Jury Members


Jon Anderson

Jon started his 40 year career in the motion picture industry in his homeland of Australia at Fox Columbia in 1980. He subsequently worked in the UK and the US for, at various times, Sony Pictures, Paramount, Universal, Dreamworks Animation, and Disney before landing his latest role as Senior VP Global Marketing for Amblin Partners. Although retired, and now resides in Australia, CIFF would not let him go!

Stephanie Allen

Stephanie Allen has been an actor, screenwriter and creative marketing executive, including Co-EVP Marketing at Searchlight where she spearheaded award-winning campaigns for films such as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and SIDEWAYS. As a consultant she’s worked with Focus Features, A24 and others. She’s a volunteer social arts producer for R.A.C.E. Matters SLO. Projects include multi-event cultural series and production of documentary film shorts. She mentors with Good City Mentors and Prescott College and has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and a BA in creative writing and education.

Mitchell Block

Mitchell Block holds the Jon Anderson Chair, Professor of Documentary Production and Studies at the University of Oregon, School of Journalism. Documentary films produced by Block have been honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures four times, with one Oscar, one nomination, 2 have been shortlisted for nominations. He is currently finishing his film JUSTICE DELAYED, a documentary looking at a survivor’s response to a brutal assault. Block is on the Adjunct Faculty of the Beijing Film Academy and lectures on film globally.

Vanessa Block

Vanessa Block’s directorial debut was the Netflix-acquired short documentary, THE TESTIMONY, which was shortlisted for the Academy Awards and explored the largest rape trial in the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She went on to co-story and produce, earning a p.g.a. mark, for the narrative feature, PIG, starring Nicolas Cage under the banner of her production company, BlockBox Entertainment.

Lisa Bruce

Lisa Bruce is a two-time Oscar nominated, BAFTA winning producer with a career spanning over 25 years with 15 feature and television films to her credit. In 2018, Lisa was Oscar nominated for Best Picture as well as two BAFTA’s for Best Picture for Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman. In 2015 Lisa won the Best British Film BAFTA and was nominated for both a Golden Globe® and an Academy Award for The Theory of Everything. In 2019, she was the Creative Executive Producer for Amazon Prime’s 8-part anthology TV series entitled Welcome to the Blumhouse. Following this, she helped launch a new EPIX TV anthology series as the Creative Executive Producer on the showcased film American Refugee. Currently, Lisa is the producing partner with actor, producer, director David Oyelowo and his company Yoruba Saxon, developing features, TV series and docuseries. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the British Academy of Film and TV Arts and is always in search of a great story to share with the world.

Ricardo Del Rio

Ricardo Del Rio has worked in the film industry since 1983, starting in big-budget films such as “Dune,” “Conan – The Destroyer,” and “Honey …I Shrunk the Kids”. Since then, he has specialized in international feature films as a Unit Production Manager, Line Producer, Co-Producer, and Executive Producer. He has co-produced/line produced many of the most successful international feature films shot in Mexico. He has also managed/supervised the Latin American Units of films and through his production services company Art In Motion – Mexico. His credits also include “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” and “Borderland” as 1st Assistant Director and “Fate of the Furious” for Universal Studios in Havana, Cuba, followed by “Transformers V – The Last Knight” for Paramount Pictures.
Ricardo has also supervised several projects for Film Finances International, Netflix Serials, and Feature Films for various studios, including MGM. He has written and produced several Mexican features over his 35-year career. He is currently developing a slate of 12 projects, including six international features in a joint venture between Art In Motion International and Fabrica de Cine. As a co-founder of the National Film Commission – México and the Puerto Vallarta Film Commission, Ricardo Del Río has worked closely with Mexican Unions and Official Institutions in the US and Mexico. Aiming to help develop a thriving and reliable Latin-American film industry that can provide top-quality services in Latin America to any production, regardless of its nationality, complexity, or budget size.

Coco Francini

Coco Francini is an Emmy-nominated producer and a partner at Dirty Films, alongside Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton. She recently produced Christos Nikou’s FINGERNAILS, featuring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed, and has executive produced Iranian-Australian filmmaker Noora Niasari’s feature debut SHAYDA, starring Cannes Best Actress winner Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, which premiered in the World Dramatic Competition at Sundance this past year and went on to win the Audience Award. Previous to her work with Dirty Films, Coco executive produced MRS. AMERICA for FX Networks, written by MAD MEN alum Dahvi Waller. The show premiered in April 2020 and received ten Emmy nominations, including Best Limited Series, Outstanding Writing, and acting nominations for Blanchett, Margo Martindale, and Tracey Ullman, as well as an Emmy win for Uzo Aduba. Coco is also a frequent collaborator of Quentin Tarantino. Beginning with DJANGO UNCHAINED and then on THE HATEFUL EIGHT where she oversaw the global 70MM roadshow tour and the soundtrack/score that won a long-deserved Academy Award for Ennio Morricone. A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Francini earned her master’s from the elite Peter Stark Producing Program at USC.

Lori Huck

Earning an MFA in Film & Television at NYU, Lori became a top development executive whose producing credits include “Marvel’s Blade: The Series” and “Kitchen Confidential” starring Bradley Cooper. Lori pivoted to the innovative intersection of technology and storytelling as Senior Editorial Analyst and Product Manager for The Walt Disney Company. As a multiple-patent holder and member of Disney’s Women in Studio Technology, Lori’s work with descriptive metadata promotes cutting-edge, consumer-facing content curations for studio brands, including Marvel, Pixar, LucasFilm, WDAS, Disney+, and more.

Kristie Kershaw

With a background in strategic branding and creative advertising, and a passion for powerful storytelling, Kristie is the President of Creative Marketing at Fanthropology, an LA-based research, strategy and creative agency supporting development and marketing for television and film. Kristie leads the creation of innovative strategies and powerful creative executions in collaboration with clients at Universal (Jurassic World), Lionsgate (John Wick) Paramount (Sonic the Hedgehog) MGM (House of Gucci), Disney (Dr. Strange), Amazon Prime Video (The Boys), and HBO Max (And Just Like That).

Nancy McRae

Nancy McRae A longtime advocate for the Arts & Culture, Nancy recently retired from her position at Coronado School of the Arts. She is a former CIFF board member and served as the Festival’s liaison for educational outreach. She continues to work with the festival as a community ambassador. Her passion is to see people be good, responsible and educated stewards of our planet and one another, which perfectly align with the Emerald Award which recognizes the stories that impact lives.

Peter McRae

Peter came from New Zealand to British Columbia, Canada in 1978 on a Rotary Graduate Scholarship to study Maritime law at the UBC Law School, building on his experience as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New Zealand. HIs world travels were interrupted by a Ms. Nancy Scholey (now McRae), and he settled in the States to pursue a career in oil and gas financing, then master-planned community development, and in 1992 founded Quattro Environmental, Inc., a soil erosion-control and native plant revegetation company. A lifelong passion for filmmaking, and a special relationship with a founding member of the CIFF, precipitated Peter’s invitation to become a juror for The Emerald Award, an honor he values and is proud to take part in.

Kim Magnusson

Founded M&M Productions in 1995 with his father, Tivi Magnusson. Headhunted to run Nordisk Film’s Film Division as CEO from 2003 – 2009. In the years 1995- 2019 he has produced or EP’ed more than 140 films. He has been Oscar® nominated in the category “Live Action Short Film ” six times, and won the coveted award in 1999 for ELECTION NIGHT and in 2014 for HELIUM. Kim Magnusson has been the chairman of the Danish Producers Association for 9 years (most ever), as well as chairman of the Danish Film Academy – a position he held from 1999-2019. Kim is a voting member of AMPAS® and as well as both The Danish and The European Film Academy.

Rob Ramsey

Rob Ramsey As a working screenwriter in Hollywood, Robert Ramsey has co-written many memorable major motion pictures including “Life,” starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence; “Big Trouble,” starring Tim Allen and Rene Russo; “Intolerable Cruelty” starring George Clooney and Cathrine Zeta-Jones; and “Soul Men” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. Over the course of a multi-faceted career, Ramsey has written dozens of original comedies, adapted popular novels and performed uncredited rewrites for most of the major studios, including Castlerock, Disney, Revolution, Sony, Universal and Warner Brothers. He has taught screenwriting at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts since 2012, and has been a member of the Writers Guild of America, West, Inc. since 1988.

Claudia Puig

Claudia is president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a critic on NPR’s Film Week. She also teaches a college class on Diversity in the Media and is in demand as a moderator and speaker on film-related panels. In addition, Claudia has a film consulting business specializing in cultural consulting. Previously, she was USA Today’s film critic for 15 years and was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times for 11 years. Claudia is Program Director of the Mendocino Film Festival. She was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times as one of the 14 film critics making media more inclusive and is the winner of the Roger Ebert Award for Excellence in Film Criticism from the African-American Critics Association. She currently serves as the Programming Director for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Ann Walker

Ann Walker helped launch the inaugural Mendocino Film Festival in Northern California in 2006, and has played a major role in building and guiding the organization over the past 17 years, serving as Executive Director, Vice President of Operations, and Senior Programmer. Her passion for documentary film propelled her into programming and she now serves as programmer, curator, and film scout for the Mendocino Film Festival, as well as being an Advisor to the Board. She attends festivals from Amsterdam to Toronto in pursuit of the perfect lineup.

Sue-Allen Villalva

Born in Mexico City, she studied English at Concordia University and French at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Ms. Villalva graduated in 1996 as a Major in Communication & Media at the Anahuac University in Mexico City. After working on her first American film, “The Mexican”, Ms. Villalva continued working in international films such as “Nacho Libre”, “Fast & Furious” and “Limitless” for Universal Pictures, Vantage Point, Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and “The Heartbreak Kid “ for Dreamworks Pictures. She has been a Production Supervisor in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” for Disney Pictures, “Little Boy” and on “Ghosts of the Pacific” filmed at the Fox Studios in Rosarito, Baja California. Sue-Allen has been The Co-Executive Producer of “Hands of Stone”, starring Robert DeNiro and Edgar Ramirez and managed the Mexico Unit of “Everything, Everything” for MGM. Producer of “91 Nights- a Left to Tell story”, currently she is writing and developing in her Company Art in Motion International film projects along with Gaston Pavlovich’s Fabrica de Cine.

Kira Wojak

From 2016 to 2019, Kira Rose Wojack co-curated the acclaimed Mendocino Film Festival Short Films Program with Ann Walker and worked with Ann and Program Director Claudia Puig to help select the features lineup. Kira has scouted films at festivals around California. She was an associate producer for Denervation, a speculative fiction short film. Two films she represented as a publicist won Jury Awards at the Cinequest Film and Creativity Festival.

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