Meet the DIFF 2017 Jurors! | 2017 Dallas International Film Festival—March 30-April 9

Meet the DIFF 2017 Jurors!

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The 2017 Dallas International Film Festival will present Grand Jury Prizes for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, Animated Short Film (as selected by a panel of Reel FX jurors) Texas Feature, presented by Panavision and The Studio Movie Grill Silver Heart Award presented by the Schultz family. The DIFF Awards are presented as part of the Dallas Film Society Honors, an evening celebration with a red carpet, cocktail reception, and elegant dinner sponsored by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation.

Narrative Feature Jury

Meredith Alloway
Meredith Alloway is a Dallas native and SMU Meadows School of the Arts graduate who currently resides in New York as a journalist, producer and filmmaker. She’s written interviews and feature pieces for Filmmaker Magazine, Nylon, Indiewire, Paste, Complex, Flaunt and Collider. She was Senior Editor of The Script Lab where she launched her interview show “All the Way with Alloway.” She works as a freelance producer in branded content, commercials, and short films for companies such as Juniper Jones, And/Or Studio and Indigenous Media. The short film MUTT, which she co-produced, will premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Her writing credits include Zoom Out, a pilot in collaboration with CAA and Josh Hutcherson’s production company, Turkeyfoot, as well as INTERIOR TERESA, a short film she wrote, produced  directed. The film stars Jake Cannavale, Kara Young, Matt Shear and just wrapped post production for a release in 2017.



Emily Carmichael
Emily Carmichael just completed writing PACIFIC RIM 2 and is currently directing POWERHOUSE from Amblin Entertainment and LUMBERJANES from 20th Century Fox. She is a veteran of the festival circuit, having screened short films at DIFF (THE HUNTER AND THE SWAN DISCUSS THEIR MEETING) as well as Sundance, Tribeca, and many others.



Tommy Oliver
Tommy Oliver produced the Sony thriller THE PERFECT GUY starring Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, which opened as the #1 film in the country to $26M+. He also produced the Sundance Audience Award winner KINYARWANDA, a film Roger Ebert ranked number six on his top ten films of 2011. His directorial debut, 1982, starring Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, La La Anthony, Ruby Dee and Wayne Brady, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim and was distributed by Lionsgate Entertainment. His films have earned dozens of accolades and awards, including grants from the San Francisco Film Society, Cinereach and Tribeca Film Institute, and awards including the Marquee Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival and the World Audience Award at AFI fest. Oliver recently produced Qasim Basir’s DESTINED, starring Cory Hardrict and Jesse Metcalfe, and sold an 8-part docuseries set to premiere in the fall of 2017. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, a Microsoft alum and is repped by CAA.


Documentary Feature Jury

David Wilson
David Wilson, together with Paul Sturtz, founded the Ragtag Film Society in 1998, the Ragtag Cinema in 2000, and the True/False Film Fest in 2004, where they continue to serve as Co-conspirators. As director of True/False, Wilson has been invited to festivals around the world to serve as a panelist, moderator and juror, including Sundance, The Toronto International Film Festival, CPH:Dox & IFP Film Week. He has also served as a consultant for the Creative Capital Foundation, the LEF Moving Image Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts. As a filmmaker, Wilson had his national television premiere on POV on PBS, and premiered his first feature, WE ALWAYS LIE TO STRANGERS (directed with AJ Schnack), at SXSW in 2013. He is a 1996 graduate of Hampshire College in Massachusetts and a lifelong resident of Columbia, Missouri.

Jolene Pinder
Jolene Pinder is currently the Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana, an organization designed to champion indigenous Louisiana talent and support the entertainment industries that are integral to the region. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society—the producer of the annual New Orleans Film Festival—for six years. She also worked at Arts Engine in NYC for three and half years as a documentary film producer and as Director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. During this time, she was a member of the inaugural Collaborative Studio at UnionDocs in Brooklyn. Her work has screened at various venues and festivals around the world including Frameline, NewFest, Sarasota, and MoMA. Pinder holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English Literature from the University of Chicago and a Master’s in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida’s Documentary Institute.

Laura D. Smith
Laura D. Smith is a producer of award-winning narrative and documentary films. Her documentary feature HOLBROOK/TWAIN: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY was the Opening Night film of the AFI Docs in 2014 and played at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival. She next produced the indie horror sensation IT FOLLOWS, which premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, followed by I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was the Opening Night film at the 2015 Dallas International Film Festival. Both films made Indiewire’s list of “Top 20 Grossing Indies of 2015.” Smith was recently named on Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch” list and nominated for the Piaget Producers Award at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow, a Film Independent Producing Fellow, and has lectured and served on panels for universities and organizations such as UCLA, UNCSA, Baylor, the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, SAGIndie, SXSW, and the Austin Film Society. Smith’s most recent documentary, 44 PAGES, premiered at SXSWedu and will screen during the 2017 Dallas International Film Festival as part of the Family Friendly Programming.


Texas Jury

Keith Maitland
In 2016, Keith Maitland released two feature docs: the music documentary, A SONG FOR YOU: THE AUSTIN CITY LIMITS STORY, and TOWER, an animated documentary about the shootings at the University of Texas in 1966. Both films screened at the 2016 Dallas International Film Festival. TOWER took home the prize for the Texas Competition. Maitland lives in Austin where he’s currently in production on a new feature doc, and in pre-production on a narrative debut.

Linda Eaddy
Linda Eaddy is a Native Texan with a four-winter stint in Boston, MA. She holds a BA, and MBA from the University of North Texas. From 2014 to 2016, Eaddy served as the Director of Operations and Content Committee for the Denton Black Film Festival (DBFF) and is currently the Director of Film Programming. Since 2016, she has served as President of the Greater Denton Arts Council(GDAC) and on the University of North Texas College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. Eaddy is married with two adults and two grandchildren. Her passions are being a “Gigi” and giving back to her community.


Rob Hunter
Rob Hunter has been covering movies for Film School Rejects since 2007 where he currently serves as Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor. He lives wherever his better half’s medical career dictates, but currently he watches movies on a daily basis outside Monterey, CA. Film festivals will always be his preferred way to watch movies as they’re free of hype and marketing and the theaters are filled with actual film lovers. And yes, a delicious dry cider is his kryptonite.



Shorts Jury

Margaret Brown
Margaret Brown is the director of BE HERE TO LOVE ME: A FILM ABOUT TOWNS VAN ZANDT (2004); the Peabody and Independent Spirit Award winning THE ORDER OF MYTHS (2008), about a segregated Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile, Alabama; and Primetime Emmy-nominated THE GREAT INVISIBLE (2014), about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at SXSW 2014. In 2016, she directed the short films THE BLACK BELT for Field of Vision, and ‘NEVER TRUMP.’ BUT THEN WHAT? for The New York Times.

Meghan Oretsky
Before joining Vimeo in 2014, you could find Meghan Oretsky cheering on filmmakers in the comments section of countless videos on their site. Today she serves as the newest member of the Vimeo curation team, for which she watches thousands of videos a year. She is especially proud to support women in film via her channel “Ladies With Lenses.”


Leah Meyerhoff
Leah Meyerhoff is an award winning filmmaker whose debut narrative feature film I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS was released theatrically in 2015 after premiering at SXSW, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival and additional awards from Woodstock Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, First Time Fest, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, NYU and Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Meyerhoff’s previous work has screened in over 200 film festivals and aired on IFC, PBS, LOGO and MTV. She is a fellow of the IFP Emerging Narrative Labs, IFP Narrative Finishing Labs, Tribeca All Access Labs, and the Emerging Visions program at the New York Film Festival. Meyerhoff is also the founder of Film Fatales, a female filmmaker organization based in New York with dozens of local chapters around the world. She holds a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and an MFA in Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Silver Heart Jury

Jenna Jackson
Jenna Jackson is an Emmy Award-winning producer from Jacksonville, Texas. After graduating with a journalism degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Jackson worked for CBS News and 48 Hours in New York, where she stayed for nearly 15 years. In 2011, she founded P+R Productions, a full service independent production company. Jackson made her feature directorial debut with the documentary, TOMATO REPUBLIC (2014). The film played in the Texas Competition at the 2014 Dallas International Film Festival and won a Special Jury Prize. Her next feature, UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT, also played at DIFF and won the Documentary Feature Audience Award in 2016.

Sallie Beck
Sallie Beck is the coordinator of Impact Investing for Embrey Family Foundation and invests in “Making the World Whole,” a strategy that includes investments in 39 social issue documentaries and in narrative films directed by women. She is an admirer of the art of film and of the diverse individuals who combine their talents and efforts to create and present incredible films to the world.

Tearlach Hutcheson
Born and raised in Australia, Tearlach Hutcheson moved to Dallas in 1997 to be the General Manager of the Inwood Theatre. In 1999, he became Director of Publicity & Promotions for Landmark Theatres. He left Landmark in October 2001 to team up with Magnolia Pictures and create the Magnolia Theatre located in the West Village. In 2003, Magnolia Pictures merged with Landmark Theatres. In 2009, he joined Studio Movie Grill as Director of Marketing before being promoted to the position of head Film Buyer. Tearlach has also taught at Southern Methodist University about the business of Film Exhibition and Distribution since 2002.






Bill Paxton was an award-winning actor and filmmaker from Texas. In 1992, he landed his first leading role in ONE FALSE MOVE. Paxton went on to star in several hit films including ALIENS (1985), APOLLO 13 (1995), TWISTER (1996) and TITANIC (1997)



David Gordon Green star awardDAVID GORDON GREEN

This year’s L.M. Kit Carson Maverick Award Honoree is writer/director David Gordon Green. David Gordon Green’s debut feature, GEORGE WASHINGTON (2000) won the Discovery Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and his second feature, ALL THE REAL GIRLS (2003) received a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.




This year’s Shining Star Award Honoree is Zoey Deutch. Zoey Deutch is an actress known for VAMPIRE ACADEMY (2014), EVERYBODY WANTS SOME! (2016) and WHY HIM? (2016). Most recently, Zoey Deutch starred in two films selected at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, REBEL IN THE RYE and BEFORE I FALL.



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