Panelists

Euzhan Palcy

Veteran Groundbreaking Film Director

When she directed Sugar Cane Alley in 1983, Euzhan Palcy put the French Caribbean on the world cinema map, winning The Silver Lion, Best Actress Award at the Venice International Film Festival and a César (French Oscar), breaking the directorial glass ceiling in French Cinema.

She pursued her journey as a film trailblazer in 1989 with A Dry White Season, a bracing drama made at the height of apartheid becoming the first black female director produced by a Hollywood studio, MGM/UA and the only female to direct Marlon Brando.

Euzhan Palcy, with her work Simeon (1992), a colorful musical fantasy, is one of the artists featured in “Among Others: Blackness at MoMa,” published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in September 2019.

She continues to share her talent and passion as a filmmaker, activist and mentor with an international new generation. She will soon be launching the Jump and Fly Foundation to house her global philanthropic efforts. Since March 2021, Euzhan Palcy is the new TIFF “Share Her Journey” Ambassador.

Selective Filmography: Sugar Cane Alley( 1983), A Dry White Season (1989), Simeon (1992), Aimé Césaire: A Voice for the 21st Century (1994), Ruby Bridges (Disney/ABC Studios – 1998), The Killing Yard (Paramount/Show Time – 2001), The Journey of the Dissidents (2006), The Brides of Bourbon Island (2007).

Alison A. Taylor

Location Manager

Alison Taylor has been working in the entertainment industry for 25years, at first as an Assistant Location Manager and for the last 21years as a Location Manager.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Indianapolis, she graduated from Purdue University with dual majors in Organizational Communication and Spanish.

Her fascination with international cultures led her to a foreign exchange program in Mexico City and a degree in foreign languages. After college, Alison spent several years as an International Tour Director escorting groups around the world before returning to Los Angeles where, in1995 she found herself attracted to the entertainment industry–specifically the location department.

As an Assistant Location Manager and Key Assistant Location Manager, she worked on movies such as The Soloist, Amistad, End of Days and Training Day. As a Location Manager, her most recent feature films include The Glorias: A Life on the Road, Fatale, The First Purge, A Wrinkle in Time and Straight Outta Compton.

Alison typically works on feature films, but she has also worked on major television series such as Snowfall, Southland, Lincoln Heights, Alias and recently, as the Supervising Location Manager and now, Location Consultant, on seasons 2 through 5of HBO’s Insecure. Insecure has received many accolades for its use of Los Angeles locations, particularly for its positive portrayal of South Los Angeles.

She is extremely proud of her work on the just-released limited series for Amazon Studios entitled, The Underground Railroad. The series was based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead and was adapted for television and directed by Academy Award Winning Director, Barry Jenkins. She recently completed work on additional photography for Marvel’s Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Alison has won three California on Location Awards (COLA) -voted by her peers for the excellence of her work as a Location Manager. Her awards were for her work on Southland (2012), Straight Outta Compton (2015) and A Wrinkle in Time (2017).

The feature films and TV series Alison has worked on, and continues to work on, have a deeply evocative sense of place which is central to the story on the screen. Her COLA awards recognize the critical role she has played not only in finding locations that bring the story to life but in managing those locations in a fashion that creates a positive experience for both the production company and the location.

In 2018, Alison testified in Sacramento before the California Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee on behalf of the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act which helped to extend the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program.

Alison is an active member of the Hollywood Teamsters Local 399(Diversity and Inclusion Committee), the Location Managers Guild International (Board of Directors, 2ndVice President), the Behind-the-scenes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative (Steering Committee), and the Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

Maria Daatio Perez

Director & Sr. Counsel, Mattel

Maria Daatio Perez is currently a Director and Senior Counsel at Mattel, overseeing all advertising and marketing legal for Mattel’s core brands, such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Polly Pocket, Uno, and Masters of the Universe, as well as their licensed properties coming from major licensors, such as Disney Pixar, NBCU and Warner Brothers. Maria also recently took over the management of the Standards and Practices group, who is responsible for reviewing and advising on all consumer facing video assets across the company.

Prior to Mattel, Maria was at Facebook helping launch Oculus Go, Facebook’s first wireless VR headset. She spent her time there analyzing and advising on regulations, laws and trends in various territories around the world and determining how to enter such markets. Prior to Facebook, Maria spent the first chunk of her legal career primarily as a deal attorney at Maker Studios and Disney, helping shape how multi-channel networks can work within the entertainment industry and establishing influencer deal structures, including branded entertainment deals, merchandising deals, and digital production. During that time, she also started delving into the advertising and marketing world as she worked closely with influencers and third party brands, doing brand integration deals from the ground up, coming up with templates, negotiating contracts, creating policies, reviewing creatives, and approving assets before going live with the campaigns.

Maria has two beautiful babies whom she keeps in mind as she continues to navigate the children’s advertising realm, ensuring that Mattel is able to put forth compelling promotions without misleading their consumers, especially children.

Nikkia Reveillac

Senior Director of Research, Twitter

Nikkia Reveillac is a passionate people advocate, a global culture maven and a change agent. She currently leads the Research team at Twitter where she is focused on helping to tackle the company’s biggest opportunities for growth with compelling, customer-centric insights and developing and inspiring high performing teams. She is part of a broader team whose primary responsibility is to help facilitate healthy participation in the public conversation on the internet.

Prior to Twitter, Nikkia spent many years at Colgate-Palmolive Company, where she developed a reputation for being a visionary in insights with an affinity for innovation, impact and action.

Nikkia attributes her success as a leader to her love for building collaborative relationships with her business partners and her hunger to deeply understand what drives the diverse individuals on her team. She shows up authentically as a challenger of the status quo with a global POV, thanks to her early career in dance, her Caribbean upbringing, her experience working in four countries and leading teams across four continents.

Nikkia now resides in Brooklyn, New York where she can still be found dancing, with her husband and two daughters.

Paula Williams Madison

Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC and 88 Madison Media Works Inc.

In 2011, Madison retired from NBCUniversal, where she had been Executive Vice President for Diversity as well as a Vice President of the General Electric Company (GE), then the parent company of NBCU.

During her 22 years with NBCU, she held a number of successful leadership roles, including President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Regional General Manager for NBCU’s Telemundo TV stations and Vice President and News Director of NBC4 New York.

Named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2005 and included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100,” she’s been honored by Asian organizations as well, having been recognized in 2014 as one of the Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business and in 2015, she was honored by the East West Players and AARP with their Visionary Award and by the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles with the Historymaker Award.

She is also the author and executive producer, respectively, of the book and documentary FINDING SAMUEL LOWE, which tell of her successful search to locate her Chinese grandfather’s descendants in China.
In 2013, Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Madison to the Los Angeles Police Commission where she served as vice president until 2015.

A dual citizen of both the US and Jamaica, Madison serves on the boards of the Black Filmmaker Foundation, the Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles, the Center for Asian American Media and more. Madison also is a board member of her family’s investment company, Williams Group Holdings LLC, the majority owner of The Africa Channel.

She and her husband Roosevelt Madison live in Los Angeles.

Lori Balton

Location Scout

Grateful to have a job that lets her explore the world, veteran Location Scout Lori Balton is the first location professional accepted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). For decades, she has worked with some of the best directors, designers, and location managers in the business.

Featured on numerous podcasts and master classes, Balton was a recent jurist for the EUFCN Location Award and the Location Guide’s inaugural Makers & Shakers Awards. When not chasing incentives, she lives in Venice, California with her husband, and rescue dogs.

Balton’s credits include Heat, Argo, A River Runs Through It, Inception, Memoirs of a Geisha, Catch Me if You Can, Seabiscuit, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Maverick, Top Gun 2, and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and 5.

Sharon Matthews

Head of Video Original Content, ESPN

Emmy-Award winning Head of Video Original Content, Development and Production Sharon Matthews joined ESPN in 2007, as a producer for the network’s studio programming unit. In October 2018, she joined The Undefeated shifting the digital storytelling platform to a multi-media video content division at ESPN/The Walt Disney Company, developing and producing a multitude of specials, from “The Stop: Living, Dying while Driving Black” to “Tiger Woods America’s Son” and most recently, “A Room of Our Own”. Most recently, Sharon launched The Undefeated on ESPN+ extending the company’s commitment to telling Black Stories outside of the 28 days of February and was an Executive Producer, “The March On Washington: Keepers Of The Dream” a timely one-hour documentary special in partnership with National Geographic, tracing the raw and uncensored journey of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the heroes who marched for justice and equality in the 1960s and exploring the experiences of those on the front lines of the current fight for racial equality.

A native of Toronto, Sharon worked as a producer at NBA TV Canada from 2001-2007 launching the network under the original moniker Raptors NBA TV and their sister channel Leafs TV producing features and documentaries such as In Search for Lebron James, and The Carmelo Anthony Story.

Sharon graduated from York University (Toronto, Ontario) and is an active leader of ESPN’s Black and African American Employee Resource Group, ESPN PULSE.

Natasha Griffiths

Screenwriter-Director-Educator

Natasha Griffiths is a screenwriter-director and educator from Manchester, Jamaica. She has a commendable background in Theatre (acting), which was the pursuit of her undergraduate studies. After her undergraduate tenure, a joint programme between the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and The University of the West Indies, Ms. Griffiths pursued filmmaking.

While serving as a high school Theatre Arts teacher, she undertook several film trainings, and more specifically, screenwriting programmes. After eight years as a high school educator, while moonlighting as a writer and production assistant, Ms. Griffiths pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting. In May 2018 she concluded her MFA at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema in Brooklyn, NY.

To date, Ms. Griffiths has written a number of screenplays; shorts, features, one-hour television episodes and web-series episodes. A Fire and a Funeral, the pilot episode of her television drama series Showa was short-listed for the 2018 Sundance Episodic Lab. Additionally, her feature screenplay Lukewarm was short-listed for the 2021 Sundance Feature Film Program Development Track and earned a place in the 2019 British Council/Jamaica Film & Television association/Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) Feature Film Lab. Also, her short film, Home Sweet Home was an official selection in the 2020 Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival and GATFEST International Film Festival.

Ms. Griffiths has served as an adjunct screenwriting professor at Hofstra University, Brooklyn College (Fierstein Graduate School of Cinema), New York University (TISCH School of the Arts) and The University of the West Indies (CARIMAC). Currently Ms. Griffiths is a full-time faculty member at The University of Technology, Jamaica, where she lectures in screenwriting.

Lili Bernard

Artist-Actress-Author-Activist

Lili Bernard is a Cuban-born, Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary Afro-Latina artist of mixed African, Caribbean, European and Chinese descent.

Her work examines issues of sexism, racism, and trauma. A mother of six whom she birthed in a ten-year span, Lili is an award-winning exhibiting fine artist, actor, published writer, independent curator, educator, community organizer, public speaker and founder of BAILA: Black Artists in Los Angeles.

Raised predominantly in Princeton, Jct., New Jersey, and a graduate of The American School in Japan where she spent 11th and 12th grades, Lili attended Cornell University and The City University of New York, earning a B.A. in German. She received her MFA in Visual Arts/Public Practice from Otis College of Art and Design.

In the fine arts, Lili’s numerous credits include a 2017 solo exhibition at Museum of African Diaspora and favorable reviews in a multitude of mainstream art periodicals, including ARTnews Magazine.

As an actor who has performed extensively in NYC Off-Broadway theatre, on television Lili starred in the BBC film Murder in Oakland, co-starred in Stephen King’s Golden Years, and guest-starred on Seinfeld and The Cosby Show.

A Cosby survivor-turned public-figure antirape activist, Lili influenced the abolishment of the statute of limitations on rape prosecution in California with her #EndRapeSOL peers, as well as the gubernatorial signing of three #MeToo bills on employment sexual harassment and assault. Currently, she serves as co-chair of #ERAnow.

Kesime Bernard

Creative Marketing Executive

Kesime Bernard is an award-winning television executive with over twenty years of experience in Directing, Network Branding and Marketing. She has been at the core of the creative teams for networks as varied as VH1, BET, Nickelodeon and OWN.

Since joining the incredible Freeform creative team, she has led the marketing campaigns for 25 Days of Christmas, Motherland: Fort Salem, Grown-ish and more.

Danielle Ayow

Filmmaker, Actor, Comedian

Danielle is an actor and comedian from Toronto, Canada. She has appeared on television shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Nurses, and Spinning Out, and understudied on the prestigious Second City Mainstage in Toronto.

From her time onset, she has developed a keen interest in filmmaking. She wrote and directed her first documentary, But “You’re Not Black,” about her personal experiences growing up Chinese-Caribbean-Canadian, which is showing at this year’s CaribbeanLens International Film Festival.

Social Media Handles

Instagram: @daniayow @butyourenotblk

Website: https://danielleayow.com/but-youre-not-black

#butyourenotblackfilm

Andrea Chung

Fine Artist

Andrea Chung lives and works in San Diego, California.

She received a BFA from Parsons School of Design, New York, and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore. Her recent biennale and museum exhibitions include the Addison Museum of American Art, Prospect 4, New Orleans and the Jamaican Biennale, Kingston, Jamaica, as well as the Chinese American Museum and California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the Addison Museum of American Art.

In 2017, her first solo museum exhibition took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, You broke the ocean in half to be here. She has participated in national and international residencies including the Vermont Studio Center, McColl Center for Visual Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Her work has been written about in the Artfile Magazine, New Orleans Times, Picayune, Artnet, The Los Angeles Times, and International Review of African-American Art among others.

Her work is included in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, NoVo Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Art & Medicine Institute, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Davis Museum at Wesley College, and the Addison Museum of American Art.

Barbara Bullard

Entrepreneur-Publicist-Writer-Producer
President, Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute

Barbara Bullard, entrepreneur, publicist, writer, and producer serves as a social innovator and catalyst for cultural transformation. Her path began in marketing and production for agencies such as Lintas Worldwide and HBO. She then shifted her focus to nonprofit institutions such as Lincoln Center Productions and the Arthur Ashe Foundation.

Working to restore Shirley Chisholm’s legacy for almost two decades, Barbara produced the national unveiling of the Shirley Chisholm Forever Stamp, for which she received a Presidential Proclamation by President Barak Obama.

She now serves as President of the Shirley Chisholm Cultural Institute.

Barbara’s marketing firm, B-Bullard LLC, is the creator of Marginalized Voices and Media, in collaboration with the Congressional Media Caucus.

As an author, Barbara is sought after by art advocates, corporations, and policymakers on equity, cultural inclusivity, and community healing.

Zahra Phillips

Director of Production, Searchlight Pictures

Zahra Phillips is currently a Director of Production at Searchlight Pictures, where she has been since 2019.

In her two years at the company she has had the privilege of working with a wide variety of talented auteurs, from award-winning, established filmmakers to exciting up-and-coming voices. She is passionate about creating spaces for unique stories that may not fit into the traditional studio mold.

Prior to Searchlight, Zahra was an executive at Franklin Entertainment, where she oversaw projects in film and television, and before that a Creative Executive at Broad Green Pictures where she handled the development and production of the studio’s original films.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Zahra has always been an ardent film lover but did not see a career in the industry until her first internship, at Double Feature Films. After college, she jumped into the industry head first with a job in the WME mailroom.

She worked in talent representation for several years, first at WME and then Authentic Talent and Literary Management, before moving into development at Broad Green Pictures in 2015.