Katie Taylor – Executive Director and Board Member
Katie Taylor serves as the Executive Director and is the founder of Film School Africa. She studied communications at Taylor University in Indiana and during her time at university, she spent a semester at the LA Film Study Center learning film production and doing an internship with 20th Century Fox in their feature-casting department.
After university, Taylor returned to Hollywood and began assisting executive producers in television. She became more interested in screenwriting during this time, and even sold a story for one of the series. As a result of this sale, she was included into the WGA (Writers Guild of America).
She soon found that her love for the casting process was taking over, and made the jump to work with Francine Maisler, one of the world’s premiere casting directors. With Francine, she assisted on several big budget features like Spider-man 3 and Michael Mann’s Miami Vice, as well as more artistic fare like Into the Wild and Babel. Eventually she started jumping around to work with different casting directors and numerous studios for producers and directors like Adam Sandler, Tim Burton, Alexander Payne, Ben Stiller, Marc Forster and Steven Spielberg.
Katie spent 6 years working as an Associate Casting Director for various productions, but some of her most rewarding work was helping her super talented friends – like when she cast the short film Short Term 12 for director Destin Cretton – which went on to win Best Short Film at Sundance in 2009.
Katie had a quickly growing career but soon came to the realization that not all of her talents were being utilized in the Hollywood system, and that making a difference in the lives of people and sharing the love and grace of Jesus was her greatest passion. So she called on her broad knowledge of filmmaking, and the tremendous power of storytelling, and moved to the township of Kayamandi, South Africa in 2008 to launch the pilot program that would later become Film School Africa.
Howard Taylor – CEO
Howard brings more than forty years of experience in the solicitation of funds for nonprofit organizations and ministries. His professional endeavors have included the writing of direct mail copy for mission agency executive directors and college and university presidents. His development responsibilities have included being directly involved in the solicitation of major gifts for annual, capital, endowment, and programmatic needs. He also brings a great deal of leadership experience including the development of boards of trustees and significant volunteer enterprises. Howard recently completed sixteen years at Malone University, having served as Vice President for Advancement and Senior Gifts Officer. He continues to be a Principal and Senior Consultant with the Rediger Taylor Group LLC, serving the greater non profit community.
Marie Midcalf — Associate FSA Director/Editor/Teacher
Marie has a film degree from AFDA with an emphasis in editing. In addition to her studies in the area of film, Marie also graduated from the Waterfront Theatre School and has performed professionally on stages around the world. She runs her own company, PureLiquid Editing, and has worked on projects with RichRed Productions, The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Global Initiative, Bloomberg TV, Sanlam, and Deloitte among others. Marie works full time for Film School Africa as a teacher and mentor.
Gasthon Lewis — Strand Coordinator/Teacher
Gasthon has lived in the Strand area with his family for a number of years. He was delivered from a life of drugs and dealing, and became a leader in his church and an example for the youth. Gasthon testifies that in 2011 he felt like God told him to make a movie, and later a friend led him to FSA Kayamandi for further guidance on that project. He joined the 2012 class and traveled by train and walked for miles to attend classes for the next several years. His talent as a director, dedication and heart for ministry made for a natural fit with Film School Africa, and helped to launch FSA classes in his community in 2014. He currently coordinates classes and serves as a teacher and mentor.
Nosisi Sithole — Kayamandi Coordinator/Teacher
Nosisi is a Kayamandi local, and she attended FSA classes in 2009 under Odwa Nomavuka. She went on to study film at CPUT in Cape Town and received a degree in 2014. Nosisi is a strong and passionate person who works hard and inspires those around her, and she served FSA as an intern while attending school full time. She was hired as the Film School Africa Kayamandi coordinator in 2015 and serves as a teacher and mentor.
Elzana October — Strand Assistant Coordinator/Jungle Arts Teacher
Elzana joined our team in 2016 as an assistant coordinator. Her organizational skills have been an incredible asset to the Strand community school. A mother of 4, Elzana not only teaches the Jungle Arts & Photography class, she also participates as a student in EVERY class. She is currently involved as a Level 2 Film and Level 2 Photography student, as well as participating in our Acting for the Camera class.