Tea Talks with Tomeka PODCAST


TEA TALKS WITH TOMEKA Podcast celebrates women filmmakers, their journeys and their projects! I am your host Tomeka M. Winborne so let’s talk her… on every other Thursday! Music by Julius Ames. Please subscribe and listen  to Tea Talks with Tomeka Podcast and  leave a review.





Episode 31: Tomeka M. Winborne, Brigette “B-Rock,” Tedra Goethe and JaMara Smith

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.

This episode we talk about short film, “Aged Out.” Writer / Director Tomeka M. Winborne talks with Filmmaker Brigette “B-Rock” Rock, Singer/Songwriter Tedra Goethe and Actress JaMara Smith about their journeys and roles in “Aged Out.”  

“Aged Out” is about a widow that grieves the loss of her husband until a desperate looking teenager knocks on her door to offer handyman services. After hiring him for odd jobs around her house, she connects with him and becomes compelled to help this young man after learning that he has AGED OUT, which in turn reignites her purpose to live.

“Aged Out” has been screened at the Bronze Lens Film Festival and the CineOdysee Film Festival.

The Department of Human Services in Newport News, Virginia also hosted a public screening to bring awareness !

The ladies all share how they learned about youth aging out of foster care. B Rock shares her personal account of aging out of the foster care system. We talk about the state of youth aging out of foster care. We hope to use the short film, “Aged Out” to start a conversation to bring awareness to youth aging out of foster care. 

“Aged Out” can be viewed on Watch Jaro, Vimeo  and www.tomekawinborne.com/film/aged-out.


Filmmaker Brigette “B-Rock” Rock

Brigette Rock mostly known as B-Rock has been in the film industry for over 10 years. She’s a Producer, Screenwriter, Director. B-Rock started her journey as AD (Assistant Director) and she fell in love with filmmaking. She worked in many departments because she felt knowing many roles would help her to be a rounded filmmaker. She has worked on Independent films, Short films, Music videos and Reality TV.  

Singer / Songwriter Tedra Goethe

Tedra Goethe was first inspired to the amazing world of music at a young age while harmonizing to the musical, “THE SOUND OF MUSIC.” She served on several choirs, co-created a high school singing group and entered singing talent shows, earning first place award. As she pursued a personal career goals in the healthcare industry while dabbling in real estate and cosmetology, she never lost focus of her God given talent of singing and songwriting. She often compared singing as a gateway to inner peace and hopes to impart the same to others as she writes the next chapter in her life.

Actress JaMara Smith

JaMara Smith, of Virginia Beach Virginia, is honored to be cast in We’re Left Behind.   She is trained in Scene Study and Dramatic Acting with a resume that includes television, theater and film. Television roles include, Tyler Perry: The Have And The Have Nots and The CW: Sleepy Hollow.  Theater roles include, Terra Vizion Entertainment: Railings and Charlie T. Productions: Hurts. Film credits include, Lavender Reels Production: We’re Left Behind as well as CineOdyssey and BronzeLens Film Festival selected Aged Out.  JaMara is looking forward to working in the next award winning production and gives all praise and honor to God.










Episode 30 – Melissa Blue

Melissa Blue is an actor/writer/director/DP/editor/colorist. As a co-founder of Bravemaker Productions, she co-created and showruns the comedy web series “Life Group” about an enthusiastically inept Life Coach, which has recently gotten into 5 film festivals, winning two so far. She was the director and DP for the award winning web series “Don’t Judge Me” and “The Making of Jane D. Smith.” Graduating from Ball State University with a degree in musical theatre, as an actor she has appeared in John Adams, A Haunting, Danny the Manny, Wicked Attraction, Happily Never After, and countless plays and musicals. With over 20 years of professional experience, she runs two successful businesses: Rock Your Reel (www.rockyourreel.com), which does custom demo reels and headshots for actors, and Bravemaker Productions (www.bravemakerproductions.com), a production company that focuses on narrative content. But most important, she is wife to writer Jonathan and dog mom to Lucy, and lives in Tarzana, CA.




Episode 29: Alexxiss S. Jackson

Alexxiss S. Jackson is a Director of Photography originally from Detroit, MI. From a very early age, she aspired to be a visual storyteller; she made her first film at 8 years old using the family camcorder (starring her collection of Transformers and Barbie dolls). Ten years later, she enrolled in film school at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film/Video Studies and English. For further formal training, she also completed the intensive Summer Film Program at the University of Southern California.

Since then, Alexxiss has served as Director of Photography on numerous pieces, ranging from narrative films, commercials, promo spots, TV show segments, and music videos. Her work has been recognized at least 20 times by a number of international bodies, including film festivals across the United States, Canada, Australia, Kenya, Uganda, the Netherlands, and the UK. She was spotlighted on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls in March 2018. Also in 2018, she was invited to speak publicly at TERMINUS Conference + Festival, where she presented a seminar entitled “Cinematography: Crafting a Look with Lenses and Filters” that was very well received. She has
spoken on several other panels, podcasts, radio interviews, etc; not only about cinematography, but also what it’s like to be a woman of color in the film industry.


Twitter: twitter.com/sfpoetic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/sfpoetic/

Episode 28 – Emelyn Stuart

Emelyn Stuart is the first Black Latino to own a movie theater in Brooklyn, “Stuart Cinema and Cafe.”

Emelyn’s a business woman that loves the arts. She has a background in real estate and business. A friend presented her with a script and she signed on as a producer. She caught the bug and gained a passion to help filmmakers to life.

After going to many festivals, she started a film festival, “Ocktober Film Festival.” She want this festival to be about the filmmakers. That later inspired her to open a movie theater, “Stuart Cinema and Cafe.” The model and concept of the theater is to allow independent filmmakers to make money when they screen their movies. Despite her ambition, she faced several challenges in getting investors to buy into her concept for this movie theater. She refused to take no for an answer so she liquidated her assets and birthed her vision and built “Stuart Cinema & Cafe.” It worked out better than Emelyn envisioned because she has total creative control. In addition to screening movies, she host book signings, gaming nights, community events and much more. Emelyn says that her first love is still producing. 






Episode 27: Jennifer Warren

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Women in Film, she is a founding member and present chair of The Alliance of Woman Directors, an organization which actively supports equality in the workplace.

As an actress, Jennifer Warren is best known for her leading roles in such features as “Night Moves,” opposite Gene Hackman (Screen World Award – Best Actress) directed by Arthur Penn; “Slapshot,” opposite Paul Newman, directed by George Roy Hill; “Fatal Beauty,” opposite Whoopi Goldberg, as well as “Another Man, Another Chance” opposite Jimmy Cahn, directed by Claude LeLouche. She has also starred in over twenty network movies.

Jennifer developed and directed the feature film, “The Beans of Egypt Maine,” for American Playhouse and Live Entertainment. Her second directorial feature, “Partners in Crime,” starring Rutger Hauer and Paulina Porizkova. “Partners” was distributed in America by Artisan Films and appeared on Direct T.V.

Jennifer is the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the organization Pathways to Peace after having participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The recent chair of the directing track at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, she is still teaching directing on both the graduate and undergraduate level.


Cheryl L. Bedford
WOC Unite / The JTC List

Cheryl L. Bedford and I talk about her journey into the film industry. She shares shares has NYU made her a filmmaker and AFI taught her how to be a filmmaker in Los Angeles. Cheryl also shares how she met Bill Duke and became a line producer on the documentary, “Dark Girls.” That led to us talking about colorism.

Joan Theresa Curtis, Cheryl’s mother is her biggest role model.  has influenced her to use her gifts to make the world a better place for the next generation. In her honor, Cheryl started Women of Color Unite / The JTC List which creates a list of women of color to help get them hired, their work distributed and to create a community for Women of Color.

WOC UNITE is having it’s first annual Gala on March 28, 2019.

Cheryl L. Bedford, a NAACP Image Award Nominee for “Dark Girls” and Baltimore native, holds a BFA from NYU’s TSOA and MFA in Producing from AFI. She is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. As a Production Manager, Line Producer, and Producer, Cheryl has worked on countless film/tv/digital projects, including 16 Independent
Features. Ms. Bedford served as CFO and Supervising Producer for a boutique studio.
She was formerly Chair of Diversity Development and a Producing Instructor at a Film School in Los Angeles, California. As Chair, Ms. Bedford developed the Diversity Series, the Industry Lab (creating a bridge from school to work), among other initiatives. She has
also taught The Art of Line Producing at UCLA Extension in Westwood, CA. Ms. Bedford formed her own company, Cheryl L. Bedford Productions, in January of 2001. In her spare time, she judges film festivals. More recently, Ms. Bedford founded Women of Color Unite, her 501(c)(3), which purpose is to help WOC get Hired, their projects Funded and their content Distributed. From the members of WOC Unite, Cheryl created The JTC List. The JTC List is a Google Doc of 400+ Women of Color in Entertainment, which is being shared throughout the Industry. Never again will someone be able to say, they can’t find any WOC for any job above or below the line. The list is named after her mother, Joan Theresa Curtis, an activist, warrior and Ms. Bedford’s biggest fan, who passed away in 2016. To join the list
or to hire women from the list, please email TheJTCList@gmail.com




Episode 25: Teresa Hollingworth

Teresa Hollingsworth is the Program Director for Film and Traditional Arts at South Arts. She Coordinates and is the Director of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. She has a masters degree in ‘Folk Study’ from Western Kentucky University. She previously worked in Arts Administration as Folklorist and Traditional Arts

South Arts was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. We offer a portfolio of activities designed to address the issues important to their region and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts.

They work in partnership with the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,  Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. South Arts is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, member states, foundations, businesses and individuals. Their mission is advancing Southern vitality through the arts. South Arts also have a variety of touring programs.

Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers brings the best of new independent film to communities across the South. Audiences have seen over 300 films in more than 100 Southern communities. South Arts works collaboratively with Screening Partners to expand their programming, provide audiences with the opportunity to meet filmmakers and learn about the art of filmmaking, and encourage community engagement using film as a conduit for discussions about social and community issues. Invited filmmakers are paid to screen their work and engage with new audiences, travel expenses covered!  

Teresa said their goal is to build audiences for independent films. Films must be feature and can be either Narrative, Documentary, Experimental or Animation.

This season the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers will include short films by filmmakers living in the Southern States.

South Arts and the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers are excited for two filmmaking teams that they had the honor to tour that were nominated for an Academy Award: “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” by Ramell Ross and “Minding the Gap” by Bing  Liu and Diane Quon. Teresa also talks about some of the other great films that they have toured this season.

Additionally, Teresa shares great advice for filmmakers.

For additional information visit:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthernCirc

Instagram: www.instagram.com/southerncircuit/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/southarts/

Episode 24: Tomeka M. Winborne Host /Producer of TEA TALKS WITH TOMEKA Podcast Photo Credit: Foto Me Photography

I want to give a special thanks to Earnest Winborne, Amalie Jahn, Daresha Kyi, Desiree Sterling, Adrienne Ashby, Melody Centeno, Anthony Barrows, Shivawn Adrienne Mitchell, Tamika Lamison, Ronnikka “RJ” Williams, Melissa A. Dixon, Tivia Lynnell, Jan Reeseman, Amy Adrion, Rachel Goldberg, Marlene Rhein, Shanice Williamson, Hanelle M. Culpepper, Lou Simon, Tina Mabry, Toy Lei, Gladys Edeh and Diana Lesmez for sharing their stories on TEA TALKS WITH TOMEKA Podcast during Season 1.

I especially want to thank each and everyone who subscribed and listened to Season 1. We will return in March 2019 for Season 2.

Tomeka M. Winborne is a writer/director that passionately loves to create stories that will invoke conversations. “My mission as an African American female filmmaker is to bring stories to the screen that embody the experiences and voices of people of color that are devoid in television and film,” says Tomeka.

In 2005, Tomeka published her first novel, “Where My Strength Comes From.” She later desired to see that novel on the screen. Initially, she planned to go to film school but it was too expensive. So she started volunteering on other people’s film projects. In 2009, she wrote, directed her first short film, “PASS ME BY.” A few years, later she wrote, directed and produced her second short, “TOO LATE.” From there she continued to write, produce and direct other short films.

As a filmmaker, Tomeka centers many of her stories around social issues. Her most recent short film that is in post production is entitled, “WE’RE LEFT BEHIND.” With this film she hopes to inspire people to think about the children who are left behind when their parents are deported. The movie doesn’t give solutions but she hopes it will bring about empathy to this tragic situation.

She’s also created a short film, “AGED OUT” that has been officially selected into the “CineOdyssey Film Festival” and the “BronzeLens Film Festival.” She is currently adapting into her first feature film. AGED OUT brings awareness to youth aging out of the foster care system. Recently, the Newport News Department of Human Services screened “AGED OUT” to a group of over 100 people along with a panel discussion as a educational event. Tomeka has also created movies about HIV and sex trafficking. Tomeka has plans of writing and directing movies with light-hearted subjects as well.

Recently, Tomeka started a podcast, “TEA TALKS WITH TOMEKA.” “A podcast about women filmmakers, their journeys and their projects,” says Tomeka. Additionally, Tomeka is also the host and interviewer for Jaro Podcast.

She enjoys using various mediums to tell stories. In addition to making movies and podcasts, she’s also produced television segments, commercials, wrote a couple of novels, worked as a field reporter and has been commissioned to produce documentaries.

Tomeka is a founding member and on the leadership committee of the ALLIANCE OF WOMEN DIRECTORS – Atlanta Branch . Previously, Tomeka served as board member on the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Virginia Production Alliance board in 2015. She has volunteered as a film reviewer for SOUTHERN ARTS and THE MID-ATLANTIC FILM FESTIVAL.

In 2014, Winborne developed LAVENDER REEL MEDIA GROUP, a production and media services company producing commercials, documentaries and other film projects. Tomeka was commissioned to co-produce a documentary entitled, “IN PLAIN SIGHT: HUMAN


TRAFFICKING,” for Cox Creative which aired on Cox Channel 11 and its affiliate stations. She has also served as a field reporter for Cox Communications.

In 2016, Tomeka received the African American Cinematic Series Norfolk Public Library Award.

Tomeka is thankful for the ability to combine her creative passion with her entrepreneurial spirit and believes wholeheartedly that her gifts make room for her.

Tomeka has been featured in Shadow and Act Black Women Filmmakers Speak Series by Tambay A. Obenson and the Virginia Pilot Newspaper by Pamela Nichols. She’s also been interviewed on “The Creative Outsiders Podcast, Directing Magic Podcast, The Dreammakers Show and Cox 11 – Cox Connections television show.






Episode 23: Diana Lesmez

Diana Lesmez shared her journey through the entertainment industry. Along with being a filmmaker, she now uses her vast knowledge to help empower other filmmakers through consulting and coaching. 

A produced feature-film screenwriter and an award-winning filmmaker, Diana Lesmez is a Jane-of-all-trades with vast industry experience in production, development, acquisitions, distribution, physical production, film finance, business/legal affairs, as well as new media.  She wrote the adapted screenplay for the recently produced feature-film, THE JOURNEY AHEAD, starring Michael Madsen, and she produced the feature film, CULTURE  CLASS IN AMERICCA, directed by Emilio Estevez.

Previously, she served as President of Production at a mini-studio, Arenas Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures, and was the Head of Development for Patriot Pictures, and the industry liaison for Banque Paribas, a film financing institution.  Via her banner company, Bumptious Media Consulting, Diana offers one-on-one coaching and master classes with a specialty in pitching and mastering communication skills, producing, as well as screenwriting in the age of digital and social media.
Click Below to listen to the interview Episode 23: Diana Lesmez


Episode 22: Gladys Edeh

Born to a Nigerian father and Ivorian mother in Guymon, Oklahoma, Gladys Edeh has always been a lover of the arts right from the age of 13. Her love affair for film blossomed after watching the 1980’s movie classic, “The God’s Must be Crazy” with her dad. Her dream was to attend film school and begin her life as a filmmaker, but her father had other plans and wanted her to pursue a degree that would provide better job prospects. She moved from Kano State, Nigeria to Atlanta, GA in 1995 and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Film Studies at Kennesaw State University. Upon graduation, even though she worked in IT full time, she became an active member of the film community in the Atlanta area and participated in every film or video project she could find and performed in several roles such as a boom operator, background actor, production coordinator., production manager, etc. But in 2008, she formed KokoAtDawn Productions and produced her very first short film, ‘But Mamah’ which was screened at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, GA during the 48 Hour Film Project that year. In 2009, the film got selected to be part of the ION Film Festival which was hosted in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
In subsequent years, she went on to produce fictional short films such as A Day in A Life, Go Fish, Lost Memory and Solemates.
In 2012, she began to focus more on the documentary style of filmmaking which led to her directing, producing, filming and editing short form content for the web. This led to opportunities to capture celebrities such as Afrobeats singer and songwriter Lagbaja, AfroJazz/Folk Soul artist, Tosinger, British-Nigerian actor Wale Ojo, and Deyemi Okanlawon, a Nollywood Actor, and a host of other artists. Her latest short film, Mr. Gele: The Man.The Story.The Craft gave her access to profile the talented African headgear mastermind, Mr. Hakeem Oluwasegun Olaleye, also referred to as Segun Gele. “Mr. Gele” which is currently in the film festival circuit has been an official selection in the Sidewalk Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, African World Film Festival, CineOdyssey Film Festival, African New York Film Festival and the BronzeLens Film Festival where it received a nomination for Best Short in the Short Documentary category. It is also now airing on the Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment & Lifestyle network, EbonyLife TV to over 49 countries in Africa
As a filmmaker with an African heritage, one of her goals is to produce documentaries that showcase the multifaceted lifestyles and untold stories of Africans living in the diaspora. Her films are meant to capture, celebrate and share these stories that normally do not get the light of day on the global stage.
She is currently working on creating a 13-episode documentary TV series, a fictional short film and a feature documentary.
Gladys Edeh has been a resident of Atlanta, Georgia for over 20 years and currently lives with her husband and two kids.

Click link below to listen to Episode 22: Gladys Edeh





Episode 21: Toy Lei

TOY LEI shares her journey of acting that led her to becoming a filmmaker. Toy was tired of being offered roles as a masseuse or nail technician. She took her career in her own hands by writing, directing and producing action films.

TOY LEI has had a fascination with action films ever since her parents took her to Chinatown as a kid. They watched kung-fu movies every Saturday afternoon. After lamenting the lack of roles for Asian females over 30, she began writing, directing and producing her own projects. Her directorial debut, THE WEDDING, won her the Top 5 Women Filmmakers award from the Asian-American Film Lab and New York Women in Film and Television. BOXER, won not only Best Actress, Best Action and the Grand Prize at the 2015 Asian-American Film Lab 72-hr Shootout, but also won Awards of Merit from the highly competitive Accolade Global Competition for Short Film, Women Filmmakers and Leading Actress. It also won the Maverick Movie Award for Special Achievement in Stunts and a nomination from the Connect Film Fest for Best Drama. The film opened its fest run at the coveted Etheria Film Night and won Best Action. She has now expanded BOXER into a feature and has signed on Kristina Reed, a two-time Oscar winner, as Consulting Producer. BOXER was a finalist in the PGA Diversity Program. Her latest short she directed, TRANSITION, won the Jury Runner-up Prize in the Collaboration Filmmaker Contest.





Episode 20: Tina Mabry
Photo Credit: Ashly Covington

A native of Tupelo, Mississippi, Tina Mabry graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in Film Production in 2005. A true hyphenate, Tina is a writer, director, and producer for television and film. Tina is currently a writer and produce on FOX’s upcoming PROVEN INNOCENT.  She was a co-producer, writer, and director for the second season of USA’s hit drama QUEEN OF THE SOUTH. Tina was also a producer, writer, and director on OWN’s QUEEN SUGAR created by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey. Tina produced and directed MELODY 1963: LOVE HAS TO WIN, an American Girl special for Amazon Kids. The special earned Tina a DGA Award and a NAACP Award. Tina’s other television directing credits include Netflix’s DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, ABC’s THE MAYOR, HBO’s INSECURE, FX’s POSE and STARZ’s POWER.

In film, Tina began her career co-writing the feature screenplay ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE directed by Jamie Babbit. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007 and won Best Feature Narrative at South by Southwest Film and Music Festival. Tina went on to write and direct her first feature film, MISSISSIPPI DAMNED, which garnered an impressive thirteen awards for participation in fifteen film festivals including awards for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2009.The film premiered on Showtime Networks in February 2011. Tina has worked on a number of short films, including her first film, the award-winning BROOKLYN’S BRIDGE TO JORDAN, which screened at more than fifty film festivals worldwide and aired on Showtime Networks, LOGO and Centric. Most recently, Tina wrote revisions for George Tillman Jr.’s upcoming feature at FOX 2000’s, THE HATE U GIVE, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Angie Thomas. She is also writing CODE OF SILENCE for Madison Wells Media Studios, formerly OddLot Entertainment. 

Tina was named among the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in Filmmaker Magazine in July of 2009 and was recognized by Out Magazine as one of the most inspirational and outstanding people of the year. She was featured in the Advocate magazine as part of their “Top Forty Under 40” issue, which features the top 40 individuals who are raising the bar in their respective fields. Tina has participated in several talent development programs including Film Independent’s Writers’ Lab, Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access, and Sundance’s Screenwriters Intensive.




Episode 19: Ms. Lou Simon

Writer, producer and director, Lou Simon was born in Cuba.  At age nine her family immigrated to the U.S. to escape the communist regime. Lou started writing short stories at the age of 10 and eventually found her way back to her writing in 2010.  In 2011, Lou went on to write, direct and produce her first feature film.  Never having been on a film set before, this was, in essence, her film school.  Since then, Lou has written, produced and directed four feature films in four years:  “HazMat,” “Agoraphobia,” “All Girls Weekend” and “3.”  The first 3 of these films have obtained distribution in various territories throughout the world. The last film is just starting the festival circuit. Her films have also won several awards at various film festivals, and Lou, herself, has won Best Director. 


Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsLouSimon

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

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

Episode 18: Hanelle M. Culpepper

Hanelle M. Culpepper is an energetic and unflappable award-winning television and film writer/director whose visual, story-driven films have played in festivals around the world and on television.  Last year, she made history by being the first African-American woman to direct for the Star Trek franchise. Her Parenthood episode was chosen by the producers to represent the series for Emmy consideration.  And in 2015, Hanelle was nominated for an Image Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.

Hanelle has directed numerous episodes of television for all the networks. (See her filmography here.) She has directed movies for Lifetime including Hunt for the Labyrinth Killer, a feature starring Amanda Schull (Center Stage, Suits, One Tree Hill), Michael Nouri (Flashdance), Coby Ryan McLaughlin, Anne Ramsay (Mad About You), James Avery (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), and featuring Gina Gershon; Murder on the 13th Floor starring Tessa Thompson (For Colored Girls) and Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance, The District); and the suspenseful good twin/bad twin feature Deadly Sibling Rivalry starring Charisma Carpenter (Buffy, Angel), Christa B. Allen (Revenge) and Kyle Richards (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills).

onset_leilaHanelle’s first feature, the supernatural thriller Within, starring Sam Jaeger (Parenthood), Brent Sexton (The Killing), and featuring Aisha Hinds (True Blood, Detroit 1-8-7), won Outstanding Feature Film at the Big Bear Horror Film Festival. Produced and distributed by Bigfoot Entertainment, Within premiered on Lifetime in July 2010, ranking as the network’s #2 program of the week. It continues to air frequently on both Lifetime and LMN.

A native of Alabama, Hanelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Economics and French from Lake Forest College in suburban Chicago. For graduate studies, she earned a Master’s degree at USC’s Annenberg School. While at USC, she worked behind the scenes on multiple student film projects in positions from PA to producer.

Following her graduation from USC, Hanelle assisted Academy Award winning screenwriter Callie Khouri on her directorial debut, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

onset_dsr Hanelle was selected for the FIND Screenwriters Lab, Bill Cosby’s Screenwriting Program, AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) and NBC’s Directing Initiative.

Hanelle’s DWW short A Single Rose won numerous awards and screened at film festivals worldwide, including the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, and was a semi-finalist for an Academy Award nomination in the Best Shorts category. Hanelle directed several more shorts that screened in festivals, on television and even on airplanes and hospitals.

Hanelle is represented by Verve talent agency. Her manager is Adesuwa McCalla at Metamorphic Entertainment.


Twitter: @Hillview798 
 Facebook: @Hanelle.Culpepper
 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hanelleculpepper
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hanelleculpepper

Episode 17: Shanice Williamson

Shanice Williamson discusses her journey from PA to Art Department Coordinator in just a short time. She heard about THE BOBBY BROWN STORY and she made a declaration to be on the show. She got a the job on The Bobby Brown Story by seeing a post on Facebook for Set Decoration PA. Shanice’s work ethic quickly launched her career in TV. 

Born in Queens and raised between Queens and Irving, TX (DFW area), I’m a dreamer, a dream-chaser and a doer. l’m a recovering legal industry vet, walking away from law and jumping into the film and television industry – on the ground floor!

Leading up to the big leap, I wrote, directed and produced a short dramatic film entitled Waiting Room and a comedy web series entitled All That Shabaz. I’ll soon direct a suspense short written by another awesome screenwriter entitled Potted Meat.

I’m freelancer in the film and television industry, working in the Art Department. Check my credits by clicking the IMDB button below!


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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shanicesoze

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

Episode 16: Marlene Rhein

Marlene Rhein was born into a dysfunctional family one spring in New York City.  Although she always felt socially awkward, comedy and creativity became her salvation and eventually her career.  After attending Ithaca College on a Rod Serling Screenwriting Scholarship, she went to LA with $40 in her pocket and wound up directing hip hop videos, including 2Pac’s last with a quarter of a million dollar budget at the age of 26.  She would go on to direct music videos for Amy Winehouse, an award-winning, self-starring comedy short film “Let Me Tell You A Story,” and eventually return to NYC where she shot her first feature, “The Big Shot-Caller,” which was theatrically released in ’09, reviewed by the New York Times and acclaimed by critic Kam Williams, who called it “an appealing little gem of an indie which marks the impressive debut of Marlene Rhein as a writer, director and actor.”  Marlene was chosen by Filmmaker Magazine as one of their “Top 25 New Faces of Independent Film.”  In addition to developing her next feature film project, Marlene has created several comedy web series including “My Parents Are Crazier Than Yours,” “Angry Gladys,” and “I Don’t Care About the Assholes, with Dr. Rita Gatswani.”  After being left broken-hearted by her last love affair, she created “The So-So You Don’t Know” to feel better. She resides in NYC with her rescued Pit Bull, Luigi.

www.facebook.com/thesos youdontknow



Episode 15: Rachel Goldberg
Photo credit: Cooper Bates

Rachel Goldberg is an award-winning filmmaker who had her TV directing debut with AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT and recently directed on THE MAYANS. She has been supported by the Sundance/Women in Film Financing Initiative for her feature, TRANSFORMATION AWAITS, based on the short film, NEIGHBORS, starring Kelli Garner (SECRET LIFE OF MARILYN MONROE) and Edi Gathegi (TWILIGHT). NEIGHBORS was created through AFI’s prestigious Directing Workshop for Women. She also helmed the short film MUTED, about media discrepancy when a child of color goes missing, starring Chandra Wilson (GREY’S ANATOMY) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (SNEAKY PETE) which sold to HBO. She was selected for the Sony Pictures Television Diverse Directors Program, the We for She Direct Her Program, FOX Global Directors Initiative, the AFI/FOX Studio Directors Initiative, Film Independent’s Project: Involve and the Ryan Murphy HALF Foundation. As a writer, Rachel has been recognized by the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab, the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship, Cinestory Foundation, Rhode Island International Film Festival and more. Rachel earned her MFA in Directing for Film and Theater from the California Institute of the Arts and her BA in Theater and Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Website: http://rachelgoldbergdirector.com/


Episode 14 – Amy Adrion 
Photo Credit: Ashly Covington

Amy Adrion is a director and writer whose work has screened at the Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festivals, been broadcast on PBS and MTV, and won numerous awards including a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Student Film Award and an Impact Award at the Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival in 2018. A graduate of the MFA film directing program at UCLA, with an undergraduate degree in Literature and Theology from Georgetown University, Amy has worked in independent film production and distribution, as a producer on awards shows and as a festival programmer.  HALF THE PICTURE, Amy’s debut feature, had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and includes interviews with prominent female film and television directors.  Amy grew up in Hillsdale, New Jersey and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.
Amy and I chat about Amy’s new documentary, HALF THE PICTURE where she interviews 29 directors including: Ava Duvernay, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jill Soloway, Lena Dunham, Patricia Riggen, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and Tina Mabry just to name a few.




Jan Reesman – Episode 13

Coming Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writer, Director, Jan Reesman is a Jersey girl who relocated to New York City where she started her journey in the entertainment business as an actress. After doing lots of theater she started producing and directors. That’s where she discovered her love for directing.

Initially, Jan loved NY until she did a house swap with someone in LA. She hated it until she went onto a studio lot. Then she fell in love with it and relocated to LA.

Over the years, Jan played many roles such as a personal manager for writers and actors, taught acting and casting director to pay the bills while working on her career as a director. After three attempts, Jan got into American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women where she created her short film, “ESCAPING JERSEY” which inspired by her life.

Jan shares her journey to creating her new comedic web series, “Baby Boomer Bunnies” which has been selected to the Hoboken Film Festival. We talk about the state of women filmmakers in Hollywood and hiring women. Additionally,  Jan gives amazing nuggets for actors and filmmakers relocating to Los Angeles.

We also talk about the (AWD) Alliance of Women Directors. She shares the growth and benefits of this 501 3c created to support education and advocacy for women directors in film, television, and new media. She was on the board of directors for 20 years. I also serve on the leadership team in Atlanta. It’s such a great organization for women directors.

Jan also shares her love for animals. She became an Animal Behavorist or Trainer. She worked with celebrities to train their dogs. After doing lots of volunteer  work with animals. She now has a 5013c for animals with disabilities which is going to be called St. Felix. They help place cats in foster homes and help with the shelters.




Episode 12 – Tivia Lynnell

Tivia Lynnell, founder/chief creative officer at Tivoyage Entertainment, graduated from Virginia State University where she studied writing, television production, and radio production and served as an on-air personality/Media Specialist for the university’s radio station, 91.3 WVST.  Her voice reached the ten surrounding cities of Petersburg, VA and for sure that’s one of the experiences where her voice-over talent was honed and would give her the confidence to tackle all the characters’ voice-over in her fantasy/adventure/brain-builder web series, “Bexley Snow and the Magic Orb”.  Writing based off her own story ideas has been a welcomed present since childhood and her first fantasy/adventure production, “Bexley Snow and the Magic Orb” is a merging of her childhood joys of reading and her love of watching movies. 

Since learning and being trained in California, New York, and Virginia through workshops, classes, and courses in screenwriting, editing, directing, cinematography, and acting, she has steadily put her knowledge and skills acquired to use in various projects, “Bexley Snow and the Magic Orb” being the first project released from Tivoyage.  Alongside learning from online tutorials and learning by creating visuals for herself and others, Lynnell is self-taught within Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator.  All of the animation and visual effects in “Bexley Snow and the Magic Orb” were created by Lynnell as well as the digital designs excluding those mentioned in the closing credits of the web series.

As she nears, what she hopes, is the last revision of her feature length screenplay and a first draft of another, her biggest most understood purpose is “a duty to create responsibly.”  Following that, Lynnell said, “Sometimes I worry that I don’t know how that [creating responsibly] looks or what that means.  At those worry filled moments, all I can do is pray and have faith that I will be lead in accomplishing my purpose.  Once I have relinquished all worries to God, since I am human and a WIP (work-in-progress), I wind up repeating the above emotion or rather state of mind, but thankfully also the remedy—prayer and faith.”


IG: https://www.instagram.com/tivoyage/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/tivialynnell 

IG: https://www.instagram.com/bexleysnow

Twitter: twitter.com/BexleySnow_

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

Episode 11 – Melissa J Dixon

Melissa J Dixon shared her journey from being a childhood dancer to getting opportunities to dance professionally. After many years, while on stage performing she knew it was over and made the decision to go back to school. Listen to her amazing journey. 

Following a successful career as a professional dancer/singer/actress performing and training others around the world, Melissa J. Dixon swapped her Capezios for stilettos and started a new journey, earning a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in communications. She then earned a master’s degree in strategic public relations from the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University

Since changing careers, she has worked in publications and communications for ESPN Outdoors/B.A.S.S., internal events and communications for Gaylord Palms/Marriott International Inc., global communications for UK-based Aurora Group, and is currently the project manager of sales communication at Scholastic Book Fairs.

In September 2015, she launched Ask the Entertainment Expert, a series of interviews with entertainment professionals from around the world intended to inform, inspire and empower up-and-coming performing artists. After taking a break to finish grad school, she recently relaunched her website.

She proudly serves on the committee for Atlanta-based Mission 4 Movement, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to the promotion and celebration of dance, and to supporting those underserved in the arts community through mentoring, opportunities, resources and education. She also participates in/supports Lean In Atlanta, IABC Atlanta, PRSA Georgia Chapter, GWU’s Alumni book club, Buti Yoga, Faith & Flyness and The BOSS Network.

Episode 10

Ronnika “RJ” Williams is a documentary filmmaker and author. After the passing of RJ’s father she made her father 3 promises and she later fulfilled them.

RJ and her sister went to grief counseling. After going for a while, they recognized that they were the only people of color that was in their group counseling. That encouraged her to go on a journey to find out how the African American community dealt with grief and inspired “The Final 48 project.” The Final 48 project is a multimedia project.

After reaching a point of defeat, she attended the Center of Documentary Studies at Duke University. During that time she was advised to insert herself into the project which allowed her project to flourish again.

RJ also talks about experience in archival management. During an internship they found an old slave burial ground. She also desires to be an archivist for film and television.  

During our conversation, RJ gives really good advice about how she coped with her loss. She also explains how grief is a silent killer. Like after suffering a really bad burn accident and grieving for her father; she had to find a new normal.

RJ has a fundraiser going on to help continue the project.

Also, is the keynote speaker to Father’s Day 3D Brunch for the 3D Foundation (Daughter’s of Deceased


Website: www.final48.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Final48

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Final48Project

Episode 9 – Tamika Lamison

Tamika Lamison is the founder of the Make a Film Foundation.

Tamika Lamison won a $10,000 for a scriptwriting contest in the 90’s. She took her money and moved to Los Angeles. She then sold her first script for six figures but then found out the check was bad. She turned her lemons to lemonade by volunteering and teaching children film. Later, she used her passion for film and teaching for something much bigger. Tamika started a nonprofit, “Make a Film Foundation.” “Make a Film Foundation” grants severely or terminally ill children their wish to make a film. They have both a short film and a documentary program. Listen to this hilarious story of how Johnny Depp volunteered his time on one of the children’s film project ‘s in a day’s notice. Guillermo del Toro is looking to volunteer to direct on one of their “Make a Film Foundation.”

Although, Tamika continues to work and create her own work as a writer, director and producer, she truly feels that “Make a Film Foundation” is her greater purpose. Through “Make a Film Foundation” Tomeka is able to make these children, the parents and family have everlasting memories.

Tamika’s feature film, “Last Life” and MAFF’s “The Black Ghiandola” are currently in the film festival circuit. Tamika is on the writing team for Craig Ross Jr.’s new drama, “Monogamy” which is on the Urban Movie Channel. It looks good so check it out!

Website: www.makeafilmfoundation.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tamika.lamison

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alchemist26

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Makeafilmfnd

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

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

Shivawn Adrienne – Episode 8

Shivawn Adrienne is a Screenwriter, filmmaker & a Creative. We discussed her journey of feeling like an outsider during the time she was in film school to get her MFA in screenwriting. Shivawn turned that negative into a positive by starting, “The Creative Outsiders.” She uses her platform to unite, educate and inspire women filmmakers so that they never feel like outsiders during their filmmaking journey.

Shivawn shares her different processes in writing a book and a screenplay. In addition to the value of the rewrites. We also talk about not comparing your journey to others. She expresses the need for creatives to practice self-care. Also the importance of looking after your friends in their low times. There should be no shame in us taking care of our mental health needs.

In addition to her company “The Creative Outsiders,” she started a podcast also entitled “The Creative Podcast. From the women that she has  interviewed the most important lesson that she has learned, “Do the Work.” It is important to have a tribe. She shares how best friend and family continuously encourages her on her journey.

 Philanthropy, social conscience, and creativity are key themes in Shivawn Adrienne’s life and career. The Virginia native and graduate of Norfolk State and Wilkes University (MFA in Screenwriting) wants to be remembered as a woman who left her mark. She’s the author of the book entitled Rewrite Your Story, founder of The Creative Outsiders.

She currently is in post-production with her short documentary, Lifting Crowns. Most recently Shivawn has worked as an assistant director and script supervisor on several award winning projects for the production company Kweli Legacy. She has been commissioned to adapt a screenplay for an author.

 Her passion lies in encouraging other women to expand their platforms by motivating them to harness and execute their visions. She has developed and helped to implement the visual brand and identity of many women-owned businesses.

 Website: https://thecreativeoutsiders.com/

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

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

Episode 7 – Anthony Barrows

Anthony Barrows grew up in the projects in Boston. He entered the foster care system at 14 years old. He talks about the challenges that most teenagers have as they enter foster care in addition to his journey from group homes to getting placed in a predominantly white neighborhood.

 “Graffiti art saved my life,” said Anthony, although in the state of Massachusetts Graffiti is a felony. Yes, Anthony had been arrested several times but Anthony said being “Lucky” is the theme of his life. Although not having the best grades, Anthony graduated from high school. He didn’t have a plan so he decided to get a job but his foster mother and social worker intervened and made him go apply to the local college. Luckily, he got in.

After completing college, Anthony felt led to get a job as a social worker. He wanted to help kids that was much like him when he was younger. Over the years he’s worked to continue to advocate for foster youth. He later applied to get another Master’s Degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Anthony Barrows is a Managing Director at the applied behavioral science firm ideas42 where he focuses on domestic poverty, local government, post-secondary education, and civic engagement. Anthony previously worked over ten years in child welfare, spanning positions in direct service, supervision, training, advocacy, project management and system improvement. He is also a practicing artist and has led art classes and arts-oriented youth development programming. Anthony holds a BA in Philosophy and Art from University of Mass Boston, an MFA in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, and an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he was a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.

Email: anthony@ideas42.org

Twitter: @anthony_barrows 


Episode 6 – Melody Centeno

Melody is the Founder and Executive Director of Foster Care Unplugged. She is also an (APA) Applied Behavior Analyst for the state of New York.

After witnessing her father’s death in the 1980’s due to Aids, Melody and her siblings were placed into the foster care system. She shares the impact of her family witnessing that type of trauma. Additionally, Melody and her siblings are culturally Puerto Rican and Italian that grew up in a close Spanish section. It wasn’t an easy transition for them as they were placed in non Spanish homes. 

At the age of 7, Melody was molested. During the investigation and therapy, she decided to become a therapist to teach therapist how to do their jobs. She found at an early age that the therapist didn’t know how to build a rapport with her trauma. She uses her skills as therapist to help the healing of youth that are in foster care.  

Melody and her twin sister were hand picked out of 400 foster youth to get a scholarship from the American Dream Program. That program afforded them to be included in the 2% of foster youth to graduate from college. Had she and her sister not have gotten into this program, they would have been homeless due to aging out. Therefore, Melody is working on the “Financial Economic Empowerment” Bill in the state of NY to put money in a trust so that the youth have better opportunities to succeed. 

She is also in the process of expanding Foster Care Unplugged to Los Angeles. 

Website: FosterCareUnplugged.org

Facebook: Fostercareunplugged

Twitter: Fostercareunplugged

Instagram: Fostercareunplugged

Episode 5: Adrienne Ashby

Episode 5: Homeschooling with Adrienne Ashby.
“Homeschooling is like our Wakanda.”

Attorney Adrienne Ashby shares her journey to making her decision to home school her children. During our conversation, Adrienne shares some factors that made her decide to homeschool her children. Additionally, she offers resources that will help those who are considering homeschooling.

Adrienne has a law degree from The University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has practiced law for 20 years. Adrienne is in her 6th year of homeschooling and is grateful for the freedom and responsibility of teaching her children at home. When she is not homeschooling or practicing law, she enjoys reading, yoga, and talking to friends over coffee.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adrienne.ashby.50

email: adrienne.p.ashby@gmail.com

Episode 4: Desireé Sterling

Desireé Sterling is the founder of a non-profit, “Becoming Families.” “Becoming Families” is having their 3rd Annual “Forever Homes Gala” on May 4, 2018 (6-9pm.) “AGED OUT” the movie will be screened at the gala to talk about youth who’s aged out of foster care. They will have other guest speakers, silent auction and much more. It will be a fun time that will make a difference. All proceeds benefits foster youth and foster parents. 

Having seen the foster care system at work as foster child and now as a foster parent she knows the struggles and reasons behind the declining placement home numbers. Desireé desires to find more Forever Homes for children with a mission to Foster the Future.

Desireé holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, both from Westminster College, and a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security from California University of Pennsylvania and she plans to attend Hampton University in the near
future to obtain a Doctoral Degree for Counselor Education and Supervision.

Lastly, Desireé teaches us how we can get involved with Becoming Families or other organizations near you that can make a difference. 

You can learn more about Becoming Families at the links below: 

Website: www.BecomingFamilies.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BecomingFamilies/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/becomingfamilies/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BecomingFamilie

Episode 3: Daresha Kyi
Photo Credit: Naylon Mitchell

Daresha is an award winning writer, director and producer for film and TV. Daresha made her first film at the age of 16 years old. She casted actor, Isaiah Washington in one of her early narratives film projects.    She has been in the industry for over 25 years. We spoke about her journey. Daresha expressed her honor to be gifted to tell such amazing stories such as “Chavela” and “Mama Bears” amongst the many others movies that she has made. She also produced segments on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. 

“I believe in the power of film to effect social change and I don’t limit myself to any particular style of genre. I move fluidly between film and television, comedy, drama and documentary in both Spanish an English.” Daresha Kyi

website: https://www.dareshakyi.com/

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1407080/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daresha.kyi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Daresha11

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daresha-kyi-12a7091


Episode 2: Amalie Jahn

Amalie Jahn is an USA TODAY best selling author, blogger for the Huffington Post and Southern Writers Magazine. Amalie is a TED SPEAKER on “Kindness.” She shared her approach to offering kindness on twitter and the interesting results. Amalie calls herself an ad hoc advocate but I beg the differ. Amalia works locally on human rights issues in her community to fight towards human rights issues. She works with her local “Black Lives Matter Movement”, Incarceration, voting rights issues and she donates her proceeds to various proceeds.

Website: www.amaliejahn.com

Facebook: @AmalieJahnAuthor

Twitter: @AmalieJahn

Instagram: @amalie.jahn.official

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amalie-Jahn/e/B00C3H3TWO hn

Episode 1: Earnest Winborne

Earnest Winborne is a 40 year veteran in the Television and Entertainment Industry. Earnest shares his journey of being a little boy with a dream to working the red carpets. Although, Earnest and I share the last name we only met a few years ago on Facebook. We are sure that we are related because our families derive from the same place. At eight years old, his grandmother’s friend took him to see “Bungles the Clown” and at that moment he knew that he wanted to be in TV. He drew a picture on the garage of stick figures with cameras. Earnest started his career at worked his way up from a number #56 network all the way to working on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, The Insider / Entertainment tonight just to name a few.The lessons nuggets that earnest shares as he tells his story is applicable to any industry that you’re working. “You got to be hungry,” Earnest Says. 

Website: NoMoreDownLow.TV

Twitter: @WinborneTV

Instagram: @WinborneTV