2017 JURY

Tom Dyja

Thomas Dyja is the author of three novels and three works of non-fiction, including THE THIRD COAST: When Chicago Built the American Dream. His next book will examine the transformation of New York City from Koch to Bloomberg.

Cynthia Kaplan

Cynthia Kaplan is the author of two acclaimed humor collections and has written for magazines, newspapers, film and TV.  She has appeared in several award-winning shorts and features and performs comedy and music in clubs around the country.

Josh Baron

Joshua Baron is an award winning editor, producer and director. He works primarily on episodic television shows but also has extensive experience with long form documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials.

Boukary Sawadogo

Assistant Professor, Film
City College of New York
Dr. Boukary Sawadogo is an Assistant Professor of Film in the City College Department of Media and Communication Arts. Boukary’s research and teaching interests include film theory, history and criticism. He has published extensively on Francophone African cinema and his documentary Bonjour Y’all was selected by the 2013 Africa World Documentary Film Festival. Boukary is currently working on a book on comedy and entertainment in West African cinema.

Sarah Hanssen

Assistant Professor, Communication Arts & Sciences
Bronx Community College
Sarah Hanssen’s film and video works have shown at festivals, museums and screenings around the world. She received her Masters of Fine Art in film and video at the Massachusetts College of Art. In addition to her artwork, she has served on festival juries and worked as a programmer for The Hamptons International Film Festival. After working as an associate professor at Pratt Institute for ten years, she is now teaching at CUNY’s Bronx Community College. She’s also a contributing writer for the online publication The Curator

Natasha Lorca Yannacañedo

Assistant Professor, Humanities
Hostos Community College
As an actress, writer, casting director and director, Natasha’s work spans independent film, radio, primetime television, and infinite plays. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater. Natasha is passionate about the craft of acting and public speaking and is an Assistant Professor at Hostos. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.  As a company member of The Harlem Shakespeare Festival, she recently appeared as Emilia in Tony Award Winner Trazana Beverley’s production of Othello. Please visit www.nyactingcompany.com.

Christine McKenna

Lecturer,  Journalism, Communication & Theatre
Lehman College
Christine McKenna is an online editor, multimedia producer and journalism instructor at Lehman College the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has produced documentary and news sites for Time magazine, PBS, the Discovery Channel, WNYC and The Wall Street Journal.

Tom Flynn

Tom Flynn was the Artistic Director of CUNY Film Festival for three years. He went to Hunter College and now lives in Brooklyn, where he works in film and television.

Bella Gelman

Bella Gelman is a Student Development Administrator at Macaulay Honors College and a recent graduate of the CUNY Brooklyn College Classics Department. Drawing on previous Film/TV experience as well as a general affinity for the whole spectrum of the arts, Bella can’t get enough of the stories that actors and filmmakers share with the world. She intends to pursue a career in Arts Management.

Tom Reilly

Distinguished Lecturer, Film
Brooklyn College
Tom Reilly is a member of The Directors Guild of America and has over 35 years of feature film production experience. He has collaborated with directors Woody Allen (18 films), Sydney Pollack, Barbra Streisand, Taylor Hackford and Alfonso Cuaron. Cinematographers he’s worked with include Gordon Willis, Carlo Di Palma, Giuseppe Rotunno, John Seale, Michael Ballhaus, Sven Nykvist, and Emmanuel Lubezki. Has made films with over 70 Academy Award winners, and such actors as Al Pacino, Robert Di Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, John Huston, Alec Guinness, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves, Liam Neeson, Tom Hanks, and Sean Connery.

Todd Rutt

Director, Producer and Graphic Designer

Todd Rutt is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and currently works for HBO in New York.  He has worked on many shows as a graphic design director including, The Dana Carvey Show, The Chris Rock Show, Are We There Yet?, and The John Oliver Show.  

Maureen Martin

Maureen’s film industry experience includes the Toronto Festivals of Festivals, Gen Art, ChristianCafe.com and The Discovery Card. She is a co-founder of DivaGalsDaily, a popular Life + Style site for the Multicultural Woman. Maureen has also created strategic partnerships for Delaina Dixon, a VH1 talent. Her publicity clients have appeared The New York Times, Vogue, New York Daily News, Reader’s Digest and the New York Post. In 2013 she launched a boutique African faced production company to produce #AfriMericans. #AfriMericans plays homage to the children of the African diaspora who are pursuing their  professional aspirations in the United States and beyond.