Meet Our Jury

Flavio Alves
Flavio is a Brazilian film writer, director, and producer. He worked as an assistant to then-New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and to then-New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. His debut full-length feature film, THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND (2019), premiered at SXSW, where it won the Audience Award. In 2018, Alves received The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Artist Academy fellowship, and in 2019, he was selected to Ryan Murphy’s HALF Initiative Directing Program, aimed at creating equal opportunities for minorities behind the camera. Flavio is the co-founder of Rakoom, a PR company that specializes in promoting independent films.

Skye Borgman
Skye is an award-winning director and cinematographer of narrative and documentary films all over the world. Her global experiences guide her vision, thought, and approach to film-making. She has filmed rock stars, prime ministers, drug addicts, environmentalists, Academy award winners, Buddhist nuns, and anarchist chocolate makers. She received the “Accolade Award of Excellence” and “Best Documentary Feature” for Junk Dreams.  She also won Best Cinematography award for her work on “China Lake” and was nominated for Best Cinematography on “Axe To Grind”. Notable documentaries include:  Netflix “Abducted in Plain Sight”, and “Well Now You’re Here, There is No Way Back”, a Big Hair Rock N’ Roll documentary on Quiet Riot.

Nancy Cohen
Nancy was raised in Lewistown, just down the road a piece, by a father who owned the town’s movie theatre. Thus, her love for film. Currently, she is in post-production of Woodstock: A Snapshot in Time, and a film about people who get musical messages from John Lennon, Something About John. She is also a visual artist, with works appearing in gallery shows and has a photograph in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. She has written for Huff  Post and received an award from the New York Public Library for an essay on MLK. Ms. Cohen has also been a judge at The School for Visual Arts in New York and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also a member of New York Women in Film. And loves dogs.

Niav Conty
Niav is an active freelance director, cinematographer, and screenwriter in New York City. Her award-winning films have traveled to festivals worldwide. She is a recipient of the Kodak Award for cinematography and the Princess Grace Award. SMALL TIME, her 2020 feature shot in rural Pennsylvania over five years has won 9 awards, including the Spirit of Freedom Award, the EDA award for best female-directed feature, and Best Feature and Best Director several times over. She is currently in post-production on her newest feature, Person Woman Man Camera Tv, about an interracial couple disintegrating during the 2020 pandemic.

Tim Gordon
Film Critic, Association President, Festival Director, Film Historian, Radio Host, Film Festival and Award Show Founder, Adjunct Professor, Executive Director, Brand Creator, and lover of all things film, Tim remains a cinema innovator seeking to educate future generations and alter the perspective of African-American portrayals on the screen and in the executive suites of Hollywood. He created the educational infrastructure the Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF) in 2004. In 2018, he fulfilled a life-long dream, launching the Lakefront Film Festival.

Mandy Looney
A graduate from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Media in Michigan, Mandy’s ability to visualize concepts, understand and create an approach into a new film project from script to screen brings along a unique, individual and often very humorous vision. She brings amazing talent both in front of and behind the scenes, most recently as Director of the short films “Watch Night” and “Emergency Alert” both seeing success on the film festival circuit with 20+ acceptances throughout 2019.

Mike Madigan
Mike began his film career as director of the short film “Caught” (2006) filmed in Chicago, which screened at 11 film festivals in the US and fostered his ongoing interest in the digital short film format. He saw continued success with dramatic shorts THE CANDLE, DEMETER and the smash follow-up hit DEMETER: SURRENDER, with the film’s trailer receiving 700,000+ Youtube hits to date. In 2010, the romantic comedy “4 Pictures” was released, a highly stylized short that received accolades including Best Comedy and Best Director.

Kevin Mambo
Known for his recent work as Sheldon on MARVEL’S LUKE CAGE, his role on the CBS Daytime serial GUIDING LIGHT in the role of Marcus William, and his role as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in the Broadway production of the musical FELA!, Kevin Mambo’s range is vast. Upon completion of earning a BFA at the School of Dramatic arts at USC in Los Angeles, Mambo gained critical acclaim on GUIDING LIGHT: three consecutive nominations and two consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Younger Actor in Drama Series. His career has been a reflection of his range and prowess since.

Tim Naylor
Upon receiving his MFA from New York University’s Graduate Film Program, Tim went on to work as a cinematographer and camera operator, shooting numerous features, documentaries and TV shows, including Steve McQueen’s Shame and Inside Amy Schumer as well as winning Best Cinematography for at the 2019 Madrid IFF. In the past few years he’s directed a slate of short films, notably Buried Deep (Palm Springs FF and Urban World FF) and Christmas Mission: Sierra Leone (Lincoln Center, African FF).

Peter Nickowitz
Peter is a screenwriter, playwright, poet, and literary critic. His first feature, JONATHAN, was directed by Bill Oliver, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. His next feature, OUR SON, is in pre-production for February 2022. Peter’s plays have been produced or developed at The Lark, Dixon Place, The Cherry Lane, and The Blank Theater in Los Angeles. His books include Cinema Vernacular, a collection of poems, published by Publication Studios, and Rhetoric and Sexuality: The Poetry of Hart Crane, Elizabeth Bishop, and James Merrill. Peter lives in New York City and teaches at New York University.

Traven Rice
Traven is a New York City-based filmmaker devoted to telling stories about the extraordinary moments that make up our everyday lives. She recently completed the pilot for DIVISION STREET, which was featured in the FilmShop collective’s Breakthrough Series and screened in competition at SeriesFest 2019, where it won a development award from the Caz Matthews Fund. Rice studied film at FAMU, in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently developing her feature film, Red Rock Falls, as a fellow in the New York Stage & Film Filmmakers’ Workshop.

Lili Jo Rosen
Lili is an actress and consultant who specializes in the Yiddish language and culture of pre-war Eastern European communities and contemporary Hasidic society. Dubbed by Airmail magazine “Hollywood’s Yiddish Consultant”, she served as the script consultant, translator, language coach and art consultant on numerous projects for theatre, film and TV, including most recently Netflix’s Unorthodox, Amazon’s Undone and Minyan (Strand Releasing).

Eric Seals
“If you learn to shoot with your heart, you’ll move people’s souls!” A good friend & mentor said that to Eric Seals years ago, and it’s something he still thinks about working as a photo & video journalist at the Detroit Free Press, where he’s been since 1999. Eric has been recognized for his photo and video storytelling with a national Edward R. Murrow award, a national Webby Award, multiple Michigan Press Photographer Association Multimedia Photographer of the Year awards, several POYi awards & eleven regional Emmys.

Ya’Ke Smith
Known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, Ya’Ke’s films have received worldwide acclaim, screening, and winning awards at over 100 film festivals. The Director’s Guild of America, the Student Academy Awards, HBO, Showtime, the City of Buffalo, NY, and the City of Cincinnati, OH, which proclaimed October 6, 2019, as Ya’Ke Smith Day, have honored him. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin’s film program, where he is currently an Associate Professor of film and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Louis Spiegler
Louis started as an apprentice editor before landing at Dimension Films/Miramax, where he oversaw films directed by Wes Craven, Guillermo Del Toro, Robert Rodriguez, Ian Softley, Kari Skogland, and Alejandro Amenabar. Currently he’s working with producers Katrina Wolfe (HBO’s “Nightingale,” Paramount’s “Captive”) Shannon McIntosh (Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” “The Hateful Eight”), Christian Bruun (“Blue Gold: American Jeans”) and Adam Pincus (Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat”) on film, documentary, and podcast projects both fact-based and fictional.

Wilna Julmiste Taylor
Wilna is an actor, writer, producer, and art administrator. Her work includes investigating the intersections of art and culture, social justice efforts, and highlighting her Haitian heritage. Taylor’s artistic work has been presented nationally and internationally and produced at venues such as the Manhattan Repertory Theatre and the National Black Theatre Festival. She has been published in the Caribbean Writer where she is noted as an up-and-coming voice in the community of Haitian writers. She is a recipient of a Leeway Foundation Art and Change grant.

April Wright
April is an award-winning filmmaker who brings a fresh and creative approach to her documentary and narrative projects. She’s drawn to material based on real events, especially stories from an underrepresented point of view. Working as a narrative programmer for the Sundance Film Festival for the past 15 years, Sundance has been her film school. April’s latest film “Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story” won Best Documentary of 2020 from the Women Film Critics Circle, Film Threat’s Award This Best Sports Documentary, and has 100% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

Matt Zettell
Director/Producer Matt has spent over 20 years in the entertainment industry. He began his career in the theatre, directing across the country and building two pre-professional actor training programs. His focus then shifted towards television and feature film. He has worked as a director, and producer on over 35 feature films, 100’s of infomercials and corporate videos, and 22 television series. He has worked on big-budget features, independent films, documentaries, and commercials.

Student Jury

Liliana Bauman
Lily is a first year student with an intented major of Digital Arts and Media Design as well as a concurrent major in Film Production at Penn State University. She is a part of animation club and spends a lot of her free time creating art whether it be creating digital content, acting, or painting. She is super thrilled to be getting involved in the industry and cannot wait for the projects ahead.

Mackenzie DeArment
Mackenzie is from Lewistown, PA. She is a second-year film production student at Penn State and the owner of a custom-painted sneaker business. Mackenzie is also involved in Student Film Organization and 46Live at Penn State.

Allie Ford
Allie Ford is a sophomore at Penn State Main Campus and is studying to be a film major. She loves all things film and is a part of the Student Film Organization. This is her first time participating in the Centre Film Festival, and she hopes to participate in the festival in the years to come.

Odis Johnson
Odis is a student filmmaker from Philadelphia. He loves all parts of production, but his heart is in screenwriting. He loves the outdoors, white water rafting, and shooting for the stars. Johnson aspires to have his own commercial and theatrical production company one day.

Gabrielle Leon
Gabrielle Leon is a junior Film Production major and French minor at Penn State University. She has a passion for editing and hopes to spend time working abroad after graduation.

Shreya Narsinghani
Shreya Narsinghani is a first-year Film Production major at Penn State University. She is eager to explore every aspect of her major, especially screenwriting, and is thrilled to be a part of the Design and Planning committees for the Centre Film Festival. Shreya hopes to study-abroad in Spain next year and always loves a good dad joke.

Demi Olorunnisola
Demi Olorunnisola is a thirteen-year-old who lives in State College Pennsylvania. Demi attends Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School, and plans to attend State High starting next year. Demi is interested in documentaries; especially those focused on dynasties, presidential politics, science, world history, sports, and a variety of other topics. He also enjoys watching action films with interesting narratives. He loves reading in all of these areas and has a growing library of documentaries, films, and books.

Tragedy Plaisance
Tragedy is a freshman at State College Area High School. They are an avid writer of both original works and fanfiction, as well as an artist. Some of his writings are published on www. His interests are in art, video games, writing, and photography. They have a pet rabbit named Tori and an older brother. They were born in Colorado, and they like to travel.

Maggie Scanlon
I am a Penn State first year student majoring in Film Production in the Bellisario College of Communications. I am from Easton, Pennsylvania.

Kevin Sohn
Kevin Sohn (Sohn Hyun Woo, 손현우) is a Senior at Penn State University majoring in Film Production. Since the year 2012, he developed his passion of editing and gradually filmmaking through his personal YouTube channel with his documentary projects. He has also briefly worked as an advertising supervisor in LA based Korean news company known as USKN. In recent years, Kevin has received his first award for the Best Experimental Film at the New Wave Short Film Festival (Germany, Munich) with his quarantine project known as ‘Rage of the Colors’, as well as receiving many more nominations along with his stop motion animation project, ‘Little Precious’ at various film festivals. Kevin continues to enjoy exploring various film genres and filmmaking skills, as well as working on the script for his next passion project known as ‘The Sharp Fist’.

Hayley Weber
Hayley is a first year at Penn State University where she studies Film Production. She hopes to screenwrite and direct in her future with film.