Rodrick is a veteran of the film and television industry with more than 33 years’ experience in front of and behind the camera. At age 10, he starred in the Emmy-award winning film, The Marva Collins Story. His career has included a host of nationwide commercials for multinational corporations Coca-Cola and McDonalds; acclaimed stage plays at the renowned Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago with such theater legends as writer Eric Carter and director Chuck Smith; as well as independent and short films in Chicago and Boston. His acting credits include work with Morgan Freeman, Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Ving Rhames, Glynn Turman, Kadeem Hardison, and Giancarlo Esposito and trailblazing directors including Stan Lathan. In addition to his acting success and talents, Rodrick chose to pursue another dream career in law. After graduating magna cum laude from Boston University, he received his Jurist Doctorate in 1995 and has been a practicing attorney in Chicago for almost 19 years. Though Rodrick’s focus has been the law, he never lost his love for film, turning his attention to behind the camera, becoming a producer of short films, trailers and music videos for local musical artists and local directors. Rodrick’s love for, and understanding of, the art of the film industry is enhanced by his knowledge of the law regarding the various complex issues of the business of film; the negotiation and drafting of contracts, labor issues, considerations of intellectual property and corporate formations and business entities for films.
Senuwell Smith is an actor, screenwriter, and director with more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry. Senuwell studied film and theater at Columbia College in Chicago and is a graduate of Video Symphony in Burbank, CA where he studied television and film editing. He wrote and directed the short film, “UH-OH” which was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival and the Roxbury International Film Festival in 2018. He is a director for the documentary, “The Woodstock of House” (2020). He was recently cast for an upcoming episode on the comedy “Southside” on Comedy Central (2021). He appeared in the Blind Faith Theatre Company's production of “Streamers,” for which he was nominated for a Black Theater Alliance Award. He appeared in “Pullman Porter Blues” at the Goodman Theater in 2013. His prior appearance at the Goodman Theater was in The Edward Albee Festival during the 2003/2004 Season. Other theatrical credits include The Little Prince at Touchstone Theatre; Old-Timer’s Game at the Theatre Building; Union Station and Going to the Club with ETA Creative Arts; Master Harold and the boys at Steppenwolf; and a Jeff-nominated ensemble performance in Union Boys at Wisdom Bridge. He spent six seasons with The Black Ensemble Theater performing in Anna Lucasta and The Sammy Davis Jr. Story. He made his national tour debut in The Buddy Holly Story with Dodger Productions of New York. Film credits include Bad Boys, Sweet Perfection and Serenade in Blue. Television credits include the ABC series Lady Blue and Brewster Place. Senuwell has directed several music videos for a wide array of artists.
Vonda Paige is a business executive, writer and entrepreneur. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, marketing, social media and public relations. She is an award-winning journalist and the founder of The First Black Woman, a digital media project recognizing the historic contributions of Black women. She is the executive producer of the short film, “UH-OH” that was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival (2018) and the Roxbury International Film Festival (2018). She is an executive producer on The Woodstock of House (2021) documentary.
Tressa Epps is one of the most sought-after independent filmmakers from the Chicago, Illinois area. She has worked on a number of award-winning independent film projects, ranging from independent short films to feature films in a variety of roles as an executive producer/producer/production designer. Her passions help others fully engage with the artistic form of the cinema. She visually brings every script to life. Her projects were released in theaters and aired on TV channels like BET, BET HER, TV One, Urban Movie Channel (UMC), Bounce TV and Netflix. She plans to develop many strategic collaborations and alliances based on shared values, visions and goals, to develop more content, and to create more movies and television programs. She also enjoys voice acting. She recently finished narrating a children's book entitled "The Ocean Bowl." She is honored to serve on the prestigious Black Perspectives Committee at the Chicago International Film Festival.