Board of Directors

Harlan D. Whatley

Harlan D. Whatley

Harlan D. Whatley is the Festival Director and President of the West Texas Film Festival. He holds an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College/CUNY and an MA in English from the University of Texas Permian Basin.  Whatley has directed and produced several award-winning documentaries. His TV pilot, My Muse, is an official selection in the Austin Revolution Film Festival and the Twister Alley Film Festival. Whatley is an Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Odessa College in Odessa, TX.

Jared Rush


Jared Rush is the Vice President of the West Texas Film Festival and is a producer and actor. By way of his company, Third Man Entertainment, Rush's films include I Am Going To Kill Someone This Friday (2018), Never Go Back (2017), The Black Canyon (2019) and Carnage Radio (2019). In 2018, he held a seminar on producing at the Education Day for the 2018 West Texas Film Festival. Rush is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. 

Laura Carpenter, Esq.


Laura Carpenter is the Secretary of the West Texas Film Festival and has more than 20 years of experience as a trial attorney in the Permian Basin. Carpenter specializes in family law and criminal defense, practicing virtually all areas within these fields. Carpenter received her law degree from the University of Kansas and is a graduate of Odessa High.