Meet Our 2023 Jurors
Kim Estes, an Emmy Award winner for “Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series - 2017, for his role as Sergeant Amanda Smith in “Dicks.” His impressive list of TV appearances includes “Criminal Minds, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fresh off the Boat, Pretty Little Liars, The Real O'Neals," and "NCIS". You can also see him in the season six Private Practice episode Apron Strings where he plays a mediator. This list continues with character parts in “400 Days, Crossroad, The Bachelor Next Door,
5 Hour Friends, Night Eyes, Removal and a host of other films.
While born and raised in Los Angeles, Kim has spent time in Vallejo, where he attended college at CSU, Cal Maritime Academy before continuing his post-graduate work at the University of Southern California. We are thrilled to have Kim Estes as a member of our juror panel.
Kim Estes, Actor
Emmy Award Winner
Luella Hill-Dudley, Poet, Spoken-Word Artist, Publisher, Host of "It's Luella" Talk Show
In 2012 Luella Hill-Dudley was spiritually inspired to start her own company named, Sistahs With Ink Foundation, where she brings artists of all talents together and creates a platform for them to gain exposure and be connected with others just like them. She has created many projects that allow them to explore new ideas with their talent. She has helped new authors with book trailers, featuring them in the foundation’s calendar, published “Sistahs With Ink Voices,” which was a collaboration of writers within the Sistahs With Ink Foundation’s online group. Luella has mentored many new up-and-coming artists globally.
Luella has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) Award by OML Productions; the Knights of Peter Claver awarded her “Outstanding Community Service.” 2017 -2018, the National Association of Professional Women inducted Luella Hill -Dudley as VIP Woman Of the Year Circle.
She has been featured in Upscale Magazine, The Sun Reporter newspaper, The Oakland Post newspaper, and many more.
Luella launched her first production titled “2014 Black Fire and Ice, A Poetry and Music Affair,” which brought Bay Area artists together to perform at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium. As a keynote poet, she brought in local artists to share the spotlight with her at the Railroad Book Depot in Pittsburg, California, and Barnes and Noble in Brentwood, California.
In May 2017, she published the book “Blackballed Twice,” written by Mike Norris, ex-Oakland Athletics’ pitcher.
Jackie Nelson, Producer, Director, Editor, Educator
Jackie Nelson is a California native. She is the office manager of Vallejo Community Access Television (VCAT). She has always been enthusiastic about the arts and video production in particular. Jackie has worn many hats in the world of video production and digital media.
She has spent the last decade working with students interested in mastering the skills and artistry of television production. A highlight to her world of video production has been watching her students progress to the point of winning awards and recognition at the local VCAT Ursula Awards Film Festival and other competitions. She has produced and directed many independent television productions, TV commercials, Sporting events & Music videos. She is also a freelance editor and graphic artist.
TJ Walkup, Director
Producer, Cinematographer, Editor
TJ Walkup is an award-winning filmmaker who has been a professional in the television industry for over 27 years. Owner of OMNIFIC PICTURES an independent production company. He has been DP for National Geographic and directed/produced videos for MTV, HGTV, Discovery Communications, and countless other channels and outlets.
As a stringer TJ Walkup has sold stories to every major affiliate. He is a recipient of a Cine Golden Eagle Award for the docu-series “Addicted” and this work was also nominated for a Prism. A recent film he has shot is “Trial by Fury,” which features his cinematography and is the reexamination of the Lacie Peterson Case featuring Mark Geragos the defense attorney.
TJ Walkup is a Father and a Husband and works out of the SF Bay Area, occasionally his filmmaking takes him to New York/LA and the Amazon Jungle.
Meja Pannell-Tyehimba, V.P. BOD, Mira Theater Guild
Film/Theater Producer/Director, Brady Fellow
Meja Pannell-Tyehimba is a 2021 3Girls Theatre Brady Fellow. She is originally from NYC, where she began her theatrical career with Harlem’s famed New Lafayette Theatre. She has written, produced, and directed numerous plays and is the author of the scene study book “Real-Scenes and Monologues for Urban Youth.” She is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors and Program Developer for the Mira Theatre Guild.
Ms. Tyehimba has taught theatre arts in NY, NM, DC, and CA. She is a Filmmaking Mentor with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project’s Film & Freedom Academy. As a filmmaker, she has successfully completed several short films. In addition, Ms. Tyehimba is the artistic director of the Chocolate Rainbow Theatre Company. A theatre company comprised of LGBTQ-AI People of Color actors and their allies. https://miratheatreguild.org/
Mark States, Poet/Performance Monologues
Mark States is well-known in Bay Area and Los Angeles poetry circles for being a fine writer with a dramatic flair in presenting his work. The former host of Berkeley’s long-running weekly open mike Poetry Express (2002-2011), Mark also led monthly Public Speaking for Poets workshops at the Berkeley Art Center from 2004-2007. Along with primary host Louis Cuneo, he co-hosted the open-mike portion of the “Touch of a Poet” series held at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1998 and 1999 - which became a half-hour program on Berkeley Community Access Television highlighting the feature and selected open-mike presenters. One of Mark States’ 30-second poems became a tv commercial for the Berkeley Poetry Festival, which in the mid-2000s was broadcast live on Berkeley Community Access. For several years, Mark States also volunteered for the Brainwash Drive-In/Bike-In Movie Festival held annually in West Oakland, serving as its “doorman” and awards ceremony emcee.
Mark moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, a decade ago, where curiously, he seems to spend more time judging poetry contests than entering them. He prefers these days to stay out of the limelight. Still, you can occasionally catch him featured at a Zoom event, performing twenty-minute poetry sets as theatrical monologues and ending with a low-tech scroll of credits. Most recently, he has appeared in the 2022 anthology from Finishing Line Press, “COVID, Isolation, and Hope: Artists Respond to the Pandemic,” “Bonfire of Poetry” from Cyberwit.net, and “Poetry, the Best of 2022” from Inner Child Press.