AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS COMPETITION
NARRATIVE FEATURES JURY
Effie T. Brown
Los Angeles based producer Effie T. Brown has produced critically acclaimed, awarding-winning feature projects, including Stranger Inside, Real Women Have Curves (winner of Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Performance), Everyday People, and In the Cut. Brown received the Motorola Producer Award at the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards and the 2003 Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Loyola Marymount University, her alma mater. She serves on the board of the FIND/Film Independent. Effie's latest film Rocket Science won the Sundance 2007 Grand Jury Prize for Directing and is nominated for Best First Feature by the Independent Spirit Awards. She has several films slated for production this year, including Lighthouse currently in pre-production and Bury Me Standing by Caran Hartsfield with Alfre Woodard, Mos Def, and Kerry Washington set to star.
David Laub is the Acquisitions Manager at THINKFilm, a NY based independent distribution and production company, where he is responsible for all initiatives related to acquiring finished films and bringing in projects at various stages of production for possible financing and distribution. David also represents THINK at major film festivals including Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto. Recently he spearheaded the acquisition of the French Hit Avenue Montaigne. David began his career at THINK working with the Head of Theatrical division, Mark Urman. Other recent THINK titles include Sidney Lumet's Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, In The Shadow Of The Moon, Academy Award nominee Half Nelson, John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus, Strangers with Candy, Paul Provenza's The Aristocrats, and the award-winning documentaries Murderball and Born into Brothels. Prior to THINKFilm, David worked on the TV series The West Wing. He has a BA in Film and English from Wesleyan University.
Rex Reed is a critic, columnist, journalist, author and lecturer whose film reviews appear every week in the New York Observer. He has been a film critic for Vogue, GQ, Holiday, and Women's Wear Daily. For thirteen years, he was an arts critic for the New York Daily News, and for five years was the film critic for the New York Post. His articles and essays on the arts have appeared in almost every national magazine and newspaper in London and the United States. He is the author of eight books about the movies and his first novel, Personal Effects, sold 75,000 copies in its first printing and was optioned by NBC-TV for a four-hour miniseries. As an actor, he appeared in the films Myra Breckinridge, Inchon!, and Superman. He also appeared in Jules Dassin's antiwar film The Rehearsal. He has been a member of the juries at the Montreal, Venice, and Berlin film festivals, and is proud to be the only film critic in the world to have a movie review (of the Oscar-winning anti-Vietnam film Hearts and Minds) read aloud in both houses of Congress, thus becoming a permanent part of the Congressional Record. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. He has appeared for several years at the country's oldest and most successful fund-raising benefit for AIDS, the S.T.A.G.E. Benefit in Los Angeles. For five years, he starred in the nationally syndicated television show At the Movies. As a music critic, and as an ardent supporter of Broadway show music, he shares the distinction with Kitty Carlisle Hart of being the longest-running host-narrators of the popular "Lyrics and Lyrics" series at the 92nd St. Y in New York City, and has written liner notes for many legendary singes. He has been nominated for two Grammy awards. He holds a journalism degree from Louisiana State University and also holds an honorary degree from Brandeis University.
AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS COMPETITION DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
As Managing Editor at indieWIRE, Brian Brooks is part of the editorial management team planning the publication's news and feature content. Additionally, Brian writes and edits daily for the site, including biz, interviews, events, and other material. In addition to reporting from festivals, both in the U.S. and abroad (including Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Berlin, Pusan and Reykjavik), he has moderated panels both in New York and on the road and served on festival juries in Cleveland, Seattle, Sarasota, Denver, and NewFest, in addition to serving on an advisory committee for the National Endowment of the Arts. A native of California, Brian worked in music video at Elektra Entertainment after spending a year-and-a-half living in Japan following graduation from UCLA. He moved to New York City to join indieWIRE as an assistant editor in May of 2000.
Over a decade as an independent filmmaker, Kate Davis has presented three films at the Florida Film Festival. Southern Comfort, which portrays the life of a male transsexual, won over 25 awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival (2001); Best Documentary Feature at the Florida Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, and Hot Docs in Toronto; and the Special Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Jockey (HBO, 2004), which follows the lives of three riders, won the Emmy Award for Best Non-Fiction Directing. Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling, (Special Jury Prize and Audience Award, Florida Film Festival, 2005), had a limited theatrical release and was broadcast worldwide. Other films include Plastic Disasters for HBO (2006); Scopes--The Battle Over America's Soul (The History Channel, 2006), part of an Emmy-winning series; and Girltalk, (1988) which was broadcast on PBS, ARTE (France), and Ch.4 (UK). She is currently in mid-production on an independent documentary entitled Waiting for Armageddon about an evangelical belief in the second coming of Christ and how that may escalate violence in the Mideast.
Greg Rhem is Manager of Documentary Acquisitions, Original Programming for Home Box Office. He's been involved in discovering new and distinctive documentary programming for the Cinemax Reel Life as well as (what was formerly known as) HBO's award-winning America Undercover banner. Some of his finds have been the Oscar-winning Born Into Brothels, Murder on a Sunday Morning, Thoth, and Breathing Lessons; Oscar-nominated Spellbound, The Collector of Bedford Street; the critically-acclaimed Watermarks and The Smashing Machine. Before joining HBO Documentaries in 1995, Mr. Rhem served as an Assistant Producer of Commercials and Industrials for Morrison Media, Inc. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Coordinator, Office Operations at New Line Cinema. Currently, Mr. Rhem is a candidate for Media Studies M.A. at the New School University. He holds a B.A. degree in English and Film Studies from the University of Rochester.
AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS COMPETITION
SHORT FILMS JURY
Nathaniel Baruch has a vast knowledge of the film industry with experience in publicity, marketing, production and distribution. He earned a BA in Visual media with a minor in film studies from American University in Washington, DC. His film "Valentina: Operation Orchid" earned a Best Dramatic Film award at the Visions Film Festival, which lead to a commission to direct a music video for a major record label artist. Prior to his current position at IFC Films, Baruch worked at Palm Pictures, where he handled regional publicity and was part of the marketing team for projects such as The Director's Label Series and theatrical releases such as Be Here to Love Me, The Heart is Deceitful above All Things, and Clean. Following his work at Palm Pictures, Baruch worked on the publicity campaigns for such films as Hot Fuzz, Eastern Promises, the re-release of both El Topo and Killer of Sheep, as well as the release of Army of Shadows and Mafioso. Now at IFC Films, Baruch handles regional publicity for award winning titles such as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Gus Van Sant's latest, Paranoid Park.
Karen Durbin is the film critic for Elle magazine, writing a monthly two-page column as well as profiles and feature articles. She also contributes articles on film to the New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure section, including interviews, profiles, and a regular feature she initiated on breakthrough performances in forthcoming movies. Before joining Elle in 2000, she was arts and entertainment editor of Mirabella magazine and eventually its film critic. From April 1994 to September 1996, Durbin was the editor in chief of The Village Voice, where, in the '70s and '80s, she'd been a staff writer and senior editor and also helped unionize the paper. Before becoming the Voice's overall arts editor in 1987, she oversaw its expanding film coverage for seven years, working with such notable critics as J. Hoberman, Andrew Sarris, David Edelstein, and Amy Taubin.
Cara Longo is Manager of Acquisitions & Programming for Sundance Channel. Prior to joining the network, she was Director of Scheduling for the Independent Film Channel. Cara has served as a jury member for festivals such as the Milan African, Asian & Latin American Film Festival, the Rio de Janeiro International Short Film Festival and the Black Maria Film Festival. She has participated in panels at the Worldwide Short Film Festival and the Boston Irish Film Festival. A graduate of the Film program at Brooklyn College (The City University of New York), she resides in New York City.