ANNOUNCING THE 2023 FESTIVAL JURIES
Our prestigious film festival jury comprises accomplished industry leaders. With discerning eyes and diverse backgrounds, they meticulously curate the winning films of our 54th Nashville Film Festival. Their expertise shapes the festival’s essence, recognizing exceptional storytelling, innovation, and artistry. As dedicated advocates of the craft, they help define the cinematic landscape, foster inspiration and leave an undeniable mark on the world of independent film.
Beth has been with SIFF since 2003, and is responsible for managing the artistic vision of SIFF, including all aspects of programming for the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema’s 5 year-round screens, and the SIFF Education team. She secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival for short film in 2008. Beth currently serves on the City of Seattle Film Commission. In addition to her daily work in programming, Beth has served on juries and panels in Palm Springs, Park City, Cleveland, Calgary, Vancouver BC and Berlin, Germany.
Dr. Sarah Childress is the Education and Engagement Manager for the Nashville Film Festival. She has taught film courses at Vanderbilt University, Bowdoin College, Belmont University, and San Francisco State University, and she helped establish the International Lens film series at Vanderbilt. Sarah produced a film, Música Campesina, which screened at internationally renowned film festivals and her short film Blue Dragon Mussel Wagon exhibited at the Boston Center for the Arts and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. She has also introduced films and moderated discussions at the Belcourt Theatre, Frist Art Museum, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and the Nashville Film Festival.
Music Documentary Feature
Marshall Shaffer is a New York based freelance journalist whose writing appears regularly on Decider, Slant, Slashfilm, and The Playlist. He’s been writing about film since 2009 and has done so in a professional capacity since 2015. Whether it’s streaming recommendations, interviewing the director behind a new release, or scouting the next indie gem at a film festival, he’s always searching for what a movie means within a larger cultural context — or trying to find the next great voice who expands our idea of what culture can be.
Graveyard Shift Feature/Shorts
Jenny Nulf is a film programmer and critic. She currently works as a Film Booker and repertory programmer for Alamo Drafthouse, in addition to writing for the Austin Chronicle and working as the Director of Programming for the Austin Asian American Film Festival. She has had a dedicated career in film, and in addition to her current roles she has worked in documentary distribution, edited trailers, and created video essays. She believes the films people engage with should not always be mainstream, and loves finding audiences for under-the-radar, diverse, and thought provoking cinema.
Rachel Morgan is the Creative Director for the Sidewalk Film Festival and Sidewalk Film Center & Cinema, as well as an instructor of Media Production at Lawson State College and the University Of Montevallo. She was a co-instructor in the Documenting Justice documentary film program at the University of Alabama for 13 years and is a former contributor to Film Threat. She received a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design in Film Production and a MA in Film Critical Studies from the University of Alabama where her focus of study was Children and Adolescence in Cinematic Horror. She recently served as the programming lead for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Satellite Screen in Birmingham, AL. She is also a Programmer for the Atlanta Film Festival. She co-hosts the cinema-centric podcast, SideTalks, in which she is usually right and her co-host, Corey Craft, is always wrong.
New Directors Feature
Nicole Riegel is a filmmaker born and raised in Ohio. She studied Film History, Theory & Criticism at Wright State University and received her graduate studies M.F.A. at UCLA Film School. In 2020, her feature film Holler premiered at SXSW Film Festival and world premiered at the Deauville Film Festival in France. Holler went on to screen at the Toronto Film Festival, San Francisco Film Festival, Atlanta, Nashville, Netherlands and Estonia, among others. In the summer of 2021, IFC Films released Holler in theatres nationwide. Holler received rave reviews and won Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch Award, National Board of Review Award and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Holler has been featured in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, Cineaste and BUST Magazine. Nicole has used Holler to help inspire students from Appalachia through collaborations with Wexner Center for the Arts and Appalshop. She recently completed her second feature film, Dandelion, which is in post-production and will be distributed by IFC Films in 2023.
Neha Aziz is a Pakistani-born writer, film programmer, and podcaster living in Austin, TX. She produced COME & TAKE IT, a documentary short about the #CocksNotGlocks and Gun Free UT movements with acclaimed filmmakers PJ Raval and Ellen Spiro, which has gone on to win numerous accolades. From 2017 – 2020, Neha worked at SXSW as a member of the Communications team. She currently works as a Film Programmer and Community Programs Director for the Austin Asian American Film Festival, Features Programmer for the Cleveland International Film Festival, and a Programming and Media consultant for rePRO. In 2021, she was named an iHeartRadio NextUP fellow for their inaugural podcast program; her show, PARTITION (limited series) debuted in August 2022 and has been featured on Apple Podcasts, NPR, The Austin Chronicle, The RepresentASIAN Project, Asian Founded, and more. Neha is one of the recipients of the 2023 WAVE Grant which offers $5,000 and one year of mentorship to first time female/non-binary directors of Color. SO, THAT HAPPENED will mark her directorial debut.
Kalyna’s love for all things entertainment has taken her through the industries of fashion, travel, television and film; and has based her in the exciting worlds of New York, The Cayman Islands, Los Angeles and Nashville. After spending over a decade in NYC working with Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and HIT Entertainment, her desire to make amazing entertainment drove her to LA where she spent six years working for HBO Films, where she was instrumental in such hit films as LIBERACE, TOO BIG TO FAIL, GAME CHANGE, to name a few. That experience led to her work for Blossom Films, helmed by Academy Award winning actor Nicole Kidman. She now oversees all publishing and audio projects for NBA champion Stephen Curry based out of Los Angeles. Her passion for films has also led to being a current Board member of the Justice Film Festival.
With over 35 years experience in the animation industry, it’s safe to say Tony Bancroft loves animation. At Disney he animated on most of the films of the ‘90s from Beauty and The Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King to Emperors’ New Grove and co- directed Mulan. Bancroft has worked at Sony (Stuart Little 2), Warner Brothers (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and many independent animation studios as animator, director or producer. He spends his off-hours co-hosting the #1 animation podcast with his twin brother, Tom, called The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast.
The Edge Shorts
Sara De La Haya has always been on the move. Born in Florida, then briefly stationed with her family in Alaska, she spent most of her life enjoying the magic of Louisiana. The arts have always felt like home. She is an actor, writer, producer, photographer, and consultant. She has worked on numerous short films, feature films, and television series. Her performing credits include AMC’s “Mayfair Witches,” NBC’s “Killing It,” and Sundance feature film “Beast Beast.” Sara continues to focus on creating opportunity and equity in the arts through her personal and professional endeavors.
David grew up in Memphis, but has been in Austin for the last twelve years. He’s done programming work for the Austin Film Society and the Alamo Drafthouse, and currently programs for RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. When he’s not watching movies, he’s reading comics with his two kids, cooking with his partner Stephanie, walking his dog, or attempting to write critical essays on the X-Men. If you would like to keep up with all the terrible film watching decisions that he makes, you can also find him on Letterboxd at https://letterboxd.com/iamhrothgar/.
Shanna Strassberg is a consummate television and music industry professional. She currently holds the professional title of VP of Music and Talent at CMT, part of the MTV/Viacom/CBS family. Having spent the last 18 years in TV production as both Talent Booker and Producer, Shanna has successfully worked with artists/celebrities on a multitude of series, live events, music specials and red carpets. Shanna has booked over 4,500 musical guests as well as celebrities from film, television, comedy and sports, on various networks and online properties. In the past few years Shanna has worked on the Dolly Parton Telethon “Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund”, The Loretta Lynn Birthday Celebration at Bridgestone Arena, the original Documentary on the legendary Bluebird Café “Bluebird – The Movie”, and Ken Burns “Country Music Live at the Ryman”, among other things. She has great instincts for recognizing talent and getting the best version of that person to reveal themselves on camera. Shanna also spends time creating her own video series, dreaming up documentaries, and executing terrible recipe ideas in the kitchen. Also…she won an Emmy.
NextGen/TN Student Shorts
A graduate of DePaul University’s School of Cinematic Arts, Ryan was involved with the Chicago International Film Festival for nine years as an archivist, technical manager, programmer, and ultimately as the CineYouth Festival Director. Currently, Ryan is the Managing Director of the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), the world’s largest youth festival highlighting work by filmmakers 24 and younger. When he’s not programming films for festivals or his podcast, you can catch Ryan trekking through the mountains of the PNW or sitting with his cat reading a book.
Outstanding Student Score & Song
Erin Collins is the Senior Vice President of Film and TV for SESAC, where she oversees the Los Angeles-based department servicing SESAC’s composers and publishers including Christophe Beck, Jon Erhlich, Danny Lux, Gabriel Mann, Randy Newman, the Newton Brothers, and more. Collins also helped create SESAC’s composer diversity initiatives “SESAC Scores” and “Reel Change,” along with film composer Christophe Beck. Before joining SESAC in 2011, she was a producer, music supervisor, and score supervisor working with clients such as APM Music, Ubisoft, ESPN, Activision, and THQ. Collins holds a music degree from Northern Illinois University.