If you’d like to see some of our previous judges, take a look at our hall of fame for our VIP judges for 2015 and 2016. We get some of the biggest names in the industry to judge our finalist short films each year. Why don’t you make sure yours is one of them at the next film festival.
Our 2016 VIP Hall of Fame
Blaine Brothers – Directors
Feature debut NINA FOREVER.
Award winning short films & sketches for FILM4 and the BBC.
Guiding Lights mentees.
Retrospectivised at the ICA.
Screen International “Stars of Tomorrow” sometime before yesterday.
Represented by Ian Benson & Hannah Boulton at The Agency.
Manuel Puro – Casting Director
Manuel began working in the British film industry in 1995. He started as an assistant to casting director Jeremy Zimmermann and worked with award winning directors Sir Richard Attenborough, Guillermo del Toro and Nic Roeg.
In 2000 he was headhunted by Michael Foster (then co-chairman of ICM) to assist with an A-list roster of clients including Hugh Grant, Rachel Weisz, Sean Bean, Michael Caine, Kristin Scott Thomas and Sir Ben Kingsley.
From mid 2002 Manuel became head of development at Ska Films – Matthew Vaughn and Guy Ritchie’s production company. He was responsible for their full slate of film and television projects including the hugely successful LAYER CAKE. From 2004 to 2007 Manuel developed independent film projects with Stephen Frears for Working Title. In January 2007 Manuel set up Puro Casting where one of his first casting projects was MOON. The rest, as they say, is history.
Simon Blake – Director
Simon worked for years as a theatre director with the Young Vic, he’s made award winning shorts and his debut feature; thriller STILL (starring Aidan Gillen) made a big splash on the festival circuit last year. Simon won ‘Best Director’ at the London Independent Film Festival and the film won ‘Best International First Feature’ at Galway. It was also nominated for The Regle Du Jeu Heartbeat Award at Dinard.
Simon is currently deep into development on his next feature; Coming of Age Irish Drama – TREE TOPS.
Alex Moody – Commissioning Editor Comedy BBC
Before joining the BBC in her current role Alex worked at both CPL Productions and Happy Tramp, developing scripted comedy and comedy-entertainment projects. Prior to that she produced the Bafta-nominated short film ELEPHANT at Happy Tramp for BBC iPlayer. Before this she worked in development at BBC in-house comedy.
Jessie Mangum – Development & Production Executive Goalpost Film
Prior to joining Goalpost, Jessie was a producer at Goalpost Pictures in Sydney, where her credits include Associate Producer and Music Supervisor on Cherie Nowlan’s Sundance hit Clubland, Co-producer of Julien Temple’s film opera The Eternity Man, and Producer of Deborah Mailman’s short film Ralph, (which received the 2009 IF Award for best short film).
As Production and Development Executive at Goalpost Film, Jessie has worked on the sales and marketing strategies for all of the company’s projects including Rupert Wyatt’s The Escapist, Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip and The Trip to Italy, Wayne Blair’s The Sapphires and Neil Armfield’s Holding the Man. She is also developing a number of projects to produce for Goalpost Film and has recently won a Film London Microwave commission to make crime drama LOOTED.
Our 2015 VIP Hall of Fame
Gemma Sykes, casting director with Dan Hubbard Casting. Gemma is an Associate alongside Dan Hubbard where she’s worked on Downton Abbey, Chalet Girl, Captain Phillips and more recently Generation Z as a casting director in her own right.
Alex Segal, agent with Cole Kitchenn. Alex represents many well-known clients including….Adam Deacon, Emily Atack, Robert Englund, Nadia Forde, Samantha Womack, Denise Van Outen, Kelly Brook, and Vinnie Jones. Alex spent 4 years working at ARG, one of the UK’s leading talent agencies. He started his agency life at Curtis Brown having previously worked as a Theatre Producer after graduating from The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.
Alberto Lopez, International Director at Variety, overseas business operations outside of the US. He presides over a dynamic sales team that covers the globe. With the magazine since 2001, Alberto is responsible for all aspects of the Variety brand internationally, including marketing, licensing and sponsorship.