MEET THE PANELISTS / SPEAKERS
CEO and President
GA Dept. of Economic Development
Shandra L. McDonald
An award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer
An Atlanta filmmaker
VP of National Accounts,
Producer, Director, Costume/ Stylist /Buyer and educator
Kathleen Jackson Bertrand
Multifaceted recording artist and writer
Crystal Y. Davis
Business process improvement specialist, international speaker, and corporate consultant.
Writer and Producer
Overstreet Productions & Post, LLC
The Credits Podcast
Producer, Content Creator and Brand Strategist
Ask April Love
School of Humans
School of Humans
Terrence “Ty” Manns
Writer, Producer & Director
Dianne Ashford, CEO and President of Symmetry Entertainment has been producing and line producing for over 10 years now. From an internship with Will Packer of Rainforest Films in 2001, she quickly learned the business and went on to produce titles like Trois: The Escort. The Gospel (line producer), Motives 2 (producer), Three Can Play That Game (co-producer), Pastor Brown (line producer), Stomp The Yard 2 (line producer), Season 4 of BET’s The Game (Production Supv), Echo At 11 Oak Drive (producer), No Good Deed (Production Supv) Ride Along (Associate Producer), Survivor’s Remorse (Associate Producer)Never one to be confined to just one aspect of the industry, Dianne has also produced numerous short films, documentaries and commercials for clients like CNN and TBS. She is most proud of a documentary she produced for BET, which took an unconventional look at Dr. Martin Luther King’s life, entitled: Alpha Man: The Brotherhood of MLK, Jr.
Deputy Commissioner at the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and division director of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. A native Atlantan, Lee received a Bachelor of the Arts in Radio-TV-Film from UGA, a Master’s Degree in Film Studies from Georgia State University, then entered the Tisch School of the Arts Doctoral Program in Cinema Studies at New York University. She returned to Atlanta in 1996 to work for the Georgia Film and Videotape Office as a project manager, and then became a location specialist for the office in 1998. After finding locations for film and television projects for 12 years, Lee became director of the film division in 2010.
Founder of Goings Legal, a sole practitioner law firm specializing in Intellectual Property and business advising for entrepreneurs and startups, as well as the Director of Operations for Georgia Lawyers for the Arts (GLA) where he handles the technical aspects of GLA's operations, providing in-house legal services, and assisting the management of the legal externs. Matthew attended the University of Georgia for undergrad where he marched in the Redcoat Band and joined the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He later graduated from Georgia State University College of Law where he focused his studies on Intellectual Property. Matthew’s lifelong affinity and passion for music guided him to GLA to assist the arts community, and his love of emerging technology urged him to build his solo practice to assist entrepreneurs.
Shandra L. McDonald
An award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer with more than 15 years-experience in the television and film industry, she has received awards from the Director's Guild of America, Atlanta Film Festival, IFP Film Festival, Hollywood Black Film Festival and the 48-Hour Film Festival for her projects. Recently, a feature-film where she served as an associate producer titled Jinn premiered in the highly-competitive, narrative section at the 2018 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Shandra is currently in development with Screen Lloyd Production for a feature film that she plans to direct. Ms. McDonald continues to grow her film production company Kiss the Limit Productions, Inc., producing various types of content including feature films, while being a proud Assistant Film Professor at Clayton State University.
An Atlanta filmmaker, is best know as a Director of Photography, filming with greats like President Obama, Nick Cannon, Steve Harvey, Gary Owen, and national brands such as FORD, NIKE, and AT&T just to name a few. His work has been featured on networks such as TV ONE, CBS, The CW Network, and MTV.West has also been responsible for filming commercials for such high-end restaurants throughout Buckhead & Midtown Atlanta: BluePointe, Chops Lobster Bar, Spice Market, The "W" Hotel, and many more. He has been credited to have such a creative eye. His skills range from Music Production,Graphics, Photography, Video Production, Editing, Film, TV & Video Treatments, and Script Writing.Charles' style displays many infuences. Some of them come from within the genre of drama and suspense, notably the work of M. Night Shyamalan.He customarily uses creative shots with subtle movements, giving it what he likes to call it as "...that cinematic look and feel.” His range of influences,from drama, suspense, comedy and to action makes him both hard to classify and more accessible to a wider audience for film projects.
VP of National Accounts, Content Distribution and Marketing at Aspire, UPtv & UP Faith & Family (SVOD)As the Vice President of National Accounts, Content Distribution and Marketing, Angela Cannon manages international program sales, distribution and marketing efforts for ASPiRE, UPtv and the subscription streaming service, UP Faith & Family. Having been part of the UP family since its inception in 2004, Cannon is known for being an astute executive with a keen understanding of content, and avenues in which to gain distribution.
With a sizeable amount of industry experience from companies such as CBS, Warner Bros. and Disney, Cannon has helped UP attain a 70+million household audience. Her job description includes linear and non-linear distribution, marketing and partnerships of UP, ASPiRE and UP Faith & Family with top MVPD's (multichannel video programming distributors) and current/future non-linear distribution partners (Amazon, Hulu, Roku, Apple TV, iTunes & more). Cannon also manages international program sales and electronic sell-through (EST) marketing. Cannon manages all marketing efforts for the streaming service UP Faith & Family, where she identifies and develops strategic marketing plans to grow the subscriber base and foster partnerships to support service growth and performance.
Producer, Director, Costume/ Stylist /Buyer and educator of over 40 years. Former NBC 11Alive noon news anchor and entertainment/lifestyle reporter, Mrs.BJ Arnett is no stranger to the film and entertainment industry. As host and associate producer of Employment Line and Primetime for Georgia Public Television, additionally, TV69, (now CW) with Community, Beat of the City and Soul of Atlanta. BJ is familiar with investigative reporting and producing with her current talk shows BJA Today produced by Camy Arnett Production Studios and This Day with BJ Arnett.Past film credits include “Made in Heaven” and “Marc Pease Experience”. More recent films include “Adrenaline” and “Grantham Rose”, in which BJ plays the daughter of Marla Gibbs, who portrays Rose.
One of her favorite roles was playing DeAndria Keanna Kelly, alongside her husband, Cameron Arnett in the five time Dove Award winning film, “Stand Your Ground”. She was also head of Costuming, designing the leading lady’s notorious red suit. Known as the "go to person" for connecting with other industry professionals and discreet guidance in fashion, film and television. She has served as Public Relations Director, VP of Membership and continues to sit on the board of directors for WIFTA, Women In Film and Television Atlanta for the past 3 years as Gala committee coordination team. BJ Arnett also sits on the Program Committee for the largest film festival in the country, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
Kathleen Jackson Bertrand
Kathleen Jackson Bertrand, multifaceted recording artist and writer, is a native Atlantan and Spelman College graduate, whose national and international performances have ranged from two Olympic Games to performances before two presidents, and appearances at jazz festivals world-wide. Bertrand has toured and recorded as vocalist with jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers and has opened for many of America’s finest jazz artists, including Ray Charles, Will Downing, Rachelle Ferrell, Najee, Roy Ayers, and Kenny G. Her fan base includes radio listeners across the USA as well as in England, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and Brazil among others.
She has received numerous honors including the Kuumba Award given by East Point/College Park Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, the inaugural Impact Award from Black Women In Jazz, as well as recognition by the United Negro College Fund as one of “Atlanta’s Legends” and by Spelman College with its distinguished “Alumnae Achievement Award for the Arts & Entertainment.” Bertrand was named the 2015 Jazz Vocalist of the Year by Black Women In Jazz organization. She been an invited performer at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on three occasions and has made multiple appearances at the Atlanta Jazz Festival, most recently as a 2012 headliner.
Crystal Y. Davis
Business process improvement specialist, international speaker, and corporate consultant. Davis’ career spans over a number of business functions, industries, and disciplines including: automotive, consumer-packaged goods, healthcare, engineering, strategy deployment, training, facilitation, coaching, and speaking. Davis earned a B.S. in
Industrial Engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Samford University. Davis is a certified Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and certified John Maxwell Leadership Coach. She has worked for more than 20 years in various leadership positions as a change agent. Davis has been privileged to work with leading experts in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and Sweden. She is an expert at working with practitioners and executives; utilizing proven methods and guiding principles to become the key influencers in the process improvement transformation within Fortune
Cas Sigers-Beedles is a professional writer of twelve years. Through Kensington Press
Publication, she has authored six fiction novels. Her seventh novel was released in 2015.
Titles are Pieces of a Man, At Last I Bloom, Love is Simple, Forever is Tricky, Chocolate
Dove, Three Chords & the Truth, The Virgin Widow and Chimwala. Her novels can be
found throughout the United States on the shelves of national bookstore chains, Target and
Walmart and digitally. Some of her written works include eleven sold screenplays and eight
television stage plays for various television networks and production houses.
Cas has written and produced the television movie Where’s the Love, starring Lamman
Rucker, Denise Boutte and LeToya Luckett. She has also written and executive produced
the TV One movie series’, Girlfriends Getaway 1 & 2, starring ensemble cast Malinda
Williams, Terri J. Vaughn, Garcelle Beauvais and Essence Atkins, plus Welcome to the
Family starring Valarie Pettiford and Kali Hawk. When Love Kills, written by Cas, was
nominated for two NAACP Image Awards , outstanding writing and outstanding TV feature.
Some other titles include, NAACP Image Award nominated, When Love Kills, Sugar
Mommas, Between Sisters, A Cross to Bear, and Love Will Keep Us Together. Under the
production umbrella of Nina Holiday Entertainment (NHE), she produced these films
alongside business partner and actress, Terri J. Vaughn. Nina Holiday executive produced
For Richer or Poorer, the first scripted television series for UPtv. The series starred
Rockmond Dunbar and Letoya Luckett. Nina Holiday recently produced Merry Wishmas
for Holiday 2018 starring David and Tamala Mann. The film was written by Cas Sigers
Beedles and directed by Terri J. Vaughn. Through NHE, Cas is focusing on building a
business that provides both outstanding production support and award winning creative
Cas was the associate director for the TV One’s Verses and Flow and the supervising
producer for BET/CENTRIC’s music documentary series As Written (seasons 1 & 2), for which she won four Telly Awards. She also served in the script department for BET’s The
Mo’Nique Show and, TD Jakes Presents. In 2014 and 2015, Cas produced four feature
documentaries for Moguldom Studios. These films are available via Netflix, Amazon and the Starz network. She’s the annual script supervisor for Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards and the story producer for 2017-18 season’s HGTV’s Flip or Flop Atlanta. Cas has also been the supervisor for two seasons of Comedy Centrals’, Hart of the City with Kevin Hart.
From the streets of Brooklyn Ny to the heart of Atlanta, Ga, Errol Sadler is becoming one of Atlanta’s most sought after producer in the film industry. He made his Producer debut in 2009 with "Eros", a short dramatic thriller that deals with the repercussions of Love, Lies, and deception. Instantly this project was a hit, receiving com-cast on demand distribution. Since then, Errol has partnered with Last Looks Inc. to Produce four short films "Up In Smoke", "No Crime", "Letters to a Father", and "Prognosis". These films have been seen, submitted, and or screened at film festivals such as Atlanta Black Film Festival (ABFF), Peachtree Village International Film Festival (PVIFF), Long Island Film Festival (LIFF), Manhattan Film Festival (MIFF), Brooklyn Short Film Festival (BSFF), Women in Film and Television (WIFTA).
Errol has joined forces with Symmetry Entertainment and C. Clear Cinema to Produce "Echo At 11 Oak Drive", a feature length film that tells three stories that transpire under the same roof over three eras of time. 1951, 1973, and 2010. This film was screened in Sundance 2013, and received great reviews. The Short film “Echoes” was also accepted to Cannes Film Festival 2013. It is currently pending a distribution deal.
Wayne Overstreet, Founder of Overstreet Productions & Post, LLC is an18-year entertainment industry professional. He began his career in the music industryacting asroad manager for artists such as Akon and Little Zane. He later transitioned to the film and television industry when he accepted the position as operations manager of Creative Chaos. A few years later, he accepted a position at Wolff Bros. Post as the traffic operations manager and eventually became General Manager in 2006. Under his leadership, Wolff Bros continued to grow and cultivate relationships with networkssuch as Turner Broadcasting, Discovery, TLC, Gospel Music Channel/ Up TV, and Lifetime to name a few.
After decades of work for Fortune 500 organizations, with Eli Lilly, Pfizer, SunTrust Bank and Wells Fargo, Audrey Daniels made a decision to join the leadership team of a banking client, the AIB Network. The mission of AIB is to enhance the spiritual, intellectual and social well-being of its viewers by delivering exceptional programming to the Greater Atlanta community. The AIB Network has a proven commitment to that mission for nearly 50 years.
AIB fulfills a unique space in the community. The connections, collaborations and partnerships range from individuals, local nonprofits and places of worship to global corporations and Georgia 500 companies. Each one is specially and strategically cultivated to allow AIB to spread its message of stimulating the mind, strengthening the body and inspiring the spirit. Through community events, AIB has become a presence throughout the Greater Atlanta area. Further utilizing the broadcast network itself, AIB harnesses the power of media to reach approximately 2 million households across its viewing area each day. It is also notable that through AIB’s use of online streaming and communication platforms, the reach has extended exponentially and AIB has viewers from around the world. AIB is truly a unifying force with mass appeal.
After graduating from Howard University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film, Kalena moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and jumped right into the industry. Kalena got her first post-graduate on-set opportunity in June 2005: as an unpaid intern for T-Payne’s “I’m in Love With a Stripper” music video filming at Turner Field. Ever the tenacious crew member, Kalena impressed the production staff so much that her unpaid internship turned into a paid Production Assistant gig on day one.
Thirteen years later, Kalena has racked up over 40 credits to her name, and is one of the Southeast’s most trusted Locations Department crew members. And it just so happened that fate was on Kalena’s side. As her career skyrocketed, so did the film production industry in Georgia, which now hosts the most feature-film productions in the world. She just completed working on the feature film SEXTUPLETS, set to release on NETFLIX in 2019.
Public Relations veteran, Brand Strategist and Executive Producer, April Love has truly made an edible mark in the world of entertainment. Her extensive experience as a multi-faceted entertainment professional has established her as a brand strategizing hot commodity amongst celebrities, corporations and tastemakers alike. April is a respected producer and content creator. She has had the privilege of serving as a talent producer on leading awards shows such as the BET Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, The Soul Train Awards, Bounce TV’s Trumpet Awards, Al Sharpton's NAN Triumph Awards among others.
She has also worked with notable television networks and production companies including such powerhouses as Bravo Television, The Food Network, BET, TVOne, AspireTV, Bounce, A+E and CNN. April's production accolades cross several platforms such as digital, feature films, music videos and she has recently produced national television commercials for the global beauty brand The Mane Choice.
April has had the opportunity to work with talents such as Sean “Diddy” Combs, Ceelo Green, Queen Latifah, Clifford "T.I." Harris, the cast of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta and more. In the public relations space, Love has been proficient in acquiring editorial placements on well-known entertainment platforms such as US Weekly, Essence Magazine, Upscale Magazine, Entertainment Tonight, Tom Joyner Morning Show, Good Day Atlanta, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Good Morning America and more. She excels in building stellar brands and producing timeless content.
Love continues to maintain strong relationships with executives at leading television networks, record companies, feature magazines, major corporations and social media outlets. Love studied at Florida A&M University, Georgia State University & Creative Circus. Love currently resides in Atlanta, GA. April Love is a 7-year breast cancer survivor and she is extremely passionate about public service, health education and wellness. Love champions such causes as breast cancer prevention, female empowerment and entrepreneurship. Love travels the country as a motivational speaker, panel moderator and workshop facilitator, addressing students and entrepreneurs on the latest trends in the fast paced entertainment arena and brand strategy.
Taylor is a manager of development and production with over 6 years of experience of storytelling. After graduating from the University of Kentucky she moved to Atlanta and began her career on a wide range of TV series with networks such as Adult Swim, Cooking Channel, Red Bull TV, FYI, Netflix and has even just launched a podcast with Stuff Media. When Taylor is not working she can be found managing her dog, Gus's Instagram career or pickin' the banjo.
Sandi Kloosterman is an Associate Producer at School of Humans. She has worked on an array of exciting projects helping to produce content for networks and companies including Adult Swim, Red Bull TV, Netflix, Viceland, and mikeroweWORKS. Sandi graduated from Georgia State University where she ran her own radio show on Album 88. In her spare time, she enjoys seeking out new music, painting mini canvases, and staring contests with her Italian Greyhound, Frankie.
Terrence "Ty" Manns
Terrence “Ty” Manns is a retire US Army Infantry Officer and corporate executive turned feature award winning film Writer, Producer & Director. He is a principle partner in Manns/Mackie Studios www.mannsmackiestudios.com, a Georgia based concept to distribution, feature film production company.
Ty retired from the military in 2003 after nearly 24 years of service and transitioned into the Corporate American where he served in positions as Product Manager, Vice President Operations, North America, Vice President Marketing & Business Developments, North America and CEO/Managing Director. Ty retired from Corporate America in 2013 and started his full-time career in screenplay writing and feature film development and production.
Ty’s film credits includes – “The 5th Quarter,” starring Aidan Quinn & Andie McDowell, “White Water,” starring Barry Shabaka Henley, Larenz Tate & Sharon Liel, “A Question of Faith,” starring Kim Fields, Richard T. Jones, C. Thomas Howell, Greg Alan Williams, Donna Briscoe & TC Stallings & “My Brother’s Keeper” starring Keshia Knight-Pulliam, TC Stallings, Robert Ri’ Chard, Jeff Rose & Greg Alan Williams.
Manns/Mackie Studios is scheduled to start production on the feature film titled, “Redeemed” in November 2018 and “Mustard Seed” in March, 2019.