Mississippi Film Office
2 Year Term
Nominee's Professional Brief
I’ve been an active AFCI member for 21 years and am a Certified Film Commissioner. I’m the director of the Mississippi Film Office, and previously served as the deputy director alongside former AFCI president and board member, Ward Emling. I helped create our incentive program in 2004 along with the legislative and guideline changes over the last 15 years.
I studied filmmaking at New York University and the University of Southern Mississippi, began my career as a camera assistant, produced the Sundance award-winning film “Ballast”, and am a co-founder of the Crossroads Film Festival and Mississippi Film Alliance, a non-profit supporting indigenous filmmaking.
I serve on the boards for 3 college-level film & media programs assisting with curriculum development. I am also an adjunct professor teaching Film Production at Millsaps College and served as the director of the Canton Young Filmmakers Workshops for 15 years, a summer program for students ages 8-17.
The industry has been ever-changing over the last 2 decades affecting how both our local and visiting filmmakers navigate this ever-expanding industry. 2 years ago, due to a catastrophic legislative change, Mississippi lost productions along with most of our crew and infrastructure. Fortunately, our incentive is strong again, but we are building back from nearly zero. I believe my experience will add to the diverse board’s experience to better serve all shapes and sizes of member commissions as we continue to strengthen our best practices. As a producer, festival organizer, and educator, I hope to assist with programming meaningful content as well as serve the logistical needs to ensure our worldwide members have a worthwhile experience. As the AFCI builds upon a history of tremendous service to its members and the industry, I look forward to helping create the vision for the future and implement a plan for long-term sustainability.
Which areas of AFCI activities and programs do you think are of the most strategic importance to you and why?
Education and professional development – in order to best serve the industry, we must be vigilant at educating ourselves as changes occur within the industry. Additionally, we should always be creating a strong foundation of knowledge for new members. Looking forward, I would like to explore the possibility and usefulness of additional education opportunities, serving smaller groups with similarities – perhaps by geography, office budget, size of jurisdiction, incentive vs. non-incentive, etc.
Industry engagement – as an organization, we have been steadily showcasing our importance to the industry and have become respected partners. Building upon those partnerships, I hope we will soon see them investing in our events. As many AFCI members have limited budgets, industry investment could make programs more affordable and accessible.
When you are at an AFCI event, you know you are amongst comrades – sharing war stories, venting, letting it all hang out, and recovering. No one other than an AFCI member understands our ups and downs and the unique complexity of working between slow government bureaucracy and the I-needed-it-yesterday industry. Over the last 21 years, this organization has been vital in my continued education and to my mental sanity. I would be honored to have the opportunity to give back by serving on the board of directors.