DC Web Fest's Official 2017 Special Guests

A panel discussion will take place in between our Web Series and Short Film screening blocks featuring the following industry thought leaders. See our full event schedule here.

Aerica Banks

Patent Policy Analyst, Google

Aerica Banks is a patent policy analyst in Google's DC office. In this capacity she monitors the legislative and legal patent landscape and works to expand the pool of technologists in underrepresented communities. She leads Google's sponsorship of BEACON, the campaign to make Washington, DC the most supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the United States. Previously, she was a political appointee in the Obama Administration, worked in government relations for The Pew Charitable Trusts, and advanced environmental justice policies in Washington state. She holds a MSc in Environmental Policy from Oxford University and a BA in Environmental Studies and Public Affairs from Seattle University. 


Michael Ajakwe Jr

Founder of LA Webfest

michael .jpg

Founder of the world’s first web series festival (LA WEB FEST), an Emmy-winning TV producer, 4-time NAACP Image Award-winning playwright, theater producer and TV producer; and a veteran TV comedy writer-producer (“Martin”, “Sister Sister”, “Eve”). Four of his plays have been published and are available at Samuel French or on Amazon (a collection of three one-acts, “South Central Stories”, and his award-wining “Company Policy”). Since 2010, Mike has personally watched all 2000+ web series submitted to his festival (over 25,000 webisodes) and his expertise is sought worldwide. The theme of the 8th Annual Los Angeles Web Series Festival is “ADAPTATION: Make Money From Your Web Series NOW!” Mike knows this first hand. He successfully adapted his web series (“Who…”) into a television series (“Beauty and the Baller” / Facebook@BeautyandtheBaller) and sold it to international entertainment giant Viacom to air on its B.E.T. cable network in 2017. Mike is currently writing for the upcoming TV drama series “The Harlem Code”, which is being developed and produced in New York PMC/RKO Pictures TV.


Peggy Pridemore

Film Location Manager

Peggy Pridemore has been a feature film location manager in the Washington area for 32 years. She began her career as a Production Assistant then moved into Assistant Location Managing on the film “Broadcast News” and then Location Managing a few years later. The job of Location Managing brings all Peggy’s loves into one sphere: meeting new people of all walks of life,  visiting the most unusual places like underground tunnels, rooftops & exclusive mansions and problem solving on a minute-to-minute basis.

Her favorite jobs have been “Argo” in which she filmed in the CIA and the State Department for the first time; “Night at the Museum 2” in which she filmed inside the Air and Space Museum and “Deep Impact” in which she staged a giant traffic jam on a highway in Virginia and closed down the Key Bridge for a few hours to film a scene. But the Lincoln Memorial is her number one most filmed location. Some jobs there include: TV shows Covert Affairs, BrainDead and the Americans, and films, Transformers 3, Night at the Museum 2,  Burn After Reading, and her favorite “Forrest Gump” in which Forrest and Genny were allowed to actually walk in the Reflecting Pool.


csongor dobrotka

Festival director OF DIE SERIALE

Csongor Dobrotka is director, screenwriter, producer and also director & co-founder of the independent series festival "die Seriale“ in Giessen, Germany. He studied "Drama, Theatre, Media" at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at Justus Liebig University Giessen. After numerous short films he directed his first feature film "Trennschärfe“ in 2008. Since 2009 he works also at "Hessen Film and Media Academy (hFMA)“, a network of the 13 film & media universities in Hessen. In 2011 he founded the production company Dobago Film. He is also director and co-creator of the multi-award winning web series "Number of Silence“. In 2016 he founded a network for web series creators in Germany.



Billie Krishawn



Billie Krishawn is an actress and poet based in the DMV area. She is an alum of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and recent graduate of Drew University’s Theatre program. A few of her credits include the roles of: Brianna in Otessa Ghadar’s webseries: “Orange in Bishops Garden”; Joe in Nina Young’s short film: “One Night Stand” and Belhat in Flying Ship Production’s touring children’s musical: “Fire on the Mountain.” 


Stephani DeLuca



Stephani DeLuca is a freelance television and film producer based in New York City. She has worked on projects for Warner Bros. Television, Sony, and Disney. Stephani’s previous roles include Coordinating Producer of Gossip Girl and Assistant Producer Coordinator of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.







The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media graduate from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011 Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, film festivals and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of both the Washington DC Area and African American Film Critics Associations.

Morgan H. West


Morgan H. West is an artist and creative resource in Washington, DC, specializing in curating environments, experiences, and special moments (online and IRL) that make you feel like you’re in the right place. She’s worked to promote DC’s diverse creative economy + art community across new media since 2006, most visibly through A Creative DC, a project that reaches a daily audience of 70k across social media, and has generated a half million pieces of user-generated creative content since 2015.