For the second year in a row, Audience Awards has partnered with African American Women in Cinema to help create parity in this industry. The 19th AAWIC Film Festival seeks short webisode submissions, 45 minutes or less, directed, produced or written by women who are of African, Latina, Asian or Native American diaspora.
Moikgantsi Kgama, founder and executive director
Moikgantsi Kgama is the founder of the ImageNation Cinema Foundation, a Harlem-based nonprofit media arts organization which presents progressive media by and about people of color. This year ImageNation opens its Harlem-based boutique cinema, to be located in Harlem along the historic Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., which will serve as a flagship for a chain of cinemas dedicated to Black and Latino film, music and culture. Kgama’s accolades include being named one of 25 Women Who Are Shaping the World by Essence Magazine.
Francesca Francois-Grimaldi, managing partner and agent
Francesca Francois-Grimaldi is a managing partner and agent for Plaza 7 Talent Agency NYC.
She is also the founder of the Crystal Ship Program, a support structure created for emerging filmmakers, producers, directors and writers. The program connects participants with network, internet and cable TV companies so they can acquire skills needed for future showrunner duties. Francois-Grimaldi holds a BA in business from Kingsway Princeton in the United Kingdom and Iona College in New York. She is a Dance Theater of Harlem alumna and a member of New York Women in Film and Television.
Babatunde Odesanya, film and television producer
Babatunde Odesanya is a filmmaker, an independent film and television producer and executive producer of African Studios, an independent production company. Under African Studios, Mr. Odesanya has produced with Bravo, Centric, and TV One. Odesanya is also founder and CEO of Black and Latino Filmmaker’s Coalition, a trade association of independent producers, directors and writers formed with the purpose of promoting growth and progress of Black and Latino independent filmmakers. BLFC work has been featured at numerous film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival (ABFF).
Christina DeHaven, line producer and head of production
Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Christina has worked as a line producer on numerous short films, features, documentaries, commercials and music videos – including for the Grammy Award-winning group, The Black Eyed Peas. Several of her films have played at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and on HBO. She also co-produced feature-length documentaries My Uncle Berns, 761st, and the short Black Card. Christina is currently serving as the area head of production supervision for UGFTV, while teaching her course, Producing the Short Screenplay.
Stephanie Richards Lawrence, artistic director
Stephanie Richards Lawrence is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she acquired a BFA in Acting. Over the past 10 years under the auspices of the production company she founded and now serves as artistic director, Ripe Crop Performing Arts and Productions, LLC, Stephanie produced numerous gospel/ jazz concerts, theatrical and film events, as well as an industry speaker series bringing many nationally acclaimed artists and industry leaders to the Pocono Mountains.