NARRATIVE FEATURE

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HARRY MUSSLEWHITE

Harry Musselwhite is a New Mexico based filmmaker, actor, writer, and musician. He recently served a three year term as President of the Board of The New Mexico Film Foundation, and was Executive Director of the Rome International Film Festival for a number of years. He is the Executive Producer/Creator of the reality television series Horse People, currently in development with a major cable network. He recently acted in the acclaimed television series Better Call Saul, and he is the music composer for documentarian Stephanie Gardner’s series 33 and Me. Harry served in the production department of the new horror feature Artik  in current release. With writing partner Donald J. Davenport, there are two feature screenplays under current consideration at major production houses. He lives in Los Lunas, New Mexico with his wife Laura, Dean of Instruction at University of New Mexico- Valencia. He is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Music at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.

VICTOR PISANO

After graduate work in Rome, Italy, Victor started his career under contract at 20th Century Fox Studios in Beverly Hills, CA., as a screenwriter where he wrote the original screenplay, VOICE OF THE NORTH END for famed Director, Martin Ritt. Film and Television projects then followed as Writer, Producer and Director.  In 1990, Victor met and married Judy Belushi, widow of John Belushi.  They, together with actor Dan Aykroyd, were involved in the formation and development of an entertainment restaurant/venue called, The House of Blues.  Victor has spent much of the last five years lecturing on Intellectual Property and Performing Arts at seminars, colleges, universities and on the lecture circuit while creating and developing the worldwide launch of a new entertainment restaurant/venue called, The BluCaratTM.  He also continues to write and to produce extensively.

JODY SCHIESSER

Jody Schiesser is responsible for creating the award-winning short films THE STREET CLEANER, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, and ANTIGONE’S SONG, and all three have screened at the Macon Film Festival, He directs, produces, and manages locations for film and television, including most recently the Emmy-Nominated HULU tv series THE ACT, and the new NBC television series COUNCIL OF DADS. Jody also is location manager for the acclaimed feature film THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON, which premiers in August. He most recently managed locations for director Barry Levinson’s newest film, HARRY HAFT. Jody mostly works in Georgia, and has enjoyed watching film and television production grow around him into what it is today. Born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jody lives in Savannah with his wife Sarah and sons Finn and Talon. Telling important stories, and nurturing an idea from concept to completed vision, is his passion.

DOCUMENTARY

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DAVID ALLISON

David Allison is a veteran filmmaker and graphic designer who has worked on numerous projects including feature films and motion design work for the World Cup and the Super Bowl.
David has been in video and film production since 2000. He is a co-founder of Pilot Moon Films, a production company specializing in music videos, commercials, and documentary films. He is also co-founder of Et Cultura, an annual multi-media festival in St. Petersburg, Florida. David studied film and television at the University of North Texas before he went on to pursue film editing studies in Los Angeles. He is currently directing a documentary series in Texas called 'The Dancehall Tapes'.

ROBERT FIELDSTEEL

Robert Fieldsteel is a resident of Macon, following a distinguished 28-year career in Los Angeles as an actor, writer, producer and educator in film, t.v. and theatre. He began his career working as filmmaker John Cassavetes’ assistant, running his film distribution company, co-producing 3 Cassavetes-directed plays (starring Gena Rowlands, Jon Voight and Peter Falk) and working on the films Gloria and Love Streams, making his screen acting debut in the latter. Other highlights of his feature acting career include films with acclaimed directors Sidney Lumet and Joe Dante. TV guest-star roles include Designing Women, The Parkers, Party of Five, Wings, Married With Children, and Fame.  In theatre, he has won Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards as both a playwright and an actor. He is president of The Macon Film Guild, which brings current independent and foreign-language films to Middle Georgia. www.maconfilmguild.org

CHARLES RICHARDSON

Charles E. Richardson, retired Editorial Page Editor for The Telegraph, is a McClatchy Journalism Fellow at Duke University and at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland. He has attended Harvard University workshops in narrative journalism and not-for-profit governance. His undergraduate work was at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Richardson served on several civic organization boards and is the past state chairman of Kids Voting Georgia. He served as president of the board for the Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation and the Macon Arts Alliance. He received the Liberty Bell Award from the Macon Bar Association and was the 2014 Rotarian of the Year for the Downtown Macon Rotary Club. He retired from The Telegraph in January 2018 after 24 years. He is now Artist in Residence at Middle Georgia State University. He also serves on the Board of Governors at the Grand Opera House and is on the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority.

NARRATIVE SHORT

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JEREMIAH BENNETT

Jeremiah Bennett is an international award-winning movie and television producer. His passion for media started young, and at thirteen he began running sound and lighting at his local church. During his early career, Jeremiah produced many award winning indie films that have been featured in festivals around the world. Over the last few years, he has worked on shows for international television networks including Al Jazeera, WEtv, Discovery Channel, and Food Network, and corporate team at BET Networks. He was a producer for TLC's hit reality series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. He also produced the feature films including “Crimes and Mister Meanors”. Jeremiah is the chair for the Atlanta chapter of the Producers Guide of America and a member of the Television Academy. He founded and serves as president & chairman of the board directors for the ME Film Festival. Currently Jeremiah serves as the executive producer and CEO of Glass Door Studios, a film, television and new media production company.

GARETH JONES

Gareth Jones has taught Film Studies for twelve years in three states including including Wesleyan College, Brewton Parker College, and currently the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In addition, he has worked for over twenty years for the Sundance Film Festival as a consultant for festival logistics in parking and transportation. He looks fondly back at his time in middle Georgia, and in particular helping out with the Macon Film Festival from 2013-2015 in multiple capacities. He is honored to be able to assist again as a juror.

SETH INGRAM

Seth Ingram is the Executive Director of the Rome International Film Festival. When not fulfilling his obligations to the festival, Seth writes, directs, and produces independent film and television projects. Seth is the owner of Army of Bears, a production company committed to creating original content. Seth and his talented bride April reside in Rome with their 3 children.

MUSIC

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JUSTIN ANDREWS

Justin Andrews is the Director of Special Projects & Outreach at the Otis Redding Foundation specializing in event planning and student activities. Justin has served as the assistant camp manager for the Otis Music Camp for 6 years. He is also involved in the day-to-day requests for the Otis Redding Estate. He was in Leadership Macon’s Class of 2017, and serves on the boards of Macon Arts Alliance, Macon Film Festival, and Macon Pops (where he also serves as event coordinator), as well as on the Community Advisory Board for Coliseum Health Systems, and the Fundraising Committee for Rebuilding Macon.

ROB SHIRAKBARI

Rob (Shrock) Shirakbari is an American musician, composer, record producer, and arranger best known for being long-time music director for both legendary Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. He is producer, co-writer, and music director for UK platinum recording artist, Rumer. Shirakbari has written, produced and performed on numerous songs on records and in film and TV. Shirakbari, Burt Bacharach, and Don Was were the music directors and arrangers for the 72nd Academy Awards. He wrote the arrangements and conducted the pit orchestra for the four-hour awards show and played keyboards in the on-camera band that featured Oscar-winning songs performed by Faith Hill, Ray Charles, Garth Brooks, Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick and Isaac Hayes. Shirakbari has worked with Aretha Franklin, Adele, Sheryl Crow, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Elvis Costello, Wynonna Judd, Duffy, Ronald Isley, Peabo Bryson, Chris Botti, and Whitney Houston among other successful recording artists. He served on the NARAS Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter from 1998-2000.

As a writer, Shirakbari has been a long-time contributor to Keyboard Magazine, Electronic Musician, Mix Magazine, and Remix Magazine (among others), writing feature articles and product reviews. He has taught and mentored at various industry events speaking on topics covering songwriting, arranging, and music production. He has taught master classes and workshops at the Otis Redding Foundation Music Camp (Macon, Georgia), Bimm Music Institute (Dublin, Ireland), Henry Mancini Institute (Los Angeles, California), and various elementary, Jr. high and high schools.

RUMER SHIRAKBARI

Rumer Shirakbari is a critically acclaimed British singer and songwriter. Her debut album, Seasons of My Soul, (Atlantic) has sold over a million copies worldwide. Her sultry voice has earned her praise from Elton John and Burt Bacharach. Rumer’s success has taken her all over the world, and she has even performed for Mr and Mrs Obama at the White House. Rumer now runs her own music and media production company, Night Owl, and is Macon’s newest resident.

GEORGIA MADE

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JASON BROWN

Jason Brown is a tenured Associate Professor of Mass Media at Valdosta State University where he is the director of the South Georgia Film Festival, which is in its fourth year. He produced the short film MIRACLE BOY, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and screened nationwide on the Film Festival Collective channel. He is currently finishing a documentary about John Sayles’ film MATEWAN and its impact on West Virginia. This past year, Jason was chosen to participate in the Television Academy’s Faculty Seminar program in Hollywood, CA. He also was chosen to participate for the NATPE Faculty Fellowship in Miami, FL.

JOEL MANZILA

Joel Malizia spent most of his early adulthood working as a professional musician and carpenter. As his family grew, he leaned more on his carpentry skills than on his musical chops, and he took a job at Home Shopping Network building sets for live television studios. While at HSN, Joel was able to work in several different departments (lighting, set styling, production, etc.), further educating him on the many facets of the production process. During these years, Joel independently created and shot short films which experienced success at national and international film festivals. With several years of live television production under his belt, Joel cofounded full service video production company, Pilot Moon Films. Pilot Moon has produced content for companies including Google, NFL, CFA, SXSW, Johns Hopkins, Disney and is currently producing a music documentary series called The Dancehall Tapes: A Texas Music Preservation Project.

AMOR OWENS

Amor Owens is honored to have served as a juror at the Macon Film Festival for the last 3 years. She has been involved in some capacity in filmmaking since 2010 either in front of or behind the camera. She has freelanced as a line producer, casting, set costumer, and costume designer, for several production companies in Georgia. Amor currently works as an actress for film, tv, and stage and is represented by JPervis Talent Agency in the Southeast and Avalon Artists Group in New York and LA. She also believes in supporting the arts & arts education and has volunteered her time with the Alliance Theater, Aurora Theater, High Museum of Art, 48hour Film Festival, and the Macon Film Festival. Amor has a passion for good storytelling and supports independent filmmakers creating quality original content.

STUDENT SHORT

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MICHELE PRETTYMAN

Dr. Michele Prettyman, co-founder of Daughters of Eve Media, is a media consultant, writer, and a scholar of film, media, and African American cinema. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Africana Studies at Mercer University, where she teaches screenwriting, digital storytelling and film studies courses. She is also a co-curator of the CollegeTown and the Tubman African American Film Festivals and has a longstanding partnership with the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), the oldest and largest African American film festival in the country. Dr. Prettyman is currently developing her own projects and frequently consults with other filmmakers on their work.

ANDREW BLACK

Andrew Black is a lecturer in mass media at Valdosta State University and also serves as the Program Director for the South Georgia Film Festival. His specialties are in media production and media law.

AARON BUZZA

Aaron Buzza, CDME, is VP of Development and COO at Visit Macon. In that role, he is responsible for Visit Macon’s partnership and I Am Macon programs, and serves as the camera-ready liaison for Macon-Bibb County. Through that role he also leads the Macon Film Commission. Prior to Visit Macon, Buzza was with the Waterloo (IA) Convention & Visitors Bureau. He grew up in a small town in Southeast Minnesota and attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA. Buzza lives in Macon with his family. He’s an avid sports fan and enjoys reading and cooking.

LGBT

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DEMARCUS BECKHAM

DeMarcus Beckham is the Regional Field Director and Organizer for The New Georgia Project (Macon) and Chairman of the Macon and Middle Georgia AIDS Network. As a Middle Georgia-based social activist, he advocates ensuring all Georgians are versed in their voter rights, civil rights, along with educating Georgians of the health advancements in HIV/AIDS. As a grassroots advocate, he has been responsible for organizing several community talks, rallies, and protests.

JIM CRISP

Jim Crisp is the founding Artistic Director of Theatre Macon. After 32 years leading the company, he retired in August of 2018, and is now pursuing community interests.

CINDY HILL - WILLIAMS

Cindy Hill-Williams is a member of the Obama Foundation’s Museum Programming and Operations team that is creating the Obama Presidential Center. The Macon native previously served as the GPB Savannah Station Manager and host of “All Things Considered” for Georgia Public Broadcasting; and in marketing and communications roles at Mercer University, Macon Arts Alliance, and 13WMAZ. She has served on boards of the Macon Film Festival, Theatre Macon, Georgia Arts Network, and Savannah Technical College. She also recently served as a panelist in the Sundance Film Festival screenplay workshop at the Macon Film Festival. She studied Film Production & Communications at Georgia State University and spent the first decade of her career working on 30+ tv and film productions in Atlanta, Savannah, and Los Angeles. She and her wife reside in Chicago.