Congratulations to the 2022- 2024 Board
Shameka Gray - President
Shameka was born in New Orleans, La. She is a trained actress, having studied theater at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La and later finished her studies in acting and producing at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Ca. While in San Francisco she performed onstage in The Black Nativity at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater. She is known for her role inThe Giant’s Fairy which has won Best Picture at the 48hr Film Festival and screened at the Southern Screen Film Festival. She was also a part of the films Stay Woke; Iris; Liar, Liar Pants On Fire and Sugar, Alienated, Murderous Affairs (TV Series), Ink Red Dead Redemption II (Video Game) and Silence is Compliance.
Keota D. Picou
Keota D. Picou - Vice President
Keota is an award winning actress, dancer, poet, singer, and pianist. She has worked in film since July 2010. Keota has earned a leading role in the short film Ripe Figs and Dr. Chevalier's Lie, an adaptation of Kate Chopin's work. October of 2017, Ripe Figs, made it's world premiere at the New Orleans Film Festival and earlier this year at the Greater New Orleans Film Fete. Dr. Chevalier's Lie premiered at the Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival this June 2018. Film Girl Film Festival screened both Ripe Figs and Dr. Chevalier's Lie this year. Keota earned a supporting role in the webseries NOPD: Coven "Getting In", which premiered at the Dances With Films Festival. All three short films have been screening consistently at many film festivals across the US. She has made her U.K. debut at the Women Over 50 Film Festival for her lead role in Ripe Figs. She has also made an appearance on WWLTV News. Keota has won "The Award of Merit" from the Southern Shorts Awards for her "Achievement in Acting" in a drama. She is a children's rights supporter and volunteered for the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater New Orleans. Visit her website www.hellokeota.com for info!
Portia Washington - Baton Rouge Chair
Portia is currently serving her first term in office for WiFT-Louisiana as our Baton Rouge Chair. She has shown our chapter the utmost dedication and has produced quality events and programs for our Baton Rouge members.
Ashley James - Treasurer
Ashley is a native of New Orleans, La. She followed the legacy of her mother and aunt by attending St. Mary's Academy Catholic high school. Once graduating from high school, Ashley earned her Associate's in Performance and Media Arts from Delgado Community College; Bachelor's in Film Arts from the University of New Orleans, and Master's of Science Degree in Business Entertainment from FullSail University. Ashley is currently a banker with Capitol One and spends her free time reading, watching movies, and completing her first novel. She truly enjoys meeting new people and exploring their personality. She believes everyone has a beautiful and positive heart.
Simone Brown - Marketing Chair
is a Brazilian Production Coordinator/APOC/Production Office
manager living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in
Communication - Film, and TV at FAAP University in 1991 and her Master’s
Degree in Marketing at Sao Judas University - Unimonte in 2008 in Brazil. She has natural leadership and management skills, which make her an experienced and creative Production Coordinator who enjoys taking on new challenges.
For the past 28 years, she has done productions in Brazil that include
documentaries, short movies, feature films, commercials, TV Series, game shows,
talk shows, live shows, lifestyle shows, and video clips. In Brazil, she worked at various TV Broadcasts like Rede Record, Rede Bandeirantes, TV Cultura, Rede TV. She worked at Productions Film Houses like Fly Productions, Framewave Productions, Lightstar Studios, and O2 Filmes. She had the pleasure to work at 02 Filmes with the Oscar-nominated director Fernando Meirelles.
Besides working as a Production Coordinator in Films and TV, she worked for 12
years as a University Professor at Sao Judas University teaching Production to the
Major Film and TV Audiovisual.
Visit Simone's Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/simone-brown-08090846
Sarah Fisher - Membership & Communications Co-Chair
Sarah is an Actress, Stunt Performer, Writer and Producer.
In her words:
"I am always wanting to learn new things that deal with the Film and TV world. From behind the scenes to in front of the camera, I want to know how each piece fits into the puzzle to make and develop a finished product. I dive in all aspects of this world. Talent, Stunts, Production. I’ve created events for major corporations and have worked in the convention life and theme park life for years. I want to immerse myself more into this film world and gain more experience."
Visit Sarah's Website: https://imdb.me/sarahsfisher & instagram: sarahsfisheractress
Lizeth Hutchings - Communications Co-Chair
Lizeth was born in Mexico and grew up in South Carolina. She moved to New Orleans in 2014 and fell in love with the culture and diversity that it offered. She became interested in the film industry and has been known for her work as Casting Associate on Brand Is Crisis as well as a Casting Assistant for various commercials. Lizeth is also an Actress and has earned a role in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Awakening and a lead role in a national commercial for Turbo Tax.
Angel Omoike - Volunteer Chair
Angel is an artist and school teacher who serves New Orleans well. She is in her first term in office for WiFT-Louisiana as our Volunteer Chair. She has assisted our chapter in producing our events and programs. She continues to work hard, dedicated to Women in Film & Television-Louisiana.
Jazzy Ellis - Sponsorship Chair
Jazzy Ellis is an IDC-trained Intimacy Coordinator, SAG-AFTRA stunt performer & actor, and film/TV consultant who began her film career in New Orleans over a decade ago after graduating from Princeton University in 2010. She got her start in film and TV in New Orleans. Jazzy won a SAG Award for her work as a stunt performer in Avengers: Endgame. She is a TV Academy member who has performed in over 75 film and television shows, most notably, Marvel's Avengers franchise, HBO's Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, AMC's The Walking Dead, DC's Doom Patrol, CW's The Vampire Diaries, CBS's NCIS: New Orleans and DC's The Suicide Squad. She is a Balanta-B'rassa (from Guinea-Bissau) and Akan (from Ghana) woman from New Jersey who enjoys learning about the culture (B'jah) and language (K'rassa) that her ancestors had before American slavery. She checks the "Black" box on American ethnicity forms. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She loves hanging with the girls, live music, karaoke, Latin dance, road trips, and outdoor adventures in her free time. For more on Jazzy check out her website, www.jazzyellis.com.
Sponsorship website: https://www.wiftlouisiana.org/sponsorship
Donations website: https://www.wiftlouisiana.org/donate
A SPECIAL THANKS to our Honorary & Advisory Board:
Carol Bidault de l'Isle
Immediate Past President
Carol Bidault de l’Isle is an award-winning producer, specializing in motion picture and television financing, production and distribution. She brings with her over 30 years of industry experience in the United States, Europe, and Latin America and is fluent in 4 languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish) and basic conversation in Japanese. In 2010, Ms. Bidault moved to New Orleans, Louisiana to open the new headquarters of MediaFusion Entertainment, LLC. She recently completed Cut Off with Brad Dourif, William Baldwin and is currently in Post-Production with: Peter Greenaway’s Walking to Paris; in Post Production and in development with The Chronicles of Young Washington (William Hurt, Gary Oldman). Ms. Bidault is a film advisor to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Warner Theatre in Washington, DC and on the has been on Executive Committee of Women In Film & Television International (2014 - 2018), President of Women In Film & Television Louisiana (2016 - 2018), Advisory Board of the New Orleans Film Society (2011 - 2017).
Necar Zadegan is a recent transplant to the Big Easy and stars as Special Agent Hannah Khoury in the CBS global franchise series, NCIS: New Orleans. A versatile actress known for a career on stage and screen, she made her Broadway debut when she originated the role of the Leper in Rajiv Joseph's Pulitzer Prize nominated and multi Tony award accoladed “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” opposite Robin Williams.
Ms. Zadegan garnered critical acclaim for her portrayal of First Lady turned president Dalia Hassan on Fox’s hit series “24” and most recently for her delicate portrayal of Layla Shokrani alongside Tim Robbins and a Holly Hunter in the HBO drama “Here and Now” from Oscar winning screenwriter, creator Alan Ball. In the Bravo comedy on Netflix, “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce”, Ms. Zadegan plays the much beloved character written for her by show creator Marti Noxon, of fashionable and high powered attorney, Delia Banai. The show aired its fifth and final season last June. The year also saw Ms. Zadegan join the cast of the ABC hit “The Good Doctor”. Other series regular roles include her portrayal of Dr. Gina Bandari on “Emily Owens MD” and in the lead opposite Greg Kinnear in the FOX comedy “Rake”. Some highlights from her many other credits include roles for Steven Spielberg company produced series “Extant”, opposite Sean Bean in spy series “Legends” and a very memorable turn as the Queen of Iran in Showtime”s critical success “Masters of Sex” opposite Michael Sheen, with whom she also starred opposite in the Columbia Tri Star film, psychological thriller “Unthinkable” alongside Samuel L. Jackson. She appeared with Adam Sandler in Judd Apatow’s “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” and played the title role in “Elena Undone” which enjoyed success at independent festivals worldwide.
Ms. Zadegan has worked at some of the worlds most prestigious theaters including The Mark Taper Forum, the Royal Dramatic Theater of Stockholm, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and many more, and toured internationally in the Persian language production of “Satellite with Love”.
Ms. Zadegan was born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Northern California. She studied theater and dance on a performance scholarship at the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with honors and a BA degree in English Literature. She also studied at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She speaks Persian, French and German and has learned Spanish, Arabic and Hebrew while working in those languages.
Ms. Zadegan is an ambassador for BuildOn.org and travels with them around the world building schools for children.
Patricia Davies Clarkson, born in New Orleans, is an American actress. She has starred in many leading and supporting roles in films such as The Station Agent, The Pledge, The Green Mile, Far from Heaven, High Art, Dogville, Good Night, and Good Luck, Easy A, and Cairo Time. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe for her performance in Pieces of April (2003). She twice won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her recurring role in Six Feet Under. In 2015, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in The Elephant Man.
Founder, Second Line Stages
Susan Brennan is a graduate of Trinity Episcopal School, Isidore Newman School and Vanderbilt University. She is a life long resident of New Orleans. Brennan is the owner and developer of Second Line Stages, the first LEED Gold certified, state of the art, sustainable sound stages in the United States. She serves on several boards, including the New Orleans Arts Council, and is an emeritus board member of the New Orleans Film Society.
Jaye is a member in Kean Miller Law Film New Orleans office. Jaye’s practice is focused on state and local taxation including the Louisiana film tax credit and digital media credit programs. Jaye regularly assists film and entertainment industry clients in the compliance and formation of tax credits and incentive transactions involving a variety of state, local and federal tax incentive programs including Louisiana Motion Picture Tax Credits. She also advises and assists clients throughout the certification process for Louisiana film tax credits and with resolving issues arising after certification. Additionally, Jaye is actively involved in the enactment of legislation creating a tax credit registry. Jaye Calhoun was a Founding Member of WIFT Louisiana.
Writer, Director, Professor
New Orleans resident independent filmmaker Mari Kornhauser is a UCLA Film School graduate who has gone on to write on assignment for various studios and producers, including writing and co-producing two independent features, ZANDALEE, starring Nicolas Cage, and THE LAST RIDE (aka F.T.W.), starring Mickey Rourke. Kornhauser’s directorial debut was the award winning independent feature HOUSEBOUND (aka KITCHEN PRIVILEGES), starring Peter Sarsgaard, which she also wrote; FINDING HOME AGAIN was her first non fiction videography focusing on post-Katrina life and reconstruction in New Orleans. In 2011, she moved into television with WRECKERS; from 2011-2013, she wrote for the HBO Peabody award winning show, TREME, created by Eric Overmyer and David Simon and currently, she is in development on a television series and work-shopping her first full-length play. Kornhauser is a Professor of screenwriting at Louisiana State University.
Director of Film, New Orleans
Mayor's Office of Culture and Economy
Carroll Morton has served as the City of New Orleans Manager of Entertainment Industry Development and has worked in the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy since 2009. In that capacity Carroll advises the city on public policy for the film and entertainment industry, provided support for the city’s legislative efforts, developed workforce training programming and worked with non-profits to implement those programs. She has produced events to market the film industry both locally and at the Sundance Film Festival. Beginning in 2015 Carroll expanded her role to include managing the work of the 2018 Tricentennial Commission producing events and programming to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the City of New Orleans. She currently serves on the advisory board for The New Orleans Film Society and Women in Film and Television.
Suzette Toledano of Toledano Entertainment and Arts Law maintains a transactional intellectual property law practice located above the House of Blues in New Orleans with emphasis on copyright, trademark, rights of publicity, brands, visual art, music, film, and licensing. She and her family developed the real estate where the prototype House of Blues is located resulting in the creation of a Vieux Carre Entertainment District, changing the landscape of the French Quarter. Most recently she has been working with a branding client in the States of Colorado and Washington (where recreational cannabis use is legal) on licensing issues related to the Willie’s Reserve trademarks. She works with The National World War II Museum on entertainment related matters. Suzette's clients include record labels, music publishers, concert promoters, recording artists, songwriters, producers, visual artists, photographers, authors, screenwriters and filmmakers, with Oscar and Grammy nominees/winners among them. Suzette is proud to have served as a Founding Board Member of WIFT-LA and as a current Board Member of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.
Community Engagement WIFT Louisiana Liason