The Shortie Awards: Judges Named

FALLS CHURCH, VA- The Shortie Awards: International Film and News Festival is set for May 23rd at the La Maison Francaise at the French Embassy in Washington, DC.

The festival focuses on nurturing imagination and choice making in students, and is one of the only competitions in the world providing expert analysis and critique to each entrant, in addition to  prizes.
The film festival judges have been announced:

Chris Arth is a Producer/Director whose debut feature was the cult horror classic Sleepy Hollow High. Since 2001, Chris has been the man behind Darshan, the longest-running Indian American TV show in the United States. He is also the DVD Producer for MHz Networks Home Entertainment, responsible for unleashing the best of international mystery and drama on an unsuspecting American public.

Jeanette Buck is a film maker and theater professional.  She teaches directing, screenwriting and stage management at Ohio University.  Her short film, “Lie Together” is currently screening at film festivals in the U.S. and internationally.  She's the director/producer of the feature film Out of Season, writer of the one act play “There Are No Strangers,” and will be directing for the VSA Arts at the Theater Alliance in DC this May.

Andrew Butterfield graduated from James Madison University in 2007 with a BFA in Studio Art,with a concentration in Computer Animation. He’s now a 3D animator with a company in Bethesda, MD called Pixeldust. The company does animations for television series and documentaries for channels such as Discovery, National Geographic, PBS and several NOVA specials.

Brianne Casey currently works in marketing for MHz Networks. She studied theater and video production at James Madison University, and is currently producing her first feature length independent film.

Mary Ester is Vice President of Communications and Development, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She leads the messaging and marketing efforts for the Brady Campaign, the nation's largest non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to preventing gun violence. 

Capella Fahoome Brogden has been producing since 1994. Her portfolio includes multiple narrative and documentary feature films, television series, as well as a long list of national television commercials, PSA’s, music videos, and short films.  Her latest project, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey has placed Capella with most diverse and talented team of filmmakers to date.

Sonya Gavankar is a television journalist and producer who is currently hosting programs on PBS, BGTV, and MHz Networks. Ms. Gavankar serves as the face of the Newseum by bringing a cohesive voice to the 250,000 square feet of exhibits and interactive programming.  Her photography has been shown in several Washington area galleries, and she is a casting director for independent films. Additionally, she serves as the President of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation in Washington, D.C. and represented Washington, D.C. in the 1997 Miss America Pageant and produces the annual Miss D.C. Pageant held at the historic Lincoln Theater. Ms Gavankar holds a degree in broadcast journalism from The American University.

Chris Hunter is an accomplished Social Media Manager, Online Media Strategist, and Content Producer.  Currently, he is the Website Manager for the Ford's Theatre. Prior to arriving at Ford's Theatre, Chris worked as an online content producer and has created online content for The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, MHz Worldview, and the National Geographic Society.  Chris holds an M.A. in Film and Video from American University. 

Manan Singh Katohora is a writer/director/ producer whose directorial debut feature film, “ARYA” landed him on the ‘Top 50 Indian-Americans list’ in 2005. Katohora’s second feature as director is currently playing at festivals around the globe. Katohora served as producer for “E-Preeti”, which recently landed him on the cover of The Washington Post due to its outstanding reception at 27 domestic and international film festivals.

Alesyn McCall is a recent graduate of Howard University where she majored in Film Production. While a student, Alesyn worked with various networks such as National Geographic, Telemundo, MHz Networks, and JWM Productions. Currently, she is working as videographer for a documentary entitled, “Irreconcilable Differences,” scheduled to be released this fall.

Amy Oden has been producing short-form documentaries at MHz Networks for several years.  In 2009, Amy taught media literacy at Girls Rock! Chicago, and helped develop a curriculum for MediaWorks, which encourages young film makers in Madison, WI.  She is currently in post-production for her feature-length documentary project, entitled "From the Back of the Room: 20 Years of Women in Punk".  In addition, she is pursuing a Master's degree in Media and Gender Studies at George Washington University.

Andrea Sherrel Ellis has spent over a decade working in film & video production.  As the Training & Outreach Specialist at Arlington Independent Media (AIM), she teaches courses in video production and post-production; serves as Executive Producer of Voice Box, a monthly public affairs program that addresses local issues with a national perspective; and facilitates station outreach through the promotion of media literacy and media democracy. Prior to her work at AIM, Ms. Ellis served as the Executive Director of the DC Film Alliance. 

Dee Wong’s love for all things film began when she was an undergraduate attending Fordham University in New York. After obtaining her degree in Film and Sociology, Dee moved back to the DC Metro area, where she has worked for the DC Film Festival as well as the Asian Pacific American Film Festival. She is currently pursuing her dream of working in journalism and documentary film.

The Shortie Awards, in its ninth year, is a free festival recognizing original digital media productions created by student filmmakers, ages 7-18, and their teachers.

The entry categories are:
- Live Action: Narrative, Documentary, Experimental, PSA, Music Video, or Other.
- Animation: Stop-Motion, Claymation, Machinima, Digital, or Other.
- Daily News Broadcast
The age categories are:
- 7-10 years old (2nd to 5th grade),
- 11-14 years old (6th to 8th grade),
- 15-18 years old (9-12th grade),
- K-12 teachers

Entrants may submit their films as a group, a whole class, or individually. Films may be no longer than 10 minutes. The entry deadline for films was April 9, 2010. Additional information and guidelines are available from the official Shortie website at: WWW.SHORTIE.ORG.

Screening of the films begins at 2 pm, with the ceremony at 3 pm. Admission is free, but reservation is required. Contact [email protected] to reserve your seat by May 20.

With over 370 films created by nearly 3000 student and teacher filmmakers from all over the world, the 2009 awards included entries from 23 states and 13 countries.  Winners and finalists hailed from Finland, India, Northern Ireland, and the UK, as well as Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas, and Virginia.

Stephanie Misar
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