Perhaps Jess’ introduction to storytelling was at age 8 when she organised performances at family functions. Employing her cousins and sister as talent, Jess would hand out scripts she wrote and printed off the family Gateway computer. From behind the piano, Jess live scored and directed the productions. The live performances turned taped, expanding to spy thrillers recorded in Jess’ Grandfather’s barn, and cooking shows complete with commercials and introductions. Creativity was all very clear to Jess at a young age — but do not ask where she’s from. This question is tricky. Jess’ father was an NFL coach who uprooted her family every 7 or so years when he changed teams. She entered this world at St. John’s Hospital in Los Angeles where Jess’ Italian Grandmother swears she was the cuter than the neighbouring celebrity babies.
After living in 5 cities, Jess went on to study Communication at Virginia Tech. She fell into her first film class, doubled her major, and never looked back. She has since been supporting herself for the last decade as a freelance filmmaker throughout Los Angeles, Austin, New Delhi, Paris, and currently New York. Jess uses “filmmaking” as an all encompassing term, since “director, writer, cinematographer or camera operator, and editor” is almost as messy as where she’s from. Her prerequisites include shooting TV and movies in the Cinematographer’s Guild where she grew under creators like Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, and Tina Fey. Her work as an editor with NBC Digital has garnered millions of views.
With the aid of a grant, Jess spent last year writing her debut feature film in Paris, France. In 2017, Jess directed the first season of the LGBTQ webseries, @datingZoe, which was distributed and renewed by GO-TV. Jess was asked to return to direct season 2. After seeing Jess’ film, FUNERAL, on Amazon, Blue Blood’s actor, Anthony T. Solano approached Jess to create a series for him to star. This led to the creation of Gray Ground, which Jess wrote, directed and edited 8 episodes that same year. Jess’ debut short film screened at the New York Film Festival. Her work has additionally screened at the SoHo House and international festivals.
Jess is constantly exploring new ways to tell stories. Music plays a significant role in Jess’ creations. Her visuals are crafted with a very specific camera language; oners and intricate, revealing frames are key components. NYLA Films was founded in 2016 to house Jess’ creative work and parlay her filmmaking experience to branded content. NYLA Films exclusively works with mindful entities and hires diversity first. Collaborations include artists, brands, and influencers.
Jess calls New York home, where she sits on the 87th Street Park and Garden Committee. She enjoys playing the piano, globe-trotting with her partner, and black and white film photography.