Tanya Kersey is probably best known as the Founder/Executive Director of the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF), where she is responsible for the overall organization, management and administration of one of the leading black film festivals in the world.
HBFF draws together establisehd filmmakers, popular film and TV stars, writers, directors, industry executives, emerging artists and new audiences from Southern California and around the world. Under Tanya’s direction, HBFF plays an integral role in discovering and launching independent film and filmmakers by bringing them to the attention of the industry, press and public. To date, HBFF has screened more than 1,100 feature, short, student and documentary films from filmmakers from the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Japan, Australia, Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere throughout the Africa Diaspora.
Tanya created the festival’s adjunct Infotainment Conference which features more than 100 Hollywood heavyweights annually. She also created complementary platforms to showcase and develop filmmakers’ projects including the HBFF Cinema Lounge, a casual monthly networking mixer, the HBFF Screening Series, a monthly screening program, the HBFF Film Finance & Distribution Summit, and the HBFF Storyteller Competition that awards scribes for their excellence in screenwriting.
Named an Urban Hollywood Mover and Shaker by Daily Variety, Tanya also runs The Kersey Group (TKG), a successful film, media and business development consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, organizations, universities and government agencies. TKG offers a broad range of services including entertainment and indie film consulting; film development and pre-production services; script analysis; film and web series business plans; film marketing plans; social media strategies; distribution strategies; and event production (film festivals, conferences and workshops). Clients include the UK Film Council, Tasty Awards, Liquid Soul Media, Chicago Public Library and the University of Nebraska African American Studies Department.
With over two decades of experience in the entertainment field, Tanya is known as a “guru” and visionary with an enviable reputation for having her finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry.
Prior to HBFF and TKG, Tanya was the founder and CEO of the entertainment industry trade publication Black Talent News and its companion website, BlackTalentNews.com. As a well-known entertainment journalist, Tanya covered a variety of high-profile events such as the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, Indie Spirit Awards, SAG Awards, BET Awards, People’s Choice Awards, Soul Train Awards and the NAACP Image Awards.
During her journalism career she conducted countless celebrity interviews with such luminaries as Oscar winners Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman and Mo’Nique, as well as Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, and the late Bernie Mac, to name just a few.
As a contributing writer and editor, Tanya’s many articles about the entertainment industry appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Upscale Magazine, BRE Magazine, EUR, Target Market News, Raw Story, L.A. Sentinel, The Portland Observer, The Westside Gazzett, Columbus Post, and Black Journalist.
Tanya was frequently seen commenting on upcoming box office releases on Reelz Channel’s “Reelz in the Round,” heard on KPFK (90.7 FM) as a contributor and co-host on “Samm Brown for the Record,” and made several appearances on the Biography Channel’s “Famous,” providing commentary on the careers of famous actors and actresses. She also produced and hosted the popular internet radio show, “Inside Urban Hollywood,” where she provided listeners with entertainment news analysis, interviews and in-depth information on timely entertainment issues.
Among the countless radio and television programs, and publications Tanya has been interviewed for include The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, Black Enterprise, the Miami Herald, Upscale Magazine, Diversity Magazine, L.A. Sentinel, Rolling Out Magazine, American Legacy Magazine, Turning Points Magazine, “The Tavis Smiley Show,” KNBC Sunday Morning Live and “BET Tonight.”
Tanya is also a popular public speaker and workshop leader, and has authored several books. She has spoken for the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Birmingham Business Alliance, Businesswire, Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Columbia College, Writers Boot Camp Diversity Business Brunch, the Institute for International Film Financing, and Showbiz Expo.
She authored Black State of the Arts: A Guide to Developing a Successful Career as a Black Performing Artist, considered by many to be the “Bible” for blacks in the performing arts; and The Black Film Report, a comprehensive annual report on the financial performance of black films; and the Urban Hollywood Resource Directory, a “yellow pages” of urban entertainment contacts and resources. Tanya also produces teleseminars, home study courses, e-books and coaching programs for Hollywood hopefuls.
Tanya recently launched a new website, HollywoodCareerStrategies.com, a one-stop shop for starting, building and growing a career in Hollywood. The site is focused on serving the career needs of everyone from beginners to veterans by offering information and talent development resources.
Tanya has now set her sights on making a global statement by taking HBFF and TKG abroad, bringing her brand of ‘education, enlightenment and empowerment’ to the Diaspora, and consulting with countries with burgeoning entertainment industries.
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