2020 Jurors

Narrative Jurors




Corey Glover


Even before forming the pioneering, Grammy winning, platinum selling rock band Living Colour, Corey’s undeniable talent as a personality and artist was brought to the attention of director Oliver Stone. The famed moviemaker cast Corey in his Vietnam epic, Platoon. Corey has also appeared in the films The Keeper, Reunion 81, and Loose Women.

As a founding member of Living Colour, Corey helped prove that not only could black guys kick out the jams, but that they could be embraced by a vast expanse of fans. Living Colour earned numerous industry awards including back-to-back Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance of 1989 (Cult of Personality) and 1990 (Time’s Up) and emerged as one of the most influential rock acts of all time: regularly selling out arenas and selling millions of albums.








Richard Peña


Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. From 1988 to 2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival. At the Film Society, Richard Peña organized retrospectives of many film artists, including: Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, King Hu, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Fei Mu, Jean Eustache, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura, Nagisa Oshima and Amitabh Bachchan. Together with Unifrance, in 1995 he created “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” the leading American showcase for new French cinema. A frequent lecturer on film internationally, in 2014-2015, he was a Visiting Professor in Brazilian Studies at Princeton, and in 2015-2016 a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard. In May, 2016, he was the recipient of the “Cathedra Bergman” at the UNAM in Mexico City, where he offered a three-part lecture series “On the Margins of American Cinema”, and in December, 2017, gave a course in “International Cinema After 1990” at Beijing University. This year he is Visiting Professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin. He also currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13. 






Lisa Thomas


Currently Lisa is an Executive Producer on the upcoming Adult Swim animated series, Teenage Euthanasia. She is also an Executive Producer on the stop motion, animated series, The Shivering Truth for Vernon Chatman of South Park fame and was part of the producing team behind Tyler the Creator’s animated series, The Jellies for Adult Swim. She was the Line Producer on Liz Garcia’s feature, One Percent More Humid, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was the Executive Producer on the feature musical, Thirsty about Provincetown’s legendary drag queen Thirsty Burlington. She Produced MTV’s, cult series, Wonder Showzen as well as Zoolander Super Model for Paramount Pictures and Ben Stiller.

Documentary Jurors




Claire Aguilar


Claire Aguilar is a programmer, producer and independent consultant and strategist. She is formerly the Director of Programming and Policy at IDA (International Documentary Association), overseeing professional development, education, mentorship and training initiatives and she served as the primary programmer for IDA’s biennial “Getting Real” documentary conference. She is the former Director of Programming and Industry Engagement at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the leading festivals for documentary and digital media where she curated and directed the film program for Doc/Fest 2015 and 2016, programming over 350 films and working with over 200 filmmakers and media creatives. At the Independent Television Service (ITVS), she served as Vice President of Programming and Executive Content Advisor, working on program content and strategy for the organization, including commissioning programming from international and U.S. independent producers. She co-curated the Emmy and Peabody awarded series Independent Lens, PBS’s prominent showcase of independently produced films.





Phil Bertelsen


Phil Bertelsen is an Emmy and two-time Peabody award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. Most recently he was Series Producer and director of the 6-part documentary series Who Killed Malcolm X (Netflix). As a result of the new evidence provided in the series, the Manhattan DA’s office is reviewing the assassination case and reconsidering the conviction of one of the alleged assassins. Bertelsen also directed a feature-length documentary special called Through The Fire: The Presidency of Barack Obama with Executive Producer Stanley Nelson and Firelight Media. He also produced and directed multiple episodes of the Columbia-DuPont Award winning documentary series The African Americans-Many Rivers To Cross, hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and directed several episodes of Finding Your Roots also hosted by Dr. Gates. He has also taught on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; The City College of New York, and at Temple University in Philadelphia.




Mariposa María Teresa Fernández


Mariposa María Teresa Fernández is an award winning poet, writer, educator and activist based in The Bronx. Mariposa merges art with community organizing to uplift youth & adults. Mariposa’s poetry has been published in African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, The Afro Latin@ Reader: History & Culture in the United States, Manteca: Anthology of AfroLatin@ Poets and Bumrush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam. Mariposa’s poetry has been featured on the critically acclaimed HBO Latino series Habla Ya! and the award winning documentary Americanos: Latino Life in the U.S. She has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad.




James McDaniel


Audiences will recognize James from his eight seasons on NYPD Blue as squad leader Arthur Fancy, where he was nominated for two Emmy awards and won the prestigious Peabody award. He was also one of the leads on the acclaimed series Detroit 187. Prior to that, James spent most of his career on Broadway and off-Broadway. He originated the lead role of Paul in Six Degrees of Separation (Drama Desk nomination, Clarence Derwent award) and won the Obie award for his role in Before it Hits Home at The Public Theatre in New York City.

James has numerous television credits, most recently memorable arcs on Soundtrack on Netflix, For Life on ABC, Sleepy Hollow, The Good WifeThe Following and Orange is the New Black.


Mira Nair Award Jurors



Emi Katayama


Her feature film, WIND RIDERS, an inspiring and poignant story about balloon pilots, took off last year after winning several awards. The City of Albuquerque and the Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest ballooning event, sponsored a three-day screening of the film, at the historic KiMo Theatre and the Balloon Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After graduating college in the U.S., Emi worked in New York on hundreds of news shows, documentaries and other television programs produced by major Japanese national broadcasters for many years.



Assia Lakhlif


Raised in New York, Moroccan born artist and filmmaker Assia Lakhlif is a writer and director with a background in Fine Arts. Her award-winning films have been presented at Cannes, ArteEast, Dubai Film Festival, Harlem International Film Festival, and the Bushwick Film Festival among others. Her photos and gallery-based video work has been featured at MoMa, LACMA, Art Dubai, The London Festival, Mahatat Collective Egypt, and the Maraya Art Center in Sharjah. Lakhlif received her BFA in Visual Arts from The Cooper Union, and her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts. She’s currently a film professor teaching production and theory courses in New York City, and leads after school programs focusing on art and film curricula in public schools and community exchange and outreach.



Marishka S. Phillips


Broadway actress, accomplished director, and thespian guru, Marishka S. Phillips is an actor’s actor with an extraordinary wealth of talent and experience.

As an actress, singer, and dancer, Marishka is bona fide triple threat, and has performed and toured with Sean P.Diddy Combs, Christian Castro, and CeCe Winans, to name a few. As an acting coach, in 2011, Marishka founded the Marishka Phillips Theatrical Preparatory. She has coached and trained some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Deborah Cox, Kerry Washington, Terri Vaughn, Rafael Saadiq, Tasha Smith and Elizabeth Rohm.




Al Thompson


As an actor, Thompson has appeared in numerous films and television shows, including The Royal TenenbaumsA Walk to RememberLove Don’t Cost a Thing, ESPN’s A Season on the Brink, andCBS’s Elementary.  Al also won acclaim for his performance as Derrick, the troubled protagonist of the Larry Fessenden production Liberty Kid.

Projects include a comedy with writer/comedian Rob Stapelton titled The Stuff, as well as Paul Starkman’s Wheels, which won best narrative feature at the Harlem Internal Film Festival in 2019.