Dewey A. Ortiz, Jr.
Dewey A. Ortiz, Jr. is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and producer. His work is dedicated to shifting perceptions of African-Americans in cinema, particularly D.C.’s Black community. Much of his work highlights the perseverance of Washington, D.C., residents. His series, Survivor Stories, chronicling four courageous D.C. women who have survived domestic abuse, won Best Web Series at the 2017 D.C. Black Film Festival. In 2019, Mr. Ortiz completed The Runaways, a powerful short filmed in D.C. and PG County, MD, that follows abused and neglected teenagers as they gather the courage to escape their tumultuous lives. The Runaways enjoyed a successful film festival run culminating in ten festival appearances and a Best Film Award. It is currently available for streaming on KweliTV.
Rafi Aliya Crockett
Rafi Aliya Crockett, a native Washingtonian, is fiercely protective of her city. In addition to being a civically engaged resident who watches D.C. council hearings for fun, she is a proud champion of D.C. culture and patron of the arts. Ms. Crockett is co-president of the board of STABLE Arts, and has previously served on the board of HumanitiesDC and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts. Between 2019 and 2023, Ms. Crockett served as Commissioner on Washington, D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board, where she worked with legislators and government agencies to eliminate disparities in access, ownership, and participation in the city's alcoholic beverage and cannabis industries. The experience inspired her to develop Higher Power with the director Dewey Ortiz Jr. Ms. Crockett serves as the film’s writer and executive producer. This is her first film.
Michael Wilson, with nearly 20 years of experience lighting and shooting for film productions, Michael Wilson has become known for his work as both a cinematographer and lighting technician.
Michael R. Wilson graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in film production. He began his career in cinematography at the Washington Source for Lighting, Inc., working as a lighting technician on major motion pictures and television shows including Jason Bourne, Lincoln, Jackie, The Wire, Step Up and other productions shot in the Washington, D.C. area. Mr. Wilson served as chief lighting technician (lead gaffer) on several feature films including LUV, starring Common, Better Living Through Chemistry, starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wild, Jamesy Boy, and Burning Sands. He also served as both a camera operator and gaffer for the documentary film RBG and rigging gaffer for season 4 of the HBO series VEEP.
As a cinematographer, Wilson has shot short films, documentaries, and several commercials for BET, the Washington Wizards, and DC Tourism. His cinematography has been recognized in the form of a Paul Robeson Award for the film Love Languages, as well as an award for his cinematography work on the short film Cut My Hair Barber. He was nominated at the World Music and Independent Film Festival for cinematography on Chasing Refuge.
Brian Barber is an award-winning editor, director, producer, and educator, with a passion for sharing honest, heartfelt, and compelling stories that create impact. He earned a master’s degree in instructional technology and developed an interest in filmmaking during his studies. While spending 12 years as a high school English teacher and working as a film trailer editor, his work as a filmmaker has won him great acclaim. His project Jar: Journey of a Horseman received the First-Time Director Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards. His Project Arrowhead received the Horses Helping Humans Award from the Equus Film Festival.