past jurors

2012

Xan Aranda
An award-winning independent filmmaker affiliated with the documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films (Hoop Dreams), Xan’s Mormon Movie was inspired by religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s. Her directorial debut Andrew Bird: Fever Year had its world premiere at the New York Film Festival and has screened with nearly fifty film festivals since. She’s a producer of Milking the Rhino and Outreach Director for Prisoner of Her Past, having handled PBS broadcast of both films. Xan is also an active consultant, with clients ranging from first-time filmmakers to the U.S. Department of Education.

Robinson Devor
Named one of Variety‘s “10 Directors To Watch” in 2000, Devor made his feature directorial debut with The Woman Chaser, which debuted at The New York Film Festival. In 2005, Devor premiered his second feature film Police Beat at Sundance, which went on to be named one of the year’s best films by the New York Times, Film Comment and Art Forum. For his efforts, Devor was nominated for a 2006 Indie Spirit Award and 2005 Gotham Award.  Devor ‘s most recent feature film, the hybrid documentary Zoo, made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and then went on to play at the Cannes Film Festival in the Director’s Fortnight Section. It was recently named by Filmmaker Magazine as “One of the Top 25 Indie Films of The Decade.” Currently, Devor is in production and editing four films including an adaptation of You Can’t Win, a turn-of-the century memoir of opium addict and master thief Jack Black starring Michael Pitt, and a feature documentary about Sara Jane Moore, the suburban, middle-aged woman who attempted to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. In 2010, Devor received a Stranger Genius award. He has been an arts curator for the City Arts Festival, an advisor at Antioch University and a lecturer at Chicago University and the New School in Manhattan.

Patrick Wang
Patrick Wang graduated MIT with a degree in Economics and a concentration in Music and Theatre Arts. As an economist, he has studied energy policy, game theory and income inequality. As a theater director, he has specialized in classical verse drama and new works, with a collection of his short drama published as The Monologue Plays. His first film (as director/actor/producer), In the Family, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and was a New York Times, NOW Magazine, and Chicago Reader critic’s pick (it screened at Northwest Film Forum in Fall 2012). Patrick featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 2012 list of 25 New Faces of Independent Film.

2011

Orly Ravid is a 12-year industry veteran with experience in festival programming, acquisitions, business affairs, foreign sales, and digital distribution. The Film Collaborative advised uniFRANCE on new media and Sundance on its new “artists services” digital distribution initiative. TFC launched Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul, a multi-format book about distribution (written with Jon Reiss and Sheri Candler). Orly regularly moderates or speaks on panels regarding new technology and digital distribution.

Debbi Berlin has been actively involved in the Entertainment, film and distribution business for almost a decade. In 2008 she launched her own consulting company specializing in film bookings, theatrical distribution, marketing, publicity and talent production. Clients have included The American Film Institute, ARC Entertainment, The Chinese Theatre, Imperia Entertainment and The Dallas International Film Festival.  Debbi also started and ran for several years the US theatrical and publicity departments for Palisades Tartan, an international film distribution company where she also assisted with acquisitions. Under her management, several films were the New York Times critic’s pick!

Michael Galinsky is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn. Along with partners Suki Hawley, and David Beilinson, he makes documentary and narrative feature films.  Their most recent documentary, Battle for Brooklyn is an 8-year project about democracy, community and power.

2010

Robert Koehler is a film critic for Variety, Cinema Scope, Cineaste and filmjourney.org, and a festival programmer. He is a partner in Festworks, a festival consulting firm, and served as director of programming for AFI Fest in 2009. A former theater critic for the Los Angeles Times, he has also written reviews, articles and essays for a number of publications including Cahiers du Cinema, the Christian Science Monitor and Die Tageszeitung. Koehler is a member of FIPRESCI and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and has served on juries at various festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Slamdance, Guadalajara, Santiago, Palm Springs and Bermuda. He has contributed chapters to the books, “On Film Festivals” and “Cine Argentino 99/08.”

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Peter Sillen is a New York based documentary filmmaker. Best known for his low-tech approach and sensitivity to his subjects and their environment, Sillen’s previous works include Speed Racer: Welcome to the World of Vic Chesnutt (1994) and Benjamin Smoke (2000). Sillen received grants from the Jerome Foundation and Creative Capital for his work on I am Secretly an Important Man and has screened his films at a wide array of festivals and venues including the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, South By Southwest, Slamdance, the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Academy of Music and San Francisco’s Castro Theater.

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Bradley Beesley has made a cinematic career documenting oddball Americana and homegrown rock stars. Post art school, he began filming with bluesman R.L. Burnside to make his first movie ‘Hill Stomp Hollar’ (SXSW). He has since directed nine feature-length films, including seven documentaries. Bradley is the director of the backwoods cult classic Okie Noodling (PBS). The film chronicles the lost art of bare-handed catfishing. In 2005, Shout! Factory released ‘The Fearless Freaks’, a documentary starring The Flaming Lips. ‘Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo’ (HBO) is his latest effort and goes behind prison walls to follow convict cowgirls. His TV credits include ‘Paranormal State’ (A&E) and ‘Storm Chasers’ (Discovery).

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Ann Marie Fleming is a Vancouver-based filmmaker, writer and artist, born in Japan with Chinese and Australian parentage, whose work explores issues of family, history and memory. She has won best short film at TIFF three times: “You Take Care Now”, “New Shoes: an interview in exactly 5 minutes” and “Blue Skies”. Her dark comedy, “The French Guy”, won best feature at the Boston Underground Film Festival. Her animated documentary, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (2003) has garnered acclaim internationally. Her same-named graphic novel won The Doug Wright Award for best Canadian comic in 2008 and was nominated for a couple of Eisner’s. Ann Marie has made short animated films for the CBC’s DNTO, DiscoveryUS’s PlanetGreen Channel, amongst others.

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2009

Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins is a filmmaker born and raised in Miami’s inner city. After completing Bachelor’s degrees in both film and creative writing, he relocated to Los Angeles where he worked as a director’s assistant and development associate for Harpo Films. Barry currently resides in San Francisco, working for the rent check by day and writing, writing and writing by night. He is the writer/director of the short films “My Josephine” and “Little Brown Boy.”

Vanessa Renwick
Founder and janitor of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass Born 1961 in Chicago, Illinois. Film / Video / Installation artist. Lives in Portland, Oregon. A filmmaker by nature, not by stress of research. She puts scholars to rout by solving through Nature’s teaching problems that have fretted their trained minds. Her iconoclastic work reflects an interest in place, relationships between bodies and landscapes, and all sorts of borders. Working in experimental and poetic documentary forms, she produces films, videos and installations that explore the possibility of hope in contemporary society. She is a naturalist, born, not made : a true barefoot, cinematic rabblerouser, of grand physique, calm pulse and a magnetism that demands the most profound attention.

Rob Nelson
Rob Nelson has been a member of the National Society of Film Critics since 1998, and is the recipient of three awards each from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Society of Professional Journalists. His writing has appeared in Film Comment, Variety, The Village Voice, Mother Jones, and Utne Reader. He is the guest critic at IFC.com in October 2009. In 2007, his article about The Insect Woman appeared in the Smithsonian Institution’s Shohei Imamura booklet, A Man Vanishes. Nelson teaches film studies at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and is currently at work on a book.

2008

Dean Otto
Dean Otto (Walker Art Center Film/Video Associate Curator) has been active in film and video programming for 22 years. Over the past 13 years at Walker he has programmed the 19-part Rainer Werner Fassbinder film series, managed the international tour of the series Magnetic North at 17 sites, and coordinated the residencies of Arthur Dong, Cheryl Dunye, Christian Marclay and Craig Baldwin. He curates the annual Queer Takes program at Walker after serving as the programmer
for the Minneapolis/St. Paul LGBT Film Festival for several years for Minnesota Film Arts. He also served as President of the Board of Midwest Media Artists’ Access Center in St. Paul during his two-year term.  Otto is co-curator of the MNTV series on Twin Cities Public Television and co-directed the short Minnesota Mean with Marjie Thieman that premiered at the Flaming Film Festival in May 2001.

Mary Trimarco
Mary Trimarco is the Managing Director of the Washington State Film Office where she promotes the state for filmmaking and helps make Washington a great place to shoot a movie. Mary recently moved to Seattle from Asheville, NC, where she was the director of the Western NC Film Commission since 2004. Prior to NC, Mary worked in television commercial production as a producer in Baltimore/D.C and before that in New York. Before her film career, Mary worked in commercial banking in
New York.  She is from Illinois and went to University of Illinois where she graduated with a B.S. in Finance. Mary lives in Seattle with her husband, Neal Thompson, and her two sons, Sean and Leo.

Rob Moss
Robb Moss’ recent film, The Same River Twice, premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for a 2004 Independent Spirit award, and played theatrically in more than eighty cities across North America. Other films have shown at the Telluride Film Festival, screened at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and at numerous venues around the world, including in Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Sydney, Ankara, and Rio de Janeiro. As a cinematographer he has shot films in Ethiopia, Hungary, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Turkey—on such subjects as famine, genocide and the large-scale structure of the universe—many of these pieces were shown on Public Television. He was on the 2004 documentary jury at the Sundance Film Festival and has thrice served as a creative advisor for the Sundance Institute documentary labs. He is the past board chair and president of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers and has taught filmmaking at Harvard University for the past twenty years. Rob is also the director of Secrecy, which will play NWFF October 10-16.

2007

Joe Swanberg
Joe Swanberg studied film production at Southern Illinois University, where he developed an interest in emerging video technology and a crippling addiction to the Internet. His three features, KISSING ON THE MOUTH (2005), LOL (2006) and HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS (2007), premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and have played extensively at festivals around the world. HANNAH is being distributed by IFC First Take and is currently playing in theaters across the country. He produces an episodic web series, YOUNG AMERICAN BODIES, with his wife, Kris, that can be viewed for free online at www.nervevideo.com. He lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Jonathan Marlow
Despite occasional distractions, Jonathan Marlow is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer, critic, curator and composer. Not necessarily in that order. A moderately accomplished filmmaker with more than two dozen short films to his credit, Marlow is presently the President and CEO of the independent film distributor Cabinetic, with stops at Amazon.com, Scarecrow Video (where he ran the smallest operational movie theatre in the world) and the Rent-by-Mail/Video-on-Demand service Greencine along the way. It is not uncommon for Marlow to draw on his disparate experience for articles and interviews in numerous publications on issues pertaining to the motion picture business. He is also a Board member of the San Francisco Cinematheque, and occasionally hosts film screenings throughout the country that showcase remarkable cinematic works that are unavailable elsewhere.

Vanessa Renwick
Vanessa Renwick is a Portland-based film/video/installation artist and all-around cinematic rabble-rouser. Her experimental and poetic documentary pieces explore place, relationships, landscapes, borders of all sorts, and the possibility of hope. Over the past year, her work has been shown in exhibitions and festivals across North America (from Art Basil in Miami to True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Mo and the Vancouver International Film Festival) as well as across the globe (Germany, Belgium, Scotland, Italy, Austria, South Korea, Mexico). She is the recipient of numerous festival awards, grants and residencies. Her work has pushed the boundaries of the documentary form, and her efforts as a curator/organizer have helped bring similarly unique work from Northwest film artists to an international stage.

2006

John Vanco
Charlie Humphrey
Scott Macaulay
Lane Kneedler

2005

Rebecca Campbell
Ted Hope
Richard Peña
Michelle Satter

2004

Amy Talkington
Noah Cowan
Jeff Hill



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