Eight Louisiana-based filmmakers have been selected to take part in the 2016 Emerging Voices mentorship program, an initiative of the New Orleans Film Society.

The Emerging Voices (EV) Mentorship program, an initiative of the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS), was created in 2014 and founded on the principle that to create a more diverse storytelling landscape, filmmakers of color in Louisiana need greater access to gatekeepers. The program offers an opportunity for underrepresented filmmakers—geographically, racially, and ethnically—to broaden their networks nationally and gain invaluable feedback on their own projects in development.

Applicants include filmmakers with narrative or documentary projects (shorts, features or web-based), experimental films and new media projects in the development/pre-production stage. Each year, participants are selected and are paired with industry leaders who offer mentorship, professional feedback, and a pathway to industry connections. Participants also engage in short intensive meetings during the NOFF Industry Exchange, as well as meet & greets and workshops with other industry professionals to pitch their projects and build further connections. Emerging Voices mentees will also have the opportunity to participate in labs conjunct with the festival helmed by Firelight Media and The ALLIANCE for Media Arts and Culture.

“This year we have the largest and most diverse group since the beginning of the program ” said Emerging Voices program director Chloe Walters-Wallace. “I’m excited that as the program gets better recognition both locally and on a national scale, we’re not only reaching more filmmakers across Louisiana, but also attracting more industry partnerships to benefit local filmmakers. I look forward to continuing this work and expanding it to include our brand new Southern Producers Lab in May 2017.”

Funding for Emerging Voices is made possible by grants from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Greater New Orleans Foundation supports Emerging Voices with an IMPACT grant; and 21st Century Fox.

The complete list of 2017 mentees, their projects, and their mentors are listed below:

Bron Moyi is a filmmaker based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. He’s worked primarily in the film industry since 2010 and has since garnered over 30 credits to his name in both the art and camera department. He is particularly drawn to coming-of-age stories.

Project: Round Lake Road (Narrative Short)

A barely teenage boy is exposed to a night of drugs, sex, and violence in a small town in Florida.

Mentor: Moira Griffin is the Executive Director, Production, Creative Labs for 21st Century Fox where to oversees development labs for writers, directors, and producers for TV and Film, as well as festival and organization partnerships. Previously she was the Head of Diversity Initiatives department at the Sundance Institute where she focused on creating an inclusive space for diverse artists to thrive by helping them gain access to the programs within the institute, as well as access to the international marketplace, finance and emerging technologies.  


Asli Ozyenginer is a New Orleans-based Turkish filmmaker and writer. After studying Western Literature in Istanbul, she shifted her focus towards Visual Arts while at Dartmouth College graduate school. Her work focuses on displacement and notions of identity.

Project: Taxidermist (Documentary Short)

Taxidermist explores the human obsession with preservation through Rick, an ex-air force veteran and taxidermist living in New Orleans.

Mentor: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her editing debut won an Emmy for WGBH’s Greater Boston Arts series and she has continued to distinguish herself as a producer, editor, and director. Her latest film, QUEST, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2017. It recently won the Grand Jury Prize at several festivals, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where it also won the Human Rights award.


Philip Williamson Jr is a Creative Director at The Colored Section. As a filmmaker, Philip’s work has been showcased by PBS and HBO. His latest documentary “After Claudetteia,” was selected for Artless Media’s 2016 Magnifying Glass grant.

Project: Perfectly Audible (Narrative Short)

You don’t have to hear music to feel it, and for Cadence—who has been deaf for as long as he can remember—making music acts as an emotional escape. That is, until he develops feelings for his longtime friend and band-mate. As Cadence tries to make it in music and in love, he also must navigate family relationships and the constant fluidity of gender.

Mentor: Lisa Cortés, CEO of Cortés Films was executive producer of the Academy Award–winning film Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Her films have earned 70 international awards and nominations, including the Academy Award and the Golden Globe.


Alejandro de los Rios is a Cuban-Venezuelan writer and filmmaker with experience writing for ESPN the Magazine, VICE, the Associated Press, and Deadspin and directing nearly a dozen short films, in addition to news documentaries, music videos, and commercials.

Nicholas Manuel Pino made his acting and narrative directorial debut with “British Quarter Hustler” and won “Best Music Video” from Offbeat Magazine. Recently, Pino directed a Juan Lafonta f/ Big Freedia commercial which has been called “Iconic” by Fader Magazine.

Project: Contrabanda (Narrative Short)

Two friends who are caught with contraband at customs give conflicting accounts that reveal a deeper emotional story about family and loss.

Mentor: Christine Dávila is a Creative Executive at Stage 13, a new original digital-first content brand that is part of Warner Bros. Digital Networks. She has over twelve years of experience in film programming at festivals like Sundance, where she has been a Programming Associate since 2008.


Edward Buckles is a filmmaker, writer, and high school digital media instructor. He has directed content for Saint Heron, Complex, MTV, BET, VH1, and XXL and interned with director Spike Lee on the remake of Oldboy. Buckles is also the recipient of the 2017 Millennial Award for Film.

Project: Katrina Babies (Documentary Feature)

The effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’ communities stands as an all too recent memory in the minds of current and former residents. The city has gone through enormous changes in the years after, but what happened to those who experienced the storm in their most impressionable years? Katrina Babies intimately presents frank discussions of the struggles and triumphs of New Orleans’ youth after the storm.

Mentor: Maurice James is the Head of Development and Production for NBCU Digital labs

creating premium digital content for emerging platforms like Snapchat, Facebook

and Musical.ly across NBCU’s cable and digital brands. Before NBCU, Maurice was the co-founder and Head of Content for Soul of the South,a national broadcast television network targeting minorities and southern culture, reaching more than 25MM cable households in over 30 US markets.


Carl Harrison Jr.’s directorial debut, the narrative short Straight Line, premieres at this year’s NOFF. Currently, Carl works as crew for Queen Sugar.

Project: St. Roch (Documentary Short)

For decades, New Orleans’ St. Roch neighborhood has been at the center of changes and shifts in the city’s wider community. The neighborhood’s rich history comes to life through the experiences of the director—his parents grew up in St. Roch, and grandparents before that. St. Roch is the story of a community through a man who calls it home.


Niema Jordan is the program manager for the Off/Page Project, The Center for Investigative Reporting’s collaboration with Youth Speaks. She has a Master of Journalism in Documentary Film from UC Berkeley and her focus is on socially conscious films.


Jasmin Mara López is a New Orleans-based journalist, radio producer, and youth media educator. Born in Los Angeles with familial roots in México, her childhood was impacted by issues experienced on both sides of the U.S.- México border.

Project: Silent Beauty (New Media)

Using super 8 silent home movies and incorporating sound design that mimics the sounds of hearing loss, Silent Beauty is an experimental autobiographical exploration of a family history with abuse and a culture of silence.


Filmmaker and visual artist Jessica Ann Peavy has exhibited across the US and abroad with spaces and has worked directly with film education initiatives organized by Tribeca Film Institute and the Maysles Documentary Center. She is currently a member of NEW INC, the art and tech incubator at the New Museum.  

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