Narrative Features Jury
Morgan J. Freeman, born and raised in Long Beach, California, received his BA in Film Studies, studied film theory at the Sorbonne in Paris, and earned his MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program. In 1997, Morgan’s debut feature, Hurricane Streets, became the first narrative film to win three awards at the Sundance Film Festival (Audience, Best Director, and Best Cinematography). Following the critical success of Hurricane Streets, Morgan wrote and directed Desert Blue (FFF 1999), which marked the feature debut of Kate Hudson. In 2001, Morgan directed Lion’s Gate Films’ American Psycho 2, starring That 70s Show’s Mila Kunis and William Shatner. His latest feature, Killer, is in the final stages of postproduction. Currently, Morgan is preparing to shoot a new, untitled, original screenplay, the second installment of his Hurricane Streets trilogy.
Lauren Lloyd has been a casting director and studio executive vice president and most recently added a management component to her production company, Bedlam Media, with a first-look deal at Sony. Lauren produced 2004’s Cellular, starring William H. Macy and Kim Basinger. As an executive at Columbia, she was responsible for such blockbusters as The Patriot and Vertical Limit, and at Hollywood Pictures, where she was an executive vice president, she was responsible for more than 20 movies including Evita, While You Were Sleeping, Nixon, GI Jane, Grosse Pointe Blank, and The Horse Whisperer. In addition, Lauren produced Mermaids, Drop Zone, The Butcher’s Wife, Dreamlover, Fires Within, and Freddie Got Fingered. She starts preproduction soon as producer on Sony’s Diary starring Jennifer Aniston, Gold Circle/Universal’s Smoke starring Salma Hayek, and Bobb’e Bling–The World’s First Hip Hop Super Hero starring Queen Latifah. Her next project is Pop Warner with Mel Gibson.
Rob Williams, Manager of Acquisitions for the New York–based film distributor Wellspring, acquires distribution rights for American independent fiction films, documentaries, and foreign films. Wellspring’s recent and upcoming films include Tarnation, The Brown Bunny, Red Lights, Russian Ark, In the Realms of the Unreal, Unknown White Male, and Todd Solondz’s Palindromes, showing at this year’s Florida Film Festival. Before joining Wellspring, Rob worked in theatrical marketing for DreamWorks Pictures, promoting and marketing films like Shrek, Gladiator, and The Ring. He also worked for Stratosphere Entertainment and Sony Pictures Classics and is a graduate of Boston University.
A five-time Emmy winner for his work on the Olympics and the Tour de France, Paul Devlin’s films include Power Trip (FFF 2003), which appeared across the United States and on PBS’s Independent Lens, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and has won 10 film festival awards, including top prizes at Berlin, Hot Docs, and Florida. Paul also made the award-winning film SlamNation (FFF 1998), which details the fierce competition at the National Poetry Slam and helped popularize the dynamic genre with its release in theaters and on HBO/Cinemax and Encore/Starz. As an editor, Paul’s extensive credits include commercials, music videos, television shows, and major sports broadcasts. Other credits include his fiction film The Eyes of St. Anthony and his work as producing editor on the Organic film FREESTYLE: The Art of Rhyme, broadcast on VH1 and winner of the Special Jury Award for Documentary Filmmaking at the 2002 Florida Film Festival.
Susan Norget, a New York–based film publicist and marketing consultant who specializes in arthouse films and documentaries, represents films at major festivals—including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and Sundance—and has worked on dozens of theatrical release campaigns. Among the many documentaries she has represented are the following: Born Into Brothels, In the Realms of the Unreal, Control Room, Tarnation, Bright Leaves, The Five Obstructions, End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, Bus 174, The Weather Underground, Love & Diane, Stone Reader, Trembling Before G-D, and Southern Comfort. A native of Canada, she worked for many years as press director for the Toronto Film Festival.
Bryan Younce is the Supervisor of Acquisitions and Program Planning at Showtime Networks, where he has assembled film events for Flix, The Sundance Channel, and other Showtime services. In the past, he worked as a freelance film critic and programmer for American Cinematheque and the Los Angeles Film Festival. He also has enjoyed a long-running involvement with music videos and remains a member of the international production collective The Masses. A founding contributor to the Internet radio site dublab.com, Bryan continues to host a regular show. Born and raised in a small northern Californian cowtown, he studied film and music at USC. His free time is spent tracking down obscure Japanese films and digging through dusty record crates.
Jason Leaf is Co-President of Avatar Films. His work includes acquisitions, theatrical booking and designing promotional materials for the films that they release around the United States such as After Midnight, MC5: A True Testimonial, Saints + Sinners, Kandahar, Zero Day, and Divine Intervention. Jason earned his undergraduate degree at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1993, and over the next seven years worked on professional shoots for clients such as MTV, Doritos, Skechers, Canon and Nike, as well as many industrials and independent short- and feature-length films. He has also created and edited the trailers for many of Avatar’s releases. Prior to co-founding Avatar Films in 1999, Jason worked at IN Pictures, a small film distribution company, as Distribution Manager.
In his 20-year career as an independent filmmaker, Chel White consistently has defied categorization with films that explore love, obsession, alienation, memories, and dreams. He often uses allegory and black humor to paint indelible pictures of the human experience. Described as a cinematic poet, he creates intricate, sublime, and beautiful work. From Sundance to Berlin to Hiroshima, Chel’s films have been shown in festivals across the world and recognized with many awards (including Magda, Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short, FFF 2004). In addition to films, Chel has directed and produced television, audio, live performances, commercials, and even some parody shorts for Saturday Night Live. His work has screened at the Smithsonian Museum, and a commercial he directed appears in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A graduate of Antioch University, Chel lives in Portland, Oregon, and thus far has managed to avoid moving to Los Angeles.
Emily Woodburne heads theatrical sales for Zeitgeist Films, a New York-based distribution company. Founded in 1988, Zeitgeist’s catalog boasts some of the most lauded and innovative filmmakers in the United States and abroad. Its recent slate includes the critically acclaimed films Since Otar Left and The Corporation, as well as the 2002 Academy Award-winning Best Foreign Language Film Nowhere In Africa. Emily’s nine years of industry experience include film production and film festival programming; she currently serves on the selection committee for the Hamptons International Film Festival. A California native, she is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and lives in New York City.