AFF JUDGES

Meet our judges!

These stellar film industry professionals put their skills and opinions together to select year after year of outstanding independent films.

Les Blank (1935 - 2013) In Memorium. We were thrilled when Les Blank agreed to head the judging panel for our very first Albany FilmFest in 2011 (thanks forever for the lead, Emilie Raguso). The late, legendary Academy Award-winning independent filmmaker is best known for a series of documentary films including “Burden of Dreams,” “Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers,” and “In Heaven There Will Be Beer.” Raise a glass to Les — he will be missed.

Les Blank (1935 - 2013)

In Memorium. We were thrilled when Les Blank agreed to head the judging panel for our very first Albany FilmFest in 2011 (thanks forever for the lead, Emilie Raguso). The late, legendary Academy Award-winning independent filmmaker is best known for a series of documentary films including “Burden of Dreams,” “Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers,” and “In Heaven There Will Be Beer.” Raise a glass to Les — he will be missed.

GeeFwee Boedoe The Academy Award-nominated animator (“Let’s Pollute,” an AFF favorite) has worked for Disney and Pixar on films including “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.” Currently, he is working on two other shorts “Peace Is for Sissies” and “Try Ignorance” that together with “Let’s Pollute” will create a unified trio.

GeeFwee Boedoe

The Academy Award-nominated animator (“Let’s Pollute,” an AFF favorite) has worked for Disney and Pixar on films including “Finding Nemo” and “Monsters, Inc.” Currently, he is working on two other shorts “Peace Is for Sissies” and “Try Ignorance” that together with “Let’s Pollute” will create a unified trio.

Rick Tejada-Flores Multiple award-winning East Bay filmmaker, whose documentaries on cultural history and minority issues have been shown nationally. His film “The Fight in the Fields” was the first film to cover the full arc of Cesar Chavez’s life.

Rick Tejada-Flores

Multiple award-winning East Bay filmmaker, whose documentaries on cultural history and minority issues have been shown nationally. His film “The Fight in the Fields” was the first film to cover the full arc of Cesar Chavez’s life.

Laura Weiss 2018 Judge! Now an award-winning film and digital editor, Laura got her start working on Adam Sandler’s features on the Sony Pictures’ Culver City lot. In over a decade in Hollywood, she has edited studio and independent features both funny and tragic, visual effects, shorts, and documentaries. She is proud to call Albany High her alma mater.

Laura Weiss

2018 Judge! Now an award-winning film and digital editor, Laura got her start working on Adam Sandler’s features on the Sony Pictures’ Culver City lot. In over a decade in Hollywood, she has edited studio and independent features both funny and tragic, visual effects, shorts, and documentaries. She is proud to call Albany High her alma mater.

Stephanie Watanabe 2018 Judge! A writer, producer, and founder of the lifestyle site The Girl Who Knows, Stephanie spent several years working in Los Angeles at Creative Artists Agency and as a Creative Executive on the Disney lot. Currently, is in development on a web series and feature film that she plans to direct.  

Stephanie Watanabe

2018 Judge! A writer, producer, and founder of the lifestyle site The Girl Who Knows, Stephanie spent several years working in Los Angeles at Creative Artists Agency and as a Creative Executive on the Disney lot. Currently, is in development on a web series and feature film that she plans to direct.

 

Waylon Bacon 2018 Judge! Writer and director of numerous short films described as “horrifying,” “irreverent,” and “hilarious” by such notable publications as The Underground Film Journal, Redefine Magazine, and Fangoria.com. And he’s an Albany High grad!

Waylon Bacon

2018 Judge! Writer and director of numerous short films described as “horrifying,” “irreverent,” and “hilarious” by such notable publications as The Underground Film Journal, Redefine Magazine, and Fangoria.com. And he’s an Albany High grad!

Gina Leibrecht 2018Judge! This Bay Area editor, producer, and director is perhaps best known for her collaboration withLes Blank on their documentary “All In This Tea,” which had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007. She is currently working on a documentary about Les Blank.

Gina Leibrecht

2018Judge! This Bay Area editor, producer, and director is perhaps best known for her collaboration withLes Blank on their documentary “All In This Tea,” which had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2007. She is currently working on a documentary about Les Blank.

Marilyn Mulford This award-winning documentary filmmaker has made numerous films about race, ethnic diversity, and art as a way to highlight political issues and preserve culture. Her fIlm “Archeology Of Memory: Villa Grimaldi,” was shown at the first Albany Film Festival.

Marilyn Mulford

This award-winning documentary filmmaker has made numerous films about race, ethnic diversity, and art as a way to highlight political issues and preserve culture. Her fIlm “Archeology Of Memory: Villa Grimaldi,” was shown at the first Albany Film Festival.

Ari Sigal Award-winning director (“I Love You, Houseplant”), film editor, actress, voice actor, and web series co-creator. A co-founder of the video production company Fistfull of Cake, she is an Albany High grad.

Ari Sigal

Award-winning director (“I Love You, Houseplant”), film editor, actress, voice actor, and web series co-creator. A co-founder of the video production company Fistfull of Cake, she is an Albany High grad.

Shane King Shane King has spent 20 years honing his production and editing skills working in the corporate, broadcast, nonprofit and documentary worlds. He’s used his prodigiously artful eye for everything from run and gun shoots, to 40 person crews on location in downtown San Francisco.

Shane King

Shane King has spent 20 years honing his production and editing skills working in the corporate, broadcast, nonprofit and documentary worlds. He’s used his prodigiously artful eye for everything from run and gun shoots, to 40 person crews on location in downtown San Francisco.

Aleixo Gonçalves Chilean born independent filmmaker, director, and editor of documentaries and television. Mr. Gonçalves is currently co-producing and co-directing "A Song of Unity" (about a small community center in Berkeley that, since 1974, has committed their lives to a better world through the power of art).

Aleixo Gonçalves

Chilean born independent filmmaker, director, and editor of documentaries and television. Mr. Gonçalves is currently co-producing and co-directing "A Song of Unity" (about a small community center in Berkeley that, since 1974, has committed their lives to a better world through the power of art).

Emmy Scharlatt Emmy began her film career in Hollywood as an assistant editor, now an award winning director her recent film, In The Image: Palestinian Women Capture The Occupation is on the festival circuit. She is currently working on a new documentary, and a screenplay.

Emmy Scharlatt

Emmy began her film career in Hollywood as an assistant editor, now an award winning director her recent film, In The Image: Palestinian Women Capture The Occupation is on the festival circuit. She is currently working on a new documentary, and a screenplay.