meet the team
ALLISON A. WAITE
(Director) Allison A. Waite is an award-winning director and cinematographer. She obtained her MFA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in Film & Television Production with a cinematography concentration as a George Lucas Foundation Scholar. Filmmaking is her activism tool of choice; she aims to give unresolved stories a voice and spark connections within her community. In addition, Allison has received recognition such as the Princess Grace Foundation HBO film Award and a Student Academy Award for her film "The Dope Years: The Story of Latasha Harlins."
(Producer/Writer) is a graduate of the M.F.A Television & Film Production student at the University of Southern California from Baltimore, Maryland. In May of 2017, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mass Communication. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has assumed the roles of producer, talk show host, field reporter, and studio camera operator. She is a certified college writing tutor, working on obtaining certification for tutoring elementary and middle school-aged children. She has previously interned with JuVee Productions, WHAG-TV, and Allegany Radio Corporation.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Menu’Ette has become a volunteer mentor for EmpowHer Institute, a non-profit organization that creates a safe space for girls to develop their voice. She is passionate about education, children, and is aware of the impact media can make on society. Thus, leading her to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She believes with hard work and dedication one can accomplish anything that they put their mind to. She also appreciates and understands the necessity of collaboration to accomplish world change. Menu’Ette has written, directed, and produced various short films in and outside of USC. While a writer at heart, her love for directing and producing carries far as she is taking on producing her friend's USC thesis, prior to writing and directing her own.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading Biblical devotionals, traveling, boxing, hot yoga, and hiking with her husky Kodak. Menu’Ette has a love for people and a heart for her generation. She hopes to inspire and uplift all whom she meets.
(Producer) is a third semester MFA student studying Film and Television Production at USC with an emphasis in directing and producing. His background in politics through numerous hours of volunteering in political campaigns, offices, and several community events led him to create work regarding the importance of political activism, community engagement, and stories of the Latinx experience. Through his work, he aspires to help create deeper emotional and social impact to foster spaces for dialogue and community engagement.
(Director of Photography) is a U.S. Marine veteran, former foster youth, and undergraduate production student at USC. His films have received recognition for their attention to social issues, with awards from the Student Emmys, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and many international film festivals such as Cannes. Kevin created the Public Service Announcement “Indistinguishable”, which has aired on national television and been used for diplomacy purposes by the United Nations. He hopes to use entertainment as a means to change the world and create opportunities for those who need them most.
(Associate Producer) is a researcher, writer, and developer. He produces research that creates a vivid and important venue for the exploration of “the robust identity of Blackness” in film, television, digital/online series, and the entertainment industry more broadly. His work presents a range of access points for participation in dialogues, theoretical deliberations, and creative enterprises related to Blackness in contemporary media spaces.
(Sound) is a second-year MFA production student at USC’s SCA. She is a storyteller, born and raised in Chino, California just outside of Los Angeles. Her passion for visual storytelling started at a young age and was quickly channeled into the dream of being a filmmaker when she discovered her passion for cinema in her late teens. She attained her undergraduate degree at UC Irvine where she was able to study Film and Media and also African American studies. Her work was featured at an on-campus festival screening, a public library in Los Angeles, and a multidisciplinary hub for artists called the Kaos Network in Leimert Park. As a production student, she spent her second semester finding her concentration, which turned out to be sound design and production sound. She utilized sound to enhance the visual landscapes of the three films she worked on this past school year. Sound was her focus largely, for a 546 advanced project called The Bee. Jaliseis passionate about the synchronistic nature of storytelling and hopes to further develop her writing and sound design skills in particular.
(Music Supervisor) was born in Chicago and raised in the small town of Harvest, Alabama. He attended college at Oakwood University where he attained his Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. Originally on a path to become a researcher, August’s path changed when he graduated and discovered his love for the arts. He moved to Orlando and became a professional bassist as well as picking up other sound jobs in the area. Currently, he lives in LA and attends USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he studies Directing and Sound.
(Editor) is a third-year M.F.A. student at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. With an emphasis in Directing and Cinematography, Fatima’s narratives focus on representing her Middle-Eastern culture in new and innovative ways. Fatima has graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from San Diego State University. Majoring in Television, Film, & New Media Production, Fatima has been able to take on roles for various events, including the “Art Directors Guild Awards”. Having started editing beforehand, Fatima has been able to master a skillset, which earned her jobs back in her hometown, Kuwait. She worked for a social media company, Ghaliah, in which she was able to create commercials for renowned businesses like the “Hilton Hotels & Resorts”.
After countless projects Fatima has worked on, she intends to put her very best work into “The Dope Years”, in order to bring the story to light the way it deserves to be.
LAWFORD CAMPBELL II
(Music Coordinator) had a unique ear for music from the early age of four. He grew up in Brooklyn NY, where his environment and culture helped to shape his uniques style. His work exhibits influences of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Reggae and Gospel. His earliest memories were from the television show "Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. " He would watch Johnny Costa play jazz piano and was always inspired by his execution and skill.
He later moved on to producing and playing/performing for many artists within the Los Angeles area and worldwide. Although he continues to embrace his unique sound, he also embraces a love for film and video. Lawford is growing to become one of the most influential musicians to date. His driving force is to engage each listener through a musical/rhythmic conversation, leaving his audience with an unforgettable experience.
(Editor) I am a third-year M.F.A. student at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts with an emphasis in directing, cinematography and editing. Before I came to SCA I studied painting, sculpture and photography.
In general, I feel lost, and I don't know if it's possible not to feel this way. I don't think filmmaking can be my compass to guide me out of this feeling, quite a contrary- Filmmaking can intensify it, and this is the reason why I am in it.
(Assistant Director) From writer-director to champion MMA fighter, Derek Garlington is consistently producing and creating purposeful content and moments. He obtained his B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University in 2012 and his MFA in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California in 2020.
In between those degrees, Derek published his first novel Souls of a Kindred Flame then wrote, produced, directed and starred in the novel’s short film
adaptation Kindred Souls. He also worked as a location assistant on the 5th season of NBC’s The Blacklist and as a producer/editor for the New York Film Academy.
Upon arriving in Los Angeles, Derek furthered his skills by obtaining his MFA and working on films, one of which won a Student Academy Award. During his time at USC, he served as the president of the African American Cinema Society and Black Graduate Student Network.
The culmination of these experiences lead him to found Creatively Next Up, a curated writing and development group for upcoming filmmakers. Currently, Derek continues developing meaningful work and putting others in positions to do the same.