Meet the 2014 DIFF Jurors

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Each year we ask a distinguished group of filmmakers, industry veterans, programmers and film educators to sit on our competition juries. They screen the films in the Narrative Feature, Documentary and Short film competitions and deliberate the merits of each. It’s an often excruciatingly difficult task to elevate one film from from a group of works that have great strengths.

We appreciate our jurors’ hard work, and we’d like to introduce them to you:


Shari Frilot

An alumna of Harvard/Radcliffe University, and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, Shari Frilot is an award-winning filmmaker and Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. She is the creative force behind New Frontier at Sundance, a convergence of film, art, technology and the expansion of the art of storytelling.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Jordan Vogt-Roberts directed and executive-produced the film THE KINGS OF SUMMER, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The film was bought by CBS films and theatrically released to critical acclaim. Before that, he won awards for his commercial and Web work and directed the acclaimed short film SUCCESSFUL ALCOHOLICS, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and subsequently screened at more than 30 festivals worldwide, including SXSW and AFI. Hailing from the ruins of Detroit but currently living in Los Angeles, Vogt-Roberts also loves dachshunds.

Doug Mankoff

Doug Mankoff has produced and executive produced over 20 films including NEBRASKA, AWAY FROM HER, TSOTSI, WATER and AFTERNOON DELIGHT. He grew up in Dallas and currently resides in Los Angeles.


Josh Mandel

Josh-Mandel300Josh Mandel is a film producer and senior programmer at the Slamdance Film Festival. He worked in music videos with artists like Eminem before segueing into features. Josh produced the seminal Lord of the Rings documentary, RINGERS. He recently produced THE WHITE ORCHID, starring Olivia Thirlby. As a producer and festival programmer, Josh works year round to support independent film.

Shaz Bennett

ShazFramed-copy.JPGOn her way to being a full time filmmaker and writer for television (THE GLADE) – Shaz Bennett worked in a fish cannery; bartended at a mafia bar; was a film programmer at Sundance, LA Film Festival and AFI FEST; peddled liquor undercover; developed films for actor Giancarlo Esposito; and was Cher’s stand-in for a day. Her films and performance pieces have been seen all over the United States, Mexico, Canada, South Africa and Europe. Shaz has been on the selection committee for the IDA and Cinema Eye for the past five years. Her latest film ALASKA IS A DRAG screened in over 65 film festivals and sold in the US and United Kingdom.


Lindsey Ashley

Lindsey-Ashley300Since 2005, Lindsey Ashley has been on staff at the Texas Film Commission helping to spread the word about all of the resources available for creative industries in Texas. As a Production Consultant and Location Scout she has worked closely with Writers, Producers, Directors, Production Designers and Cinematographers to find Texas-based filming destinations on projects that range from summer blockbusters to art films. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Radio, Television and Film.

Bart Weiss

Bart Weiss is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and director/founder of the Dallas VideoFestival and produces “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV. He was President of AIVF and was a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News and United Features Syndicate.

Yen Tan

YenTan300Yen Tan premiered the critically-acclaimed PIT STOP at Sundance 2013. The film won the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival’s Texas Grand Jury Prize sponsored by Panavision. It was nominated for a John Cassavetes Awards at the 2014 Independent Spirit Awards. The film has acquired distribution worldwide. His previous feature, CIAO (2008), was released theatrically and was a Queer Lion contender at Venice Film Festival. He currently lives in Austin and also works as a graphic designer, where he is known for his key art of several prominent independent films that screened at Cannes, Toronto, Berlinale, SXSW, and Sundance.


Clint Bowie

Clint-Bowie300Clint Bowie is the program director of the New Orleans Film Society, the non-profit responsible for the annual New Orleans Film Festival (now in its 25th year). He previously worked with the Northwest Film Center and the Portland International Film Festival and has served on juries at Starz Denver, Crossroads, and UNO.

Matt-CampbellMatthew Campbell
Matthew Campbell is the Denver Film Society’s head programmer for festivals and special events, including the Starz Denver Film Festival, Stanley Film Festival and Women+Film VOICES Film Festival. He has previously worked for the Sundance Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Kat Candler

Kat Candler’s award winning films including HELLION and BLACK METAL have screened at Sundance, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, SXSW, Slamdance, Florida Film Festival and Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Candler is a film Lecturer at the University of Texas. BLACK METAL was the 2013 Dallas International Film Festival’s Short Grand Jury Prize winner.




With 175 films and an Oscar to his credit, John Wayne is considered by many to be not only a great actor, but the American archetype.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first African-American President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and only the third woman to hold the office.

John Kricfalusi, the creator of Ren & Stimpy, is the recipient of the 2014 Texas Avery Animation Award presented by REEL FX.



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