In Person Festival returns January 25-29, 2023 

Meet the Artists

Meet some of the filmmakers, musicians, comedians, panelists and other amazing artists who were featured at the 2020 Denton Black Film Festival.

Rebecca Aguilar

Rebecca Aguilar is a freelance reporter, news consultant, Emmy award-winner, and journalism professor. She has worked in seven television newsrooms all over the country including Fox 4 News in Dallas. In 38 years, she has covered stories on everything from hurricanes, major floods, the Super Bowl, and the Oscars. As a woman of color, she has worked to make sure diverse representation is included in news reports and inside the newsrooms where decisions are made daily on what stories will be covered. Today, Rebecca is the Diversity Committee Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists. The national journalism organization is committed to bringing diversity to a profession that needs it.

Appears in: Social Responsibility of Media Makers


Lizette Barerra

Lizette Barrera is a Chicana filmmaker based in Dallas/Ft.Worth with ties in Austin, TX. Her film MOSCA (FLY) has been previously licensed with HBO. She was awarded The Filmmaker to Watch Award at the Women Texas Film Festival and the EBW by Sandra Adair cash grant from the Austin Film Society for her film CHICLE (GUM), which World Premiered at SXSW. She has received her MFA in Film Production at The University of Texas at Austin and has previously been a Senior Lecturer and Adjunct Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Arlington. She is currently working as a Producer for Prelude Films is represented by Inclusion Management in Los Angeles.

Appears in: The Art of the Short Film


Dr. Tony E. Carey Jr.
Dr. Tony E. Carey Jr. is an associate professor of political science department at the University of North Texas. He specializes in the areas of public opinion and political behavior, with primary interests in racial and ethnic politics, gender politics and political psychology. Dr. Carey’s work has been published in several journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Politics and Gender, Politics, Groups, and Identities and Urban Affairs Review.


Michael J. Dennis (Director/ Editor) a.k.a. “Mike D.” has over 20 years of experience as a filmmaker. He holds a B.F.A. in Film Production from New York University and a M.F.A. in Film Directing from the American Film Institute. In 1999, he founded Reelblack, an independent film company dedicated to creating and promoting “Good movies ‘bout Black folks.”. Mike’s credits include the biographical portraits Who Is Chris Rock (1989), Philly Boy: A Movie About M.C. Breeze (2002), Jazzyfatnastees In Process (2002), Kindred The Family Soul (2006), Ursula Rucker: Poet (2008) and Ladies and Gentlemen, Jordan Rock (2011). He has directed and edited over 450 segments for Reelblack TV, a half hour film and music interview show that is broadcast monthly on PhillyCAM. A three-time grant recipient of Mind TV’s Philadelphia Stories, his work has screened on CNN, BET, WYBE-TV and Aspire TV. Awards include Film of the Year, Phillyhiphop.com for Philly Boy (2002), Best Documentary NC Black Film Festival for Jazzyfatnastees in Process (2003), Emerging Filmmaker Award NC Black Film Festival (2004), CNN IReport Grand Jury Prize for The 13th Amendment (2008), PhillyCAM Impact Award (2013), Citation from Philadelphia City Council (2013).

Appears in: Savages, Servants and Specialty Acts Screening and Discussion


Chief Frank Dixon
Chief Frank Dixon was sworn in as the chief of police for the city of Denton, Texas on October 11, 2018. Before coming to Denton, he served 23 year on the police force in Austin, Texas, climbing to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police. In addition, Chief Dixon is a veteran of the United States Marine Corp and a graduate of Lamar University.


Deborah Riley Draper

Deborah Riley Draper is a filmmaker and advertising executive. Her first documentary Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution made its first appearance at the Marche du Film in 2012. The film had a limited theatrical run in the U.S and is distributed by Filmbuff. The film won both festival, critical and audience acclaim, including The New York Times, The LA Times and the St. Louis International Film Festival. Versailles ’73 had its cable TV premiere on Viacom’s Logo TV in September 2015. The documentary is optioned by Director Tate Taylor (The Help). Deborah Riley Draper’s second project Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, narrated by veteran Hollywood Actor Blair Underwood, reveals the seminal moment in Civil Rights when 18 African American defy Jim Crow and Aryan supremacy at the 1936 Olympics. Draper’s next project is a twisted love story set in the Harlem Renaissance.


Vanessa Ellison
Vanessa Ellison is a “Green Queen” and an agent of change! She is a proud University of North Texas alumni with a B.A. from the Mayborn School of Journalism and a M.S. in International Sustainable Tourism. She serves as the Education Coordinator for the City of Denton Sustainability. As a current doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at Woman’s University, she hopes to further her knowledge of ways to sustainably benefit the community. Vanessa is a Waco, TX native but has adopted as Denton her home since 2007. In her free time she enjoys vegan ice cream, reading, and traveling with her husband. Her passions are community service, sustainability and helping others understand the importance of interconnectedness to better our community and the planet.

Appears in: Social Justice- Environmental Justice Panel


David Heredia is the founder of Heroes of Color LLC, an organization dedicated to promoting inclusion and diversity through art, animation and professional development. He has worked for Walt Disney Animation, Warner Bros. Animation, and DC Collectibles.

His six-time award-winning educational video series “Heroes of Color” was awarded $60,000 in the Pitch Black Media awards  in April 2019 which was hosted by Black Public Media. He has been featured in the New York Times, on NPR, and PBS Online. His upcoming children’s book “Little Heroes of Color” published by Scholastic is available in stores and online at amazon, target and barnes & nobles.

David’s long-term commitment to educating artists has led to the creation of the Business of Freelance workshop program which focuses on educating college art students on how to generate income for themselves.


Websites: www.heroesofcolor.comwww.thefreelancehustle.co

Email: david@heroesofcolor.com

Instagram: @_heroesofcolor

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidheredia/


Appears in:  Enhance your films with 2d animation; and Social Responsibility of Media Makers



David Hunter is the Manager of Watershed Protection and Industrial Pretreatment for the City of Denton, TX and has worked in water resources management for 24 years. His job involves management of the Cities Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit and the City’s Industrial Pretreatment Program. He also provides technical support for many surface water and wastewater issues including various grant research and model development. Additionally, Mr. Hunter is an Aerographer’s Mate Chief Petty Officer with the United States Navy Reserve. In this capacity he currently serves as a tactical meteorological and oceanographic forecaster. He has been involved in various research projects with the University of North Texas, Baylor University and many professional consultants. His research areas have been water quality, environmental modeling, environmental monitoring and analysis, toxicology and materials science. He has been an “A” certified water and wastewater operator and is currently a Registered Sanitarian, a Certified Floodplain Manager and Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control. One of the favorite parts of his job is being able to give tours of the wastewater treatment plant or talking to audiences of all ages and connecting water and engineering and science to all levels of society by talking about processes big and small related to water.


Workshop: Social Justice- Environmental Justice Panel


Dr. Irene Klaver

Dr. Irene Klaver is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas. Her research and teaching interests explore the socio-political and cultural dimensions of water. She has written extensively on issues related to water usage, conservation, global environmental change, and cultural diversity. Klaver was a leading co-editor of the UNESCO book Water, Cultural Diversity & Global Environmental Change (Springer, 2012); co-editor of From Biocultural Homogenization to Biocultural Conservation (Springer, 2018); and Co-Director and Research Specialist of the award-winning documentaries “The New Frontier: Sustainable Ranching in the American West” (2010) and “River Planet” (2011). Currently she is finalizing a book about the Trinity River in North Texas (Texas A&M University Press) and working on a monograph on Meandering, River Spheres and New Urbanism. Dr. Klaver was Water and Culture Advisor for UNESCO, 2008-2013 and Co-Director of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy, 2010-2014.

Appears in: Social Justice- Environmental Justice Panel


Vaun Monroe

“I am a bluesman, drama is my axe.”

Monroe is currently the Executive Director of the Nate Parker Film Foundation Program at Wiley College. He was previously the Senior Story Analyst for Ithaca Entertainment and President of the National Association of Black Screenwriters. He was the Artistic Director at Chicago Scriptworks where he produced numerous staged readings of award winning screenplays. He has produced, written and directed narrative films that have screened in film festivals both nationally and internationally. Monroe was a professor at Ithaca College after having won the prestigious James Pendleton fellowship in Screenwriting and also taught film courses at Cornell University, Morgan State University, and Columbia College Chicago. He is also one of the founding members of EDIT Media: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media, a faculty-driven initiative dedicated to researching, developing, and educating about best practices in inclusive teaching in college-level media production. Monroe was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He earned his BA in African American Drama at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and his MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia.  


Appears in: The Art of the Short Film


Loki Mulholand

Loki Mulholland is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, author, activist and son of Civil Rights Icon, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland. Loki’s films have received over 40 Telly Awards and his films on race and social justice issues have won 15 Best Documentary awards. His first book, “She Stood For Freedom” was nominated for the 2017 Amelia Bloomer Award. A member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Loki speaks across the country on issues of race and social justice and is the founder and Executive Director of the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation which was created to end racism through education.


Website is www.thejtmfoundation.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheJTMFoundation/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/educate2endhate

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joantrumpauermulholland/


Appears in: Social Responsibility of Media Makers

Jacolby Percy

Jacolby Percy was born and raised in the Hamilton Park neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. In the late 90’s he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to pursue a career in music producing and video production. While in Georgia he began writing scripts, shooting micro shorts, and documentaries. After moving back to Dallas he decided to forgo music production to concentrate on the art of filmmaking full-time. Jacolby has written and directed three award winning short films, a documentary and is currently working to produce an online series that will begin shooting in mid 2020.

Trailer for Color Me Prettyhttps://vimeo.com/209469881


Appears in: The Art of the Short Film

Christina Raia is a New York City-based Writer/Director and the Founder of CongestedCat Productions. She focuses on character-driven narrative projects that explore social issues through humor and horror. Her work, consisting of over a dozen short films, a web series, and two feature films, has screened at film festivals around the world and gained a large online following through multiple crowdfunding campaigns and coverage on press outlets such as Indiewire and BuzzFeed. Through a desire to support other filmmakers, she works for Seed&Spark as the head of education, teaching and empowering creators to build their audience and crowdfund their work. She also runs IndieWorks, a monthly screening and community-building series showcasing short films by other New York filmmakers. Find Christina on social media: @craia9.


Appears in: Art of Pitching workshop; Distribution Down Low; and Social Responsibility of Media Makers


Dr. Gabrielle Smith

Dr. Gabrielle Smith is an assistant professor of psychology at Texas Women’s University. Her research and teaching interests focus on stereotype threat and the social consequences of intersecting identities. Dr. Smith’s work has been published in numerous outlets such as Health Education and Behavior, Journal of College Student Development and the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Appears in: Social Justice: Criminal Justice Panel


Micahel Thielvoldt

Michael Thielvoldt is the Program Manager of Filmmaker Resources at the Austin Film Society where he works directly with filmmakers through various support programs, oversees management of the AFS Grant, and writes and reports for the organization’s federal, state, and municipal grants. Michael is a former film professor and film festival programmer. During his time as a film programmer at Other Worlds Austin Film Festival, he helped introduce and manage the Dan O’Bannon Filmmaker Award, a production grant for Texas filmmakers working on science fiction film projects. 


Appears in: Grantwriting Workshop


Gregory Timmons

Gregory Timmons, moderator, Flint Water Recovery Resource Coordinator Reverend Gregory Timmons is pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church, Flint. A mission-oriented leader with 25 years of organizational strategy in his background, he has served corporate, religious, non-profit, health care, and community wellness organizations. Since the start of the Flint Water Crisis, he has led UMC’s recovery programs and help centers to support the people of Flint. He has been an active member of the local steering committee surrounding Flint: The Poisoning of an American City and appears in the documentary. His wife is the Reverent Faith Timmons of Bethel United Methodist Church. They are parents of a 12-year old son Greg II and a 6-year old daughter Olivia.

Appears in: Social Justice- Environmental Justice Panel


Calvin J. Walker

Calvin J Walker is an award-winning filmmaker based in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Calvin has been active in the independent film world since 2012. During that time, he’s written for producers from various parts of the world. He’s directed a multitude of projects within the webseries and short film space. Calvin’s casting agency WM Casting Group is becoming one of the go to agencies for production companies looking to cast diverse talent. Calvin has been married to his beautiful wife, Rayanna, since 2008. They have three amazing children.


Appears in: The Art of the Short Film


Tiara “Tia” Williams

The path to greatness for a woman of color in life, as well as entertainment, isn’t always the easiest. Within the mind of Tiara “Tia” Williams her dreams aim to bring reality to both the silver screen and the male dominated entertainment industry. Born in Austin and raised in a small town right outside of the city of Houston, Tia followed in her mother’s footsteps and moved back to the weird city as an adult.

Tia found her creative niche while podcasting about entertainment and politics and began blogging about victims of Police brutality. Soon after she began combining her true love for writing and passion for people of color and expanded her storytelling abilities with short stories and screenplays. In 2018 Tia made the decision to leave her position at a well-known tech company and make her dreams a reality.

As a new filmmaker Tia’s goal is to use HER art to tell the stories that help not only entertain, but break down societal norms and stereotypes. Her latest project “Gentrified” has garnished national attention and aims to capture the financial and emotional effects of gentrification through a thought-provoking dramatic narrative web series.

Appears in: Social Responsibility of Media Makers; Film screening January 25, 6:50 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Theater 8


Kameishia Wooten

Originally from Goldsboro, North Carolina, Kameishia Wooten earned her B.A. in Media Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and M.F.A. in Film Writing and Directing at Columbia College Chicago.

Kameishia has written, directed, and produced 6 short films.  THE TEST received first runner-up in IFP’s Fly-Over Zone Film Festival. SOUTHERN CROSS placed as a semi-finalist in the HBO/Chase Film Legacy challenge and has screened in over 20 film festivals around the world, including Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival’s Emerging Showcase.  Most recently, her feature screenplay, DESTINY’S ROAD, was selected as 1 of 12 projects for the 2019 Women In Film Financing Intensive. Also, her proof of concept short film of the same name placed as a semi-finalist in the 2019 Tribeca Film Institute Pond 5 Program and will be touring the festival circuit in 2020.


She currently works at Netflix, where she oversees document delivery for the Original Studio Film group. Kameishia resides in Los Angeles where she’s a member of Alliance of Women Directors, Women In Film, Women In Media, and Film Independent. Kameishia’s mission as a filmmaker is to create content that fosters culture, diversity, and community.


Appears in: The Art of the Short Film; Film screening shorts block January 26, 2:55 p.m., Alamo Drafthouse Theater 8.

Cyndi McCoy is the multifaceted founder of the DCOM Corporation, a company that provides new product development and digital transformations for enterprise and startup Business-to Business customers in the Financial Services, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Retail industries. She is the author of Keep Your Feet Moving and Navigate Challenges on the Road to Entrepreneurship.

Workshop: Augmented Reality’s growth inspires career and business growth


Ernanda White, Growth Hacker, Executive Coach and Entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience as an Entrepreneur, Techie and Creative. She has served as an Advisor for technological advancement in school districts, Advocate for at risk youth from underserved  communities and Educator to young adults in career development. Forever philanthropic, she has volunteered her time and fundraising to help implement social justice systems within disenfranchised communities. Currently studying to become a Drone Pilot, she is launching her 2020 STEAM initiatives for Black Girls Drone. In her quiet time you can find her bird watching, framing art, sipping tea from her collection and spending quality time with her family.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ernanda-white | Facebook page @blackgirlsdrone
Twitter @GirlsDrone | Website: https://blackgirlsdrone.webstarts.com
Email: blackgirlsdrone@gmail.com

Workshop: Taking Flight in the Pursuit of Equality, Education, and Visibility for Underrepresented Women and Girls from Underserved Communities with Aeronautic Training, Opportunities and Certified UAV aeronautics.


Heidi D. Edwards, M.Ed, MDiv, is an experienced educator with 13 years in the classroom. She specializes in working with children with learning disabilities and language acquisition needs. In her years of teaching, she spent 7 years in Indonesia where she gained incredible experience learning about the Eastern methods of educating children and young adults. Upon her return to the States, she has engaged in online platforms that allowed her to teach children and adults in China. Currently, Heidi is developing a virtual classroom that appeals to the
imagination and creativity of children and teens. She believes that children are more apt to learn when they are fully engaged and feel apart of the environment where learning is taking place.

Heidi D. Edwards Email – doneshaedwards8@gmail.com

Workshop: Virtual Reality in the Classrooms and Beyond


Anthara Patrice has been in the beauty industry for 23 years, since the age of 8 coming from a successful family salon enterprise in Southern Dallas. A UNT Alumnae who had a lifestyle marketing company until 2017, along with a full-time career in Project Management for over 7 years has provided hands on business experience, increasing her passion for serial entrepreneurship.

A 2018 Black Enterprise Tech Cnxt Fellow, 2019 Black Tech Week Tulsa Feature, Tech Chair of Wrightway Tech Co-op and recent AfroTech feature, Anthara is an emerging tech mogul leveraging technology to provide community resources through her first application Mybeautyfill, a B2B SAAS Cloud Solution for the Salon Industry. With multiple projects on the horizon and a love for technology, Anthara continues to increase diversity and inclusion throughout Tech.

MJStechnologies.io Coming Soon
IG, Facebook : AntharaPatrice
LinkedIn : Anthara Carr

Workshops: Leveraging Tech to Advance Socio-Economic Status and Experiential Technology


Andrew Scott works at the intersection of digital fabrication technologies, traditional fine arts practices and collective cultural ideals. Utilizing laser cutters, CNC mills, 3D printers and scanning technologies, he fabricates sculptures,
creates installations and immersive visual experiences by using projection mapping to bring static objects to life. His creative practice spans more than three decades. Working in diverse scales, materials, and digital platforms, he has
exhibited worldwide in galleries, museums and other venues. He has also created several permanent public art projects and participated on design teams with architects and engineers on major civic projects.

andrew.scott1@utdallas.edu ; https://www.afsart.com/

Workshop: 3D Printing and Film


Stephenetta (isis) Harmon is a Black beauty editor and multi-dimensional creative with 20+ years experience in journalism and beauty. In her current position as digital media director and editor for Hype Hair magazine, she explores the politics, nuances and perception of Black hair and beauty. Via Sadiaa.com, she aims to further explore the business, economics and marketing of Black hair beauty.


Workshop: Beauty and Bias Behind the Camera


Kevin Powell is a Game Designer at Gearbox Software currently working on Borderlands 3. In his current role he uses Unreal Blueprint to create various objects used for missions and proofs out system designs throughout the title. Kevin has been in the industry for 10 years and has worked on titles such as Global Agenda, Tribes: Ascend, SMITE, and Battleborn. Kevin graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010 with a BFA in Interactive Design and Game Development.

Pamela Jackson is a global marketing executive with a with a diverse background and proven track record of innovation, strategic and results oriented marketing. Her more than 20 years of global marketing experience with U.S. multinational companies as well as early stage start-ups include brand marketing, global marketing communication, digital marketing, public relations, product marketing and product management. She has lead marketing efforts for multi-billion dollar brands from initial branding and launch strategy through to digital marketing and sales execution for both consumer and B2B products and services. Pamela is a passionate marketer and is always exploring new and different approaches to marketing. She holds a B.S. and an MBA.

Angel Mosley, CISA, Founder, CyberSecurity GameChangers Youth Outreach has 15+ years of Consulting, Training and Leadership experience in CyberSecurity, Privacy, and Risk Management and serves as a strategic advisor to multiple CISOs, Executives, and Non-profit Boards. She has spoken, presented and instructed at over 20 Tech & CyberSecurity conferences, organizations, and workshops. In 2018 Angel created CyberSecurity GameChangers, a non-profit that hosts NextGen Symposiums and Beyond School programs for youth 11 – 17. ‘GameChangers’ exposes kids from all walks of life to the benefits of learning sustainable skills that will strengthen their family dynamics for future societies. In addition, in 2019 Angel became the first ‘Beyond School’ Program Director of Geekletes Esports. Geekletes’ Beyond School offers project-based afterschool and summer programs. We work with afterschool organizations, school districts, and charter schools to offer professional Esports curriculum, workshops, industry speakers and job-embedded training that equip students with the techniques needed to promote career and college Esports readiness. CONTACT – #SecKidHero | Contact Info: Angel Mosley ~ 214-232-8324 | Angel@SecKidHero.org | @SecKidHero | #SecKidHero