2022 JURY

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Ellie Foumbi

An actor/writer/director from Cameroon whose work is centered on stories about identity and moral ambiguity within the African diaspora. She holds an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts in Directing. Her films have screened at Venice, HollyShorts and Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In addition to participating in Berlinale Talents and New York Film Festival’s Artist Academy, her projects have been supported by SFFILM, The Gotham's Project Market, Film Independent, and the Tribeca Film Institute. 

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An award-winning writer, filmmaker, singer/songwriter, performance artist and actor. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in Panama and New Jersey, before moving to New York City where she began to synthesize her motley life experiences through ground-breaking music, prose and performance art. Her work has taken her from underground clubs to the museums and galleries of the world, while her award-winning prose has been published in literary journals. She then shifted focus to on-camera storytelling, appearing as an actor on SyFy, CBS, Amazon Studios, Nickelodeon and Netflix. As a director, writer and producer, her short films have won Best Comedy, Best Creative Short, and Best Director. Tora is based in Los Angeles where she is a current member of the Television Academy. 

Davidson Made his directorial debut with the 1974 cult classic The Lords of Flatbush starring Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler. After graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he spent five years as an actor and director of Off-Broadway and also performed in stand-up comedy. He subsequently moved to Hollywood where he directed Almost Summer, Hero at Large, Eddie and the Cruisers, Long Gone, Heart of Dixie, Hard Promises, and Looking for an Echo.

Marty Davidson

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Samar Qupty

A Palestinian actress and filmmaker born in 1989 in Nazareth. Samar studied filmmaking at The Steve Tisch school of Film and Television, Tel Aviv, for four years, and then moved to New York for method acting studies at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. As an actress, she appeared, amidst others in Junction48, Sirens and Fauda. As in filmmaking, Samar wrote and directed a few short dramas, mostly discussing women's forbidden matters focusing on the Arab society. Latest is her new movie Hush, which she also starred in.

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Ira Deutchman

An independent producer and a consultant in marketing and distribution of independent films. He is also a Professor of Professional Practice in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where he was the Chair of the Film Program from 2011-2015. Ira has been making, marketing and distributing films since 1975, having worked on over 150 films including some of the most successful independent films of all time. He was one of the founders of Cinecom and later created Fine Line Features. He was also a co-founder of Emerging Pictures, the first digital projection network in the United States and a pioneer in delivering live cultural events into movie theaters.

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Chester Algernal Gordon

A producer and costume designer on several projects that have played in over 200 festivals combined including Cannes, SXSW, Outfest, and the American Black Film Festival. Gordon’s produced documentary Pier Kids won a spirit award in 2021 and was nominated for a GLAAD award in 2022. Gordon is the winner of the Tribeca Film Institute’s 2019, TFI All Access Grant and was also a Film Independent 2019, Producing Lab & Fast Track Lab fellow. Gordon was a part of the teams of five Sundance films winning best U.S. narrative short twice and served as a costume designer in Danielle Lessovitz’s Port Authority and is currently producing Elegance Bratton’s debut narrative feature The Inspection with A24 & Gamechanger.

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Meredith Kaulfers

A proud New Jersey native, Meredith started in scripted indies and short films before moving to documentaries and worked on a wide range of projects for some of the biggest networks and streaming services such as Apple TV+, HBO, ESPN+, and more. Currently, she is the SVP of Current production at Imagine Documentaries, the unscripted division of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, which has been a leader in premium storytelling across film and television for over 35 years. She’s She recently produced Howard’s documentary feature film We Feed People and is proud to have produced several films that played at the LIFF: Local Tourists, Little Horses and most recently John Bronco. 

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Sola Fasehun

Worked with Academy Award-winning producer Michael Phillips (The Sting, Taxi Driver) at Lighthouse Productions and was a sales/distribution consultant at Submarine Entertainment/Deluxe. She also worked on the leadership team for UTA’s diversity initiative and was an MP lit agent/inclusion board chair at Buchwald. Sola is a Lit Manager/Founder at The Distribution Collective, a Producer at Hooligan Dreamers, and a Consultant at ScreenCraft's Film Fund Program. She is one of the producers of the Tribeca Film Festival award winning film Leylak and the soon to be released Slayers film starring Abigail Breslin, Malin Akerman, and Thomas Jane.

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Or Lee-Tal

A veteran film editor based in Tel Aviv. He has wide-ranging experience editing narrative and documentary films and television shows, as well as leading projects in the commercial world. His last feature All Eyes Off Me is part of the 2021 Berlinale. The Dive won multiple awards at the Jerusalem International Film Festival 2018 (including “Best Feature”), then going on an award-winning tour of prestigious festivals like Toronto, AFI Fest and Warsaw among others. In addition, he edited the documentary series Ma'abarot - The Israeli Transit Camps, for which he won Best Editing Award at the Israeli Academy Awards. In 2020 Or took part of the jury at the Durban Film Festival.

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Stephen David Brooks

A former Visual Effects Supervisor who was mentored by VFX stalwarts and multiple Oscar winners John Dykstra and Richard Edlund.  In his VFX capacity Stephen has worked on big budget Hollywood productions including Dick Tracy and Coming To America.  He was chosen to adapt Stephen King’s short story The Mangler for the screen, which led him to make his feature directorial debut with Heads N Tailz, along with subsequent films including Flytrap. His music videos have been Short-listed for Grammy’s. Stephen‘s upcoming projects include the punk feature Meet The Pumps for Executive Producer/Musical Director Linda Perry as well as The Director for producer Rana Joy Glickman.

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Tora Kim-Lake

An award-winning writer, filmmaker, singer/songwriter, performance artist and actor. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she grew up in Panama and New Jersey, before moving to New York City where she began to synthesize her motley life experiences through ground-breaking music, prose and performance art. Her work has taken her from underground clubs to the museums and galleries of the world, while her award-winning prose has been published in literary journals. She then shifted focus to on-camera storytelling, appearing as an actor on SyFy, CBS, Amazon Studios, Nickelodeon and Netflix. As a director, writer and producer, her short films have won Best Comedy, Best Creative Short, and Best Director. Tora is based in Los Angeles where she is a current member of the Television Academy. 

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Mercedes Grower

An Actress, Writer and Director. She started as a ballet dancer, training at the Royal Ballet School in Sadler's Wells before embarking on an acting career. Her debut feature film as director, Brakes, won The Special Mention for the Michael Powell Award at The Edinburgh International Film Festival and at Loco Film Festival in the UK. She is currently starring in Ben O’Connor’s new feature The Bardo, and her second feature as writer-director is in development with the BFI, hoping to shoot next summer. She is also part of the band Sybil with comedian Julia Davis. 

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Anna Feder

A curator, educator, filmmaker and activist. She has worked in various capacities in cinema exhibition over the last two and a half decades on the programming team of several film festivals and served as director of the Boston Underground FF. She serves as the Head of Film Exhibition and Festival Programs at Emerson College, overseeing the Bright Lights Film Series that she founded a decade ago and teaching a course she developed on cinema exhibition. She is a documentary filmmaker and is one of the principal organizers of Queering the Cinema, a professional group for queer identified exhibitors and distributors. She produces the 90 minute film school at SXSW and speaks regularly at the Arthouse Convergence, Film Ex and the University Film and Video Association.