NBFF 2017 LINE UP

Lucius Baston

Lucius Baston

Host

Lucius Baston Junior, the youngest of three boys, was born in South Richmond Hill Queens, NY to a father who was Army veteran turned transportation (train) conductor and a mother who was a home maker. Lucius played high school basketball, and was an 11-year-old disk jockey (DJ) in the early days of Hip-Hop (1980s). Following grade school, he enlisted to the United States Air Force, where he was active for 11 years. After his service in the military, and a stint working in electronics, his love for music and passion for show business would lead him to fun times in radio broadcasting. His dedication to acting was cultivated when an aspiring actress showed him a set of head shots. Like a bolt of lightning, Lucius set out to pursue acting by attending the Performers Studio Workshop for over 4 years.

In the past decade, Lucius has aggressively built an impressive body of work to include supporting roles in films such as Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Cassadaga, Tooth Fairy 2, Frank vs. God, Jessabelle, Ride Along, and Ride Along 2 with notable television roles in The Wronged Man, House of Payne, Teen Spirit, HBO‘s Treme, NBC’s Revolution, and Showtime’s Emmy Award winning series Homeland. Most recently the landmark min-series Roots, Netflix’s Stranger Things, and
FX’s Golden Globe winning series Atlanta.

Lucius is an extraordinarily talented and versatile entertainer. He now lives in Atlanta, GA.

Orlando Valentino

Orlando Valentino

Hosting acting workshop

For the past 16 years Orlando Valentino has worked to make his mark in the film and television industry as an actor, director and screenwriter. Motivated by his faith and blessed with the strength to overcome any obstacle along his journey, his personal mission is to: “entertain, create and inspire others to pursue their dreams” Orlando Valentino is most excited about his recent lead role as Carlos Allen in the feature film “Carter High” starring alongside Pooch Hall, Charles S. Dutton, David Banner and Vivica A. Fox.

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas Orlando began his work in the fine arts field like many, in the church as a young teen. Orlandowas lead in numerous plays and worked behind the scenes assisting in production. His performances in local area productions lead to an award for “Best Drama Solo” at the Fine Arts Festival North Texas District. Orlando‘s radio and commercial resume includes work with: Cinemark Theatres, Radio Disney and 91.5 KGRM.

As Orlando began his collegiate studies at Grambling State University (GSU) in Louisiana he still found time to act as Youth Drama Director at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ The Potters House Ministries in Dallas, Texas. During his time at the Potters House, Orlando has entertained thousands in a plethora of skits and on the media and production team for a number of conferences and events including 2013 MegaFest. At GSU, Orlando was a member of NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) and the World Famed Tiger Marching Band performing for thousands across the U.S. while still balancing his budding acting career in campus theatrical performances. Some of his key acting roles at GSU included: Emmitt Till in “The Story of Emmitt Till”; Jason in “Medea, by Euripides” and Walter Lee in “To be Young, Gifted and Black.”

Nina Gloster

Nina Gloster

Hosting writing workshop

Nina Gloster grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, right outside the nation’s capitol. She obtained a bachelors degree from Spelman College where she double-majored in Comparative Women’s Studies and African American Studies and minored in Film. At Spelman, Nina studied the foundations of Feminist and Black film criticism, making it her mission to create content which would not be constricting to stereotypical roles that do not reveal the multi-layered lives of women and people of the Diaspora across the globe.

Nina also holds a Masters of Fine Arts from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. During which, she spent several months working in Cape Town, South Africa at Community Media Trust, a not-for- profit production company that produces educational series in the fields of health, HIV and AIDS, education, gender-based violence and other topics of Human

Rights and social development. While working there, she managed to begin the creation of her documentary “People Who Fell From The Sky”, which highlights the connection between the experiences of lack of identity with African Americans and Coloured South Africans, post-colonization.

In 2013, Nina received entry into Festival de Cannes Film Corner with her short film, Mother’s Child. Since then, Nina has had experience working in television where she has worked in both development and production at networks like BET, Starz and FOX. Focused on her career as a writer, Nina currently works as the Writer’s Assistant on Fox’s hit show STAR under the supervision of Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy.

Filmmaking Panel

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Greg Carter

Greg Carter

Filmmaking panel

Greg is a native of Houston, Texas and a graduate of Texas A&M University. After studying under Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Charles Gordone, he went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in Filmmaking Studies at Rice University.

His first independent feature "Fifth Ward", which he wrote, produced, edited, and directed, was shot on 35mm. It was the Best Feature Winner at the 1997 New Orleans Black Film Festival and picked up awards for Best Director and Feature at the 1998 30th Parallel Film Festival in Austin. "Fifth Ward" was also officially selected into the 1998 SXSW Film Festival in Austin. The movie was acquired by York/Maverick Entertainment and released nationwide in March of 2000 to Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos and later ran on BET Action PPV. It aired on Black Starz Encore via Urban Entertainment. Greg‘s sophomore studio film, "Thug Life", is financed and also distributed by York/Maverick Entertainment. It had a limited theatrical run followed by a national release to video in March of 2001. "Thug Life" premiered on Showtime Extreme during the month of April 2002. On "Diamonds from the Bantus", Greg’s third feature project which wrapped production in March 2002, he served as co-writer and producer. The cast featured Michael and Janet Jackson‘s father, Joe Jackson, and Todd Bridges, star of the hit television series "Diff’rent Strokes".

When his schedule permits, Greg enjoys teaching filmmaking. He founded the Fifth Ward Young Filmmaker’s Project in 1992. Through the program, Greg instructed over a hundred youths from 1992 to 1996. In 1995, Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and Council Member Michael Yarbrough awarded him citations for his service, involvement, and contribution to the Fifth Ward community. In association with Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP), he recently taught a filmmaking class at Project Row Houses for underprivileged youths to give them the opportunity to learn the craft and art of storytelling through film.

TY Walker

TY Walker

Filmmaking panel

TY Walker has produced, line produced and managed a plethora of feature length movies, television shows and new media content. Through the mentorship of several veteran industry professionals and executives, Walker has been able to take this invaluable knowledge and apply it to his own projects, resulting in the launching of his own boutique production company, Tycor International Film Company. Over the years Walker has made his mark in the industry as a leading indie movie producer and has become known for passionately producing movies of various genres and budgets around the globe.

Walker graduated with a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Finance and was once one of the youngest Project Managers in the global technology/business services. With that experience, Walker knew the importance of thoroughly knowing and understanding your business prior to leading and managing a team. So before actually producing his first film, he sat behind and learned from some of the top producers in the business as well as working in various roles such camera assistants, production coordinator, assistant directing and UPM’ing. This experience allowed him to then successfully produce/line produce films such as the 2012 Sundance hit, “BLUE CAPRICE”, directed by Alexandre Moors, starring Isaiah Washington, “OMPHALOS”, a sci-fi feature starring Emmanuelle Chriqui and Edoardo Ballerini, “ALL THAT I AM”, the SXSW Grand Jury & Audience winning film directed by Carlos Puga, “JULIA”, the soon to be released noir horror, lensed by Icelandic Oscar nominated cinematographer, Bergsteinn Björgúlfsson, “REDRUM”, the Investigative Discovery Channel show that set a new record with the Discovery Channel, with the biggest opening night in history and highest audience ratings and Carter High, starring Charles S. Dutton, Vivica Fox, Pooch Hall, Reginald C. Hayes and David Banner. Walker’s most recent film, “IMPERIUM”, the American terrorist thriller starring Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette and Tracy Letts, was released by Lionsgate Premiere in late 2016. Walker is currently producing Animal Planets hit show “THE VET LIFE”, which will be aire this spring.

Nate Edwards

Nate Edwards

Filmmaking panel

Nate Edwards is a 26 year old Houston native and a graduate of Morehouse College and The Vancouver Film School in British Columbia, Canada. Nate has a short but potent list of works, giving him a diverse portfolio. He dwells on abortion, drug abuse, while exploring styles like the French new wave in Romantic crime films. Nate travels to far reaches of the world to document the importance of traveling for young people of color while also molding with musicians to make bold, daring narrative music videos. He holds no bounds to where he chooses to tell his stories, making works in: New Orleans, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Central America, Canada, South Africa, Thailand, and London.

Jerome Bailey Jr.

Jerome Bailey Jr.

Filmmaking panel

Documentary Filmmaker Jerome Bailey Jr. started his career as a video journalist at the Associated Press covering the death of Maya Angelou as an intern and ultimately working as a news reporter for KIAH-TV in Houston. He interviewed a wide range of influencers from President Trump to NBA star James Harden before ultimately leaving to run his growing documentary production house Jerome Bailey Media LLC.

Bailey is currently working on his feature, Sinner, a story highlighting the African Heritage in the Bible.
Bailey travels and teaches storytelling in the U.S. and abroad, most recently in Temuco, Chile. He is also a Journalism Professor at Houston Baptist University.

An HBCU graduate of Dillard, he earned his Masters Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City.

Thada Catalon

Thada Catalon

Filmmaking panel

THADA CATALON began her film career in 2008 as an actress. That path soon led her to writing, directing and producing her first short film “Academic Affairs”; which went on to be NOMINATED for Best Domestic Short at the 7th Annual 2009 Queens International Film Festival. Her acting & filmmaking career thus far includes work in several short films, commercials, webisodes, music videos and seven feature films; to include her latest productions efforts “Created Equal” which was directed by Bill Duke and stars Aaron Tveit, Lou Diamond Phillips and Edy Ganem.

Catalon’s
 first foray into producing was the urban crime drama “Because I Love You” starring Chico Benymon, Billy Sorrells and Courtney Cameron. The picture is currently being distributed worldwide.  Her next feature length production “Alternate Realities” starring Donny Boaz, Tom Sizemore and Christopher Judge, in which she was the recipient of the inaugural Houston Filmmaker Grant, went on to WIN Best Sound Design and was NOMINATED for Best Drama at the 10th Annual 2014 Action on Film Festival. Alternate Realities currently available on Video on Demand and streaming services worldwide. Thada also contributed as Unit Production Manager for the feature length film “The Last Man Club.”

Aside, from holding three academic degrees including a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Full Sail University, a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Thada further cultivated her experience in film, by pursuing a degree in Filmmaking from The Art Institute of Houston. Thada recently taught filmmaking and screenwriting classes at the Art Institute of Houston.

Marketing Panel

Everette Taylor

Everette Taylor

Marketing panel

Everette Taylor is a four-time entrepreneur, marketing executive, public speaker and writer. He currently serves as CMO at Skurt – the mobility company which delivers cars on-demand at the tap of a button. His entrepreneurial career started at the age of19 with his first company which he sold 2 years later. Since then he has founded the marketing firm MilliSense where he served as CEO, co-founded the software company GrowthHackers where he serves as VP of Growth, and recently founded the company GrowthPup – the social media software to help grow your Instagram. Taylor himself has grown a social media audience of over half a million people across all platforms.

His work also includes serving as CMO of the e-commerce company StickerMule, Head of Growth for new projects at Microsoft, VP of Marketing for Qualaroo which was acquired by Xenon Ventures, and as an advisor to We Are Onyx – a beauty box subscription service for women of color. Most recently he has become the National Brand Ambassador for NASA’s Technology Transfer Program.

As a public speaker, Taylor has traveled all over the world speaking about entrepreneurship, personal growth, and marketing. He co-authored “Startup Growth Engines” which was #1 best selling book in “Startups” on Amazon. Taylor is also passionate about diversity in tech, serving as an ambassador to CODE2040, Black Girls Code, and Wonder Women Tech as well as having his own scholarship fund for underrepresented college students.

Willie D

Willie D

Marketing panel

Willie D, born Willie James Dennis, is an American rap artist from Houston, Texas, that showed early promise as a boxer. He went on to become the Golden Gloves Champion of Texas while he was still in high school. However, rap music caught his attention, and he decided to shift his focus. He was subsequently tapped to join the lineup of the Geto Boys, and the group burst onto the national music scene in 1989 with their album, Grip It! On That Other Level. The album was later certified Gold. The group’s follow-up album, We Can’t Be Stopped, fueled by the hit single “My Mind’s Plain’ Tricks On Me”, which was co-written by Willie D, immediately went platinum and catapulted the group to superstardom. Willie continued to release successful singles and albums both as a solo artist, and with the Geto Boys, throughout the 90s and early 2000s.

Now he’s back with his new single Coon, a scathing indictment against black celebrities, and others who use their platforms to sell out their own race. “If your criticism of the black community outweigh your contribution to the black community and you’re black, you’re a coon” says Willie. In addition to his music career he also tours with the Geto Boys and writes a top rated weekly advice column that is published in the Houston Press.

Ky Meyer

Ky Meyer

Marketing panel

Ky Meyer is a television veteran with nearly two decades in front and behind the camera. Her love for people and storytelling has taken her all over the country, creating a well-known colorful platform of creativity, positivity and fun. Her hat rack is packed with award-winning roles as a news anchor and reporter, executive producer, writer, radio personality, TV host and photographer.

She landed her first job in news at KHQ-TV in her hometown of Spokane, WA and her presence was soon known across the state (KAYU-TV, KNDO-TV and KING-5 in Seattle).

Ky made her move from Seattle to Hollywood, where she would take on new roles as an entertainment host, red carpet reporter and voice behind one of the first major music podcasts in Los Angeles called Enter The Shell.

A half a decade later, Ky answered the call to move to Houston, Texas to put her television producer hat back on. She spent an entire year helping to develop and launch the country’s first ever non-traditional, anchorless newscast called Newsfix.

What started as a prime time show on Houston’s CW Network, soon grew to three shows in Houston and the launch of Newsfix in Dallas and Miami. During that time Ky also took her love for music to create and host the only television platform for artists in Htown called Tuned In with Ky Meyer that ran weekly. During it’s nearly six year run, Ky made a name for herself as the first female host on Newsfix. Her undeniable passion helped elevate artists and push the envelop with stories that have never been told on TV.

After launching six shows in three major TV markets, Ky shattered her glass ceiling and knew it was time to break ground on a new venture. She’s now the CEO and Executive Producer of her own company, Kollective Media.

Ky’s hope is that her journey has helped pave the way for women and anyone looking to think outside the box to create the life they want.

Jillian “JJ” Simmons

Jillian “JJ” Simmons

Marketing panel

Jillian “JJ” Simmons, a veteran radio host from Cincinnati, Ohio, is more than just another voice to fill the airwaves. As an on-air talent, she has captivated listeners from major cities from across the country, including her hometown Cincinnati (WIZF-FM), Dayton (WROU-FM), New York City (WBLS-FM, where she worked alongside “The Queen of All Media,” Wendy Williams), Indianapolis (WHHH-FM), and now Houston (KBXX-FM) . Over the years, she has interviewed many of the rich, famous and influential, including President Barack Obama.

In addition to being a positive influence on people she meets through her work, JJ is a proud mother to a beautiful daughter. She uses her passion for the” mommy experience” to motivate other single mothers through her network and website SingleMomsRock.com. Although she has always had an innate desire to empower others, raising a daughter has deepened her desire to foster change in the lives of women, and inspired her to give birth to JJ’s I’m Me Foundation. JJ recently published her first book, Without Bruises: A Journey To Hope, Help and Healing which tells her personal story of surviving domestic abuse.

Torri Stuckey

Torri Stuckey

Marketing panel

Torri Stuckey is an author, public speaker and community activist. A former professional athlete, since hanging up his cleats Torri has made it his life‘s mission to uplift the black community. The widespread success of Torri’s 2012 title, Impoverished State of Mind, has fully cemented his transition from professional athlete to professional author.