2018 Film and Music Jury

/2018 Film and Music Jury
2018 Film and Music Jury2018-07-20T12:17:58+00:00

Narrative Feature Jury

Meredith Finch
Meredith Finch is an independent film producer and film festival organizer based in New York City. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Film Studies, and has worked for film festivals including Sundance and Tribeca, in feature film and commercial production, and spent some time working in distribution. The latest documentary she associate produced, It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, had its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2018. Meredith spent a few years living in Knoxville, and graduated from Webb School of Knoxville in 2009.

Quincy Perkins
Quincy Perkins is the Director of the Key West Film Festival, he also programs for 8 other film festivals around the world. His newest documentary, The Little Firemen, was picked up by Amazon last year and his newest narrative feature, Love In Youth, premiered was nominated for 3 awards at the Miami Film Festival this year. He has worked on such notable films such as Master and Commander, Cat in the Hat, and most recently Beach Bum with Harmony Korine. He is currently in pre-production on his next narrative feature, which will be a road-trip film through the Florida Keys.

Laura Nyhuis, Nyhuis Creative

With over a decade working in the entertainment industry, Laura most recently was the Director and Programmer at the Tacoma Film Festival from 2012-2017 and founded the Tacoma Film Camp.

Documentary Jury

Nora Armani
Nora Armani is an award-winning actor/filmmaker with extensive International stage and screen credits in many languages. She has curated and organized film events, and guest-curated film festivals internationally since her debut with the 1992 Tribute to Armenian Cinema at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She represented the Ministry of Culture of Armenia in the Film Division from 1991-1993 organizing numerous film events and retrospectives on Cinema worldwide.  Under her Paris-based film production company Parev Productions/ Square Mango Films, she has also organized film events with The Pompidou Center in Paris, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) London, The British Library, Cine Lumière London, Edinburgh Film Festival, Kerala Film Festival India, Birmingham, Inverness, Cardiff, and The Silver Lake Film Festival as guest curator.

She has produced films that have screened at International film festival official selections such as Cannes, Rotterdam and Berlin. She often presents papers at conferences such as Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) at Harvard University and Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and LSE Media Studies, on Sergei Paradjanov, Cultural Identity in Cinema, and Socially Relevant films and their importance is promoting positive social change. She holds an M.Sc. degree in Sociology from The London School of Economics (LSE), and a BA in Sociology and English from AUC. For more information see full bio and filmography on her website or on IMDb.

John Secor
John Secor spent 20 years as an award-winning journalist in newspapers, television and magazines. He produced the Sarasota Film Festival from 2015-2017, cultivating new audiences in the LGBTQ community and curating out-of-festival programming for education and community outreach.

In 2016, he and Project Rebirth, a New York-based non-profit, founded the Veterans Film Academy. This program pairs post-9/11 veterans with film industry professionals to learn documentary filmmaking. The inaugural VFA culminated with the short documentary Returning, which had its world premiere in April 2017. The VFA continues today and is finalizing plans to expand into additional communities.

Melissa Dowler

Melissa Dowler was born in Boston, and is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, where she majored in journalism. After living in London for most of her twenties, she returned to Boston, before moving to Los Angeles. Along with husband, Director of Photography Tom Dowler, she started Long Haul Films. Her debut documentary short, 24 Hours At The South Street Diner, was selected to IFF Boston and the Woods Hole Film Festival. Her first documentary feature, Adele and Everything After, premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival, and went on to win awards at Northwestfest, Harrisburg-Hershey, Scruffy City, Long Beach Indie and others, and was picked up for distribution by Gravitas Ventures.

Dowler is also co-founder of She Sees, a non-profit dedicated to introducing filmmaking to young women, particularly young women of color.

Narrative Shorts Jury

Kathryn Spitz Cohan

Kathryn Spitz Cohan has been executive director of Film Pittsburgh since 2001 overseeing programs including Pittsburgh Shorts, the JFilm Festival and ReelAbilities Pittsburgh. Previously, Ms. Spitz Cohan was the Artistic and Education Director of Shakespeare-in-the-Schools, at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also taught for the Katz School of Business, Film Studies program, and department of Theatre Arts. In 2004, Ms. Spitz Cohan was named as one of the city’s top 50 cultural forces in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 2012, she received an Opal Award from Women in Film and Media–Pittsburgh for exemplary professional achievement and contributions to the economic and cultural development of the region.

Nicole McControversy, Boston Underground Film Festival

A regular on the genre festival circuit, Nicole McControversy has been an event producer and organizer of the Boston Underground Film Festival since late 2007, currently presiding over New England’s gonzo genre celebration as Director of Programming. She has also programmed features for Monster Fest in Melbourne. Joining UK-based Ne’er Do Well Films in 2014 as a producer, she’s currently endeavoring to get a first feature crime thriller off the ground. Once upon a time she covered arts and entertainment for The Hollywood Reporter and Boston.com and has a deep and abiding love for Gremlins, psychedelic nightmares, and tacos.

Brian Ratigan

Brian Ratigan is an award-winning animator and director of stop motion films and experimental work. He is the founder of Non Films and is based in New York City. Ratigan serves as the Director of Animation for Kumar Pictures, co-founded Atlanta production company Sugartooth Group, and manages Chaotic Cinema.

Score and Soundtrack Jury

Emer Kinsella

Emer Kinsella is a composer and classically-trained violinist from Dublin, Ireland. She received her MFA in film scoring from Columbia College Chicago and has since then worked with composers such as Johnny Klimek on the film ‘Jungle’ starring Daniel Radcliffe and the Wachowski’s Netflix show ‘Sense8’. Emer enjoys manipulating and blending sounds together to create new and unique textural sounds in her music. She has worked on numerous award winning films, videos and radio plays such as the feature documentary ‘Faith’ which will be featured in the Vancouver LGBT film festival this summer. In 2017, Emer was accepted as a winning composer into the Los Angeles Live Score Film Festival and into the Irish Performing Rights Organization/RTE film scoring program where she had her score recorded by the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin. She was also an award winner for her score at Soundtrack Cologne in Germany.  Emer has worked with Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions and Bleeding Fingers Music on various film and TV projects.

Paul Jones

Veteran composer of crime and drama music for television (Snapped, Murder Comes To Town, Murder By Number, I Killed My Best Friend’s Dog, Don’t Leave List Behind, Is There More To Life Than A Drone), music supervisor (Scripps Networks) studio owner (Auralation Studios), sound designer, podcast network mogul and synth collector . . . Paul still has time for Little League Baseball every weekend. 

Jon LaCroix

From touring with Colin Hay (Men @ Work) Dweezil Zappa, Tenacious D to creating one of the most innovative music production catalogs in the licensing business. A master keyboardist and drummer what a killer combination!! 

Tom Backus

Accomplished award winning veteran recording engineer for artists Natalie Cole, Michael Omartian, Quincy Jones and others. Berklee and Eastman trained musician (well, drummer actually). Sound mixer for many hundreds of hours of TV and Film soundtracks. Chief Engineer for Jupiter Entertainment from it’s beginning in 1996 until 2013.

Andrew Gross

Andrew has scored and/or licensed his music to over 50 features and hundreds of episodes of TV. Scoring credits include: Bio-Dome (MGM), The King of Queens (Sony/CBS), Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny (New Line), Bring It On: Fight To The Finish (Universal). His music has been been licensed across all media, including American Idol (ABC), So You Think You Can Dance (FOX), Nacho Libre (Paramount), and Ratatouille (Trailer). He recently scored, music curated and music supervised the Emmy nominated series, Why We Fight (Verizon GO90) and the upcoming TBS comedy series, The Dress Up Gang. He is a partner/owner at Konsonant Music and Bulletproof Bear and a board member of the Production Music Association.

Jason Moss

Jack-of-all-trades, master of none (well perhaps a few) Starting his musical life as a songwriter then immersing himself in the world of composing for television commercials, television shows and documentary films, His fire in his belly for music burns as bright as that 16-year-old boy playing records and trying to figure out, “How the Hell Jimmy Page get that Sound!” (His guitar collection is a bit outa control!)

Chris James

Chris James is a Los Angeles based recording engineer, musician, songwriter, producer and a 2017 “Best Engineered Album” Grammy Nominee for his work with Prince on HITNRUN:Phase 2. The Memphis-born musician moved to East Tennessee at age of ten where he honed his chops before going to college in Murfreesboro to attend MTSU for both music and recording arts.

As a founding member and keyboardist of the alternative-rock band, sElf, Chris James recorded and toured in support of several albums before the band signed to Dreamworks and moved to Los Angeles. There he opened the SSL console based recording studio, The Archive. Apart from his work as a multi-instrumentalist, Chris James has also produced, recorded and/or mixed material for many artists including Luther Vandross, Ne-yo, Van Hunt, Paramore, Miguel, Frank Ocean, and Kings of Leon.

In 2012 Prince flew Chris James to Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen to record and mix countless productions including the Warner Bros. released albums, ART OFFICIAL AGE and PLECTRUMELECTRUM — along with many unreleased songs in the legendary vault. A personal career highlight was when Prince invited Chris James to play guitar on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live with his band. In 2013 Chris James toured as a live mixing engineer for Prince while he and his 21 piece band did his one and only show at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas.  The critically praised set lasted until 3 A.M. in the morning. Left with a lifetime of memories, Prince will forever have an impact and a continued inspiration on Chris James’ life and his career.

Most recently Chris James is producing and hosting a pilot for a non-scripted documentary-style reality show centered around his life. Each episode will demonstrate Chris James’ ability to take a less than optimal situation mixed with a little inspiration and out churns a redemptive song showcasing his studio skills as he steps from behind the mixer console and steps in front of the mic.