Film Leadership Council

Washington Filmworks’ Film Leadership Council (FLC) is an advisory board comprised of 7-18 film professionals from locations across the state that represent a wide array of motion picture production.  The Film Leadership Council was formed to help connect to communities across the state and serve as advocates and ambassadors for Washington Filmworks and the statewide film industry.

Check out the FLC Fact Sheet to learn more about the Film Leadership Council’s mission and vision.

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.

Sarah Crowe

Sarah Crowe is an award winning Producer, Director and sometimes Assistant Director. She has been producing documentaries, narratives, and commercials for nearly 15 years.  Sarah is an Executive Producer at Amazon. She spends her day creating branded content and spends her free time creating documentaries and supporting independent film in Washington and beyond. Films such as Lane 1974 (directed by SJ Chiro) and Sojourn (directed by Nesib Shamah)She produced Welcome To Doe Bay (directed by Nesib Shamah and Dan Thornton), an Emmy-nominated documentary that premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival. Sarah’s directorial debut is an international award winning feature documentary Dyna Does Dressage. Sarah was a Producer and Assistant Director of the original series Capitol Hill and is the Executive Producer on Potato Dreams of America, premiered at SXSW (both directed  by Wes Hurley)

Sarah is a proud and active leader in her community, she has acted as a Board Member of Women in Film Seattle and Think NW. She remains focused on diverse and inclusive storytelling and creating opportunities that support a career in filmmaking for female and underrepresented talent. 

Bonni Dichone

Bonni is an actor based in the inland Pacific Northwest and additionally works and has representation in multiple markets including Atlanta, LA, Albuquerque, and New York City.  She trains regularly at The Actors Way, CSA Dr. Nike Imoru’s studio, and is a member of SAG-AFTRA.  Her most recent film credits include a supporting role in Dreamin’ Wild and the principal role of Kristina in Waking Lazarus. Regional audiences might also recognize her from numerous commercials and industrial films.  Her artistic foundation includes an extensive background in dance, musical theatre, classical ballet, and classical piano.  Before focusing on film and television, she was a principal dancer for a small contemporary ballet company, as well as performed on professional musical theater stages.  She is an award-winning choreographer and faculty member at Artistry in Motion Dance and Performing Arts studio in Spokane.  A self-proclaimed “geek by day, artist by night”, Bonni has a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Washington State University and is a tenured Full Professor of Mathematics at Gonzaga University.  She calls Spokane home and lives a full, rich, life with her Mozambican-American husband, Paulo, and their two beautiful blasian children, Georgina and Rafael.  As a female, adopted Korean-American, wife, and working mom, representation in all areas of the industry – from cast to crew – continues to be her primary platform.

Jennifer Gatts

In the realm of film and television, Jennifer stands as a dedicated professional, actively engaged as a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and IATSE Local 488. As a Key 2nd Assistant Director, she has orchestrated efficient productions, collaborating on notable film projects such as “Year of the Fox” and “Dreamin’ Wild” and episodic productions such as “Three Busy Debras Season 2” and “Going Home Season 2.”

Beyond assistant directing, Jennifer has showcased versatility as a producer, steering short film projects like “Louise” directed by William Bancroft, and “Good Neighbors” directed by Juan Mas. Additionally, she has played a pivotal role as a Production Coordinator, contributing to the success of “Joe Baby” directed by Steven Brand and “Z Nation Seasons 4 and 5” by various directors and showrunner, Karl Schaefer.

Jennifer has brought a discerning eye to casting decisions, notably in projects like “All Those Small Things” and various seasons of “Z Nation” where she created Zombie Auditions and facilitated the selection and management of over 1300 extras per season.

Jennifer is committed to the development of a strong local crew base and finding opportunities for continued education across Washington to keep a competitive edge in the industry.

Lillian Hennings

Lily always knew that film would be her guiding motivation throughout life from a young age with the inspiration she gained from her experiences of connecting with movies as a child. As she grew up in a non-traditional home with a single parent, she learned the values of adaptability and perseverance in the face of adversity, which has in turn made her resourceful in both her adulthood and creative pursuits.

As an autistic, biracial and queer individual, she has a strong ambition to represent marginalized and underserved communities through the medium of filmmaking. After graduating high school with her Associate of Arts degree in Media, Lily completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Film at Portland State University in March 2022, and has established herself in both the Art and Camera departments as a Production Designer and 2nd Assistant Camera. Recently, she has had the opportunity to work in collaboration with production companies such as A24, TEDx and TLC, as well as contribute to the pre-production and completion of other short films throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Ronnie Kabuika

Ronnie Kabuika is a celebrated filmmaker, director,and producer based in Seattle. Renowned in the cultural circles of the Congo, his country of origin, Africa, and Europe, his artistic journey spans various domains, including plastic arts, visual arts, music and predominantly cinema, the art form he cherishes the most for encapsulating all others he has practiced.

His diverse filmography includes short films like “l’Autre Moi”, “Mabele Sura Dji”, and the popular TV series “L’Equipe”.

His first feature film, “Villa Matata” has received international acclaim. As he continue toevolve and take on new challenges, his work is a testament of his dedication for a bright futureon the global stage.

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.

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.

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.

Bridget Swirski

Bridget grew up on the Olympic Peninsula and received her BA from the University of Washington. Across her over 20 years living in Washington, she has enjoyed countless trips all across the state, delighting in the many and varied environments.

By day, she works as a Project Manager for a virtual reality start-up and by night she’s either organizing events for the Seattle VR/AR meet-up, performing voice over, or writing. She also volunteers her time with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, Gen Con, Seattle Indies, and Sakura-con with in-person and virtual event management. 

Bridget has a strong background in immersive technology and is keyed into the needs of our local 360 film community. To this end and beyond, she helped manage the SIFF VR and TIFF VR experiences for two years. She understands that Washington is a hub of not just creativity, but technology and she hopes her contributions will help showcase the very special intersection of these two areas.