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Nikki Cole

After a long international career as a critically acclaimed dancer/choreographer in Canada, London, and New York, Nikki Cole made her first career transition. After attending the NYU School of Ed film program as a new mom, she picked up a camera and started making her own films: documentaries about her life in dance and theatre. One of them: Intimacies, about Hollywood’s first openly gay and HIV+ actor, Michael Kearns, won the Audience Vote at the Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival. After many award-winning indie films gained her entrance into the docu-series TV world where she made her living doing shows like Take This House & Sell It! Storage Wars and Ice Road Truckers for many years while she raised her daughter as a mostly single mom. All the while she never let go of her dream of making narrative films and TV. She kept directing her own shorts and writing longer projects and finally, after many years, she landed a directing job on a BBC Kids series called The Next Step. Her screenplays began winning awards and she is now developing two series, two features, and a documentary. Sound like a smooth ride? It wasn’t…

2020 CCFF Mentors & Influencers

Dennis White 

Dennis L.A. White, Actor, Director, Producer & Acting Coach, is notably known as “D-Roc” from the biopic “Notorious”. Currently he is on the star-studded tv series, “The Family Business”, on BET which is entering their 2nd season. You can also see him in the riveting movie “All in” on BET.

Dennis is an accomplished acting coach who has coached several celebrities and newcomers to success in TV & Film with his company “ACT LIKE YOU KNOW”.

Although he has worked with the likes Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Bill Duke, Kyra Sedgwick, Donald Glover, Dennis stays grounded with his activism and community outreach programs


Ashley Maria

Ashley Maria is a director and writer located in Los Angeles, CA. She received her MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, is the recipient of the prestigious Directors Guild of America award for her narrative film "Friday Night Fright,' and most recently, she was recognized as the “Best New Director” at the DTLA Film Festival for her feature documentary, Pioneers in Skirts. Ashley is also an advocate for advancing women’s opportunities. She is a North American delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women.


C. Nathaniel Brown

C. Nathaniel Brown is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, publisher, speaker, and writing coach. He has written, directed and produced more than two dozen films including short films and feature films. His scripts have been selected to dozens of film festivals and have won Best Screenplay for Tyin’ Up Loose Ends, Signs, and Six Months to Freedom. His first feature film, Chi Nu Legacy, won Best Feature Film at the Peachtree Village International Film Festival and screened all over the world including Canada, India and Africa. It will be featured during an HBCU tour beginning in the fall of 2019 to bring awareness to campus sexual assault. Several of his other projects can be seen on Amazon Prime Video. An international bestselling author, Brown has penned 13 books. He writes on topics ranging from self-help to sports to social issues. Dubbed ‘The Author Maker’ for his work in developing new writers and assisting them in the publishing process, Brown and his company, Expected End Entertainment/EX3 Books, were named Publisher of the Year at the 2016 The Writers Ball event. He also won 2018 Best Director and Best Screenwriter at The Writers Ball. The Baltimore native takes pride in teaching others how to succeed as an author, screenwriter, director, filmmaker, and actor. His workshops include Introduction to Screenwriting; Acting for the Director; Story and Character Development; Converting Books to Screenplays; and many more. Brown and his wife, Tarai, moved to Atlanta in 2011 to pursue the media and entertainment industries. Expected End Entertainment LLC, was founded from the scripture Jeremiah 29:11 and has a mission to entertain, educate and empower. Brown can be found on all social media platforms @cnathanielbrown.

Nimisha Mukerji

An award-winning filmmaker, Nimisha Mukerji's work has premiered in competition at Tribeca and Toronto International Film Festival, and her debut feature 65_REDROSES was selected by Oprah Winfrey for her Documentary Club on OWN. The film went on to be acquired by Netflix and Hulu. Subsequent features include JACINTA (produced with Impact Partners), TEMPEST STORM (released theatrically by Mongrel Media), and BLOOD RELATIVE, which earned her a second CSA nomination for directing. She has won four Leo Awards, most recently for her work as an episodic director on the teen sci-fi series MECH-X4 for Disney XD. Additional directorial credits include seasons 1 and 2 of Disney's teen action comedy series GABBY DURAN & THE UNSITTABLES, CHRISTMAS UNLEASHED for Lifetime, and both CHRONICLE MYSTERIES: THE DEEP END and FASHIONABLY YOURS for Hallmark. 

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Faith Pennick

Faith Pennick’s filmography includes the documentaries Silent Choices and Weightless, and the narrative short films Running on Eggshells and Haunt. She is currently in development of her narrative feature film directorial debut, Double Effect. Pennick is also a freelance writer and a book author. She wrote Voodoo, a book about D’Angelo’s Voodoo album for Bloomsbury’s “33 1/3 Music” series. Pennick earned her B.A. at the University of Michigan and an M.A. at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.


Karl Jason



Karl is a critically acclaimed director and showrunner who brings the wealth of a global diaspora to impactful storytelling. His directing and acting experience in both theater and film has not only made him an 'actor's director,' it has also driven him to create strong, visually-arresting narratives. 

Karl has directed projects filmed in
North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. His experience in storytelling is varied, encompassing dramatic television, cutting-edge documentary series, high-octane docudramas, and nail-biting stories from
the wild. His directing acumen is augmented by his experience producing and first assistant directing. 

Karl’s unscripted credits include: WORST THING I EVER DID and SCIENCE OF SIN. His scripted credits are THE GIFT and SPAWN & GEEZER.



Thomai Hatsios




Thomai Hatsios' directing credits include the scripted portion of true-crime series MURDEROUS AFFAIRS and MOTIVE TO MURDER.  Her documentary/lifestyle credits include GNAWA: TRANCE AND DANCE (3 MONTHS IN MOROCCO) GFI OG PUNKS, AND MILLION DOLLAR HOME HACKS (Bravo Pilot) 


Her producing credits include four feature-length films, supervising producer on six true crimes series, a successful web series, many commercials and music videos including Drake’s, “TUESDAY which has over 165 million views.

Thomai's commitment to inclusivity manifests in over 15 years of creating content with her production company, MetaHara Productions.