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Festival Juries

International Competition Jury

Violeta Bava received a double degree in Theory, Aesthetics and History of Cinema and Drama at Buenos Aires University (UBA) and worked at the Buenos Aires International Film Festival (BAFICI) for 20 years, both as a programmer and the co-director of BAL, a leading co-production market for Latin American films. She has worked as a film consultant and production tutor for several funds, organizations, and festivals worldwide, and played a key role in the development of initiatives to support filmmakers and producers in the Latin American region. She was Professor of Cinema Aesthetics and Ethics at Centro de Investigación Cinematográfica (Buenos Aires) for more than 10 years.

Since 2012, she has been the Latin American Consultant for the Venice International Film Festival and the Venice Market. She is currently also the Co-Head of Industry at Visions du Réel, Head of Studies at the Torino FilmLab FeatureLab, International Guest Curator at the New Zealand International Film Festival, part of the programming team of the Macao International Film Festival, and Program Advisor of New York Film Festival (NYFF). She is a founder of Ruda Cine, which among others has produced Abrir puertas y ventanas by Milagros Mumenthaler, Two Shots Fired by Martín Rejtman, Too Late to Die Young by Dominga Sotomayor and The Human Surge by Eduardo Williams.

Chinonye Chukwu is an award-winning screenwriter and director. In 2012, her debut feature, alaskaLand, premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. Her subsequent drama Clemency premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize, screening later in the year at the Chicago International Film Festival. Clemency has been released around the world and nominated for several Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards. Chukwu is developing her next film, which will explore Mamie Till’s relentless pursuit for justice after her son, Emmett Till’s murder. Chukwu is also attached to direct the adaptation of the best-selling memoir A Taste of Power by Elaine Brown, the first and only female leader of the Black Panther Party.

Adam Stockhausen is an Academy Award-winning production designer, who was honored with an Oscar for his work on Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. He has also been nominated for production design on Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave and Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. Stockhausen designed Spielberg’s West Side Story, set for release next year. He also designed Ready Player One for the director.  In addition to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Stockhausen has worked with Wes Anderson on Moonrise Kingdom, Isle of Dogs, and the upcoming The French Dispatch. Stockhausen’s other credits are Steve McQueen’s Widows, Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, Errol Morris’ American Dharma, Wes Craven’s Scream 4 and My Soul to Take, and The Switch and Every Day. As art director, Stockhausen’s credits include The Darjeeling Limited, Margot at the Wedding, and Synecdoche, New York.

Before working in film, Stockhausen designed sets for theater, working at The Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Huntington Theater in Boston, and Syracuse Stage among many others. Stockhausen was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was educated at Marquette University and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Drama.

Eliane Umuhire is an award-winning actress who began acting on stage at the Rwanda National University where she was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting sciences. After graduation, she joined Rwanda’s top leading theatre companies—Mashirika Performing Arts and Ishyo Arts Centre—performing and touring plays in Rwanda and in festivals across the globe. In 2011, she trained in acting at the Arab-African Centre for Training and Theatrical Research in Tunis. Umuhire’s cinema career started with supporting roles in Things of the Aimless Wanderer by Kivu Ruhorahoza, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Behind the Word by Clementine Dusabejambo. Her breakthrough came with the co-lead role in Birds Are Singing in Kigali directed by Krzysztof Krauze and Joanna Kos-Krauze, which won her Best Actress Awards at such festivals as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Polish Film Festival, Let’s CEE International Film Festival, and Polish New York Film Festival, as well as the MasterCard Rising Star Award at the Netia OFF Camera International Film Festival of Independent Cinema.

Umuhire is to appear in the lead role of the Hollywood drama Trees of Peace from director Alanna Brown and Saul Williams’ sci-fi musical Neptune Frost. She was born in Rwanda and currently lives in France.

Boyd Van Hoeij is a Dutch-born freelance film writer based in Paris and Luxembourg. He was a contributing critic at Variety before moving to The Hollywood Reporter in 2013, where he covers the major festivals. Van Hoeij also regularly contributes to De Filmkrant (The Netherlands), is the artistic advisor of the Luxembourg City Film Festival and president of the Selection Committee of the Luxembourg Film Fund. He has taught film criticism workshops and conducted shot-by-shot analyses of film classics in countries as varied as Lithuania, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, and the U.S. and has moderated masterclasses with the likes of Todd Haynes and Quentin Tarantino.

New Directors Jury

Fernando E. Juan Lima holds a law degree from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, is a specialist in public law and has a PhD in law, the thesis of which focused on administrative subsidies for film. He is a graduate and post-graduate professor on courses concerning administrative disputes; former vice-president of Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA); administrative law judge (court of appeals); and President of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival. He is also a film critic who has written for such publications as El Amante Cine, Otros Cines, Diario BAE, Caimán, and Escribiendo Cine, among others. In 2010, he created La Autopista del Sur, a weekly radio program about film that he hosts.

Yannis Sakaridis has been a member of London Film-Makers Co-op for many years—there he began directing short films as Buskers (1995), Squadding in Hackney (1995), Dogkillers (1996), Mausoleum (1998), in addition to such experimental films as Paris (1993) and Decay (1996). He edited feature films in Greece and Great Britain including Screamin’ Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me by Nikos Triantafyllidis (2001), The King by Nikos Grammatikos (2002), A Woman in Winter by Richard Jobson (2006); he also edited film trailers for Warner Bros. including Clint Eastwood’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), John Boorman’s The General (1998), Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999), among other projects.

Sakaridis wrote and directed the short film Truth (2006), his first project to shoot in Athens, where he moved in 2007 after spending 18 years in London. His first feature film as a director, Wild Duck (2013), starring Themis Bazaka and Alexandros Logothetis, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and subsequently traveled to other festivals around the world, including the Chicago International Film Festival, where it played in the New Directors Competition. Sakaridis’s second feature as a screenwriter/producer/director, Amerika Square (2016) screened in many international festivals, including Chicago, and was the official selection for Greece for the 2018 Academy Awards.

Sakaridis studied photography and art history at London College of Printing and film direction at the University of Westminster. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of Drama International Short Film Festival.

Myriam Sassine began her career in 2010, when she joined Abbout Productions producing such Lebanese and Arab features and documentaries as Tramontane, directed by Vatche Boulghourjian, which premiered at Cannes Critics Week in 2016, and director Ahmad Ghossein’s All This Victory, which debuted at Venice Critics Week, winning the Grand Prize and Audience Award in 2019. She also produced 1982 by Oualid Mouaness (winner of the NETPAC Award at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival), Panoptic by Rana Eid, which premiered in Locarno in 2017, and the documentary Amal by Mohamed Siam (IDFA 2017).

Since 2016, she has served as the COO of Schortcut Films, dedicated to co-producing international features such as Félicité by Alain Gomis, which won the Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2017, and It Must be Heaven by Elia Suleiman, which premiered In Competition at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Both films played in those same years at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2016, she co-founded Maskoon Fantastic Film Festival, the first fantastic film festival in the Middle East; she is the festival’s director. Born and based in Lebanon, Sassine majored in audiovisual studies and received an M.A. in Cinema Research.

Mira Staleva has been involved actively in festival and market management and programming, production, consulting, distribution, and exhibition for the last 25 years. After completing her education in theology and psychology, she joined the Sofia International Film Festival. She is currently Managing Director of Sofia IFF/Art Fest Ltd. and programmer and head of the festival’s co-production market Sofia Meetings. She is also a member of the European Film Academy, the LUX Prize selection board of the EU, Cineuropa, and International Confederation of Art Cinemas boards.  Staleva hails from Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Thelma Vickroy is a celebrated filmmaker, documentarian, professor, and leader in higher education with a passion for using film to advance social justice. She is the Chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago and holds an MFA in Film and Television from New York University. Vickroy’s creative work has been honored with a number of awards. Her  film Extraordinarily Ordinary was an official selection at the Lake Arrowhead Film Festival DocuWeek Theatrical Documentary Showcase and qualified her for consideration for an Academy Award. Her portrait-style documentary, Ahmed, Say Something Funny, was an official selection at the Dubai Film Market and won Best Documentary and Best Comedy feature at the Action on Film Festival. Her work has been broadcast on PBS and showcased in various theaters across the country.

As an advocate for social justice, Vickroy has been a consultant on a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and has worked with students on a suicide prevention and awareness campaign designed to reverse the rising crisis on college campuses. She also served as a principal investigator on a 2012 Wyncote Foundation Grant aimed at addressing sexual assault on college campuses. Additionally, she has pursued issues of access and educational equity through her DOCS ROCK program, a high school documentary production curriculum created for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Documentary Competition Jury

Tracy Heather Strain, co-founder of The Film Posse, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Wesleyan University professor. She is a director, producer, and writer whose credits include Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. The film, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival with its U.S. debut at the Chicago International Film Festival a month later, received a public television broadcast on American Masters. Strain received an NAACP Image Award for Motion Picture Directing and her second Peabody Award for the project. Her additional credits include films for the PBS series American Experience: Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?, Race: The Power of an Illusion, and I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African American Arts.

A graduate of Wellesley College (American Studies) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Technology, Innovation and Education), she is currently directing, producing, and writing a documentary about L. Frank Baum and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for American Experience with her husband/partner Randall MacLowry.

Michael Metzger is the Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts at the Block Museum at Northwestern University. His scholarship, critical writing, film programming, teaching, and creative practice seek to foster dialogue, community engagement, knowledge, and experience through the moving image. He holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Stanford University, where he completed a dissertation on the role of the zoom lens in experimental and educational films of the 1970s. Metzger has worked as an educator since 2007, teaching courses on the history of images and information and digital media production. He is a regular contributor to Cine-File Chicago and fervent record collector.

Eva Mulvad got her breakthrough with Enemies of Happiness (2006), which won IDFA Amsterdam’s Silver Wolf Award and the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance. Her follow-up documentary feature The Good Life (2010) was selected for the feature-length competition at IDFA and also was selected for HotDocs, Tribeca, and San Francisco Film Festivals. In 2011, The Good Life was awarded Best Documentary Film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. She has since directed films such as The Samurai Case (2011) andThe Castle (2014) as well as A Modern Man (2017), which was nominated for the NORDIC:DOX award at CPH:DOX and an IDA award. A Cherry Tale (2019) premiered at CPH:DOX.

In 2019, Mulvad directed Love Child, which was selected for Toronto International Film Festival and won the Gold Hugo for best documentary at the Chicago international Film Festival. It also received a special mention at DOC NYC that year. Mulvad won the 2006 WIFT (Women in Film and TV) award for young film talents as well as the Danish Film Institute’s documentary award, Roos Prisen, in 2011. She is the co-owner of the acclaimed production company Danish Documentary Production and since 2019 is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Out-Look Jury

The Chicago International Film Festival has a long history of screening LGBTQ-themed films beginning in 1969, showcasing the talents of queer filmmakers around the globe including Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Amos Gutman, John Cameron Mitchell, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo, Gus Van Sant, and Bill Condon, to name a few. We are presenting these films in a competitive program with a juried award, the Q Hugo, highlighting the importance of gay-themed films in contemporary international cinema.

Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio wrote and directed his first feature film, Retablo, which was developed at the Sundance Lab Feature Film Program. In 2018, Retablo had its world premiere at the Berlinale, winning the Teddy Award for Best First Film and the Crystal Bear Jury Special Mention for Best Film. Since then, it has gone on to win more 50 awards on the festival circuit worldwide, including at the Chicago International Film Festival, and was Peru’s official entry for the 2020 Academy Awards. It also was nominated for Outstanding Debut at the BAFTA Awards and for Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Delgado-Aparicio  has written and directed award-winning short films, including The Companion, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and became a Grand Jury prize finalist. It was nominated for Best Director at the World Independent Film Awards in Warsaw.  He holds a BSc in Economics and Management Studies and an MSc in Organizational Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Chase Joynt is a moving-image artist and writer whose films have won jury and audience awards internationally. His latest short film, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, won the Audience Award at Outfest in Los Angeles, the Juror Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and is being developed into a feature film with support from Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch program. With Aisling Chin-Yee, Joynt co-directed No Ordinary Man, a feature-length documentary about jazz musician Billy Tipton, which was presented at Cannes Docs 2020 as part of the Canadian Showcase of Docs-in-Progress and world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2020.

Wanuri Kahiu is a filmmaker, speaker, and science-fiction writer. Her short award-winning science fiction film Pumzi (2009) about futuristic Africa premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and received international acclaim. In 2018, Kahiu’s award-winning film Rafiki was the first Kenyan film to be invited to Cannes Film Festival and has since won multiple awards across the world; it was also screened as part of the Chicago International Film Festival. Kahiu is a cultural leader for the World Economic Forum, an advocate for Freedom of Expression and an AFROBUBBLEGUM activist, championing the need for the creation and curation of fun, fierce, and frivolous African art. Kahiu is currently working to adapt Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed for Amazon Studios and Once on This Island for Disney. Kahiu was named TIME’s 100 Next in 2019.

Ash Mayfair was born in Vietnam and received an MFA in filmmaking at New York University’s  Tisch School of the Arts. The screenplay for her first feature, The Third Wife, was a recipient of the Spike Lee Film Production Award in 2014. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018 and won the NETPAC Jury Award. The Third Wife has since garnered more than 20 awards worldwide–including the Gold Hugo in the New Directors Competition at the Chicago International Film Festival–screened at over 70 film festivals, and received distribution in 30-plus territories. In 2020, The Third Wife earned three Independent Spirit Award nominations, one of which was for the Someone To Watch Award for Mayfair herself.

Mayfair’s project in development, Skin of Youth, is about an all-consuming love story between a transgender singer and a dog-cage fighter set in 1998 Saigon, Vietnam. The project has participated in the South-East Asia Fiction Film Lab 2019, Asian Film Market at Busan 2019, Talents Tokyo 2019, Berlinale Co-Production Market 2020, and Cannes La Fabrique 2020. Skin of Youth is also one of the four winners of the NYU Purple List for the best unproduced screenplays written by graduates and is a semi-finalist of the Academy Nicholls Competition in 2020. Mayfair is also adapting her sister’s debut novel, If I Had Two Lives, for the screen. This project is developed through the Sundance FilmTwo Lab 2020 and is an official selection of the Berlinale Nipkow Fellowship 2020.

City & State Jury

The Chicago Award is presented to a Chicago or Illinois artist for the best feature, short film, or documentary. The Chicago Award applauds and celebrates the tireless efforts of regional filmmakers who contribute to the art of cinema.

Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago. She has reported for the BBC, NPR, PRI, Al Jazeera, VICE, and CNN. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for the HBO Lenny documentary series premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her feature length debut The Feeling of Being Watched, a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Assia’s Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. She is currently a fellow with the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating her most recent work, the Inverse Surveillance Project. Assia has a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University and is fluent in Arabic.

Edmund Flynn is an award winning filmmaker, actor and comedian.  His short films have been lucky enough to play at film festivals across North American and Europe. Ed and his short “Tour Manager” were awarded the Chicago International Film Festival’s 2019 Chicago Award.

Minhal Baig is a writer/director. Her feature-length film, Hala, about a Muslim teenager coping with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently a co-producer on the new Netflix series, The Magic Order. She was previously an executive story editor on Dune: The Sisterhood (Legendary/WarnerMedia), story editor on Bojack Horseman (Netflix) and staff writer on Ramy (Hulu/A24). In 2017, she was chosen to participate in Ryan Murphy’s Half Initiative Directing Mentorship. She has written and directed several shorts including Pretext, After Sophie, and Hala, and music videos. Her work has been featured by the Los Angeles Times, Nowness, Dazed, Nylon, Spin, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Short of the Week, Director’s Notes, Booooooom!, Vimeo Staff Pick, and the Hammer Museum.

Narrative Short Film Competition

Mina Fitzpatrick

Faren Humes

Nicolás Suarez

Documentary Short Film Competition

Paloma Martinez

Milad Hosseini-Mozari

Sandra Ignagni

Animated Short Film Competition

Eszter Janka

Tiago Minamisawa

Chris Sullivan