2021 Jury

Eugene Brancolini

Eugene (Gino) Brancolini

Eugene (Gino) Brancolini serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor and the Graduate Director for Production in Loyola Marymount University’s (LMU) School of Film and Television (SFTV). Before joining the LMU faculty in 2007, for over twenty years Brancolini produced and directed public television documentary and studio programming for WTIU, PBS Channel 30, Bloomington, Indiana, the public television station owned and operated by Indiana University. During his last decade at Indiana University, Brancolini worked as WTIU’s Director of Production Services, managing a production unit that produced local, regional and national public television programming. His work has been awarded both regional Emmys and CINE Golden Eagles. Brancolini’s national public television producing and directing credits include Sugarplum Dreams: Staging the Nutcracker Ballet, Spanning Time: America’s Covered Bridges, Ten Steps to College with the Greenes, Paying for College with the Greenes, and more recently, Cuba: The Forgotten Revolution. He has served as a documentary juror for various regional Emmys, the Broadcast Education Association, and the Kentucky Humanities Council. Brancolini holds a B.S. in Secondary Education, English and an M.S. in Communication from Clarion State College (Pennsylvania) and has completed the coursework towards a Ph.D. in Mass Communication at Indiana University. In addition to serving as a Graduate Director for SFTV, he teaches courses in documentary pre-production, producing and directing short-form narrative fiction, directing fundamentals, and episodic television studio production. Born and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Professor Brancolini holds both American and Italian citizenship. He and his wife Kristine reside in Redondo Beach, California.

Gérard Dessere

Gérard Dessere

Gérard Dessere is a Filmmaker, Film Educator and Archivist. His film The Statue of Surprise received the Charles Boyer Foundation and Dorothy Arzner Awards. He worked on the documentary Sannicandro, a co-production between Arte, the French-German channel, and Pinto Film, London. As an assistant to Liliane de Kermadec, he oversaw the documentary project development for the Parisian based film company Film après Film, where several of the films received awards at festivals including the San Francisco Film Festival and Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival. He produced television programs on Media and Violence in Colorado, and, as a festival organizer, was instrumental to the foundation of the Five Rivers Film Festival in Montana, headlining Sydney Pollack, Agnès Varda, Ron Maxwell and Liliane de Kermadec. He has extensively lectured on Film History, Film Management and conducted workshops on Film production and Film Archiving in France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, including at UCLA, the University of Colorado, the University of Montana, the Versailles University, and the University of Grenoble. A Film Archivist and Programmer, he has been associated with the restoration and programming of UCLA Film Television and Radio Archives and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His articles have been published in a variety of Journals and magazines in the US and France (Positif, Cinem’Action). A Fulbright laureate, Board member, and graduate of UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television and Advanced Technologies, Dessere has published two books, one on director Michael Gordon (UC Press, Los Angeles) and one on French B Movies/Le cinéma du Sam’di Soir (Télérama/Corlet). He presently works on a documentary for the Pinto Film Company, London and cataloguing the archives of filmmaker Liliane de Kermadec at Cinémathèque Française.

Ruah Edelstein

Ruah Edelstein is a contemporary artist and animation director involved in arthouse cinema productions. The artist is best known for series of conceptual work including films, paintings, and site-specific installations, merging classical legacy approach with modern day rhetoric. Born in Lithuania, while the country was a part of the USSR, early in life Edelstein went through a rigorous education in fine arts. In the 1990s the artist studied stage directing, touring Europe with a theater company. In 2012 Edelstein received an MFA in Experimental Animation from CalArts. Ruah’s thesis film, “Died 100 Times,” premiered with screenings around the world, among recognitions it had a month-long show at the National Čiurlionis Museum of Fine Art, Lithuania. Edelstein was invited to teach film production at CalArts Character Animation program, where the artist teaches for the past 9 years. In 2012 Edelstein co-founded Lumen Animae, Amity of Creative Partnerships. Since then, Ruah directed more than 30 short animated films, screening at the Holocaust Museum LA, Museum of Jurassic Technology LA, National TV of China, Sundance, Tribeca, and US Open Tennis Championship that brought an Emmy Nomination. A pivotal period started in 2018 during travels in Tibet when the artist began to conceive new non-narrative work. “The soul remembers something that consciousness doesn’t know” – R.E.

Ruah Edelstein
Marlon Johnson

Marlon Johnson

Marlon Johnson is a ten-time Emmy award-winning producer and director. He has worked on award-winning documentary films exploring music, social and cultural issues like Symphony in D (2017); Emmy-winning Sunday’s Best (2010) and Coconut Grove: A Sense of Place (2005). In 2006, The Ford Foundation commissioned Marlon to direct the documentary Breaking the Silence which chronicled the rise of HIV infection in the Black-American South. Marlon served as Head of Production and Senior Producer/ Editor for Plum TV. In 2014 he co-directed, Deep City: The Birth of the Miami Sound, which premiered at South By Southwest. In 2016, Marlon received the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship For Visual Media Artist award. This award is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and recognizes professional artist who are creating at the highest level of their craft. Marlon is currently co-directing a feature documentary, produced by Owsley Brown Presents. The film is a contemplative portrait of the leader of a Pan-African drumline in Louisville who has dedicated his life to mentoring youth in his neighborhood for the last three decades.

Andreas Manolikakis

Andreas Manolikakis is a Lifetime Member and a member of the Board of Directors of the Actors Studio. He is former Chair (2006 – June 2020) of the Actors Studio Drama School MFA Program at Pace University in New York City, where he is a Clinical Professor of Acting and Directing as well as Director of Directing Department. He has taught master classes and workshops in Acting, Directing, and Script Analysis and lectured on The Development of the System and the Method, at the Actors Studio, International Theater Festivals, Drama and Film Schools, Universities, Conservatories, in the U.S.A. and Europe. As a director and as an actor, he has worked in the United States and Europe. Among his highlights are acting On Broadway opposite Sir Derek Jacobi in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code; directing Porte Close, by N. Darmon, at the National Theatre of East Paris, and Elektra, by Sophocles, at the Actors Studio. He directed and acted in numerous plays for the New Hellenic Stage of New York, which he founded in 1983. He is the author of The Classmates, a 13-episode series produced by the National Greek Television. He holds a BA in acting from the Greek Art Theatre Drama School, and a MAITRISE DE THEATRE from the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes.
*Ellen Burstyn (President of the Actors Studio, Oscar, and Tony-winning actress): “Andreas Manolikakis understands the work of Stanislavsky and Vakhtangov better than any teacher or interpreter since Lee Strasberg was teaching at the Actors Studio.”
*Arthur Penn, former President of the Actors Studio, Tony-winning and three times Oscar award nominee: “Andreas Manolikakis is one of the most insightful and gifted members of the Actors Studio”.

Andreas Manolikakis
Carla Marcantonio

Carla Marcantonio

Carla Marcantonio is an Associate Professor of Film, Television, and Media Studies at Loyola Marymount University. She is a scholar of transnational/global cinema. Her book, Global Melodrama: Nation, Body, and History in Contemporary Cinema (Palgrave, 2017), investigates how contemporary film melodrama maps new temporal, spatial, and embodied territories in response to globalization. Carla’s articles and essays have appeared in collected editions as well as in journals such as Social Text, Women and Performance and Cineaste. She is the book review editor at Film Quarterly. Carla is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Adam Montgomery

As Senior Manager of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, Adam has overseen the selection process since 2005, with over 14,000 submissions received annually. In addition to programming feature films and documentaries, Adam also programs the Festival’s Midnight section and lends his past experience in television development to Sundance’s Indie Episodic program. Prior to joining the Institute, he spent five years at Imagine Entertainment, where he worked on acclaimed series such as Arrested Development and 24. From 2014-2017, he served as Director of Programming for CIMMfest, a film and music festival based in Chicago.
Adam Montgomery
Mohamed Saïd Ouma

Mohamed Saïd Ouma

Mohamed Saïd Ouma is an experienced filmmaker, an avid cultural operator, and a seasoned festival manager, currently serving as the Executive Director of DocA-Documentary Africa, an initiative that aims to bolster the African documentary ecosystem through funding, building, and sharing knowledge. His latest film, Red Card, premiered at the 2020 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Mohamed has cut his professional teeth as a festival manager for the International Film Festival of Africa and the Islands (FIFAI) from 2004 to 2015 where he managed to coordinate support for the festival from the Municipality of Le Port- Reunion Islands and the national film governing body (CNC). With his team, they focused on redefining the editorial line towards an author-driven agenda, adjusting it to be in sync with the support policy criteria. At the helm of DocA, Mohamed aims to foster and nourish strong pan-African ties, leveraging his invaluable professional network which in the recent past enabled him to bring together key Film Festival stakeholders for FIFAI, such as the Durban International Film Festival, Colours of the Nile in Ethiopia for the East and Southern Africa region, FESPACO in Burkina Faso, Rencontres de Saint Louis in Senegal for the West Africa region, and more. As a member of the Pan African Federation of filmmakers he can liaise with key industry and role players, to lobby for films and filmmakers. Mohamed is also involved in The African Heritage Project, a special program aiming to restore fifty African films of historic, cultural, and artistic significance – a first-of-its-kind project seeking to distribute these films to new generations of audiences and filmmakers from Africa and the world.

Brenna Sanchez

Brenna Sanchez is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in powerful, character-driven storytelling. She produced, directed and distributed the critically acclaimed documentary BURN, which won the audience award at Tribeca Film Festival, four-walled in 170 cities and is one of the highest-grossing self-distributed documentaries of all time. Prior to BURN, she produced a string of music and culture documentaries with director Morgan Neville (Tremolo Productions), including Search and Destroy: Iggy & The Stooges’ RAW POWER (Sony), Johnny Cash’s AMERICA (A&E/Sony; GRAMMY nominated) and The Cool School (PBS/Arthouse). She has produced and directed award-winning, doc-style impact content for General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Kimberly-Clarke and others. Brenna has led filmmaking, social media, crowdfunding, distribution panels for Sundance, FILM Independent, Tribeca Film Festival, International Documentary Association, Directors Guild of America and USC School of Cinematic Arts. She has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Bloomberg Business, MSNBC and more. 

Brenna Sanchez
Aliki Theophilopoulos

Aliki Theofilopoulos

Aliki Theofilopoulos’ work is easily identified by her strong stories, engaging characters, dollop of heart, and unique brand of humor. After receiving a Bachelor in Fine Arts from USC, Aliki launched her career animating on iconic Disney films including “Hercules” and “Tarzan” before moving into the world of television as a Story Artist, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer. Disney entrusted Aliki to transition its “Descendants” characters into animation as an Executive-Producer and Director on the hit series “Descendants Wicked World.” She also spent several years working at Disney TV as a Story Artist, Emmy-nominated Writer, and Emmy-nominated Songwriter on the highly-acclaimed show, “Phineas and Ferb.”  Aliki received an Annie nomination for her work on the first Minnie Mouse driven short on Disney’s prestigious “Disney Mickey Mouse.” She received a second Annecy nomination for directing the short, “Doctor Lollipop” for Frederator. Most recently, Aliki worked at DreamWorks as an Executive Producer on the  “Doug Unplugs” series for Apple TV+  as well as serving as the supervising producer on the “Harvey Girls Forever.” She currently has two original series in development at Disney and has previously developed original projects at both Disney and Amazon, while Executive Producing a new, unannounced series at DreamWorksTV. Passionate about giving back, she is a member of Women in Animation, a frequent speaker at local schools and universities, and even recently traveled to Greece to give a TEDx talk. Aliki lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her two children and three step-kids, her favorite characters of them all.

Geri Ulrey

Geri Ulrey is a filmmaker, writer and educator living in Los Angeles. Geri’s narrative films have screened at numerous film festivals worldwide, winning many awards along the way. She presently serves as the chair of the Film, Television & Media Arts Department at Glendale Community College where she teaches film and television production. She holds an MFA in film directing and production from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and a BA in drama from Vassar College. Geri also writes fiction and creative nonfiction; her stories and personal essays have appeared in Gulf Coast, The Carolina Quarterly and Cleaver. Her essay “13th & B” was selected as a notable in Best American Essays 2016 and “Swimming” was a finalist for the 2016 Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction. Also, several of her short stories were recently showcased and performed as part of The New Short Fiction Series 2019 season in Los Angeles. Geri is currently at work on her first novel.

Geri Ulrey
Masha Vasilkovsky

Masha Vasilkovsky

Masha Vasilkovsky is an Experimental Animation Artist, internationally known for her animated films, made in direct techniques, ‘Fur and Feathers’ (2000) and ‘Eyes of the Azure’ (2016). Her films screened at Pompidou Museum, Annecy Animation Festival, and Museum of Modern Art New York, among other venues. Masha’s animation is featured in such productions as, “Il Doctor”, Suzan Pitt (2005) and “Lo Azul Del Cielo”, Juan Uribe (2012). In 2012 Masha co-founded Lumen Animae, an Amity of Creative Partnerships, presenting work at US Open, Sundance, and Tribeca Film Festivals, National TV of China, and other venues. Masha has directed and created over 25 productions, such as: ‘Mysterium Georgicus’, animated installation, permanent exhibit, Virginia (2017) and ‘Ashe ’68’, VR Sand animation, Emmy nomination (2019). Since 2014, at College of the Canyons, Masha brought together Holocaust survivors and students to create six animated documentaries based on stories of survival, such as: ‘My Angel of God’ (2019) and ‘The Promise’ (2018). Masha holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (1995) and an MFA in Experimental Animation from CalArts (1998). Masha teaches animation production at CalArts since 2007.