Jurors & Judges
Fiction Podcast Script Judges
Austin Film Festival, (AFF) is pleased to announce a distinguished panel of judges for its inaugural Fiction Podcast Script Competition:
- Jeffrey Cranor, the co-author of the novels Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours! He is also the co-creator of the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and Within the Wires.
- Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie graduated from Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in Film & Television. In Summer 2015, they co-founded Two-Up and released Limetown, which has received over 8 million listens and was an iTunes Best of 2015.
- Kathy Merritt is VP of Content Strategies and Development for Public Radio International, where she oversees podcasting, special projects, and distributed radio programs. An award-winning producer, she develops new talent and production partners and most recently launched Playdate with Sarah Jones.
- Ann Heppermann is the founder of The Sarah Awards, celebrating and rewarding radio drama for the 21st century, and hosts its fiction podcast Serendipity. She teaches audio fiction at Sarah Lawrence College in its writing program and is also a producer with Pineapple Street Media.
We’re proud to begin sharing our list of exciting jurors! Submit to the competition and have your films viewed by industry insiders. This year we have judges from Showtime, ICM Partners, Gravitas Ventures, POV, Gunpowder &Sky and many others.
Juror Spotlights – Narrative Feature
Dan Guando is the President of Production at Bloom Media. Dan previously worked at The Weinstein Company for twelve years, most recently serving as US Head of Acquisitions, Production, and Development. During his time at TWC, Dan oversaw the acquisition and release of dozens of films, including The Imitation Game, The Artist, Fruitvale Station, Philomena, The Grandmaster, Snowpiercer, Blue Valentine, Begin Again, Sing Street, and The Founder.
Cullen Conly is an agent at ICM Partners in the Motion Picture Literary department, based in New York. His clients include Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, Charlie McDowell, Sian Heder, Patrick Brice, the Zellner Brothers, Ben Dickinson, Andrew Ahn and Zachary Heinzerling, among others. Prior to joining ICM, Conly was the Manager of the Feature Film Program of the Sundance Institute, where he worked in the Screenwriter and Director Labs. Among the filmmakers he helped nurture there are Beasts Of The Southern Wild‘s Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Fruitvale‘s Ryan Coogler, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ David Lowery, Martha Marcy May Marlene‘s Sean Durkin, Compliance‘s Craig Zobel and Nobody Walks‘ Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young. Before Sundance, Conly worked in development and production at Paramount Vantage and began his film career in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency.
Juror Spotlight – Narrative Short
Justin Lader – After receiving a film degree from the University of Central Florida, Justin went on to attend the American Film Institute (AFI) where he received his Masters in Screenwriting. While at AFI, Justin met Charlie McDowell who was enrolled in the directing program. Their partnership culminated with the film “The One I Love”, which starred Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was purchased by The Weinstein Company for distribution. For his efforts, Justin was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Netflix recently released Justin and Charlies’s feature film The Discovery , starring Jason Segel, Rooney Mara, Jesse Plemmons, Riley Keough, and Robert Redford.
Stay tuned for more 2017 Film Juror announcements!
2018 Screenplay & Teleplay Judges
Our 2018 Judges will be confirmed and announced on a rolling basis. To get a sense of who our judges are, see the list below of our 2017 Judges.
Austin Film Festival has assembled a panel of influential industry judges to read and determine the Semifinalists, Finalists, and winners of this year’s competition. We are proud to announce the following confirmed judges:
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION FINALIST JUDGES
PLAYWRITING COMPETITION FINALIST JUDGES
SCRIPTED DIGITAL SERIES COMPETITION JUDGES
FICTION PODCAST COMPETITION JUDGES
SCREENPLAY COMPETITION SEMIFINALIST JUDGES
Stephanie Bang, Nickelodeon
Elizabeth Bassin, Josephson Entertainment
Kristine Belson, Sony Pictures Animation
Molly Breeskin, Big Beach
Angelina Chen, Energy Entertainment
Lloyd Cherin, Independent Producer
Evan J. Cholfin, Stories International Inc.
Aaron Cruze, Cruze & Company
Ryan Cunningham, Madhouse
Jessie Dicovitsky, Showtime
Andrea Dimity, Pannon Entertainment
Jay Wade Edwards
Chelsea Friedland, Seven Bucks
Katie Goan, Sweetwood Creative
Chris Goble, Automatik
Lindsay Goffman, 3AD
Josh Goldenberg, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment
Good Fear Film + Management
Ethan Helvering, Summit Talent Agency
Samantha Kern, Producer
Karen Kirkland, Nickelodeon
Adam Kolbrenner, Madhouse
Ryan Levee, APA
Jordan Lonner, United Talent Agency
Kathryn Lyn, Producer
Chayah Masters, Rumination Films
Casey Minella, Circle of Confusion
Duncan Montgomery, High Frequency Entertainment
Seth Nagel, Infinity Management
Noreen O’Toole, Associate Producer, Westworld
Paradigm Talent Agency
Joe Pirro, Symbolic Exchange
Jeff Portnoy, Bellevue Productions
Brian Price, Village Roadshow Pictures
Joyce San Pedro, Escape Artists at Sony
Ryan Saul, APA
Ross Saxon, Braven Films
Chad Snopek, Mgmt 113
Fred Strype, Raindance Pictures
Conrad Sun, Meridian Artists
Ray Utarnachitt, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
PLAYWRITING COMPETITION SEMIFINALIST JUDGES
Amy Rose Marsh
We are also proud to have the following sponsors who will be participating as official judges for this year’s competition:
Comedy Screenplay Award presented by Sony Pictures Animation
The studio behind Hotel Transylvania 2 and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will supply a representative to judge for the Semifinalist round of the Comedy category and one Sony screenwriter to join our panel of judges to evaluate the Finalists. Entries in this category are open to all genres of comedy and do not need to be exclusively animated scripts.
Drama Screenplay Award presented by the Writers Guild of America, East
Drama Finalist scripts will be judged by a select panel of WGAE screenwriters and the winner will be presented by a WGAE representative at the Awards Luncheon. This year’s judges include Matthew Chapman, Sabrina Dhawan, and Jim Strouse.
Sci-Fi Award presented by Skybound Entertainment
Open to science fiction, fantasy, horror, surrealism, myth/legend and fantastical storytelling. Skybound Entertainment is a multiplatform entertainment company led by Robert Kirkman and David Alpert (The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Outcast). The company will review the top scripts submitted in the category and will determine the Finalists and Winner and will meet with each of the Finalists during the Conference or over the phone at a later date.
AMC One-Hour Pilot Award
The award is open to any pilot script written in the one-hour format for an original television series. AMC will review the top scripts submitted in the category and will determine the Finalists and Winner. Finalists will be given the opportunity to meet with a representative from AMC during this year’s Festival and Conference or over the phone at a later date.
Scripted Digital Series Competition Presented by Stage 13
AFF is excited to partner this year with Stage 13! The company is a fearless original digital content brand, showcasing a new generation of talent and fresh creative voices, creating dynamic, unapologetic scripted and unscripted short-form series. Stage 13 will help choose the winner of the competition and, schedules permitting, will meet with each Finalist during or after the Festival.
Enderby Entertainment Award
Co-founded by Rick Dugdale and Daniel Petrie, Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop, The Big Easy), the production company acquired the 2008 AFF Finalist script Stranded (now titled Dawn Patrol). The film stars Scott Eastwood and Rita Wilson and was directed by Petrie. AFF proudly presented the world premiere of Dawn Patrol at the 2014 Festival. The Enderby Entertainment Award category is open to feature scripts in all genres with an original concept and distinctive voice that can be independently produced under $10 million.