Cinequest 21 Film Juries

Cinequest 21 Film Juries

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JAMES DALESSANDRO (Narrative Features Jury President)
James Dalessandro continues his long involvement with Cinequest and Bay Area arts and letters. He has been a key member of the Day of the Writer and its Maverick Spirit Award, lecturing at the event since 2004 and interviewing last year's winner Terry Zwigoff. He is founder of the legendary Santa Cruz Poetry Festival, the nation's largest literary event that brought Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bukowski and William Burroughs to the Bay Area. He's the author of four books: “Canary in a Coal Mine,” “Bohemian Heart,” “Citizen Jane” and the bestselling novel “1906.” A 28-year member of the Writer's Guild of America, he was screenwriter and producer of the Hallmark Movie Citizen Jane in September of 2009, and will be a writer/producer of the upcoming television series of the same name. His novel, “1906,” will soon be Pixar's first live action feature film, for which he is also the screenwriter. He teaches Advanced Screenwriting and Television Writing at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.

Since 1994, Udy’s company, Seventh Art Releasing, has been an independent producer and distributor of specialized films. Seventh Art is noted for its releases of award-winning feature documentaries such as the 1997 Academy Award® winner, The Long Way Home, the 1998 Academy Award® nominee The Farm, Angola USA, the 1999 Academy Award® nominee Speaking in Strings, the Sundance 2000 Grand Jury Prize winner, Academy Award® & DGA nominee – Long Night’s Journey Into Day and the 2004 Academy Award® nominee Balseros. In 1999, both The Wildest Show in the South: The Angola Prison Rodeo and Eyewitness: The Legacy of Death Camp Art were nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the Academy Awards®. Seventh Art’s The Photographer (Fotoamator) was also hailed as “one of the best documentaries of 1999” by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Other films include: Steal a Pencil for Me (2008), Oswald’s Ghost (2008), The Execution of Wanda Jean (2003), Better Living Through Circuitry (2000), EMI’s Meeting People is Easy (1999), a music documentary about Radiohead, Columbia/Miramax’s Glory Daze (1996), and many more. Producing credits include: Midnight Edition (1991), Breast Cancer Diaries (2006), Art of Flight (2005), Call it Democracy (2004), Word Wars (2004), 5 Sides of a Coin (2003), and Creature (2000).

With 20+ years experience in publicity and PR, David Hakim has created promotional packages for clients such as J Walter Thompson, 20th Century-Fox, MTM Productions, Warner Bros, Universal Studios and Columbia Pictures. He has developed and implemented campaigns for public events, film festivals, entertainment conventions and awards programs, including the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Chair emeritus of the Directors Guild of America’s San Francisco Executive Committee, Hakim promotes the Bay Area as a production destination and works with filmmakers and small indies to promote their services and images locally, regionally, and nationwide.


ANNA EASTEDEN (Documentary Features Jury President)
Award Nominated actress Anna Easteden starred in Mika Kaurismaki’s dark comedy The House of Branching Love, which screened at numerous prestigious film festivals and garnered a Best Supporting Actress –nomination for Easteden at the Method Fest –film festival in Los Angeles. Easteden worked alongside Oscar® nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) in the Japanese remake of the Oscar®-winning American phenomenon Sideways. Easteden is known for her performance as Bee Sting on Who Wants to Be a Superhero? as well as notable co-starring roles on Two and a Half Men, Bones, Days Of Our Lives and Passions. She also played Nicole Brown Simpson in a Japanese TV movie and took on a lead role in the short film Harmless, winner of 2 film festival awards. Easteden was born in Finland and raised on her parents’ dairy farm. At the early age of twelve, Anna's career took its first major stride when she won a national modeling contest and appeared on her first Finnish magazine cover. Easteden’s modeling career next swept her off to such global destinations as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Guam and finally the United States. Once on US soil, Easteden quickly landed a series of major modeling gigs with Calvin Klein, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Diesel, T-Mobile, Avon, Jockey, Chevy and Nissan – and has been featured in such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and Marie Claire. Easteden’s interests also include those in the humanitarian arena. Easteden conducted a comparative legal research study on the different aspects of asylum procedures in selected European countries for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bratislava, Slovakia. Her research impacted the Slovak National Asylum Legislation, which was in the process of amendment. Anna then continued her work in Bratislava, with an international partner of The Foundation for a Civil Society (USA), where she involved herself in the "Citizen Campaign OK '98" for free and fair elections. Easteden currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband. In addition to her modeling and acting, Easteden enjoys traveling, cooking, writing, and lending a humanitarian hand to a number of her favorite non-profit organizations.

Marla is an award winning television news writer for NBC Bay Area News. She has been a journalist since 1978, working as a reporter, anchor and writer. In her career she has covered plane crashes, mass murders, floods, local and national politics and even the annual Penguin Walk at the San Francisco Zoo. Her honors include Awards from the Associated Press and an Emmy for her series on her younger son's bone marrow transplant. The life-saving donor was her older son, then age 6. This is Marla’s second 'tour' as a Cinequest judge. As a graduate of the USC film school, movies of all kinds have always been her passion. "My Dad was a silent screen projectionist, so it must be genetic."

In January 2007, Kane moved cross-continent to work as for ITVS overseeing the International Initiative and the International Call for funding. Concurrently she co-manages Open Call with Richard Saiz and works across the domestic initiatives within Programming. ITVS International promotes an international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers, bringing international voices to U.S. audiences and stories from the U.S. to audiences abroad. ITVS International has co-produced 117 international documentaries since its inception in 2005, including the multi-award winning Waltz With Bashir, The English Surgeon and Last Train Home. Prior she’s had many incarnations from actor to writer to producer. She co-created DOCday on Sundance Channel during her 10-year tenure there. She’s also a contributor to

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