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our JUDGES

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Alex Mill

Alex Mill has her background in photography and editing, she spent years in a drama group during high school and she's been directing short films since the age of 15. Currently she is working in London, United Kingdom, as an assistant director and producer, having also been involved in projects such as Justice League, Transformers: The Last Knight or Tomb Raider. As a recurring theme, Alex often brings the troubles of obsessed minds to the screen, much like in her first feature, The Immovables.

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Jack Hannon

Currently working at creative agency Mother London, Jack is a producer and writer. As a producer, his work has been BAFTA nominated, screened at Sundance, TIFF, Berlinale and LFF, and as a writer he’s written for BBC3. Jack regularly writes and produces short films and music videos, has a short film coming up at LSFF in January 2022, and another due to finish post production in February 2022.

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Ruya Koman

Ruya recently co-directed, produced and starred in "Interference", which was selected out of more than 3,400 short films as one of the 15 semi-finalists at the 2018 NBC Universal Short Film Festival. Other screenings include the New Voices in Black Cinema Festival at BAM, March on Washington Film Festival, the Harlem International Film Festival and Chelsea Film Festival. In 2016, she made her directorial debut with a short film that she wrote, directed and produced, "Reunion". She recently finished post-production for her new short film "Little Charlotte's Unannounced Visit". Other producing credits include "Compatibility", "Mr. Richardson", "Najmia", "One Second Changes Everything", "Before We Lose", "The Poem of A Memory", "Convicted" and "Man-Babies". In 2016, Ruya produced and line produced several short films for director Slick Solvan Naim (The Get Down, Snowfall, The Blacklist, Blindspot, and Power). Ruya appeared on "Gotham" as the D.C. Comics character "Mother" and has acted in numerous independent films. She is currently starring as the lead in the upcoming short thriller "Mourning Meal".

Benjamin Rider Judge

Benjamin Rider

Benjamin Rider was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. At the age of three, he moved to South Africa for a year, and then onto Israel for most of his childhood before moving to London (UK). He now resides in Hampshire (UK), and has recently become the new Festival Director of the nearly 20-year-old Maverick Movie Awards. His recent feature film releases include Our Little Haven (distributed by Bayview Entertainment) and People in Landscape featuring Gina Gershon and Oscar nominee Eric Roberts (distributed by Summer Hill Films).

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James McCarthy

James McCarthy is a digital content producer, manager, and analyst directing the ISA's social media operations across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other channels. Previously, he worked for Rhino Internet Solutions on web site development projects for clients including The Dial Corp., Del Webb Homes, and Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks.  James has a bachelor's degree in Dramatic Arts from U.C. Santa Barbara and dozens of credits for acting in film, television, and on stage. He has recently completed his first feature and short scripts. James' volunteer activities have included serving as the 2015 Program Director for the San Pedro International Film Festival and acting as a Docent for the Friends of the Los Angeles River.

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Julian A. Leu

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Julian A. Leu has been passionate about stories and films since he was a kid and could operate a VCR before he mastered talking. He later discovered his passion for putting words on paper - writing and adapting several plays during high school, as part of the theatre club. His academic career eventually took him in a different direction – he got his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Glasgow, and his Master’s degree in the same field from Maastricht University – but his inclination toward the film industry never faltered. Julian subsequently became a film critic and an award-winning screenwriter, with ‘Best Screenplay’ prizes from festivals in Italy, Russia and Venezuela, as well as nominations from competitions in Israel and Peru. Currently based in the Netherlands, Julian is fascinated by creative approaches to storytelling, non-conventional filmmaking and intertextuality.

Jack Scano Judge

Jack Scano

Jack (born Jacopo) Scano is an Italian-born independent writer-director with an extensive background in narrative video advertising. Since winning an award with an ad for Dove at a Moflm contest at only 17, he never stopped advancing his fourishing career as a commercial director. Concurrently, Scano regularly writes, directs and self-produces short flms (most notably the extremely ambitious Beyond Depth) that get screened before countless festival audiences, in his home Country as well as abroad. His successes in both the commercial and narrative feld started getting documented on Italian newspapers– namely La Gazzetta di Parma and Libertà–not two years from his early Dove ad. In addition to an Italian BFA in Artistic and Performing Arts Heritage, Scano's specialized education in flm ranges from the New York Film Academy and the Prague Film School, all the way to San Francisco's Academy of Art University, where he obtained an MA in Writing & Directing for Film with his latest short, A New Place.

Ryan Henry Knight Judge

Ryan Henry Knight

Ryan Henry Knight is an award-winning filmmaker from Virginia, USA. He has involved himself in multiple realms of creativity, having worked in game development, music, and clothing design. In 2017, he founded HÖMA Motion Pictures alongside Ahab Mullick, where they have directed and produced over 20 motion pictures, including their first feature film, TIDE, which they co-wrote and directed at the ages of 17. In 2018, the filmmaker was a recipient of the highly prestigious Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Award for his achievements in film and also became the youngest award winner of the New York International Screenplay Awards' top prize for his screenplay AND HOME WE CAME. The young artist is attending the Savannah College of Art and Design with an Achievement Honors and Academic Scholarship in Atlanta, Georgia working toward a BFA in Film & Television, where he wrote and directed the films YOU ALMOST SAW ME and LUDERE. Both films received official selections and award wins in international festivals such as Independent Shorts Awards in Los Angeles, where he won the honorable mention award for Best Student Director (Male). 

Alberto Battistutti

Alberto Battistutti

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Alberto Battistutti is a writer born and raised in a small town in the northeast of Italy, where he lives with his wife and two little girls. In addition to a degree in communication, he has a background in journalism and screenwriting. While during the day he works in the field of Marketing, in his spare time he enjoys writing, inspired by his father in search for the truth about his own father during World War Two. With “Don”, a feature drama screenplay set on the icy Russian front and based on the true story of his family, Alberto won more than forty international awards. His writing is focused on human values like friendship, hope and perseverance, and his favorite genres are drama, thriller and

sci-fi.