Dallas Film Society Announces Jurors and Panels for the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival



The Dallas Film Society has announced the jurors for competition films, as well as the Talk Show Panels, taking place during the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival presented by AutoNation. DIFF is also proud to confirm that ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and featuring Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, Nick Offerman, and Molly Shannon, will be screening as the second Centerpiece Film during the Festival.

Grand Jury Prizes will be presented for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, Animated Short Film, Student Short Film and Texas Film Competition presented by Panavision.

Making up the Narrative Feature Competition Jury is Former Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival David Ansen, filmmaker Kat Candler, and Director of Programming for the Hawaiian International Film Festival Anderson Le. Comprising the Documentary Feature Competition Jury is filmmaker Cynthia Hill, Executive Director of Images Cinema Doug Jones, and Director/Producer AJ Schnack. Jurors for the Short Film and Student Short Film Competition are filmmaker Francis Bodomo, writer and animator Jeanette Bonds, and filmmaker Soham Mehta. Texas Competition jurors will include filmmaker Eric Hueber, Producer and Senior Programmer of South by Southwest Jarod Neece, and Austin Chronicle Film Critic and Senior Editor Marjorie Baumgarten.

Grand Jury Prizes will also be presented for best Animated Short Film juried by Reel FX. The Silver Heart Award recipient will be selected by the Embrey Family Foundation.

“We are excited to have such a diverse and talented group of individuals participate on our juries,” said DIFF Senior Programmer Sarah Harris. “All of our jurors are highly esteemed veterans of the film industry and have the experience and expertise necessary to determine which of our many talented filmmakers will be presented with these awards.”

Throughout the Festival, DIFF will host five Talk Show Panels and three featured Q&A Specials during which attendees will have the opportunity to hear and learn about film and filmmaking from experts in the industry.

The Talk Show Panels will include Tools of the Trade: A Camera Symposium, Trends in Technology: A Conversation with Cinematographers, Legal Panel: Why Do I Need a Lawyer, Cinema as Next Level Marketing, and a Conversation with John Landis.

This year’s featured Q&As are Education Docs: Changing the Way We Think About Learning, A Conversation With Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and Remembering L.M. Kit Carson at the screening of his film BREATHLESS.

“I am proud that we have the opportunity to showcase so many talents through our Talk Show Panels and featured Q&A Specials,” said James Faust, Artistic Director of the Dallas Film Society. “We are thrilled that we are able to educate and inform the community on all the different aspects of filmmaking.”

Additional information about ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, Jurors, Talk Show Panels, and Featured Q&A Specials can be found below.



Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Cast: Thomas Mann; Olivia Cooke; RJ Cyler; Nick Offerman; Molly Shannon; Jon Bernthal; Connie Britton

Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is an awkward, self-deprecating high school student determined to coast through his senior year as anonymously as possible. He spends most of his time remaking bizarre, spirited versions of classic movies with his only friend/disapproving sidekick, Earl – and avoiding social interactions like the plague. But Greg’s plans are foiled when his well-meaning mother forces him befriend Rachel (Olivia Cooke), a classmate who’s been diagnosed with leukemia.




Narrative Feature Competition Jurors

David Ansen

David Ansen was a movie critic for Newsweek from 1977 to 2008. He was the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival from 2010 through 2014 and has written documentaries for TNT, HBO, and PBS on Greta Garbo, Groucho Marx, Bette Davis, and Elizabeth Taylor.


Kat Candler

Kat Candler's feature film HELLION, starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis, premiered in U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Candler was a recent recipient of the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Grant for her upcoming feature UNTITLED METAL PROJECT and a 2014/2015 Sundance Institute Women’s Initiative Fellow.


Anderson Le

Splitting his time between Los Angeles and Honolulu, Anderson Le has worked diligently in the global promotion of independent and world cinema as director of programming for the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF), which is now heading into its 35th year. In addition to his duties at HIFF, Le also serves as artistic director for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and a program consultant for the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.


Documentary Feature Competition Jurors

Cynthia Hill

Cynthia Hill is a Durham, NC-based filmmaker and co-founder of the Southern Documentary Fund. Her Peabody Award-winning docuseries A CHEF'S LIFE, approaching its third season, airs on PBS. Producer/director credits include PRIVATE VIOLENCE, which premiered at Sundance and on HBO, TOBACCO MONEY FEEDS MY FAMILY, THE GUESTWORKER, and FEBRUARY ONE.


Doug Jones

Doug Jones has over twenty years of experience programming films for a variety of nonprofit film organizations, including the San Francisco Film Society, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, where he served as Associate Director of Programming. He is currently Executive Director of Images Cinema, a nonprofit art house in Williamstown, Massachusetts.


AJ Schnack

AJ Schnack has directed and produced multiple films (CAUCUS, WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS, CONVENTION, KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON), as well as the docuseries MIDTERMS for Al Jazeera America. He is the Founding Director of the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking.


Texas Competition Jurors

Marjorie Baumgarten

Marjorie Baumgarten is a film critic and senior editor at The Austin Chronicle, where she has worked in many capacities since its founding in 1981. She has been the Chronicle's Film Reviews Editor for the last 25 years, and in addition to writing for the Chronicle, her work has been published in Film Comment, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.


Eric Hueber

Eric Hueber’s first feature RAINBOWS END follows a colorful cast of characters from Nacogdoches, Texas as they travel west in search of their dreams. FLUTTER, which premiered at DIFF and won the Texas Grand Jury Prize, is Hueber’s second feature length film and will be released in April 2015.


Jarod Neece

Jarod Neece has been with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and Conference in Austin, TX since 2002. He is the festival's Producer & Senior Programmer with an emphasis on Narrative Feature and Genre Programming.  As Producer, he oversees the Film Festival & Conference and daily festival operations. He has been a juror or panelist at a number of festivals and organizations, including Fantasia, Sundance, the McKnight Filmmaking Fellowship and Independent Film Week. He is also the Co-Founder and Editor of the popular Austin food blog TacoJournalism.com and co-writer of the new book Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day.


Shorts Competition Jurors

Frances Bodomo

Frances Bodomo is an award-winning Ghanaian filmmaker and one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her two short films BONESHAKER (2013) and AFRONAUTS (2014) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in consecutive years and went on to play at over 40 film festivals including the Berlinale, Telluride, and SXSW. AFRONAUTS received the Grand Jury Prize at DIFF in 2014. She is currently developing the feature version.


Jeanette Bonds

Jeanette Bonds is a writer and independent animator living in Los Angeles. She is Co-Founder and Director of GLAS Animation and a contributing writer for ShortOfTheWeek.com. She received her MFA and BFA from CalArts in Experimental Animation.  In 2012, Jeanette co-curated Platform International Animation Festival and has programmed for Slamdance Film Festival.


Soham Mehta

Born in India and raised in Texas, Soham Mehta found a home in the arts. His UT MFA thesis film FATAKRA received a Student Academy Award, a DGA award, and made the festival rounds. He is currently in post on his feature directorial debut, RUN THE TIDE starring Taylor Lautner.



Talk Show Panels

Tools of the Trade: A Camera Symposium

Saturday, April 11, 12:00pm at The Highland Ballroom
When it comes to choosing a camera for your film, the choices are endless: Arri Alexa, Sonyf55, Red Epic, Phantom Flex4k, Platinum, Panaflex – this is just the tip of the iceberg in the array of cameras being used by filmmakers today. Each one with various features – optics, digital display, ground glass, magazines – that help to create a unique look all their own. This symposium offers a hands-on, in-person look at the cameras being used in the motion picture and television industries today.


Trends in Technology: A Conversation with Cinematographers

Saturday, April 11, 2:00pm The Highland Ballroom
As trends in technology continue to revolutionize the tools filmmakers use, no one understands the effect these new technologies have on the way movies are made more than cinematographers. Immediately following the camera symposium, stick around for a conversation with experts in the field to learn more about the ever-changing world of cinematography.

Panelists include filmmaker, Director and Stone Core Films co-founder Norry Niven; Director/Cinematographer Alain Choquart; and Cinematographer Chuck Hatcher.


Legal Panel: Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Moderated by Danica L. Mathes – Entertainment and Intellectual Property Attorney
Sunday, April 12, 1:30pm at The Nasher Sculpture Center
Just as most lawyers shouldn’t make films, most filmmakers shouldn’t play lawyer. Concepts like copyrights, fair use, music licensing, contracts, and incentives can mean lots of money – either in or out of your pocket. A panel of experienced entertainment lawyers will share insights to help your film stay out of the courtroom and get onto the screen. Approved for CLE credit.
Panelists include former Director of the Texas Film Commission Evan Fitzmaurice; Sally Helppie of Vincent Lopez Serafino Jenevein, P.C.; and Lawrence Waks of Wilson Elser LLP.


Cinema as Next Level Marketing

Moderated by Alan Berg, filmmaker and Arts+Labor co-founder

Sunday, April 12 3:00pm at The Nasher Sculpture Center
Increasingly, commercial marketers are turning to filmmakers to develop cinematic campaigns that use tools and techniques used in feature films including CGI, lenses, filters, creative transitions, lighting, special effects, and more to promote new products or services. This panel will include a discussion with some of the filmmakers who blend art, cinematography, and marketing to create epic teaser films and other cinematic advertisements that are fun, fresh, and targeted to Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials alike.

Panelists include filmmaker and Arts+Labor co-founder Alan Berg; filmmaker, Director and Stone Core Films co-founder Norry Niven; filmmaker David Shafei; and filmmaker Michael Illick.


A Conversation with John Landis

Moderated by The Dallas Morning News Culture Critic Chris Vognar

Saturday, April 18, 2:30pm at the Dallas Museum of Art
Join us for a free conversation with Dallas Star Award Honoree John Landis, moderated by The Dallas Morning News Culture Critic Chris Vognar. An award-winning writer/director with more than 40 years of experience working in the film industry, Landis will share valuable insight and experiences from his illustrious career.




Featured Q&A Specials

Education Docs: Changing the Way We Think About Learning

Presented by FilmMatters and Art House Dallas

Monday, April 13, 4:00pm after MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED at the Angelika Film Center

Immediately following the screening of education documentary MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED will be a discussion on the current state of the American education system and the documentaries that are shining a light on the issues in hopes of sparking conversation and implementing change.


A Conversation with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Saturday April 18, 11:00am at the Angelika Film Center
Immediately following a special presentation screening of THE LEGO MOVIE, join us for a conversation with the film’s directors and recipients of the 2015 Texas Avery Award presented by Reel FX, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The award-winning dynamic duo will discuss their work on THE LEGO MOVIE and share other experiences from their successful careers in animation filmmaking.


Remembering L.M. Kit Carson at BREATHLESS screening

Saturday, April 18, 4:00pm at the Angelika Film Center
The 2015 DIFF is screening BREATHLESS in honor of the late L.M. Kit Carson. Carson’s son, actor Hunter Carson, will lead a conversation paying tribute to the life and work of his father, a true film frontiersman.


Tickets for DIFF can be purchased online at DallasFilm.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the Prekindle Box Office located at Mockingbird station at 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln., Suite 100. For more Box Office information, call 469-828-1719.

Written By
More from Dev Shapiro
Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival to hit the city of Dreams in October 2013
  Mumbai Women’s International Film (MWIFF) Festival curated by Oculus Creations is...
Read More
0 replies on “Dallas Film Society Announces Jurors and Panels for the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival”