Meet the Jurors

Meet the jurors on the five feature film juries and two short film juries for the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival.

Richard Abramowitz

Richard Abramowitz

Documentary Competition Jury

RICHARD ABRAMOWITZ is an innovative leader with more than 35 years of experience in the distribution and marketing of independent films.

His company, Abramorama, takes a personalized, focused form of film marketing and distribution that bypasses traditional film studios and their methodology, providing valuable distribution alternatives to content makers and owners.

Abramowitz's many distribution projects include Ron Howard's Grammy-winning documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years; Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam Twenty; Amir Bar-Lev's definitive film on The Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip; Laurie Anderson's acclaimed Heart of a Dog; Peabody Award-winner Listen to Me Marlon; Banksy's Spirit Award winner and Academy Award nominee Exit Through the Gift Shop; Sacha Gervasi's Spirit Award-winning Anvil! The Story of Anvil; and Spike Lee's Oscar-nominated 4 Little Girls. He has been a consultant to Neil Young's Shakey Pictures for more than 15 years and worked on seven films with Jonathan Demme from 1984 until his untimely passing in 2017.

Abramowitz was a co-founder of Stratosphere Entertainment, the independent distribution and production company financed by Carl Icahn. Previously, he was President/COO of RKO Pictures Distribution, and prior to that, as a senior executive at Cinecom he distributed films by Tom Stoppard, Volker Schlondorff, Mira Nair, John Salyes, Robert Bresson and Merchant Ivory, including the multiple Academy Award-winner A Room with a View.

Abramowitz is on the Board of Directors of the Jacob Burns Film Center and teaches at the film conservatory at Purchase College.

Juan Carlos Arciniegas

Juan Carlos Arciniegas

Ibero-American Competition Jury

Juan Carlos Arciniegas has established himself as one of the most respected and sought-after TV journalists within the filmmaking industry in Latin America. For over 20 years, Juan Carlos has worked as a reporter, producer, editor and anchor for CNN en Español, CNN's Spanish speaking cable news network and broadcast to all Latin America and the United States. He was also the creator, producer and host for "Ojo Crítico", a TV show dedicated to Hollywood and Latin America's film industries news.

Besides covering the most important film festivals in the world (Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, etc.) Arciniegas has served as a member of the jury for Latin American film festivals in Colombia, México, Perú, etc.

Juan Carlos has also been the ambassador and consultant to "Premios Platino," awards that were created five years ago to establish itself as the most important global event for the development, support, and promotion of the film industry in Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

Opal Bennett

Opal Bennett

Narrative Shorts Jury

Opal programs for several film festivals. She curates shorts at the Nantucket Film Festival and DOC NYC, and is a Programmer with Aspen ShortsFest, Athena Film Festival and an Assistant Programmer with Tribeca Film Festival. Opal is also a Programming Consultant for the March on Washington and Over-the-Rhine Film Festivals. Opal has served on juries for SxSW, NewFest, Leuven ShortsFest and Queens World Film Festival. She has also served on advisory and grant panels.

Pablo Staricco Cadenazzi

Pablo Staricco Cadenazzi

New American Cinema Competition / FIPRESCI Jury

Pablo Staricco Cadenazzi (Montevideo, Uruguay, 1990). He has worked as a journalist in radio, print and digital media in Uruguay. Since 2017 he works as a reporter at the newspaper El Pais, where he has specialized in the Arts and Entertainment coverage. Previously, he worked between 2011 and 2017 at the Culture section of the El Observador newspaper, He has been a member of the Asociación de Críticos de Cine del Uruguay (Film Critic Association of Uruguay) since 2015. In 2017 he was part of the FIPRESCI jury at the 32nd Guadalaja International Film Festival. In 2017 and 2018 he was jury of the 35nd and 36nd Festival Cinematográfico Internacional del Uruguay (Uruguay International Film Festival). As a fiction writer he has been recognized in competions such as the National Award of Comics "Historietistas del Siglo XXI" of the Lolita Rubial Foundation (2014) and at the Literary Contest "Juan Carlos Onetti" organized by Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo (2014). In 2017 he participaed in the graphic narrative anthology "Invierno", published by the Asociación Uruguaya de Creadores de Historietas (Uruguayan Association of Comic Creators). He has a BA in Commuunication Sciences of the Universidad Católica del Uruguay Dámaso Antonio Larrañaga.

Andrew Carlin

Andrew Carlin

New Directors Competition Jury

Andrew Carlin currently serves as the Director of Theatrical Distribution for Oscilloscope Laboratories. Prior to that, he was the Head of Theatrical Sales for Music Box Films from 2012-2015. He has worked on the theatrical releases of dozens of films, including The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo Trilogy, Oscar Nominee Monsieur Lazhar (2012), Oscar Winner Ida (2015) Oscar-Nominee Embrace of the Serpent (2016) and Kedi, which was the second-highest grossing documentary of 2017.

Inga Diev

Inga Diev

Documentary and Animated Shorts Jury

Inga Diev serves as the General Manager of Ouat Media, a Toronto-based international sales and distribution company specializing in short films. To date, Ouat Media has represented eleven Academy Award® nominated short films including three winners. In her role, Inga is responsible for the company's business operations and oversees all the film sales and acquisitions.

Prior to joining Ouat Media, Inga spent over a decade working in film production and broadcast programming, most recently, at Sundance Channel Canada.

Inga shares her expertise of the film industry by chairing in festival juries and participating in guest panels around the world, including Toronto International Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. For the past four years, she has also served on the Board of Canadian Filmmakers' Distribution Centre, Canada's foremost non-commercial distributor and resource for independently produced film.

Inga is a graduate of York University (BFA in Film Production) and University of Oxford (MSt in Film
Aesthetics).

Abby Dylan

Abby Dylan

Documentary and Animated Shorts Jury

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Abby began her professional acting career in New York City before moving to Seattle. In New York, She was part of the famed Circle Repertory Theatre where she performed in premieres and productions with writers and directors including Lanford Wilson, Eric Overmeyer, Marshall Mason and Joe Mantello. She also had recurring roles on the Soap Operas "Another World" and "One Life to Live." In Seattle, Abby has performed at some awesome Seattle Theatres; her film and television work includes the award-winning feature "BFE" by Shawn Telford, "Moving" by Megan Griffiths, and the role of Jess Reilly in GRIMM on NBC. Abby is an elected member of the National SAG-AFTRA Board where she serves as the National Chair of the SAGindie Committee and Vice-Chair of the Government Affairs Committee; She is also Secretary of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Board. Abby received a BFA from the Professional Actor's Training Program at Southern Methodist University and is the Mom of two remarkable UW Juniors.

Warren Etheredge

Warren Etheredge

Narrative Shorts Jury

Warren Etheredge is a StoryfinderTM. He has conducted over 3,500 interviews. He is one of the founding faculty of TheFilmSchool, helping filmmakers translate their stories for screens big and small, and The Red Badge Project, helping combat veterans work through PTSD and other issues by teaching them the art of storytelling. In the Fall of 2017, he launched a new 30-week screenwriting program at the University of Washington and was appointed the VP of Curation & Acquisitions for Heyou Media. He hosts The High Bar, his Emmy®-nominated television series devoted to "raising the bar," Scene! & Heard for GreatMovieScenes. org and hosted Reel NW on KCTS. He served as the Chief Storytelling Officer for Enthrall Sports. He is the Co-founder and Curator for the Walla Walla Movie Crush, America's most intoxicating blend of short cinema, and the founder of The Warren Report. He is a published author, staged playwright, successful producer, veteran festival programmer and much sought-after public speaker. Additionally, Warren serves on the Arts Council for the Stroum Jewish Community Center and the Advisory Board of Haptic Animation Amplifier. As a producer, his credits include Furever (d. Amy Finkel); Humor Me (d. Chris Towey), Last Requests (d. Courtenay Johnson), Every Beautiful Thing (d. Sonya Lea), The Lost Mariner (d. Tess Martin), Even the Walls (d. Saman Maydani & Sarah Kuck) and the webseries, The Enchanted Kitchen with Sasha Graham.

James Faust

James Faust

Official Competition Jury

Dallas Film Society Artistic Director, James Faust, began as the festival's Senior Programmer at AFI DALLAS' inception in 2006. A graduate of Cinema Studies at SMU following Telecommunication/Theatre degrees at Texas Tech University, Faust began his film career as a grip on Armageddon and once locally produced television Walker Texas Ranger. After working his way up to being a commercial producer, Faust started a local production company for which he won a local Emmy. He resides on the Board of Directors for Arts Fighting Cancer. One of the founding members of the Deep Ellum Film Festival, Faust held the positions of Associate Programmer, Managing Director, and Programming Director during that festival's seven year run. He has served on juries and panels all over the world speaking about film festival management, programming and marketing. Instrumental in the formation of AFI DALLAS and the Dallas Film Society, Faust has also served as a programmer with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas, The Austin Film Festival and the Texas Black Film Festival and was honored by that festival as Filmmaker of the year in 2009. He is also a Founding member of City of Dallas Urban Ambassadors

Sandro Fiorin

Sandro Fiorin

Ibero-American Competition Jury

Sandro Fiorin founded FiGa Films in Los Angeles on January 2006 with his partner, Cuban-American Alex Garcia, to distribute and represent Latin American content worldwide.

FiGa is an agency / distributor / producer combination, whose mission is to embrace and nurture upcoming filmmakers.

Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Fiorin went to film school in São Paulo (FAAP) and New York (New School), where he lived and worked for 14 years before relocating to California in 2001. He has taught classes at NYU, USC and Cuba's EICTV.

Positions at the Film Forum, Universal, First Look, and CalArts are part of his 20-year career in the industry. He's been a programmer for the High Museum in Atlanta, Encuentros/Works in Progress in the Miami Film Festival, and the artistic director for the IndieBrazil Festival in Los Angeles.

Mr. Fiorin has been invited as a jury member - as well as to conduct panel discussions on the state of distribution - in Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian, Rotterdam, Istanbul, Cartagena, Mar del Plata, and at the United Nations in Geneva.

He is in the board of the Tribeca Film Institute and FilmGate Miami, where he now resides.

Bill Guentzler

Bill Guentzler

New Directors Competition Jury

Bill Guentzler is the Artistic Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). He joined the CIFF as a Cleveland State University intern in 1998. Soon thereafter he was hired as a part-time Film Festival employee. And in 2000 a full-time Assistant Programmer position was created for him. After years of different positions, he was promoted to Artistic Director in 2005. Since he started at the festival, attendance has nearly tripled, the 41st CIFF in March 2017 welcomed over 106,500 attendees, making it one of the largest film festivals in the United States. As Artistic Director, he has served as a juror and panelist at numerous festivals throughout the world. He holds a B.A. in Communications from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CSU, which recently named him as one their of 50 Fascinating Alumni.

Marcela Isaza

Marcela Isaza

Ibero-American Competition Jury

Born in Colombia and raised in Los Angeles, Marcela Isaza graduated from USC's Annenberg School of Broadcast Journalism in 2003. Currently, Marcela is a senior entertainment reporter/producer/writer for the world's largest and most prestigious news agency, The Associated Press, where she is responsible for the production of news packaging for the Entertainment Feed that serves a daily clientele of 1 billion viewers. Marcela has hosted and produced live award shows, such as the Academy Awards, SAG Awards, Grammys and Golden Globes, and she has covered numerous movie premieres and film festivals-from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series to the "Twilight" series, from The Sundance Film Festival to The Latin American Film Festival. One of Marcela's strengths as an entertainment reporter is her interviewing skills: during her tenure at AP she has been lucky enough to interview hundreds of A-list celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber. As a Latina entertainment journalist working in the mainstream market, her goal is to continue to mentor and inspire other reporters, especially those coming from low-income immigrant backgrounds such
as her own.

Simon Kilmurry

Simon Kilmurry

Documentary Competition Jury

Simon Kilmurry is the executive director of the International Documentary Association (IDA). He oversees all IDA programs and operations, including filmmaker services, funding, educational programs, the IDA Awards, and advocacy for the field.

Kilmurry serves on the board of jurors of the George Foster Peabody Awards. He serves as an advisor to the Redford Center and is on the board of screeners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Prior to joining IDA he served in various roles at American Documentary | POV, including nine years as the executive producer of POV, the long-running PBS showcase of independent documentaries. As executive producer he received 18 Emmy Awards, more than 60 Emmy nominations, six George Foster Peabody Awards, four Du Pont Columbia Awards, and is a two-time recipient of the Best Continuing Series Award from the International Documentary Association.

Gabe Klinger

Gabe Klinger

New American Cinema Competition / FIPRESCI Jury

Gabe Klinger is a Brazilian-born filmmaker known for his feature films Porto (2016) and Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater (2013). He is the recipient of more than a dozen international awards and honors, including the Venice Film Festival Lion for Best Documentary on Cinema, the Latin American Critics Award for Best Film, and the Best Director Prize at the Santiago International Film Festival in Chile. Klinger's films have been theatrically distributed worldwide and screened at hundreds of major festivals and other events including SXSW, CPH:DOX, FIDMarseille, Viennale, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the BFI London Film Festival. In the U.S., Porto was acquired by Kino Lorber and is currently available to stream on Netflix. Both Porto and Double Play have screened in Seattle at the Northwest Film Forum. In addition to working as a filmmaker, he is also a scholar, teacher, and programmer. His writings have been published in Sight & Sound, Film Comment, Cinema Scope, and other journals, and the book that he co-edited on filmmaker Joe Dante is available through Columbia University Press.

Missy Laney

Missy Laney

Documentary and Animated Shorts Jury

Missy Laney works as a producer, distribution strategist and is the Director of Development at Adult Swim. An advocate for artist sustainability, champion of diverse storytellers, and a supporter of advancing technology for the film market, Laney guided over 125 digital film releases with projects from Laura Poitras, Paul Thomas Anderson, Shane Carruth, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Penny Lane, Tiffany Shlain, among others. Additionally, she has advised over 250 artists through successful crowdfunding campaigns including Andrea Fine's Oscar Award-Winner Innocente, Adam Nimoy's documentary, For the Love Of Spock, and David Alvarado's record breaking Kickstarter campaign Bill Nye Documentary.

Laney previously worked at the Sundance Institute growing their #ArtistServices Initiative, a program that focused on how technology is changing the way audiences interact with films, and at BitTorrent Inc leading their film strategy where she launched The Discovery Fund, BitTorrent's first ever artist granting initiative. Laney has presented salons, panels, and workshops around the world, working with collaborators such as Sundance Film Festival, Knight Foundation, San Francisco Film Society, Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia, Oaxaca Film Festival, IFP, Sheffield Doc Fest, and SXSW. Her presentations and content have been featured on Variety, Indiewire, Filmmaker Magazine, and NoFilmSchool.com. She studied film at California's Chapman University, where she was an award-winning producer with honors from Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Provincetown International Film Festival, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, among others.

Lael Loewenstein

Lael Loewenstein

Official Competition Jury

A former president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Lael Loewenstein regularly reviews films on KPCC's Film Week with Larry Mantle. During the two plus decades she has been covering film, she has reviewed movies for Variety and the L.A. Times, profiled directors for DGA Quarterly, and previewed new releases for KNBC. She has also written E! Online's daily Cannes Film Festival Coverage and served on juries and participated in panels from Palm Springs to COLCOA. A graduate of Wesleyan University's film program and UCLA's graduate program in film studies, Lael has taught classes on criticism, film history and the business of film to undergraduates in Los Angeles and Sarajevo.

Meghan Oretsky

Meghan Oretsky

Narrative Shorts Jury

Before joining Vimeo in 2014, you could find Meghan cheering on filmmakers in the comments section of countless videos on their site. Today she serves as a member of the Vimeo curation team, for which she watches thousands of videos a year. She is especially proud to support women in film via her channel "Ladies With Lenses" and features their work in a monthly screening series in New York City.

Vojtěch Rynda

Vojtěch Rynda

New American Cinema Competition / FIPRESCI Jury

Vojtěch Rynda is a Czech film critic. He studied film theory at Prague's Charles University, Université Paris 8 and UC Santa Barbara. Vojtěch covers mainly film topics for Týden and Instinkt weekly magazines, before that he worked for leading Czech daily Lidové noviny. Always eager to try new things and approaches, he spent ten years as a freelancer working for all kinds of media (dailies, weeklies, monthlies, web journals...), employing different formats of writing for periodicals as opposite as Maxim and Elle. His favorite period in the history of cinema is New Hollywood.

Pat Saperstein

Pat Saperstein

Documentary Competition Jury

Pat Saperstein is deputy editor of Variety, covering breaking news, film festivals and other entertainment events. The former U.S. editor of Le Film Francais, she has a longtime interest in international content as well as in food, documentaries, and film distribution. She has served on narrative, documentary and shorts juries at several film festivals.

Ania Trzebiatowska

Ania Trzebiatowska

Offical Competition Jury

Ania Trzebiatowska trained in production and post-production at the BBC and the British Museum. She studied film as well as digital culture and technology in Poland and in the UK, and has worked in the film industry for over a decade. She recently joined Autlook Filmsales as their Sales & Acquisitions Executive for North America. Prior to that she was with the NYC-based sales agency, Visit Films, where she served as Senior Director of Acquisitions since 2015. For the last ten years she has also been acting as the Artistic Director of Off Camera IFF (Krakow, Poland). She produced "The Unspeakable Act" by Dan Sallitt and is now developing a couple of new feature projects. She is based in New York and travels extensively to international festivals and markets, speaking on panels and serving on festival juries around the world (including Sundance, Outfest, Rotterdam, Aspen and Seattle IFF).

Alesia Weston

Alesia Weston

New Directors Competition Jury

Alesia Weston is a Consultant to Independent Filmmakers and Film Festivals. During her decade as head of Sundance Institute's year-round International Feature Film Program, she spearheaded the Screenwriters Labs in The Middle East, India, Turkey, Israel and South Africa, oversaw the Sundance/NHK Award, The Sundance /Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award and the international work of the Writers/Directors Labs in Utah.

In 2012, she became Executive Director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque, Jerusalem Film Festival and Israel Film Archives.
She is as a founding member of the Advisory Boards of the Torino Film Lab and Jerusalem Film Lab.