MEET OUR JUDGESFilmmakers giving back to Filmmakers...
Showrunner (Londongrad, Better Than Us)
Producer Alex Kessel founded Sputnik Vostok Production in 2010. The company creates a high quality series, TV shows, documentaries and feature films for the leading broadcasters and OTT-platforms.
They are the first Russian production that has landed at both an Amazon Prime and Netflix Original. The company’s creative portfolio includes original titles BETTER THAN US (Netflix Original, Channel One), THE COUNTED (Start.ru), LONDONGRAD (Amazon Prime, CTC Network), DOCTOR’S DIARY (CTC Network), LAST COP (Channel 5) and others.
Writer (The Saddle Club, Meet the Robinsons)
One of the top grossing writers in Australia, Shirley Pierce has worked as a Professional Screenwriter for the past three decades. Her work has had a cumulative box office gross of over a quarter of a billion US dollars. Among her countless works she has developed projects for MGM Studios, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures, where she worked on projects ranging from the Holocaust drama Misha to the animated films Dinosaur, Home on the Range and Meet the Robinsons.
Shirley has also worked on John Henry, which has won international film festivals and was a finalist in its category for an Academy Award nomination, as well as on an adaption of the opera Aida. Her magnificent work on Aida was the source material for Elton John’s successful Broadway production.
Weed Road Pictures (Startrek)
Shiva Nassab is a Creative Executive at Weed Road Pictures, an MGM-based film and TV production company, founded by Academy-Award winning writer/producer, Akiva Goldsman (whose credits include A BEAUTIFUL MIND, I AM LEGEND and STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS.
Prior to Weed Road, she served as a member of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Development and Production team on films such as THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT starring Nicolas Cage, SHOTGUN WEDDING starring Jennifer Lopez and Eli Roth’s BORDERLAND’S starring Cate Blanchett and Kevin Hart.
An Australian native, Shiva grew up in Brisbane where she attended the Queensland University of Technology.
Director (Monsters of Men)
Originating from a very successful career as an advertising photographer 20 years ago, Toia was coerced into directing TV commercials by his clients. They desired to bring his exceptional photographic eye to the small screen and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Toia is now one of the most sought after international directors in the advertising.
Toia is now become hot property after the release of his successful, self funded debut feature film ‘Monsters of Man’ Proving that he can deliver huge production value at a very high quality, within very ambitious budgets. Mainly due to his combined skills as Director/DOP & Visual effects artist.
Toia’s main passion is to capture an image that compels and speaks without words. His legendary cinematography skills, vast post-production experience, coupled with this ever evolving mind and machine like work ethics make him the perfect choice for any project. This combination puts him squarely at the fore front of today’s film & television industry.
Cinematographer (Edge of Tomorrow, Mary Poppins)
With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Damien has directed and operated camera across a myriad of highly successful and award-winning projects in Australia and worldwide, working with Oscar winners and renowned professionals like Michael Bay, Dion Beebe, Tom Cruise, Doug Liman, Penelope Cruz , Emily Blunt to name a few.
His most recent work includes the acclaimed remake of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’, ’13 Hours’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, ‘Into the Woods’ as well as the cinematographic direction of Australian features ‘Aiyai: Wrathful Soul’ and ‘Black Water: Abyss’. Damien constantly explores his technical brilliance to capture the true essence of the story with his cinematic creativity, camera angles and movements which are spectacular and entertaining.
Director / Stunt Performer - (The Matrix Reloaded, Mad Max)
John Walton has directed and performed action and stunts for over 32 years, working on major productions both in Australia and across the globe. He is a true Aussie stunt legend with an impressive resume with highlights including ‘Mad Max’, ‘Elvis’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Ghosts in the Shell’, and many more.
His recent directorial debut for feature film, ‘The Last Zombie’, is set to deliver an action-packed comedy utilizing his range of expertise in stunts including horse trick riding, fire stunts and car/ motorcycle stunts.
Organic Media Group (The Women, Cypher)
Based in Greater China for over ten years, Steve is one of the few independent producers today who has successfully bridged the gap between China and the United States, offering a unique blend of on set production experience, creative development, distribution and studio-grade financing experience.
He is best known for productions including THE LAZARUS PROJECT with Paul Walker, THE WOMEN with Meg Ryan, THE KING OF FIGHTERS with Maggie Q and most recently the FBI codebreaking series exclusively premiering on the Roku Channel, CYPHER.