SIMA 2020 JUDGES

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.

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.

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.

Jennifer Tuft (Senior Media Executive / Entrepreneur)

Jennifer Tuft is an entrepreneur and strategist who focuses on the intersection of contemporary media, content creation, and social good. Jennifer is the founder and CEO of 6 West.  Founded in 2017, 6 West is an independent consultancy and incubator based in Los Angeles, CA. Focused on media and entertainment companies, 6 West works to apply and execute original content-driven strategies that build brand equity and increase the underlying value of a client’s business. Prior to founding 6 West, Jennifer was a narrative and documentary film producer, the founder of Foss Fund, a media investment fund, and an Executive in the Foundation and Global Client Strategy departments at Creative Artists Agency. Born and raised in NYC, Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree in Film at Wesleyan University and her MBA from Columbia Business School.

Emily Verellen Strom (Consultant)

Emily has fifteen years of diverse experience developing stories, curating content, building partnerships and creating social action strategy.  She is currently a consultant on both fiction and non-fiction story development and production. From 2008-2017, she funded and advised documentaries and digital projects at The Fledgling Fund, including: Bully, Gasland, The Invisible War, Escape Fire, Virunga, Food Chains, Private Violence, 3 ½ Minutes, After Tiller, American Promise, Anita, No Impact Man, Fed Up, Gideon’s Army, Inequality For All, Newtown, Rich Hill, Split Estate, The Crash Reel, The Long Night, Give Up Tomorrow, The Return and many others.  Prior to The Fledgling Fund, Emily founded and led teams and organizations working on women’s rights in NYC and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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.

Kimberley Hassett (Editor)

Kimberley was born and raised in southern Alabama. She was trained in video art at the School of Visual Arts in New York and was active in NYC’s performance art scene, often collaborating with renowned conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner. She has cut four feature films in both fiction and nonfiction, and her work has screened at IDFA, DOCNYC and the Berlin International Film Festival. Most recently, Kimberley produced Jason Kohn’s Love Means Zero (TIFF 2017, Showtime 2018) and is an Executive Producer on two A24 documentary series for Netflix, The Confession Tapes (2019) and another series still in production.  She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Ezequiel Casares (Cinematographer)

Born in Patagonia, Argentina, Ezequiel graduated with an MFA in Cinematography from AFI. He shot Words Into Characters with Brazilian artist Jum Nakao, winning a Gold Clio Award. He was a cinematographer on Minimum Wage, a web series executive produced by Issa Rae and Project Greenlight, and also shot the first season of Macro series Re-Date. He was also a cinematographer for Climbing with Pride, a documentary exploring the largest convention of queer rock climbers in the world and its inception. He is currently working on Adonai— a documentary capturing the wisdom of the now disappearing way of life of Argentine gauchos. Ezequiel believes that genuinely depicting memorable characters, in both documentary and fiction, has the power to transcend language as well as culture, tapping directly into the heart of audiences. He is also working on diverse projects with clients such as Vice, MarvelTV, the Oscars and Great Big Story.

Keely Badger (Human Rights & Impact Media Executive)

Keely Badger is a millennial expert and advocate on international human rights and development issues. She serves as the Executive Director of Neda Nobari Foundation (NNF), a leading philanthropic organization dedicated to championing social and environmental justice through the arts and eduction. Through a bottom-up, community-driven and largely participatory grantmaking practice, the foundation works with over fifty nonprofit groups and leaders each year, pioneering durable solutions for underrepresented voices, communities and causes in alignment with the foundation’s focus areas: Holistic Education, Innovative Arts, Transparent Media, Earth Advocacy and Social Impact Cinema. Keely is also the Founder and CEO of 360 Media Consulting, a full-circle digital marketing agency for storytellers, change-makers, and brands working on the frontlines of social impact and innovation. Previously, Keely worked at internationally acclaimed nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) as Associate of Development and Global Initiatives, documenting and exposing human rights abuses in over 90 countries around the world. She now serves as the youngest member of HRW’s Los Angeles Film Committee and the HRW Los Angeles Network of Young Professionals. Keely is a Next Generation member of the World Affairs Council and was a civil society Youth Observer for the World Programme of Action for Youth at the United Nations (UN). Keely holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego in Cross-Cultural Anthropology & Political Science, an M.A. from Dartmouth College in Globalization Studies, and an MSt./J.D. in International Human Rights Law from University of Oxford.

Beth Karlin, Ph.D. (Research Director, Founder)

Beth Karlin, PhD, is the founder and CEO of See Change Institute, which blends social science with innovative design to address global issues through human solutions. She also founded the Transformational Media Lab at the University of California, Irvine and is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center, which studies the impact of entertainment on society. Beth’s projects investigate a wide range of topics, including science communication, food security, climate change, and virtual reality. Her team is working on a behavior change “playbook” to walk through the building blocks of behavior change – Audience, Behavior, Content, Delivery, and Evaluation – and social science strategies to optimize each one. 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.

Colleen McEdwards Ph.D. (Journalism/Communication Professor; CNNI Anchor/Correspondent)

Colleen McEdwards is an online instructor with the University of Florida’s renowned distance-learning graduate program in communication and media studies (CJC Online). She designs and delivers online courses in video storytelling. After a 30-year career in international media at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and CNN International, Dr. McEdwards transitioned to academia, helping new generations of communicators discover what’s next for digital media. McEdwards has taught at the Sam Nunn School of International affairs (Georgia Tech), Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University. She served as founding coordinator and online graduate instructor in a new, Social Impact Media Specialization at Saybrook University. She currently sits on the Board of Trustees at Saybrook. McEdwards directed multiple study abroad programs in media entrepreneurship in Hong Kong. She served as director of GSU’s journalism writing center where she more than doubled student participation in her leadership tenure. She piloted measurement and evaluation systems to quantify mastery and learning transfer. A 30-year international media veteran, McEdwards holds a Ph.D. in Education (instructional design and technology management). Named as a Fulbright Specialist in 2018, she is passionate about forging ties with international organizations seeking to better align the media ecosystem with social justice initiatives. Prior to her transition to academia, McEdwards spent almost 20 years as an anchor and correspondent for CNN International. She reported on major stories in news, documentary and digital formats all over the world, particularly in Russia, Europe and Asia. As a political correspondent, she covered multiple election campaigns in Canada and the U.S. From the anchor desk, she played a role in coverage of most of the major international news events of the last two decades. She joined CNN International from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where she covered Canada’s constitutional crisis, the collapse of Communism, the final pullout of Soviet troops from the former Czechoslovakia, as well as unrest in Haiti. McEdwards has won several awards for her political reporting, including the New York Festival Award, a Worldfest Houston Award and multiple Peabody awards for team coverage of major global events. Passionate about lifelong learning and andragogy, she earned a Ph.D. in Education while working at CNN International, partnering with CNN’s international affiliates throughout the process. McEdwards studied Russian in St. Petersburg and honed her French conversational skills while living in Canada and Europe. Dr. McEdwards is a United States/Canadian citizen, a former competitive athlete and an avid sports fan.

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. Claudia is also on the board of multiple organizations including Vena-Cava, Creative Visions, and Freedom to Choose.

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.

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.

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.

Verónica Moreno (Community Engagement | Thousand Currents)

As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Whittier College, Verónica Moreno has always been committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples in both academia and her own community. Verónica was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, where she designed and taught a syllabus focused on social issues in media and pop culture. She also organized a video production workshop for both teachers and students. She returned to the U.S. and after a short stint at a tech company, Verónica re-committed to social change and joined the Thousand Currents team. She brings an eclectic set of skills to the team, ranging from operational support to handling heavy-duty power tools. On her free time, she enjoys live music, cooking soups, building things, and writing about the lessons from the “everyday mundane” that she finds incredibly fascinating.