KAYLA MARIE COATES (THEY/THEM)
ACTOR | FILMMAKER | ACTIVIST
Kayla Marie Coates is a non-binary, Hispanic-Croatian-American actor, filmmaker, and activist. They come from an enormous family of seven male siblings, growing up as the outspoken, wild-child performer and creative of the family. Growing up, Kayla dove into creative outlets whichever way they turned, especially when it came to theatre. From high school and on, they have over 8 years of improv and 6 years of musical theatre experience under their belt, and whenever they weren't in a show, they were usually the one stage managing it, still being a pivotal involvement in the project(s).
Since 2017, Kayla has had continuous ongoing advanced training with Margie Haber Studio, and they have starred in numerous indie projects and soon-to-be released films and webseries. Working their first year at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights in 2021, they won the award for Scare Actor of the Year. Kayla was selected to receive NALIP’s Emerging Content Creators Inclusion Initiative Scholarship for the 2021 Diverse Women in Media Forum and to participate in Mentorship Rountables with dynamic female industry leaders.
That year, they also created and became the Initiative Director for Blackmagic Collective's Career Advancement Diversity Initiative, Emerging Actors. They are currently a fellow of the Directing Actors Lab for BMC.
At the beginning of 2021, Kayla secured Producing / Production Coordinating jobs with Blackmagic Collective, Heart On Fire Productions and became a Creative Producer for The Nerd Couple Show. Along with producing live events at the time, they began producing films they felt drawn, and have since produced numerous short films. At the beginning of 2022, they were chosen as a fellow for BMC's Filmmaker Advancement Initiative to help bring their filmmaking career to the next level. They worked as a Producer for the 2022 SXSW Festival, working with high profile celebrities like Greg Daniels, Jason Sudeikis, Chelsea Clinton, Brian Eno and many more.
As a queer, neurodivergent, polyamorous individual, Kayla decided to form their production company at the beginning of 2022 with the passion to create stories centering around delicate, taboo topics so they can begin to be discussed and destigmatized. With the projects they create, Kayla is dedicated to casting up, crewing up and making characters for people of underrepresented communities to be able to give equal opportunities to actors and filmmakers of any and all backgrounds and lifestyles. Their mission is to create a more authentically Diverse, Inclusive industry through a Transformative and Innovative fashion, hence the name of their production company, DITI Pictures LLC.
Kayla is currently ramping up into pre-production for their directorial debut short film, I'LL BEE THERE, which they also wrote, are producing and starring in, which will then be submitted to top tiered festivals throughout 2024. Their crowdfunding campaign has officially ended, but you can still join the buzz to support their project today!
They also started a podcast at the beginning of 2022 called According to Captain Ron's Record with their grandfather, who was recently diagnosed with a terminal lung disease, to document and learn more about his culture, heritage, life stories and advice for the time that he has left which can be shown for generations to come.