Hilari is an award-winning writer, director, and producer selected by Steven Spielberg out of 12,000 filmmakers to appear on his television show On the Lot. Her first feature film, See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary, received critical acclaim, earning numerous awards and the Critic’s Pick in The New York Times. Hilari became fluent in American Sign Language through total immersion touring with the National Theater of the Deaf. With a background in devised improvisational theater, she began her professional theater career in her teens at the Academy Theatre in Atlanta where she worked with renowned actors and directors including Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon. She founded the Young Players Ensemble creating original theater with teens around the world with notable alumni including Liz Feldman (Dead to Me) and Steven Parker (Little Miss Sunshine.) Hilari further utilized her “casting-first” technique to develop an original TV pilot and a short play with Deaf actors at REDCAT. She has led workshops and panels for Universal Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, the Sundance-supported Art House Convergence, and Women in Film. She consulted for Amazon Studios on the captions, theatrical release, marketing and Academy Award campaign for Sound of Metal, which won the Variety Social Impact Marketing Award. She was a participant in the Producers Guild of America’s Power of Diversity Master Workshop, a board member of the Alliance of Women Directors, and has consulted for Google, Anheuser-Busch, Nike, and Sprint.
Monique “MoMo” Holt
Monique "MoMo" Holt is an accomplished actress, director, translator, storyteller, and acting instructor. She is known for her specialty in translating and performing Shakespeare in American Sign Language (ASL). MoMo has directed various film and stage productions including Always a Bridesmaid? (Feeney/Holt Film Productions), “Grisha” (performed in Russian Sign Language and French Sign Language), and "Titus" (using visual gestural communication without spoken English or ASL). She served as the Director of Artistic Sign Language at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for productions of "Cymbeline," "The Heart of Robin Hood," "Richard III," "Into the Woods," "The Merry Wives of Windsor," and "The Odyssey." MoMo's acting credits include "Richard III" at Shakespeare in the Park in New York and "I Was Most Alive with You." She also served as script consultant for productions of "Skin" by Crystal Green and "A Safe Place with You" by Cesar Baquerizo. Additionally, she was one of the co-facilitators for Theatre Communications Group from 2016-2018. MoMo holds a BFA in Acting from TSOA/NYU, an MFA in Theatre from Towson University and currently teaches theater at Gallaudet University.
Gail Winar is a theater director/producer/educator/consultant based in NYC. With Paul Lucas Productions, she has produced, directed, managed, and/or marketed over 50 theatrical productions at the international Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. She also collaborated with Paul Lucas to develop, and produce, his critically acclaimed and award-winning verbatim play Trans Scripts, which explores the lives of transgender women. Gail has directed, produced and/or consulted for New Jersey Repertory Company, George Street Playhouse, Kean University, LIU/CW Post, Montclair-Kimberley Academy, Classics on Tour, American Globe Theatre, Rutgers University, and Shotgun Productions. Gail currently teaches with the Education Department at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Broadway’s largest non-profit theater company, and has taught at Kean University’s Theatre Conservatory in Union, NJ for 15 years. Other teaching credits include Circle-in-the-Square Theatre School, Marymount Manhattan College, NYU/Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, CUNY/Queensborough Community College, Columbia Teacher's College, Vassar College, the American Globe Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Theatre for a New Audience, National Shakespeare Company, and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC. Gail has also served as a Literary Consultant with the Kennedy Center’s Playwriting Intensive program, National New Play Network’s Smith Awards, and the Holden Street Theatres’ Edinburgh Fringe Awards. Gail is passionate about social justice driven theater, and has collaborated on a variety of diverse projects, including, most recently, Silent Voices, devised by the students of the Starfish Academy in the Republic of The Gambia, West Africa, focused on raising awareness of violence against women.
Film Team Director
After finishing his film degree in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Chase submitted his senior project, Deaf Code, to the College Television Awards, and won! Recognized for his win in the 2016 Variety category, the Television Academy connected Chase with two accomplished deaf writers and actors, Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman. Upon meeting them, Chase was able to uproot his life and move to Los Angeles to work on their show, This Close. Having worked on several big budget projects since then, Chase felt his cumulative experience qualified him to operate an online television network.
Film Team Cameraperson
Brandon Simmoneau is a deaf photographer wielding his camera, his editorial eye, and his passion for adventure to share his vivid visual perspective. His photography works have been featured in several high-profile online magazines like Advocate. Brandon worked as the Production Coordinator at DPAN (Deaf Professional Artists Network), and is currently contracted with Media Monks and Deaf West for his photographic work.
Nick is a producer and has worked closely with renowned director Jules Dameron on several productions including a six-episode series, “Reverse Polarity,” and two music videos with American Sign Language (ASL) translations of “Let it Go” (Idina Menzel) and “The Lazy Song” (Bruno Mars). Nick works closely with Deaf actors and was once involved in an improv workshop and showcase led by Tyrone Giordano under Deaf West’s leadership. While Nick enjoys producing as a side gig, he works full-time as an instructor of ASL at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, California.
Vaibhav "Vai" Kothari
Vai is the founder of OMVAI, an e-commerce store he founded in 2021 that produces and sells exquisite pashmina shawls, stoles, jewelry, fashion apparel, and home décor in Jaipur, India. In addition to holding executive positions in construction and engineering industries in India, Vai has earned an MBA from Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, a BSc degree in Industrial and System Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY; and MS in Technological Entrepreneurship from Northeastern University in Boston. After completing his MBA, Vai worked as a Senior Talent and Culture Manager with Communication Services for the Deaf, a world leader in providing human service programs and telecommunication relay services for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Born in Kota, Rajasthan and raised in New Delhi, Vai is profoundly Deaf. He is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), as well as English and Hindi. Vai is also an actor, video host, and producer. He produced the award-winning short documentary, "Not Anymore," chronicling his work as a leader in professional settings in India and hosted/produced a 14-episode talk show at the University of Denver, interviewing successful entrepreneurs. He is currently hosting The OMVAI Talk Show in India, interviewing prominent business/cultural leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs. Vai has 6.9 million views on his Instagram Reel about Mahashivratri (Hindu) puzzles!