Society of Camera Operators Inclusion Committee
The Inclusion Committee is dedicated to facilitating an inclusive and equitable atmosphere for all SOC members.
The newly formed Inclusion Committee at the SOC is answering the call of many members and the society at large to address inclusion and diversity within our corner of the industry. The Inclusion Committee will take an intersectional approach to address systemic biases and will further work to amplify the voices of those who have not previously been given a platform to do so. The SOCIC hopes to accomplish this goal through education, events, partnerships, outreach, support, exposure, and creating best practices, amongst others.
The SOC Inclusion Committee welcomes the voices of the SOC membership and invites input and ideas. As the SOC Inclusion Committee crescendos its nascent efforts into a progressive task-force in the coming months, members are welcome and encouraged to participate, to offer support, and to be part of the solution with us.
Please feel free to contact us at Inclusion@SOC.org
Meet the Inclusion Committee
Co-Chairs of the Inclusion Committee
Sharra Romany, SOC
Sharra Romany is an award-winning Commercial/Branded DP and Camera Operator in unscripted television. She is co-founder of Los Angeles/Cairo-based production company, Romany Films, and is currently the Co-Chair of the Inclusion Committee for the Society of Camera Operators (SOC) where she has been a member since 2018. She has traveled the world in search of Monsters on SyFy Channel’s Destination Truth and helped create one of the most popular shows on teeny cooking, Tiny Kitchen. No adventure has been greater though, than homeschooling and traveling around the globe with her three children in search of mummies, pirates, and Disney Parks. Sharra’s Mission is to use the entertainment platform to bring awareness of social and cultural issues and the human experience and looks forward to working with the amazing members of the SOC’s Inclusion Committee on advancing that agenda.
Nikk Hearn-Sutton, SOC
Nikk “2K” Hearn-Sutton is a Camera/Steadicam Operator for 22 years, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and is an Active Member of The SOC since 2014 and the SOA (Steadicam Operator’s Association) since 1998. He was highlighted in the Summer 2018 edition of Camera Operator Magazine in the “Smooth Operator” section. Nikk is a part of the Mentor/Mentee Program for the SOC and Local 600 operator. He’s very proud of his accomplishments being one of very few Black camera operators and Steadicam Operators in Local 600, and the 1st Black Operator in his home state and surrounding states in the Northern Central Region. Nikk gives back to his community through volunteering his time to teaching and showing those starting out, on what he has experienced with humble beginnings in the field of his craft, and as a co-founder of the College Movie Festival in the Southwestern region of Ohio- a college film competition for the schools with an E-media or Film program. Some of Nikk’s notable credits include Anastasia: Once Upon a Time, 10 Minutes Gone, The Strangers: Prey at Night, and most recently The Big Ugly, and Say I Do on Netflix.
Additional Committee Members
Olivia Abousaid is a first-generation Palestinian-American director/cinematographer/camera op born and raised in Dallas, currently living in Los Angeles. She earned her MFA in Cinematography from Chapman University. With over 20 years of experience in the film/video industry, she has directed and shot several short narratives, music videos, and documentaries in locales like Ghana and Singapore. In 2011, she directed short comedy “Dear Dad” which showed at the Newport Beach Film Festival and Palm Springs Film Festival, amongst others. She also directed short comedy “Two To Tango” in 2018 which won an honorable mention at the Los Angeles Television, Script, and Film Festival. Olivia has worked at Panavision and Filmtools, and currently works at ARRI. She is an Associate Member of the Society of Camera Operators and an active member of the Alliance of Women Directors. Olivia has been mentored by producer/director Jonathan Sanger whose credits include “Elephant Man”, “Flight of the Navigator”, and “Vanilla Sky”. She studied under writer/director Tom Mankiewicz whose credits include “Superman” and “Superman II” and cinematographer Bill Dill who is known for “The Five Heartbeats” and “Jason Goes To Hell”. More recently, Olivia has been mentored by cinematographer/camera operator Nikk Hearn-Sutton whose credits include “10 Minutes Gone”, “The Big Ugly”, and “Anastasia”.
Alfeo Dixon, SOC
Alfeo entered the film industry in 1994. By October 1995, Alfeo directed three music videos with DP Matthew Libatique (Iron Man). Studied Photography at Portfolio Center and published by 1998. Set Photographer 2001-2009. Studied Steadicam, Master DP and 3D Cinematography in Maine. Alfeo worked with Eddie Murphy, George Clooney, Janet Jackson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Paula Abdul, Cybill Shepherd, Erik Estrada and with directors, directors such as Robert Rodriquez, Ron Underwood (Tremors), Michael Schultz (Car Wash), Debbie Allen (FAME), Michael Lange (The Fall Guy) and Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) to drop a few names. Alfeo’s worked in Kenya, Trinidad & Tobago, Curaçao, and Brazil. Projects have shown in FESPACO, Pan African, Bronze Lens, Rome, Dixie and Atlanta Film Festivals.
Allie Menapace is an Associate Member of SOC and also ICG600. Her background is in visual effects/motion control camera working mostly in commercials. She’s currently resetting her career path within the Camera Dept, working towards becoming a full time camera operator.
Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC
Lisa Stacilauskas, SOC is a Camera Operator working primarily in scripted television. Her recent titles include American Housewife, Community, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Playing House, and Teachers. Lisa is a member of ICG Local 600 and has been an active member of the Society of Camera Operators since 2008. In the past she served on the Board of Governors as a 3rd VP, Chair of the Membership Drive Committee, and spent 3 years as the Charity Committee Chair; producing videos, raising awareness, and raising money for The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2018, she created a Speed Mentoring event for the SOC. Lisa is a current Board member and Secretary of the Board of Governors. She is honored to be part of the newly formed Inclusion Committee and excited to see the impact it will have on the industry.
Shanele Alvarez, SOC
Shanele Alvarez is an established Camera Operator and DP who loves anything and everything to do with the camera. She is experienced in both scripted and non-scripted work with some of her recent credits being All Rise, The Rookie, and Dancing with the Stars. Shanele is an active member of Local 600 and the SOC. She is actively involved in both organizations being an alternate NEB board member and a member of the Inclusion Committee for Local 600 and the SOC. She believes if you are doing what you love, you never work a day in your life. With this love and passion, Shanele is continuing to live out her lifelong dream behind the camera.
Pauline Edwards, SOC
Pauline Edwards is from NYC and graduated with a degree in Film Technology from Valencia C.C. in Orlando, Florida. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as a loader and 2nd AC and got her opportunity to become a Camera Operator in unscripted television in 2009. She worked on America’s Next Top Model, Bring It, Rhythm + Flow, Encore and RuPaul’s Drag Race. She transitioned over to narrative in 2018 working on Huge In France, On My Block and most recently Snowfall. She has been a member of Local 600 since 2004 and became an active member of the SOC in 2019. Pauline attributes her success in the industry to operators and DP’s who have paid it forward. Gretchen Warthen, Tommy Maddox-Upshaw, Ruben Avendano, Steven Coleman and Xavier Thompson have helped her hone her craft. She also signed up for the SOC’s mentorship program and was honored to be mentored by Geoff Haley. Pauline’s is proud to be a member of the SOC Inclusion Committee and hopes to bring more representation to sets.
Jeremiah Smith has been a Director of Photography and Camera Operator in Unscripted and Scripted television for almost 20 years. With his roots as a Producer and experience as a Director, he is a master storyteller.
Gretchen Warthen, SOC
Gretchen Warthen, SOC, “The shot must capture a fleeting moment in time which moves the story forward. Always my goal is a transcendent connection to the moments I am capturing: My internal dialogue quiets, my camera falls away, leaving me a witness to the unfolding of human stories, no longer conscious of my role in recording the moment.“ Camera Operator Gretchen Warthen is known for bringing a cinematic and lyrical vision to the unpredictable dialogue-driven world of documentary film making. From her first self-funded award-winning documentary feature 20 years ago to this year’s Netflix feature, “Circus of Books” and “Breaking Their Silence: Women on the Frontline of the Poaching War” she has traveled the world with her camera, witnessing and capturing the stories of people’s lives. In her career she has shot the epic international documentary series, “Operation Change,” the national multi Emmy Award-winning NBC series, “Starting Over” and the Showtime documentary series, “The Real LWord.” Gretchen’s work has been seen on major broadcast and cable networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, HBO, Netflix, Amazon, Showtime, Bravo, A&E, The History Channel, OWN, MTV, VH-1, and Discovery.
Mande Whitaker, SOC
Mande Whitaker, SOC grew up the daughter of an Air Force rescue pilot moving all over as a child, 15 elementary schools alone, before landing in Alaska for Jr High and High School. The adaptability and resilience she learned, as a military brat has been invaluable while working in the entertainment industry where you are constantly moving location to location and from team to team. Collaboration is her favorite part of being a camera operator for that reason. She became a freelance camera operator in 1998. In 2001 she moved to LA and joined Local 600 as an operator. Over the years she has operated on a variety of projects from the competition series Wipeout and Fear Factor to scripted comedies such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and documentary series like Netflix’s Jailbirds. Mande joined SOC back in 2007 and says it’s been a supportive community where she can expand her network as well as continue to learn and perfect her craft.