Film Leadership Council

Ben Andrews

Ben Andrews has 25 years of project management experience ranging across three industries, including involvement in a spectrum of projects in the digital content creation industry. Narrative films he’s directed or produced have been in over 150 films festivals and have won dozens of awards. Commercially he’s directed or produced dozens of projects varying from industrial to public broadcast segments. In 2011 he was the executive producer for Washington State’s largest volunteer film production, with over 150 people from across the world. He’s also the founder and executive director of the Seattle Film Summit and Renton City Comicon. As an actor he’s been involved in over 200 projects, ranging from zero budget indies to multi-million dollar features and national television.

Jeff Barehand (Co-Chair)

Jeff Barehand is CEO/President of Sky Bear Media, a production company headquartered in Olympia, WA. Jeff is of the Gila River and Navajo people of Arizona but has lived in Washington State for more than twelve years. He is a 2014 Sundance Native Lab Film Fellow and is currently adapting a book to film. He is the founder and current Board President of OlyFilm, a filmmaking non-profit that supports filmmakers in the South Sound and promotes Women and POC in the film industry. He is a singer and actor, currently cast in the first Native American pop musical, Distant Thunder, set to debut at the First Peoples Museum of Oklahoma City spring of 2022. He is a 2022 recipient of the Evergreen Longhouse’s Inspired Natives Grant award, in recognition of his artistry and community work with youth and others. He resides in Tumwater, WA with his partner Shana Greenberg Barehand, and his four children.

DaShawn Bedford

DaShawn Bedford  has served as production manager for the past 8 years at Community Minded Television. His job consists of being a camera operator, editor, and newtek tricaster operator. He also teaches community producers how to edit as well as how to use the equipment they will take out into the community to tell their stories. Some of the productions Dashawn has been a part of are the television show Z Nation and local independent projects, Home Sweet Home, the Rachel Dolezal documentary and Moon Knight.

Matt Bobbitt

A southern California native, Matt began writing and creating videos, plays, and other creative projects in middle school. Visiting his father’s birthplace, Matt fell in love with the lifestyle and small-town atmosphere of Walla Walla, Washington and eventually moved there, co-founding the Tangent Media Group there in 2010. A novelist, scriptwriter, graphic artist, musician and recordist, photographer, director, and general jack-of-all-trades creative, Matt has served as the Creative Director of Tangent Media Group for eight years. Tackling topics as diverse as opioid abuse, youth marijuana education, community fitness promotion, and suicide prevention, it has been Matt’s privilege to explore ways media can affect positive change within a small community.

Bonni Dichone

Bonni Dichone is a Pacific Northwest-based actor represented by MAM (PNW), Crossbeam Talent (SE) and South West Artist Group (SW). With an extensive background in dance, music and mathematics, she offers experienced, grounded, and intelligent performances for storytelling through TV, film, and stage. She is also an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Gonzaga University. Her credits include Dreamin’ Wild (2022), Alone (2020) and Recursion (2018).

Xuny Haley

Until 2019 Xuny was the Manager for the University of Washington’s CoMotion Labs at HQ, an incubator space that exclusively incubates spatial computing startups. A young and mighty force, she is now a DEI & Product Inclusion Intern at Epic Games.

Andrew Lahmann

Born and raised in Washington state, Andrew is co-founder of P-51 Pictures. After attending WWU, he trained under the lead cast and Marvel producers on Iron Man, then returned to WA and formed P-51 with business partner, Colin Dalvit. In 2014, the duo partnered with actor/comedian Ryan Stiles to produce the feature documentary Out of Nothing, which was acquired by Studio Canal & ESPN for global distribution. In 2017, Andrew & Colin won the Grand Prize in Hollywood’s Screencraft screenplay contest, and were signed by Zero Gravity Management. They are currently in post on the new feature doc Rockets and Titans, while also developing a new series with Zero Gravity (Ozark) & Radical Studios (Oblivion).

 

 

Misael Martinez Melo

Misael, also known as Misa, is a documentary filmmaker and the owner of MediaRoom, a media production company located in Olympia, WA. Born in Puerto Rico, he was raised in both Borikén (the Taino name for Puerto Rico) and Kiskeya (the Taino name for the Dominican Republic). His cultural roots play a significant role in his documentary work, which highlights issues of food justice, colonialism, and art. In 2022, he premiered “Raíces,” a documentary about food sovereignty in Puerto Rico, after five years of production. When not working on documentaries or commercial film projects, Misa serves as the President of the Seattle Documentary Association (SeaDoc), conducts production workshops, and supports the Olympia Film Collective. He also enjoys using his old-school DJ skills to play retro dance music on vintage turntables.

Carlos A. Ortiz

Carlos is a Writer, Producer, Director, marketing guru, and Chairman of LUNA, an education-based, charitable non-profit helping underprivileged and under-represented youth pursue and attain a professional career in order to diversify the workforce. He has written, produced, and directed several films, TV commercials, music videos and documentaries, and has also sat on the panel of judges for the Emmy® Awards.

James ‘Just Jamez’ Pakootas

James is a modern-day story weaver from The Colville Confederated Tribes. He is an award-winning vocalist, producer, and filmmaker who cultivates change through the power of words. James comes from people whose future, present, and past are expressed through art, song, and movement. James tells stories – stories that empower, stories that fascinate, and stories that speak truth to our existence.

Davis Powell

Davis Powell is the Executive Director for the SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local. He has been with SAG-AFTRA since early 2021. Davis is originally from the Atlanta area, but after several visits to the Pacific Northwest, he finally made a long-planned permanent move to Washington state in 2019. He is an attorney by trade, having represented labor unions in the Southeast. Prior to being named Executive Director, he served as the business representative for radio and television news and broadcast members in the Seattle and Portland markets.

Melinda Raebyne

Melinda is interested in making films that examine important social issues while giving a voice for those who are suffering from the pain of social injustices. In March 2016 Melinda received the Right Now Today Humanitarian Award for her work on Asylum, a narrative short that looks at mental trauma brought on by domestic violence. It was awarded Best Narrative Short at the 2018 Cinema On The Bayou Film Festival. She served as the Event Director with the Seattle Latino Film Festival in 2013 and 2014. During the Summer of 2016, she was asked to be a filmmaker mentor for Tacoma’s Grand Cinema Film Camp. Currently, Melinda is working on two projects; Stories of Us and For Sale.  In 2017 Melinda was one of the recipients of Artist Trust’s GAP grant. The money from the grant will go to help fund For Sale, an exhibit that invites viewers into the life of a person who has become a victim of human trafficking.

Devante Smith (Co-Chair)

Devante Smith is a recent graduate from Eastern Washington University’s Film program. After interning for season three of Z Nation, he has been working as the basecamp production assistant for the past two years on the show. In the off season, he works with local musical artists to build a voice and brand through interviews, podcasts, and music videos to bridge the gap between the music community and visual art community. Currently, he is working with a colleague on starting a production company that can tailor to new upcoming film enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest area. Having worked on a handful of productions from student shorts to a professional TV show, Devante values the opportunities the film industry has given him, and hopes to pass the opportunity onto generations to come.

Tifa Tomb

Tifa Tomb is a director based in the Seattle area, who’s most recently directed short film, Retch, was awarded Best Film – Seattle Black Film festival 2020, and was an official selection at SIFF 2019. She works as a Media Producer at the University of Washington, and freelance edits feature length and short narrative and non-fiction work. You can see her most recent work as a director and producer of profiles on Seattle black artists for Crosscut.com