Urbanworld Digital | 2019
12:00PM - 12:30PM
arrivals & check-in
12:30PM - 12:45PM
Gabrielle Glore | Festival Director, Urbanworld
Axel Caballero | Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO
12:45pm - 1:45pm
directing and Writing Movies for Television + Streaming
This conversation merges informal conversations and educational perspectives among some of the top Independent Directors and Writers in the African American film community. Actor and writer Yvette Nicole Brown will engage panelists around their process - both independently and collaboratively - to provide insights on how to create compelling content. BET Networks will share exclusive clips from these content creators’ upcoming films premiering on the network.
Angela Burt-Murray | Writer, Holiday Heist, Friend Request, Angrily Ever After
Angela Burt-Murray is a senior level media executive with extensive experience producing award-winning TV, digital, and social media programming for women. As the former Editor-in-Chief of Time Warner’s ESSENCE magazine, she oversaw the company’s editorial platforms and produced live events like the ESSENCE music festival. She has produced reality TV series and news specials for CNN, MSNBC, and TV One. Angela currently serves as Vice President of Digital and Video Content for Entertainment Studios and is the co-founder of Cocoa Media Group, a digital media company which creates video series for young women on YouTube.
Trey Haley | Director, Always a Bridesmaid, Carl Weber’s Influence, Carl Weber’s Family Business
Trey Haley is President and Partner at Tri Destined Studios. He is responsible for overseeing film and television production and post production adaption and delivery. He is also tasked with managing diverse venture collaborations, co-productions and strategic alliances alongside the company’s senior leadership. In addition to his Tri Destined Studio responsibilities, Trey Haley is also an in-demand filmmaker who has directed a variety of genres and multi-media projects. He recently Directed the Rom-Com ‘Always a Bridesmaid,’ and recently wrapped the legal thriller ‘Influence’ written by Carl Weber starring Roger Guenevuer Smith, Deborah Cox, Kellita
Smith, Columbus Short, Drew Sidora, Nadine Ellis, Gary Dourdan and Anthony Hamilton. Trey directed (and served as co-executive producer) season one of Carl Weber’s 'The Family Business’ acquired by BET.
Carl Weber | Writer + Executive Producer, Carl Weber’s Influence, Carl Weber’s Family Business
Carl Weber is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels and short stories. As president, CEO, and Publisher of Urban Books, LLC, Weber has published more than 4,100 books by African American writers. Weber is a past recipient of the Blackboard Publisher and Bookseller of the Year Award. He has branched out into screenwriting and has written four films based on some of his bestselling novels (The Man in 3B, The Preacher's Son, No More Mr. Nice Guy, The Choir Director and Influence) and produced them through his production company, Urban Books Media, LLC. along with Tri Destined Studios. The Man in 3B and The Preacher's Son have aired on Netflix and BET. He is presently the showrunner and executive Producer of the TV show Carl Weber's family Business aired on BET.
Yvette Nicole Brown | Writer, Always a Bridesmaid (Moderator)
For over a decade Yvette Nicole Brown has been one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood, highlighted by series regular roles on: COMMUNITY, THE ODD COUPLE, THE BIG HOUSE & THE MAYOR. In addition, she has appeared — often recurring — on shows as varied as MOM, GIRLFRIENDS, ENTOURAGE, DRAKE AND JOSH, HOUSE, THE OFFICE and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM. She starred in the critically acclaimed six-hour BET miniseries THE NEW EDITION STORY and appeared on UNSOLVED: THE MURDERS OF TUPAC AND THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. for USA. Yvette’s film work includes roles in the highest grossing film of all time, “AVENGERS: ENDGAME, along with other films including PERCY JACKSON: THE SEA OF MONSTERS, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, THE UGLY TRUTH, and TROPIC THUNDER.
1:45PM - 2:00PM
BEyond Craft: Getting Your Voice, Getting Your Juice
A talk on breaking in and building a career that not only pays, but also sustains.
Jenna Bond | Manager, Outreach & Member Services, WGAE
Jenna Bond engages professional screenwriters, working in indie film, animation and new media, in conversations on career sustainability and industry innovation for WGA East. She produces WGAE's Indie Writer Summit and manages the Made in NY Writers Room, a fellowship that amplifies television diversity through mentorships. Throughout the year, she travels to film festivals to connect with screenwriters whose work has been produced to help them understand navigating the entertainment business. Jenna was the 2013 global recipient of the Nokia Social Media Week Award for her conversation series on webseries foreshadowing the future of mainstream television. Most of her career has been Harlem-based, having worked for President Clinton and the Apollo Theater.
Keisha Zollar | Actor, Writer, WGAE Member
Keisha Zollar is a bicoastal actor and TV writer. Her Netflix sketch comedy show Astronomy Club will be dropping late 2019. She’s also worked as the writing supervisor on Busy Tonight, was a writer on The Opposition on Comedy Central, was co-head writer on the digital series Astronomy Club Presents for Comedy Central, and was a story editor on Harlem Code. As a human, Keisha is a big picture, problem solving, bleeding heart, Type-A intellectual that grew up like a de facto Huxtable on both American coasts. She's a California neurotic with some New York chill. In 2006 Keisha started her professional comedy journey touring short form improv for kids (think Whose Line meets daycare). In 2007 Keisha found her way to the Upright Citizens Brigade where she took classes and eventually became an improv/sketch performer, writer, teacher and diversity coordinator at the theater.
2:15PM - 3:15PM
STORYTELLING + STORYTELLERS
With an increasingly robust content landscape across a multitude of distribution platforms, it’s the distinctive, bold, and uncompromised story that rises above a cluttered marketplace. Often times, it’s the unconventional storyteller that brings a unique vantage point to sharing these narratives. Join these advocates within the Warner Media family who drive and accelerate the development of next generation storytelling, while propelling a new breed of content creators who are curating stories of inclusion.
Axel Caballero | Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO + Head of HBO COLLABS
Axel Caballero is Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for HBO and heads up HBO COLLABS. Formerly the Executive Director of NALIP. He has developed an extensive background in content production and development, community engagement, social innovation and talent cultivation. For well over a decade, Axel has been active on diverse social and media projects with emphasis on issues such as media access and equality, diversity and inclusion as well as immigration and human rights with a particular emphasis on the development of short films, visual and documentary film efforts. He is also the founder, and executive producer of Cuéntame, Latino Lens and Goodness Films & Productions.
Samantha Stamler | Supervising Producer, Great Big Story
Samantha Stamler is the Supervising Producer at Great Big Story where she manages all editorial programming and production. One of Great Big Story’s original team hires, Stamler has touched thousands of projects, including award winning series and short documentaries, which have earned recognition from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Webby Awards, Digiday, the Shorty Awards and multiple film festivals across the United States. A lifelong storyteller, Stamler began her career at CNN before stops at ABC, Fuse and CBS News, among other media outlets.
Gabrielle Glore | Festival Director, Urbanworld (Moderator)
Gabrielle Glore is the Festival Director & Head of Programming for the Urbanworld Film Festival. She leads the foundation's original content series, Urbanworld Independent. She is a creative producer involved with the forthcoming narrative feature, SYLVIE. For 2 seasons, Gabrielle served as the Series Producer for CENTRIC TV's show “The Round,” featuring women giving inspiring TED-style talks on a range of impactful topics. As Managing Principal of The Glore Group, Gabrielle leads content curation, strategic marketing, and/or production on initiatives for clients including HBO, BET Networks, Comcast, and The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she spent over a decade in various marketing roles at Time Warner, across businesses including HBO and Warner Music Group.
3:15PM - 3:30PM
ESSENCE Makers + Creators
Founded in 2018, the Essence Makers & Creators Fund supports and partners with creatives of color to help alleviate the most common barriers they face in securing financing for their projects—and makes strategic investments in the development and production of film, television and digital content.
Sidra Smith | Producer, Essence Studios
NAACP Image Award-winning Producer Sidra Smith has more than 20 years of international and domestic experience in various aspects of television, film, and documentary production.
Most recently, Sidra received an NAACP Image Award for producing the documentary film “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners,” and is currently producing Lionsgate’s dramatic Angela Davis biopic, directed by award-winning filmmaker, Julie Dash. Sidra is excited about A Luv Tale The Series, a six episode digital series she created, based on her 1999 award winning film. A Luv Tale The Series, based on Sidra’s 1999 award winning film of the same name, is the first original digital series from Essence and the first content supported by the Essence Makers & Creators Fund.
3:45PM - 4:45PM
PRODUCERS ON PRODUCING
The “Producers on Producing” series is part of PGA’s One Guild initiative supporting inclusive membership, employment, content and depictions.
Tonya Lewis Lee | Co-Founder, ToniK Productions
Producer, Writer, Entrepreneur, Women’s Health Advocate. Tonya Lewis Lee has been hard at work for over twenty years delivering quality content and information across many platforms. Through storytelling online, in books, in film and in television, she has sought to entertain, educate, inspire and encourage positive healthy lifestyle choices and outcomes. Tonya’s most recent television production SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT Season 1 and 2 now streaming on Netflix. Her most recent film ALL RISE, formerly MONSTER, based on the Walter Dean Myers novel of the same name, will be in theaters Fall 2019. For over a decade, as an independent producer, Tonya has produced scripted and unscripted work, including such classics as MIRACLE’S BOYS , a six-part television series, and the television film THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM , based on the Christopher Paul Curtis novel.
Lori McCreary | CEO, Revelations Entertainment
Lori McCreary is the CEO of Revelations Entertainment, a film and television production company she and actor Morgan Freeman founded in 1996 with a mission to produce entertainment that reveals truth. McCreary’s film and television credits include the Award-winning Invictus, 5 Flights Up, the groundbreaking documentary film about cancer, The C Word, and she is currently Executive Producer of CBS’s hit television series Madam Secretary starring Téa Leoni. She is Executive Producer of the highest-rated series in National Geographic Channel history, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, as well as the expansion series The Story of Us. McCreary also served as Executive Producer of Discovery Science's Emmy-nominated series Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, exploring how science pushes the boundaries of our understanding of the universe.
5:00PM - 6:00PM
A League of Their Own: Creating Beyond the White Gaze
Their creativity is not tempered by the fact it may be lost amongst the white perspective -- they unapologetically make their voices heard and presence known. Representation and the desire to tell our stories go beyond the white lens. This cadre of extraordinary thought leaders will address topics including arts vs. commerce, selling out, social movements, new funding sources, and how they meet the demand for captivating content, as they courageously hold up the mirror to help us lift our gaze. Join these fearless creatives, as we shape the future of the industry, in s safe space, made for us, by us.
Gbenga Akinnagbe | TV | Film | Stage Actor
Gbenga Akinnagbe can currently be seen making his Broadway debut opposite Jeff Daniels in Aaron Sorkin’s new adaptation of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. He has received rave reviews for his performance, and was honored with a Theatre World Award. He also stars as ‘Larry Brown’ on the David Simon/HBO series THE DEUCE opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco. Gbenga’s career defining turn as ‘Chris Partlow’ in THE WIRE led to memorable roles on hit shows including 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY, BARBERSHOP, THE FOLLOWING, NURSE JACKIE, and THE GOOD WIFE. His extensive film credits include THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, STARBRIGHT, ALL THE DEVIL’S MEN, DC NOIR (which he also co-directed), DETROIT, CROWN HEIGHTS, DETOUR, INDEPENDENCE DAY 2, BIG WORDS, EDGE OF DARKNESS, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, and THE SAVAGES.
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi | Award-Winning Filmmaker
Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi is graduate of UC Berkeley, he received his MA degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Eli is an award-winning filmmaker and currently directs FistUp.TV. His work has circulated through the National Broadcast: Free Speech TV, Teaching Channel and PBS . He is the co-founder of Defend Puerto Rico a multimedia project designed to document and celebrate Puerto Rican creativity, resilience, and resistance. Eli is currently touring the world with his new film Bakosó: Afrobeats of Cuba and curating his 11th Annual Fist Up Film Festival. His dedication to his craft is deeply connected to his commitment to social justice and the belief in the transformative power of film.
Alana Mayo | Head of Production & Development, Outlier Society
Alana Mayo is the Head of Production and Development for Outlier Society, Michael B. Jordan’s Production Company, which has a first look deal with Warner Bros. and was one of the first to adopt the industry’s inclusion rider. Most recently, Outlier Society debuted the OWN distributed series David Makes Man. Prior to this role, Alana served as Vice President of Production at Paramount Pictures, where she worked on Annihilation starring Natalie Portman, as well the Academy Award®-winning film Fences, directed by and starring Denzel Washington. In her previous role as Production Executive, she worked on the Academy Award®-winning The Big Short and the Academy Award® Best Picture nominee Selma.
Amy Andrieux | Executive Director, MoCADA (Moderator)
Amy Andrieux is a respected media executive who has worked for TRACE, MTV, The Source, and Red Bull, at the forefront of the converging landscape with over 10 years experience creating integrated programming and promotional campaigns for influencers around the world. She is also the founder of the Webby-nominated, cultural blog TheStarklife.com, and curator of the art + activism website Anarchy4Change.com. Her varied background and expertise unite to support her leadership role at MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts), as its Executive Director.