Imani's Creators

Sandra Evers-Manly, Creator/Executive Director

Sandra Evers-Manly has spent more than 30 years working in the areospace industry developing sustainable, high-impact programs to encourage, excite, educate and engage young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with a specific focus on girls, students of color and teachers.

She has also diligently worked to improve the images and employment of African Americans in Hollywood, in front of and behind the scenes.

For 22 years, she has annually sponsored the African American Film Showcase as a forum for emerging African American filmmakers. Her Sistas Are Doin’ It For Themselves series promotes and showcases emerging African American women filmmakers and the Los Angeles Youth Diversity Film Festival is designed for middle school and high school students.

She has produced and executive produced several short films including the Academy-nominated short film Last Breeze of Summer. She has also received critical feedback from educators, non-profits and several media outlets for her executive-produced Fight Back With Film project, where she commissioned five filmmakers to express their thoughts on the impact on gang violence. Additionally, Evers-Manly has assisted students and others in receiving contributions and in-kind services to complete their films.

Ms. Evers-Manly is the creator/executive producer/writer/co-director of the animated character Imani, The Super Little Engineer specifically developed to introduce engineering to young people, especially girls, students of color and their families.


Jesse Ford, Animator

Jesse Ford is Owner and Executive Producer of Group Hug Productions, a San Francisco Bay Area Animation Production Studio. Jesse founded Group Hug Productions (GHP) in 2001 under the principals, Creativity, Technology and Community.

GHP’s mission is to create entertaining educational programming for kids. His credits include Professor E (entrepreneurial education), Edible Arts (healthy eating) and Imani (STEM education). Beyond educational films, GHP produces commercials and short films such as Phantom and Everything Obsolete.

Mr. Ford studied film at New York University and holds a BS in Mass Communications from the University of Kansas. Jesse is a native of Kansas City and now resides in the San Francisco Bay area.