2016 Industry Jury


David Rocchio


David Rocchio has two feature scripts in active development and is working with UK filmmaker James Rogan on a documentary for UK Channel 4. In 2013 David founded Stowe Story Labs, a nonprofit dedicated to helping emerging screenwriters hone their craft and learn skills and tools to get their work made and seen.


Jeff Abramson

SVP / Brand Strategy & Alliances at Broad Green

Jeffrey leads innovations and business development for film studio Broad Green Pictures. He manages investments in future-building entertainment companies and creates strategy for engagement with new or intersecting industries such as virtual reality.


Joel Madison

Comedy Writer

Joel started out life as a stand-up comic. Having done the whole circuit of clubs and colleges in the eighties, Joel found as much fun writing jokes for others as performing them himself. One of those comics happened to be Rosanne Barr and she hired Joel to be a writer on her hit sit-com. From there Joel has gone on to create his own shows as well as do rewrite work and “Set Punch-Up” on Judd Apatow projects just to name one. He has had the good fortune to work on films, television, and animation, in both comedy and drama genres.


Laurie Weltz

Writer and Director "About Scout", Programmer of Film Fatales

Laurie Weltz co-wrote and directed the award winning feature film, Wrestling With Alligators, which starred Joely Richardson, Aleksa Palladino, Claire Bloom, and Adrienne Shelly. Wrestling With Alligators premiered in competition at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize, traveled the festival circuit, and won a Gold Award at the Worldfest Flagstaff Festival and a Silver Award at the Houston Film Festival.

Laurie has written two other feature scripts, both of which have been optioned. One is Watermoon: a ghostly thriller, which was optioned by Elevation Pictures, and the other is Monkey River: a family film, which she co-wrote with Jay C. Key, and which is under option to Rolmade Films. Monkey River won the Grand Prize in the PAGE Screenwriting Competition.


Sande Alessi CSA

Extras and Specialty Casting

Sande’s company made its reputation by finding background actors that others could not. When Steven Spielberg wanted Hasidic Jews who played soccer, we found them in a day. When Gore Verbinski needed each and every pirate to look unique for Pirates of the Carribean, we scoured islands by schooner, canoe and Jet-ski to book them. When David Fincher has to nail down a time period in his films, we go through thousands of pictures to achieve his vision. Sande Alessi Casting books the best for the best in the business.


Sara Shepard

Author "Pretty Little Liars", "The Lying Game", "The Perfectionists", YA Fiction

For as long as she can remember, Sara Shepard has been writing. However, when she was young she also wanted to be a soap opera star, a designer for LEGO, a filmmaker, a claymation artist, a geneticist, and a fashion magazine editor when she grew up. She and her sister have been creating joint artistic and written projects for years, except they’re pretty sure they’re the only ones who find them funny.

Sara’s bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars, is loosely based on her experiences growing up on Philadelphia’s Main Line…although luckily she never had any serious stalkers. The series has also inspired the ABC Family television series of the same name.


Alex Brisker & Alex LeBas

Exceptional Young Filmmakers/Jurors

Alecies Pictures (al-ə-sees) was founded in 2013 by the filmmaking duo Alex Le Bas & Alex Brisker. Since then, they have produced & directed a number of short films, taking in numerous awards including "Audience Choice" at the 2015 Newport Beach Film Festival, "Best Film" at the LACHSA 2014 Moondance Film Festival, and many more. Alecies are currently writing their first feature film which is set in 1941, North Carolina.

View their work here.


Kira Bursky

Exceptional Young Filmmaker/Juror

View her work here. Kira is also the Founder of Big Little Filmmaker.


Lucas Bugbee

Exceptional Young Filmmaker/Juror

Lucas is now studying film production at Chapman University

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