21 students. 23 backgrounds. 1 story.
Meet our crew.
Hezekiah Lewis is a filmmaker with a vision to provoke social change through film. He aims to expose personal stories and controversial topics through film that will spark healthy and vibrant conversations. Putting his heart into his work Hezekiah produced Memoirs of a Smoker . This phenomenal film earned Hezekiah a DGA award. The film is a short documentary about Hezekiah’s uncle Deontre’ who is addicted to crack cocaine. Memoirs of a Smoker has achieved success in the festival circuit having screened at over 6 well known festivals including Hollywood Black Film Festival and COMMFFEST Film Festival in Toronto. Hezekiah earned his first Masters Degree in Theatre from Villanova University and his Masters of Fine Arts from the school of Theater, Film, and Television at UCLA. Prior to earning his Master's degree in Theatre he attended Villanova University on a football scholarship. Hezekiah’s success in filmmaking improved at UCLA where he earned exceptional accolades for his thesis short film, Warrior Queen , which he filmed on location in Ghana, Africa. The film tells the story of Yaa Asantewaa, a Ghanaian queen who led her people in a courageous battle for freedom against the British Empire in the early 1900s. Lewis received thesis funding from various awards including: the Abraham Polonski Award for Excellence in Screenwriting, the Four Sisters Award, the James Bridges Award for Excellence in Directing and a grant from Technicolor. In addition to Memoirs of a Smoker , Warrior Queen earned a DGA award for best African American film. Hezekiah also keeps busy as a film professor at Villanova University. Passionate about film, Hezekiah encourages his students to create films that are socially conscious and that are of the utmost quality.
Reigning from the city of brotherly love, Princess Garrett earned her degrees in Communications and Global Interdisciplinary Studies from Villanova University in 2018. She has since moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to continue working on her directing/writing skills. Film and television have always been her passion, but the representation of people of color in the media is one that interests her the most being that it has greatly impacted her perceptions of the world and herself growing up. Through experiences like making Sankofa, Princess desires to change the misconceptions and stereotypes that exist within society through filmmaking. In the future, Princess hopes to direct more films that help heal, expose the truth, break social constructs and amplify the voices of those that are often silenced.
Born and raised in the greatest city in the world, Deanna Starr is from Harlem, New York, and recently graduated with her M.A. in Communication and is now based in Los Angeles. Her interest has always been in traveling in order to meet people and understand their different perspectives on the world. As one of the producers of 'Sankofa,' she not only deepened her knowledge of media production but also helped foster her desire to create films that are universally impactful.
Sarah is a recent graduate of Villanova University, with degrees in Communication and History. She is currently working in advocacy in Washington, D.C. She is incredibly grateful for the Riptide Pictures team and being able to share her passion for the intersection between communication, history and social justice.
Madiah is a recent graduate of Villanova University with a degree in Global Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Africana Studies. Madiah recently moved from the Greater New Haven, CT, area to Villavicencio, Colombia as a J. William Fulbright scholar. She is passionate about building a global community which operates under the assumption that individual actions have major impacts on the entire globe. She hopes that 'Sankofa' can provide others with the opportunity to see the beauty and challenges that impact all humans of the world, and how by working together we can begin the everlasting process of healing.
A New Jersey native,Opeyemi Famakinwa is a Villanova University graduate with a background in Chemistry and Communication. She holds a passion for the sciences and creative expression that has developed her into an innovative and self-driven individual. Opeyemi is intrigued about the world of film as it relates to producing, exploring the offscreen work in a hands-on way. With a small background in photography and editing, Opeyemi strives to cultivate her knowledge and expand with not only her current skills, but new areas of production as well.
Alexis Miller recently relocated from historic Boston to Washington, D.C. to begin a career in consulting for the U.S. government. With a keen interest in the art of storytelling, Alexis is passionate about promoting change and stimulating conversations around social justice on an international scale. Alexis delved into documentary film-making working on Sankofa as a Line Producer and Multimedia Producer. Alexis strongly believes in bridging cultural gaps through open conversations and challenging our own pre-conceived notions of the world.
Alvin Alex is a Philadelphia based director, cinematographer and editor who helms a production company by the name of "Alvin Alex Productions, LLC." Alvin holds a Communication bachelor's degree from Villanova University. Alvin and company has travelled around the U.S. recording weddings, music videos, short films, etc. Alvin strives to produce quality content and ultimately plans on directing his own full-length films.
Austin is a senior Liberal Arts major with a concentration in Media Production from Collegeville, PA. Austin has a background in television production, sports broadcasting as well as short-film cinematography which will allow him to conquer the role of Cinematographer and Editor at Riptide Pictures.
Sarah Davis is an LA based filmmaker with a passion for directing and shooting documentaries. Sarah was a cinematographer and editor on Sankofa, the first film she worked on. This experience challenged her to strive to make impactful, provocative films to promote dialogue and change surrounding important issues in the world today.
Isabela Mansour is a recent Villanova University graduate from Miami, FL, currently working as a NBCUniversal Page. Her passion lies on Music, Editing and Design, and she was excited to put all three to work on 'Sankofa,' her first film. She is interested in the role the media plays in society’s perception of minorities, and hopes 'Sankofa' will shed light on and fix some of those wrongful stereotypes.
Robert is a senior Communication major Sociology minor from the small town of Clayton in South Jersey. Film and the media has been a growing interest, but his passion is in studying criminal justice, more specifically mass incarceration and the social inequalities of minorities in The United States. He is a captain of the football team and will serve as the researcher for the production of this film.
Rasaan is a senior Economics major, communications minor born in New Orleans Louisiana. Photography and video editing is an emerging hobby. His interest consists of the insights of the Pharmaceutical industry and the issue around healthcare system. He is a member of the Villanova football team and will serve as the researcher and sound production of this film.
Caleb reigns from Philadelphia, PA. He first found his passion for music by playing in his church band, and has continued to play in many bands since. He found a new love and passion for music through his work with 'Sankofa.' This is his first film and it not only changed his perspective on music but also gave him a new outlook on how powerful music truly is when it comes to conveying a certain message on screen.
Sam recently graduated from Villanova University with a B.A. in Communications. Currently working on a certification in Front-end and Back-end web development from The University of Pennsylvania. Sam worked on the sound team, recording audio from interviews during production in Ghana. Throughout the process, He helped the research team with source material and archival footage. Being his first project in film production, It was an incredible experience with his classmates and extremely insightful instructor, Hezekiah Lewis.
Jimmy Ferrante is a recent Villanova University graduate from Phoenixville, PA, with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications & Sociology. His specific role in the film was to work with the sound team to create and to capture many different styles of sound that will best fit each scene to fit the correct mood. Since Jimmy has a background with sound, music and the love for entertainment as a recording artist (Jphresh), Jimmy had a great experience working with such a wonderful production team to contribute whatever sounds were needed to make this film special.
Vincent Mocco, a Media Production Communication graduate, is passionate, trilingual filmmaker and actor working in the New York metropolitan area. As Creative Consultant, Vincent worked closely with the director, writing team, cinematographers and editors to provide creative insight into the filmmaking process. Traveling to Ghana and working on such a meaningful message was a tremendous experience for Vincent and has irrevocably shaped the way he approaches filmmaking and story telling.
Chris, a Long Island, NY, native, is a recent graduate of Villanova University with a degree in Communication. He commissioned from the Villanova NROTC program and is currently working as a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Marine Corps. Chris considers himself to have been extremely fortunate to have been a part of this team and hopes that he continues to find likeminded individuals with whom he can positively impact the world and those around him as he continues his military career.
Kenna Yadeta is a recent Villanova University graduate from Silver Spring, Maryland, with a degree in Cognitive and Behavior Neuroscience and Psychology. She is currently in graduate school at Drexel University completing her Masters degree in Public Health. In working with Riptide, her passion for social justice work was deepened as she explored new modes of communication, such as film. Working on the research team encouraged her to dive deep into history to create truth-telling films. She also worked in promotion for the film through event planning to expose studeTns at Villanova to the topics discussed in the film. Kenna enjoyed working on the film and the incredible people she met along the way.
Clif is a recent graduate of Villanova University where he obtained degrees in Rhetoric and Africana Studies. He now works as a finance assistant at a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. and plans to attend law school in the Fall of 2020. Being a part of the 'Sankofa' team helped him to better focus his passions into actions, and he is honored to be a part of the Riptide team.
Katie Kametz is a current senior at Villanova University. Although soon to be receiving a Computer Engineering degree, she is a passionate filmmaker and will continue on the filmmaking path in the near future. Using film as a universal communicator, Katie is proud to have been an editor on Sankofa, which focuses on telling audiences a story about identity and inspiring a strong movement for change. While this isn't the only film Katie has worked on, she has also written and directed a few other short films as well. Being part of a passionate team means everything to Katie; and she's looking forward to joining more creatives like this team to create more content that'll spark ideas and change in people's personal reflections and their perception of the world around them like this film has for many of its audience.
Finding great interest in the parallels and inter-relatedness between cognition and visual media, Catherine Goohs graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience and Film. Hailing from the DC area, Catherine now utilizes the skills she has acquired from studying the arts and sciences to a role in the world of Post Production at NBCUniversal in LA. With a background in writing, editing, and research, Catherine contributed to working on the story and editing teams with Riptide and co-lead the events team to premiere the film. She hopes to continue filmmaking in a way that is as thought-provoking and meaningful as what Riptide Pictures has set out to do with 'Sankofa.'