50th Humboldt Int’t Film Fest


John Oluwole ADEkoje

John Oluwole ADEkoje is a graduate of Humboldt State University where he earned a MFA in Dramatic Writing and a MA in Film Production. John’s awards include being a national award winner of The Kennedy Center’s ACTF Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award for the play Street Hawker; as well as a recipient of The Roxbury International Film Festival’s Emerging local Filmmaker award for the documentary “Street Soldiers”, which also showed at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France, and The World Film Festival-Montreal, as well as the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta. Most recently John was the winner of the National Tri Annual New Play Competition for Professional Writers, has received the Brother Thomas Fellowship Award for his documentary “Street Soldiers” and he is a Playwriting Fellow at the Tony award winning Huntington Theater Company.

John was a co-director for the 33rd Humboldt International Film Festival.

Judge Tracy Boyd

Tracy Boyd

Tracy is currently set to direct the feature film, The Art of Negative Thinking; while in development of a series based on the pilot he directed, Sacred Journeys (Starring Glenn Scarpelli and Mackenzie Phillips).

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Boyd studied philosophy, physics, and world religion at Humboldt State University on his way to a life in film.  While finishing Humboldt’s graduate program, he wrote and directed the award winning thesis short, That Art Thou. 

Most recently Tracy directed second unit for the film Downsizing (Starring Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig), produced and directed the pilot Sacred Journeys (starring Glenn Scarpelli and Mackenzie Phillips) and directed and executive produced Happy Bobby Gulliver, a pilot featuring an all-star cast of Second City alums.  His first professional gig came on the Academy Award nominated About Schmidt (starring Jack Nicholson).  Since then, he’s worked as a writer, director, and producer — directing and producing the second units for the Academy Award winning The Descendants (George Clooney, Shailene Woodly), Sideways (Paul Giamatti), and The King of California (Michael Douglas), along with HBO’s True Detective (Colin Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams), Enlightened (Mike White, Laura Dern) and Hung (Thomas Jane).

Tracy graduated from Humboldt State University in 1998 and finished his Masters film program in 2003.  He was also a co-director for the 33rd Humboldt International Film Festival along with John ADEkoje.


Cassandra Hesseltine

Cassandra Hesseltine has served as the Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissioner since 2010. Before becoming commissioner, she spent decades working in theatre, TV, and film throughout California, gaining vast experience in the entertainment business. Her body of work includes producing, directing, and casting indie film, episodic television, and commercial work. She has acted on stage and directed theater for 30 years. Applying this knowledge in her current role as commissioner serving two Northern California counties, Cassandra has gained respect and accolades from industry professionals worldwide, as well as, within the state and local region she represents. In 2015, she worked with state lawmakers to expand California’s TV and Film tax incentive program, helping California remain the top production center in the world. Cassandra was appointed President of Film Liaisons in California Statewide in February 2016, after serving as the organization’s Treasurer for a two-year term. During her time as Commissioner, Cassandra has assisted countless projects, from magazine photo shoots and print ads, to TV shows and commercials, to independent and big-budget studio features, such as the recently wrapped, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. She currently resides in Arcata, near her alma mater, Humboldt State University, with her husband, Jeff, their two children, two dogs and three cats.