“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” - Idowu Koyenikan

President, CEO
Festival Organizer/Curator
Tinisha Brugnone

The founder of the Cinematic Griot Collective and the brainchild of the Idlewild International Film Festival,

Tinisha Brugnone, received her education in Media Arts and Studies at Wayne State University. Tinisha is a firm believer in the arts and its ability to shape lives and transform communities. She constantly has remained rooted in the creative community and is a core member of Final Girls Detroit a group of professional women filmmakers working and living in Metro Detroit. Within her own group, The Cinematic Griot Collective, her leadership approach allows filmmakers, artists and other creatives to work together and be allowed the room to express their own uniqueness, talent, and style. She uses her background in fundraising, event management, and film production, to obtain the resources required to bring their visions to fruition. 

Associate Organizer
Yoga Instructor
Samara Hill

Ever since she was a child, Samara has enjoyed going to festivals of all kinds and craved to know just how they were created. She finally got her chance to try her hand at event planning in her junior year of college when she was elected as her student organization's Event Planner. It was through this group that she was able to cultivate the needed skills to put together the many events to help raise money for her student organization, as well as ensure that her fellow members enjoyed themselves. Now, as the Associate Festival Organizer for the Cinematic Griot Collective, Samara hopes to use her creativity and out of the box ideas toward making events and festivals just as, if not more, exciting and memorable as the ones she has attended over the years.

Lead Artist / Location Management
Ulysses Newkirk 

Don’t hold it against me, but I carry a Teamster GCC card. My most recent project is working with the Equitable Internet initiative, Digital Stewards to provide high-speed network infrastructure and Internet services in underserved neighborhoods. I work with a few Detroit non-profits to plan, design and install community art garden pavilions with rainwater catchment and irrigation systems. Three are funded by Community Public Art Detroit at CCS and Ghana Thinktank’s the American Riad. I’ve taught high school art and computers and served as an instructor of Advanced Problem Solving for Technical Theater. I’m also the photographer, typesetter, archivist, key holder and aftercare specialist for a sadistic dominatrix, who just happens to be one of the coolest moms in the world and btw, I friggin love Idlewild!