Thursday April 25th at 11:15AM


Four successful and thriving women in the film industry will discuss what it takes to move from an idea spark to final project. This panel will share their stories and actionable tips concerning how they have maneuvered through the film industry with finesse, confidence and purpose. 


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Working internationally Angelica a Toronto based actor has appeared in Film, Television and Commercials. She is also an award winning producer, accomplished presenter, reporter and host. She has been coming to the Festival since its first year and over the years has been proud to come back and be involved with the panels and Live Reads. She has been especially grateful to have co-hosted the Awards Gala for the Film Festival twice in the last 5 years.

She is a member of ACTRA, Equity in the UK, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for which she participates as a juror and now new to SAG-AFTRA. You will next see her in Amazon’s “The Boys”, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, New Line Cinema’s “It: Chapter 2” and Netflix’s “Let It Snow” to name a few. She will also be a speaker at The Movie Expo in Toronto, Canada.

She has worked with many great folks in developing, producing and collaborating on original works, which have enjoyed viewings in many local festivals and opened the door to invitations to international festivals including going to the Cannes Film Festival twice. Holding many of these passion projects dear to her heart, she credits the amazing cast and crews that taught her so much and sharing the collaborative passion of indie filmmaking.


Back in Canada when not working on a production, her time away from camera is spent using her voice and experience working with as a volunteer with ACTRA, promoting Member Education and supporting Safe Space on Set. She is a member of various Committees within the union, hosting workshops at the union Member Conferences, working as an OSLO (On Set Liaison Officer) to do set visits for Background Performers, Minor Performers and engaging with Intimacy Coordinators, she is also a facilitator for ACTRA’s Respect on Set Training. 



Natasha Straley is an independent narrative film director working between New York City and San Antonio, Texas. She began as an actor before accepting roles on the other side of the camera in 2010. She worked on various film productions sifting through every department until directing naturally rose to the surface in 2016.

Her work focuses on both comedic and dramatic narrative films exploring the dark underbelly of the human condition, diving into uncomfortable nuances of behaviors and relationships. She is driven by screenplays which push boundaries and examine the grey area between right and wrong.

​She has directed over ten short films, which have screened at festivals across the country. She is currently working on her first feature, SIDESTEP, after receiving a grant from the San Antonio Film Commission. She was also awarded the Michelle Mower Female Filmmaker of the Year Award from Austin Revolution Film Festival, 2018. 

Select directing credits include the post-apocalyptic action film, THE RESISTANCE; the lonely romantic comedy, UP OR OUT; the comedic social commentary - CAULIFLOWER; the delicately nuanced slice-of-life film, FINISHED.

Natasha was born in DC and lived across the world as a military brat. Texas became her home before moving to New York 2007-2017. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas while she completes her first feature film, SIDESTEP.



Alexxiss Jackson is a Director of Photography originally from Detroit, MI. From a very early age, she aspired to be a visual storyteller; she made her first film at 8 years old using the family camcorder (starring her collection of toys).
Ten years later, she enrolled in film school at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film/Video Studies and English. For further formal training, she also completed the intensive Summer Film Program at the University of Southern California.
Since then, Alexxiss has served as Director of Photography on numerous pieces, ranging from narrative films, commercials, promo spots, TV show segments, and music videos. Her work has been recognized at least 20 times by a number of international bodies, including film festivals across the United States, Canada, Australia, Kenya, Uganda, the Netherlands, and the UK. She
was spotlighted on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls in March 2018. Also in 2018, she was invited to speak publicly at TERMINUS Conference + Festival, where she presented a seminar entitled “Cinematography: Crafting a Look with Lenses and Filters” that was very well received. She has spoken on several other panels, podcasts, radio interviews, etc; not only about cinematography,
but also what it’s like to be a woman of color in the film industry.


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Moderator: Sheri Mann Stewart

MEFF2019 Panel

Sheri is a native Atlantan and a Director/Actor/Writer/Producer for Film/TV/Theater with a career spanning four decades in CA, NY, and now back home. She grew up being a charter member and child actor with Athens Creative Theater and witnessing her mother being appointed to the nation’s first official state TV and Film Commission here in GA in the 1970’s, created by then-Governor Jimmy Carter.  Mentored by the famed Stella Adler, Sheri provides a central voice role for the acclaimed Italian feature “Bullied to Death” and plays Judge Cynthia Thornton in "Trial By Fire” with Laura Dern and directed by Ed Zwick, coming to theaters in May. Other feature films include “My Fellow Americans”, “Table 19”, and Tyler Perry’s two “Why Did I Get Married” films and his upcoming “A Fall From Grace” as well as being on both sides of the camera for numerous shorts at festivals, including several at Milledgeville. She was Co-Writer of the web series pilot “Skin Deep the Series” and was a 2018 selected FILMER for Art Serenbe. Sheri’s  most recent directorial short, “When We Were” won Best Cinematography out of 90 films in the 2018 48 Hr. Film Fest Atlanta.  She has served on faculties at the Alliance Theater, Emory University, Goizueta School, Baruch College, and The Art Institute, and she coaches privately. Sheri is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Actors Equity, and the Alliance of Women Directors and is represented by People Store. She is endlessly proud of her sons, actors and all around good people, Tendal and Royce Mann.