2018 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.

Mariell Olier

Mariell Olier is a College Assistant to the Finance Department at Macaulay Honors College as well as the Coordinator for the Hertog Scholars Program. She obtained an Economics Bachelor Degree at John Jay and is now pursuing a Master in Public Administration in Inspection and Oversight with a concentration in Forensic Accounting.


Ken Krug

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


Linda Saffire

Linda Saffire is a director and producer of documentary films.  Among her documentary credits she directed and produced Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, a film about New York City Ballet’s principal ballerina. A Conversation with Gregory Peck, which was a collaboration with Barbara Kopple & Cecilia Peck; Wild Man Blues a feature length film on Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band; My Generation, a film that examines the Woodstock legacy; Married In America, a film by British director, Michael Apted; Smash His Camera, about famed paparazzo, Ron Galella a collaboration a collaboration with Adam Schlesinger and Leon Gast; and Sporting Dreams, a film for Al Jazeera America examining youth sports in America.

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.

Sara Mazes

Sara is the Office and Building Services 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

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

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. 

Ben Ross

Benjamin Ross is Honors Advisor Student Liaison at Macaulay Honors College. Previously, he has worked in Academic Advising for Hunter College Honors Scholars. He grew up in Brooklyn and Central New Jersey, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Music from Rutgers University. He went on to receive a Master of Science in Psychological Counseling from Monmouth University. Mr. Ross is professionally interested in finding connections between the arts and social sciences, developmental and person-centered counseling approaches in academic advising, and high-impact opportunities to empower college students. Currently he plays drums, composes music, and plays bass guitar in There There: The NYC Tribute to Radiohead. He lives in Forest Hills, Queens with his wife Anne and two feline companions.

Laura van Straaten

Laura van Straaten has reported about art and culture from more than a dozen countries for The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter,  New York and many other print and online publications in the U.S. and abroad. As a producer and later as a media executive she has created Webby- and Emmy-winning video and multi-media projects for NBC News, CNN, AOL, PBS and other media companies. Laura is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Manhattan.