2023 ART OF THE FILM EXPO PRESENTERS
Christopher Stelly, Executive Group Director, Louisiana Entertainment & Digital Media
A lifelong Louisiana resident and native, Chris joined Louisiana Economic Development’s entertainment office in 2004. Louisiana quickly became one of the top location destinations under Stelly’s direction and the exponential growth lead the state to being a powerhouse in the film industry. By the time Stelly was appointed Director of Film and Television in 2007, Louisiana’s motion picture tax incentive program was showing signs of growth. He was instrumental in increasing the activity in the program exponentially and each successive year of his tenure, motion picture production continued to exceed the preceding year. In addition to administering Louisiana’s progressive and innovative tax credit program, he has become an invaluable technical asset to entertainment companies seeking to produce and to establish new businesses in the state. He constantly promotes Louisiana as the best state in the nation for entertainment industry development.
He was named interim Executive Director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, in July 2011 and was appointed in February of 2012 to the position permanently. He currently leads a team of seven business development and entertainment industry professionals promoting Louisiana as a holistic place to do business. Overseeing four unique statutory programs – motion picture, sound recording, live performance and digital interactive media & software development, Stelly is committed to educating community leaders and citizens about entertainment development opportunities. He also is committed to working closely with industry allies and economic development partners throughout the state to attract and nurture entertainment businesses.
Trey Burvant, President, Louisiana Film Entertainment Association
After fifteen years working in the film and theatre industries in New York and Boston, Trey returned home to New Orleans and created, built and currently serves as the VP of Studio Operations at Second Line Stages, the first full-service film and television facility in New Orleans. Not all business, he has kept a tether to his creative side since moving back home, appearing on stage in leading roles with Southern Rep, The Nola Project & Tulane Shakespeare Festival. You can catch him on the big screen in NCIS: New Orleans, Treme & Get Out among others. Trey has also served as a producer on the locally shot independent films, The True Don Quixote and American Reject.
Trey serves as the President of the Louisiana Film Entertainment Association, which works to support and promote Louisiana’s robust and highly successful film and television industry.
Carroll Morton, Director, Film New Orleans | Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy
Carroll is a native New Orleanian and has always had a passion for the arts. After graduating from Tulane University in 2008 she was hired in the New Orleans Film Office as an intern, promoted to the position of Deputy Director and has been the Director of the Film Office Since 2018. During her time in the Film Office Carroll co-produced with NOVAC the first film workforce training program in New Orleans and the office continues to support yearly trainings with NOVAC. Since 2014 Carroll, NOVAC and The Jazz and Heritage Foundation have produced Sync Up Cinema which supports independent filmmakers in the city with educational seminars and film screenings. During her tenure as Director New Orleans has been recognized by MovieMaker Magazine in 2021 and 2022 as the “Best Small City to Live and Work as A Filmmaker.” The Film Office oversees all production in the city by working with producers and location managers in the pre-production phase and during filming which includes issuing film location permits, coordination of inter-governmental agencies, mitigating the community impact of filming and establishing all film policies and procedures for the city. As the film industry continues to explode across the globe Carroll will continue to work to ensure that New Orleans remains a top location for film.
Reid Wick, Membership and Industry Relations, Recording Academy/GRAMMYs
As the Recording Academy’s New Orleans-based Membership & Industry Relations representative, Reid’s responsibilities include membership, advocacy, creating professional development and networking programs across a five-state region.
He has served music communities across the South for decades. For the two years post-Hurricane Katrina, Reid administered the MusiCares’ Hurricane Relief Fund. He has also served Loyola University’s College of Music as marketing communications manager and instructor in Music Industry Studies, and on numerous boards and co-owned an indie record label, STR Digital Records. Reid is also a guitarist for the popular New Orleans band “The Bucktown All-Stars.”
Jay Weigel, Composer, Producer and Conductor
Jay Weigel is a distinguished composer, producer, conductor, arranger, orchestrator, and contractor for film, television, recordings, and concerts. Based in New Orleans and Nashville, he has worked in the film and television industry since 1984. His recent scores and soundtrack recordings can be heard in studio projects produced by Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Netflix, and Lionsgate such as Grudge Match, Get Hard, Midnight Special, A Fall From Grace, Camp Cool Kids, The Oval, The Last Laugh, The Highwaymen, and NCIS New Orleans. He has worked as an orchestrator, conductor, contractor and/or score preparer for composers such as George S. Clinton, Christopher Young, David Wingo, Christopher Lennertz and Terence Blanchard. As an arranger and orchestrator, he has worked with PJ Morton, Andra Day, REM, Tank and the Bangas, Chris Thomas King, Juvenile, Keala Settle, and Judith Owen.
From 1985 to 1991 he was Lecturer of Composition and Orchestration at Xavier University in New Orleans. Weigel helped organize the Louisiana Composers Guild, and served as the co-chairman of the Louisiana Music Commission from 1998-2004. Most recently, Weigel working with other songwriters, composers and GNO, Inc. helped form the New Orleans Music Economy Initiative, served on the Recording Academy’s (RA) Memphis Chapter Board of Directors from 2014 – 2017 and is a charter member of the RA’s Songwriters and Composer Wing. Since 2007 has taught a class in film scoring for Loyola University in New Orleans and will be teaching at Belmont University as well.
Donovan Williams, Chief Technology Officer, JammAround music collaboration platform
Donovan Williams is a co-founder and head of strategy in data science and user experience at JammAround, Inc, ensuring that the music collaboration platform’s offerings meet user expectations. His prior work includes web development roles in independent WEB2 and WEB3 projects.
JammAround is an all-in-one solution that streamlines the music composition process. This is achieved through a proprietary Jammpad and discovery features that enable music creators to make music connections, collaborate and manage their compositions in the cloud.
Dr. Ben Redwine, Classical and jazz musician and composer
Covington resident clarinetist Ben Redwine feels equally comfortable playing Brahms or Ellington. He is devoted to the performance of new classical music and traditional jazz, as well as to teaching the next generation of performers and teachers. Among his recent unique endeavors was the composition and performance of new music for 1920s era silent films commercially released on DVD box sets.
Ben served as an Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC from 2012 to 2016 and was woodwind professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge from 2017 to 2019. In 2014, he retired after 27 years as soloist with the US Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Maryland. He has been featured at seven International Clarinet Association ClarinetFests in the U.S. and Europe, and has performed extensively on four continents. In 2016, he moved to the New Orleans area to pursue performance opportunities in the birthplace of jazz, and has performed frequently with the LPO and the Baton Rouge Symphony. In 2022, Ben was a featured performer at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and at the Dew Drop Jazz Hall.
In addition to leading the Redwine Jazz Band, Ben is a devoted educator, presenting concerts and master classes internationally. He has recorded seven feature albums. All of Ben’s recordings can be found at his website, redwinejazz.com.
Ben earned degrees from the University of Oklahoma (bachelor music education), Louisiana State University (master of music), and The Catholic University of America (doctor of musical arts).
Founder of the Covington based company RJ Music Group, Ben manufactures quality products for discriminating musicians, including Gennusa mouthpieces, the Reed Wizard, and publishes music books.
Ben lives on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain with his artist wife, Leslie, their extensive gardens, and a flock of chickens.
Kody Chamberlain, Writer and Story Artist
Kody Chamberlain got his creative start writing and drawing comics for the best publishers in the business including Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Boom!, IDW and Image Comics. Highlights include 30 Days of Night, Beowulf, The Ride, Halo, Shang-Chi/Deadpool, Punks, Newuniversal and McBain, the latter of which was created with country superstar Trace Adkins. Kody’s detective series Sweets: A New Orleans Crime Story won multiple comic book and graphic novel honors, as well as a Spinetingler Award typically reserved for prose fiction.
As an accomplished story and concept artist, Kody has worked with Adhesive Games, HarperCollins, Funny or Die, LucasArts, MTV, Mulholland Books, 343 Industries, and the 91st Academy Awards at NBCUniversal. Highlights include extensive storyboard work on Bad Country at Sony Pictures (starring Matt Dillon and Willem Dafoe), and concept art on the pirate sequences of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen at WarnerBros (starring Gerard Butler).
Throughout, Kody’s focus remains on unique and original stories for comics, film, and television. Of the many shopping agreements secured through the years, four have resulted in options for film and television development (FOX, Landscape, MTV, and Universal). He is currently hard at work on two original comics (The Fixers and Ray Vincent) and he’s writing an original WWII series for premium television, executive producer Alex Zhang is attached (Greyhound at Apple+).
In his free time, Kody enjoys cooking all the classic Cajun dishes and watching old movies. He teaches art and comics classes one night a week at his studio in Lafayette. He currently lives in Maurice, Louisiana with his wife Kristie and their son Lucas.
Greg Barnhill, Composer, Songwriter and Master Vocalist
Originally from New Orleans, Greg Barnhill has been writing and performing his entire life. Artists from Etta James, Martina McBride, and Jessica Simpson to Chicago, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack, Leona Lewis and many in between have embraced his songs. “Walkaway Joe,” recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Don Henley, was a significant milestone in his career. The song went on to earn him a Grammy nomination as well as the respect of his peers that follows him to this day. He garnered critical acclaim with the 2014 single, Gary Allan’s ”It Ain’t The Whiskey” which got rave reviews for its bold take on the issue of addiction.
While Greg’s chart successes are impressive, he has also recorded, written, and produced a number of TV themes and jingles. In 2007, He earned an Emmy nomination for his hit “It’s A New Day” for The Today Show. You can also hear his work on CNN, Fox and Friends, The View, Crown Royal, New Orleans Saints (NFL), Tennessee Titans (NFL), Nashville Predators (NHL), Atlanta Braves (MLB) and other national and regional sports teams, businesses and television programs.
In April of 2009, Greg co-wrote and co-produced the new theme song for CBS’ The Early Morning Show, “A Lot Happens Early.” Later in 2009, he was nominated for his second Emmy for the NASCAR theme “Be There.” In 2010, Greg was nominated for his third Emmy and won for “Best Original Song” for The Today Show theme “Your Day Is Today.” He has written and performed in yet another New Orleans Saints video/theme song “Big Thang.” In 2011 he had the song “I Know Who I Am” recorded by Leona Lewis for Tyler Perry’s movie, For Colored Girls, for the movie as well as on the Atlantic soundtrack. It was also used to promote the movie The Butler. Also in 2011, his songs were used in the HBO series TREME, and in the CW network’s Hart of Dixie. You can also hear his production chops on ME-TV’s 2017 promotional campaign, as well as CNN Tonight and CNBC’s Shark Tank Nation promotion.
Dan Zweben, Location Scout
Dan Zweben is a location scout who relocated to New Orleans during the pandemic. He started his film and television career in New York City as a production assistant at NBC’s Access Hollywood. After two years at Access Hollywood, he then became associate producer at TLC’s Fashionably Late with Stacy London. Dan then became associate producer at True Entertainment working on shows such as Mystery Diagnosis (Discovery) and Personal Justice (TLC). From there he moved on to Al Roker Productions where he worked on shows for The Food Network with Sunny Anderson. But it wasn’t until 2014 when Zweben started working on the CBS show Elementary starring Lucy Liu that he found his true passion: locations.
Dan worked on 72 episodes of Elementary, scouting all over New York City. During that time, he learned the art of negotiating with home owners and businesses and worked closely with the production designer and the art department.
In the summer of 2020, the Zwebens moved to New Orleans, where Dan embraced the local culture and found a new home in the local film industry. He became the Assistant Location Manager on Sony’s Heart of a Lion. From there he went on to become the Assistant Location Manager on the David Fincher directed Netflix feature film The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender, then the Assistant Location Manager on the AMC series Paris, starring Giancarlo Esposito. After that Dan became the Assistant Location Manager on the Disney feature Untitled Sister Comedy Project starring Sandra Oh, Will Ferrell and Awkwafina. He closed out 2022 as the Assistant Location Manager on the Showtime series Your Honor, starring Brian Cranston. The last few years have been a whirlwind for Dan but he’s excited to continue his film work in the state of Louisiana.
Mickey Lambert, Location manager/scout
A native of New York, Mickey has called New Orleans home since 2000. For the last 19 of those years, he has worked in the film and television business, spending the majority of that time in the locations department. His first location scouting job was 2004’s Failure to Launch.
After evacuating back to NY during hurricane Katrina’s landfall and immediate aftermath, Mickey landed a scouting job with The Devil Wears Prada in NYC – which, while he was growing up, would have been a dream job. But somehow, someway, a very battered New Orleans called him back. After questioning that decision for days, a mere five weeks after Katrina’s landfall, Mickey received a call from the producers with whom he was working prior to the hurricane, and he was back to pre-production on Déjà vu soon afterward.
From there he scouted and assistant- or location-managed many New Orleans shot productions such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Treme, The Butler, The Expendables, Logan, American Horror Story: Coven and a slew of other TV series and movies.
Aside from working with the producers and other creative crews of filmmakers, Mickey greatly enjoys his time location scouting in the Greater New Orleans area, meeting and conversing with people from across the spectrum of life, and ultimately creating the link between filmmakers and property owners while seeing the process through.
He believes that film production is both art and business. He has conducted thousands of transactions for property rentals, whether for parking, filming or equipment staging. Mickey says the film industry is often misunderstood, but he feels that Louisiana’s industry support exceeds that which is typified in Hollywood headlines.
Roberta Carrow-Jackson, Multimedia Content Manager and Film Commissioner, St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission
Roberta has had a lifetime love of making and appreciating art and a career of supporting the communities that create it. A unique combination of creativity and technical abilities led her to arts administration, and freelance grant writing, publicity and photography for numerous arts organizations. From 2005 to 2018, she served the St. Tammany Art Association first as a volunteer, then Executive Director, then as a member of the Board of Directors. She left STAA in 2007 to serve as Community Development Coordinator for St. Tammany Parish Government, managing the state arts funding program for the region.
In 2010, Roberta joined the award-winning team at the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, establishing its social media arm and e-news communications, and managing the event calendar, blog and other content on LouisianaNorthshore.com and in Explore Louisiana Northshore, St. Tammany’s official visitor guide. In 2022, Roberta began managing the film office, where she serves as liaison between the film industry and St. Tammany Parish municipal governments to facilitate film production and make working in the parish a positive experience for both the production and citizens of St. Tammany.
Before moving to Louisiana in 2002, Roberta studied Fine Arts and English at Indiana University and Fine Arts at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI Indianapolis. While creative pursuits led her to art school, her interest in community service led her to work throughout the 1990s in Indianapolis in education financing and affordable housing in corporate training and communications. Later, she published The Business of Film and the St. Tammany Arts blogs for Nola.com and helped established the Ozone Film Festival in Covington. Today, she manages social media for the Carnival in Covington Parade and offers painting and photography projects on commission. She also attends as many concerts as her wallet will allow.
At the Art of the Film Expo, Roberta will demonstrate Reel Scout technology, showing how indiviuals can list their homes and businesses for consideration in film productions.
Hunter McHugh, CSA, Casting director, On the Hunt Casting
Hunter McHugh is a casting director based out of New Orleans, Louisiana. Most notable projects include Jon Batiste’s “Freedom,” (Grammy Winner 2022: Best Music Video,) directed by Alan Ferguson, and “Pizza Hut – Spicy Pizza Lovers,” an international spot starring Craig Robinson, directed by David Gordon Green. Hunter has been working in film, television, and commercials for seven years now. He started as an actor. After graduating from Northern Illinois University and getting an agent, he realized he loved the crew side of things. After a couple shows as an extra and stand-in he began his career as a production assistant, working his way up to an assistant for directors (Craig Zobel & John Polson), producers (Barry Bernardi/Happy Madison, Debbie Liebling/Rami Productions) and actors (Keanu Reeves, Allison Janney, and Michael Stuhlberg,) and more. Hunter started a job staffing board for New Orleans crew members called The NOLA PA List, through which many locals can say they got their foot in the door. As he was assisting he fell in love with the casting world, casting local spots and shorts for friends. Eventually, he began assisting The Cast Station and Tracy Kilpatrick. Now Hunter runs his own company, On The Hunt Casting, and has been working non-stop. Recently, he joined the board of The Cool Cooperative, a non-profit organization which focuses on empowering inner city children, teaching them how to work in the film industry.
Additional information is available at onthehuntcasting.com.
Rhonda Laizer, SAG-AFTRA Actor
Rhonda Laizer, a native of New Orleans, has been a member of SAG-AFTRA since 2015 and has been acting in film, television, and commercials for over 20 years in the Hollywood South Louisiana market. She presently serves on the SAG-AFTRA New Orleans Local Chapter’s Communications Committee and is a member of Women in Film and Television in Louisiana. She has been featured in many Louisiana television and movie productions such as I Love You Phillip Morris, Living Proof, The Campaign, Get Hard, Revenge of the Bridesmaids, Breakout Kings, Treme, Ghost Shark, Ravenswood, American Horror Story, and Trumbo. She worked on a TV Series This Just In in Los Angeles, California in the role of “Teacher.” She has credits in principal roles in over 15 Independent short/feature films, some of which are now streaming on Amazon Prime and The Louisiana Film Channel. Rhonda has been the spokesperson in local commercials for Ochsner, Buick, and General Motors and was the principal in six commercials advertising Mam Papaul’s food products.
Most recently, Rhonda assisted with stage-set rehearsals as a stand-in host for the Miss Universe New Orleans Pageant 2023. Later this month, Rhonda is teaching a two-week acting workshop to students in the 6th through 8th grade.
She has worked as a Volunteer for the New Orleans 48 Hour Film Festival for over 5 years, organizing and showcasing new talent for local and international competition. She also serves on the Social Committee for New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association whose mission is to promote the architectural and cultural history of the Vieux Carre and Louisiana. Her proudest accomplishment is her family. Her daughter Brooke Laizer presently works as a morning Meteorologist for WGNO-ABC TV.
Eric Lamulle, SAG Actor
Eric was born in Lafayette Louisiana and raised in South Florida before his family settled in Slidell. A graduate of UNO, he had explored 6 different professions including captaining his own charter boat in Mexico.
Returning home only tangentially aware of Hollywood South, he was unaware of the opportunities available until he lost a bet with a friend, with the consequences of that loss being that he would register on a casting website. The day after he posted, he received a call to serve as a background actor, and on his first day on the set, he was instantly smitten. Another opportunity followed just days later, then he was cast in a national commercial with Regina King that aired during the Academy Awards.
Then came the pandemic, which shut down the industry for a year. When filming resumed, Eric worked regularly on numerous productions, including Deepwater, The Card Counter and Leverage. His next break was being selected to serve as a stand-in on Rebel Ridge. Then came a role as a maître d’ in Mike, a Hulu limited series. While waiting for his scene to film, he struck up a conversation with the principal actress, Leslie Silva, and he mentioned that he was a relative newcomer to the film industry. She assured him that, based on her observations, he was “a natural.” Minutes later, when the director approached the actress to discuss the pending scene, she demonstrated her belief in Eric’s potential by “tapping” him, the term used when a background actor is gifted a speaking line, making the actor SAG eligible.
It has been less than three years since Eric lost that bet, one which unexpectedly led him into his new career as an actor. He has continued to receive an abundance of parts based on that casting file and is steadfast in his believe that lightning can strike anyone at any time.
DeAnna Charett, Founder, Bad Habitz Organization veterans filmmaker training program
DeAnna Charett spent 20 years in the military and has been involved with the film industry either in front of the camera as an actress or behind the scenes as a director, locations scout, locations manager or a producer since 2006.
DeAnna started her own production company in 2020 called Bad Habitz Productions, to focus on documentaries about veterans and the obstacles they face. During her research and preliminary interviews with veterans, she saw their hesitation to speak freely and comfortably with non-veterans. DeAnna was also very aware of the film crew shortage in Louisiana since Georgia had become a popular state to film in.
Seeing this first hand, DeAnna saw a chance to help the veterans and the local film industry at the same time. Though Bad Habitz Organization, she offers training for veterans for film industry positions. This training is free to the veterans and most of the instructors are local film industry professionals.
Once the training is done, the veterans can work on projects produced by Bad Habitz Productions to gain the experience to bring them up to speed with the Louisiana Film industry and then can work in the industry locally and nationally.
DeAnna has used the film industry as a therapeutic coping mechanism for her own PTSD and knows first hand how this can keep a veteran from becoming one of the 22 veterans we lose every day to suicide.
Linda Thurman, Author, speaker and former Hollywood executive
Linda Thurman is an author, speaker, and executive director of Movie Poster Archives, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of film accessories: posters, stills and related papers. Linda is the author of Hollywood South: Glamour, Gumbo, and Greed (Pelican Publishing). Her eclectic career includes film, television, theater, music, and publishing.
She held positions at United Artists, Norman Lear’s Act III Productions, and HBO Pictures. Linda was Managing Editor of the Hollywood Creative Directory where she initiated and supervised the launch of HCD Online in 1994, the first year of explosive growth for the World Wide Web. The company was purchased by iFilm.com in 2000. She retired from Hollywood and returned to Louisiana to become president and co-founder of Emerald Bayou Studios.
Linda was honored to hold the Tom Bigler Endowed Chair in Media at Wilkes University. She was a founding member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys) Interactive Media Peer Group and served on the Digital Coast Roundtable (appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles). She has also served on the boards of the Association of Internet Professionals, the Louisiana Center for Workforce Recovery, New Orleans Video Access Center, and on the E-Commerce Advisory Committee for California State University Dominguez Hills, and the Internet Neutrality Task Force for the U.S. League of Women Voters.
Linda’s talent for combining art and technology surfaced early in her career as a theatrical lighting designer in New York. Her credits include John Sayles’ Turnbuckle with David Straithairn; Village Wooing with Rip Torn; and Spider Rabbit with Taylor Meade of the Andy Warhol Studio. Also in New York, Linda directed the play But Can A Woman Alone which was selected for presentation at the prestigious Womyn’s Theater Festival in Boston.
Throughout her career, Linda has worked closely with high-profile personalities. A few of her more than 200 films are Fried Green Tomatoes with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, Sweet Dreams with Jessica Lange, and the original cult classic, The Hitcher with Rutger Hauer. Her experience in the music industry led her to join Cindi Lauper, Michael Bolton, Mike Stoller, and Diane Warren in the American delegation to the Songwriters Summit in Moscow in 1988.
A native of Louisiana, Linda attended Southeastern Louisiana University majoring in theatre and music. Afterward, she moved to New Orleans to work on the production staff at the Repertory Theater New Orleans. While in the Crescent City, Linda was a staff producer at NOVAC (New Orleans Video Access Center) where she negotiated the organization’s first distribution deal with the City of New Orleans to put TV monitors in public spaces to screen customized content.
Her articles have appeared in the NATPE News, the Los Angeles Voter, and Woman Spirit Magazine. She has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, New Orleans Advocate, and other publications.