MEET THE 2019 JUDGING TEAM
PREMIER JUDGE - RONN KILBY
After more than two decades in TV (including 12 years at NBC San Diego) as art director, writer-producer and senior creative director, Ronn started his own little production company in 2005. Focused on documentaries, commercials and corporate videos to pay the bills, he soon found himself making narrative short films to feed the soul - immersed in the ever-expanding San Diego film community. A short film he edited, The Tutor, was screened at Cannes. Ronn’s been blessed with a shelf-full of Emmys and 9 above-average grandchildren. His current passion is making quality micro-budget films with extremely talented cast and crew... films that inspire, amuse and make people think.
Roy Zafrani (MBA, B.Ed) is an award-winning screenwriter, director and editor, and an alumnus of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
For over 20 years, Roy has written, directed and edited multiple documentaries, sports events, TV series, commercials and narrative films, including: "The Other Dreamers" (winner of 13 awards, over 100 selections in international film festivals), "Over the Wall" (Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Indie Film Fest, Best World Cinema Short at the 19th annual Phoenix Film Festival), "On the Edge" (multi-award-winning documentary), "Until the End Amir" (Opening Film at the Oscar Qualifying Festival In the Palace), "Fed Cup", "Davis Cup", "Assi Dayan: Embittered" (Vienna Jewish Film Festival), "On Tiptoes", "European Beach Tennis Championships", the American-Canadian series "The Consulting Offer" (Editor, Season 2) and more.
Some of his producing credits include the American drama "Passage" (Excellence in Producing award at Idyllwild Film Festival), the British spy-thriller "The Doorman", "Opening Serve", and "Davis Cup: Road to the Finals", as well as tens of sports events for TV.
He is currently in production with several projects, including "Jamie's Book" (winner of multiple screenplay awards, including at the 2018 Irvine International Film Festival), the crime comedy "Cursed" and the dramatic fantasy "Mondays with Amy", which recently won Best Screenplay of the Year at the 21st California Independent Film Festival and at the 2018 New York Screenplay Contest.
FESTIVAL DIRECTOR - ROY ZAFRANI
Julia moved to Los Angeles from NYC where she earned recognition as Host of a number of infomercials and as on-air Correspondent for many entertainment Web sites with her always stimulating celebrity Red Carpet interviews.
Julia garnered attention and success as an actor in television's Emmy-nominated MOW, "The Flight That Fought Back." More TV roles followed with episodes of "CSI: Cyber", "90210", "After Lately", "Go On" and "Episodes." She played 'Patricia Cochran' (Johnny Cochran's girlfriend) in the highly acclaimed and Emmy winning mini-series, "American Crime Story: The People vs O.J. Simpson." She was seen now on the MOW, "Girlfriends of Christmas Past". Recently, she finished shooting two Independent films in 2018, "Turnover" and "IRL" for an early 2019 release. Julia is currently (2019) in Pre-production on the feature films "Chosen" and "Bikers: a Higher Love".
In addition to her work in television, Julia is a much sought after indie-film actress with starring roles in over twenty films. She was been nominated and won for "best actress" and "Producer" in multiple International Film Festivals for her work in "Sand Angels", "Passage" and "My Name Is Lamar".
When she is not acting, Julia is an ardent photographer, traveler and dog rescuer.
Nami Melumad is a Los Angeles based film & tv composer. Her credits include over 130 films and tv series, most notably Absentia (2017) with Stana Katic (Season 2, Amazon, AXN Networks), Senior Love Triangle (exec. producer Baron Davis), Miss Arizona with Johanna Braddy, The Big Nothing and Dead End (Israeli TV shows). Nami won the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for her work on Passage (2018), Best Short Score at Fimucite (2017) and Best Featurette Score at Idyllwild Festival of Cinema (2018). Her works have been performed by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and Helix Collective Ensemble. Nami is an ASCAP Film-Scoring Workshop Fellow (2016), and graduated the Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV program (SMPTV) at the University of Southern California. She holds a B.A. in multi-style composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she was admitted directly to sophomore year.
Shaw Jones was born and raised in Memphis, TN.
He majored in Psychology and English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and began acting after he landed a talent scholarship at KD Studio Actors Conservatory.
Following that, he starred in the feature Dust to Dust alongside Wille Nelson and Robert Vaughn, then continued his journey by relocating to Los Angeles.
Shaw has worked on NCIS, Shooter, The Fosters, The Closer, Desperate Housewives, Devious Maids, All My Children, The Young and the Restless and many others.
Shaw has also recently had a string of award winning short films that have been featured on HBO, Cinemax and at ComicCon.
He can be seen in the upcoming feature film End of Sentence with Academy Award nominee John Hawkes, and in the feature The Chain alongside Emmy winner Ray Wise.
He is currently shooting the lead role in the sci-fi feature Proximity with two-time Emmy winning director Eric Demeusy.
Jean Vincentelli is a French actor, with recent wins at Festigious International Film Festival (Best Actor) and at the Actors Awards (Best Supporting Actor), for his challenging role in “Memories of Time”.
Always fascinated by Cinema and storytelling, Jean has worked in a wide range of genres, performing a variety of rounded characters. He has worked with great French filmmakers, including Nicole Garcia (“A Way Of Love”), André Téchiné (“In The Name Of My Daughter”, opposite Guillaume Canet and Catherine Deneuve), Pascal Chaumeil (“Heartbreaker”) and more.
Jean has been playing in TV movies, such as the popular “Plus belle la vie”, “Dommages collatéraux”, “Sous le soleil de Saint Tropez”, “Les enquêtes de Laviolette”, “Section de Recherches”, “Camping Paradis” and “Mission sacrée”, as well as in the American TV series “Royal Pains”.
Also known for: “Kosmodrom” (winner at the Hollyfestival 2014), “Impie”, “Résurgence commode”, “Le Périple”, and “Migrantis”.
Over more than 45 years, Nigel Barber has gained the reputation of a respected and uncompromising actor. Nigel is a multi-award winning American trained actor currently based in London England. He has worked as a professional actor and voice over artist since 1968, a member of AEA, British Equity, SAG/AFTRA and has worked internationally on Stage, in Film, Television and Radio. Nigel’s recent films include Rouge Nation, Spectre, Mad To Be Normal, The Beyond, The Dark Return Of Time, Amsterdam Secrets, The Sound of Philadelphia, to name a few and has worked with some of cinema's most gifted contributors including Sam Mendes, Christopher McQuarrie, Robert Mullan, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and David Tennant.
Lisa Roumain is a Los Angeles based Actress, Model and Producer, who has appeared in over 50 national commercials & print campaigns.
In feature films & TV, her versatility has won her roles in “Avatar”, “Jersey Girl”, “Dating Daisy,” & “Rush Hour.”
In the last few years, Lisa has had a strong presence in film festivals, starring in the multi-award winning short films “King Eternal” and “Monster in a House”. She has earned award nominations for her work in the web series “Split”, the horror/action film “Shallow Water,” and for “Hurricane” as Actress, Producer & Production Designer.
In 2016, Lisa won Best Actress at the Los Angeles Film Awards 2018 is an exciting year, with several upcoming film releases, including the noir thriller “Mr. Bowling Ball,” the dark comedy “Strayed,” the drama feature “Every Night & Every Day,” and Seas. 2 , Ep. 1 of HBO’s “Westworld.”
As a leading professional in her craft and a well-recognized member of the artistic community, Elysia Rotaru is an established Actor, Voiceover actor, coach, and award-winning filmmaker. She is known for her work on “Arrow”, “Supernatural”, and alongside Danny Trejo in the feature film “Dead Again in Tombstone”.
Most recently she can be seen in the new feature film “Cold Pursuit” starring Liam Neeson. Elysia has lent her voice to hundreds of projects, and was the voice of the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018” and you can find her in the newly released video game “Anthem”.
New York based actor Kelly Karavites was born in Astoria, Queens, New York City to a large Greek family involved in what else, the diner business. After serving 2 years in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man he was appointed by his congressman and the Secretary of the Army to cadet at the United States Military Academy. Despite this tremendous honor, he later opted for an honorable discharge and he pursued acting studies at New York's Herbert Berghoff Studio in Manhattan over the years. During this same time he studied for and received his Bachelor's degree from the City University of New York working in career fields as diverse as advertising, financial services and academia. Over the last several years, Kelly has performed in numerous Off Broadway stage performances, countless stand up comedy performances, and several independent films in roles very worthy of the term character actor. Kelly considers no other career suitable for his inquiry into the human condition better than acting. There is no cure.
Jarek Marszewski is a director and screenwriter. His feature films have won over 50 awards at international film festivals.
He studied directing at FAMU - the Film Academy in Prague, Czech Republic, then graduated from the Kieslowski Film Department at the Silesian University, Poland.
He also is a graduate of the English Department at the Wroclaw University, Poland.
His short films have been awarded multiple prizes at the international festivals, including: “Berliner Tango” - Gold Medal at the World Short Film Festival in Huy, Belgium, 1995; Grand Prix at the Non Commercial Film Festival (Germany, Berlin, 1996), “The Rats” - Grand Prix at the Short Film Festival Brnenska “16” (Brno, Czech Republic, 1993).
His debut feature “Tomorrow Heaven Comes” received the Best First Film Award at the Festroia Film Festival 2002 (Setubal, Portugal), the Best Actor Award at the Gdynia Film Festival 2001 (Poland), the Critics' Award at the Young Film Festival 2001 (Koszalin, Poland).
“Bikini Blue”, his second feature film, has won over 40 awards at festivals worldwide, including Best of Fest at: Los Angeles Film Awards 2017, New York Film Awards 2017, Festigious International Film Festival 2017 (Los Angeles), Beverly Hills Film Festival 2018, London Eye Film Festival 2017 (UK), Fabrique du Cinema Awards 2017 (Rome, Italy), Directors Cut IFF 2017 (Vancouver, Canada) and others.
He also works on tv series (”The Murder Commission”, Poland, 2016) and operas (”Aida”, Italy/Qatar for Al Arabia TV, 2002; “Madame Butterfly” Italy/South Africa for SABC TV, 2000; “The Magic Flute”, Opera Podlaska, Poland, 2014).
Beate Malkus is an award winning German actress. After graduating from theatre school in Hannover, Germany, she ran through a clown education and worked with great teachers like Philipe Gaulier (London) and Pascale Ben (France). Beate performed in theatre-productions all over Germany and then moved to Berlin, Germany, to pursue her career in film acting.
She quickly played lead characters in a lot of films such as the international productions 'One Night in Berlin' by Kivmars Bowling or 'Blissestrasse' by Canadian director Paul Donovan. Fluent in several languages, Beate Malkus recently made her Canadian television debut starring in the TV Series Clay's P.O.V. by Paul Donovan in the permanent role of Cassandra for two seasons (26 episodes) so far.
Beate Malkus won several American acting awards for her lead performances in the Swiss Sci-Fi movie 'Alekto' and the British-German drama 'One Night in Berlin'. She plays her roles with great variety and her characters are often in a way strong and frangible withal. She approaches her roles not only by method acting, but as well works with the Chekhov technique after having taken a masterclass with Lenard Petit of Michael Chekhov Acting Studio NY.
Aside of being actress, Beate devotes herself to human rights due to her pre-acting law studies in Germany, Turkey and the Netherlands. This work brought her to countries like Turkey, India and Iraq.
Anup Kulkarni is a multiple award-winning cinematographer and Visual effects supervisor who has a background in visual effects as a 3D camera tracking & matchmove technical director at the Rhythm & Hues Studios. His work has taken him all around the world and he has contributed to projects in a variety of genres, ranging from feature films, TV-shows, documentaries, and dramas to sci-fi, thriller, and art films.
"Frames, colors, and lights, not just my passion or hobbies, but the very parameters through which I perceive life and all the creativity that it encompasses,” says the artist. “Walking down in my visualization world with photography and VFX as my companions, while digging deeper, I also realized that it was not only frame and colors which were enhancing the beauty of my visualization, but the real binding factor to all this was lights! That made my frame complete.”
With an eye for naturally-motivated lighting and inspired movement, Kulkarni has earned multiple cinematography awards. According to Kulkarni, this deeper understanding of visual arts gave rise to a new passion, and that was cinematography for motion pictures. In Los Angeles, he has had the opportunity to work on award-winning and prestigious projects such as Life of Pi, Thor 2, Percy Jackson, R.I.P.D and many others.
OMor Cohen is an award-winning Israeli actress and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from The Academy of Performing Arts in Tel Aviv in 2013, Mor relocated from Israel to New York, and worked directly with Hollywood A-lists in Paris and LA.
On screen, Mor can be seen in Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, Mean Murderer (now on Amazon Prime), and multiple award-winning thriller The Doll. Her producorial credits include Off-Broadway production of Scoop, award-winning short film The New Galileos, and multiple award-winning short film Over the Wall.