We’ve recruited a fantastic panel of pros from film, tv, technology and advertising to be our judges – we’re honored to have them aboard. More great folks will be joining us over the next few months, so check back here for the updates! And a big thanks to the judges who helped out in the past including rockstars Maroon 5, director Lasse Hallstrom, real life Mad Men Chuck McBride, Regina Ebel, Court Crandall and Jimmy Siegel and theater/tv producer David Foster.
German-born Marcus Nispel came to America on a Fulbright Scholarship at the age of 20, where he attended Brooklyn College and the NY Institute of Technology. He returned to Germany to work in advertising but soon came back to embark on his directing debut with a series of music videos for C+C Music Factory.
Since those first music vids, Nispel has directed six feature/tv films including “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Frankenstein” (written by Dean Koontz and co-produced by Martin Scorsese), “Pathfinder” (also publishing a three-part graphic novel as a companion piece), “Friday the 13th,”(Michael Bay produced abd the film set the record for the highest box office opening for any R-rated horror film), and “Conan The Barbarian” (starring Jason Momoa.) His latest is horror thriller, “Backmask,” which he directed, co-wrote, and produced. A tale about six small-town kids who discover subliminal/satanic messages in old vintage records when played backwards, “Backmask” recently wrapped and is currently in post-production.
Marcus has directed hundreds of commercials for the likes of AT&T, Audi, Canon, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Kodak, Levi’s, L’Oreal, Mercedes, Motorola, Nike, Panasonic, Pepsi, Showtime, Sprint, Sprite and VISA, garnering many international awards.
Marcus Nispel’s music video work includes over fifteen #1 hit songs and several breakthrough clips for artists including Puff Daddy, No Doubt, the Fugees, Janet Jackson, Elton John, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Mariah Carey, K.D. Lang, Tony Bennett, Bette Midler, LL Cool J, Bryan Adams and Gloria Estefan. This impressive body of work has earned him 12 MTV Music Video Awards nominations with four wins, including MTV’s Best European Video Award for “Killer/Papa was a Rolling Stone” by George Michael.
Blue Note Records recording artists
LA-based band Vintage Trouble‘s first music video, Nancy Lee, filmed entirely with iPhone4’s by director Alen Petkovic, took both the Grand Prize and the Music Video category at our inaugural Original iPhone Film Fest. We thought it fitting to have them join us a judge for this latest go-round!
Since the release of their debut album,The Bomb Shelter Sessions in 2012, Vintage Trouble has gone from playing intimate hometown clubs to opening for The Rolling Stones in London’s Hyde Park, touring North America and Europe with The Who and playing sold-out headline shows worldwide. The band has also performed on Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (four times, including Leno’s second-to-last show), Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Later…with Jools Holland.
Formed in 2010, VT (Ty Taylor – vocals, Nalle Colt – guitar, Richard Danielson – drums & Rick Barrio Dill – bass) cut its teeth playing weekly residencies at L.A. clubs and attracted a massive following in the process leading to them signing their first major label deal with Blue Note Records in the spring of 2014.
Since their breakthrough, Vintage Trouble has toured non-stop, with frequent forays across the US, UK and Europe and trips to Australia and Japan. In addition to opening for such artists as The Who, The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Lenny Kravitz, and Brian May (Ty was invited to front Queen for Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday celebration in London), the band has played numerous festivals, including Bonnaroo, Coachella, SXSW and Rock In Rio. Their tour across UK and Germany, performing before an estimated 400,000 people, was chronicled in the documentary 80 Shows in 100 Days. They also headlined the 2014 Montreal International Jazz Festival, playing to a crowd of 100,000.
Anchor Columnist, Yahoo Tech
David Pogue is the anchor columnist for Yahoo Tech, having been groomed for the position by 13 years as the personal-technology columnist for the New York Times. He’s also a monthly columnist for Scientific American and host of science shows on PBS’s “NOVA.” He’s been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since 2002.
With over 3 million books in print, David is one of the world’s bestselling how-to authors. He wrote or co-wrote seven books in the “for Dummies” series (including Macs, Magic, Opera, and Classical Music); in 1999, he launched his own series of complete, funny computer books called the Missing Manual series, which now includes 120 titles.
David graduated summa cum laude from Yale in 1985, with distinction in Music, and he spent ten years conducting and arranging Broadway musicals in New York. He’s won two Emmy awards, two Webby awards, a Loeb award for journalism, and an honorary doctorate in music. He’s been profiled on “48 Hours” and “60 Minutes.” He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children. His web site is davidpogue.com.
Director + Cinematographer
Caleb Deschanel is the legendary cinematographer and director whose unique vision and artistry has consistently set the standard for his generation of artists. His interview on cinematography is included in the famous documentary Visions of Light. Caleb is a five-time Oscar nominee for shooting such timelessly visual classics as The Black Stallion, The Natural, The Passion of the Christ, The Patriot and Fly Away Home. His filmography also includes such notable films at Being There, A Woman Under the Influence and Timeline. Deschanel has directed two features, Crusoe and The Escape Artist, a number of television episodes and continues to direct commercials through his own Hollywood-based production company, Dark Light Pictures. This year the American Society of Cinematographer honored Caleb with their Lifetime Achievement Award.
VP/Executive Producer, HBO & President, Open City FIlms
Jason Kliot is a VP/Executive Producer at HBO Entertainment and an Academy Award nominated producer of over 40 feature films by such acclaimed directors as Jim Jarmusch, Brian De Palma, Steven Soderbergh, Miguel Arteta, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, Alex Gibney, and Todd Solondz. Jason has produced a wide variety of films, ranging from auteur driven projects to successful commercial box-office hits as well as award-winning theatrical documentaries. Kliot’s films have been selected to and won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, The Cannes International Film Festival, and the Venice International Film festival, including two Sundance Grand Jury Prizes and Venice’s Silver Lion for Best Director, among others. His films have also been nominated for over 25 Independent Spirit awards.
Jason is also recognized as a leading figure of the digital film revolution. His pioneering digital production companies Blow Up Pictures and HDNetFilms, which he launched with partners Joana Vicente, Marc Cuban, and Todd Wagner, ushered in a new era of digital filmmaking which radically transformed the landscape of American independent film production and distribution.
Jason is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Film Departments of both New York University’s Tish School of the Arts and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He is also one of the founders of City Harvest, the nation’s oldest food rescue organization.
Documentary Filmmaker + Journalist, DCTV Founder/Executive Director
Over the course of a 40+ year career as a journalist and filmmaker for the Today Show, PBS, 20/20, NBC News, ESPN, HBO and others, Jon Alpert has circled the globe, documented countless historical events and won a raft of awards including three Primetime Emmys, eleven News & Documentary Emmys, four Columbia DuPont Awards and a Peabody Award as well as earned two Oscar nominations.
Among his very long list of credits and accomplishments: his 1974 Cuba: The People, presented the first American television coverage inside Cuba in ten years; the 1977 award-winning Vietnam: Picking Up The Pieces, marked the first time an American TV crew had filmed inside Vietnam since the war; during the hostage crisis in Iran, he was the last reporter to gain entry into the Embassy where the American hostages were being held, and he broke the news of the conflict between Iran and Iraq. Jon was the first television reporter to enter Afghanistan with the Mujahadin, was the only American TV reporter to remain in Nicaragua as the Sandinistas took over and was the first reporter to record pictures of the Contra war. When Fidel Castro came to address the United Nations, Alpert and his team were the only non-Cubans allowed access to Castro and he was the only non-Cuban allowed to film freely in Mariel Bay during the boatlift. During the Persian Gulf War, Alpert entered Baghdad during the height of the bombing. From 1993 to 2002, Alpert was the only Western reporter to interview Saddam Hussein. On September 11th 2001, Alpert was one of the only filmmakers to film the first night of rescue efforts at ground zero and his footage appeared on CBS’s Early Show and in HBO’s documentary In Memoriam.
In recent years Alpert has worked with HBO to produce a series of investigative documentaries including One Year in A Life of Crime, “Rape: Cries from the Heartland”, Lock-up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island, High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, and A Cinderella Season: The Lady Vols Fight Back about the champion University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team; Latin Kings: A Gang Story, an inside look at New York’s largest and most dangerous street gang.
He teamed up with co-director (and fellow OIFF Judge!) Matthew O’Neill in 2005 to produce for HBO Baghdad ER , capturing the traumatic stories of the 86th Combat Support Hospital, the U.S. Army’s premiere medical center in Iraq; Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery; and with James Gandolfini as executive producer, Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq. Also for HBO, they earned their first Oscar nomination for China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, about the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. They received their second Oscar nomination for last year’s Redemption.
Matthew O’Neill is an Emmy winning and Academy Award-nominated director whose been working with DCTV making documentaries for the last ten years. For the 2006 HBO documentary he directed with Jon Alpert, Baghdad ER, he earned a Columbia DuPont Award, a Peabody Award, an Overseas Press Club Award and three Primetime Emmy Awards for Nonfiction Programs (Best Directing, Best Cinematography and Exceptional Merit in Non-Fiction Programming). His other HBO documentaries include the Academy Award nominated Redemption (2013), the Emmy nominated Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, the Emmy® nominated Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery (2008), the Academy Award nominated China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (2009), the Academy Award short-listed In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution (2012) and Wartorn: 1861-2010 (2010) – winner of the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Grand Prize. His other documentaries have aired on PBS, ESPN, Channel 4, NHK and broadcasters worldwide. In 2005 he was awarded a Pew Fellowship for International Reporting and his filmmaking overseas since has taken him from the steppes of Siberia to the scrap mines of Potosi in Bolivia and on to Russia, Turkey, China, Cuba, Iraq, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti, Afghanistan, Egypt, Venezuela and North and South Korea. His work closer to home has been recognized with five New York Emmy Awards and a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service Television Journalism. Matthew grew up on Long Island in New York, graduated from Yale University with a degree in Theater and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Director + iPhone Filmmaker
Michael Koerbel knows his way around an iPhone, having directed Apple of My Eye, the first film shot and edited entirely on the iPhone 4, as was his follow-up project Goldilocks, an action web series. (Both of which you can see at Majek Films)
Highlighting his unique iPhone filmmaking and distribution methods, he has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, PBS, USA Today, and by Apple, among hundreds of other publications and has spoken at The Academy of Arts and Sciences, TEDx, The Directors Guild of America and Macworld Expo. He was also a featured speaker on the Original iPhone Film Festival’s SXSW panel Pocket Film Studio: The iPhone Revolution.
In addition to his groundbreaking iPhone filmmaking work, he has directed commercials for Jaguar, Toyota, Porsche, Axe, Royal Caribbean, and Coca-Cola. The AXE “Apollo” campaign containing his commercials “NCAA” and “Indy 500” won 2013 Cannes Gold and Silver Lions. In addition, he won the Best Comedy Student Emmy for his narrative short “In Captivity.”
His piece for Porsche It’s A Magical Life has been viewed an estimated 60 million times across all media and won a 2012 Silver Effie. His spot for Royal Caribbean for the 2013 Oscar telecast aired to over 40 million viewers and introduced Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Pushing Daisies, The West Wing) as the new godmother to their latest innovative ship – Quantum of the Seas.
Michael is an MFA graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is the co-founder of Majek Pictures.
Sr VP, A+E IndieFilms
Molly Thompson launched and runs A&E IndieFilms, the network’s feature documentary division. A&E IndieFilms’ productions include the Oscar-nominated, Sundance Award-winner “Murderball,” the Oscar-nominated “Jesus Camp” and the Emmy Award-winners “The Tillman Story” and “Under African Skies.” Thompson executive produces the division’s original productions including: “American Teen,” “The September Issue” and “The Imposter”. A&E IndieFilms’ most recent productions include “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” directed by Mike Myers, and “Happy Valley” directed by Amir Bar-Lev.
Chief Executive, BAFTA New York
Christina Thomas is a founding member of the British Academy of Film + Television Arts (BAFTA) New York chapter. She has overseen the growth of BAFTA NY to over 700 members today and from 20 film screenings in 1996 nearly 100 per year now. She served as Chairman until March 2007, when she was selected by the Board to become BAFTA NY’s first Chief Executive. Christina has been involved in the field of international television with major corporations and independent producers in the UK and the US for many years. She has run British and US companies in London and New York and worked on co-productions, selling and buying television programs for the domestic and international markets, primarily in the documentary, drama, music and children’s areas.
Associate Editor, Macworld
Serenity has been writing, talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. She’s currently the Associate Editor at Macworld where she edits their SuperGuides, coordinates iPad and iPhone features, maintains the New to Mac tech section on Macworld.com and handles general news coverage. She also focuses on iOS apps and tools for creative professionals. Previously, she worked for Apple Retail on its Creative team. Serenity was also a featured speaker on the Original iPhone Film Festival’s SXSW Interactive 2012 panel session Pocket Film Studio: The iPhone Revolution.
Fun Fact: In her secret superhero life, Serenity skates for Boston’s internationally-ranked roller derby team.