The Black Film Festival of New Orleans was created to ensure representation of the American film maker of color. We here at BFFNO appreciate film, television, and content from all races and ethnicities. However, this space exists with the intentionality of representing those who may have otherwise found issue having their voice recognized in a world where most evaluations are made from people who don’t look like us and therefore, don’t gravitate to, or may not fully grasp our expressions.
New Orleans is a city that currently and historically has given voice to black American artists. Our city is deep in tradition and access for artists of color. It’s only right that we celebrate our film accomplishments as well.
Over one weekend we will highlight filmmakers of color from New Orleans and throughout the United States. There will be an awards ceremony to recognize the best film and performances of the films submitted. And most importantly… there will be fun!
As a filmmaker myself I have been through this festival circuit and know the importance of a direct connection. You don’t have to be Ava Duvernay, or Spike Lee to be acknowledged and treated with the respect you and your film deserve at the BFFNO. We are dedicated to making sure that everyone who comes to BFFNO enjoys their experience, whether they are a content creator, a cinephile, or a passerby. So come on out!
BFFNO Steering Committee
BFFNO Film Judges
Kenneth Brown: Talented & Cute
DaVida Chanel Smith is a native of Plaquemine, La (the city not the parish) and became an avid movie and tv lover at a young age. Smith is currently based in Los Angeles and is a talent manager, producer and storyteller.
Nicole Collins: Content Creator, Director, Producer, Mental Health Advocate, Host
Nicole Collins is a Filmmaker and host from Louisiana. Although she was born and raised in Alexandria, her 12 years in New Orleans is where she developed a passion for filmmaking. Her acting credits include HBO’s ‘Treme’ and ‘Twelve Years a Slave’. Nicole’s hosting talents have landed her gigs with the NBA, Essence Festival and We-TV. Nicole has written, directed and/or produced 11 film projects with some being award winning. Nicole’s goal is to continue to create content for underrepresented voices. In 2016, Nicole moved to Los Angeles to expand her film and mental health advocacy network. She’s currently back and forth between Los Angeles and New Orleans creating film and digital content and producing events for women and girls. Her workshop for young girls called LOVEYours encourages self confidence through public speaking and mentors girls in Los Angeles and New Orleans. In 2019 she received a grant from the California Mental Health Services Authority to produce The Blooming Phoenix Maternal Mental Health Awareness Brunch which sheds light on postpartum depression within the African American community. She is the mother to 8 year old actress, Aadyn Encalarde.
is a New Orleans-born filmmaker, actress, and a philanthropist at heart. She realized that in order to kick her career off she’d have to move from in front of the cameras to behind them. After a career of working behind the scenes, she decided to use what she learned along with her natural ability to create and began producing her own films. Throughout Domino’s journey, she has met many talented people in the local film industry. So, she decided to start 3517 Law Street Productions, LLC to bring everyone together as a film community.
In 2012, Domino wrote, directed and produced a web series “Neutral Grounds”. That same year she wrote and produced her first short film, “Beaucoup de Force” screened at the Prytania Theatre. In 2013, she produced a three times nominated short film, “Unemployed” for the 48 Hour Film Project premiered at The National WWII Museum. In 2015, she wrapped her short film “The Inheritance”, which was filmed in Shreveport, LA for the LA Film Prize screened at AMC Elmwood Palace 20 during 4:4:4 Camera Showcase. Her latest short film, “Wedding Vows” is based on an interracial couple who gets reals when writing their wedding vows.
Her production company was created to build a platform for upcoming producers, directors, writers and actors.
Rachel Grissom is a production sound mixer for film and television whose credits include TNT’s Claws, MTV’s Scream, and Beyonce’s Lemonade. She has also worked in theater and radio, and has written, produced and directed several short and feature films.
Nailah Jefferson is a New Orleans born and bred filmmaker whose work reflects the community that raised her. Nailah’s first film, Vanishing Pearls, told the story of a little known African American oyster fishing community and their fight for justice after the BP oil spill. After acquisition by ARRAY/AFFRM, Vanishing Pearls streamed on The Urban Movie Channel. In 2017, Nailah was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award for Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative, Plaquemines, was awarded the inaugural Create Louisiana $50k Short Film grant. Upon completion, it was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist. Nailah is currently in production of her forthcoming documentary Commuted, about the life of Danielle Metz, a woman who received clemency by President Obama after receiving a triple life drug sentence in the early 90’s. The project is supported by Black Public Media, Chicken and Egg Films, Firelight Media the Southern Documentary Fund and Tribeca Film Institute.
Jasmine B. Johnson is an actress, writer, director and producer native to New Orleans, LA. She made her film acting debut in award-winning director Nijla Mu’min’s Deluge in 2012. Since then she has appeared in numerous short films and theatre productions, in addition to co-starring in NCIS: New Orleans and Shameless and holding her first leading role in the independent film, Her Worst Nightmare.
Jessica Johnson is a native of New Orleans. Jessica is an actor, writer and filmmaker who studied television and film production at Xavier University of Louisiana before transitioning into commercial and theatrical acting in 2015. Her recent credits include the award winning hit series Queen Sugar, AMC’s Preacher, Girls Trip Season Two of the Hit Fox Series Star.
Marki Michelle is an ensemble member of The Collective NY. Graduate of the William Esper Studio
Lance Nichols is a veteran character actor best remembered as dentist Larry Williams on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme which chronicled the lives of post Hurricane Katrina natives and their efforts in rebuilding their lives. His memorable performance as the “faith healing” preacher preacher in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button garnered praise from critics and the general public.
He recurs as The River King in the AMC television series Into The Badlands and recently started production on the new SyFy/USA series The Purge working under the direction of Emmy Winner Anthony Hemingway whom he collaborated with for four seasons on Treme. Mr. Nichols and his wife Zardis co-produced their first television pilot Shepherd which won Best Drama at the prestigious ITVFest in 2017 and where he won Best Actor in a Drama. Their win garnered a development meeting with HBO.
Lance and his wife are co-owners of Lanzardis Productions which specializes in training young professionals for working in the entertainment industry. In their leisure time they enjoy travel, dining and attending the New Orleans Saints football games.
Tiffani Sheriff is the founder of MUSINGS, an aesthetic, spiritual and creative project management consulting firm specializing in wardrobes and interiors. From commercial photoshoots to film, her holistic approach to design has contributed to acclaimed productions seen around the world.