The Sundance Institute has announced the members of the jury for each section of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
Notable participants include acclaimed documentarian Gordon Quinn on the jury for U.S. Documentary; “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga, actress Winona Ryder and cult comedy writer/director Edgar Wright on the jury for U.S. Dramatic; “Eden” director Mia Hansen-Løve on the jury for World Cinema Dramatic; beloved composer K.K. Barrett on the jury for Short Film; and actress Brit Marling and “Interstellar” co-writer Jonathan Nolan on the jury for the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize for Science in Film.
We’re also very proud that Indiewire’s own co-founder Eugene Hernandez, who is currently serving as the Deputy Director of the Film Society at Lincoln Center, will also be serving on the jury for U.S. Documentary.
For the complete list of jurors, along with their bios, see below.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY JURY
Eugene Hernandez is the deputy director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where he leads strategy and operations for the institution, and is also the co-publisher of the award-winning Film Comment magazine, the official publication of the organization. He previously served as the director of digital strategy, where he oversaw all digital platforms and content. Prior to the Film Society, Hernandez co-founded Indiewire in 1996 and as editor-in-chief built the company over 14 years to become the leading online community and editorial publication for independent and international films and filmmakers. Additionally, he has worked extensively as a consultant for several non-profits, written for major print and online publications, and annually participates in the international film festival circuit as a juror and panelist.
Kirsten Johnson is a cinematographer and director. Her most recent camera work appears in Citizen Four, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs Gravity, and The Wound and the Gift. Her credits include Academy Award-nominated The Invisible War, and Tribeca Film Festival documentary winner, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She and Laura Poitras shared the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Cinematography Award for The Oath. Her shooting is featured in Fahrenheit 9/11, Academy Award-nominated Asylum, Emmy-winning Ladies First, and Sundance Film Festival premieres: A Place at the Table, This Film is Not Yet Rated, and Derrida. Deadline, co-directed with Katy Chevigny, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Thurgood Marshall Award. She is currently editing A Blind Eye, a documentary that investigates her relationship as a cinematographer to those she films.
Michele Norris is a host and special correspondent at NPR. She produces in-depth profiles, interviews, and series, and guest hosts NPR News programs. Norris was a host on NPR’s “All Things Considered” for a decade. She leads The Race Card Project, an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America that she created after publishing her family memoir, The Grace of Silence. Norris received a Peabody Award for her work on The Race Card Project. Prior to joining NPR, Norris was a correspondent for ABC News, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. She has received several national honors for her work and has interviewed world leaders, Nobel laureates, Academy Award winners, American presidents, military leaders, and even astronauts traveling in outer space.
Gordon Quinn has been producing documentaries and mentoring filmmakers for five decades as co-founder and artistic director of Kartemquin Films. His credits include directing Golub, Prisoner of Her Past, and A Good Man, and executive producing Hoop Dreams, Stevie, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, The Homestretch, and Life Itself. Currently, he is executive producer on the Al Jazeera America series Hard Earned, and directing ’63 Boycott. A passionate advocate for independent public media, Gordon is an expert on fair use, ethics, and storytelling in documentary. He has received awards from the Emmys, Peabodys, PGA, DGA, and the Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, he received a Career Achievement award from Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and a Master of Cinema award from the RiverRun International Film Festival.
Roger Ross Williams
Roger Ross Williams directed God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and screened at more than 75 film festivals worldwide, winning over a dozen awards. Williams also directed and produced Music by Prudence, which won the 2010 Academy Award for documentary short subject. He is the first African-American to win an Oscar for directing and producing a film, short or feature. Williams has several projects in development, including a transmedia project called Traveling While Black; a feature documentary, Life, Animated, about the son of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind; and a narrative feature film. Williams serves on the alumni advisory board of the Sundance Institute. He splits his time between upstate New York and Amsterdam.
U.S. DRAMATIC JURY
Lance Acord made his feature director of photography debut with Buffalo ’66 at Sundance Film Festival in 1998. A highly sought-after cinematographer, his credits include God’s Pocket, Where the Wild Things Are, Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation, Adaptation, and Being John Malkovich. Acord seamlessly transitioned into commercial directing—collecting three nominations from the Directors Guild of America, numerous Cannes Gold Lions, and an Emmy—for such memorable work as The Force for Volkswagen, Jogger for Nike and Apple’s Misunderstood. A frequent contributor to the Sundance Film Festival as a producer as well as a cinematographer, Acord, via his production company Park Pictures, was a producer on Robot & Frank, God’s Pocket, and Infinitely Polar Bear.
Sarah Flack is an award-winning film editor based in New York. She won a BAFTA award for editing Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and their collaboration has continued with Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, and The Bling Ring. Flack won an Emmy and an American Cinema Editors award with Robert Pulcini for their editing of the HBO film Cinema Verite, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Pulcini. After working on the Prague set of Steven Soderbergh’s second feature, Kafka, Flack went on to edit three of his subsequent films: Schizopolis, The Limey, and Full Frontal. She has also edited films for Sam Mendes, Michel Gondry, Peter Hedges, Michael Showalter, and Edward Burns. Flack graduated from Brown University with degrees in political science and semiotics.
Cary Joji Fukunaga graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His film work as a writer, director, and cinematographer has taken him from the Arctic Circle to Haiti and West Africa. He has received several grants, including a 2008 Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, a John H. Johnson film award, and a 2005 Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship. Fukunaga wrote and directed the short film Victoria para Chino, which screened at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and won more than two dozen international awards, including an honorable mention at the Sundance Film Festival and a Student Academy Award. His first feature film, Sin Nombre, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, earning him the Directing Award and the Excellence in Cinematography Award. He also directed Jane Eyre in 2011 and, most recently, the acclaimed first season of True Detective for HBO, for which he earned an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
With two Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe to her credit, Winona Ryder is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents and classic beauties. She will next be seen in Experimenter opposite Peter Sarsgaard, Taryn Manning, and John Leguizamo, set to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in production on the TV miniseries Show Me a Hero, opposite Oscar Isaac, James Belushi, and Catherine Keener. Ryder was recently seen in The Iceman, which premiered to rave reviews at the Venice and Toronto film festivals in 2012. On television, she recently appeared in Turks and Caicos alongside Bill Nighy and Christopher Walken. She appeared in Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 supernatural thriller Black Swan, and appeared in 2011 in The Dilemma from director Ron Howard. Ryder starred in and served as executive producer on the critically acclaimed Girl, Interrupted, and as Jo in Gillian Armstrong’s highly praised version of Little Women, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The previous year she was also nominated, and won the Golden Globe and National Board of Review Awards for Best Supporting Actress for Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence. Ryder has worked with some of today’s most important directors, including Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jim Jarmusch. She was a juror for the 51st Annual Cannes International Film Festival and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Serving on the Board of Trustees to the American Indian College Fund, Ryder has also been very involved with the KlaasKids Foundation since the organization’s inception in 1994.
As a teenager in England, Edgar Wright started making short comedy films after winning a video camera in a competition. At 20, he directed the no-budget western A Fistful of Fingers. This led to a foray into television, directing comedy shows for the BBC and Paramount Comedy Channel. He also directed two seasons of Channel 4’s cult classic Spaced. In 2004, Wright directed Shaun of the Dead, the first film in his Cornetto Trilogy. Shaun was followed by Hot Fuzz in 2007 and The World’s End in 2013. The three films combined have amassed a box office of over $150 million. Wright also directed Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which he co-wrote with Michael Bacall; co-wrote Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin; and directed the faux trailer Don’t for Quentin Tarantino’s and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse. Upcoming projects include Baby Driver for Working Title, Collider for Bad Robot, and Grasshopper Jungle for Sony.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY JURY
Elena Fortes Acosta
Elena Fortes Acosta was born in Mexico City in 1981. She is the director and partner of Ambulante, a non-profit organization that was founded in 2005 by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz, in order to support and promote a documentary film culture. Every year, Ambulante sponsors a traveling festival that brings a selection of over 100 films to more than 100 venues located in 12 regions across Mexico. Since 2007, the festival has been showcased in 20 countries. In 2010, Fortes launched Ambulante Beyond, a long-term training program in documentary filmmaking for youth in Mexico and Central America. In addition to her work in visual media, Fortes has been active in Mexico’s political sphere, working for non-profits focused on advocating increased participation of young people in policymaking and on exposing human rights violations in the country.
Mark Cousins is a filmmaker and writer. His films include The Story of Film: An Odyssey, Life May Be, What is this Film Called Love?, The First Movie, Here be Dragons, A Story of Children and Film, I am Belfast, and 6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia. Their themes are Iraq, childhood, cinema, Iran, Mexico City, Albania, walking, bodies and politics. He has won the Stanley Kubrick Award, a Peabody Award, and the Prix Italia. His films have shown in Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, London and at the world’s major festivals, and at Museum of Modern Art in New York. His books include Watching Real People Elsewhere and Imagining Reality. He sometimes co-directs unusual film events with Tilda Swinton, and is honorary professor of film at the University of Glasgow.
An innovator in interactive storytelling, Ingrid Kopp is director of interactive at the Tribeca Film Institute, where she oversees the New Media Fund. Recent supported projects include Immigrant Nation, Hollow, and Question Bridge. Kopp leads the institute’s other digital and interactive programs, including the TFI Interactive conference and the Tribeca Hacks hackathon series, bringing storytellers, technologists and designers together to explore new projects and collaborations. She also curates the Tribeca Storyscapes program for interactive, transmedia work at the Tribeca Film Festival. Kopp started her career in the documentaries department at Channel 4 Television in the UK before moving to New York to run the U.S. office of Shooting People, an international network for filmmakers. Kopp is constantly working at the intersection between storytelling, technology, design, and social change, and is a frequent speaker on the subject. You can always find her on Twitter: @fromthehip.
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC JURY
fter two short movies, in 2007, Mia Hansen-Løve directed her first feature film All is Forgiven, which depicts a family torn apart by the father’s drug addiction. The film was presented at the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes and received the Louis-Delluc First Film Award. Her second film, Father Of My Children (inspired by the last days of Hansen-Løve’s producer, Humbert Balsan, who committed suicide in 2005), premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009, leading to a lot of attention on the director. In 2010, Variety ranked Mia Hansen-Løve in the Top Ten international directors to know. The following year, she directed the critically acclaimed film Goodbye First Love, a dramatic comedy about a fragile young woman who stumbles upon her teenage lover years later. In 2013, Hansen-Løve returned to the Director’s Fortnight, as the short films jury president. Eden is her fourth film.
Col Needham is the founder and CEO of IMDb, the No. 1 movie website in the world with a combined web and mobile audience of more than 200 million unique monthly visitors. Born and living in the UK, Needham has had a lifelong interest in both technology and movies. IMDb grew out of a personal database of movie information that he created as a teenager. IMDb became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com in April 1998. Today, IMDb’s platform includes award-winning mobile apps for iOS and Android, IMDb’s X-Ray for Movies & TV on Kindle Fire HD and Wii U devices, IMDb Pro, Withoutabox and Box Office Mojo. IMDb will celebrate its 25th anniversary in October 2015. Needham continues in his original role to this day, working from an office in Bristol with IMDb staff members in countries around the world.
Taika Waititi is a writer, director, actor, and visual artist from New Zealand. Waititi wrote, directed, and acted in Eagle vs Shark, and Boy, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to become the highest-grossing New Zealand film of all time. Taika’s most recent film, What We Do in the Shadows, co-written/directed/acted with Jemaine Clement, was recently named “The best comedy of the year” by The Guardian, and “Funniest film of the year” by Empire Magazine. Waititi’s other writer/director credits include the 2005 short Two Cars, One Night, which was nominated for an Academy Award and the short film Tama Tu, which picked up festival prizes worldwide. He has written and directed multiple episodes of the TV series Flight of the Conchords, and his other acting credits include a believable portrayal of a waiter in a 1996 New Zealand Butter commercial for NZ’s National Butter Commission. Waititi hails from the Te-Whanau-a-Apanui tribe.
SHORT FILM JURY
K.K. Barrett is a production designer, who started his creative journey as a noise musician, painter, then moved to film in music videos and commercials. He is known for working with a select group of filmmakers who have a personal vision. This has led to a diverse body of work which touches on foreign alienation in Lost in Translation, historical playfulness in Marie Antoinette, both for Sophia Coppola, madcap surreality in I Heart Huckabees, with David O. Russell, skewed magical realism in Human Nature for Michel Gondry, a traumatic childhood in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. For Spike Jonze he explored the funhouse of fame in Being John Malkovich, creative conundrums in Adaptation, and childhood fantasy in Where the Wild Things Are. His latest was Jonze’s film HER for which he was nominated for an Academy Award in production design. He is currently directing a live film: Nufonia Must Fall which has played in Europe and will debut in the States in the fall of 2015.
Alia Shawkat just wrapped the Amber Tamblyn-directed film Paint It Black, in which she stars opposite Janet McTeer. Shawkat’s other feature credits include Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries, Night Moves (appearing alongside Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning), and The To Do List, written and directed by Maggie Carey. Shawkat’s upcoming credits include The Final Girls, Me Him Her, The Driftless Area, and Green Room with Imogen Poots and Sir Patrick Stewart. Shawkat is known for her role as Maeby Fünke in the cult series Arrested Development. She also can be seen in Comedy Central’s Broad City and HBO’s Getting On. In addition to being an actress, Shawkat is also a talented jazz singer and pianist, as well as an accomplished painter and illustrator. Her artwork can be viewed on her website Mutantalia.com.
Autumn de Wilde
Autumn de Wilde is a photographer and director with a knack for capturing the strange and the special. Her work often depicts an intimate connection and surreal conversation between herself and her subjects. As a result of this creative connection, she’s been instrumental in defining the visual identity of an ever-expanding pool of well-known actors, musicians, and artists. They include: Beck, Elliott Smith, The White Stripes, Childish Gambino, The Decemberists, Keaton Henson, Noah And The Whale, Jenny Lewis, Lena Dunham, Miranda July, Zooey Deschanel, and Elijah Wood. De Wilde’s process also applies to her work with commercial clients such as Cadillac, as well her key art for film and TV campaigns like Jill Soloway’s Transparent for Amazon Prime, Girls for HBO, and Universal Pictures’ 50 Shades of Grey. She has been documenting the life and work of fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte since its inception. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, Arrow.
ALFRED P. SLOAN FEATURE FILM PRIZE JURY (SCIENCE IN FILM)
As director of the WGBH Science Unit and senior executive producer of the PBS science series NOVA, Paula Apsell has overseen the production of hundreds of acclaimed science documentaries, including such distinguished miniseries as The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene, Origins with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Making Stuff with David Pogue and the magazine spin-off NOVA scienceNOW. NOVA is the nation’s most-watched science series, a top site on pbs.org, and recipient of every major broadcasting honor, including the Emmy, the Peabody, and the duPont-Columbia Gold Baton. Apsell has won numerous individual awards and has served on many boards including the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. In 2012 she was journalist in residence at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at University of California, Santa Barbara and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Janna Levin is an astrophysicist and writer. She has contributed to an understanding of black holes, the cosmology of extra dimensions, and gravitational waves in the shape of spacetime. She is the author of the popular-science book How the Universe Got Its Spots and a novel, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, which won the PEN/Bingham prize. Levin is a professor at Barnard/Columbia and was recently named a Guggenheim Fellow.
Brit Marling will be seen in Daniel Barber’s The Keeping Room, a film about three Southern women defending their home during the Civil War which premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Marling recently portrayed a molecular biologist in Mike Cahill’s I Origins. and has also been seen in Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep and Nicholas Jarecki’s financial thriller, Arbitrage. At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Marling became the first female multi-hyphenate to have two films premiere side-by-side: Sound of My Voice, and Another Earth, both of which she co-wrote, co-produced and starred in. Fox Searchlight acquired both films, releasing them in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Marling’s foray into filmmaking started during her college years at Georgetown University. This introduction led Marling to Havana, Cuba, to co-direct the documentary Boxers and Ballerinas which followed young artists and athletes living in the communist country. Marling graduated valedictorian from Georgetown, having studied economics and studio art.
Jonathan Nolan is an Academy Award-nominated writer of film, fiction, and television. His credits include The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, The Prestige, and Interstellar. Nolan’s short story Memento Mori, first published in Esquire, was adapted by his brother Christopher into the critically acclaimed film Memento, for which they share an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The brothers were also nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for The Dark Knight screenplay. For television, Nolan created the hit drama Person of Interest, starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson. The show is in its fourth season on CBS. Most recently, he directed the pilot Westworld for HBO. Based on the film by Michael Critchon and co-written with his wife, Lisa Joy, the project stars Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris. Nolan and Joy serve as executive producers alongside J.J. Abrams. Nolan was born in London and grew up in the Chicago area. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Adam D. Steltzner is a Fellow at Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is leading the development of the Sampling System for the 2020 Mars Surface Mission project. Most recently he was the phase lead and development manager of the Entry, Descent and Landing phase of the Mars Science Laboratory project. Steltzner received his BS in mechanical engineering from University of California, Davis in 1990, his MS in applied mechanics from Caltech in 1991, and his PhD in engineering physics from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1999. Steltzner joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1991 and has worked on various projects including Galileo, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder, Champollion, Comet Nucleus Sample Return, Mars Exploration Rovers, and the Mars Science Laboratory. His research interests include structural dynamics, input force determination, mechanical design, systems engineering, and leadership of high-performance teams. He is increasingly aware of the importance of team culture and interpersonal dynamics in delivering a team’s final product.