Jury

David Bhagat

Editor and Producer, CBS News Sunday Morning

David Bhagat has been in the film and television industry for 23 years.  He holds a degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Upon graduating David began his career working for various production companies including Showtime, Unapix, Picture This, and several independent productions.

For the last 20 years, David has worked for CBS News. He started in their documentary production unit working on various cable documentaries for channels like A&E, Discovery, TNN, TLC, and the Food Network. In the summer of 2000, David joined the team at Sunday Morning.
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Deirdre Brennan

President / Producer, Castletown Productions

Deirdre Brennan is an Emmy award-winning decorator for television, film and theatre. Her passion for wildlife and conservation led her to form Castletown Productions to make films about rare and endangered wildlife. Her first films, Bermuda’s Treasure Island and Sceillig and Bermuda, A Last Refuge, highlight the amazing rediscovery of the once thought extinct Bermuda petrel, or Cahow. Both films won awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula. For the past 8 years, she has traveled throughout the North Atlantic with an award-winning team to tell the story of the disappearing wild Atlantic salmon. She partnered with the Atlantic Salmon Federation and other key international salmon organizations, salmon scientists and conservationists to make the film and hopes it will raise awareness and inspire audiences.

Natalie Cash

Executive Producer, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Natalie Cash is the Executive Producer in charge of video production at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), an international conservation organization with more than 3,000 field staff in 65 countries.

WCS also operates the largest system of urban wildlife parks in the world – Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo and NY Aquarium on Coney Island – educating four million visitors each year about the importance of conservation.

With two decades of experience in the industry, Natalie produces short-form programming about WCS projects and stories for multiple platforms. Her films have won awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival and New York WILD Film Festival and selected as finalists at Wildscreen and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Prior to joining WCS, she was a series producer and writer at the Emmy Award-winning documentary production company Pangolin Pictures.

Holly Morris

Filmmaker, Author and Presenter

Holly’s recent film, The Babushkas of Chernobyl, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, where it won the Jury Award for Directing. The film has gone on to win more than a dozen awards on the festival circuit, and has broadcast around the world. The film’s story – of a defiant community of grandmothers who live inside Ukraine’s radioactive “Exclusion Zone” – also forms the basis of her popular TED Talk, and her award-winning and widely syndicated essay on which the film is based (“The Babushkas of Chernobyl” 2011).

Her new film, Exposure, due to release in 2018, documents an extraordinary polar expedition.

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Anton Seimon

Interdisciplinary Environmental Scientist

Anton Seimon leads research programs on a diverse range of themes in the Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. For 25 spring seasons Seimon has chased storms across Tornado Alley of the central US. With National Geographic funding he led the El Reno Survey, a crowd-sourcing project to study the 2013 El Reno, Oklahoma tornado, the largest and among the most intense ever documented. His team compiled video footage from scores of storm chasers in an online visualization tool, the Tornado Environment Display.

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Eric Steinhauser

Director / Creative Director

Eric Steinhauser is an award-winning film and advertising director/creative director. As an ECD, he’s created successful partnerships among agencies, clients, and media to develop unique content and branding opportunities. As Board Director and Creative Director for the international wildlife organization WildAid.

He created their widely viewed conservation communications campaign that’s changing
public opinion and influencing government action with provocative celebrity driven messages seen each week by over one billion people worldwide.
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Pegi Vail

Anthropologist / Filmmaker & Co-Director, NYU Center for Media, Culture and History

Pegi Vail is an anthropologist, filmmaker, and Co-Director at New York University’s Center for Media, Culture and History. She teaches documentary filmmaking through NYU Department of Anthropology’s Program in Culture & Media. Her award-winning film Gringo Trails explores the cultural and environmental impact of global tourism. As a programmer, she collaborates with colleagues at NYC arts and cultural institutions such as the National Museum of the American Indian, American Museum of Natural History, MoMA, and through organizations such as the The Moth, the storytelling collective she was a founding board member and curator for. Vail serves as a judge for the International Documentary Association and National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards.


Pre-screeners


Sarah Alford
Pearl Basinski
Jay Bauer
Nickole Brown
Constance Bruce
Jamie Bruce
Jaye Callahan
Karin Cooper
Maryanne Culpepper

Margot DeFrance
Katie Dumke
Karen Gibbs
Liz Grady
Nofar Hamrany
Lindsay Hanig
Julie Harris
Mary Jo Kinser
Lisa Kovitz

Nik Makharadze
Erica Matson
Natasha Milne
Clare Neville
Samuel Ridgeway
Brianna Rowe
Michelle Sanders
Allyson Schultz

Sandy Sidey
Jackie Swensen
Christina Thirkell
Natalie Torres
Lacy Wittman
Cella Wright
Bonnie Wyper
Page Zekonis