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).



MEREDITH ALLOWAY  

Meredith Alloway is a Texas native who currently resides in NYC as a producer, filmmaker and journalist. She's written interviews and feature pieces for Vanity Fair, Playboy, Filmmaker Magazine, Nylon, Indiewire, and Flaunt. She's produced branded content, spots and short films for companies such as Juniper Jones, And/Or Studios and Indigenous Media. She was Senior Editor of The Script Lab where she launched her interview show “All the Way with Alloway.” She's also worked in TV, her pilot “Zoom Out” was in collaboration with Josh Hutcherson’s production company, Turkeyfoot, and she continues to work with them on various projects. "Interior Teresa," her directorial debut, starring Jake Cannavale, Kara Young and Matt Shear just wrapped post production and will begin the festival circuit in 2017. She is in development for two horror series as well.



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.



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.



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.



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.