DWW+ Class of 2025

Julia Bales
Julia Bales is a writer and filmmaker from Maryland based in Los Angeles. After graduating from Chapman University’s film school with a screenwriting degree, Bales began her career in the industry, working her way up to a producer for a popular sketch comedy company. After leaving her producing position, Bales freelanced in on-set production work for various shows, including NATHAN FOR YOU, THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN and FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE.

Bales’ first short film and directorial debut, US FUNNY (2017), played at numerous film festivals, including the Palm Springs International ShortFest, and premiered online as a Vimeo Staff Pick.

Her narrative work focuses on dark, comedic takes on social dynamics, and her following three short films, GOLF! (2019), UPROOT (2020) and FOLLOWERS (2023), played at film festivals throughout the world and went on to receive premieres and staff picks with platforms like Vimeo and NoBudge.

In addition to her narrative work, Bales directs commercial and branded work featured on social media, streaming platforms and broadcast television. Her clients have included Amazon, Kellogg’s and Disney.

Jahmil Eady
Jahmil Eady is an award-winning writer, director and producer who blends genre with social impact storytelling. Her work unpacks contemporary social issues and often features people from underrepresented communities in futuristic or fantastical environments.

Eady grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City. She earned her BA in Media Studies from Pomona College and studied at the Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. Eady holds an MFA in Directing from UCLA where she was the inaugural Graduate Class Artist, representing over 14,000 Bruins for the class of 2023. She is also the Princess Grace Foundation’s inaugural Sir Roger Moore Honoree in Filmmaking.

Eady began her career in unscripted film and television and was an associate producer on
documentary projects for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Viceland and Discovery Networks. Collectively, her short films have screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide, including several Academy Award® and BAFTA-qualifying film festivals. Her work has been supported by Film Independent, Plate Spinner Productions, Peace Is Loud, rePROFilm, New Filmmakers Los Angeles’ NewNarratives Program and the Rhulen Family Foundation among others.

Eady’s other distinctions include The New York Times Award, The Jackie Robinson Foundation
Award and the Four Sisters Award bestowed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, Sara Finney-Johnson, Mara Brock Akil and Felicia D. Henderson.

MG Evangelista
MG Evangelista was born in Manila and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having received the 2023 United States Artists Fellowship in Film, Evangelista joins a distinguished list of filmmakers whose past recipients include Barry Jenkins, Dee Rees and Kelly Reichardt. Their debut feature film, BURNING WELL, is in development and has been supported by Tribeca, Array, the Torino Feature Film Lab and the SFFilm Rainin Grant. The feature is based on their award-winning short film FRAN THIS SUMMER which played in 30 festivals including the Sundance Film Festival. Evangelista’s body of work includes the VR dramedy WATER MELTS, supported by Tribeca and Google; LA GLORIA, a Project Involve short; and the award-winning short documentary THEY CALL ME SUKI, about legendary AAPI activist Suki Terada Ports.

Marissa High
Marissa High is a writer and director originating from Flint, Michigan, with a comedic dialogue-driven style with colorful contrast and camera movement that punctuates emotion.

In 2019, the short she wrote and directed, SAFE, was an official selection at the Oscar®-qualifying Los Angeles Shorts Fest. She was a 2021 WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Lab Spring Semifinalist. In 2023, she was a Film Fatale Stowe Story Labs Finalist and directed the short film ALL APPETITE which won Best Comedy at the Los Angeles Short Film Festival. Her feature, TRASHY PEOPLE, is currently participating in the WIF Film Financing Intensive.

In the branded space, High has written and directed for Hulu, SELF, Architectural Digest,
CollegeHumor, as well as creatively consulted with Kettle, Sid Lee and Big Breakfast. She
recently directed Moonbug Entertainment’s children’s show MEEKAH. She is currently directing
the digital show THOUSANDAIRES for the SVOD platform Dropout.

High is managed by Michael Swidler at 5x Media.

Jasmine J. Johnson
Jasmine J. Johnson (“Triple J”) is a director, writer and producer who originally hails from Bowie, Maryland. She developed a love of character-based storytelling by overdosing on dramatic (albeit emotionally compelling) YA novels in her youth. She attended Temple University, where she received her BA in Film and Media Arts. After graduation, Johnson moved to Los Angeles where she cut her teeth in talent management, working at Anonymous Content before transitioning to development. She most recently was an executive producer on THE ANGRY BLACK GIRL AND HER MONSTER, which had its world premiere at SXSW (2023) and was named by USA Today and Esquire Magazine as one of the top 10 horror movies of 2023. She was a co-executive producer on Peacock’s THE GIRL IN THE WOODS and Facebook Watch’s MIRA MIRA, the latter seen by over 80 million viewers.

As a director, Johnson explores the intersectionality within the minority experience through immersive storytelling techniques. Using heightened elements like magical realism, surrealism, genre and a pinch of humor, her work focuses on themes of grief, discovery and those seemingly modest moments that epitomize human resilience. Her latest short, INNER DEMONS, was selected for SXSW’s Midnight Shorts Competition (2024) after premiering at Dances With Film: NY. Collectively her projects have garnered over hundreds of million of views across platforms.

Natasha Mynhier
Natasha Mynhier is a filmmaker (director, writer, cinematographer, editor) and founder of production company 37 Laines. In her work, she enjoys creating both fiction and documentary projects that explore the evolving intersections of science, technology and human rights, especially in how they will impact the lives and futures of women.

In 2020, her fictional short film IN A BEAT – inspired by her cousin’s experience with autism – not only earned a Gold Award at the Cannes Young Director Awards, but also served as a fundraising platform for UCLA’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment.

In 2022, Mynhier directed/produced BEYOND THE SUMMIT, a climate change documentary funded by North Face, chronicling ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers’ mission to safeguard the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The film, shot in the Alaskan Arctic, also played a pivotal role in advocating with congressional representatives about the Arctic’s climate change impacts. Mynhier takes pride in this achievement, as President Biden recently enacted protections for the land featured in the film.

Mynhier is currently spearheading an educational web series supported by grant funding from the nonprofit Zcash Foundation. This series delves into how privacy-preserving technology will shape human rights, economics and politics, featuring interviews with luminaries like Edward Snowden, Zooko Wilcox and Vitalik Buterin.

Outside of her directorial projects, Mynhier has also worked as a cinematographer for brands like Netflix, Marvel, ESPN and the New York Times. For her cinematography, she was awarded entrance to the prestigious American Society of Cinematographer’s Vision Mentorship Program in 2021.

Karina Lomelin Ripper
Karina Lomelin Ripper is a Mexican-American writer and director. She splits her time between her hometown of Los Angeles, California, and Portland, Oregon. Her films often tell stories that center Latina/e characters, opting to subvert expectations, taking audiences on a ride.

Ripper’s production experience extends across independent films, documentaries and commercials. Her background is in associate producing on shows for National Geographic WILD and The Discovery Channel, as well as feature documentaries for HBO and A&E Films. Ripper was accepted into the Venice Biennale Cinema Workshop in 2017 as the producer on the feature film CLEMENTINE.

As a director, Ripper’s most recent short film CHISPA was supported by Fujifilm and will premiere at festivals in 2024. Her previous short SUPERFAN, which she co-wrote/co-directed, premiered at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2022 and online at No Budge in 2023. Her documentary short VISIONS screened at numerous festivals including Sidewalk, Bend and Maryland, and won Best Documentary Short at the Official Latino Film Festival in 2022. In 2020, her previous short documentary LA TIENDA received a Vimeo Staff Pick and aired on PBS as part of THE LATINO EXPERIENCE.

In 2021, she was awarded a coveted spot at the Eastern Oregon Filmmaker Residency to develop her first feature screenplay. As a recipient of 2023’s Tell Your Story Oregon Creative Foundation Grant, she is developing a feature script based off of her short film CHISPA. Ripper is on the directors roster at Maverick.

Ezra Rose
Ezra Rose (they/them) is a filmmaker living on Lenape land/New York City. Born in Norfolk, England, Rose began their career in entertainment playing disgruntled children on television.

After completing a BFA in acting at CalArts (2013), Rose’s devotion to telling stories that agitate the status quo, propelled them behind the camera. They often focus on stories of queer and trans community histories, experiences of disability and historically suppressed voices.

Rose has directed several short films including CLOWN TITS, an experimental meditation on dysphoria told through drag, dance and queer history, and LIKE MAMMA MIA?, a comedy film about a woman who has the idea for Mamma Mia the musical, only to discover it’s already been made.

Between 2018 and 2023, Rose worked with MasterClass.com as a producer and director, proudly contributing to classes with individuals including Roxane Gay, Robin Roberts and Madhur Jaffrey. While at MasterClass, they served two years as co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ employee resource group where they used their organizing skills, education in LGBTQIA+ issues and personal experience to serve their community.

Rose’s work as a director and producer poses the idea that filmmaking can be an opportunity to enact care. This approach prioritizes accessibility and considers collaborators as humans first and workers second.

Rose is currently working on a documentary project, PAPER TIES, with a digital newsletter companion Gender Appropriate, about the radical history of community-generated transgender publications.

They are a Winter Guest Resident at Woodward Residency in Ridgewood, Queens.

DWW+ Guest Artistic Director

Hanelle M. Culpepper
Hanelle M. Culpepper directed the record-breaking pilot of STAR TREK: PICARD, making her the first woman director to launch a new STAR TREK series in the franchise’s history. In 2021, she won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing for her work on the episode. In 2022, she was nominated for her work on Netflix’s TRUE STORY starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes, and again in 2023 for THE LAST DAYS OF PTOLEMY GREY starring Samuel L. Jackson. Her recent work includes STAR WARS: THE ACOLYTE, WESTWORLD and the pilot for Neil Gaiman’s Amazon series ANANSI BOYS. In 2019, she was selected for the inaugural class of ReFrame and earned Variety’s Inclusion Impact Honor. Culpepper serves on the TV Academy’s Directors Peer Group Executive Committee, and as an alternate for the DGA’s National Board and Western Directors Council.

As the AFI DWW+ Guest Artistic Director, Culpepper will oversee and direct the artistic curriculum and serve as a mentor for the DWW+ participants through their production cycle and the industry showcase, as well as act as an ambassador on behalf of the program.