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Judging Team

Happy Anderson

Happy Anderson, a versatile character actor, has left his mark on both television and film. Notable film credits include roles in "Bright" (Netflix) alongside Will Smith, "Birdbox" (Netflix) with Sandra Bullock, and "Bad Boys For Life" (Sony Pictures) opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. On TV, he has had recurring roles in series like "Mindhunter" (Netflix), "The Knick" (Cinemax), and "Gotham" (Fox). Happy's upcoming projects include "Maggie Moore(s)" with Jon Hamm and Tina Fey, and "The Bikeriders" with Tom Hardy and Austin Butler for New Regency. He will also feature in the HBO Max series "Full Circle" alongside Dennis Quaid and Claire Danes, set to premiere later this year. Additionally, Happy has showcased his talent on and off-Broadway, including a memorable performance in "The Merchant of Venice" with Al Pacino.

Photo By: Rob Rich/Everett Collection

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Shaw Jones

Shaw Jones was born and raised in Memphis, TN. He majored in Psychology and English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and began acting after he landed a talent scholarship at KD Studio Actors Conservatory. Following that, he starred in the feature Dust to Dust alongside Wille Nelson and Robert Vaughn, then continued his journey by relocating to Los Angeles. Shaw has worked on NCIS, Shooter, Criminal Minds, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 911, Snowfall, All My Children, The Young and the Restless and many others. He can be seen in the upcoming feature film End of Sentence with Academy Award nominee John Hawkes. Shaw can be seen as a lead in the sci-fi feature Proximity with two-time Emmy winning director Eric Demeusy.

Photo By: ?

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Casey Ruggieri

Casey Ruggieri is an actress, known for Gone Girl (2015), Kroll Show, Comedy Central (2014) and Tales of Halloween (2015). Casey grew up in Rochester, NY, the daughter of Art and English teachers, she developed a love for visual arts and the written word. She studied acting, writing and filmmaking in NY before making her way to Los Angeles. Casey splits her time acting and working as a mentor in the nonprofit Arts sector in LA.

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Aaron Dalla Villa

Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Aaron Dalla Villa's journey from studying music and dance at the Governor's School for the Arts to becoming a versatile performer reflects his passion for the arts. After dancing with esteemed companies like Nashville Ballet, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and Minnesota Ballet Theatre, he transitioned to acting in NYC. Notable off-Broadway roles include Bobby in "Seeing You" and John in "Sleep F$@cking: Revision." Aaron's regional theater credits span "Camelot," "Cats," and "Orphans," showcasing his range. In film, he's been seen in productions like "All Those Small Things" and "Trick," and on television in shows like "Gossip Girl" and "Madam Secretary." Beyond performing, Aaron is a rapper with over 40k followers on Instagram (@aarondallavilla), represented by Stewart Talent and Studio Matrix for PR. When not on stage or screen, he contributes to NYC indie film production company Stag Pictures, actively developing multiple projects.

Photo By: ?

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Nami Melumad

Nami Melumad, the recipient of the 2023 SCL's David Raksin Award for Emerging Talent, is an Israeli-Dutch film composer based in Los Angeles. Breaking barriers, she became the first female composer for the Star Trek franchise with her work on Star Trek: Prodigy (2021). Noteworthy projects include Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and Netflix's The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window (2022). Nami has garnered recognition, winning the BMI award for Colette (2020) and receiving nominations, such as Breakthrough Composer of the Year (2020). She is a board member of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, a voting member at the Television Academy, and is represented by Maria Machado at the Gorfaine-Schwartz Agency.

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Jarek Marszewski

Jarek Marszewski, a globally acclaimed director and screenwriter, is renowned for his inventive filmmaking approach and distinctive visual style. A graduate of FAMU in Prague and the Kieslowski Film Department in Poland, he holds a degree from the English Department at Wroclaw University. Marszewski's short films have earned international accolades, while his debut, "Tomorrow, Heaven Comes," received prestigious awards. His second feature, "Bikini Blue," garnered over 50 accolades worldwide, including Best Foreign Film at the Beverly Hills Film Festival and Best Picture at various esteemed festivals. Marszewski's versatile career extends to directing acclaimed international dramas and operas, showcasing his diverse creative expertise.

Photo By: ?

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Jenna Suru

Jenna Suru's career began in the International Sales Teams of esteemed Parisian distributors Gaumont and SND (M6 Group). Since 2018, she has played a pivotal role at Canneseries, managing relationships with authors and producers, and initiating the In Development Forum. As the Director of the Paris International Film Festival, Suru showcased films like "Kiss The Ground" and "Cream," now streaming on HBO. Her directorial work, "The Golden Age," filmed in 35 exceptional locations with a '60s soundtrack, has earned acclaim and is an Official Selection at a US Academy Award-Qualifying festival. Suru's projects received support from entities like Canal+, Pathé, and Gibson. Also recognized as an actress, she performed the French National Anthem for Paris City's commemorative mini-series. As a keynote speaker, Suru regularly contributes to panels at Cannes, Sundance, and Raindance Film Festivals. Through her company Belle Époque Films, she produced the Los Angeles Premiere of "Happy" and two UK shorts, "Spitball" and "Bigger Picture," featuring BAFTA-nominated Robert Sheehan and Rosie Day.

Photo By: ?

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Anup Kulkarni

Meet Anup Kulkarni, celebrated Hollywood Cinematographer, VFX supervisor & colorist, who's happy to be called a globe trotter. In his film journey, he has had the opportunity to work in some prestigious and award-winning projects like Life of Pi, Thor 2, Percy Jackson, R.I.P.D, and many more. His work speaks loud, and it is this magic and experience that has won him many Best Cinematography awards and accolades. Anup was also the lead judge for many prestigious film festivals in the US.

Over his distinguished career, he has worked on projects in seven languages - English, Hindi, Spanish, Korean, Lithuanian, Portuguese, and Romanian. His cinematography, photography & VFX knowledge has taken him all over the world, working on a variety of formats, like features, TV-shows, short films, international documentaries, music videos, etc.

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Beate Malkus

Beate Malkus, an award-winning German actress, pursued a diverse path, studying law in Germany, Turkey, and the Netherlands before completing theatre school in Hannover. She further enriched her skills through clown education with Philipe Gaulier and Pascale Ben. Malkus has graced theatre productions across Germany and taken on leading roles in international films like 'Afterwards' (2009) and 'Blissestrasse' (2011). Fluent in multiple languages, she made her Canadian television debut in 'Clay's P.O.V.' (2014) by Paul Donovan. Malkus received acclaim and awards for her lead role in the Swiss Sci-Fi film 'Alekto' (2015). Beyond acting, she is dedicated to human rights, engaging in impactful work in countries like Turkey, India, and Iraq. Currently residing in Berlin with her son, Malkus continues to captivate audiences with her talent and advocacy.

Photo By: Michael Miethe

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Mor Cohen

Mor Cohen is a multiple-award-winning actress and producer. She began her career as a child, taking roles in Israeli television and regional theatre. After graduating from The Academy of Performing Arts in Tel Aviv, Mor relocated to work in Hollywood and later New York, committing herself fully to acting and producing. She is a festival director and lead curator at the New York Film Awards which has been running since 2017. On screen, Mor can be seen in Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, Altrac Productions’ The Leshiy, and Kate Espada’s most recent film This Is Our Home. Her producorial credits include the Off-Broadway production Scoop, the German-American co-production Klaviermann, and multiple award-winning short films such as The New Galileos and Over the Wall, both starring her as well.

Photo By: Daniel Nguyen

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Roy Zafrani

Roy Zafrani, an accomplished screenwriter, director, and editor with an MBA and B.Ed, is a distinguished alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). With over 20 years of experience, he has garnered recognition for his work in documentaries, TV series, commercials, and narrative films. Notable projects include "The Other Dreamers" (winner of 13 awards), "Over the Wall" (Best World Cinema Short at the Phoenix Film Festival), and "Until the End Amir" (Opening Film at the Oscar Qualifying Festival In the Palace). His producing credits extend to acclaimed works like "Passage" and "The Doorman." Zafrani, a best-selling author, has penned titles such as "Paper Wings" and "Cursed." Currently, he is working on his new novel, "Start Over."

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