Social Impact Media AwardsSocial Impact Media Awards

SIMA 2015 JUDGES

Daniela Kon (Executive Director & Producer | DEEDA Productions/SIMA)

Daniela Kon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer and consultant with expertise in global humanitarian development. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she has worked with NGOs and aid organizations in Cambodia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Israel, Liberia, Senegal, and the US since 2005, creating documentaries and advocacy media about social, humanitarian and human rights issues. Her film credits range from the award winning documentary TALIBE, the United Nations FAO Ending Hunger Campaign and the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), to collaborations with grassroots initiatives in Education, Voluntourism, Youth Leadership, Girls and Women’s Empowerment, LGBT Rights, Water Management, Children’s Rights, and Modern-day Slavery. Kon is a member of the Creative Activist Community of Creative Visions Foundation, a board member of the HRW Film Committee and Women’s Rights Committee of Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles, a producer and consultant for social issue documentaries, impact media productions, and international advocacy campaigns. Driven by the premise of maximizing responsible impact through creativity, Kon founded the Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) in 2012, dedicated to advancing the culture of impact filmmaking and to supporting filmmakers and change-makers in their work.

Trevor Hall (President & CEO | Creative Visions Foundation)

Trevor Hall is an experienced educator, writer, business consultant and the president of Creative Visions Foundation, a non-profit incubator that provides tools, mentorship and resources to Creative Activists using media, arts and technology to solve global problems. Trevor founded Open Roads Creative, a business development consultancy, and Open Roads Academy, a month-long summer program for low-income high school students that combines outdoor travel with an immersion in the documentary arts. He holds a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University where he was the Head Teaching Fellow of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Professor Dr. Robert Coles and the recipient of the Derek Bok Award for Excellence in Teaching in each of his three years at Harvard. Trevor also served as the Associate Editor of DoubleTake Magazine, and as a Director of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program (CSCIP), where he managed corporate partner programs, establishing relationships with companies such as, Motorola, The Boeing Company, and United Airlines. Among other programs at CSCIP, Trevor initiated and managed CSCIP’s Genographic Project, uniting National Geographic with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project.

Enat Sidi (Academy Nominated Editor)

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Enat Sidi is now one of the leading editors in the documentary film world. She is a frequent collaborator with directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, having edited most of their nonfiction feature films including “The Boys of Baraka” (2005 Emmy nominee), “Jesus Camp: (2006 Academy Award nominee), HBO’s 12th & Delaware (Peabody winner) and most recently DETROPIA for which Enat won the editing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. In addition, Enat has worked on many prestigious films for a myriad of diverse filmmakers including Ellen Kuras (“The Betrayal”) and Jennifer Vendiiti (“Billy the Kid”). She recently acted as the consulting editor on “Bully,” the high profile doc released in 2012 by the Weinstein Company. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Jon Fitzgerald (Director, Author, Executive Director | Hollywood Film Festival)

Jon Fitzgerald has over 20 years of experience in the motion picture business with a comprehensive understanding of the principal communities connected by the independent film sector- film festivals, online movie exhibition and the entertainment industry at large.
 After working in production on a number of studio features, Fitzgerald directed his first film in 1994, and then co-founded the Slamdance Film Festival in 1995. He directed the event for the next two years before becoming the Festival Director at the American Film Institute and then the Santa Barbara and Abu Dhabi International Film Festivals. He was a VP of Programming for IFILM.com, where he helped to create a new online exhibition model, before launching Right Angle Studios, a consulting firm that provided services to film festivals and indie filmmakers. After directing several critically acclaimed documentaries, (The Back Nine, The Highest Pass Dance Of Liberation). Fitzgerald launched CineCause.com, a company devoted to connecting socially relevant films to related causes. In 2012, Fitzgerald authored his first book, Filmmaking For Change: Make Films that Transform the World.

Dr. David Craig (Communications & Media Professor, Producer, Activist)

Dr. Craig is the Clinical Assistant Professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, synthesizing theory and practice, production and management in his courses that consider the massive transformations occurring within the global and US media industries. In addition, Craig has produced numerous career-based initiatives and media conferences, and is an Emmy-nominated veteran media producer and programing executive.  His production company, Media Nation, produced Directors Guild of America Nominee, Girl Fight, and has sold, developed and/or produced scripted and non-scripted series for HBO, ABC, CBS, and History, graphic novels to Hill & Wang Publishers, and web pilots to Sony Digital/Crackle.com.  Dr. Craig was previously an executive at A&E Networks where he supervised over 20 movies, mini-series and drama series. He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television. Dr. Craig’s research has been published in the Journal of Popular Film and Television and the International Journal of Communication and presented at the conference for the Society of Media and Cultural Studies. Dr. Craig earned his Masters in Cinema Studies from NYU and his Bachelors in Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his Doctorate in Education at UCLA, where his research considers the intersection of popular culture, education and social movements, featuring a critical cultural and production history of LGBT-themed television movies.

Kimberley Hassett (Editor)

Kimberley Hassett is an LA based editor who has worked on a wide range of projects, most recently an indie comedy, Uncle Nick (2014) by Chris Kasick, Executive Produced by Errol Morris, and a documentary feature Farewell to Hollywood, which premiered at IDFA 2013 and was named by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as one of the top documentaries to watch in 2014. Her other feature credits include The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan (DocNYC & the Sundance Channel) produced by Danny Glover and Joslyn Barnes at Louverture Films, Talibe: The Least Favored Children of Senegal by Daniela Kon, which as significantly moved the needle on this social issue in Senegal, and Highway (Berlin International Film Festival & MOMA 2012) by Nepalese director Deepark Rauniyar. Hassett has also worked on a variety of short format documentary content for CBS News Productions, Logo TV, MTVu, Digital Kitchen and Corra Films.  She received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in Photography, Video and Related Media and is currently working with Jason Kohn (Manda Bala: Send a Bullet, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner 2007) on his upcoming film Diamond, Silver and Gold.

Sandra de Castro Buffington (Founding Director | Global Media Center for Social Impact)

Sandra de Castro Buffington is a pioneering force in entertainment for social change.  As Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Sandra infuses television, movies, music and new media with socially provocative storylines to improve health and well being worldwide.  She works with Hollywood, Bollywood, and other creative capitals to inspire and develop storylines that have profound impact on knowledge and behavior.  Her groundbreaking work resulted in 565 health and justice storylines that aired on 91 television shows across 35 networks from 2009-2012.  For her work, Sandra was named by PODER magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in America” in 2012.  She has received numerous honors and awards, including the USAID Maximizing Access and Quality Outstanding Achievement Award, Brazil’s Award for Leadership in developing the Bahia State Reproductive Health Program and seven international advertising awards for the “Acts of Love” vasectomy promotion campaign in Brazil.  Sandra unleashes the power of entertainment media to elevate consciousness, health and well being worldwide.

Maria Gambale (Director, Producer, Cinematographer)

Gambale’s directorial debut Sarabah, premiered at the 2011 Movies That Matter Film Festival winning the Matter of ACT prize for Best Documentary. It screened at forty festivals around the world, has been broadcasted on Link TV in the US, France and Sweden and won the CINE Golden Eagle Award for Independent Television Documentary in 2012. Gambale has worked as a cinematographer and producer in both fiction and documentary for the past 18 years. She was a mentor with teen filmmaker organization Reelworks from 2004-2012, a Shooter-Producer for the acclaimed ABC News documentary series “NY Med”, a producer on the Link TV series “Rappers, Divas and Virtuosos” and served as a Post-Production Consultant on Jehane Noujaim’s film “The Square” in 2011. Gambale also produced the large-scale hybrid art/theater installation “Habit” by David Levine, winning an Obie in May 2012; and works in casting with a range of international directors including Christian Frei and Albert Maysles.

Andrew McGregor (Journalist, Filmmaker, Founder | The Tiziano Project)

Andrew McGregor is a filmmaker, comic book publisher, film festival founder, chess boxing champion, photojournalist, TEDx speaker, and founder of The Tiziano Project, an NGO that teaches citizen journalism to people living in conflict zones and neglected parts of the world. By providing equipment, training and affiliations necessary, The Tiziano Project allows community members to report their stories and improve their lives. Training programs have been held in areas all over the world including Rwanda, Somalia, DR Congo, Iraq, slums of Kenya, South Central LA, and beyond.

Sally Rubin (Filmmaker, Educator)

Sally Rubin is a documentary filmmaker and editor who has worked in field for over 15 years and is a full time documentary professor at Chapman University. She recently completed an ITVS-funded feature-length documentary, Deep Down, with filmmaking partner Jen Gilomen that was nominated for an Emmy for its Virtual Mine outreach project, in the category of New Approaches to News and Documentary. Rubin and Gilomen just completed Life on the Line, a film about teenage girls on the U.S.-Mexico border, to broadcast nationally on PBS in Fall 2014. She’s currently working on The Hollywood Hillbilly, about representations of Appalachians in the media. Rubin’s other credits include The Last Mountain, Robert Greenwald’s Iraq For Sale, The Freedom Files (editor), as well as David Sutherland’s 6-hour Frontline special Country Boys (associate producer), and Riverwebs (editor), which broadcast nationally on PBS. In 2004, Rubin founded the groundbreaking Straight Outta Grrrlville Film Festival in San Francisco, and continues to produce local events and benefits for artists and filmmakers in conjunction with her own continued work. Other professional memberships and affiliations include: Doculink Steering Committee: Member; Doculink Planning Committee: Member; Tenth Muse Films: President of the Board; International Documentary Association: Member; International Documentary Association David Wolper Award: Member, Screening and Judging Committees 2010; International Documentary Association Awards: Feature Documentary Judge 2011, 2012; New Day Films Cooperative:  Member/Owner. After earning her M.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, Rubin fell deeply in love with the field of documentary film, where she hopes to continue working for a very long time.

Patricia Billings (Educator, Editor)

Patricia Billings is a publisher, editor and consultant specializing in bilingual and translated literature. For 15 years, she was director of Milet Publishing, a multinational company she cofounded, which grew into a leading publisher of bilingual books, with a list of over 400 titles in 26 languages. Prior to Milet, she worked in Washington, DC with the International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Jordan Information Bureau, and the North American Coordinating Committee for NGOs on the Question of Palestine, where her duties included communications, policy and media analysis, and advocacy.  She was an editor at The Jordan Times in Amman. She also worked with the film development and finance firm NDF International, the London Film Festival, and the Izmir Film Festival. Patricia studied Middle East politics at Northwestern University, Arab studies at Georgetown University, media / film studies at the University of London, and adult education teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles.  She recently served as editorial director of a series of novels and anthologies translated from Turkish into English, published by Milet.  Today, she consults for projects promoting literature in translation and diversity in children’s literature, guest lectures on cross-cultural communications, and writes about questions of language and inequality on her website.  Patricia is a volunteer adult literacy tutor in South Los Angeles and a member of the Working Group of the Human Rights Watch LA Film Club.

Claudia Flores (Creative Director, Consultant)

Claudia Flores is a social and political communications consultant, with expertize in audiovisual and digital media messaging and strategy. Dedicated to advancing social consciousness and reform through integrative design thinking, Claudia’s career includes working as a counselor for the presidency of Mexico through the Representative Office of Development for Indigenous People, ORDPI, and for the General Consulate of Mexico in Los Angeles, launching programs dedicated to the empowerment and support of immigrant families. She is the Founder and Creative Director of “The Angel Station” and “Servicios y Practicas de Integridad” specializing in strategic communications, and collaborative work for conscious creative media and interactive methodology for societal advancement. Claudia designs and implements creative ways for media to be interactive and have universal access. In addition to graduates and studies in Sociology and Anthropology, Claudia is a certified Professional Life Coach. She holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science and a Masters degree in Psychology. By virtue of Claudia’s experience, her work focuses on strategies in problem solving by “building reliable bridges” allowing empathetic connectivity to be as dynamic as technology, activating integrative communications for the development of communities and the human condition all over the world.

Helen Hood Scheer (Filmmaker, Producer, Educator)

Helen Hood Scheer is a documentary filmmaker, professor and freelance producer. Documentaries that she directed/produced/shot have screened at over 150 festivals and museums including HOT DOCS, Full Frame, True/False, Los Angeles Film Festival and the National Gallery of Art. She has also produced documentaries for HBO, PBS, A&E, National Geographic and other networks. Helen made her directorial debut with the award-winning documentary feature film “JUMP!” which was acquired by Showtime, broadcast nearly 250 times, and optioned for fictionalization. Her most recent documentary short, “The Apothecary” premiered at DOC NYC, won both Special Jury and Special Audience Recognition at Aspen Shortsfest, and a gold medal at the Student Academy Award for Best Documentary. Both “JUMP!” and “The Apothecary,” were selected by the U.S. Department of State as part of the American Film Showcase, a film diplomacy program, which will travel to American embassies worldwide. Recently, Helen also served as Archival Producer for “In Country,” a documentary feature film about Vietnam War re-enactors which earned several honors, including a grant from the Sundance Institute and the Garrett Scott/ Full Frame Award; it will be distributed soon, along with an outreach campaign for Vets.  Helen earned a BA with highest honors in American Studies, with a minor in History from UC Santa Cruz and a M.F.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University. Currently, Helen is developing several documentaries, including a series on her hometown of Venice, CA.

Darius Fisher (Producer, Filmmaker)

Darius Fisher is the producer, founder and president of Digital Neural Axis (DNA) a production and post boutique based in Los Angeles. Darius’ work has been Oscar short-listed and featured at Tribeca, Sundance and the Cannes Film Festival. He produced and co-produced 6 award winning documentary features including, Bhutto (Emmy nominee, Peabody winner), Fuel (Sundance winner), The Big Fix (Cannes official selection), and numerous trailers, including the funding trailer that led to the financing of James Cameron’s Avatar.

Jennifer Lentfer (Development Consultant, Writer)

Jennifer Lentfer works to place grassroots-driven development initiatives, which can be more genuinely responsive to local needs, at the forefront of international aid, philanthropy, and social enterprise. She is the creator of the blog, how-matters.org, and was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter.” Lentfer has worked with over 300 grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa, focused on organizational development and learning. Over the past decade, she has served with various international organizations in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, and the U.S. including Oxfam, American Red Cross, Firelight Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, and UNICEF.

Shawn Humphrey (Innovator, Development Consultant, Educator)

Shawn is the founder of the Two Dollar Challenge, La Ceiba Microfinance, the Month of Microfinance and the Poverty Action Conference. He is also on the Board of Directors of “Students Helping Honduras,” a former mentor at the Clinton Global Initiative University, Opportunity Collaboration alum, and IMAGINE Social Good’s 1st Social Good Fellow. He is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Mary Washington (since 2005), where he practices his personal pedagogy of Tribal Teaching.

Nancy O’Mallon (Filmmaker, Researcher)

Since 1998, Nancy O’Mallon has produced and advanced media with a focus on agricultural development and innovation, directing two award-winning documentaries. She launched the web-based media platform About Harvest in 2009, broadening her mission to educate people about food, food security and agriculture, which has served as the media affiliate for the Texas-based organization, Latinos in Agriculture, since 2012. In 2010, O’Mallon was invited to create the Food Science and Technology Group at The Global Leaders, which builds conversations between scientists and the business, philanthropic, and educational communities with the purpose of advancing new projects. Intent on strengthening global food security via technology, O’Mallon founded Earth Twine in 2013. Under the About Harvest umbrella, Earth Twine is the startup company dedicated to developing technologies to improve global food and agriculture logistics.

Kristi Manning (Development Consultant)

For more than 15 years, Kristi Manning has been dedicated to help maximize humanitarian relief efforts, working as a consultant, field operations manager, project director, and international event organizer for non-profits worldwide. She combines expertise in both institutional aid and grassroots initiatives, providing support in fundraising, planning, implementation and monitoring of local and global development programs. Manning is the co-founder of The Next Right Thing, non-profit connecting critically ill or injured children from developing nations with free medical treatment and transport. Her clients include Dubai Cares, The Starbright Foundation, Carrie-On, Paul Newman’s Painted Turtle Camp, and the Strongheart Fellowship.

Daniela Papi (Development Consultant)

Daniela Papi is the founder of youth leadership and education organization, PEPY Cambodia, and PEPY Tours, a travel company devoted to learning opportunities in the development sector. She and her team in Cambodia launched Learning Service, an education and advocacy website to help people rethink volunteer travel. She is currently working with a global team on a book with the same title. After completing her MBA at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, Daniela began working at the University through the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship where she teaches a class as well as manages a student leadership program. Daniela works as an adviser for NGOs, foundations, & CSR programs and the organizations she has started have received numerous awards from such institutes as the Notre Dame’s Social Venture Business Plan committee, National Geographic, Ashoka’s Changemakers, and the Cartier Women’s Initiative. She is an active writer and speaker on topics of development, from TEDx, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Forbes.com to her own blog, Lessons I Learned.

Maryann Bylander, PHD (Educator, Development Consultant)

Maryann Bylander is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Maryann’s current research and teaching interests focus on migration, development, gender and debt.   Prior to joining Lewis and Clark she was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS (University of London), where she continues to be involved in migration-related research. Maryann has worked with several NGOs in Southeast Asia, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for PEPY, an educational development organization in Cambodia.