PAST JURORS





OPAL H. BENNETT  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

After several years in legal practice, Opal now programs full-time for several film festivals. She curates shorts at Aspen ShortsFest, the Nantucket Film Festival and DOC NYC, and is a Programmer with Athena Film Festival and an Assistant Programmer with Tribeca Film Festival. Opal is also a Programming Consultant for the March on Washington Film Festival. Opal has served on juries for SxSW, NewFest, Leuven ShortsFest, Cleveland Internation and Seattle International Film Festivals. She has also served on advisory and grant panels.



LEAH SAPIN  

Leah Sapin is the Senior Programmer & NY Festival Manager at Human Rights Watch Film Festival. She has worked in Film Festivals and independent film production as programmer, producer, outreach and grantmaking consultant for 15 years with organizations such as Tribeca FF, POV, Brooklyn FF, Chicken & Egg Pictures and Rooftop Films.



YVONNE KOUADJO  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo is the Associate Producer for POV Spark, the innovation arm of the iconic independent nonfiction film program POV (PBS). She's a part of a nimble team that produces digital/interactive original productions, including the first-ever Snapchat-native documentaries. Yvonne Ashley represents POV at festivals and conferences worldwide, including Dok Leipzig, IDA Getting Real and Sheffield Doc/Fest. Prior to joining POV, she interned at media organizations and served as a research assistant for the biography "Michelle Obama: A Life" by Peter Slevin. Yvonne holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University.



JOSÉ FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

José Fernando Rodriguez is the Director of Documentary Programs at Tribeca Film Institute, where he oversees the growth and funding for all of the documentary programs and leads documentary workshops in the US as well as throughout Latin America. A native of Puerto Rico, he grew up with a passion for movies that led him to New York City, where he became a script/book reader for a production company and worked on commercials, short films and features. He wrote and directed a fiction short (DEAD-END, screened in 2016), and is currently on the festival circuit with his documentary short Adolescencia (2017).



MICHAEL GIBBONS  NARRATIVE JUROR

Michael is a multilingual professional with extensive nonprofit experience in marketing and communications for film and the arts. Before joining the national artist support organization Creative Capital in 2017, he previously worked for over six years at Film Society of Lincoln Center, where as Director of Digital Platforms he oversaw the online growth of the organization, the New York Film Festival, and the award-winning magazine, Film Comment. Before coming to New York in 2011, he worked for many years as a producer at several of Brazil's leading cultural institutions, including the São Paulo Biennial, Cinemateca Brasileira, and It's All True International Documentary Film Festival. Michael was also on the selection committee for the São Paulo International Short Film Festival and a juror for the Cinema Tropical Awards.



DAVID NINH  NARRATIVE JUROR

David Ninh is the Director of Press and Publicity at Kino Lorber, Inc. managing the press outreach for the company's theatrical, home video, and streaming new releases. He was previously the Senior Communications Specialist at Kickstarter where he worked with filmmakers and creators during the initial funding stages of many successful film, arts and culture projects. In the past, he's worked on the publicity teams at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York Film Festival and PMK*BNC. He also works as a crowdfunding consultant and leads press for NY-based production company Still Point Pictures on their LGBTQ projects. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



AMANDA TROKAN  NARRATIVE JUROR

Amanda Trokan is Film Programming Manager at HBO where she evaluates narrative features and shorts for acquisition. Previously, she was Director of Content at Seed&Spark, heading up acquisitions and distribution. Amanda also has experience in film development, program strategy, writing, and festivals, from roles at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, HBO Original Programming, Tribeca Film Festival, and with independent producers. She has served on the Hamptons and Sarasota film festival screening committees and holds an MBA in Media & Entertainment.



MAYA ANAND  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Maya Anand is the VP of Publicity at Cohen Media Group, where she has overseen the release and awards campaigns for several high-profile international titles such as the Academy Award-nominated films Faces Places and The Insult. Anand joined CMG after several years at Sony Pictures Classics, where she served in a variety of capacities, including National Director of Advertising and Publicity. At SPC, she contributed to the campaigns of several Academy Award-winning films including Blue Jasmine, Whiplash, Still Alice, and Son of Saul. Before joining SPC, Anand worked extensively in production on feature films with producer Robert Greenhut (Annie Hall, Dog Day Afternoon). She holds an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and a BA in English from Harvard University.



AMBER FARES  2020 DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Director, producer and cinematographer of the Sundance supported film, Speed Sisters (2015). Sundance Momentum Fellow (2019), Sundance Editing and Story Lab (2014), Sundance Fellow (2012). Speed Sisters won best documentary at the Adelaide FF and Vail FF. Amber was the co-producer and cinematographer on The Judge, which won a Peabody Award in 2019. She was also the supervising producer on an episode of America Inside Out with Katie Couric, for which her episode won a Frontpage award. She also worked as field director and cinematographer on the PBS documentary series, And She Could Be Next.



HEIDI REINBERG  

Heidi Reinberg's work spans the breadth of the nonfiction realm, from long-form docs for PBS, HBO and LOGO to directing reality television for HGTV to series development for branded-content powerhouse Cinelan.

She is currently producing ITVS doc 93QUEEN alongside Paula Eiselt, the film's director. Most recently, 93QUEEN was awarded the inaugural first look Pitch Prize at the 2017 Hot Docs Forum.

Prior to partnering with Eiselt, Reinberg worked with some of today’s most talented nonfiction directors. She developed the nonfiction series War Photographers/Exposure with Oscar winner Ross Kauffman for NBCUniversal, and produced Oscar winner Cynthia Wade’s first two films, Grist for the Mill and Shelter Dogs for Cinemax and HBO, respectively. She also served as consulting producer on Mai Iskander’s two feature docs, Garbage Dreams (Independent Lens) and Words of Witness (Al Jazeera America).

In addition to her work in the social-issue doc space, Reinberg has traveled the world directing numerous episodes of the cult favorite HGTV series House Hunters International.



ROBIN KAMPF  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Robin Kampf is an award-winning producer, director, editor and
filmmaker with an extensive history in television production, film and
video.
Robin founded her own video production company, RJK Media and
most recently produced/ directed and edited her second documentary
entitled “Love Wins” which won “Best Documentary Short” at the Red
Bank Indie Street Film Festival, the Garden State Film Festival, The
Ocean Grove Film Festival, the New Hope International Film Festival
and was a finalist in the International Black Maria Film Festival.
“Love Wins” was just picked as an “official selection” to be screened
at the Vail Film Festival and Teaneck International Film Festival.
Robin has numerous National awards for producing, including 4
Cable Ace Awards for excellence in producing and programming. In
1998, Robin was awarded “Producer of the Year”, by the New Jersey
Cable Television Association and the Cable Television Network of
New Jersey.



SAMARA CHADWICK  2020 DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Samara is a documentary filmmaker, independent curator, and scholar. She has a PhD in Cultural Studies and has programmed films and conferences for the (Occupied) Berlin Biennale, HotDocs, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), the Goethe-Institute, and the Points North Institute/Camden International Film Festival (CIFF). Her debut feature, 1999, premiered in 2018 at Visions du réel, and has since played festivals worldwide including HotDocs, DokuFest Kosovo, BAFICI Buenos Aires, and the Museum of the Moving Image.



ANITA RASWANT  2020 NARRATIVE JUROR

Anita is currently the Short Film Programmer and Program Manager for the Nantucket Film Festival. She is passionate about giving a voice to those who are underrepresented on and off the screen. She has film-festival hopped for several years, with stints at Tribeca Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Queens World Film Festival, NewFest, DOC NYC, Philadelphia Film Festival, and more. Anita grew up in Rome, Italy but has been a loyal Queens resident after graduating with a B.A. in Sociology from St. John's University. From script to screen, she loves all aspects of filmmaking, including talking about herself in the third person.



EVAN TERRELL  2020 NARRATIVE JUROR

Evan Terrell is a writer, producer and performer. He currently works at Entertainment One, where he works in animation development. He has produced podcasts, on-air promos for Warnermedia, and has performed standup comedy in New York City. When he’s not collaborating with storytellers, he enjoys watching history videos on Youtube and jotting down loglines.



PAMELA NEMOTO  NARRATIVE JUROR

Pamela Nemoto is a film + TV Programmer specializing in Content Strategy, Acquisition, and Digital Video. She’s been fortunate to work for The Tribeca Film Festival, HBO, BritBox (BBC-ITV), A+E Networks, and Disney. Pam is a proud member of the Programmers of Colour Collective and the TV Academy.

She currently lives in NYC but is originally from NJ and remains an avid Wawa devotee.



ALISON WILLMORE  

Alison Willmore is the critic at BuzzFeed News. In her past life as the TV editor at Indiewire, she helped launch the site's television coverage. Her writing has also appeared in the AV Club, Salon, Time Out New York, and Movieline. Alongside Matt Singer, she hosts the Filmspotting: SVU podcast.



DANI FAITH LEONARD  2020/21 NARRATIVE JUROR

Dani Faith Leonard is a Producer, Screenwriter, and Comedian. In 2010, Dani co-founded production company and incubator Big Vision Empty Wallet with Alex Cirillo to champion work from underrepresented creators. Recent projects include documentary RED, WHITE & WASTED (Tribeca 2019, in theaters this Fall), and feature films COAST (post production), LEZ BOMB (2018), and THE LIGHT OF THE MOON (2017). Dani also created and hosts the live comedy show ADULT SEX ED, presented by National Lampoon. Whether telling stories on stage as a comedian, writing movies, or producing films at Big Vision Empty Wallet, she believes in the power of stories to entertain and impact change.



DEREK NGUYEN  NARRATIVE JUROR

Derek Nguyen is an award-winning writer, director, and independent producer. He wrote and directed The Housemaid (Cô Hầu Gái) (HKFilm Vietnam & CJ Entertainment), which was released by IFC Films in 2018 as well as in 22 different territories around the world. An American adaptation of the film is currently in development, written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious). Derek was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab for the screenplay adaptation of his play, Monster (East West Players, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Public Theatre New Work Now, Edgar Allen Poe Best Play nomination) and a 2004 Screenwriting Fellow at the New York Foundation for the Arts. Derek’s short, The Potential Wives of Norman Mao narrated by George Takei (Star Trek), screened at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest, and the Asian American International Film Festival (NYC) among others. Derek co-wrote Seeing Red (directed by Liselle Mei), which was a part of the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival’s All-Access Alumni Program and the 2007 IFP Market’s No Borders Program. He was creative consultant on Sundance project Stones in the Sun (directed by Patricia Benoit, Tribeca Film Festival). Derek was the Associate Producer of Mister Green (directed by Greg Pak), Addicted to Fresno (directed by Jamie Babbit), Lovesong (directed by So Yong Kim, Strand Releasing), Buster’s Mal Heart (directed by Sarah Adina Smith, Well Go USA), Emmy-nominated The Tale (directed by Jennifer Fox, HBO), and The Long Dumb Road (directed by Hannah Fidell, Universal Pictures). Derek has worked at the Tribeca Film Institute and was the Director of Operations & Creative Affairs for Gamechanger Films, where he developed and financed Land Ho! (directed by Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz, Sony Pictures Classics), The Invitation (directed by Karyn Kusama, Drafthouse Films & Netflix), The Strange Ones (directed by Lauren Wolkstein and Christopher Radcliff, Vertical Entertainment), Sundance-winner Nancy (directed by Christina Choe, Samuel Goldwyn Pictures), among others. He is currently producing A. Sayeeda Moreno’s I’m Not Down with Monique Gabriela Curnen, which received the AT&T Untold Stories Development Grant at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and Film Independent’s Fast Track Labs. He recently co-founded The Population, a film production company with Mynette Louie and Mollye Asher which focuses on producing feature films by or about women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented groups.



WILLIAM CUSICK  

William Cusick is a writer, director and designer based in NYC. Cusick’s second feature film, Pop Meets the Void, premiered in June 2015 at the 5th Lower East Side Film Festival in NYC and was awarded Best Feature Film of the festival. Pop Meets the Void screened at Museum of the Moving Image in March 2016 and was awarded the Best of Fest and Audience Awards at the 2016 Queens World Film Festival. Cusick directed the award-winning experimental film Welcome to Nowhere (Bullet Hole Road). The neo-surrealist road movie premiered as an Official Selection of the 2012 Lower East Side Film Festival in NYC, received the 2013 Founders’ Choice Award at the Queens World Film Festival in NYC and was featured at the Queens Museum of Art. Cusick’s video projection designs have been featured in productions around the world, most recently on Broadway in Sharr White’s The Other Place at Manhattan Theater Club in 2013. Cusick received the 2007 Henry Hewes Design Award for Projection Design for Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia on Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater. As a contributing editor for Chance Magazine, Cusick conducts interviews with directors, video artists and projection designers working in contemporary performance. Cusick is on faculty at The New School in NYC where he leads a collaborative workshop in filmmaking and lectures on creative technology and theatrical design.



DENAE PETERS  DOCUMENTARY JUROR

Denae Peters is the Director of Impact Distribution at Picture Motion, where she leads the operations and management of the non-theatrical distribution team. Most recently, she was a Campaign Director at Film Sprout, a grassroots distribution firm for social-issue documentaries, where she managed campaigns for titles including Knife Skills, For Ahkeem and Whose Streets?. Prior to this, she spent five years at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where she was the Manager of Guest/Filmmaker Relations and managed TIFF's hospitality industry sponsorships. She is a Board Member of the Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM), a collective of women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary industry, and has served on selection committees for festivals including the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, DOC NYC and the Tribeca Film Festival.