2017 Awards & Jury
We are honored to have an all-star lineup of filmmakers, producers and distributors serving as jurors for the inaugural Walla Walla Movie Crush. Each individual provides a unique perspective, assuring the winners are deemed the best by a diverse and talented group of esteemed industry professionals.
Jurors are evaluating films in the following three categories:
Best Narrative Short
Joanne Feinberg founded FeinFilm in 2015 after 11 years as Director of Programming at the Ashland Independent Film Festival in Ashland, Oregon. She was instrumental in creating this nationally recognized and highly respected top regional festival admired by industry, filmmakers and audiences alike.
Previously based in San Francisco, Joanne brings over 20 years of film production experience, and thousands of hours of thoughtful film viewing, to her work as a producer, story editor, and consultant at FeinFilm.
She graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a combined degree in Cinema Studies and Film & TV Production.
A deep love and understanding of cinema informs all of her endeavors.
New York native Reinaldo Marcus Green is a writer, director, and producer. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch Graduate Film School and is writing his first feature narrative, Monsters and Men. Reinaldo is a 2017 Sundance Directors Lab Fellow and was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film (2015). His latest short film Stop, which he wrote, produced, and directed, premiered as an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015. His previous short film, Stone Cars, shot on a micro-budget in South Africa, had its international premiere as an official Cinefondation selection at the Festival de Cannes 2014.
Director of MOON, SOURCE CODE, WARCRAFT and next... MUTE!
Marci Liroff’s extensive credits as a casting director span more than 50 films. While working at the renowned casting office of Fenton-Feinberg Casting she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story and Porky’s; the Academy Award-nominated Poltergeist; Steven Spielberg’s E.T.– The Extra Terrestrial and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
After establishing her own casting company in 1983, MARCI LIROFF CASTING, Liroff cast several successful films including Footloose, St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, The Iron Giant, The Spitfire Grill, Untamed Heart, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Vampire Academy andThe Sublime and Beautiful, which she produced as well.
Liroff is a proud member of The Television Academy, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Casting Society of America, CSA, where she serves on the Board of Governors.
Jen McGowan is a director based in Los Angeles. Her first feature KELLY & CAL (starring Juliette Lewis, Cybill Shepherd & Jonny Weston) premiered at SXSW Film Festival where she won the Gamechanger Award. The film was released by IFC Films to rave reviews.
Jen got her start with award-winning short films, CONFESSIONS OF A LATE BLOOMER and TOUCH, both of which played at over a hundred festivals in the US and abroad.
Jen is the creator of filmpowered.com, a skill-sharing site by women and for women in Film and Television. The site was named Best in LA of 2016 by LA Weekly. It was also featured on Indiewire and is part of the Sundance Women’s Initiative Resource.
Jen is a Film Independent Fellow, a finalist for the Clint Eastwood Filmmakers Award, and a recipient of the AWD Breakout Award for Excellence in Directing. She was also named one of Vulture’s Women Directors Hollywood Should Be Hiring.
Jen is currently in post on her second feature film, RUST CREEK.
Best Documentary Short
Talmage Cooley is a serial entrepreneur of large-scale social and for-profit ventures. After eight years in finance and trading for Dominion Bank and Morgan Stanley, Talmage was co-Founder and co-CEO of The Center to Prevent Youth Violence, which became the largest non-political organization dedicated to the gun violence issue, focusing on innovative, prevention-driven solutions with a presence in 50 states with over 400 partner organizations. He is also the Founder and CEO of Fervent Strategy, which consults with international development organizations on deployment of new technology in emerging markets, focusing on mobile commerce. Talmage is also an award-winning filmmaker, with over 20 Best Film awards at festivals worldwide and two films included in the NY Museum of Modern Art’s Sundance Collection. Talmage founded Democracy.com at the Harvard Innovation Lab in 2012, driven by the belief that the Internet provides unique opportunities to level the playing field for all candidates, both in the US and globally, so that big ideas become more important in winning elections than big donations. Talmage is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the Harvard Kennedy School.
For almost thirty years, Emmy-award winning directors/producers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have jointly created critically-acclaimed multi-character documentary narratives that braid their characters’ individual personal stories to form a larger portrait of the human experience. Their most recent film, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden (2013) had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and its European premiere in Berlin. It opened theatrically to strong critical reviews nationwide in April 2014 making several top-ten movie of the year lists, has played theaters and festivals internationally, and is now available worldwide on VOD as well as consumer and educational DVD.
Dan and Dayna were admitted to the Documentary Branch of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2014.
Brian Knappenberger is a documentary producer and director. He has created multiple award-winning documentaries, including We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, about the online hacktivist non-group Anonymous; Life After War, about political tensions in post-war Afghanistan; and A Murder in Kyiv, about the death of a Ukrainian journalist reportedly at the hands of government officials. Knappenberger has created numerous other documentaries for PBS FRONTLINE/World, National Geographic, Bloomberg News, and the Discovery Channel. His newest film, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Jeff Malmberg is a documentary filmmaker whose second feature documentary, “Spettacolo," is being released theatrically by Grasshopper Film. The film is a portrait of a small Italian hill town that deals with conflict by turning the lives of its villagers into a play. The film is supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Sundance Documentary Fund, Creative Capital, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Jeff’s debut film "Marwencol" won over two dozen awards, including two Independent Spirit Awards, Best Documentary of the Year from Boston Society of Film Critics and Rotten Tomatoes, and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival.
Chris Shellen is a writer and filmmaker based in California. She produced the award-winning documentary “Marwencol” and co-authored the companion art book “Welcome to Marwencol,” which was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Amazon.com. She began her career as a film development executive based at Paramount Pictures, and has worked in documentary, narrative and new media for over 15 years. Her directorial debut "Spettacolo" will be released this fall through Grasshopper Film.
Best Animated Short
Genevieve Anderson is an artist, filmmaker, and producer, making sculptures and narrative films with puppets. Driven by her fascination of the human interior, she gives form to this inner realm through the unique potential of the puppet body. The puppet figure is a distillation of being: an avatar of the interior.
Reflecting this vision in her film work, she endeavors to create simple, human stories mining the delicate interior worlds puppets inhabit.
Her five short films have played at festivals worldwide and have garnered awards in Berlin, Chicago International, Seattle, Palm Springs, Rhode Island, among others, and have been broadcast on IFC (US) and ARTE (France, Germany).
Genevieve is a Rockefeller Media Arts Grant recipient and an Annenberg Fellow. She has a BFA from UCSB and an MA in Critical Studies from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Tess Martin is an independent animator who works with cut-outs, ink, paint, sand or objects. Her most recent award-winning film is ‘The Lost Mariner’, an animated interpretation of an Oliver Sacks case study, and her short film ‘Ginevra’, based on a Percy Shelley poem, will be in festivals in 2017. Her films have displayed at galleries and festivals worldwide. In addition to her personal and commissioned work, Tess is also passionate about the animation community. She has run and moderated the monthly Manifest Animation Show & Tell events in Rotterdam since October 2014 and she is the founder of Haptic Animation Amplifier, a small non-profit that archives & distributes animation from the Pacific Northwest of the USA and offers resources for animators worldwide. She writes about the world of independent animation for Cartoon Brew and other publications and lectures occasionally at universities in the United States and the Netherlands.
Nirvan Mullick is a LA based filmmaker, speaker, and changemaker. As a philosophy student, Nirvan was obsessed with an idea of trying to create "perfect moments" after reading Jean Paul Sartre's 1938 novel, Nausea. Do perfect moments exist? And if so, can you create them?
Nirvan's short film Caine's Arcade became a viral phenomenon in 2012, receiving millions of views and changing the life of one creative 9 year-old boy. Following Caine's Arcade, Nirvan founded Imagination.org to foster the creativity of children everywhere. Imagination's Global Cardboard Challenge has engaged over 750,000 kids in 80 countries and supports over 100 Imagination Chapters in 20 countries. Lego and Ashoka named Imagination a Champion of their Re-Imagine Learning Challenge.
Nirvan's films have screened in festivals worldwide, from Cannes to Annecy, winning numerous awards, including a Webby and a Student Academy Award nomination. Nirvan was an early pioneer of crowdfunding, creating one of the first crowdfunding platforms in 2004 for The 1 Second Film - an ongoing experimental collaborative art project exploring "perfect moments." The 1 Second Film is being produced by thousands of people, including Stephen Colbert, Spike Jonze, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon, as well as great-grandmothers and gas-station attendants.
Born in the Netherlands, Wilbert Plijnaar sold his fist batch of stories to the Dutch Disney magazine at 16. In the following years he co-wrote and sketched two weekly comic strip series, published in 61 books that sold over 2 million copies. In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious Dutch Comic Strip Prize. During this period, Wilbert also was active in the field of advertising as a writer, illustrator and director of commercials, which won awards at, amongst others, the New York Animation Festival.
In 1995 Warner Bros Feature Animation invited him to become part of their animation studio and he made Los Angeles his permanent residence. Since then he has contributed designs and storyboards for numerous features at most major studios, including “Quest for Camelot”, “Osmosis Jones” (Warner Bros), “Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius" (Paramount/Nickelodeon), “Shrek II”, “Over the Hedge”, “How to Train your Dragon” (Dreamworks) and “Planet 51” (Sony). While at Disney, he co-wrote and storyboarded the Goofy short "How To Hook Up Your Home Theater" and was a member of the story team of Disney's return to 2D animation, "The Princess and the Frog." In 2001 he met producer Chris Melandandri when he contributed ideas and storyboards to “Ice Age”. This led “Ice Age 2 - the meltdown”, “Robots”, “Ice Age 3-Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Horton Hears a Who” ( Fox/Blue Sky) and subsequently the Illumination Entertainment productions of “Despicable Me”, “The Lorax”, and “Despicable Me 2”. “The Minion Movie” (2015), “Man’s Best Friend” (2016) up until “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (2017)”, his 11th project with Melandandri. Most recently he acted as head of story on Xing Xing’s “SMART”.
Mark Shapiro’s diverse marketing and communications career has taken him across the United States, working in brand development, advertising, public relations, film production and writing for companies including Nike, Town & Country Magazine and Upper Deck.
In 2007, he joined LAIKA, where he manages brand strategies, including the marketing efforts for LAIKA’s corporate identity as well as the company’s feature films.
A native of Seattle, Mark attended Emerson College in Boston and received his Bachelor of Arts in English from The Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He also completed education studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
The Audience Award is determined by a weighted ballot vote solely from audience members who have screened every film in the inaugural WWMC lineup - known as the IRON ASS Jury. Our esteemed 2017 Iron Ass Jurors are:
Winners in all categories will receive a hand-crafted award designed by Paul Good, a metal artist and etcher based in Walla Walla.