GENERAL MANAGER, ALLBLK & WE TV | AMC Networks
An entertainment industry professional with over 27 years of experience across marketing, production, sales and branding, Brett Dismuke currently serves as General Manager of AMC Networks brands ALLBLK and WE TV. Prior to being appointed to this role in December 2020, Dismuke served as Chief Content Officer of ALLBLK where he oversaw content acquisition and development of original programming. During his tenure as Chief Content Officer, Dismuke’s focus on original programming spawned several breakout hit series for the streaming service including nighttime soap opera, A House Divided, and action-packed thriller, Double Cross.
Before returning to ALLBLK (formerly UMC) to helm the subscription video on demand platform, Dismuke maintained his own entertainment outfit, So Chi Entertainment; served as President/COO of The Swirl Group, President of Moguldom Entertainment, and as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Urban Programming for RLJ Entertainment's One Village studio.
Through partnership with Swirl Films in 2014, Dismuke formed The Swirl Group, a collaboration that established the company as the leading destination for urban independent production in North America with over 80 productions in their catalog. This multifaceted outfit was devoted to offering high-quality production value at low costs with a scope of work that included production of independent features and multi-camera content, casting, budget creation, scheduling, post-production, talent relations and distribution. With the solid foundation, So Chi Entertainment continued the legacy, priding itself on developing the highest quality productions, developing the most interesting content, and acquiring the best product available within its genre.
In addition to locating and securing new content, Dismuke oversaw strategic planning, financial management, branding, and product lines for So Chi Entertainment. Over the last few years, he has acquired and/or produced several films; most notably 35 & Ticking, a theatrical comedy starring Kevin Hart, Meagan Good, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Nicole Ari Parker; What My Husband Doesn't Know, a musical stage play written and directed by David E. Talbert and starring Morris Chestnut, Michelle Williams and Tiffany Haddish; and Back to the Goode Life, a critically-acclaimed comedy starring Kyla Pratt, London Brown, Lahmard Tate and Kelly Jenrette.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Brett Dismuke’s career path has included roles at Motown, PolyGram Group Distribution, Universal Music and Video Distribution, Hollywood Records, UrbanWorks Entertainment, First Look Studios, and Image Entertainment. His list of projects supervised includes Jay-Z, Brian McKnight, Mary J. Blige, Mike Epps, The Cosby Show and Ultimate Fighting Championship; as well as numerous award-winning independent films.
A native of Chicago, Dismuke currently lives in Los Angeles where he enjoys time as an empty nester, as his son just graduated college on the East Coast.
PROJECT MANAGER, TENNESSEE ENTERTAINMENT COMMISSION
Gisela Moore, Project Manager for the TN Entertainment Commission which is under ECD for the State of TN for the past 17 years has helped approximately 200 projects per year with permits, research and crew. She has worked with Scripps Network, Discovery, ABC’s “Nashville” TV Series, Motor Trends, Ride with Norman Reedus, Warner Bros. International, Chrisley Knows Best, countless music videos, photo shoots and commercials. Passionate about sharing information on opportunities that can help Tennesseans get employed.
Melvin “Maestro” Lightford
Since his birth, Melvin W. Lightford III was expected to do great things in the world of music. His nickname, “Maestro”, was given to him by his mother whose only wish was that her son would learn how to play the piano. With his God given talent Melvin “Maestro” Lightford has created numerous memorable experiences in the world of music.
He has had the pleasure of working with several artists, such as: Ledisi, Corbin Bleu, Dave Stewart, Keb Mo, Kirk Whalum, Sheléa, Michael McDonald, Danny Gokey, Kierra “Ki Ki” Sheard, and many more.
Not wanting to limit himself to playing and producing for artists, Maestro decided to try his hand in the world of film and television. His first job in the film industry was being an actor in the movie “Second Chance”. There he shared the stage with big musical icon Michael W. Smith.
With his newly acquired knowledge and experience, more prestigious opportunities came his way. Travis Tritt wrote a song entitled “That’s What Dreamers Do” for the independent biopic film, As Dreamers Do, which is based on the early life of Walt Disney. Maestro was hired to compose a string arrangement for Tritt’s song, which became the featured theme song of the film.
After leaving his hometown of Nashville, TN and moving to Los Angeles, California, Maestro was hired to co-compose the music for VH1’s first ever Christmas special movie, Adventures In Christmasing. He later became the lead composer for the musical biopic, Remember Me: A Mahalia Jackson Story.
D. Channsin Berry
D. Channsin Berry was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, as well as a prolific songwriter and painter. Mr. Berry started his career in New York radio at WBLS (FM) under the leadership of mentor and friend Frankie Crocker and after spending 5 years in radio in the Bay Area, he moved to Los Angeles for a position in the Walt Disney Studios Feature Film Financing Division. Mr. Berry went on to write and direct music videos for artists such as Chaka Khan and Dionne Warwick, to name a few. Mr. Berry also directed the PRAME Awards (Blacks in Advertising). Mr. Berry then used his music talent to write songs for Pop/R&B Diva Chaka Khan, Jazz vocalist Mary Stallings, Prince/Rosie Gaines, and Jazz Legend Nancy Wilson (2006 Grammy Award Winning CD “Turned to Blue”). In between his music endeavors, he worked in television as an Executive Producer/Director and sometimes hosts for various shows such as BET’s NY/LA Entertainment magazine, All The People (Fox-Bay Area Talk Show ), Shaq Jam (Hip Hop concert, Direct TV/Fox), Remixed (BET) and the Fox entertainment show “Poker Dome.” Mr. Berry moved on to direct independent films and documentaries such as “A Different Shade of Love,” “My Father’s Music…Jazz” (Documentary PBS/Cable) and “The Black Line…” (A Profile of the Black Male. Parts 1, 2 and 3). He is currently working on several film and TV projects for Urban Winter Entertainment with business partner Mark Cohen. Mr. Berry is also the founder of the D. Channsin Berry Foundation, which raises money for LUPUS awareness.
Meleisha J. Edwards received her BA from Fisk University and her MS from Middle Tennessee State University. She once was a medical student and left after a year to pursue her true passion. Although she is still in healthcare, she truly has a passion for film and television.
Meleisha is an award-winning writer/producer, with multiple award credits for several films. In August 2022, she became the "covergirl" of the prominent Nashville Magazine, "NFocus", where she was able to discuss her journey in film. Also in 2022, Meleisha was a producer for an international short film, shot in Greece, "Francesca", which won best
US Short from San Diego Arts Festival. Previously, Meleisha was a finalist with the Indie Memphis Pitch Rally with her new feature, Jenee. She also won the Finishing Fund Award from the Tennessee Entertainment Commission, along with her co-director, Mary McCallum, for her directorial debut feature film, SingleVille, in March 2018. Some of her credits include "Best Hometowner Short Film” at Indie Memphis Film Festival for a short film, “Minority” as well as “Best Short Film" for the NAFCA awards, also known as the African Oscars, for her multi-award winning short film, In The Spotlight. Her debut film, Masquerade, has also won several awards across the country.
She has produced over 25 multimedia projects including webseries, music videos, documentaries, shorts, and features. In 2022, Meleisha is working as a producer with David and Christina Arquette on a documentary and previously was able to work on a BET/Color Creative pilot, which was shot in Memphis, TN . She is also a producer of the film, Dark Girls 2, which recently premiered on OWN under the direction of documentarian, D. Channsin Berry out of Los Angeles, TN. She has worked on several
OWN projects with Mr. Berry. In 2020, Meleisha also because a member of the Producers Guild of America.
Meleisha is currently the VP of Production with 353 Media Group, a corporate video and film production company, and continues to produce projects in Tennessee and around the country.
JASON A. FARMER
In 2012, after a distinguished 25-year career in the government and public service sector, he formed BLP Film Studios, an award-winning multi-media company in response to emerging trends in the arts sector.
He has since worked diligently to develop industry relationships and market presence to further advocate for the inclusion of Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices across the Film, Streaming and TV sectors.
Executive Board Leadership Memphis 2015
International Black Film Festival-2015, 2016, 2017
Memphis Symphony Orchestra-Board-2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
USA Today Storytellers Project “I Am An American” Presenter-2017
“Driven” Award Winning, Short Film, Executive Producer-2017
City of Memphis “I Am A Man Plaza” National Design Finalist-2017
MLK-50 Luminary Award Designer-2017
MLK-50 Medallion Accepted-Library of Congress Permanent Collection-2018
“Minority” Award Winning, Short Film, Executive Producer-2018
“Black Creators Forum” Creator/Producer-2018, 2019
TN Entertainment Alliance “State of TN Film” Presenter-2018
Leadership Tennessee Class VII-2019
“CURVES” BET Pilot, Locations Manager-2019
Purchased 100 Acres to Build 2nd Largest Black-Owned Studio-2022
Memphis Business Journal “Power 100” Recipient-2022
Bloomburg “How Memphis Can Lead the Way For Black Entreprenuers-2022
Board Chair Memphis Symphony Orchestra-2022
Additionally, he serves on several non-profit boards including Chair-Memphis Symphony Orchestra, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Leadership Tennessee and Morehouse College Parents Council, and the Memphis Rock and Soul Museum. He is also dedicated to establishing his hometown of Memphis as a premier center for the cinematic arts.
Ruth Paul a Milwaukee Native, with a passion for entertainment that started at an early age. Ruth T. Paul, former Singer, Actress, Dancer, and On-Air Radio personality has worked in the trenches and at the forefront of the Entertainment Industry.
With over 40 years of industry experience, Ruth Paul has now graduated to be an entertainment consultant. With over 25 years as an AFTRA/SAG, a business representative serving over four different locals around the country Ruth comes with a wealth of entertainment and contractual knowledge. Ruth has signed over 1500 films in her career and has given many seminars and workshops in the entertainment industry. Her knowledge and expertise have given her a launching path to becoming an ultimate entertainment consultant. Always helpful, patient, and excited about helping you be the best filmmaker and storyteller possible.
From multi-million-dollar projects to ultra-low-budget projects.Ruth has shared her knowledge with numerous producers around the country.
CODIGO LLC. / MANAGING PARTNER
Ivy J. Brown
Ivy Brown is the Managing Partner & Global Chief Strategy Officer of the new tech startup Codigo LLC. She yields 20+ years of experience in creative direction, project management, strategic planning, and client relations. In her current role, she oversees the production of all creative and media-based deliverables and ensures the adherence to cost-effective, high-quality strategic communications, branding, and media solutions for domestic and international clients.
The impetus of Ivy’s career started as the Art Director for 3 international magazines for the United Methodist Church world-wide. She then began her service in state government working as the Creative Director for the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). Her tenure at ECD allowed her to be directly involved in the growth and expansion of the business climate for the state of Tennessee. She led the creative team responsible for executing the annual Governor’s Conference as well as the relocation of major Fortune 500 corporate headquarters such as Nissan North America, Volkswagen, Hankook Corporation, to name a few.
Ivy also dedicates her time to her family nonprofit, the International Black Film Festival (IBFF), located in Nashville, TN, as its Chief Creative Officer. IBFF is focused on providing access and opportunity to content creators around the globe in Film & TV.
Ivy, a native of Greensboro, NC, possesses her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communications with a minor in Phonetics from the North Carolina A&T State University. In her free time, Ivy enjoys stargazing and the study of astronomy and nature.
Ericka Nicole Malone
Ericka Nicole Malone tapped into her creativity during college and paid her undergraduate tuition by writing and producing theatrical plays. Ericka began her screenwriting debut of the television sitcom pilot “Ward of the State”- A rich heiress is forced to move in with her middle class daughter after her fourth suddenly husband dies and leaves her penniless. Ward of the State helms the iconic Janet Hubert (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Aloma Wright (Suits) and Vanessa Williams (Soul Food.) Her latest projects are “Remember Me” : The Mahalia Jackson Story – A new biopic of Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson starring R&B legend Ledisi, actors Columbus Short, Janet Hubert, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Keith David, Vanessa Estelle Williams, Corbin Bleu and Keith Robinson; “Dreams From The Edge” and several other projects in development including animation “JG and the BC Kids”, live action and theatrical productions. As President of Ericka Nicole Malone Entertainment along with her business partner Phillip Robinson, Ericka is becoming one of the most prolific screenwriters and producers in Hollywood and is only just beginning.
BLP FILM STUDIOS PARTNER/GENERAL COUNSEL
Cecilia S. Barnes
A native of Gulfport, MS, Cecilia S. Barnes graduated from Duke University in 1992 with a B.A. in political science and obtained her law degree from Vanderbilt Law School in 1995.
Her legal expertise in corporate law and labor and employment law issues has become well-rounded and has included law firm practice, serving as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company, serving as a Labor Relations Manager for a Fortune 50 Company, as well as work in the public sector. She brings more than 25 years of professional experience and legal expertise to BLP Film Studios.
At BLP Film Studios her duties include but are not limited to: Retaining and Directing Outside Counsel as Necessary, Reviewing Production Contracts Related to Film, Streaming, TV, Podcast, Music, Licensing, Copyrights, Trademark, Drafting Legal Memoranda, Advising on Development Issues and Preparing Incentive and Rebate documents.
BLP FILM STUDIOS PARTNER/CFO
Carolyn N. Henry
A native of Clarksdale, MS, Carolyn Nelson Henry graduated from Christian Brothers University (CBU) in 1992 with a BS degree in accounting and UOP (2006) with a master’s in business. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Business at CBU.
She brings more than 30 years of experience in corporate America, where she previously served as Finance Manager, Assistant Controller, and most recently as a Senior Financial Analyst with a Fortune 50 corporation.
In addition to her role as Partner/CFO of BLP Film Studios, she is the owner of CNH Productions, LLC, with which she completed her first movie entitled, “The City of Crosses.”
Her creativity has also motivated her to manage R&B, Classical Jazz, and Hip-Hop artists, in addition to serving as executive producer on several short films.
Producer credits include:
The City of Crosses (2021) and Hidden Orchard Mysteries: The Case of the Air B and B Robbery (2020). Available on all digital platforms.
CODIGO LLC./PRESIDENT & CEO
Ingrid L. Brown
Ingrid Brown is the founder, President and CEO of the new tech startup Codigo LLC.
Codigo, which means, “code” in Spanish, is a full-service technology consulting firm specializing in crafting and executing coherent solutions in technology, business development and training no matter the industry.
Over the past 15 years, Ms. Brown has been an independent Information Technology Consultant successfully leading software implementations, creating and executing training, mainly in the Peoplesoft /Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) space for national and international, fortune 50 to 500 companies. Her expertise expands across industries such as insurance, telecommunications, healthcare, governmental agencies and institutions of higher learning to name a few. She has had the privilege of consulting in a prestigious line up of corporate entities such as Verizon HQ, Canon HQ, Cargill, Pacific Life, the U.S. Air force, and more. She considers her strengths to be developing business strategies and processes for companies and giving them the tools to move towards positive change and innovation.
Ingrid, a native of Greensboro, NC, holds a dual degree from the University of NC-Greensboro in Psychology and Spanish and a dual Masters of Science degree from NC A&T State University in Counseling and HR Management. Ingrid is bilingual as she speaks, reads and writes Spanish fluently. She enjoys playing any sport but is an avid tennis player. Ingrid’s greatest joy is her role as mother to her enterprising 9-year-old daughter Abigail.
Percy is a native of Epps. Louisiana, a village with a population of only 800. At an early age, he knew he wanted to be an actor on stage and in film. Due to a lack of exposure, and resources and not knowing anyone who had pursued the craft, he was unsure how to make his dream a reality. This proved to be the perfect catalyst for his career. A non-linear journey provided Percy the opportunity to leverage his education to propel his acting career. After moving to Tennessee for graduate school, he began taking acting classes. Soon after, he met a casting director, who introduced him to his agent and the rest is history. Since then, he has booked several commercials, stage plays, television roles, and movies. He most recently co-starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson in “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” which is currently streaming on AppleTV plus. He also appears in “Devotion” starring Jonathan Majors, set to release in November.