Atlanta, and currently a member of the Georgia Production Partnership, and the Atlanta Film Festival.
Motion Picture Pro Studios
NATHAN NAZARIO is a seasoned producer and marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience in the film and television industry and is currently the President of Communications with Motion Picture Pro Studios. PR campaign credits include over 50 films including six Academy-Award winners. Most recently served as a media relations consultant to USA Network, the #1 basic cable network. Previously served as VP, East Coast Publicity at Gramercy Pictures overseeing PR efforts on films such as "Dead Man Walking," "The Usual Suspects" and "Fargo."
Qurentia (Tia) Chester
QURENTIA (TIA) CHESTER is Senior Assistant for Dr. Sanjay Gupta with CNN Medical in Atlanta, Georgia. During Tia’s tenure she has assisted with projects for CNN AC360, Larry King, CNN Newsroom, CBS 60 minutes & TNT. With more than 10 years of media experience, Tia has enjoyed almost 7 years at CNN working in HLN, CNN Guest Bookings, CNN Documentary Unit & CNN Media ops.
RIK SWARTZWELDER wrote, directed, and acted in the upcoming feature film Old Fashioned, a romantic drama which will be released in theaters nationwide on Valentine’s Day weekend 2015 by Freestyle Releasing. The film has also inspired both a novel and a non-fiction companion book (both based on his screenplay and published by Tyndale House Publishers). As a writer-producer-director, his films have screened at over 145 film festivals worldwide and garnered over 50 major awards, including a Crystal Heart Award from the Heartland Film Festival, a CINE Special Jury Award, a national “Student” Emmy, and the Sprint/PCS Filmmaker of the Future Award.
SHEENA WILEY has always been either in front of or behind the camera since graduating from Tennessee State University with a degree in Mass Comm. Producing TV shows has always been a passion for Sheena so when the opportunity came she grabbed it. Together she and her husband decided to start their own production company. Their first production was a TV show called "The Ki Anime Report". They produced 2 seasons of the show geared towards lovers of Japanese animation and video games in which Sheena was the host.
TY WALKER has produced and line produced a plethora of feature length movies, television shows and new media content. Through the mentorship of several veteran industry professionals and executives, Walker has been able to take this invaluable knowledge and apply it to his own projects, resulting in the launching of his own boutique production company, Tycor International Film Company. Over the years Walker has made his mark in the industry as a leading indie movie producer and has become known for passionately producing movies of various genres and budgets around the globe.
Download PDF of the 2014 speaker list.
Short Film Festival Jury
Georgia State University’s Digital Arts Entertainment Lab
ELIZABETH STRICKLER creates, tests, and markets digital media content funded by grants and contracts. Her teaching is focused on New Media Entrepreneurship where she blends her knowledge of the media industry with design, creativity and technology to promote innovation in graduate and undergraduate student work. Much of her own research is in new modes of media interface and production through projects like The Window Project and The Cross Stitch Project. Her documentaries, short films, and new media work have received international awards and her most recent film is currently playing on PBS’s POV 2013 series.
Xavier L Neal-Burgin
University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts MFA Fellow
XAVIER L BURGIN is a writer, director and cinematographer in Los Angeles, CA. He is now working on his MFA in TV and Film Production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Xavier’s work has been featured on The New York Times, Cannes Short Film Corner, and The San Diego Black Film Festival. He has worked with companies including Lenovo, Coca-Cola, The Distinguished Filmmaker’s Network, and Oscar Mayer. Xavier strives to bring an emotionally powerful aesthetic to his dramatic work, and a pleasantly gut-aching, hilarity through comedy. He is currently working towards building an artistic resume. highlighting his unique and progressive sensibilities.