The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded to increase the numbers of women of all cultures in the film industry and related areas. The organization seeks to preserve the voice of Black women, and unheard part of Black History, through programs that empower and educate.
The Black Women Film Network was established in 1997 for the sole purpose of preserving the voice of Black women through film. The organization provides scholarships to students who are actively pursuing a career in film, screenwriting or a related areas; screenings; workshops and seminars, and is a 501(c)3 nonprofit group. Support to women who are trying to make a career in film is a primary goal of the organization. Annually, the group salutes those who have excelled in this difficult industry. The works of black women on film can be an inspiration and teaching tool for us all, a valuable means for capturing an often unheard of part of Black History. BWFP seeks to preserve that voice.
Tomika DePriest is Board Chair of Black Women Film Network, and has been a member of the board since 2005. She has served as Chair of the Public Relations/Marketing Committee, Chair of the PR/Technology Committee, and on the Executive Committee. With a background in journalism, and television/film production, DePriest has worked on projects with Black Entertainment Television (BET), Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc., and Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she also serves as a board member.
DePriest served as executive producer of SpelBots: A Documentary, the story of Spelman Collegeís first all-black, all-female robotics team to qualify to compete in the international Robocup in 2005, which aired on Public Broadcasting Atlanta. In 2007, she was field producer for Spring Break Diaries: Spelman College, broadcasted on BET and BET London. Through her work at Spelman College, she is currently working with author Rachel Vassel on a documentary in partnership with the Digital Moving Image Salon on campus. The title is Daughters of Men, which will take an intimate look at black fatherhood.
A Detroit native, DePriest is currently Executive Director of Communications at Spelman College. She is a member of the Presidentís cabinet and has overall responsibility for branding, media relations, social media, executive communication, publications, and interactive/web communications. She works with an award-winning team to showcase Spelman's role as a world-class institution with a consistent track record of producing extraordinary leaders, community servants and change agents. Bulldog Reporter, PR News, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists represent some of the organizations that have recognized her team with awards for excellence.
PR News named her PR Person of the Year in Education Finalist in 2009, and in 2004 actually recognized her as PR Executive of the Year in Education Award. In 1999, she received the Spelman College Alumnae Achievement Award. A former journalist, her byline has graced the pages of PR News, Black Enterprise, Dollars & Sense, Upscale, Atlanta Tribune, blackamericaweb.com and creativeloafing.com. She has also published essays in African American Women: An Historical Encyclopedia, Hip Hop Encyclopedia and African Americans in Education.
A Detroit native, DePriest holds a bachelorís degree from Spelman and masterís degree from Clark Atlanta University.
Founder Sheryl Riley Gripper is Sheryl Gripper is Founder of the Black Women Film Network, an organization begun in 1997 to increase the number of women of all cultures in the film and media industry. The organization has given more than $15,000 in scholarships to women pursuing careers in film, broadcast and related areas and is undertaking a program to provide completion funding assistance in post production, marketing and distribution for established filmmakers.
Gripper is also Co-Founder and Executive Director of the BronzeLens Film Festival, a multi- cultural film festival. BronzeLens has been featured in The New York times and is part of the American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), a collective that theatrically releases quality independent African American films through simultaneous limited engagements.
A multi-Emmy Award winner, Gripper was Vice President, Community Relations, for The Networks of 11Alive, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate and Channel 36. She is a community relations consultant for the NBC affiliate, 11Alive and continues to be a sought after speaker on diversity in media and film. A graduate of Spelman College and Georgia State University, she holds Masters Degrees in Education and Film.
The mother of three, she is the wife of Jeff Gripper, Atlanta’s First World Karate Champion. As a member of Elizabeth Baptist Church, she serves in the Intercessory Prayer and Encouragers ministries. She wrote and produced the documentary “I Didn’t Make Him, God Did” and is in production of her first feature film, “22.”