Preview: VTXIFF Jurors
Darko, originally from Belgrade, moved to New York City in 1991, where he obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and video from City College of New York. From 1997 until 2003, he worked at the production company Spiral Pictures/Ross Institute as director/producer of documentaries - most notably "Sonic Convergence," a documentary featuring Quincy Jones. At the same time, Darko taught production courses at Long Island University and was a media studies faculty member at the Ross School. In 2004, his documentary "Escape" won the Audience Award at its world premiere at Hamptons International Film Festival. It was screened at numerous international festivals since, including Amsterdam, Leipzig, Go East Film Festival, Belgrade and Santiago de Chile Film Festival.
Christine Elise McCarthy
Christine Elise McCarthy has been acting professionally for 25 years and is recognized primarily for her roles as U4EA-popping bad girl Emily Valentine on "Beverly Hills, 90210," as Harper Tracy on "ER" and as Kyle, the gal who killed Chucky in "Child's Play 2." She maintains an irreverent food porn blog, DelightfulDeliciousDelovely.com. for which she provides recipes, photographs and sometimes shares details of the triumphs and, more frequently, the humiliations of her own life. She has a passion for photography, MyPinUpArt.com, and has shown her pin-up and decaying Americana imagery in the U.S. and Paris. Her directorial debut, "Bathing & the Single Girl," was accepted into more than 100 film festivals and won 20 awards.
Self-taught award-winning filmmaker Todd Looby was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. "Lefty," Todd's second narrative feature, was screened at several fests across the country and was named among "The Top 10 Movies of 2009" by the Chicago Tribune's Metromix. His follow-up, "Son of None," is a narrative short Todd shot in Liberia, West Africa. "Son of None" went on to win the Special Jury Awards at Slamdance 2011 and won Best Short at the Boston Film Festival. "Be Good" is Looby's latest narrative feature. "Be Good" stars indie favorites Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg. The film was named in the "10 Best Films of 2013" and is "Well acted, crafted and observed" according to Variety. "Be Good" will be available on all video on demand platforms beginning March 18, 2014. "Lollywood" is a short documentary that Todd shot in Liberia, West Africa, which had its festival premiere at Slamdance 2013 and has played at 20 festivals around the world.
Aaron Marshall is a writer, director, and Victoria expat living in L.A. His documentary "Zombie Girl: The Movie" won the Spirit Award at the Slamdance Film Festival, where he now moonlights as a festival programmer.
Matt Johnson directed "The Dirties" in 2013, which won the grand jury prize at Slamdance, Fantastic Fest, Sarasota and VTXIFF. It was released by Kevin Smith the same year.
Josh Boles wrote "The Dirties" in 2013, which went on to win many film festivals and be distributed by Kevin Smith. He raps under the name Barry Lydon and stars in the upcoming film "Operation: Avalanche."
Filmmaker Boris Castro established Green Hunter Productions in 2011. He formerly ran the Radar Hamburg film festival from 2008 to 2012. Since then, he's focused on publishing READ magazine, a newspaper magazine that launched in 2010. It's a free newspaper that prints every two months across Germany and Austria. READ has a circulation of 15,000.
Filmmaker Karla Lemus is originally from Canada and moved to Germany in 2009. She is the co-owner of Green Hunter Productions with partner and fellow VTXIFF juror Boris Castro.
Lisa divides her time between New York and Paris. Educated in film at Columbia College, Chicago and the Writers' Program at UCLA, she has collaborated on many projects in various capacities, ranging from shooting documentaries, producing, script consulting and directing theater. Her first short documentary, "Gare d'Austerlitz," screened at several festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, winning best documentary at Tregor Film Festival in 2009. Her latest experiment (or film), "Good-bye," exploring the fleeting nature of love and the unreliability of memory against the backdrop of a wintry Coney Island torn apart by developers, is now on the festival circuit. She counts these visits as a juror at VTXIFF as some of her most inspired of any year.
Natasha Senjanovic recently moved back to New York after 15 years in Rome, Italy, where she covered the Italian and international film industries as a correspondent, critic and editor for, respectively, Screen International, The Hollywood Reporter and Cineuropa, among other publications. She currently freelances as a writer, editor, TV and radio producer (RAI Television, BBC), translator and radio correspondent and on-air host. and is working on starting a U.S.-based online radio station dedicated to all things cinema across the globe. She also teaches writing intensives and works as an artistic consultant for several European film festivals, including Venice Days (Venice fest) and the Motovun Film Festival in Croatia.
A graduate of Columbia University's MFA program, Jessica Caldwell produced "Electrick Children," which premiered at Berlin and SXSW 2012 and was distributed by Phase 4 films in April 2013. Her short film work has premiered at Sundance, Telluride and Tribeca. In 2013, she co-founded Wheelhouse Pictures with Andrew Hauser, which is especially interested in leveraging international opportunities and making quality global independent cinema. Jessica recently wrapped production on Stephen Elliott's "Happy Baby," which participated in the U.S. Works in Progress lab in Wroclaw, Poland. Jessica is currently in production on Deb Shoval's "AWOL" based on the Sundance award-winning short. Jessica participated in IFP's No Borders International Co-Production Market, Narrative Film Lab and was selected for the 2014 Rotterdam Producer's Lab. Jessica is developing Shane Atkinson's "Penny Dreadful," Joanna Jurewicz's "Sweet Home Tennessee" and David Gutnik's "Original Love." Jessica is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency.
Timothy is a writer, musician and storyteller who has independently worked since 1994 after delving into the world of self-publishing zines. Although he still enjoys making and contributing to them, he has also written for various websites, blogs and other forms of media. Currently, he is working on self-publishing a book alongside his colleague, Jake Ramirez, entitled "Beneath Texas: A Collection of Hauntings, Myths and Legends in the Lone Star State."His music career also began in 1994 with various punk bands including Renfield's Syn, The Blacklisted, Broken Halo, Madagain Saints and the Stout City Luchadores.
A veteran of the film festival circuit, Film Threat owner Mark Bell is furry, cuddly and near-sighted. Before working as a film journalist and critic, Mark held various film production jobs (such as script supervisor and post-production supervisor) and was a video producer for both the Seattle International Film Festival and Slamdance Film Festival. When not causing film festival-related trouble, Mark presides over FilmThreat.com, continuing the tradition set forth by Film Threat magazine (the word in independent and underground film since 1985)to focus on the indie, underground and film festival-friendly films that are often overlooked (but should never be underestimated).
If you'd like to turn this bio into a drinking game, take a shot whenever the words "film festival" are mentioned.
Louise Allister is a writer and freelance artist from England. After studying 3-D design at Middlesex University, she went on to design and build sets for local theatre productions, including Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and Bertolt Brecht's "The Good Person of Sichuan" with Director Mark Babych. Louise now spends her time script writing and editing films with her husband, Stuart.
Stuart Allister started out in commercial photography after leaving school, where he developed a passion for the visual arts. He went on to work behind the scenes in local theater, where he worked on various concerts and comedy gigs, including Steve Coogan's sellout live tour. Stuart decided soon after to move into film as well as photography and now divides his time between working with 8mm cine film and digital formats.
Joe Friar is a 29-year broadcast veteran, native Victorian and member of the Houston Film Critics Society. He reviews films every Thursday in The Victoria Advocate and every Friday morning on 104.7 KVIC FM. You can also read his reviews online at facebook.com/JoeFriarsCinerama. His passions includes indie, foreign and horror films.
Born and raised in Victoria, Amy has a bachelor's in theatre and an Master of Fine Arts in nonprofit arts administration. She has been employed as the company manager of the New York City Ballet, the associate general manager of Houston's Alley Theatre, the managing director of San Francisco's Center for Electronic Art and the executive director of the San Francisco International Film Festival. She returned home to Victoria to care for her mother in 2009 and is now the executive director of the Nave Museum, the Crossroads' only art museum.