2018 Awards & Jury

We are honored to have an all-star lineup of filmmakers, producers and distributors serving as jurors for the 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.


Best Narrative Short


JACQUES THELAMAQUE is an award-winning writer, producer and director who founded the Los Angeles filmmaking collective Filmmakers Alliance in 1993 and FA Productions in 2004.

JULIE LYNN, of Mockingbird Pictures, is the producer of Daniel Espinosa’s LIFE, Robin Swicord’s WAKEFIELD, Rodrigo Garcia’s ALBERT NOBBS, MOTHER AND CHILD, NINE LIVES, and many more.

RICHARD HERSKOWITZ is the artistic and executive director for the Ashland Independent Film Festival, artistic director of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival, and curator of media arts for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.

DUNCAN JONES is a writer, producer and director. His credits include MOON, SOURCE CODE, WARCRAFT and the recent Netflix release, MUTE, starring Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux.

CHRISTOPER McQUARRIE is an Academy Award winning writer, producer and director whose credits include The Usual Suspects, Edge of Tomorrow and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.


 Best Documentary Short


Pictured clockwise, from top left:

ISIL BAGDADI, of CAVU Pictures, is an indie film producer, distributor and publicist. 

JESSICA YU is an Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker (BREATHING LESSONSPROTAGONIST) and a published author (Garden of the Lost and Abandoned).

PJ RAVAL was named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and FILMMAKER Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” PJ is an award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer whose credits include TRINIDAD and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

AJ SCHNACK is a producer and director, winner of the Best Documentary Short Award at the 2017 Walla Walla Movie Crush (Speaking Is Difficult).

ELLEN GOOSENBERG KENT is an Oscar®-winning documentarian (Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1)


Best Animated Short

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 7.29.33 PM.png

SIGNE BAUMANE - At the age of 14, Signe Baumane began publishing short stories in Latvia. She received a BA in Philosophy from Moscow State University, then started to work at Riga's Animated Film Studio as a cel painter. With support of government grants, Signe made 3 animated shorts in Latvia, then moved to New York and spent four years working for independent animator Bill Plympton as an art director and production manager. In 1998, Signe received her US green card as 'extraordinary ability alien' and began making films at her own studio. In 2005 she became a NYFA Fellow in Film. She received two grants from the Jerome Foundation - one for her animated short BIRTH, the other for her animated feature ROCKS IN MY POCKETS. She also received 3 grants from NYSCA. Signe has written, directed and animated 15 shorts and one feature film, which collectively have been accepted in over 300 film festivals around the world and received many awards. Signe is currently working on her second animated feature, MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARRIAGE, which will examine the the biological chemistry of love and gender, and also the societal pressures on an individual to conform to social mores.  She was also awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017.

ALICJA JASINA is a Polish film-maker who graduated from University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her short films have been awarded at festivals worldwide. Her film ONCE UPON A LINE won a Student Academy Award in the Animation category and has been shortlisted for the Academy Awards. (The film also won "Best Animated Short" at the 2017 Walla Walla Movie Crush!)

Alicja tells intriguing stories about daily dilemmas and captures the everyday life in unusual ways. Currently Alicja works as a freelancer in Los Angeles.

GAR LASALLE - A physician, sculptor, award-winning filmmaker, and author, Gar LaSalle has been honored widely in the medical and fine arts communities for his leadership and creativity.

Trained in animation and filmmaking at CalArts, LaSalle’s award winning feature length documentary, Diary of a Moonlighter premiered nationally on PBS and was the first-ever film about the new specialty of Emergency Medicine.

In his clinical and administrative roles as an emergency physician, he continued making films, including several award winning Patient Safety Fables, which are used to train physicians and nurses about risk prevention and patient-physician interactions.  LaSalle is an executive producer of Triage Films, which created the Emmy award winning documentary 24/7,  and with Triage Films, he is currently editing a new documentary, Never Say Die – Dying in America.

BRUCE W. SMITH is a feature film character animator, director and television producer. He is best known as the creator and executive producer of the Disney Channel hit show The Proud Family and for supervising the animation of the evil villain Dr. Facilier in the Walt Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog. 

Smith studied animation in the Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts. He joined the Walt Disney Studios an animator on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and various other Roger Rabbit shorts that the studio produced. Soon after, Smith was handpicked by producer/director Reginald Hudlin (House Party, Boomerang) to direct the Paramount Pictures animated film BeBe’s Kids. Smith also served as co-director on the Warner Bros. live action/animated film Space Jam before returning to Disney as supervising animator on such films as Tarzan (Kerchak and Baboons) and Emperors New Groove (Pacha). 

While animating on the feature films, Smith started feeding into his love of television animation by creating the hit series The Proud Family for the Disney Channel. He co-founded Jambalaya Studio for the production of the series and crafted over fifty episodes of the hit series along with The Proud Family TV Movie.  Smith then rejoined the Walt Disney Studios to supervise animation on The Princess and the Frog (Dr. Facilier) and the Winnie the Pooh Movie (Piglet, Kanga and Roo) and as the lead animator on the animated short Tangled Ever After. Smith's knack for unique character design led him into the visual development of other projects at the studio such as Wreck-it- Ralph and Frozen. 

In 2012, Smith transitioned back into the director’s chair at Disneytoon Studios. Smith created and directed hilarious 3D shorts for the Planes, Planes Fire and Rescue and Tinkerbell franchises.  Currently, Smith is developing a prehistoric animated comedy series for Warner Bros. Animation and co-directing an animated feature film for Sony Pictures Animation. 

JEROLD HOWARD is a stop-motion guru, an animator who has contributed his skills to Portlandia, Saturday Night Live, JAMES & THE GIANT PEACH and the Aardman Animation hits THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT and Creature Comforts.  Jerold is the writer and director of his own films, including the award-winning SEE THE TRUTH.


Best Student Short


Pictured clockwise, from top left:

MARK MILLHONE is a filmmaker, educator and published author (The Patron Saint of Used Cars and Second Chances, published by Rodale Books). His short, CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK, won the Academy Award for Best Student Film, a few moons ago. Currently, he is the Dean of Academic Affairs at the Relativity Studio School in Los Angeles.

SELIN SEVINC is a screenwriter and script consultant at her very own magicofstory.com.  She has been a member of The International Federation of Film Critics and a Berlinale Talents Screenwriters alumna since 2009.

MEGAN PETERSON has been involved in filmmaking since 1999. She has worked in producing, directing and writing more than 170 hours of on-air programming for a wide range of cable networks.  She has also helped found two film festivals: The United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF), now going on its twenty-first year; and The Jefferson State Flixx Fest, currently in its fourth year in far Northern California. 

RICK STEVENSON has produced, written and/or directed twelve feature films and nearly 100 hours of television. He has worked with Robert Redford, Hugh Grant, Christopher Plummer, Keifer Sutherland, Meg Ryan, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Connelly, Mark Harmon and many others. He is founder of The School of Life Project and co-founded TheFilmSchool along with Warren Etheredge, Tom Skerritt and Stewart Stern, and is director of the annual Prodigy Camp.

BRADEN HENRICKSEN is a filmmaker, photographer, and competitive archer. Braden placed as a finalist in the 2015 Astronomy Photographer of the year competition. Last year, as a high school student, Braden contributed one of our inaugural Walla Walla Movie Crush Challenge shorts: THE WANDERER.


Best Performance

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 4.21.11 PM.png

TOM SKERRITT has appeared in many classic films including: M*A*S*H*, THE TURNING POINT, ALIEN, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, TOP GUN, and CONTACT. In Autumn of 2013 he performed in John Grisham’s A TIME TO KILL, his first appearance on Broadway. He returns to Broadway this summer in Young Jean Lee’s STRAIGHT WHITE MEN opposite Armie Hammer. Skerritt has also performed with the Pacific NW Ballet in performances of Don Quixote 2012 and 2015. Along with other film and story educators including WWMC's own Warren Etheredge, Skerritt founded TheFilmSchool, a Mecca for learning and engaging the art of cinematic storytelling. Skerritt, along with Etheredge again, also founded THE RED BADGE PROJECT to teach Storytelling to active-duty soldiers and combats vets coping with PTS.  Most recently, Skerritt launched a new media content provider, HEYOU MEDIA INC., focused on future content needs of mobile media and home entertainment.

BARRY SHABAKA HENLEY has starred in big budget hits including ALI, COLLATERAL, RUSH HOUR, THE TERMINAL and HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK. He recently co-starred in PATERSON and next appears in A STAR IS BORN with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Henley’s numerous television credits include starring roles on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Crossing Jordan,” “Providence,” “ER,” “Body of Proof,” “Veep,” and “Shameless” well as a recurring role on the series’ “Close to Home,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Flashforward.” Recent appearances include "Better Call Saul", "NCIS: New Orleans", "Black-ish"  and a recurring role on “Bosch”.  Henley has toured extensively with the theatre production of “Jitney” and won a NAACP Image Award for his work in “Rabbit Foot.” Most recently, he was the writer and star of "Mingus Remixed," which premiered at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco, and the production of "Satchmo at The Waldorf" at the Court Theater in Chicago and Palm Beach Dramaworks. 

LAURA SEAY is an actress, director and writer living in Los Angeles. Originally from Seattle, she comes equipped with a near obsessive loyalty to the Seahawks, pine trees, and pretentious third-wave coffee. Laura has appeared in several feature films and network shows including SUPERBAD, MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D, NCIS, NCIS: NOLA, and PURE GENIUS.  Her directorial debut SPEAK made great strides through the festival circuit including the Walla Walla Movie Crush, where it was granted the Curator’s Choice Award.

MATTHEW LILLARD, a veteran of both stage and screen, is well known for his performances in over 50 films and television shows over the last 20 years, including SCREAM, THE DESCENDANTS, SCOOBY-DOO 1 & 2, SLC PUNK!, THE GROOMSMEN and WING COMMANDER. Lillard ’s directorial debut FAT KID RULES THE WORLD won the Audience Award at SXSW in 2012. In 2015 Lillard directed 6 plays including the European premiere’s of Neil LaBute’s Filthy Talk for Interesting Times and Stephen Belber’s Fault Lines.  He currently stars in NBC’s “Good Girls.”

NIKE IMORU is a British casting director, acting coach, actress and director with an array of credits in the entertainment industry covering twenty five years and twenty one countries. She has worked alongside a plethora of actors and directors including Wayne Wang, John Carpenter, Tony Krantz, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, Wei Tang, Antonio Banderas, Amber Heard, Jimmy Simpson, Andy Garcia, Vera Farmiga, and Tom Skerritt, amongst others. She gained her PhD from the University of Warwick, UK and was overjoyed to have her doctoral thesis added to the British Museum Library in 2012. Nike is a member of Actors Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA and the Casting Society of America. 


Best Screenplay


DANA STEVENS - Dana grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and is a summa cum laude graduate of UCLA.   Her screenwriting credits include the romantic adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, SAFE HAVEN, CITY OF ANGELS starring Nicolas Cage; FOR LOVE OF THE GAME, directed by Sam Raimi; BLINK directed by Michael Apted, and LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT, starring Angelina Jolie.  She was the creator and executive producer ofReckless,  a sexy legal drama that aired on CBS and is currently available on Netflix.  Previously she created and produced What About Brian?, an ABC television series produced by J.J. Abrams.  She is a frequent advisor at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and serves on the Executive Committee of the Writers Branch at the Academy.  She is currently adapting THE NIGHTINGALE for Tri-Star pictures.

BRIAN McDONALD - Brian McDonald is an award-winning writer/director/producer who has worked in film, television and comic books for more than 30 years.  He has worked as a story consultant for several Hollywood film studios and recently for a new Cirque du Soleil production. His book on story construction, Invisible Ink, is required reading at Pixar Animation Studio as well as several film studies programs.

McDonald teaches for TheFilmSchool Seattle and the Red Badge Project, which teaches veterans suffering from PTSD how to tell their stories.  He is currently at work on a pair of graphic novels for Macmillan.

NITZA WILON - Nitza Wilon has worked in script development for a decade, and has spent the past five years building screenwriting lab retreats for women, specifically in narrative film. The Writers Lab, Nitza's inaugural project, is entering its fourth year and continues to bring incredible stories to light. Before accepting her fate, Nitza was a performer and then a journalist in New York. She lives in Manhattan with her family.

ALVARO RODRIGUEZ - Born and raised along the Texas-Mexico border, Alvaro Rodriguez spent years as a journalist and some time in academics while pursuing a creative career. Rodriguez wrote and performed music for Robert Rodriguez’s breakthrough film EL MARIACHI and began writing screenplays including the features SHORTS and MACHETE. His short fiction has appeared in print and online journals and has been nominated for aPushcart Prize and he has served as a frequent panelist, moderator and judge at writing workshops and conferences in Austin, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and Seattle.

Rodriguez is executive producer/co-creator of an adult-animated series, currently in development withPowerhouse Animation and Viz Media for release in 2019. A coming-of-age feature set in 1950s Italy, YOU, MINE, is in development with OH!Pen Productions for a 2019 start date. His latest feature as writer and co-producer, LAST RAMPAGE, starring Robert Patrick and Heather Graham, was released domestically by Epic Pictures and premiered internationally at the Sitges Film Festival in October 2017.

SCOTT FRANK - Scott Frank has earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay: for LOGAN and OUT OF SIGHT. His other film credits include: GET SHORTY, MINORITY REPORT, MARLEY & ME and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX. He wrote and directed THE LOOKOUT, A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES and the current Netflix hit, Godless. In 2016, Mr. Frank published his first novel, the under-rated Shaker.


Audience Award

The Audience Award is determined by a weighted ballot vote solely from our Iron Ass Jury - audience members who have screened every film in the inaugural WWMC lineup, thus making this the only trueAudience Favorite award on the film festival circuit.  

Our esteemed 2018 Iron Ass jury members are:

Hap Enzi
Beth Gavigan
Leslie Gavigan
Charlie Hafenbrack
Linda Hoyt
Steven Kliewe
Diana Knauf-Levidow
Björn Levidow
Vance Malone
Emil Markovitch
Tatiana Markovitch
Dave Merlino
Sarah Michelson
Leroy Novaria
Don Roff
Cathy Simmons
Woody Simmons
Bill Szuch
Bonnie Szuch
Jeffrey Townsend
Kim Viscio

Winners in all categories will receive a hand-crafted award designed by Paul Good, a metal artist and etcher based in Walla Walla.