Jury panel

Colin Pons
Producer
Maggie Ellis
Producer
Alice Ramsey
Development Producer
Rob Speranza
Producer/Programmer

Colin has worked on 32 feature films, including BAFTA winning television drama "This Little Life" and the much acclaimed feature films "Acid House", "The Darkest Light", "HUSH", "iLL Manors" and feature documentary "Zoned In", which won the New York loves film documentary award at the Tribeca film festival. His short film repertoire comprises of two BAFTA winners.

Maggie Ellis is a champion of independent talent in the film industry and has helped launch the careers of some of UK’s most talented film-makers and artists. She has set up commissioning schemes, for shorts and feature films, including the Microwave production scheme. Maggie is currently Head of Film London’s Artists’ Moving Image Network (FLAMIN) which also runs the prestigious annual Jarman Award.

Alice works as Development Producer at BBC Writersroom where her primary role is to identify and develop writing talent with a specific focus on the North of England. Prior to that she worked as BFI NETWORK Talent Executive at Film Hub North developing a slate of feature scripts with exciting new filmmaking talent across England, as well as executive producing short films.

Rob Speranza is an American film producer and line producer. Rob has worked on several feature films including “Arthur and Merlin”, “Entity”, “Inbred”, “Small Creatures” and 16 short films with various directors and writers. Rob runs the South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network. He is also a programmer at Aesthetica Film Festival and a lecturer at various Northern universities.

David Thacker
Theatre/TV/Film Director
Loran Dunn
Producer
Isabelle Croissant
Programmer/Event
Producer @HOME_MCR
MarBelle
Co Founder
Directors Notes

Isabelle works at HOME, Manchester’s new international multi arts venue. She programmes and produces events and schemes that aim to showcase and develop creative talents and forge connection between practitioners in all creative sectors. She manages Filmed Up, HOME’s regular regional short film night and was the co-director of exposures UK student Film Festival, which ran for 18 years at Cornerhouse.

  ​MarBelle is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the independent film curation and interview site Directors Notes. Prior to that, he worked as editor of Shooting People’s Filmmakers Bulletin and as a contributing writer for Short of the Week and No Film School. Through DN he has curated numerous film programmes and served on festival juries for over a decade.

  ​A leading theatre, film and television director, David has directed over 150 productions throughout the UK and internationally. At the Royal Shakespeare Company as Director-in-Residence, he directed nine productions including Pericles for which he was awarded two Olivier Awards. He then moved into television drama directing more than 30 films for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and many more.

Loran is a 2017 Screen Daily Star of Tomorrow & BFI Vision Award Producer with a background on BBC Dramas, independent features and major music promos. With a track record of short film screenings and awards at festivals including Sundance, Palm Springs, London Film Festival, and the Best Producer Award at BAFTA accredited Underwire Film Festival. Loran's First Feature A Deal With The Universe was the centrepiece at BFI Flare London in and released in cinemas  2019. Loran is also a Lecturer in Filmmaking at the Executive Producer for British Council and BFI’s initiative More Films For Freedom.

Jon Turner
Animator
Sarah Anne Kennedy
Animator
Stephanie Clark
Creative England

Jon co-founded the animation studio Kilogramme in 2005, having previously worked for five years at Cosgrove Hall films. In the past he has provided content for CBBC, Cbeebies, CITV, Kaspersky Lab, the V&A, TBWA and McCann Erikcon, while writing and directing his own shorts in his spare time. His animation "Tall Tales" has reached over 100,000+ viewers.

Sarah studied animation at the Royal College of Art before creating her own animated series for Channel 4 called Crapston Villas which won various awards including the Independent TV Award for Best Newcomer, and Broadcast Best Animation. She is known more widely for her voices as Miss Rabbit in Peppa Pig and Nanny Plum on Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. Sarah is the course leader for MA Animation at the University of Central Lancashire.

Stephanie leads Creative Englands industry events including the Be More Creative series and Creative England Live.  Stephanie is based in the Media City office and is currently  developing a new programme for Greater Manchester based businesses from the film, TV and games sector focusing on generating new content and products to market.

Chris Lunt
Writer

Chris has won commissions from the BBC, ITV, Canal +, Red Productions, Drama Republic, Look Out Point, World Productions, Leopard Drama, Lionsgate, Sky, Slim Film and TV, Wall 2 Wall and Eone. Chris was nominated for two Baftas and two RTS awards for his debut work "PREY" he was also named a Bafta Breakthrough Brit of 2014. 

Julie Foy
Actress/Producer
Bridget Appleby
Animation Creative
Mike Todd
Producer

Voted as one of the top ten women in animation by "Animation Magazine" Bridgets long and illustrious career is enviable. A personal BAFTA and Emmy award winner her designs and productions have been transmitted and licensed all over the world. Credits include Roary the Racing Car, Fifi and the Flowertots, Postman Pat, Little Robots, Enjie Benjy and the Reluctant Dragon 

An actress and director with a passion for the arts that has spanned over three decades. Theatre productions include ‘Moving the Goalposts’ and the infamous "Room 253". After being blown away by the script and the passion behind the 2018 OSCAR winning film "The Silent Child", Julie joined the team in the early stages making her debut as a producer.

Mike is the founder of Northern Docs and for the last ten years has run Riverhorse a production company specialising in creative documentaries.

Mike has directed and produced numerous films that have been broadcast and screened internationally, working with broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, PBS, Starz and ESPN. His feature doc on Joe Frazier was US streaming giant Hulu’s first ever documentary of the month and his recent feature doc on Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly was released theatrically here in the UK prior to its national broadcast by the BBC. 

D J Clark
Multi Media Journalist

Over 25 years experience working with media organisations across the world as a video producer, photojournalist, presenter, writer, trainer and multimedia consultant. Currently a multimedia director at China Daily Asia, video adviser to the Asia News Network and a contributing video producer to The Economist and National Geographic. 

 Chair of the World Press Photo Short Form Digital Story Telling jury in 2017

Gerard Kearns
Actor
Steve Boot
Animator
Iain McKee
Actor
George Newton
Actor

Gerard has been working professionally in Film, Theatre and Television for the past fifteen years. Gerard has worked on Feature Films which include “Looking for Eric”, “Trespass Against Us”, “The Mark Of Cain” and well known series such as “Shameless”, “The Smoke” and “The Last Kingdom”. Gerard has a huge enthusiasm for short film - most recently starring in “Bunny and Clive”.

Probably best known as "Banjo" in the Bafta winning feature film "This is England" George Newton is not from a privileged background, nor did he attend drama school. Yet he has landed roles in some of the biggest British films and TV series. Drawing on his own experience and looking within, he acts instinctively to bring realism to his roles. Credits include Dead Mans Shoes, Control, Burnt Toast, Soldier Bee, Blood Loyal and man

Steve Boot is a professional stop-motion animator who has worked on many high profile and successful children’s television series, including “Andy Pandy”, “Bob the builder”, “Little robots”, “Roary the Racing car”, “Raa Raa the noisy lion”, “Postman Pat”, “the Clangers”, and “Twirly Woo’s”. Steve has also co-founded his own production company  “Gadzooks Animation” with whom he has written, produced and directed several short films and television commercials including the Dr. Oetker campaign screened during The Great British Bake Off and the short film ‘Mad Dogs’, for Sky’s Art 50 project. 

Best known for his role as Frank Gadney in BBC1 drama series "Lilies" and for his starring role as Michael in BBC sitcom "The Visit", Iain is originally from Bolton but now lives in London. With over sixteen years of credits Iain has worked on numerous films and television programmes. Credits include "Castles in the sky", "Shameless", "Mrs Biggs", "The Bill", "The Promise", "Me and Orson Welles" and many more. 

Ben Thornley
Music Video Director
Peter Fulop
Producer
Danilo Godoy
Artist Film-Maker 

Peter has been working in film productions for over fifteen years. He has over 50 commercials and a dozen shorts in his credit list. He funded his own production company (FP Films) in 2011, where he produced internationally recognized, award winning shorts. His first feature film ‘Deva’ premiered at the 75th Venice Film Festival 2018. He is currently working on three feature films with the support of the Hungarian National Film Fund.

 Working in documentary and publicity produced in Brazil, Colombia and Portugal. He is best known for his short film “Forgotten memories from the end of the world” which won best Artists Film at Aesthetica Film Festival in 2014 and his branded content videos for MOFILM, presented at SXSW and shortlisted for CANNES. Based in Lisbon, Portugal he is currently working in his debut long feature film “Hover” and as a screenwriter he is developing his first TV Series, “Drags Anonymaz”.

Ben’s work has been viewed by tens of millions of people, his creative team at Sitcom Soldiers have produced award winning Music Videos and TV Commercials across a global network. With a prolific volume of projects spanning more than 1000 films they have become widely recognised in the media industry, working with a huge range of artists.