SIMA 2019 JUDGES
Mazher Ali (Impact Writer/Producer)
Maz Ali is a social impact writer-producer hailing from the piney woods of East Texas and now
residing in Oakland, California. In 2013, he joined the inaugural editorial team of Upworthy, where through painstaking, data-minded iteration he learned a thing or two about how to engage social audiences with emotive, mission-driven stories. His prior experience includes research, writing, and creative communications in support of progressive policy movements around the U.S.
Patricia Billings (Publisher, Editor & Writer)
Patricia Billings is a publisher, editor and writer specializing in bilingual and translated literature. She is cowriter of three new progressive children’s books, Friends, Sharing and Love, published in 17 bilingual editions by Milet Publishing. She is editorial director of the Milet Turkish Literature Series, a collection of novels and anthologies translated from Turkish into English. She cofounded Milet and codirected the company for 15 years, in London, Izmir, and Chicago, helping to grow it into a leading multilingual publisher. Prior to this, 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. Patricia was also an editor at The Jordan Times newspaper in Amman. She has worked in film, with the development and production firm NDF International in London, and with the International Film Festival in Izmir. She helped establish the Human Rights Watch LA Film Club and was a lead organizer of the club for several years. Patricia is a board member of SIMA. A longtime advocate for human rights and social justice, she is currently focused on antiracism and anti-incarceration activism.
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.
Agathe Dalisson (Media Consultant, Filmmaker)
Agathe Dalisson is a dynamic and creative filmmaker and media expert, with over 14 years of experience in the field of media development. She believes media and media products can have huge impact on development, social justice, and people’s ability to become change makers. After graduating from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) of UCL in 2001, she joined Internews Europe, a leading media development organisation. Her work with Internews enabled her to engage with local media, social justice activists and development players in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Among other things, she set up the successful Afghan NGO Nai, and its training center for professional journalists in 2005; she created two high profile global media awards with the active participation and back up of leading activists and Nobel Prize winners (the Every Human Has Rights Media Awards in 2008 and the Earth Journalism Awards in 2009); and she helped produce 100s of hours of news and information programs with local and community media. In 2010, she decided to turn to filmmaking and attended the National Film and Television School (NFTS) Summerdocs program for media professionals. Based in the South of France, Agathe now continues to work as a media development consultant while developing her documentary film projects.
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.
Claudia Flores (Creative Director, Communications Consultant)
Claudia Flores is a Mexican activist and social entrepreneur who is based in the cities of Los Angeles and Mexico City since 2002. She is an author and adviser on human sustainability issues: philosophy promoting a narrative of Responsibility, Awareness, and Willingness towards functional collectives. Claudia’s mission is to create a platform for human-center education, communication and entertainment that uses creativity and activism connecting heart to heart and human to human. Claudia is also on the board of multiple organizations including Vena-Cava, Creative Visions, and Freedom to Choose.
Maria Gambale (Director, Producer, Cinematographer)
Maria Luisa Gambale is a director, producer, writer and cinematographer based in Brooklyn. She is director and producer of the 2011 award-winning documentary “Sarabah,” about the Senegalese rapper-activist Sister Fa. Most recently a producer on “Shade: Queens of NYC”, she has also produced and directed video for National Geographic, ABC News and The New York Times. Gambale’s work in all media can be viewed at www.veradonnafilms.com.
Anders Hjemdahl (Creative Director, Creative Technology)
Anders Hjemdahl’s passion for digital art and visualization has lead him to design, develop and produce interactive media for over 25 years, starting with digital design, 3D and visualization in the early 1990s, before becoming a cross media producer at pioneering Swedish interactive production house Hanser & Co in 1993, working on numerous interactive titles and exhbitions as well as early web solutions. Anders co-founded production company Hypnosis in 1996, working for clients like Ericsson and Nokia (developing web, mobile solutions and business strategy) as well as e.g. Virgin Records, Sony, Universal Music Group, Kinetix, Media Evolution, BMG, the Swedish Post Office, Expressen, Dagens Nyheter, the Regional Government of Scania, the Atlas Foundation, Stanford University and many others. He co-founded Hypermusic.net in 1999, selling the world’s first digital music file online, as well as developing the world’s first online video solutions for short films and live concerts. He has also worked as executive producer and lead creative director of interactive at Sweden’s leading TV production house, Jarowskij. A passionate historian, Anders has also been instrumental in several cultural/historical projects, and is a founding member of the international Platform for European Memory and Conscience with 41 member organizations from 21 countries, headquartered in Prague and Brussels. He has received numerous awards for his international work, including the Order of Terra Mariana by the President of Estonia and the Templeton Freedom Award. He is mentioned for his digital art in e.g. “200 Years of Swedish Design”. A proponent of Virtual Reality ever since its first wave in the 1990s, after moving to Los Angeles in 2013, Anders has increasingly focused on VR ideation and development, producing VR content in a wide range of projects, from experimental to art, to commercial and documentary work.
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.
Beth Karlin, Ph.D. (Research Director, Founder)
Beth Karlin, PhD, is Research Director at the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center, where she studies the impact of entertainment on society. Current projects investigate a wide variety of topics, including solutions journalism, cultural diplomacy, science engagement, and virtual reality. In addition to her role at the University, Beth founded the See Change Institute, which brings together leading academics to work with government, private, and non-profit organizations on strategy, implementation, and evaluation of energy efficiency and behavior change programs. She has published her work in venues ranging from Psychological Bulletin to Peace Studies (as well as some that don’t start with the letter “p”) and lectures regularly on Transformational Media and the Psychology of Sustainability. Before receiving her Ph.D. in Social Ecology, Beth spent nearly a decade working in K-12 education, holding positions as a teacher, counselor, and school administrator. She believes that the role of a researcher is not only to better understand the world but also to improve it and hopes that her work is able to serve both purposes.
Grace Lau (Social Impact Professional)
Grace is a social impact professional who holds over a decade of experience working at the intersection of technology and global education, and youth development. In her most recent role as the Director of Virtual Reality at Global Nomads Group, she designed and launched a VR Lab that brought educational vr experience in urban and rural communities across the US and Middle East and North Africa. She has overseen an expansive virtual exchange portfolio which included STEAM, media literacy, and civic engagement projects across the globe including: Bahrain, Cambodia, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Qatar, and Vietnam
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.
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.
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. Recently she edited “The Wolfpack”, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. 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 recently DETROPIA for which Enat won the editing award at the 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.