Best Feature Film, “Bridging the Borders” Award
Susan Cartsonis is one of the top grossing producers of the year for What Women Want (Paramount, Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt), the highest grossing romantic comedy at the time of its release and number two to this day; and Where the Heart Is (Natalie Portman, 20th Century Fox). She produced the teen hit, The Duff (CBS and Lionsgate) and Beastly (CBS Films), Aquamarine (Emma Roberts, 20th Century Fox) and executive-produced Middle School (Lauren Graham, CBS and Lionsgate) and No Reservations (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, Warner Bros.). Upcoming films include Carrie Pilby, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2016. Deidra & Laney Rob a Train, a Netflix Original Film, premiered at Sundance this year and was released by Netflix. As an executive at 20th Century Fox she supervised Nell, French Kiss, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, For the Boys, Dying Young, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; Independent Committee of the Producer’s Guild; Advisory Boards of Wilkes University’s Creative Writing Program, Chapman University’s Dodge School of Film and Television, and board of the non-profit Cinestory. She teaches at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Benito Mueller is the co-founder of Barry Films based in Berlin, Los Angeles and Zurich, producing high concept films and TV formats for the worldwide market. The roster of films include Between Us by Rafael Palacio Illingworth, a 2016 Tribeca Film Festival premiere released theatrically through IFC Films; Life by Anton Corbijn, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival 2015 and was released worldwide; Walter by Anna Mastro, starring Andrew J. West, alongside Academy Award Nominees William H. Macy and Virginia Madsen, 2015 Palm Springs Film Festival premiere released in the US by eOne. Other films include The Bad Intentions, Peru’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, When Pigs Have Wings, which won the Cesar Award in 2012 for Best Debut Film, and The Whistleblower, nominated in five categories for the Canadian Genie Awards in 2012, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director.
Ana-Maria Bahiana was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is a writer, journalist, author and professor. She has worked in the entertainment industry out of Los Angeles for over two decades. She is the author of nine books on film, music and pop culture, and has translated and edited the Brazilian edition of Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. In addition to her work as a journalist and author, Bahiana works as a lecturer, curator and consultant for film-related projects. Her first project as writer/producer, 1972, was co-produced and distributed in Latin America by Buena Vista. She is currently working on a documentary about the cultural connections between Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles.
Best Debut Feature
Anthony Caldarella’s feature film directing, screenwriting, and producing credits include award-winning My Brother Jack, starring Marco Leonardi (Like Water for Chocolate and Cinema Paradiso), and Freddy Rodriguez (HBO’s Six Feet Under); What’s Up, Scarlet? with Sally Kirkland, Jeri Burns, Musetta Vander and Susan Priver; and Mafioso with Leo Rossi and Robert Costanzo. On stage he directed A View from the Bridge, starring Burt Young, and Detective Story which earned the Best Director Award from Drama Logue. Other recent credits include The Price by Arthur Miller, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane by Martin McDonagh, and Harold Pinter’s The Lover and The Collection, winner of the 2002 LA Weekly Best Director Award, as well as indie film Drifting. His many acting credits include the off-Broadway production of The Two Character Play by Tennessee Williams; The Dodo Bird at Theatre West, winning the Best Actor award from LA Weekly; and film roles in Blood Red with Giancarlo Giannini and Dennis Hopper, Friends and Enemies with Dean Stockwell and The Patriot with Leslie Neilsen. Caldarella is currently a director member of The Actors Studio.
Sigal Diamant trained in theater and dance, her stage appearances include the impetuous Miss Margarida’s Way, Pinter’s The Basement and Ophelia in Hamletmachine. She’s known for her film work in Noticed (currently on the film-festival circuit in over 22 festivals worldwide to date), Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning and Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Her latest film, Federico Alotto’s upcoming Ulysses: A Dark Odyssey was shot on location in Italy. Sigal’s passion for the European cinema and specific sensibility found a match in European directors. Her home base is Los Angeles where she spends time when she’s not on a film location overseas.
Betsy Kalin is an award-winning producer/director at Itchy Bee Productions and Bluewater Media, and is a featured
speaker at conferences, universities, film festivals and community events. Her films Roof, Hearts Cracked Open, Chained!, and Click have been honored with multiple awards at festivals around the world. Her most recent documentary East LA Interchange was highlighted on NBC L.A. and has won ten jury and audience awards to date. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Los Angeles City Historical Society’s J. Thomas Owen Award for illuminating L.A. history. Betsy received a BA in Women’s Studies from Columbia College at Columbia University and an MFA in Directing from the University of Miami.
Toni Bell is the Filmmaker Services Manager at the International Documentary Association. She has an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from USC. Her foray into documentary film began when she started writing and editing the newsletter for the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers – West. This led to her first gig as production assistant then archival researcher for the film, Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race, which aired nationally on PBS. Since then she has done research for several films and television shows including Centric’s Being.
Arati Misro is a producer of film and TV, and an explorer of business models in technology and entertainment. She has worked for Fox, Discovery, Sony, USA films and CNBC Asia in various capacities, and her extensive experience in sales has taken her to all major international markets such as Cannes, Toronto, AFM and Berlin. She worked with government entities through the Berlin-based Prime Xchange, and for nearly 11 years has served as Co-Chair of Women in Film International. Misro serves as the board member of the Caucus Foundation and committee member of Camp Reel educational program for girls in filmmaking, self-esteem and life skills. In 2015 she was a mentor for the American Pavilion in Cannes. Misro holds an MFA with Honors from the American Film Institute and undergrad degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Mass Communications.
Best Short, Best Documentary, Best Animation
Margit Kleinman studied French and German linguistics and literature in Wuerzburg and Paris and holds an MA from the University of Tuebingen/Germany. From 1987 to 2012, she was the program director at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles. In May of 2012, she assumed the directorship at Villa Aurora, an artist residency, and the Foundation for American-European Relations in Pacific Palisades. For more information, visit villa-aurora.org.
Mike Libonati has been an animation and visual effects instructor for over 15 years. His students have had their work presented at Siggraph, CTN Animation Expo and various film festivals throughout the country. In addition to teaching, Mike works in 2D and 3D development in Los Angeles for various client for both film and television including projects for Disney, Universal and Fox. Mike has also worked on renderings for architectural lighting design on projects such as the Coex Mall in Korea, Asia’s largest underground mall, and Tesla Motor Company in Los Angeles. Mike has a Master’s Degree from CalArts in Experimental Animation. He currently teaches animation at ELAC.
Elisa Iovine started her career in Los Angeles at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Awards Department. She oversaw the submissions and voting for the Foreign Language Film Award, Short Films and Animated Features. It was through this job that she discovered films from around the world and got involved with programming for SEEfest in 2006. In 2007 she went to work at Warner Bros. Pictures Theatrical Marketing, eventually moving into International Creative Advertising, where she now serves as the Executive Director for the department.
Best Cinematography, Feature Film
John Bailey’s cinematography career encompasses such mainstream Hollywood films as Ordinary People, The Big Chill, Silverado, The Accidental Tourist, Groundhog Day, In the Line of Fire, As Good as It Gets, The Way Way Back and A Walk in the Woods, and such offbeat fare as Tough Guys Don’t Dance, That Championship Season, Swimming to Cambodia, A Brief History of Time and The Kid Stays in the Picture. He is a governor and vice-president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and chairs its Preservation and History Committee. He is also a member of the National Film Preservation Board. Last year Bailey received the ASC Lifetime Achievement award. He is married to esteemed film editor Carol Littleton.
Jacek Laskus is a Poland-born cinematographer and photographer. After graduating from the Polish National Film Academy he moved to New York where he worked on BBC documentaries, music videos with the Academy Award-winning director Zbigniew Rybczynski, and on SNL with Jonathan Demme. He shot his first feature Parting Glances, directed by Bill Sherwood, followed by Donald Petrie Sr’s Square Dance, Robert Altman’s The Caine Mutiny Court Marshall which earned him the ‘89 American Society of Cinematographers nomination for the Outstanding Cinematography; Michael Pressman’s Quick Sand, Frankie & Johnny are Married, and The Guardian series. For Garden of Redemption by Tom Donnelly, Jacek received his second A.S.C nomination and in ‘97 he co-lensed documentary Colors Straight Up, nominated for the ‘98 Academy Award. In 2007 Jacek shot Jerry was a Man for the Academy Award-nominated Michael Tolkin. He teaches cinematography at the AFI, USC School of Cinematic Arts, and California Institute of the Arts, among others.
Best Cinematography, Documentary Film
Arnold Schwartzman – London-born Arnold Schwartzman is an Academy Award® winning filmmaker (in 1981 for documentary film Genocide) and noted graphic designer. He was appointed the Director of Design for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Since 1996, he has designed many of the key elements for the Annual Academy Awards® (“Oscar®”), including commemorative posters, billboards, cinema trailers and printed programs for the awards ceremony and Governors Ball. He has created a number of short video exhibits for the Museum of Tolerance, as well as a permanent eight-screen video exhibit on the achievements of American Jewry, and a “Time Line” mural on American Jewish history, for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. In 2002 Schwartzman was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) HM Queen Elizabeth II for services to the British film industry in the U.S.A. He is also a Governor of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA), and serves on the Board of Hollywood Heritage, Inc. http://www.ctc-pr.com/schwartzmanbio.html
Corina Gamma is a Swiss-born filmmaker and multi-media artist, often exploring the fringes of an urban environment or geographically far, uninhabitable places. Over the past several years she traveled to Greenland where she shot her documentary SILA and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic (2015), traveling multiple times from the southern tip to Greenland’s most northern village, and spending time on the inland ice sheet at the Swiss climate research station. The film received several nominations and awards, among them the nomination for “Prix du Soleur” in Switzerland, the nomination for Best Documentary at Raindance Film Festival in London and won Best Documentary at the Berlin Independent Film Festival. Her previous documentary Ties on a Fence won two awards for Best Documentary. Her photographs and experimental installations have been exhibited in U.S., Europe and China. She received her MFA from the Claremont Graduate University.