Meet the 10th Anniversary DIFF Jurors! | 2016 Dallas International Film Festival—April 14-24

Meet the 10th Anniversary DIFF Jurors!

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The 2016 Dallas International Film Festival will present Grand Jury Prizes for Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Short Film, Animated Short Film, Student Short Film and Texas Film Competition presented by Panavision. The Silver Heart Award will be selected by the Embrey Family Foundation. The DIFF Awards are presented as part of the Dallas Film Society Honors, an evening celebration with a red carpet, cocktail reception, and elegant dinner sponsored by the Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation.


Dan Berger
Dan Berger runs Oscilloscope Laboratories. Berger was with O-Scope when the company wore short pants. Previously he worked at THINKFilm. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts His favorite Brady is Alice, the Maid.

Julia Dyer
JuliaDyerHeadShotJulia Dyer is an independent film director and producer based in Texas. She attended film school at UT Austin, and is now working under the One Mind Productions banner. She’s currently in post-production on the short film MAID. Feature projects in development include the Gothic thriller WALK WITH ME and the female-driven crime drama BACKLASH. One Mind’s most recent release is the critically-acclaimed feature THE PLAYROOM, starring John Hawkes and Molly Parker. It premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and debuted theatrically in 2013, earning a New York Times “Critic’s Pick.” It is currently on Netflix. Julia’s first feature LATE BLOOMERS was released by Strand and enjoyed a long run on HBO. In addition to her two feature films, she has worked extensively in documentary, educational, corporate and commercial production as well as regional theater. She shared a vibrant, life-long creative partnership with her late sister, the screenwriter Gretchen Dyer (THE PLAYROOM and LATE BLOOMERS).

Michael Cain
10-758+H+0005 A native of Dallas, Michael received a Master in Fine Arts | Producing from the American Film Institute (AFI). Since then, his career and passions have successfully woven between “for-profit” and “non-profit” ventures. Michael has produced and executive produced over 20 feature-length films for HBO and SHOWTIME and over 30 commercials and music videos for Black Dog Productions. He founded the non-profit Arts Fighting Cancer (AFC) and produced the Deep Ellum Film Festival (DEF2; 1999 – 2005) the Santa Monica Film Festival (2002) and Santa Monica Drive-in at the Pier (2002-2006). Michael formed Deep Ellum Pictures in 1999 and as its President, produced and directed the award winning documentary TV JUNKIE, which In aired on HBO as part of the Addiction Series and received the Governor’s Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Science (The Emmy® Awards). Following the success of TV JUNKIE, he partnered with the New York Times to produce the Educational Curriculum Film Faces of Addiction, which received an AVA Award and was nominated for a PRISM AWARD™. He served in multiple roles as the Founding Artistic Director, CEO, Chairman of the Board and President of the Dallas Film Society from  2006 to 2011. Most recently, Michael co-directed THE STARK CLUB, a documentary set in 1980s Dallas, and served as an Executive Producer on the Steve Jobs bio-pic JOBS and the STANLEY MARCUS documentary.


Ben PowellBen Powell
Ben Powell is a photographer and documentary filmmaker. In 2015, Powell directed and produced BARGE, a feature film about the culture of towboat workers on the Mississippi River. BARGE premiered at SXSW and received the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival. BARGE will be available via iTunes in May 2016. Powell holds a BFA in Film, Animation, and Video from the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Austin, Texas.

Brit WitheyBrit Withey
Brit Withey has been with the Denver Film Society since 1996. As Artistic Director he helps program all film festivals and events, most notably the Denver Film Festival, now entering its 39th year. Brit was a Program Consultant for the Festival International du Documentaire in Marseille, France, and has served on the Nominating Committee for the Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowships, the Creative Capital Film & Video Awards and the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking.


PJ Raval
07 PJ RAVAL headshotPJ Raval is an award-winning filmmaker whose credits include the feature documentary BEFORE YOU KNOW IT hailed by indieWIRE as “…a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon,” and the highly charged CHRISTEENE video collection praised by the Hollywood Reporter as “…something you desperately wish you could un-see.” Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film and Out Magazine’s OUT 100 PJ is also an accomplished cinematographer whose work includes the Academy Award-nominated TROUBLE THE WATER as well as PRIMATE CINEMA: APES AS FAMILY the first film created for a chimpanzee audience.

Amy TalkingtonAmy Talkington
Talkington is a writer, director, producer and author who started her career with several award-winning short films that were festival favorites. Amy wrote and directed THE NIGHT OF THE WHITE PANTS which stars Oscar-nominee Tom Wilkinson. In television, Amy wrote “Avalon High,” for which she won a WGA Award. In recent years, she has been an in-demand studio feature writer. She is currently writing an original script for Universal Pictures with Elizabeth Banks producing.


Kyle LaursenKyle.Laursen
Kyle Laursen is a junior executive at Brad Pitt’s film and television production company, Plan B Entertainment. Plan B’s productions include the films WORLD WAR Z, TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, SELMA, THE BIG SHORT. Prior to his role at Plan B, Kyle produced independent shorts and a micro-budget feature entitled Acting Like Adults. He holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the UCLA school of Theater, Film & Television.

Lisa OgdieLisa Ogdie
Lisa Ogdie is Membership & Events Manager for BAFTA Los Angeles. In addition to her BAFTA LA duties, Ogdie is a Shorts Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and has been part of the Sundance shorts programming team since 2009, selecting the Sundance short film slate from over 8,000 submissions. With a keen eye for film, Ogdie has served on many festival juries including SXSW, Shnit International Shortfilmfestival in Switzerland, and The Smalls Film Festival in London. She has moderated Q&A discussions and panels for BAFTA Los Angeles, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival and the American Pavilion at Cannes.

Jonathan LiseckiJonathanLisecki.HS.3
Jonathan Lisecki is a director, writer, and actor from New York. GAYBY, his feature-film debut, was nominated for Best First Screenplay at the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards. Since premiering at SXSW 2012, Gayby has won eighteen festival awards, was listed as one of the best films of the year by noted critic Wesley Morris in the Boston Globe, and topped the iTunes independent film chart. He appears in this year’s festival selection SLASH.


mockingbird station



ed lachman star awardOscar-nominated cinematographer Ed Lachman’s selected credits as a cinematographer include the Emmy nominated HBO mini-series Mildred Pierce and films including DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, and the Academy Award nominated film, CAROL.



monte hellman star awardOur inaugural honoree, director, editor and producer Monte Hellman, has a career that spans six decades. He has exemplified cutting-edge filmmaking across multiple genres, working with budgets, from high-to-low, and with casts featuring stars to complete unknowns.



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