Meet the Experts
DREA CLARK (JURY) is a longtime film festival programmer, currently at Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, and previously with Slamdance and LA Film Fest. As a producer, Drea has released four independent features, including A VIEW OF THE WORLD FROM FIFTH AVENUE (director Fiona Robert) which is playing festivals in 2023. She’s also produced numerous shorts, music videos, webseries, and a pilot for FX directed by Charlie Day. She is currently Producer-in-Residence at Film Independent, as well as the Nominations Producer for the Spirit Awards. Drea co-hosts Maximum Film!, a weekly movie podcast with comedian Ify Nwadiwe and film critic Alonso Duralde, on the Maximum Fun network.
PAVEL JECH (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is a graduate of the Columbia University Film Division as well as of FAMU, The Film and Television School of the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague, where he served two terms as dean from 2008 to 2016. During his terms, FAMU was ranked among the top film schools in the world, and student films met great success at some of the world’s top festivals. Previously, Jech was the founding chair of FAMU International, a department for English speaking students, and also the faculty liaison for NYU-Tisch, American University, Yale and other programs for American students visiting Prague. He is an active instructor of screenwriting and script analysis, and works as an expert advisor for Sundance Labs, Berlinale Talents, the Mediterranean Film Institute and for the Midpoint Center, which he co-founded and serves as head of studies. Jech lectures internationally, and his manual on dramaturgy for short films, The Seven Minute Screenplay is used by film students around the world. He also worked in over ten countries as a screenwriter and script editor, including for the feature film GRANTHOTEL (Berlinale premiere 2007), has worked as a creative collaborator on some of the most recent films of Jan Nemec, and has directed a short film presented at the European Film Academy Award ceremony.
JASON LEW (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is a Chinese-American filmmaker based out of Los Angeles. He wrote and directed THE FREE WORLD, which premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Boyd Holbrook & Octavia Spencer and was distributed by IFC. His first screenplay, RESTLESS was directed by Gus Van Sant and produced by Ron Howard. Recently, Lew has been writing/producing on multiple TV projects (INSECURE, BALLERS) for HBO, including an original pilot developed for Lebron James’ banner, Springhill. Current: a scripted podcast for Qcode, a western-feature currently in development, a drama series with Tessa Thompson’s VIVA MAUDE and writing/producing credits on Damon Lindelof’s latest show for Peacock. Jason was a Cinereach fellow and is a grad of NYU, where he studied acting, directing and design for theater.
YANNIS SAKARIDIS’ (JURY) career has spanned thirty years in film production. He is the director of AMERIKA SQUARE, a multi awarded film and Greece’s official selection for Best Foreign Film for Oscars 2017, and he is Artistic Director of Drama International Short Film Festival. He has previously directed WILD DUCK which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2013. The film went on to enjoy a successful festival run. AMERIKA SQUARE was released in the US, China, Spain, UK, Turkey, Greece and has been aired by many TV stations including HBO Europe. It premiered at the 2016 Busan International Film Festival and went on to play the prestigious 2016 Chicago Film Festival and 2017 Palms Springs Film Festival. Amerika Square won: Audience Award in Beijing IFF, FIPRESCI Award in Thessaloniki IFF, Special Youth Jury Award in Thessaloniki IFF, Special Mention to the actor Vassilis KoukalaniI in Thessaloniki IFF, Erasmus Youth Jury Award in Trieste IFF, Best Feature Film in 2017 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, Best Film in Open Frontiers Contest, Best Screenplay in CineDays, IOM Special Mention in Global Migration Film Festival. Yannis has won the Best Editing Award from Hellenic Film Academy.
IAN SAMUEL’s (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) hybrid work has screened internationally at festivals and venues including Sundance, SXSW, Telluride and Slamdance. He has worked for the Jim Henson Company and Sesame Street. Ian received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in film directing, a BFA from Bard College in film / video, and is a 2014 Film Independent Project: Involve fellow. Ian’s latest film Amazon’s Original Movie, THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS starring Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton was nominated for a 2022 Critics Choice Award. Ian’s previous films include SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER which premiered on Netflix in 2018 and MYRNA THE MONSTER which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Screenwriter JEFF STOCKWELL’s (GROUP INTRO) produced credits include Sundance film THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA and A WRINKLE IN TIME for Disney, Writer’s Guild Award-nominated WILDER DAYS for TNT and, most recently, IVY & BEAN for Netflix. He has done uncredited work on a range of films including ARTEMIS FOWL and PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF. Jeff has worked as a consulting writer at several major animation companies, including a year’s residence at Pixar. He has a range of unproduced projects in various stages of development – from “happening soon – we promise!” to “stored in that warehouse somewhere next to the Lost Ark.” Jeff is a longtime active instructor/mentor for labs and programs sponsored by Film Independent, Global Media Makers, USC’s American Film Showcase and the Writers Guild of America. He is currently on strike!
MARTINE SYMS (JURY) is an artist who has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary. She has shown extensively including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, ICA London, and The Hammer Museum, among others. She is the recipient of a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship in Film-Video and the recipient of the 2022 Herb Alpert Award. She is also the recipient of a creative Capital Award, a United States Artists Fellowship, the Tiffany Foundation Prize, and the Future Fields Art Prize. She is in a band called Aunt Sister and hosts CCartalkLA, a monthly radio show on NTS. She also runs Dominica, a publishing imprint for artist books.
MATTHEW TAKATA (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is the Manager for the Feature Film Program’s international work at Sundance Institute. His focus is on international outreach and selection for the Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs in Utah, FFP’s international labs and workshops in Greece, Cuba and Japan, and the annual Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Awards and Sundance/NHK Award. Previously, Takata worked in development at GK Films, following a stint at Key Creatives and International Creative Management. Takata attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a native of the San Francisco bay area.
DANIEL TALBOTT (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is an award-winning writer and director, a Lucille Lortel Award winning theater producer, and the artistic director of Rising Phoenix Rep. His first feature film co-written and co-directed with Samantha Soule, MIDDAY BLACK MIDNIGHT BLUE premiered at SIFF in Seattle in 2022 and will be released in June 2023 by Good Deed Entertainment. His horror drama pilot ROME, GEORGIA (starring Mary-Louise Parker) is in development with Vertigo Entertainment. His feature script GRAY is in active development in Denmark with Motor Productions, with Martin de Thura attached to direct. Other TV writing includes THE MIST based on the Stephen King novella, and THE CONNERS on ABC. He is a graduate of Juilliard.
COLIN WEST (AUDIOVISUAL WORKSHOP) is an award-winning writer and director from Columbus, Ohio and now based in LA & NYC. His films include LINOLEUM (SXSW Film Festival, 2022) starring Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Michael Ian Black and Tony Shalhoub, and DOUBLE WALKER co-written by and starring Sylvie Mix. He also produced the Stacy Keach led film SURVIVAL SKILLS, sponsored by Film Independent.