VIP Jury 2018

Each year the finalist short films are screened at our Gala Awards nights in London, in front of over 100 industry professionals and VIPs. It’s an exciting time for all because for many, it can be the first time they get a chance to go to a big festival and have their work screened in front of an audience that size. It’s truly exciting. And if you don’t believe us, watch the video and see what some of our participants have said in the past. But before the big gala, the shorts are seen by a panel of some of Britain’s top industry folk.

This year, our judging line-up will be second to none. We have some of the industry’s finest Casting Directors, award-winning and festival nominated directors, producers, agents and more.  It’s a BIG opportunity to have your work showcased in front of the big guns who make decisions!

Introducing you to our panel for 2018…

which continues to grow

Emilie Arnold – F-Rated VIP Judge

Emilie Arnold was the Festivals Producer at BFI London Film Festival (LFF), and BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival at British Film Institute. Emilie also worked on special projects and was responsible for the popup BFI cinema during the LFF. Now Emilie joins us to judge the F-Rated films competing in TweetFest this year.

Twitter: EmilieArnoldBFI

Casting Director Shakyra Dowling

Shakyra dowling

An amazing Casting Director, Shakyra Dowling Casting is responsible for casting so many incredible award-winning pieces, cinema releases, Netflix films and more. Specializing in British Independent Feature Films, European co-productions, TV and commercials, Shakyra is a founder board member of the Casting Directors Association and a voting member of the European Film Academy and a member of the Casting Society of America. Credits include The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013), Look Again and Again (2016) and Spaceship (2017).

Twitter: ShakyraDowling

Fizz and Ginger Films

Fizz and Ginger FilmsFizz and Ginger Films was established in 2009 by husband and wife team Matthew and Tori Butler Hart to produce high quality British films with both established and emerging talent. Tori trained at Central School of Speech and Drama on the 3 year BA Hons Acting course. After graduating she co-founded and continues to run Mr. Hart’s Productions, specialising in work with an historical element. She continues to work professionally as an actress, and to produce and write films with Fizz and Ginger Films. Matthew trained at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance on the BA Hons Acting course. Over the past fourteen years he has been working professionally as an actor, writer and director. Through his experience and varied work within the industry, he has cemented his passion for film making which has been realised in Fizz and Ginger Films.

Casting Director Gemma Sykes

Gemma Sykes, was a casting associate and director who has recently set up Gemma Sykes Casting, having worked in casting for 14 years alongside many prestigious casting directors. For the last nine years she was a Casting Associate and Casting Director at Dan Hubbard Casting. A selection of films and television series she has worked on in her career are: Downton Abbey (Season 4), Captain Phillips, Jason Bourne, The Professor and the Madman (Mel Gibson & Sean Penn), Churchill,Chalet Girl, The Hippopotamus (based on the best selling novel by Stephen Fry), and Fanny Lye Deliver’d by Cannes Un Certain Regard nominated director Thomas Clay.

Twitter: @GemSykes

Award winning director Laura Smith F-Rated VIP Judge

Laura Smith directorLaura is an award-winning film and television writer and director. Her feature films in development include horror MONSTER- selected for the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL/ FRONTIÈRES Co-Production Market in Montreal and described by INDIEWIRE as “an intriguing marriage of the psychological and the visceral”; a supernatural thriller set in rural England (finance from CREATIVE EUROPE) and an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation as part of Lunar Lander Film’s BFI VISION AWARD funded slate. Her first feature script- a thriller set in outback Australia- won the BBC FILMS/ NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL Development Award.
Her short films include commissions from CHANNEL 4 and the BFI and were filmed on location in the UK, Germany and Australia. She has directed over fifteen hours of television drama commissioned in the UK and sold worldwide, including working on all three series of BBC teen-drama THE CUT, children’s action adventure THE SPARTICLE MYSTERY (BBC) and CHANNEL 4’s multi BAFTA winning HOLLYOAKS. Laura is a graduate of the UK’s NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL and an alumnus of the prestigious GUIDING LIGHTS mentoring programme, FILM LONDON’s Micromarket and CREATIVE EUROPE’s Passion to Market feature development schemes.

Twitter: @LauraSDirector

Award-winning Director Jesse Quinones

Jesse Quinones is an award winning feature film director and also documentary filmmaker, with over 10 documentary credits to his name. His first feature, Calloused Hands, starring Andre Royo (HBO’s The Wire), Daisy Haggard (Showtime’s Episodes), and Hans Howes (There Will Be Blood) premiered at the Miami International Film Festival, won at BUFF, and has gone on to screen in over 20 festivals around the world, picking up numerous awards. Its North American release was in March 2014. Jesse is a recipient of the 2011 All Roads Seeds Grant from National Geographic for his documentary Shoeshine Girls of Bolivia. It was also awarded a Channel 4 grant, and a grant from the Commonwealth Broadcast Association, as was his award-winning documentary, The Cable, shot in Colombia.

Twitter: @JesseQuinones81

Literary Agent Natasha Salter – F-Rated VIP Judge

Natasha McClure

Natasha is a partner at WGM Literary Management specialising in representing screenwriters. Natasha began her career in casting before moving into talent management. Her love for working with directors and writers truly began at Farrena Films assisting Andrea Farrena.

Twitter: @WGMLiterary

John Byrne, Writer for The Stage, Author and Acting coach 

John Byrne

John Byrne is the Entertainment Industry Career Advisor to The Stage newspaper and Young Performer magazine and has over 30 years of experience as a writer, broadcaster and performer in his own right. He has lectured extensively at institutions ranging from LAMDA to Fourth Monkey, has hosted special events for Spotlight, and been a guest expert for Equity’s Variety Workshops. Media and Publications work has included BBC TV and Radio, E4, Nickelodeon TV , Sky News, and BBC London Radio as a regular guest contributor and commentator. He has written scripts for Radio 4, Five and for the BBC World Service for whom he created its first ever comedy talk show The Junction Box. Published books include A Singer’s Guide to Getting Work (with Julie Payne), A Dancer’s Guide to Getting Work (with Jenny Belingy), Writing Comedy (now in its 4th edition), and The Agent E-Book (with Mary Elliott Nelson). John is co-director with Lola Williams of New Wonder Management and in 2016 received the IARA Special Recognition Award for promoting Diversity in the Performing Arts.

Twitter: @dearjohnbyrne


And it’s not too late to submit. Click the button below and add your short film to the competition for 2018.