MEET THE 2018 JUDGING TEAM
Jeff Melman
Roy Zafrani
Dave Eichhorn
Nami Melumad
Shaw Jones
Jean Vincentelli
Jon Campling
Lisa Roumain
Les Brandt
Casey Ruggieri
Jarek Marszewski
Beate Malkus
Anup Kulkarni
Oliver Yan
Jan Miller Corran
Dax Phelan
 
PREMIER JUDGE - JEFF MELMAN

Six-time Emmy nominated director, Jeff Melman has directed nearly 500 television series - both comedy and drama.

 

 

He graduated from San Diego State University and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in directing. His first job was as the production assistant during the first season of the iconic series, “Barney Miller”. He ascended quickly on that series, stage-managing the second season, then associate directing during seasons three and four. He started directing on the multi-camera comedy series, “Night Court”, producing and directing 76 episodes. He transitioned to single-camera comedy on the Emmy awarded “Malcolm in the Middle”, directing 26 episodes over four years and earning two Emmy nominations for “Excellence in Comedy Direction”. 

 

 

He’s also directed multiple episodes of “Greys Anatomy” for which he’s earned a Directors Guild nomination for “Best Directing in a Drama”. Over the course of his career he has also directed episodes of “Brothers and Sisters”, “Private Practice”, “Frasier”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Arrested Development”, “Community”, “Melrose Place”, “Beverly Hills, 90210”, “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Modern Family” and “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

Roy Zafrani is an award-winning screenwriter, director and editor. He is the director and founder of Top Shorts and Festigious International Film Festival.

After completing a B.Ed in Filmmaking & Media, and an MBA, Roy has written, directed and edited multiple documentaries, sports events, TV series, commercials and narrative films, including: "The Other Dreamers" (winner of 13 international awards), "Over the Wall" (Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Indie Film Fest), "On the Edge" (multi award-winning documentary), "Fed Cup", "Davis Cup", "Assi Dayan: Embittered" (Vienna Jewish Film Festival), "On Tiptoes", "European Beach Tennis Championships" and the Canadian-American series "The Consulting Offer (Season 2)".

Zafrani is currently in production with several projects, including “Jamie’s Book” (winner of multiple screenplay awards, including at the 2018 Irvine International Film Festival), and “Mondays with Amy” - a feature dramatic fantasy which he recently wrote while enrolled at UCLA.

 
FESTIVAL DIRECTOR - ROY ZAFRANI
 
DAVE EICHHORN

Dave Eichhorn is a multiple Emmy winning film and sound editor. He has literally been immersed in post-production since the age of 11, when he would create ‘radio skits’ with his older brother.

 

Using 3 tape recorders and a collection of sound effects records, he would cue up the machines and the two would go to town. Now, with several hundred film and TV credits under his belt, he agrees that ‘perhaps there was a predisposition there, somewhere…”

 

Dave's comprehensive skillset as a film editor, supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer has landed him work with many talented producers and directors, including Mikhail Solomon, David Fincher, Jon Voight, Ernest Dickerson, Betty Thomas, Jon Turtletaub, Russell Mulcahy, Keenan Ivory Wayans and Charles Carner. His credits include shows for CBS, NBC, ABC/Disney, HBO, FX Network, Showtime, Hallmark, National Geographic, USA Network and many more.

 

Dave’s clients have described him as having an incurable drive for perfection and passionate attention to detail. In an effort to pass on some of his 30-odd years of experience, he has founded “The Academy of Post Production”, an online school that he hopes will help keep alive the rapidly-obscuring crafts to newer generations of filmmakers.

 

In all, Dave has been awarded 3 Primetime Emmys, 11 nominations and 5 MPSE Golden Reel Awards. He currently operates Post in the Woods, a boutique company in Los Angeles specializing in post-production services for indie filmmakers.

 

Nami Melumad is a Los Angeles based film & tv composer. Her credits include over 100 films, series, theater productions and video games. (Miss Arizona, Church & State, This Day Forward, The Adventures of Thomasina Sawyer, The Big Nothing, Strings of Hope, Octobo). Her works have screened worldwide, claiming multiple international awards, most recently Best Score for a Short at Fimucite, the Tenerife international film-music festival. She also received a Hollywood Music in Media Award nomination for her score to the feature This Day Forward.

 

She is a graduate of the highly rigorous Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV program (SMPTV) at the University of Southern California, and holds a B.A. in multi-style composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she was admitted directly to sophomore year. Nami is an alumna of the prestigious ASCAP Film Scoring workshop (16').

 

An active member of Women in Film (WIF) and the Alliance for Women Film Composers (AWFC), Nami is passionately involved in the LA film community.

She had recorded music at East West Studios, Capitol Records, Fox Newman Scoring Stage and Warner Brothers Eastwood Scoring Stage. Her works have been performed by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and Helix Collective Ensemble. Nami plays flute, piano and guitars.

NAMI MELUMAD
 
SHAW JONES

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”.

JEAN VINCENTELLI
 
JON CAMPLING

Jon Campling is an award-winning actor, recognizable worldwide as 'King Regis' from the epic “Final Fantasy” franchise. “Harry Potter” fans may also recognize him as ‘Death Eater’ in “Deathly Hallows 1”, bringing the mighty Hogwarts Express to halt.

 

Having won Best Actor award at the New York Short Film Festival with “A Little Harmless Murder”, Jon is somewhat of a veteran of the indie film world with over 70 films titles to his credit, ranging from ultra low budget, high spec features such as the Moêt Bifa nominated “Sleeping Dogs”, to the bigger budget, darkly slick temporal Sci-Fi feature “Narcopolis”, as well as fascinating assortment of eclectic shorts, fan films, the odd exceptional student film, several big ads and a load of cool music videos (“Elbow”, “Trent Reznor”).

Even an Uwe böll and an Asylum production! He's done it all, and a load of Theatre to boot.

 

Also known for: “Predator - Dark Ages”, “Doctors”, and “Max Payne”.

 

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.”

LISA ROUMAIN
 
LES BRANDT

Les Brandt was raised on the Great Plains of Amarillo, Texas in the northern most region near historic Palo Duro Canyon, which was the major battle of the Red River War, which ended in the confinement of southern Plains Indians.

Was in choir from 7th grade to 11th grade as a 1st Tenor and had hopes of a singing career as a child. He began acting immediately after graduating high school and credits his beginning training to mentor Adam Roarke at The Film Actors Lab in Dallas, TX.

Brandt continued training at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, NY and studied with Michelle Danner at Larry Moss/Edgemar Studio as well as The Groundlings, both in Los Angeles, CA.

Brandt has appeared in numerous movies throughout his career. Brandt is filming two movies as of this updates. Brandt's commercial work includes some of the most highly recognizable brands, advertising agencies and directors including The Home Depot, Old Spice (The Legend) Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Scott's Lawn, Yoplait GoGurt and recently opposite Blake Shelton in a Nissan spot.

Additionally, he worked with Oscar winner John Mathieson (Gladiator), and director Daniel Kleinman on the international spot for Monster.com. Brandt debuted on daytime television with a three-year contract in 1995 on the Amercian New York-based NBC soap opera "Another World"," and has been recurring on the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives," since 2013. An avid animal-lover, and owner of multiple cats, Brandt spends his free time supporting local rescue organizations. Taoism, vegan, and very passionate about motorcycles, classical and heavy-metal music. Takes physical fitness very seriously has been working-out 3 to 4 days a week every week, every month, every year for 30 years now.

Casey Ruggieri is an LA-based actress and writer. After graduating in Cinema and Production, she has written in various formats for the big and small screen including; feature, short, sketch and sitcom.

 

 

Some of her on-screen credits include the Oscar nominated "Gone Girl" (Directed by David Fincher), Golden Globe winner "House of Lies", “Tales of Halloween” and "Kroll Show", as well as dozens of national commercials.

 

 

Casey is very active and passionate about her work with the arts for youth in the non-profit sector. She helped start G.R.O.W.T.H. (girls reaching out and within to heal), an LA based afterschool program working with at-risk teen youth. 

 

 

Currently, she is a head mentor with "Young Storytellers", a nonprofit that works with elementary level students, teaching them the fundamentals of screenwriting and storytelling.

CASEY RUGGIERI
 
 
JAREK MARSZEWSKI

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.

BEATE MALKUS
 
ANUP KULKARNI

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.

Oliver Yan was born and raised up in Shanghai. He graduated from his first university which studied physics in 2002. He made his first short film R that is no dialogue in 2008, screening in Cannes Film Festival short film corner and won Best Foreign Short Film in Washougal international Film Festival that year.

In 2011, He wrote, directed, shot, edited and produced his first experimental feature Flipping (68mins) which is budget 25k USD won Best Foreign Feature and Best Screenplay (nominated) in 2012 Madrid International Film Festival.

 

In 2017, Oliver’s feature movie HOME AWAY (101mins) won Best Original Screenplay and nominated as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actress in 2017 New York City International Film Festival. This movie also won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor in Los Angeles Film Awards 2017. Won Best Original Screenplay for Foreign Language Film in 2017 May International Filmmaker festival of World Cinema Nice. Nominated as Best Director in Foreign Language Film, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Actress in a Foreign Language Film in 2017 July Madrid International Film Festival. 

OLIVER YAN
 
 
JAN MILLER CORRAN

Jan Miller Corran has lived in the San Francisco area for over twenty-five years. She has produced and consulted on over 20 films since 1995 (Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter). She is best known as Executive Producer of I'll See You in My Dreams (2015), Raven's Touch (2015) and AWOL (2016). She is a published author and playwright.

She now adds screenwriter to her credits with her new film SNAPSHOTS starring three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie which will be released in August 2018. Corran currently attached producer for upcoming films Follow, Turn Left at Shambala, and Salt Box House. 

 

In 1995, while enrolled in Southern Methodist University’s Pre-Med program, Dax Phelan decided to double-major in Cinema and English Literature (with a Creative Writing Specialization) instead – after seeing Lodge Kerrigan’s “Clean, Shaven” at the USA Film Festival. Over the next three years, Phelan penned seven feature-length screenplays, in addition to writing, producing, and directing half a dozen short films, including “Lake of Fire” (1996), a film about living with mental illness, “Crash Where You Land” (1997), a documentary about homeless teens living on the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter, and “Slice of Life” (1997), a personal film made possible after Phelan’s screenplay was awarded the Student Filmmakers’ Association’s annual grant.

After graduating, Phelan moved to Los Angeles in order to pursue an MFA in Screenwriting at the prestigious American Film Institute, where he was awarded the American Express Scholarship in the name of Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt (“Mad About You,” “As Good As It Gets”). For the next two years, Phelan studied under the likes of Academy Award-winner Frank Pierson (screenwriter: “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Cool Hand Luke,” et al.), Academy Award-winner Seth Winston (screenwriter/director: “Session Man”), and Gill Dennis (screenwriter: “Walk The Line”). Concurrently, Phelan was selected to work as a development intern for veteran producer Mace Neufeld (“The Omen,” “No Way Out,” “The Hunt for Red October,” et al.) at Paramount Pictures. On the side, Phelan worked as a story analyst for Forward Pass (Michael Mann’s production company) and for The Kennedy/Marshall Company (Steven Spielberg’s producing team).

In 2000, when Phelan graduated from AFI, Neufeld hired him as his Story Editor under his new “first look” deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2001, Neufeld promoted Phelan to the position of Creative Executive, charging him with the task of working closely with some of Hollywood’s finest screenwriters, in order to develop new projects. During his tenure at Mace Neufeld Productions,

Phelan worked on such projects as “The Sum of All Fears,” “Man on Fire,” “Invictus,” and “Argo,” to name just a few. Then, in 2003, producer Susanna Jolly optioned Phelan’s WWII-set horror screenplay, “The Keep.” As the demand for his own writing services grew, Phelan amicably parted ways with his MNP family and quickly sold three scripts back to back, including an adaptation of Ken Follett’s spy thriller, “The Key to Rebecca.” Phelan’s absence from the Sony lot would prove to be short-lived, however, when Neufeld brought him back to work on a remake of Laurence Harvey’s “A Dandy in Aspic” and a big-screen adaptation of the ‘80s TV classic, “The Equalizer.”

Over the years, Phelan has partnered with his former AFI instructor, Seth Winston, on the sports drama, “If Only,” penned the action- thriller, “A Show of Force,” for actor-producer Byron Mann ("Altered Carbon," “The Big Short"), collaborated with Glen Chin and Roberta Chow on the comedies, “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Laughing Buddha,” adapted the WWII epic drama, “Charlie Two Shoes,” for producer Stratton Leopold (“The Wolf Man,” “Mission: Impossible III”), and sold the TV pitch, “At Your Service,” to CBS/Paramount with David Engel (“Straight Outta Compton”) attached to produce.

In 2013, Phelan returned to his independent film roots, associate producing the Bret Easton Ellis-penned “The Canyons” for director Paul Schrader (“American Gigolo”). In 2014, together with Academy Award-nominee Oren Moverman (“The Messenger,” “Rampart”), Phelan executive produced Anja Marquardt’s “She’s Lost Control,” which won the CICAE Art Cinema Award and played to sold-out audiences at Berlinale, SXSW, and New Directors/New Films. The film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards: Best First Feature and Best Screenplay.

In 2015, Phelan wrote, produced, and directed his feature directorial debut, “JASMINE.” The film played in 75 festivals worldwide and won 96 awards, including 17 for Best Picture, 10 for Best Director, and 5 for Best Screenplay. After winning Best Picture at the Berlin Independent Film Festival in February 2017, the film was acquired by Indican Pictures and released theatrically on June 16, 2017. In 2016, Phelan adapted Neil White’s New York Times bestseller, “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts,” for producer Stratton Leopold (“Mission: Impossible III”).

Phelan is currently co-producing Orson Welles’s long-awaited final film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” with Frank Marshall (“Jurassic World”), executive producing Bel Powley’s directorial debut, “Little Hard,” executive producing Andrew Stanley’s “Flowers Of The Field” with Lodge Kerrigan (TV’s “The Girlfriend Experience”), and preparing to direct his second feature film, “Kirkwood.” He is repped by Danny Passman at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, & Brown and Terence E. Groves at Maximfilms in Sydney, Australia.  Phelan divides his time between Los Angeles, Santa Barbara County, and New York.

DAX PHELAN
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