SXSW Film Festival Announces Juries

As many of us prepare our annual trip to Texas for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival, the event itself has announced the Juries for the Narrative and Documentary Feature Competitions, Shorts Programs, and Special Awards. This year’s winners will be announced during the SXSW Film Awards on Tuesday, March 13 at 8:00 pm at the Paramount Theatre. Comedian, actor and three-time Grammy nominee Jim Gaffigan, star of 2018 SXSW Narrative Spotlight You Can Choose Your Family, will host the ceremony.

Now in its 25th year, the SXSW Film Festival will run for nine days. The event allows fans and industry professionals a diverse lineup of thousands of SXSW Conference sessions, with visionaries from all corners of the entertainment, media, and technology industries.

Narrative Feature Competition

Justin Chang is a film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” He serves as chair of the National Society of Film Critics.

Col Needham is the founder and CEO of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. Born and living in the UK, Needham has had a lifelong interest in both technology and movies.

Emily Yoshida is a film critic for New York Magazine and Vulture, as well as the co-host of the Night Call podcast. She lives in Brooklyn.

Documentary Feature Competition

K. Austin Collins is a staff writer for The Ringer, where he writes on movies and culture.

Violet Lucca is the Digital Producer of Film Comment Magazine and host of its podcast. A member of the New York Film Critics Circle, she also regularly contributes to Sight & Sound.

April Wolfe is the former lead critic for LA Weekly. She currently hosts the Switchblade Sisters podcast, and writes most often for the Village Voice.

Narrative Shorts Program

Dilcia Barrera is the Associate Curator of Film Programs at LACMA and a Short Film Programmer for Sundance Film Festival.

Nick Borenstein is Director of Content for Topic Studios where he’s responsible for the development and production of scripted television and digital content. He is also a filmmaker.

Brandon Harris is a Development Executive at Amazon Original Movies, the director of REDLEGS (2012) and the author of MAKING RENT IN BED-STUY (2017).

Documentary Shorts

David Matthews is Director of Acquisitions at PBS Distribution, where he negotiates home entertainment deals for indie docs and other non-fiction series and specials.

Erica Deiparine-Sugars works with independent media makers expressly to support diverse voices and stories. She is currently the Director of Programs for the Austin Film Society.

Pam Torno is the Series Producer of Indie Lens Storycast, a YouTube channel of short stories made by independent filmmakers and developed by ITVS.

Animated Shorts

Aki Isoyama is the Programming Supervisor at Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, Tokyo, where she has also overseen short film acquisitions and sales.

Kirsten Lepore is an award-winning director/animator, whose recent film Hi Stranger garnered around 200 million views online. She also loves to eat fermented things.

Eric Power crafts handmade stop-motion films, raises children, and believes an independent animation renaissance is about to explode.

Midnight Shorts

Sara Cushman has been a member of the Fantastic Fest staff for over a decade. She currently works for distributor NEON.

Missy Laney is the Director of Development at Adult Swim. Previously she has worked at BitTorrent Inc and Sundance Institute.

Pip Ngo is the Director of Sales and Acquisitions for XYZ Films. Prior to XYZ, he was the Senior Manager of Content Acquisitions for Vimeo.

Music Videos

Dan Deacon is an American composer and performer whose work focuses on a maximalist approach to density with a fixation on sample manipulation, synthesis, mechanical instruments and audience collaboration.

John T. Kunz is the president/owner of Waterloo Records & Video, voted Austin’s best store for the last 35 years, and a founding member of RSD, CIMS and HAAM.

Daniel Scheinert is an LA-based filmmaker who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, of all places. He is best know as one half of directing duo DANIELS (along with another Daniel named Daniel Kwan).

Texas Shorts

Dallas International Film Festival Artistic Director James Faust likes to rock and watch movies. Not in that order.

Rebecca Morelo Jackson is a producer, graduate student and the Film Program Coordinator at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.

Ali Nichols is a Production Consultant at the Texas Film Commission. She works with filmmakers to find Texas filming resources on projects that range from feature films and television series to short films and commercials.

Texas High School Shorts

Barak Epstein has produced three feature films that have screened at SXSW. Barak has operated the legendary Texas Theatre in Dallas since 2010. In 2012 Barak co-founded the Oak Cliff Film Festival. Barak is also the Chairman of the non-profit Top Ten Records.

Bob Ray spins Texas tales tall and small: Rock Opera, Hell on Wheels, Total Badass, CrashToons, Platypus Rex, <– I’m w/ Liberty (upcoming Adam Reposa LAWYER documentary). Bart Weiss teaches film/video at UT Arlington, is founder/director of DallasVideoFest and produces Frame of Mind on KERA TV. Independent Episodics

Rebecca Agbe-Davies is Vice President of Programming at Crackle, a Sony Pictures Television Network, where she oversees current series, acquisitions, program planning, and content analytics.

Christine Dávila is a Creative Executive at Stage 13, an original, digital-first content brand of Warner Bros. Digital Networks. She also blogs at

Randi Kleiner is the Founder and CEO of SeriesFest, an annual television festival dedicated to showcasing the best in episodic storytelling from around the world.

Lone Star Jury

Victor Diaz is a news anchor and video journalist for the Texas region of Spectrum News. This is his 16th year covering SXSW as a film reporter and host.

Steve Dollar is a cultural journalist whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and many other publications.

Dana Harris is the Los Angeles–based Editor-in-Chief of IndieWire. She’s covered the film industry more than two decades.

Title Sequence Design

Dan Brown is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and the co-owner of the production and design company Curiosity Shoppe.

Jonathan Lacocque founded Coat of Arms and serves as its Creative Director/Producer. He’s an award-winning storyteller with experience across film studios, agencies and broadcast networks.

Mara Smalley is an award-winning Art Director/Designer. Her work on HBO’s The Leftovers earned a nomination from SXSW for Excellence in Title Design in 2016.

Poster Design

Proficient in a range of processes, Sean Carnegie has taught at the University of Texas and Texas State University, and currently resides on AIGA Austin’s advisory board.

Michelle Schwartz is artist and curator living and working out of Austin, Texas. She specializes in watercolor painting and her work has been in numerous gallery shows.

Kevin Tong is a freelance illustrator, known for his screen printed posters, living and working out of Austin, TX

All feature film categories, except Special Events, will be eligible for category-specific Audience Awards, announced via on Saturday, March 17. SXSW is proud to be an official qualifying festival for the Academy Awards Short Film competition. Winners of our Best Animated, Best Narrative and Best Documentary Short Film categories become eligible for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards (Oscars). Any British Short Film or British Short Animation that screens at SXSW is eligible for BAFTA nomination.

Love movie trailers? You can find the latest videos released from the studios at

Related Posts