We’re delighted to announce the following jurors for this year’s Film and Script Competitions! We will announce more judges soon, so stay tuned or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed!
SCRIPT COMPETITIONS – FINALIST ROUND
Dayo Adesokan was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where he spent his childhood watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air re-runs. When he was seven, his family won the Visa Lottery at next to nothing odds and moved to Chicago, Illinois. Growing up an outsider, he developed an early affinity for comedy. His first voicemail greeting was a two-minute clip from Eddie Murphy’s “Ice Cream Man” bit. Callers were not pleased. After earning degrees in Business & Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, he went on to work at a Finance Firm, covertly listening to comedy albums at work and performing stand-up at night. When he told his office he was quitting to pursue stand-up and comedy writing full-time, his boss gave him $11,000 to go pursue his dream. When he told his parents, they scheduled an intervention with their Prophetess, who gave a prophecy saying he was making a mistake. That year, his first script was a Finalist in the 2012 Austin Film Festival. In 2013, he was accepted into the CBS Writers Mentoring Program and moved from New York to Los Angeles on ten days notice. After the program, he worked as a Showrunner’s Assistant on The Game and Being Mary Jane . Shortly thereafter, he was admitted into the 2016 Disney-ABC Writing Program. He has since written on Freeform’s Young & Hungry , ABC’s Downward Dog , IFC’s NGO , and NBC’s Superstore . These days, he and Prophetess rarely speak.”
Nicholas Austin is Director of New Media & Emerging Platforms Development for Sony Pictures Television, generating new scripted and non-fiction programming for podcasts and emerging streaming platforms, in conjunction with television programming and development. He is Executive Producer on SPT & ABC’s FOR LIFE: The Podcast, and has covered projects ranging from Antoine Fuqua’s scripted series #FreeRayshawn for Quibi, to Amazon’s unscripted series Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys. Since joining SPT in 2010, he’s been involved in the development of such television shows as The Good Doctor, SWAT, Daytime Divas and Deadly Class. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
VJ Boyd is currently working on the JUSTIFIED spinoff CITY PRIMEVAL for FX/Hulu. He previously wrote for SWAT and JUSTIFIED and co-created LINCOLN RHYME: HUNT FOR THE BONE COLLECTOR. He is also the co-author of the IDW comic book series NIGHT MOVES.
Two-time Oscar Nominated Writer/Director Bryan Buckley has been dubbed the “King of the Super Bowl” by the New York Times, having directed over 65 commercials for the big game since 2000. Many pieces of Buckley’s work have been inducted into the Museum Of Modern Art’s permanent collection and he is an esteemed recipient of the DGA award, multiple Emmy awards, and over 60 Cannes Lions – including two Grand Prix wins in 2019. A 2010 Adweek Readers Poll named Buckley the Commercial Director of the decade and he was also chosen as one of the 50 best Creative Minds in the last 25 years by Creativity Magazine.
Buckley’s directing career started in 1994, when he directed the Emmy Award-winning “This is SportsCenter” Campaign. In 1997, Buckley co-founded Hungry Man Productions along with “This is SportsCenter” creator, Hank Perlman. By 2004, the company won the Cannes Festival’s Palme D’or as the top commercial production company in the world and has finished in the top ten for more than ten consecutive years, the first production company to do so. Hungry Man has offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Rio and Sau Paulo, and boasts an impressive roster of directors including Taika Waititi, Wayne McClammy, and Nanette Burstein.
In 2013, Buckley wrote and directed the short film ASAD. The film was shot in Africa with an all Somali refugee cast, and screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide, taking top honors at the TriBeCa Film Festival and Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, among others. The film was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
Buckley’s first feature film, The Bronze, was selected to open the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and made a splash in Park City as the breakout comedy of the festival, most notably with what Indiewire called, “one of the most hysterical sex scenes ever put on screen.” Bryan returned to Africa for his second feature film, Pirates of Somalia, starring Oscar-winner Al Pacino, Evan Peters, Melanie Griffith, and Barkhad Abdi.
In 2020, Buckley received his second Academy Award Nomination for his short film, SARIA. Based on true events, the film explores the unimaginable hardships young female orphans faced at the Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala in the days leading up to a tragic fire which claimed 41 of their lives in 2017. The film was cited by members of Congress in a 2020 letter to the Secretary of State. Congressmen Adriano Espaillat and Vicente Gonzalez stated the film “amplifies global awareness” of the issue, and demanded justice for the victims and an investigation into the whereabouts of the remaining survivors.
Later in the summer of 2020, Buckley created the Trump Statue Initiative, a protest art project to mock Donald Trump and actions taken during his presidency. Noting “Trump is obsessed with statues,” Buckley and his team have created pop-up living statues criticizing President Donald Trump in New York City, Portland, and Washington DC. Their work has received worldwide attention, and been covered by The Hill, NPR, The Guardian, AdAge, ARD German TV, AFP France, Sputnik News Russia (was not a fan) and many others. The Daily Mail called one of TSI’s NYC statues, entitled The Final Push: “A monument Trump will WANT to tear down.”
MATTHEW MICHAEL CARNAHAN was born in Detroit, but raised in California where he moved with his family as a child. He graduated USC with a degree in International Relations, and went to work at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, as a researcher for the legal team defending an escapee from the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, who had been convicted of murder and membership in the Irish Republican Army. That was followed by 6 years at The Advisory Board Company, a think tank in Washington, DC, where he became a National Spokesperson and Senior Director. During this time, Matthew began to write the screenplay The Kingdom, which became a film directed by Peter Berg and starring Jamie Foxx. Matthew then wrote a play that became the drama Lions for Lambs, directed by Robert Redford, and starring Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise. He adapted the BBC miniseries State of Play, starring Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams, as well as the Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z, which became a blockbuster starring Brad Pitt. He reunited with director Peter Berg to write Deepwater Horizon, an account of the infamous BP oil disaster, starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich. Participant Media then hired Matthew to write the screenplay Dark Waters, the true story of a lawyer
who exposed decades of environmental crimes committed by the DuPont Corporation, directed by Todd Haynes and starring Mark Ruffalo. Most recently, Carnahan wrote and directed Mosul, a film about the Nineveh SWAT Team in Mosul, Iraq. The film was an official selection of the Venice International Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival. Mosul premiered worldwide on Netflix, November 26, 2020.
Kesila Childers is the Head of Development for Powderkeg. Before that, she was Director of Content Development for Vimeo. And before that, she was Vice President of Digital Media for Bunim/Murray Productions where she developed, produced and delivered original productions emerging platforms. And before all THAT, Childers graduated from Ithaca College and began her career at Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. She is a member of the PGA, produces live comedy and is a board member for birdbrain, a non-profit for people impacted by sexual trauma. And before EVERYTHING, she was a baby. A tiny tiny baby with big Hollywood dreams.
Peter Craig – Screenwriter The Town, The Batman (2022), Bad Boys For Life, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts I & II, 12 Strong, Top Gun: Maverick (story by); writer and producer Blood Father; novelist
SCI-FI FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Peter Craig is a screenwriter and novelist whose credits include The Town (2010), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II (2015), Blood Father (2016), 12 Strong (2018), Bad Boys For Life (2020), Top Gun: Maverick (2021), and The Batman (2022) co-writing with Matt Reeves. His novels include Blood Father, Hot Plastic, and The Martini Shot. This is his fourth visit to AFF. He lives in Los Angeles.
MIKKI DAUGHTRY and TOBIAS IACONIS are currently adapting Mikki’s bestselling novel, All This Time, for Lionsgate Entertainment and producers Jonathan Levine and Gillian Bohrer. The duo are also writing The Carter Brothers, which has iconic musician Slash attached to produce, along with Adam Kolbrenner of Lit Entertainment. Most recently, they wrote the adapted screenplay for Nightbooks for Netflix, based upon the book of the same name written by J.A. White, produced by Sam Raimi, Romel Adam, and Mason Novick, and starring Krysten Ritter, Winslow Fegley, and Lidya Jewett. Previously, the team wrote Five Feet Apart, an original screenplay, for CBS Films, which Cathy Schulman produced, Justin Baldoni produced and directed, and starred Haley Lu Richardson, Cole Sprouse, and Moises Arias. The screenplay for the film was adapted into a #1 New York Times bestselling novel. Mikki and Tobias additionally wrote a spinoff of The Conjuring universe, The Curse of La Llorona, for New Line Cinemas and Warner Bros. — Emile Gladstone and James Wan produced, Michael Chaves directed, and starred Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velásquez, and Marisol Ramriez.
Lindsay Graham is the CEO and founder of Airship, a podcast publishing company. He is also the Webby Award-winning and Ambie-nominated host of the podcasts American Scandal, American History Tellers, American Elections: Wicked Game and Business Movers, and is the executive producer of the audio dramas 1865 and Terms. He is a podcast producer, sound designer and composer who has worked on Dirty John, Dr. Death, Bad Batch and others, reaching hundreds of millions of listeners.
Sarah was the Co-Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of I LOVE DICK for Amazon and wrote and produced feature film SHIRLEY starring Elisabeth Moss directed by Josephine Decker. SHIRLEY had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020 where Decker won a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Auteur Filmmaking. Gubbins was a Co-Executive Producer on the FX television show BETTER THINGS season three and a Co-Executive Producer on the up-coming Hulu Limited Series, PAM & TOMMY. She is currently developing several television projects with Big Beach and Working Title as well as a feature film with Killer Films. She is the author of several plays produced around the country such as: COCKED, THE KID THING, FML: HOW CARSON MCCULLERS SAVED MY LIFE, and FAIR USE.
Chuck Hayward is a renaissance man – in that he’s a man who’s stayed multiple times at Renaissance Hotels. But mostly he writes things. A lot. And sometimes he actually writes them well. And sometimes they’re even funny! Just ask his fellow writers on Netflix’s Dear White People, Disney+’s WandaVision, ABC’s Mixed-Ish, or Showtime’s Flatbush Misdemeanors. Or you can ask the directors and producers of the movies he’s written, Netflix’s Step Sisters, the indie film Fat Camp; and the upcoming remake of the 90’s cult classic, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead. Chuck promises they’ll confirm it. You calling him a liar?!?!
A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Eric began his career directing and producing music videos featuring such artists as Usher, Cee-Lo Green, Outkast, New Edition, Ice-T, and Tupac Shakur. His video for E-40’s song “Sprinkle Me” was selected by MTV and XXL Magazine as the #10 Greatest West Coast Rap Video of All Time.
Eric went on to write for such shows as ABC’s Private Practice and Showtime’s Soul Food: The Series. Along the way, he wrote and directed three short films (Nick of Time, Intersection, and Staring at the Sun), each of which screened at various film festivals around the country.
Eric also wrote the Hallmark Channel original movie Relative Stranger, starring Eriq LaSalle (E.R.) and directed by Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep). The film garnered three NAACP Image Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress Emmy nomination for Cicely Tyson.
Eric wrote and directed the independent feature film Four of Hearts before joining the writing staff of the hit Fox drama Empire. He co-wrote and directed an episode of Empire’s fourth season, then directed the award-winning short film The Last Starship before going on to serve as a co-executive producer for Starz’s Power and ABC’s For Life. He is currently a co-executive producer for NBC’s supernatural drama Manifest.
Rochée Jeffrey is a Jamaican writer–director–performer. Her TV writing credits include SMILF (Showtime), WOKE (Hulu), BIGGER (BET+) and SANTA INC. (HBO Max). She wrote the award-winning short film SUITABLE which premiered on HBO. Rochée serves as producer and writer on the upcoming feature THROW IT BACK AND MAKE IT CLAP FOR TRUDY JONES starring Tiffany Haddish, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Young Thug. She is a 2021 Film Independent Screenwriting Fellow for NOT YOUR AVERAGE QUEEN. She has an adult-animated series EP’d and voiced by Lizzo and a half-hour series set up at FX. She’s represented by UTA and Rain Management Group.
Felischa Marye is a writer, producer, director, and showrunner. A graduate of the MFA screenwriting program at UCLA, Felischa transitioned into the film industry after a successful career in public relations/integrated marketing in Chicago, where she was born and raised. While still in film school, she sold her first comedy pilot script to HBO. After writing on two seasons of the Netflix hit drama series “13 Reasons Why,” Felischa created the cult-favorite comedy series, “Bigger”— a raunchy friends comedy set in Atlanta, produced by Will Packer, for BET+. Felischa most recently served as showrunner for the show’s second season that premiered in Spring, 2021. Felischa currently resides in Los Angeles and is proud to have made LA her home, largely because of Chicago’s weather and its indiscriminate cruelty.
Glen Mazzara is a television writer/creator/showrunner whose most recent work was A&E’s series, DAMIEN, based on the classic horror film, “The Omen.” Before that, Mazzara was Executive Producer and Showrunner for AMC’s record-breaking series, THE WALKING DEAD, which earned him two Saturn awards and was listed as one of AFI’s Top Ten TV Programs of 2012. He was awarded the 2013 Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a Screenplay. He also earned a Peabody for his work on the Golden Globe-winning THE SHIELD. He ran season two of TNT’s medical drama HAWTHORNE and worked on NBC’s LIFE. He created the series CRASH, the first scripted drama on STARZ and developed Stephen King’s DARK TOWER novels as a series for Amazon.
Mazzara is co-chair of the WGA’s Inclusion & Equity Group and has been working to improve television employment opportunities for writers of diverse backgrounds. He is a co-founder of the WGA Staff Writer Bootcamp. Mazzara is a frequent speaker at the WGA, the Writers Guild Foundation, the WGA Showrunner Training Program, and the WGA Writers Access Project. He is on the Board of Trustees for Humanitas. He is a member of ReFrame, which works to improve opportunities for women in the entertainment industry. He has taught classes and seminars at colleges across the country and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences both in the U.S. and overseas. He is a proud member of NYU’s Mentoring Network and received their inaugural Mentor of the Year Award. He has served as an advisor for the Sundance Institute’s Episodic Story Lab. Mazzara lives in LA with his family.
Ashley Edward Miller is the creator and Executive Producer of DOTA: DRAGON’S BLOOD, Netflix’s global hit adaptation of the game DoTA2 from Valve Software. The writer of such films as THOR and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, Ashley also has twenty years experience in television. His work includes genre favorites and critical darlings TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES, FRINGE and BLACK SAILS.
Hawk Ostby along with Mark Fergus are the screenwriters best known for their work on Children of Men (for which they were nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay) and Iron Man. Their other work includes First Snow, which was also directed by Fergus, and Cowboys & Aliens. They are the creators and executive producers of the TV series The Expanse, which debuted on Syfy in December 2015 and just finished its sixth season.
Robia Rashid – creator/executive producer/showrunner Atypical
DRAMA PILOT CATEGORY JUROR
Robia Rashid is the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of the Netflix series Atypical, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and Michael Rapaport.
“Atypical is irreverent when it needs to be, insightful when it counts and, above all, empathetic to the pressures of growing up — on or off the spectrum,” according to Lorraine Ali, television critic at the Los Angeles Times. For the series, Robia was awarded the 2017 Writers Guild of America West Evan Somers Memorial Award at the Media Access Awards, which honors individuals who are showcasing the disability narrative. Additionally, AutFest 2018 honored Atypical with their Spotlight Award. Robia was nominated for a HUMANITAS Award in 2020 and the show was nominated for a Peabody Award for 2018.
In 2019, Robia was honored by The Miracle Project as Entertainment Angel. She was named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “Showrunners to Watch” for 2017. Robia has been at Sony TV since 2013 and has an overall deal with the company.
Robia began her career as a playwright, receiving her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Born and raised along the Texas-Mexico border, Alvaro Rodriguez is executive producer/co-creator of Seis Manos, a Netflix original adult-animated series from Austin’s own Powerhouse Animation. A coming-of-age feature set in 1950s Italy, You, Mine, is in development for a 2021 start date. His latest feature as writer and co-producer, Last Rampage, starring Robert Patrick and Heather Graham, was released domestically by Epic Pictures and premiered internationally at the Sitges Film Festival in October 2017. His most recent TV writing work is for the upcoming Showtime series RUST (2021) starring Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney, and the Netflix original series FLORIDA MAN (2021). He has television projects in development with Exile Content in Mexico and Abot Hameiri in Israel.
Rodriguez spent years as a journalist and some time in academics while pursuing a creative career. He wrote and performed music for Robert Rodriguez’s breakthrough film El Mariachi and began writing screenplays with Robert including the features Shorts (2009) and Machete (2010). His border-set short fiction has appeared in print and online journals and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Additionally, he has served as a frequent speaker, panelist, moderator and judge at writing workshops and conferences in Austin, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Seattle, and was recently a keynote speaker at the 2018 University Film and Video Conference at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
Dailyn Rodriguez was born in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City to Cuban immigrants. She earned a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2001 she participated in The Walt Disney Studios Writing Fellowship. Some of her TV writing credits are: George Lopez, Ugly Betty, Lie to Me, The Glades, The Night Shift. She has been nominated for two Alma Awards and received a Writers’ Guild Award for writing for an Outstanding New Series (Ugly Betty). She was most recently the Executive Producer and Showrunner of Queen of the South.
Tracey most recently wrote the teleplay for MGM’s upcoming film RESPECT based on the life of Aretha Franklin. On the TV side, she served as a Co-Executive Producer on FOSSE/VERDON at FX and Apple’s MORNING SHOW. Before that, she was a Co-Executive Producer on FX’s award-winning series THE AMERICANS, where she wrote for 4 seasons and received two WGAE awards, two Peabody awards and a Golden Globe. Tracey is also a renowned playwright, and her plays include BUZZER (Guthrie Theater, The Public Theater), THE GOOD NEGRO and THE STORY (both at The Public Theater and the Goodman Theater). Tracey is the winner of the 2001 Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, the 2003 AT&T Onstage Award, the 2004 Whiting Award, the 2004 Kesserling Prize, the 2007 Weissberger Playwriting Award as well as the 2007 Time Warner Storytelling Fellowship. In 2009, she was the writer-in-residence at the O’Neil National Playwriting Conference. She has taught and guest lectured at several schools including, Brown University, Yale University, Rutgers University and NYU. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Temple University.
April has several series in development at FX including LOVE RULES with producers Larry Wilmore, Joanna Coles, and The District, and has series in development at WBTV and Paramount Television Studios. April has written for FX’s critically acclaimed comedy YOU’RE THE WORST, MRS. AMERICA (starring Cate Blanchett), and Amazon’s UNDONE, and served as Supervising Producer for Season 2 of DAVE.
April has been a fellow of the Sundance Episodic Story Lab, CAPE New Writers Fellowship, CBS Writers Mentoring Program, and the inaugural Film Independent Episodic Lab.
April is currently under an overall deal at FX where she is creating, developing, and producing meaningful, soul-oriented content under her production banner DIVERSITY HIRE LTD with her producing partner Jen Goyne Blake.
Lauren Shippen is a writer best known for her work in fiction podcasts. She was the creator and sole writer of the popular audio drama The Bright Sessions, which ran from 2015 to 2018. She went on to write MARVELS for Marvel + Stitcher and co-produce the #1 podcast Passenger List, for which she received a BBC Audio Drama Award, Webby, and British Podcast Award. Most recently, she wrote Surviving Hawkins, an official Stranger Things podcast. She has written three novels with Tor Teen. Lauren was named one of Forbes 2018 30 Under 30 in Media and one of MovieMaker Magazine and Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch. Through her company Atypical Artists, she helps bring others’ audio stories to life.
Kira Snyder is Executive Producer and Co-Showrunner of Demimonde, J.J. Abrams’ upcoming new sci-fi drama for HBO, where she currently has an overall deal for television. Previously Kira was a writer and producer on The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, for which she has won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a PGA Award, and two WGA Awards. Kira also received nominations for the Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series Emmy and the USC Scripter Award for her Season 2 episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, “Holly.” Her other film and television work includes the blockbuster feature film Pacific Rim: Uprising, pilot scripts for Hulu, FX, and Amazon, The 100 on the CW, Incursion for Starz, Syfy’s Eureka and Alphas, and the CBS vampire cult hit Moonlight. The Parish Mail ebooks, Kira’s interactive Young Adult supernatural mystery series, are available for Kindle. Formerly a computer game designer, Kira has created games for Microsoft, the MIT Press textbook Rules Of Play, and Electronic Arts, including the seminal, award-winning alternate reality game Majestic. Kira grew up in a Navy family and is a longtime mentor with the Veterans Writing Project at the Writers’ Guild Foundation. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two black cats.
Nathan Staudinger is Director of Studio Insights & Strategy at Sony Pictures TV. In this role, he works on strategy and business development projects as well as new content, including podcasts and digital series. He is Executive Producer on SPT & ABC’s FOR LIFE: The Podcast, and covers Prime Rewind: Inside The Boys for Amazon. Prior to Sony, Nathan worked in creative development at Fox TV, where he developed the series Outcast for Cinemax, and in management consulting in San Francisco. Nathan has a BA from Boston College and an MBA from Wharton.
Guinevere Turner – writer Charlie Says, American Psycho
HORROR FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Guinevere Turner is a writer, director and actor who has been working in film and TV since her 1994 debut film Go Fish, which she wrote, produced and starred in. She teamed up with director Mary Harron to write the films American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page and the 2019 film Charlie Says. She was a writer and story editor on Showtime’s The L Word, and she played a recurring character on that show. She has written and directed seven short films, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
She can be seen in roles that include The Watermelon Woman, Chasing Amy, American Psycho and The L Word. Her latest screenplay, Charlie Says, tells the story of the women who killed for Charles Manson as they serve out the first few years of their prison term. Charlie Says is directed by Mary Harron and opened in theaters and on digital platforms in May of 2019. Guinevere has taught screenwriting at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, University of Georgia, UCLA and NYU. She published an essay in The New Yorker in April of 2019, and is expanding on that essay in a memoir in 2021.
Brian was most recently the Executive Producer and Showrunner of 13 Reasons Why for Netflix, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. As principal of That Kid Ed, Inc., Brian is involved in writing and developing numerous projects for Netflix, where he is under an overall deal, as well as for HBO Max, Charter, and other outlets.
Brian received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2009 Tony Award for Best Score, and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Next to Normal and was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical. He partnered again with the Next to Normal team on If/Then (Tony Award Nominee for Best Score) starring Idina Menzel. Brian co-wrote the libretto for The Last Ship (Outer Critic’s Nomination, with John Logan), with a score by Sting. His musical adaptation of Freaky Friday (for Disney Theatricals) was made into a Disney Channel Original Movie.
Additional theatre credits include Making Tracks, which has played off-Broadway and regionally, the musical adaptation of Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet and the play, Book of Jobs with Alex Glover. Brian has directed off-Broadway and regionally and for seven years was associate artistic director at Village Theatre in Washington state, one of the nation’s leading producers of new musicals.
He’s a graduate of Columbia University, where he was artistic director of the Varsity Show, an alum of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.
Herschel Weingrod is a graduate with Honors at the University of Wisconsin with a B.A in History and then attained an MFA from the London Film School. While in London, he was also employed as a film critic and reviewer at Time Out as well as The Monthly Film Bulletin, a publication of the British Film Institute.
Mr. Weingrod has been a working screenwriting and producer based in Los Angeles for the past 40 years. Among his credits are Trading Places, Brewster’s Millions, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Falling Down, Space Jam, and The Final Season. His directorial debut, Last Wishes, was the winner of the Special Jury Award – Best Narrative Short Film at the 2014 Houston International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection at the Austin Film Festival, Montreal International Film Festival, and G.I. Film Festival. His other awards include, for Trading Places, Best Motion Picture – NAACP Image Awards and a nomination for Best Screenplay by BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Trading Places was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. In addition, Twins was the winner of the Hollywood Foreign Press Award for Best Comedy.
Mr. Weingrod has been a member of the Writers Guild of America since 1980, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1988, and the Advisory Board of the University of Oklahoma Department of Film & Video Studies since 1998.
He’s been a panelist, speaker, and Screenplay Finalist Judge at the Austin Film Festival for the last decade; he’s also done panels, seminars, and workshops at the Eugene, Oregon Film Festival; Loyola University – New Orleans; Victoria University – Wellington, New Zealand; Nashville Independent Film Festival; University of Oklahoma; Screenwriting EXPO – Los Angeles; Monterrey, Mexico International Film Festival; Seattle Film Festival; and several screenwriting seminars in Greece in conjunction with the University of Oklahoma Dept. of Film & Video Studies.
Mr. Weingrod also maintains a website – scriptmaven.com – which offers consultation services to aspiring writers by analyzing, reviewing, critiquing, and evaluating their screenplays.
Patrick Wimp is writer-director from Chicago, Illinois. His work has been lauded in prestigious film festivals around the world every year since 2009, with screenings at the Chicago International TV Festival, Austin Film Festival, Cannes International, New York Television Festival, and many more.
Patrick’s work has aired on Netflix, PBS, Amazon Prime, and a number of international cable and TV networks.
Patrick’s 2019 digital series “Brothers from the Suburbs” received both the Jury and Audience awards at the 2019 Austin Film Festival, Best Web Original at Urbanworld ’19, and Best Directing at SeriesFest Season 5. The show was recently optioned by Warner Bros TV. Patrick also photographed the 2019 Chance the Rapper short music film “We Go High” and was named to the Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2020.
As a proud African-American storyteller, Pat’s work focuses on creating emotionally impactful, accessible, human stories, built around authentic and diverse characters.
Danny Alexander – TV Literary Agent, APA
PRODUCED AND SCRIPTED DIGITAL SERIES CATEGORY JUROR
Claire Bargout is a human and film/tv producer. She is currently the Director of Development at SpectreVision, the production company behind such titles as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Mandy. Originally from Toronto, Claire attended university in Montréal and San Francisco, after which she made her way to Los Angeles and entered a whirlwind of gigs, eventually landing in the world of development with Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa (Little Miss Sunshine, Nebraska, HBO’s The Leftovers). She also independently produced the features Wobble Palace (SXSW ’18) and We’re Still Together (Karlovy Vary ’16).
Megan Mostyn-Brown is a TV writer who’s started in the Warner Bros. Television Writer’s Workshop. Her credits include three seasons of Gotham on Fox and two seasons of NOS4A2 on AMC where she also had a two year overall deal. She’s currently a writer/Co-EP on a new show for Netflix and is developing TV projects with Anonymous Content, Temple Hill Productions, AMC Studios, Pacesetter and a film with the director Babak Anvari.
Megan is also an award-winning playwright. Her work has been read, developed and performed at The Guthrie Theater, The Cherry Lane Theater, Union Station Theater, New York Stage and Film, The Women’s Project, LAByrinth Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, The Old Vic in London, The Tribeca Theater Festival and The HBO Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO.
Her plays are published by Samuel French and Playscripts.
Megan is a graduate of Northwestern University and currently resides in LA.
Milan Chakraborty – Head of Film, Marginal MediaWorks
NARRATIVE FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Tripper Clancy – creator, Die Hart; writer, Stuber, Hot Dog
COMEDY VANGUARD FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Matthew Dartnell – Literary Manager, Writ-Large
STUDENT NARRATIVE SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Felicia D. Henderson – creator/executive producer, Soul Food, The Quad; co-executive producer, The Punisher, Empire
NARRATIVE SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Dave Kajganich – creator/showrunner, The Terror; writer producer, Suspiria; writer/executive producer, A Bigger Splash; writer, True Story
DARK MATTERS FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Chris Lane serves as Vice President of Distribution at Participant, the leading company focused on content to inspire social change, where he has worked on such Academy AwardÒ-winning films as Judas and the Black Messiah, American Factory and Roma, as well as OscarÒ-nominated documentaries Collective and RBG. He has also worked on acclaimed recent films including Final Account, Totally Under Control, John Lewis: Good Trouble, Just Mercy, Foster, Aquarela, On the Basis of Sex and Dark Waters, and the highly praised docuseries America to Me. In addition to collaborating with distributors on the release of Participant’s content, Lane also works closely with the company’s Social Impact team to harness distribution opportunities for its social impact campaigns. Before joining Participant, Lane previously worked at Park Circus, where he served as the Sales & Marketing Director of the Americas and distributed live broadcasts of operas, ballets and theatre performances, as well as art and music concert documentaries. Prior to that, he held positions at Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM. Lane received his BA in Critical Studies from the USC School of Cinema-Television and received his MA from UCLA’s Moving Image Archive Studies specializing in the archiving and restoration of documentary, industrial, governmental and amateur films. Lane currently sits on the Outfest Legacy Project Advisory Board, has been a panelist for DOC NYC PRO, and has been a regular attendee and panelist at the Art House Convergence.
Matt Lieberman – writer Free Guy, The Christmas Chronicles, Scoob, The Addams Family
ANIMATED SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
In a span of about 2 years, Matt Lieberman has had seven screenplays produced by major studios. These include his Black List Free Guy script (starring Ryan Reynolds with Shawn Levy directing), Rumble due to release February 18, 2022 (starring Will Arnett), Scoob! released on May 15, 2020 (starring Will Forte, Zac Efron and Mark Wahlberg), Playing with Fire released November 2019 (starring John Cena), and The Addams Family (which grossed over $100 million dollars domestically in 2019). In addition, he wrote The Christmas Chronicles (2019’s Netflix holiday hit from his spec script starring Kurt Russell) and its sequel which was released November 25, 2020, directed by Chris Columbus.
Most recently, Lieberman set deals for two big projects. Paramount Pictures preemptively acquired Yumanzu, a high concept family adventure pitch. He will write the script with Kenya Barris and Adam Kolbrenner set to produce. Warner Bros. acquired Meebo and Me, an original comedic family adventure spec script by Lieberman. He will produce the film along with Barris and Kolbrenner.
Other projects in development for Lieberman include his spec script Meet the Machines for Lionsgate and The Jetsons and Rin Tin Tin for Warner Bros.
Originally from New Jersey, Matt is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, daughter and French bulldog.
Hailing from the Midwest, Halle graduated from Columbia College Chicago in film business before moving out to LA. Previously, she worked in film sales for Shoreline Entertainment and Preferred Content. Currently, Halle works at APA as an agent in the Scripted Literary Department. As a honoree of Colour Associates 2019 Next Up List, Halle is also a part of Women Wednesday’s BIPOC Mentorship Program Committee and #Startwith8 Mentorship program.
Jono Matt – writer Above the Line, Captain Planet
COMEDY VANGUARD FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Dana Merwin – Program Officer, IDA
DOCUMENTARY SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Lorna Clarke Osunsanmi – writer, All American, The Path, Hemlock Grove
NARRATIVE SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Paul Gandersman – Video Production Director, FloSports
DOCUMENTARY SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Alvaro Rodriguez – writer, Machete; Creator, Seis Manos
STUDENT NARRATIVE SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Nathan Schram – Director of Development, Nickelodeon Animation Studios
ANIMATED SHORT CATEGORY JUROR
Ranell Shubert – producer, What’s Up With Docs
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Siqi Song is an Oscar-Nominated animation director from China. Her films have screened internationally at numerous film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Annecy, Ottawa, and more. She is named a Film Independent Directing Fellow in 2018, BAFTA Los Angeles Newcomer in 2019, and nominated for an Oscar and an Annie Award for her short film SISTER in 2020. Song studied Experimental Animation at the California Institute of the Arts and China Central Academy of Fine Arts.
David graduated from Boston College in 2019 with a BA in Economics and a Film Studies minor.. He was a 2019 Venture for America fellow; VFA is a selective two-year entrepreneurship fellowship that serves economic opportunity in American cities. He joined he Gravitas team in 2019 as a sales coordinator, and is excited he found a job where every day he gets to come into the office and help filmmakers get their films out into the world.
Robert Townsend – writer/director/actor Hollywood Shuffle, The Five Heartbeats, In The Hive, Playin’ For Love
NARRATIVE FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR
Mike Vanderhei is a literary manager / producer originally from Chicago where his pursuit of a career in sports journalism ended his senior year of college when he landed in original scripted programming at AMC Networks working on their multiple Emmy winning series including BREAKING BAD, MAD MEN, and THE WALKING DEAD. After AMC, Mike assisted at Principato-Young Entertainment where he discovered his passion for working with storytellers and championing their careers which lead to Avalon Management & TV where he started to develop a client roster along while helping with their domestic and international TV slate including WORKAHOLICS, CATASTROPHE, and LAST WEEK TONIGHT WITH JOHN OLIVER. Vanderhei then took an opportunity to solely focus on his client roster at Protocol Entertainment with industry veteran John Ufland before moving to Rain Management in 2019. Some of Mike’s clients have written on popular series including THE BLACKLIST, CHARMED, DOCTOR DEATH, LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, THE NEVERS, HAPPY!, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD, MARCO POLO, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and WESTWORLD to name a few.
James was accepted onto the Dogwoof Student Internship Programme in November 2019, and was welcomed back to work for the company in January 2020. After a period assisting in UK Theatrical Sales, James is now working as the Acquisitions and Development Co-ordinator, providing administrative support and assistance for new film acquisitions, as well as leading and co-ordinating research into new ideas for development and production. James was born in Kent, UK.
Vinnie Wilhelm – Writer, Castle Rock, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Devil in the White City
DARK MATTERS FEATURE CATEGORY JUROR