2020 JURY

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.

Rocco Caruso

Rocco Caruso has worked in film and media for more than 30 years and has spent 8 years producing for director Jonathan Demme. Two films he produced won the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival (1999 and 2010) and were official selections of the Cannes Film Festival.

Carlo Diego

Carlo Diego, MFA, Lehman College in New York. Postgraduate certificate in Max/MSP/JItterfrom Harvestworks in New York. Brooklyn-based experimental digital media artist and animator. Work includes interactive experiences, experimental video, installation art, animation and media design for web, television, environmental design, and festivals in the United States and Europe. His studio orientation is in 2D & 3D animation, concept art, experimental video, and installation art. A full-time assistant professor of animation and motion graphics at Borough of ManhattanCommunity College, he has been a visiting artist and adjunct lecturer at several institutions in the NY metro area, including Sarah Lawrence College, Lehman College, and Hostos Community College

Thomas Dyja

Thomas Dyja is the author of the award-winning The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream and New York, New York, New York: How the City Changed from Koch to Bloomberg, to be published in Spring 2021.

Jonathan Ehrenberg

Jonathan Ehrenberg is an artist working in video, animation, sculpture, drawing, photography, and VR. His work has been included in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, SculptureCenter, The Drawing Center (New York), Futura Center (Prague), The B3 Biennial (Frankfurt), Galeria Espacio Minimo (Madrid), Temnikova & Kasela (Tallinn), and Nara Roesler (São Paulo), and he has participated in residencies at LMCC Workspace, Harvestworks, Skowhegan, Triangle, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Glenfiddich in Scotland. Ehrenberg is an Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media at Lehman College, CUNY.

Michael J. Hotopp

Production Designer

THEATRE: Broadway, Off Broadway,Radio City Music Hall, National and International Tours, Regional, Opera . Stock and West End. TV SPORTS: ESPN/ESPN II [ 25 years] Sports Centers, multiple studios, World Cups.Wimbledon and various national and international specials. All NETWORKS: Studios, Olympic Studios,Opening Paralympics 2002,  TV NEWS: Studios Morning Shows, specials. TV TALK: Oprah, Steve Harvey, Katie and more; Comedy Central Projects. CONCERTS: Liza, Mariah Carey, Simon and Garfunkel. THEMED ENTERTAINMENT: Disney, Sea World, National Basketball and Baseball Halls of Fame, Georgia Aquarium, ICE [20 yrs] for Marriott. 14 Emmy nominations, 7 wins. Michael Hotopp, Founder, Emeritust at www.hotopp.com.


Ken Krug

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY
Ken Krug is a fine artist, illustrator, and author. He illustrated Michele Obama’s book about the White House garden and wrote and illustrated the children’s book, No, Silly! which was on the Bank Street College Best Books of 2016 list. His paintings have been exhibited in numerous art shows and were featured on the set of the movie “You Can Count on Me.” His paintings of NYC commuters were part of a multimedia theatrical production at the National Arts Club in New York. www.kenkrug.com


Anisha Lall

Anisha Lall graduated in May 2019 from Macaulay Honors College at Queens College with a double major in Psychology and Media Studies and a minor in Business and Liberal Arts. She is from the Bronx, NY and is of Indo-Guyanese descent. The value she places on giving back to underserved populations has molded her understanding of the world. Anisha is an aspiring producer/ actress looking forward to using the power of narratives to empower communities and their individuality

Maureen Martin

Writer/Producer and Content Creator

Born in Cameroon, Central Africa, Maureen Martin has had the pleasure of calling three countries home: her native land Africa, Canada and the United States. Her background includes time in the newsroom (CITY-TV/MUCH MUSIC), TV and film production, and marketing and Public Relations. Professional stints include working with agencies like Cohn and Wolfe. Maureen’s film industry experience includes the (Toronto International Film Festivals, Gen Art (film festival selection committee) and the TriBeCa film festival. She is co-founder of DivaGalsDaily, a popular Life + Style site for the Multicultural Woman. In 2013 she decided to return to production and launched a boutique production company to produce the scripted digital series #AfriMericans. 

Sara Mazes

Sara is the Administrative Liaison to Human Resources & Public Safety/Building Coordinator at Macaulay. She is a graduate of Muhlenberg College where she earned a B.A in Theater Arts and International Studies. She loves all types of movies but favors fantasy/space adventures and period pieces.

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.

George Nierenberg

George Nierenberg is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose career has spanned the worlds of independent features, network, cable, and international television.  His work has been on CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, National Geographic and Bravo.  Recently his films, Say Amen Somebody and No Maps on My Taps were restored in 4k for theatrical release nationally, a testament to the longevity of the messages he brings in his work.

Babak Rassi

Associate Professor of Film, Dept. of Media & Communications Arts, City College of New York

Babak Rassi relishes the process of cinematic storytelling and appreciates the brave souls who engage in it. He edits fiction and documentary films in NYC and teaches post-production to the BFA and MFA film students at the City College of New York.

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.

Anastassios Rigopoulos

Assistant Professor, Media Arts and Technology, Borough of Manhattan Community College

Award-winning filmmaker, working in non-fiction. His credits include Texas and the Death Penalty and Greeks and Americans (as writer-director) and the series Viewpoint and Greektown (as co-producer and co-editor). Currently completing a feature-length portrait of contemporary artist Lucas Samaras, in collaboration with his wife Joanna Yuen. In addition, he produces, directs, and edits video interviews for the ongoing oral history collection of the Hellenic American Project at Queens College. As a full-time faculty member at BMCC, he teaches classes in video production and editing, as well as scriptwriting and media studies.

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.  

Linda Saffire

Linda Saffire is a director and producer of documentary films.  Most recently her film Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, received critical acclaim and was listed on the NY Times Critics’ Pick.  Along with her documentary work, she has also worked in episodic television and narrative films.

Jim Sayegh

Jim Sayegh is a multiple award-winning Producer/Director/AD. His work in television spans three decades and multiple genres. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of NewYork, where he teaches Television Studio Production I and II, Multi-camera Remote Production, and Introduction to Contemporary Media. Highlights of Jim’s work include the launch of Passions, NBC’s quirky and critically-acclaimed daytime drama, a program for which he directed over 500 episodes over a nine-year run. He also served as the primary consultant for production and post-production systems design. His directing work there received three Emmy nominations (2001, 2003, 2004). Jim was a Director and AD for ABC’s One Life to Live. During his time as an AD, he implemented advanced post-production techniques and won a Directors Guild of America award in 1993. Five years later, he won the DGA award as Outstanding Director, Daytime Serials. Jim received a Sports Emmy for his AD work on ABC’s production of the 1984 Olympic Games. As part of that project, he produced and directed a number of historical, biographical, and technical features, including the notable Sports Psychology: The Inner Game. Jim received a B.A. in Journalism from New York University in 1973 and an M.F.A. in Television Production from Brooklyn College in 2011.

Natasha Norca Yannacañedo

As an actress, writer, casting director and director, Natasha’s work spans independent film, radio, primetime television, and infinite plays. Natasha is passionate about the craft of acting and is an Assistant Professor at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College.


Team Mascot

Film Buff