WOCF FILM LAB
We are excited to introduce you to the amazing filmmakers who are sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.
Meet The Mentors
Andy Leo is a film director who works for the DTLA-based production studio, Leo Enterprises LLC. She also has a vast background in cinematography, including over ten years of professional experience in the film industry for both major studios and the independent realm. Her film credits include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Argo The Dark Knight Rises, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Moneyball.
Carl graduated from Columbia College Film School with Honors. His first feature film, "One Week" screened in prestigious film festivals and won several awards. In 2016, Carl premiered his film, a Movie of the Week for TvOne, Bad Dad Rehab, starring Malik Yoba that garnered a NAACP Image Award nomination.
Carl’s career in episodic directing began when he was hired by John Singleton to direct two episodes of the TV show Rebel. Since then, Carl has gone on to direct a wide range of shows like The CW’s, The Originals, Dynasty, and Super Girl, Dick Wolf’s Chicago PD, Fire, and Med, Bull, The Chi, FBI, and most recently, Carl was nominated for an NAACP Image award for his work on directing the late John Singleton’s show, Snowfall.
Darine is a writer, film director, and the founder of Cinephilia Productions— a film incubator championing the next generation of African and Middle Eastern filmmakers. Hotait’s award-winning films can be seen on SundanceTV, AMC Networks, BBC Channel, Forbes, Outfest, ShortsTV, and at over a hundred international film festivals. She is the recipient of the New York Council on the Arts Artist Award, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the Jerome Hill Finalist Grant Award, the AFAC Cinema Award, and a Goethe Award Nomination. Her science fiction literary work has appeared in several publications in print and online. She is currently working on three narrative films "Tallahassee" & "Sherman" (in post-production), and her debut narrative feature film “Like Salt” in development. She is also the co-creator/writer of two Network comedy shows in the development "Dearborn" and "Kenzi". Her work focuses on the politics of identity, Arab & African diaspora, science fiction, and magical realism.
Demetrius went to the FSU Film School concentrating in screenwriting and directing. With more than 15 directing, producing, writing, editing, cinematography and composing credits to his name, Demetrius understands the importance of taking your time with the pre-production process. He directed his first film at age 8 and started studying filmmaking while in high school. He also studied music and theater while growing up in Augusta, GA. He graduated from Florida State University’s film school as the recipient of the Pathfinder’s Scholarship and started working immediately as a director.
Diarra starred in Salton Sea, a crime thriller, written and directed by Veena Sud creator of AMC's The Killing for which she won Best Actress at the Nordic International Film Festival and played Clara Drake in the HBO series, Perry Mason.
Diarra was selected as one of the eleven honorees of the Writers Guild of America-West's (WGA) Writers Access Program (WAP) for her drama pilot, The Dirty Dozen. The WAP's competitive based program used to identify excellent diverse writers within the guild. Diarra has worked as a staff writer for NBC’s Mysteries of Laura, starring Debra Messing, co-writing three episodes in season one. She served as Script Supervisor on Season 2 of the Showtime Series, I'm Dying Up Here, executive produced by Jim Carrey. She is currently writing and performing as Lisa on the Jordan Peele produced Tracy Morgan show, (TBS), entitled, The Last O.G. She created, wrote, and starred in the first comedy pilot by an African American, The Climb, for Amazon Studios in November of 2017.
Hollis is a graduate of Georgetown University and has worked as a camera operator in television on shows such as The Blacklist, Younger, The Carrie Diaries, Gossip Girl and Mad Men. He has also worked on films such as Unfaithful, Mona Lisa Smile, and Salt. As one of the few African American men in the Union, Hollis believes in mentoring and helping others achieve their goal in the entertainment industry. He is the founder of Bridgebuilder Cinematic Arts, an organization that empowers at risk youth to pursue storytelling through filmmaking. He is on the advisory board of Black Girls Dive Foundation, an organization that teaches black females ages 13-18 the power of narrative storytelling through their own experiences with being certified in diving.
A native Clevelander raised in Central America, Johnny K. Wu is, a veteran award-winning producer with an MBA (from Cleveland State University) specialization in branding. Fluent in Chinese, Spanish and English, Johnny is well known and respected within the Asian Pacific American community in Ohio, he is one of the co-founder of the Cleveland Asian Festival, as well as recognized by ethnic cultural groups as the Producer for Cleveland Cultural Gardens’ One World Day since 2015.
Wu is one of the few pioneers in engaging talents/skills in Cleveland’s independent filmmakers’ industry. In October 2003, he founded the monthly Cleveland IndieClub to provide a voice for local visual artists to showcase their work and visions, IndieClub was a national movement with meet up at numerous cities, Cleveland is now the oldest running group. Owner of Media Design Imaging (mdifilm.com), Johnny has been working providing video and event producing to corporates and independent filmmaking community since 1998. He also has numerous feature films successful distributed worldwide since 2005. He has given workshops and talk about filmmaking, marketing, producing and distribution at several conventions including Wizard World Cleveland for 5 years, Horror Hotel Film Festival and Convention (since its inception), IndieGathering Film Festival and Convention for over 10 years, and at CES and NAB in Las Vegas. Recently due to the Covid-19 restrictions, he has started a weekly live chat interview with filmmakers on his YouTube channel (youtube.com/mdifilm)
Johnny is currently in post production on his latest and perhaps, his last feature film Wu Lin The Society, a scifi action film and will be distributed in 2021.
Wu currently sits as an executive board member of St. Clair Superior Development Corp, member of the International Task Force for Cleveland Museum of Art, WKYC Community Council Member, City of Cleveland Consumer Affairs Community Board, VP of Organizations Relation for OCA Cleveland Chapter, to name a few. He is an inductee to two Martial Arts Hall of Fames, and an inductee of the International Indie Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
Larry Fong is an award winning cinematographer whose love of photography began in junior high as a kid in Los Angeles. He studied photography and filmmaking at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where he met Zack Snyder, who he would later film 300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch and Batman v Superman with. In 2004, he was hired to film the Lost pilot, for which he was nominated for an ASC Award. He is also known for his work on Super 8, Kong: Skull Island and The Predator. In 2012 he was accepted into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is an accomplished magician and member of the Academy of Magical Arts.