2019 women in film - a keynote panel

friday, october 4th @ 7pm

Promenade cinema, downtown Sioux City, iowa


Patricia Meyer - Moderator/Writer

With her passion for true crime stories and the tragic chronicles of humanity, screenwriter/Producer Patricia K. Meyer has written eight feature adaptations for the major studios, including Martin Scorsese (Touchstone) and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions. She has written miniseries and movies-of-the-week for CBS and NBC, and created and sold a one-hour drama series at CBS. Over her career Meyer developed and executive produced six network television movies with Von Zerneck/Sertner Films. Her first production, the ABC 4-hour miniseries THE WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE, starring Oprah Winfrey, received an Emmy® nomination and an Image Award for Outstanding Miniseries. She also executive produced Nora Ephron’s directorial debut, THIS IS MY LIFE, for Twentieth Century Fox. 

Currently, Meyer’s new feature screenplay, INTO THE MYSTIC, is out to directors, and her latest true crime limited series is being packaged. In addition, she is collaborating with a UK director on an action horror feature, which they plan on producing in Wales in the fall of 2019. Meyer made her directorial debut with THE LIST, a short tragiccomedy she wrote and produced, and which screened at seven major film festivals. Her recently produced short, UNSPOKEN, has been included in festival competitions and has received numerous honors, including “Best of Fest” at Philadelphia’s First Glance.

Her first play, TURNAROUND, was performed at the Hothouse Series at the Pasadena Playhouse. Meyer earned a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Boston University. After serving for a decade as Senior Lecturer in Screenwriting at the American Film Institute Conservatory, she is enjoying her fourth year as Clinical Professor of Screenwriting at LMU’s School of Film & Television and is now the Director of the SFTV’s MFA Programs in Writing for the Screen and Writing & Producing for Television. In the summer you can find her teaching script adaptation at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. 

Meyer is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.



Though various historians disagree on the date, Sarah Nicole Jones was rumored to have been born sometime in the 1980's. Reports from this time in history are unreliable at best, but we do know that she comes from Louisiana - a planet just south of the Mason-Dixon line. Her family was 16th generation New Orleans, which meant she could trace her illustrious lineage back to the pirate and the *cough* harlot that founded that mosquito infested port.  

Faced with going into the family business of moonshining/swamp spelunking, she opted, instead, to strike out West. From this time, evidence suggests that she led a small band of Chilean rebel fighters to freedom, won the Nobel Prize for nuclear fission, and finished high school. Documents have recently come to light, suggesting that Sarah then attended NYU and Loyola Marymount University, where she earned dual degrees in both Tom Foolery and Shenanigans. At some point, she learned how to string words together well enough to earn a living at it. BFA Loyola Marymount Class of '09. She got paid to write on shows like Longmire, Forever, Legends of Tomorrow, Waco, Altered Carbon. 


dr. Rhiannon Koehler - historian/actress

Rhiannon is a writer, actor, producer, and director. After attending film school at Loyola Marymount University, she became passionate about the intersection of history and film. She went on to earn her PhD in History from UCLA (2018). Her work has been published in the journals of Ethnohistory and the Journal of Arizona History. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the School of the Art Institute and works at the production company she co-founded with comedian James Lenger in 2019, Smile Tym Films. She is currently directing a series of music videos and producing and acting in the comedic web series, Summit


Catherine wolf mcgrath - Producer

Catherine is an executive at Blinding Edge Pictures. Prior to joining the company in 2017, she worked at Twentieth Century Fox in motion picture development as well as CAA's motion picture literature department. Blinding Edge Picture's upcoming projects include SERVANT, a half hour psychological thriller series that will debut on Apple's streaming platform as well as an untitled M. Night Shyamalan film. 

Catherine graduated from Loyola Marymount University's graduate film production program in 2013. She currently resides outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and two dogs.


Nora Kirkpatrick - actress/writer/director

Nora grew up in rural Iowa, and studied in Africa before graduating from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television.  Upon graduation, Nora did what her parents told her not to do, and joined a rock band. This band, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, ended up winning a GRAMMY, having a gold record and touring the world, playing Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and SXSW among others. Nora was a founding member and played accordion with the group for seven years.

Nora honed her writing skills while on tour, and upon leaving the group, hit the ground running, selling several TV shows.

In 2018 Nora created, wrote and directed DOOR NO. 1, a first of its kind live-action VR comedy series, starring Snoop Dogg and Ravi Patel, for Hulu. Produced by Lee Eisenberg and Jarrad Paul. In 2017, Nora sold her TV show, ASSISTED LIVING, to CBS, executive produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum. A year earlier, Nora co-wrote and directed a five-part VR comedy series, VIRTUALLY MIKE AND NORA, with SNL alum Mike O’Brien, which is currently airing on Hulu. That same year, Nora sold her TV show, BEST SELLER, to Comedy Central. It was produced by Gloria Sanchez Productions and Olivia Wilde. Nora has also played many roles in film and TV, including THE OFFICE, GREEK, JENNIFER FALLS, and Paul Lieberstein’s latest feature, THE SONG OF BACK AND NECK (Tribeca 2018).

Nora is currently in post-production on an eight-episode murder mystery, THE COOP, for EKO and FunnyOrDie, that she is writing and directing. In September 2018, she directed a pilot presentation for Gail Berman's production company, The Jackal Group. Her script, LONG TIME LISTENER, FIRST TIME CALLER, won the Best Screenplay grant through The Davey Foundation (2018), and BEST SELLER won the Best Screenplay award from Hollyshorts (2018) and Shore Scripts (2018).

She was chosen for The Sony Pictures Television Diversity Directing Program (2018), and is currently a staff writer on a new Amazon series that will be coming out in 2020. 

M Blake LMU Marketing Image C_VZ1182.jpg

Melissa Blake - writer/producer

Melissa Blake is a television writer-producer who has worked on one-hour dramas and half-hour single camera comedies for broadcast television and digital platforms over the past two decades. 

Upon receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, Melissa got her foot in the door as an assistant in television post-production. She soon parlayed her post-production gigs into an executive assistant position at Renaissance Pictures, the former production company of producer Rob Tapert and producer-director Sam Raimi, where Melissa began writing for the company’s syndicated action-adventure shows, including Jack of All TradesCleopatra: 2525, and cult hit, Xena: Warrior Princess. Melissa then teamed up with her sister, Joy Blake, and together the pair staffed on several series including Kevin Hill (UPN), Night Stalker(ABC), Heroes(NBC), Ghost Whisperer(CBS), and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior(CBS).  

During a hiatus from writing in 2011, Melissa started teaching in the Graduate Screenwriting and Writing & Producing for Television programs for LMU’s School of Film & Television. Inspired by the creative energy of the grad students, she resumed her solo writing career on the FOX series, Sleepy Hollow. Since then, she has worked on ABC’s Wicked City and Amazon’s One Mississippi, comedian Tig Notaro’s autobiographical scripted series. All the while, Melissa has continued her collaboration with LMU, in the form of special workshops, panels, and a mentoring program, through which she pairs 3rd year MFA candidates with working writers as they transition from film school to the industry. 

Most recently, in addition to developing her own projects, Melissa served as Co-Executive Producer on the first season of Netflix’s upcoming genre series October Faction and is currently Co-EP on Amazon’s new YA show, The Wilds.


Nikki Tomlinson - actress & stuntwoman

Nikki Tomlinson is an actress, stuntwoman and business owner. She hails from Colorado, where she majored in musical theater at the University of Northern Colorado. Currently, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia where she stays busy acting and stunting in film and television.

She is best known for her role as Annie Nolan in NBC's drama series Game of Silence (opposite Larenz Tate, David Lyons, Michael Raymond-James, Derek Philips and Bre Blair). She also played pink-haired vampire, Ashlyn, on The Vampire Diaries, RV driving, matron saint, Lucy, on The Purge, and a very witchy Ocean Hag on Knight Squad. Other acting appearances include Criminal Minds, A Bad Mom's Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, The Originals, Eagleheart, and Pitch Perfect 3 (on which she also worked as a stunt double!). Catch her in the upcoming thriller, Along Came the Devil 2, out in theaters Oct. 11th!

Nikki's notable stunt credits include various walkers in AMC's The Walking Dead (SAG Award Nominations for Best Stunt Ensemble, 2015, 2016, 2017), a stunt acting role in Megan Leavey (with Kate Mara), stunt doubling for Leslie Mann in The Pact, Rachel McAdams in Game Night, Naomi Watts in Allegiant: Part 1, and Kate Hudson in Mother’s Day. Other actresses she's stunt doubled for include Emma Roberts, Taryn Manning, Candice King, Natalia Dyer, Rachel Melvin, Brooke Ann Smith, Grace Zabriskie, Sofia Hublitz, Ashley Tisdale and more. Other shows and films she’s had the privilege of performing stunts on include Stranger Things, Ozark, MacGyver, Too Close to Home, Outcast, Cobra Kai, Dwight in Shining Armor, Insatiable, Watchmen, and the upcoming holiday film, Holidate.

She's passionate about equal rights for all, particularly when it comes to the LGBTQ community, as her biological father, author Alexus Sheppard, is transgender. Nikki maintains a close relationship with her and even wrote a chapter in Alexus' newly released book, From Both Sides Now- a Memoir, available on Amazon.

She’s loved hitting the festival circuit with short film, Treatment, in which she gets to showcase both her acting and stunt talents, playing Hannah, a woman battling for her life. She’s particularly proud to play this character, as Hannah was inspired largely by Alexus’s real-life journey. She hopes you enjoy the film!