Summer Film Class of 2018

Adrian Woodard II

Old Dominion University


Adrian Woodard II was born and raised in New Jersey but at the age of 13 moved to Chesapeake, Virginia to help his elderly grandparents. Adrian has always loved film, even before he was old enough to understand it. In the fourth grade, he created his first film as a science project, and then realized he was a visual learner and storyteller. The project was awarded 1st place in the local fair and 2nd place in the district science fair.


“I am extremely excited to learn as much as I can at the Nate Parker Foundation Summer Film Institute and later apply the skills acquired about cinema and storytelling as I create future films.”

Austin Ashford

University of Arkansas


Freshly returned from multiple national recognitions at the 2018 Kennedy Center ACTF, Austin Ashford, recently appeared at Theatresquared in All The Way, The Champion, and T2’s Arkansas Schools Tour with his one-person play, (I)sland T(rap), which was also featured at the 2017 Arkansas New Play Festival. He recently, shared his new play and one-person show, Black Book, at the 2018 Arkansas New Play festival. Austin has earned 21 national titles in Forensics in such events as dramatic interpretation, poetry interpretation, prose interpretation, and impromptu speaking.


“I always wanted to be a student at this specific Institute and I am deeply honored to learn the power of storytelling through film from this family of artists. I can already feel how this will change my life forever.”

Brianna Clay

Hampton University


Native of Chicago, Illinois, Brianna Clay learned early on that the world is far from black and white. As a black woman who was raised by other black women, Brianna is passionate about telling stories reflective of her heritage. Through the art of storytelling, she strives to inspire change, healing, and empowerment. Brianna’s dream is for little black girls to see themselves represented on TV in a way that makes them feel proud of who they are.


“It excites me to be in a room full of creatives and storytellers. I am here to learn, to inspire, to express, and to continue to find myself.”

Chanda Bynum

Cleveland State University


Chanda Bynum is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and has been writing short stories since the age of ten. Introduced to spoken word poetry and playwriting in high school, she felt compelled to tell her personal story and the stories of people around her. Chanda desires to direct movies and a television series on a popular television network one day soon.


“Currently, I am interested in telling stories through film to reach a broader audience and impact people with unique perspectives and visuals that they can relate to. To do this I need more knowledge about film production and I am so excited to experience this new desire of mine with people who look like me and are creatives who desire to change the world—just as I do.”

Dahyo Coleman

Hampton University


Dahyo Coleman is a rising Sophomore at Hampton University, majoring in Journalism. A native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Dahyo’s creative nature has been blossoming ever since she was young. When she was admitted into the NYU Future Filmmakers Program, her passion for film was lit and everything shifted. From there she created several short films and documentaries, and also explored other creative platforms such as photography and graphic design, but film is where her voice is strongest.


“I am very excited to attend the summer institute to learn about the ins and outs of film and the opportunity to be surrounded by people who look like me, and share the same ambition and drive as me.”

Danielle Jones

Wiley College


Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Danielle Jones is currently attending Wiley College as the 2018-2019 Miss Black and Gold and a Great Debater. Danielle endeavors to use her voice to empower Black women as they strive to overcome the myriad of challenges they encounter daily.


“I’m so excited about attending this program, because it’s an amazing opportunity to enhance my abilities as an actress and activist, and to increase my knowledge as I continue to uplift the Black community.”

Danny Bedney

University of Hartford


Danny Bedney attends the University of Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut, where she’s studying Cinema and minoring in Africana Studies. Driven by a deep interest in the arts, self-expression and activism, Danny has created various short films and relatable screenplays, which address black hair, life in Washington D.C., and what it means to be black in America.


“I am beyond excited to be a part of the Nate Parker Film Institute this summer. I’m thrilled to further my love and interests in film and storytelling.”

Dereius Gaines

Azusa Pacific University


Passionate about sports and acting, Dereius Gaines is a native of Inglewood, California. Dereius seeks to embark upon a career as an actor/filmmaker as well as an athlete. As he climbs the proverbial ladder of success, Dereius plans to become a positive influencer within his community and the world at large.


“I am really thankful to have such an opportunity that will hopefully open many doors for me in the industry of filmmaking down the line.”

DJ Smith

Maryland Institute College of Art


Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland; DJ Smith witnessed the devastating effects of gun violence, mental illness, drug abuse and poverty within his community. Despite the plenitude of hardships DJ encountered, he focused on the beauty within his city. Now, he is determined to relay stories of the beauty he discovered through visual works of art.


“I’m really excited to further my career goal of becoming a filmmaker/producer and look forward to collaborating with other like-minded artists.”

Frazier Bostic

University of South Carolina


Frazier Bostic is an aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter from Greenville, South Carolina. She currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina and attends the University of South Carolina. Frazier’s work is invested in exploring where and how race intersects with various identities such as gender, class and spirituality. She is the recipient of Indie Grits Film Festival’s 2018 Young Grit award for her short film, The Passages of Pride.


“I’m honored to be a part of the Nate Parker Foundation Summer Film Institute! I’m so excited to have this opportunity and be surrounded by like-minded aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals.”

India Johnson

University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, India Johnson was intrigued by the strength and power of storytelling, which led to her passion for filmmaking. India aspires to become an advocate for the underrepresented and to tell stories that share meaning and matter.


“I’m truly thankful for this opportunity to attend the Summer Film Institute. I’m excited to build comradery amongst aspiring filmmakers and the instructors. I look forward to learning as much as I can.”

Isaac Wilkins

Howard University


Isaac Wilkins is currently an actor and future Senator. Growing up in the city of Plainfield, New Jersey, Isaac worked alongside his friends to found the Plainfield Youth Organization for Unity, a non-profit focused on instilling peace, prosperity and unity in the city while creating a political platform for youth in the city through countless initiatives, vigils and city-wide summits. He then ventured to Howard University where he pursued his passions in science and policy while also co-founding a young men’s brotherhood known as The Men of George Washington Carver (MOGWC) that helps male freshmen transition into college.


“I am looking forward to being in a space with like-minded creative individuals. I hope to develop projects that will help solve social issues as well as gain a mentor in the industry who recognizes my potential and is willing to invest their wisdom and time in me to reach my potential.”

Jahlil Rahim

Oakland, California


Born in the 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, Jahlil Rahim is in constant search of avenues to create. Jahlil believes film has the power to transcend time. Through this art form, he aspires to shift the perception of Black people in a positive direction. Jahlil’s work promotes empowerment and self-love.


“This is the perfect opportunity to network with other Black minds and create a movement.”

Janita Matoke

Baylor University


Native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Janita Matoke aspires to become a best-selling author. Writing is her number-one passion. Through her boundless words of wisdom, Janita plans to impact, inspire and empower people all around.


“Big thanks to this program for making me better at doing the thing I love. Everyone has that one opportunity in there life that encapsulates their dreams and solidifies the purpose behind their goals. The Nate Parker Foundation is my opportunity to begin something amazing.”

Jaylon Bolden

Wiley College


For most of his life, Jaylon Bolden has called Houston, Texas his home. Jaylon enjoyed playing sports while growing up. However, once he discovered his love of performing and speaking to crowds, he decided to pursue speech and debate instead. Passionate about good music and black people, Jaylon recently found a niche with film and editing, whereby he uplifts the masses with truth, conversation, and education.


“I am extremely excited to be a part of the institute, and am looking forward to the opportunities that will present themselves because of this program. I know the information and experience will give me momentum for my future.”

Justice Quinn

Los Angeles Community College


Justice Quinn is an actor, singer, dancer, songwriter, pianist, poet, and artist. Born in Monrovia, California, Justice has studied acting his entire life. Now harnessing the right skills in training, he has chosen to take his career to the next step as an actor. Justice also has aspirations to screenwrite, write plays, and direct, providing him the chance to share his perceptions of the world along with his imagination to bring upon change in society and inspire upcoming artists.


“When after all my hardwork has met opportunity, fate has chosen me to be a part of the Nate Parker Foundation to propel me forward in my career. Learning about all aspects of film while being alongside other aspiring artists that look like me is a blessing as we all rise together in our art forms.”

Malcolm Lott

Clark Atlanta University


A Virginia Beach, Virginia native, Malcolm Lott discovered his love for film in his junior year of high school. His ambitious and persistent personality makes him a voice in today’s generation. He has the aspiration of working in the film and television industry as a Cinematographer, Editor and build himself to a director’s position. Malcolm’s journey in film started with this quote, “Film did not find me, it met me halfway during Act 2.”


“A worthwhile experience that I plan to absorb as much information as possible. Another opportunity to gain new network connections and help solidify future collaborations.”

Melissa Roca

The City College of New York


Born and raised in the Bronx, Melissa Roca has always had a natural knack for fashion until her recent discovery of the power of storytelling. Through her creations, Melissa intends to tell stories that speak to the young girls and boys who come from marginalized communities and highlight the beauty in the struggle.


“Always a student. Never a master.”

Nadir Pearson

Brown University


Nadir Pearson was born and raised in New Jersey. His passion for film and media came after the decision to pivot from playing Division 1 football at Brown University due to concussions. Nadir is now a rising senior at Brown University and continues to use film as his medium to invoke thought-provoking social impact.


“I’m beyond ready to push my film knowledge to the next level with passionate peers and mentors.”

Schuyler Paige Nickleberry

Clark Atlanta University


Led to Clark Atlanta University by her passion for Creative and Performance Arts, Schuyler Paige Nickleberry is a Junior pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Television and Film. Schuyler’s biggest aspiration is to maximize her talent and platform to create Television and Film content that sheds a different light upon the African-American community.


“I am extremely excited to be in a space surrounded by and working with creative people like myself! An opportunity like this is rare for people who look like me, so I am grateful that I have been given this chance to learn and grow as an aspiring filmmaker.”

Shanelle Gaddis

Wiley College


A small-town country girl from Alto, Texas, Shanelle Gaddis’ passion is writing poetry. Recently, Shanelle published a book entitled, There is Always a Way Out. She desires to produce films that impact the lives of people, especially children, who have been hurt through all types of abuse. Shanelle envisions film as an avenue of inspiration to those individuals on the brink of despair.


“I am elated and I know I will gain a lot from this program. This is an opportunity that I have longed for and I believe in fighting for what I want because what I want will not fight for me.”

Shemar Yanick Jonas

Brooklyn, New York


Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Shemar Yanick Jonas was raised in a Caribbean household (Guyana). Shemar aspires to become the best actor, director and writer in the world. Acting and filmmaking are Shemar’s greatest pursuits. Viewed as a therapeutic outlet, Shemar creates stories that are an inspiration not only to himself but his community as a whole.


“I feel blessed, as simple as that sounds. I feel that throughout my being in every way, just blessed, truly.”

Stachy Saint-Gerard

State University of New York at Fredonia


Dating back to elementary school, Stachy Saint-Gerard has always been passionate about the arts. Moving between Jacksonville, Florida and Brooklyn, New York as a young child, she held on tightly to her dream of becoming a singer, actress, director and producer. Motivated to inspire, Stachy relies on her passion and drive to empower mass audiences through her portrayal of fine arts.


“I have known about this program for over a year now. I am very content with the opportunity to work with people that have the same or similar passions as me and others that have made a career from their passions.”


Sam Houston State University


Yolissma was born in Mississippi and then moved to the east coast. At the age of five, she settled in Houston, Texas where her eye for photography was discovered. Currently, she’s a freelance portrait photographer and teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and a minor in Photography from Sam Houston State University. Since traveling started for Yolissma at an early age, it has become one of her passions along with film. With aspirations to become a director and cinematographer, she plans to further her education in the arts by pursuing a Master of Arts in Film.


“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.” ~ Tena Desae