The Press Release Announcing our 2020 Media Coaches/Mentors

November 11, 2020                                                                                                                                                                                
Free Public Panels Kick Off on Saturday, November 14th via Zoom
HONOLULU – Connecting Hawaii creatives with entertainment industry insights and world-class mentors, Creative Lab Hawai‘i (CLH) has a blockbuster list of  coaches and speakers that will offer free public panels via Zoom beginning this Saturday, November 14 and run through December 12, 2020.
CLH  Fall 2020 Weekend Ideation Programs are developed through the Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division (CID). The  virtual CLH Public Panels will be open to the community and offered free of charge—illuminating the business side of the arts across ActingTheaterVirtual Reality/Augmented Reality and Indigenous StorytellersParticipants will get an insider’s understanding of the tools needed to better monetize themselves and their craft, and how to maximize their creative processes, with the guidance of entertainment visionaries and industry decision makers. 
“The caliber of mentors from the industry who will be on the public panels along with Hawai’i professionals in media, theatre and virtual reality are giving back in a way that is meant to put our creatives on a strong path forward in their careers. They come at a time when preparing our local creatives for live to digital pivots is more important than ever due to the impacts of this pandemic,” said Georja Skinner, division chief DBEDT’s Creative Industries Division and founder of CLH. “These professionals provide behind-the-scenes insights, trends and areas of opportunity that our working artists and emerging talent can employ to maximize their financial and creative opportunities in dynamic ways.”
The community is invited to register now at for any of the following Public Panels, which will be hosted as webinar discussions via Zoom:
  • ACTING – Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 5 p.m.: Developed for actors of stage, screen and voiceover who are ready to accelerate their careers by honing their business acumen, the discussion provides participants with insights into navigating the entertainment industry and what it takes to distinguish themselves from their competitors from a business perspective.
  • INDIGENOUS STORYTELLERS – Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 5 p.m.: Designed to help emerging storytellers find a pathway for developing their stories for global media platforms, while retaining the integrity of their distinct voices. Entrepreneurs who self-identify as members of an indigenous community, as well as individuals seeking to partner with these entrepreneurs on creative projects, will benefit from this workshop.
  • THEATER – Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1 p.m.: The Theatre discussion focuses on those creative entrepreneurs who are writing and/or producing plays.
  • VIRTUAL REALITY – Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 5 p.m.: Ideal for creatives who are planning projects on emerging VR/AR platforms, the webinar will explore how recent technological advancements in these fields have revealed exciting new enterprises.
These 2020 Public Panels are open to everyone in the community. CLH’s more intensive Weekend Ideation Programs, which span an initial virtual weekend session followed by three months of online coaching, require a baseline of experience from participants. CLH Executive Director Michael Palmieri curated the dynamic roaster of coaches and speakers—with many of the industry leaders also having special connections to Hawaii. Coaches will participate both throughout the Weekend Ideation Programs and the Public Panel webinars, and the speakers will have a one-hour engagement focused on the fellows within the ideations.
The phenomenal lineup of industry leaders participating in the free programs includes:
  • Kimee Balmilero – The Hawaii-born actor is renowned for her regular role as Medical Examiner Dr. Noelani Cunha on “Hawai’i Five-0” and “Magnum P.I.” and will lend her expertise as Program Director.
  • Deedee Magno Hall – Among her many TV series and soundtrack credits, the actress and singer is celebrated as the voice of Pearl and other characters in the animated series “Steven Universe.”
  • Joy Regullano – An actress and writer, Joy has extensive credits to her name including being a cast member of  the TV series “The Incredible Life of Darrell” and “Kappa Crypto,” as well as a staff writer for “The Healing Power of Dude” series.
  • Steve Blum – A voice actor, teacher and CEO of BlumVox Studios, Steve has literally hundreds of credits to his name. Reknown as the voice of “Spike Spiegel” from “Cowboy Bebop,” Steve was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012 as the Most Prolific Voice Actor in Video Games.
  • Moronai Kanekoa – The Hawaii born and raised actor is a cast member of the TV series “Bosch,” and also renowned for his feature film work in locally produced “Maui” and “The 10 Year Plan.”
  • Mericia Palma Elmore – The Executive Director of SAG_AFTRA for Hawaii, Mericia also serves on the Pacific Islanders in Communication Board, and Chair of the Hawai’i Film and Entertainment Board.
  • Jason Suapaia – Born and raised on O‘ahu, Jason brings his expertise as a seasoned executive for over 16 years to his mentorship as Program Director for the CLH Indigenous Storytellers program. Jason has experience managing creative professionals and various media projects at companies such as 1013 Integrated, and PBS Hawaii.
  • Lucas Brown Eyes – A Native American TV writer, Lucas has written on staff Netflix’s “Alexa & Katie,” for TV series “Young & Hungry” and “KC Undercover,” and has also sold a comedy pilot and created an upcoming tech series.
  • Kelly Lynne D`Angelo – A Native Haudenosaunee comedy, musical, animation and fantasy writer, extensive recent credits include Cartoon Network’s “Tig N’ Seek” and “Mao Mao.”
  • Nāʻālehu Anthony – A Native Hawaiian from Ka`a`awa, Oahu, Nāʻālehu is the founder of Palikū Documentary Films and co-founder of `Oiwi Television Network.
  • Dr. Ku Kahakalau, Ph. D. – The award-winning Native Hawaiian educator brings her world-renown expertise in Hawaiian language, history and culture to the discussion.
  • Michael Jackowitz  – CLH Theater Program Director and Hawaii resident Michael Jackowitz is a Tony Award-winning producer, with his extensive Broadway experience including past productions such as “Tuck Everlasting,” the highly-anticipated “Diana,” slated for 2021, and his newest production “Estella Scrooge,” slated for debut virtually in December 2020.
  • Chisa Hutchinson – Chisa has presented plays at such venues as the Lark Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, the National Black Theatre, Second Stage Theater and Arch 468 in London. She is currently premiering her film, “The Subject” (starring Jason Biggs and Aujanue Ellis) at various festivals, finishing a script for Disney, and writing a new Showtime series.
  • Marsha Norman – Marsha won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for her play, “`night Mother,” and a Tony award for the book to her musical, “The Secret Garden,” as well as another for the revival of “The Color Purple.” She also won a Peabody award for her work in television. Her most recent Broadway work is “The Bridges of Madison County,” and the revival of “The Color Purple.”
  • Jade King Carroll – Renown for her work on new plays and African-American classics, Jade is a director based in New York City, and has directed five world premieres by Chisa Hutchinson and is currently working with Dael Orlandersmith on her third collaboration this year. As an Associate Director, she has worked on Broadway and Carnegie Hall.
  • Emmanuel Wilson – The Managing Director of the Dramatists Guild, Emmanuel oversees the staff, operations and systems of the organization comprised of playwrights, composers and lyricists.
  • Donna Blanchard – Donna is the Managing Director of the Kumu Kahua Theatre and President of the Hawai‘i  State Theatre Council.
  • Gordon Bellamy – Gordon has played key business and product leadership roles at Tencent, Electronic Arts, as a designer on Madden NFL Football and MTV, and as consultant for numerous companies in the industry. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and was featured on Nickelodeon for Black History Month for his 25 years of contributions to the game industry and culture. He is also currently featured in Netflix’s documentary on the video game industry titled “High Score.”
  • Dina Benadon  As Co-Founder and Principal of Super 78, an international award-winning creative studio, Dina inspires and cultivates the company’s expertise in experiential storytelling. Established in 1997 as a media design and production studio, Super 78 is now a leader in content, attraction creation, and an innovator of storytelling technology tools. 
  • Tony Edvard Valenzuela – Tony is the founder of BlackBoxTV, a YouTube channel dedicated to original series, short films and immersive VR/360 experiences. He wrote and directed “2009: A True Story,” featured by legendary horror director Wes Craven during his Halloween YouTube Takeover. Tony also directed and co-wrote “Versions of Elloise” in collaboration with Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Entertainment and YouTube Space LA. 
  • Jay Williams  –  Head of Growth and Executive Producer for Super 78, Tony has been a media creative and industry leader for decades, with experience spanning Disney Theme Parks, The Disney Studios, digital media, and film and television production. Jay has won numerous industry awards including the first prime-time Emmy for Virtual Reality, and was nominated for a second Emmy in 2018 for “The Walking Dead” Digital Series “Red Machete.”
  • Jimmy Cheng  – Focusing on VR content licensing, Jimmy represents over 10 studios, including Atlas V, Secret Location, Serenity Entertainment, and supports numerous telecoms for finding premium VR content.
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About Creative Industries Division (CID)
CID, a division within DBEDT, is the state’s lead agency dedicated to advocating for and accelerating the growth of Hawai‘i’s Creative Economy. Through initiatives, program development, and strategic partnerships, the division and its branches implement activities to expand the business development, global export and investment capacity of Hawai‘i’s arts, culture, music, film, literary, publishing, digital and new media industries.  

About Creative Lab Hawai
i Program (CLH)
The Creative Lab Hawai’i Program was founded in 2012 by the Hawai‘i State Department of Business, Economic, Development and Tourism (DBEDT)’s Creative Industries Division to accelerate the growth of Hawai‘i’s creative entrepreneurs through immersive, hands-on training in broadband/new media, producing, screenwriting, interactive media, music and design/fashion. The CLH Program, a key facet of Hawai‘i’s creative economy, is developing an ecosystem to increase export, attract investment and build the State’s creative entrepreneurial capacity in media, music and fashion/design. The CLH Program features three program components: 1) Immersive Programs; 2) Ideation Workshops; and 3) Public Keynotes. Website:
About Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawai‘i’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawai‘i economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawai‘i’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

Media Contact:
Susan Wright
Becker Communications, Inc.
(808) 799-4293
Georja Skinner
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 291-8073