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2023 Festival Jury


Denise Grayson

Denise Grayson is a multi-disciplined actor/producer and attorney, and founder of Denise Grayson Productions, where feature films in development include Walter Mosley’s sexistential novel, KILLING JOHNNY FRY, and Rajiv Shah’s BLOOD AND THE RYE. Grayson starred in the Academy Award-winning feature THE SOCIAL NETWORK. She is soon to be seen opposite Uma Thurman in Nicol Paone’s upcoming feature, THE KILL ROOM, and in Miramax and J.T. Mollner’s thriller, STRANGE DARLING. Grayson’s television work includes roles in Showtime’s Shameless, and in the Hallmark and Lifetime films Pandemic, Though Nine Go With Me, Dark Desire, and Citizen Jane, to name a few. CARRY TIGER TO MOUNTAIN, a short film that she produced and stars in, is currently on the festival circuit. She also produced the short films NASTY, starring Robert Forster, HINDSIGHT, which she also stars in, and the short documentary THE CROSSING. Grayson starred in GASLINE, a short film that won the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. On stage, she most recently appeared in The Maltese Falcon, The Lady Eve, Casablanca, and in The Thin Man at Treepeople’s Once Upon a Canyon Night at the Mark Taper Amphitheater in Los Angeles. A former Wall Street lawyer, Grayson is on the Board of the Lighthouse International Film Festival and is an acting coach. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.

Cyril Abraham

Cyril Abraham graduated with a producing MFA from American Film Institute Conservatory, where his thesis film was a semifinalist at the Student Academy Awards. He has developed and produced international television series, including negotiating a Netflix slate production deal in India and line-producing a Finnish television series in Los Angeles. His first feature as a producer was PALIMPSEST, which he and Hanna Västinsalo successfully pitched to the Biennale College Cinema program and it premiered at the 79th Venice Film Festival. He also produced the VR animation MAN UNDER BRIDGE, which also premiered at the 77th Venice International Film Festival.

Keisha Knight

Keisha Knight is an arts administrator, distributor, programmer, and educator who is firmly committed to the moving image and its associates. Keisha uses her work across the fields of film, art, and education to support robust media ecosystems. Through her distribution work at Sentient.Art.Film, Keisha has had the honor of working very closely with established and emerging filmmakers, moving image artists, and industry professionals from around the world. Keisha is currently the Director of Funds at the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles.


Arnold Schwartzman

London-born Arnold Schwartzman is an Academy Award® winning filmmaker (Feature Documentary, Genocide, 1981), noted graphic designer and author. In 1982, he was appointed the Director of Design for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. For a number of years, he had designed many of the key design elements for the Annual Academy Awards® (Oscar®), including commemorative posters, billboards, cinema trailers and printed programs for the Awards ceremony and Governors Ball. In 2000, Arnold was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for services to the British film industry in the U.S.A. In 2006, he was conferred the distinction of Royal Designer (RDI). He is a Governor and past Chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA), and in 2001, Arnold became the founding Chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch.

Jeff Consiglio

Jeff Consiglio is an LA based film director, producer and editor with a focus on character-driven nonfiction film. As editor, Jeff’s documentary work has earned one Academy Award win and a second Academy Award nomination, multiple Emmy’s and awards from many film festivals including Sundance and a Special Jury Award for Documentary Editing from SXSW. His music video editing work has earned multiple nominations and one Grammy, and his producing/directing work has earned top awards from national and international festivals. Jeff also creates film and digital art, and presents seminars and guest lectures on the art of honest storytelling.

Petra Haffter

Petra Haffter is an International award-winning film and TV writer/director/producer of more than 100 movies, TV films and series, documentaries, and music videos. Among them are the documentaries: CALIFORNIA DREAMING, ROCKS OF AGES, THE COLORS OF THE DESERTS, THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, IN SEARCH OF AMERICA, and TRACKING AGATHA. The features include CRASHKIDS, A DEMON IN MY VIEW, and THE KISS OF THE TIGER. Since 2015 Petra is a faculty member for directing at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and has been a guest speaker and lecturer around the world.

Among her awards: the 2013 “Special Artist Award for Multi-Cultural Understanding and Collaboration” and the 2012 “Best Camera” for THE COLORS OF THE DESERTS. 2004 Star of the AZ Munich for TRACKING AGATHA, Certificate of Appreciation from the LA City Council for her film about the city of LOS ANGELES and the series THE COLORS OF THE DESERT, Golden Bear for RED KISSES, and the Special Jury Prize handed over by Jury President Robert Wise for her thriller A DEMON IN MY VIEW starring Anthony Perkins.


Chesley Heymsfield

Chesley Heymsfield founded and serves as Executive Director of the Louisiana International Film Festival & Mentorship Program (LIFF) since its inception in 2011. LIFF made its mark as one of the fastest growing young festivals in the country and garnered an international reputation as a place for Louisiana talent to gain direct access to the entertainment industry through an annual festival, year-round industry events, a film society, and educational seminars. Prior to LIFF, Chesley worked as a Producer in development, production, post, and VFX – working on projects from indie films to music videos and commercials to box office movies. She also worked as a screenwriter in the United States and Europe. Now, she is directing a timely documentary film about “the disease of 1,000 names” called MOVIE ABOUT M.E. She is also directing a companion impact campaign called ICEBERG.

E’Ian West

E’Ian West is an award-winning producer, writer, director, and entertainment industry entrepreneur. In 2022, his film, SHADED, won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival and the Award for Excellence in the Documentary category at the Southern Shorts Awards Festival. His other credits include short films TRIGGERED, PANORAMA, which made a qualifying run for the 95th Academy Awards, as well as the TV series Love in LA. He is the owner of L.A.-based Montage Media Production Company and the Brella Streaming Network. Through Montage, West has made relationships at MTV, VH1, WeTv, Lifetime Network, Discovery Network, GSN, Oxygen, and E! Network. His work has been featured by Business Insider, ABC News Channel 7, and The California Business Journal. He is also the founder and president of the Los Angeles and Miami Creator Studios, which help local college students learn about the entertainment industry and find fruitful professional connections. E’Ian has worked with nonprofits such as The Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, The Los Angeles Sports Council, The Ventura College Foundation, The Dream Builders, and The Legacy Charitable Foundation. He is a member of the Television Academy.

Thomas Pallier

Thomas Pallier is a film director, screenwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles. He holds an MFA in Film Directing from Chapman University where he was mentored by acclaimed director Asghar Farhadi. He wrote, produced, and directed two recent shorts that are currently on the festival circuit: TOP DOGS (2023) and TAQUITO PATROL (2022).

Passionate about the power of cinema to create a shared experience and touch audiences, Thomas combines his European heritage with his love of classic Hollywood films to make movies that are both meaningful and entertaining. He draws inspiration from themes such as the American Dream, family, and community and uses his dark sense of humor to infuse his films with a sense of wit and irreverence. He is currently developing his first feature – a satire on the cultural divide in America.


Ty Whittington-Scott

Ty Whittington-Scott is synonymous with exceptional creativity and passion in the world of filmmaking. Her unwavering determination, commitment, and spirited approach have earned her numerous accolades in screenwriting, directing, and producing short films under her independent production company, BossChics Films. A versatile director, Ty has an impressive portfolio that includes music videos, viral web shows, reality shows, and short films for clients worldwide. Among her noteworthy directorial projects are the award-winning short film “Parker & Angel” (available on Amazon Prime), “Counterblow” (2019), “Amphibious Princess” (2018), and “Lala Land” (2018), inspired by Susanna Kaysen’s bestselling 1993 memoir “Girl, Interrupted.” Besides directing, Ty co-produced “Room 203” and was responsible for overseeing the majority of the film’s post-production. Ty is also the founder and CEO of Oshun Entertainment, a multinational independent production company. She was recognized as the July 2022 Artist of the Month by The Artists Forum.

Corey Woods

Corey Woods got his start in local theater in Eugene, Oregon where he was technical director and actor on a dozen productions. He began writing screenplays and working on low-budget features and corporate media in many departments to pay the bills. When the feature film “Zero Effect” came to Portland, Oregon, in 1997 he was hired by the Los Angeles-based sound mixer to work as a local and was subsequently invited to Los Angeles where he joined the sound local. He has worked in every position in the production sound department and was part of several EMMY-awarded teams on shows including Modern Family, and Barry: Loud, Fast
and Keep Going. Corey has twice made the Nicholl Fellowship Semi-Finals in screenwriting, finals of the African Film Commission Screenwriting Competition, and a mentorship with the Scriptapalooza screenwriting competition. He is currently working in sound mixing and continues to write screenplays in his downtime.

Katerina Tana

Katerina Tana studied English and French Lit. at the University of York in England where she acted in and directed several plays, and later trained as an actor in London. She debuted the role of Arlie in Getting Out in the UK premiere of the play. In London, she worked as photographic editor on legendary director Fred Zinnemann’s autobiography. She credits Zinnemann with teaching her how to frame.

Katerina has worked in feature film development, production, and design in California over the past 25 years. As an actress, she played in the film The Duchess (2008), and several shorts. The Tip (2021) is her first debut as a screenwriter and director, which she also produced and acted in. The film screened at festivals in the U.S. and internationally, and the story is slated for future development.


Philip Malamuth

Philip Malamuth has recently completed editing three seasons of the animated series Animaniacs, which is shown on Hulu. Mr. Malamuth was awarded an Emmy for cutting the first season. Among his other animation credits are streaming features such as Tom and Jerry, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Kronk’s New Groove as well as the television series – Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Stitch and Ai, The Replacements and Brandy and Mr. Whiskers. Live-action features include Life Inside Out and A Remarkable Life. Mr. Malamuth is a lecturer in editing at Cal Arts and Columbia College Hollywood. He has an MFA in film production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Michael Tosti

Michael Tosti is a production engineering expert who spent 32 years in the theatrical, broadcast, and streaming digital post-production industry. He is currently working as the Director of Production Engineering at IDC-LA for the past 3 years. Before that, Mike spent 18 years as the Manager of Production Technology at Technicolor Creative Services, and prior to that as the Director of Technology at Cinesite Visual Effects. Mike started his post production career as a Software Engineer and customer support engineer on the Cineon Digital Film System at Eastman Kodak.  He is a long-term member of SMTPE and Visual Effects Society.

Nicholas Zabaly

Nicholas Zabaly is a producer and writer active in both animated and live-action films. He currently serves as the producer of The Flower, a hand-drawn animated short film, directed by Andrew Simmons. Originally initiated at the Walt DisneyFeature Animation Florida Studio in the late 1990s, the short was uncompleted upon the studio’s closure in 2004 but was kept alive for years by Mr. Simmons, and resumed full production in 2021 as an independent film, making it the last, lost film of the Florida Studio. As producer, Nicholas helped bring together a group of Disney veterans and global talents to finish the film, scheduled for completion and release in early 2024. Nicholas has also served as an affiliate of the acclaimed Japanese animation studio Science SARU and was credited as an associate producer of the studio’s two short film contributions to the Disney+ anthology series Star Wars: Visions (2021). Nicholas has spent over a decade in film development with a focus on Japanese animation and has developed connections throughout the American and Japanese animation industries. In the live-action sphere, he participated in the development of two feature films based upon Japanese content, Room 203 (2022)and Root Letter (2022), both of which were produced by Annmarie Sairrino’sAMMO Entertainment. Nicholas began his entertainment career working in various capacities with Leonardo di Caprio’s production company Appian Way, NinaJacobson’s production company Color Force, the production/talent management company The Gotham Group, and the groundbreaking Japanese animation studio Madhouse. In addition to his ongoing work on The Flower, he is developing a Japanese-UK live-action feature film entitled OUT, which he has co-written with writer/director Masashi Kawamata and which he will


Joachim Zell

Joachim Zell is the Head of HDR Content Workflow for BARCO, Hollywood. His expertise is in production and post-production workflows, ACES, and Imaging Science. For 12 years, he served as the vice president of Technology at EFILM/Deluxe, where he designed and monitored production workflows from on-set production until the movie release. Previously, he was the VP of Advanced Technology at Technicolor Thomson, Burbank, CA, and before that he was a marketing manager Americas at Grass Valley Thomson. During his time in London, he worked as a product manager of digital film systems for Pandora Int. He supports SMPTE as Hollywood Section Manager and serves on the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Technology Committee team that defined the ASC CDL standard and holds the position of ACES Project Vice Chair at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. In February 2020, he became a board member of the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA). He holds a master’s degree in film and television engineering and was a co-writer on 4× image processing patents.

Max Da Yung Wang

Max Da Yung Wang was born in Taipei, Taiwan and after college he worked as a fashion photographer. He later studied in the Cinematography Program at the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Conservatory and received a Masters of Fine Arts from AFI in 1999.

Recent features include LOOKING UP, ANIMAL WORLD, THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, and DEVIL ANGEL which topped the Chinese box office when they premiered. He has also shot numerous music videos and commercials with directors such as Mark Webb and Wayne Pang, and worked with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Master P, Lil Jon, and Ying Yang Twins. Commercial work includes brands such as L’Oréal, Mercedes-Benz, Red Bull, Panasonic, Asus, Lego, and McDonald’s.

David Frederick

David Frederick – A 1979 NYU Tisch Film School graduate, Frederick began his professional Cinematography career as 1st Assistant Cameraman, working on films ranging from the Coen Brothers’ BLOOD SIMPLE to Bruce Beresford’s DRIVING MISS DAISY. Collaborating with Director Miriam Kruishoop in his role as Director of Photography and Associate Producer on ESTILO AMERICANO, he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge, enlisting a deep pool of talent behind and in front of the camera lens, creating a visually stunning depiction of an extremely compelling story.

Films and TV series Frederick’s been Cinematographer on include: FBI INTERNATIONAL, THE SOCIETY, GET SHORTY, MUPPETS FROM SPACE, The SOLOIST, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, AQUARIUS, The BRIDGE, and SONS OF ANARCHY. He received an Emmy nomination for his work on SURVIVOR Seasons 41, 42.


Arnold Schwartzman

London-born Arnold Schwartzman is an Academy Award® winning filmmaker (Feature Documentary, Genocide, 1981), noted graphic designer and author. In 1982, he was appointed the Director of Design for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. For a number of years, he had designed many of the key design elements for the Annual Academy Awards® (Oscar®), including commemorative posters, billboards, cinema trailers and printed programs for the Awards ceremony and Governors Ball. In 2000, Arnold was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for services to the British film industry in the U.S.A. In 2006, he was conferred the distinction of Royal Designer (RDI). He is a Governor and past Chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA), and in 2001, Arnold became the founding Chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Branch.

Michelle Crenshaw

Michelle Crenshaw freelances on features, episodic television, and documentaries with numerous credits from assisting Directors of Photography to developing her cinematography style. As Director of Photography her most recent projects aired include “Pride,” a documentary series for FX on Hulu; and “Delilah,” a dramatic series for WarnerHorizon /Own network. “The Watermelon Woman” was selected in 2021 for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Michelle has taught as an adjunct professor at USC cinematic arts. She has also been awarded an Artist in-residence teaching cinematography to advanced media students at Wayne State University, her hometown.

Ines Johnson-Spain

Ines Johnson-Spain, born and raised in the GDR, studied religious studies at the Free University of Berlin and fine arts and film history as a guest at the Berlin University of the Arts. She works as a director and screenwriter. She is particularly interested in self-concepts in the field of tension between the individual and society. In the current film BECOMING BLACK she autobiographically dealt with her East German/Togolese origin. She teaches Scenic Painting at Film University Babelsberg, serves on various film juries and gives workshops and lectures on autobiographical film.