NARRATIVE JURY

Nancy Schiesari is an experienced director, producer and cinematographer on both broadcast documentaries and award-winning independent films. Her latest full-length documentary, CANINE SOLDIERS, premiered at the Austin Film Festival in 2016, while her previous documentaries CACTUS JACK, LONE STAR ON CAPITOL HILL (2016), TATTOOED UNDER FIRE (2008), and HANSEL MIETH: VAGABOND PHOTOGRAPHER (2003) have been aired on public TV in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Nancy has also been director of photography on over thirty documentaries and feature films, including PARTITION (1987), the Oscar-nominated REGRET TO INFORM (1998), and the Emmy-nominated THE HUMAN FACE (2002) . Her work as a narrative director includes LOAVES AND FISHES (2000), which was broadcast on PBS’ experimental film series “The Territory” in 2001. Nancy graduated with an MFA from the Royal College, London and is a professor in production in the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas at Austin.

Andrew Lee has overseen regional and national commercial productions for clients including Proctor & Gamble, Dell, Sears, Las Vegas tourism and more. Since then, he produced award winning short films including CHICKEN VS. PENGUIN (2010 Nikon Festival $100k grand prize), TABLE 7 (official selection of 15 film fests), and THE MAN WHO NEVER CRIED (2010 Doorpost Film Project $110k grand prize). Feature documentary credits include DEALT (2017), about blind card magician Richard Turner, and DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE, released by Gravitas Ventures and Warner Bros. Digital in 2011. Most recently, he produced the sci-fi comedy series CRUNCH TIME for Rooster Teeth, released online in September 2016, and the indie feature sports comedy BALLS OUT, starring cast from TWILIGHT, Saturday Night Live, The Office, etc. The film was released theatrically in 2015 by MGM’s Orion Pictures.

Kirsten Cather teaches Japanese film, literature, and culture in the Asian Studies Department at UT Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in Japanese literature with a secondary specialization in film from UC Berkeley back in 2004. She has written extensively on film censorship in her first book, The Art of Censorship in Postwar Japan (UHI Press, 2012), and in other articles. Kirsten is currently at work on a project called Scripting Suicide in Modern Japan that considers the many representations of suicide in contemporary Japanese art and society.

DOCUMENTARY JURY

Steven Wu is the Festival Co-Director of the Houston Asian American Pacific Islander (HAAPI) Film Festival hosted by OCA-Greater Houston. Steven first joined OCA-Greater Houston as a volunteer for the HAAPI Film Festival when he moved to Houston from Atlanta, but soon discovered love for the cause to take on a larger role and begin new initiatives for the festival (Local Shorts Competition, Filmmaker Workshops). While a Chemical Engineer by degree and traveler at heart, Steven’s true passions lie in advancing the equality of AAPI’s and minorities through the power of media and discussion.

 

Dr. Wenhong Chen is an assistant professor in the Department of Radio-TV-Film and (by courtesy) the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto and was a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at Duke University. Her research has focused on digital media technologies in multiethnic, entrepreneurial, and civic settings, supported by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the Ford Foundation, and many others. Dr. Chen has published in top-ranked journals in the fields of communication and media studies, management, and sociology. She is a recipient of the prestigious William F. Ogburn Mid-Career Achievement Award, as well as awards from the Academy of Management, International Communication Association, and International Association of Chinese Management Research. Dr. Chen is the lead editor of the book Networked China: Global Dynamics of Digital Media and Civic Engagement (with Stephen Reese, Routledge 2015).

Julie Whang has over ten years’ experience in independent film distribution, exhibition, promotion and operations. Currently she is the Director of Non-Theatrical Sales at Tugg, the leading crowdsourcing web platform for theatrical screenings. Her previous position was the Director of Distribution and Sales at Women Make Movies, the largest distributor of films by and about women. Her accomplishments include working successfully in all facets of distribution from acquiring films, marketing, sales, contract negotiations and fulfillment. Julie has an MS in Nonprofit Management from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy at the New School and BA in Visual Arts Media from the University of California, San Diego.