PRESENTED BY

FILM JUDGES

FEATURES

LAURA KUTNICK - PRODUCER

Laura Kutnick grew up around the world, but raised her own family in a small green community in rural Connecticut. Graduating in film studies from Dartmouth College, she went on to pursue film theory at the Sorbonne and later business and communications at the U of Penn.  She went on to work as communications consultant for the Aspen Institute and then on several of ABC network’s Emmy award winning documentaries before becoming health producer on CBS nightly news. Her drama examining the fragility of nuclear disarmament ran briefly in 2018 and her biography of her parents’ contemporary art collection was released by Sotheby’s the same year.  Currently, Laura is president of the Dale and Laura Kutnick Foundation which has been pivotal in the success of many non-profit initiatives which address climate change.

GIOVANNI LABADESSA – PRODUCER

Giovanni is an award winning writer- producer and co-founder of Not Film Fest. His films have screened in theaters across the UK and Italy and digitally in Japan, Italy and US with Hulu and Amazon Prime. His screenplays have been selected in several competitions earning Top 10 Finalist in the Million Dollar Greenlight Challenge for Carte Blanche among others and took part at the prestigious European screenwriting lab Torino Film Lab in Krakow.

In 2023 he completed 3 feature films Eco-Village (USA); Tell That To The Winter Sea (UK) and The Invisible Girl. He established Nòt Film Fest in 2018, since then the festival has featured the cutting edge of contemporary filmmaking by showcasing emerging film talent working with original subject matter and an individual style in both short and feature format.

ELISABETH COSTA DE BEAUREGARD - PRESIDENT, GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION & SALES, STORYBOARD MEDIA, LLC

Elisabeth founded Storyboard Media with her partner, Philip Kim, as a production, finance and global sales company in late 2017.  Out of the gate, Storyboard Media helped produce Freaks, starring Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern which premiered at TIFF 2018 and sold well to the world. Serving as President of Global Sales and Distribution, Elisabeth is focused on acquisitions, production and strategic licensing of independent films in the foreign and US markets. Previously, Elisabeth was at AMBI and helped advance sales of Rupture, starring Noomi Rapace, This Beautiful Fantastic, starring Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Brown Findley, Artic Dogs, a large budget animation, and sales of the 400 title Exclusive library comprising of the Icon, New Market and Sparta libraries.  Elisabeth served as President of International Sales and Distribution at Voltage Pictures from 2012 through April 2015. Prior to working at Voltage, she worked at Lakeshore Entertainment for close to 14 years where in her last three years, served as head of Lakeshore International overseeing Theatrical sales of Lakeshore’s high profile features (Fame, Runaway Bride & Autumn in NY) and helped launch films grossing over $100 million dollars worldwide such as the Underworld Franchise and 4 time Academy Award winner, Million Dollar Baby. Elisabeth has served on the Board and the Executive Board of IFTA and remains very active with the trade organization. A graduate of Occidental College, she values philanthropy and is a member of the Creative Coalition, American Rivers, Women In Film, Children To Love, Aviva, Hearts 4 Mercy, and on the Advisory Board of the Anti-Poaching Animal Rights Organization, STOP POACHING NOW!.  Born in France and raised in New York City, she resides between Wyoming and Los Angeles.

SHORTS

SANDRINE FAUCHER CASSIDY - USC’S SENIOR DIRECTOR OF FESTIVAL, DISTRIBUTION & TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Sandrine grew up in Morocco and France. She joined Unifrance in 1996 and discovered the world of festivals. The relationships she built with programmers gave her a specific insight into each festival and their subtle differences of style and mission. Sandrine moved to Los Angeles and since 1998, serves with passion as USC’s Senior Director of Festival, Distribution & Talent Development. She advises students and alumni on strategies for their student films and independent features in the festival circuit and reach their career goals. She is responsible for the Licensing of the large catalog of USC shorts. She has recently taken a creative role on screenplays, or films in post production as producer on independent features, Sandrine is often invited to participate in juries, panels or to give individual mentoring sessions. She has been on the Tribeca Festival screening committee since 2015. 

TCHAVDAR GEORGIEV - ACE

Tchavdar Georgiev is an Emmy-winning filmmaker and a member of American Cinema Editors. He wrote, produced and directed the two times Emmy nominated PBS Independent Lens The Desert of Forbidden Art. Described by LA Times critic Kenneth Turan as a “stranger than fiction several times over, remarkable documentary,” it won the Cine Golden Eagle Award and was broadcasted around the world. He edited the two times Emmy nominated HBO documentary Valentine Road as well as the Cinema Eye Honors Awarded Finders Keepers, both of which premiered at Sundance. He edited the four times Emmy-nominated PBS Independent Lens Belly of The Beast, for which he also won an Emmy and the Netflix Original hit The American Meme that premiered at Tribeca and Hot Docs. He wrote and produced Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man that won the Hot Docs for Schools Audience Award. He wrote and edited Served Like A Girl that premiered at SXSW, Larry Flynt for President that premiered at Tribeca and Hot Docs, as well as Skidrow Marathon that won both LA Muse Best Doc and Audience Awards at the LA Film Fest and many others. He directed and edited for Nat Geo Finding the Next Earth and edited the Primetime Emmy nominated Alien Earths. He wrote on the award-winning ARTE documentary Beyond the Bolex and edited on the Netflix Original Series Song Exploder. He wrote and directed the award-winning Tokyo Giant: The Legend of Victor Starffin. He was one of the editors on the Grand Jury Prize Sundance Winner We Live in Public, One Lucky Elephant, Best Doc Editing Award at Woodstock FF, Bite Size, Best Doc at Cinequest, as well as the narrative feature Bastards, MTV Russia Best Film Award. Tchavdar is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and Open Society Institute grants among many others. He has been a speaker and lecturer for the International Documentary Association, American Cinema Editors and other venues.

LYNN ROTH - WRITER/DIRECTOR

Lynn Roth is an accomplished, award-winning director, writer and producer. Her latest feature Shepherd: The Story of a Jewish Dog examines the Holocaust through the perspective of a dog. It was released theatrically in 2022 and is now on most digital platforms. Her previous film, The Little Traitor based on the novel Panther in the Basement by Amos Oz, was made in Israel starring Alfred Molina. The film won numerous awards and had a successful theatrical run in the U.S. and internationally. She also directed Changing Habits starring Christopher Lloyd, Moira Kelly and Dylan Walsh and produced by Academy Award Winner Graham King. She executive produced two Israeli documentaries, Keep Not Silent and 39 Pounds of Love, both of which won the Israeli Oscars for Best Documentary.

Roth also wrote and executive produced The Patron Saint of Liars (adapting the book by Ann Patchett) starring Dana Delaney and Maggie Gylenhaal, Chance of a Lifetime with Leslie Nielsen and Betty White, Just My Imagination starring Jean Smart and executive produced the five hour miniseries, A Will of their Own which explored the evolution of women in the U.S.. Roth was nominated for an Emmy Award as the writer-producer for the six-hour documentary/drama A Century of Women, narrated by Jane Fonda and wrote The Portrait, which starred Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall. For five years, Roth was the Executive Producer and Showrunner of the highly acclaimed series about law school, The Paper Chase, for which she won three Cable Ace Awards. She has the distinction of being the first woman showrunner of an hour-long dramatic Series.

Roth was an Executive at 20th Century Fox overseeing comedy development. She also served as a writing professor at the American Film University and taught a Master Class in Filmmaking in Israel through the auspices of Tel Aviv University. 

ANIMATION

MARIE LAURE ROCHE - MAGIC LIGHT PICTURES

With 16 years working in content distribution, specializing in Kids and Family Entertainment, Marie-Laure is passionate about animation and productions made for young audiences. She built her experience in very established companies within the industry: CAKE Entertainment, Toyco, Mattel Inc. in Europe, Jetpack Distribution, Superights Kids and Family and now Magic Light Pictures.

SARA CABRAS - RAI KIDS

Sara Cabras  works in the children’s entertainment department for Rai. She has been Executive Producer for many children’s programs of Rai such as AquaTeam – Sea Adventures, The Sound Collector, Mumfie, Super Spike Ball, Animal House, Incredible!, to name a few.  She has worked as  producer and editorial supervisor for different target age groups: preschool, pre-teens and teenagers. She has been working  for acquisitions and schedule programming for Rai Yoyo (Preschool Target) and RAI Gulp (Kid’s target 6-12).  She is currently working in Rai Kids at Pre-Acquisition and Co-production department as  producer of TV series and cartoons.

JAY AHN - PRODUCER, ASTRO-NOMICAL ENTERTAINMENT

Jay Ahn has over 25 plus years of IP development, production, financing and distribution experience in media and entertainment industry in both Asia and in North America. He is an executive producer at Astro-Nomical Ent (http://astro-nomical.com/), which he co-founded in 2016, focused on family animation IP management and production, with Chris Henderson, a long-time veteran animation producer in Hollywood. 

He is also co-founder and EP at Muskoka Culture Group founded Sept 2023, focused on the development, financing and coproduction of Korean animated IP and executive production for film and TV adaptation for Korean webtoon & story-based IP.

He served as advisor and independent director of Toonbox Entertainment Canada (The Nut Job), where he also served as a co-CEO/co-president. He is one of key founders and shareholders of Toonbox Entertainment and was EP for The Nut Job, Spark, and multiple TV shows. From 2008 to 2012 before relocating to Toronto, he was advisor and executive producer of Redrover Korea listed in KOSDAQ 2010, specialized in stereoscopic 3D tech and CGI/3D animation production. He executive-produced Bolts & Blip, half hour 26 episodes, the first 3D TV series in the world, Beet Party 2min 102 episodes, and The Nut Job, released in the US Jan 2013, the highest opening for independent animation.

Sing Up