EMMY nominated and Director's Guild of America student award winning filmmaker, Chris completed his M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC, he was awarded the Jeffrey Jones Scholarship for Writing for his work on the screenplay Yasin, which screened at the Berlinale International Film Festival as well as the Dubai International Film Festival.
Born on an Army post into a multiracial family, the world has never been as simple as black and white. His graduate thesis Coons explored themes of racism in rural America, and has screened in over 30 film festivals around the world including the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, the Montréal World Film Festival, and the Bilbao International Film Festival.
In 2010, Chris was a fellow at Film Independent’s Project:Involve. In 2016, Chris co-produced and edited the feature Bluegrass documentary, The Porchlight Sessions. Currently in post-production on his feature documentary debut Lady Madonna, in 2018 he was nominated for a Los Angeles area EMMY in the "Crime/Social Issues" category for his work editing the KCET documentary City Rising: The Informal Economy.
From Hollywood to Nollywood. Nabila Lester is an American Film, Television, Stage and Commercial Producer with over 10 years experience in the Hollywood film industry and abroad.
In 2004, she acquired her BA in Media Studies from the top public university in the US, UC Berkeley on a full scholarship. Her expanding love for African history and culture began to affect her taste in aesthetics and story. In 2011, she went on to earn her Masters in Film Production from the top film school in the world; The University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts.
In 2013, Nabila was hired to direct her first African film, shoot on location in Nigeria, entitled Ase an epic period piece based on the Oyo Kingdom in 13th century Yoruba land. She saw Nigeria, as a way to participate in a growing media industry without the barriers of racism. She moved to Nigeria, April 2015 by herself, having no familial ties to the place. Within one year, she founded NABS International Productions, a multimedia production company creating project for Film, Television and Stage.
Most recently, she is Producer/Director of CNN’s feature show, African Voices. In her two years of residence in Lagos, she has directed projects for top companies such as Cocoa – Cola, Google, Uber, Etisalat and Hennessey. She is currently a Professor in the Film and Television Department at the internationally recognized Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ta’Nai Cie Drayton
Ta'Nai Cie Drayton was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a double major in English Literature and Film Studies she received a MFA degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts.
She has a love for story and has written, directed and produced several short films. She has also worked as a Story Producer on documentaries, unscripted television and digital media in Los Angeles. With a natural ability to connect to subjects she has interviewed a range of personalities from activists like Dr. Robert Bullard, the Father of Environmental Justice to rap icons like Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa.
She recently produced the EMMY Award winning CNN docu-series United Shades of America.