2015 Jurors


Competing films are eligible for a $30,000 USD Knight Grand Jury Achievement Award that will be split between the lead production company and the U.S. distributor of the film. If no U.S. distributor is secured before 30 days after the close of the Festival, then the full award will be made to the lead production company. The Grand Jury will also award two $5,000 cash prizes, totaling $10,000 in additional funds, one for Best Director and one for Best Performance.


Amma Asante

Amma Asante was born in London to Ghanaian immigrant parents. As a child, Asante attended the Barbara Speake stage school in Acton, London, where she trained as a pupil in dance and drama. In her late teens, Asante left acting and worked in screenwriting with a development deal from Chrysalis. She founded a production company, Tantrum Films, and wrote and produced two series of the urban drama “Brothers and Sisters”, for BBC2. Through Tantrum Films to make her directorial debut with a feature film, A Way of Life (2004), which screened at the 2005 Miami International Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize, World Competition and FIPRESCI Prize. Her second feature, Belle (2013) was distributed through Fox Searchlight Pictures and it was awarded the Signis Award at the 2014 Miami International Film Festival. She is currently working on her next film for Warner Bros.


Mercedes Gamero

Mercedes Gamero is one of Spain’s most prolific producers. She has produced some of Spain’s biggest box office hits of recent years, including Three Steps Above Heaven (Tres metros sobre el cielo) (2010) and its sequel I Want You (Tengo ganas de ti) (2012). Several of her films have been official selections at Miami International Film Festival: The Opposite of Love (Lo contrario al amor); Torrente  4: Lethal Crisis (2012 Festival); Extraterrestrial (2012 Special Screening Event); The End (Fin) (2013 Festival); Three Many Weddings (Tres bodas de más); Zip & Zap and the Marble GangFamily United (La gran familia española); Open WindowsFoosball (Metegol) (2014 Festival). Her production of Kamikaze, will screen in the CINEDWNTWN GALAS presented by Miami DDA program at this year’s Festival. Her latest film, Marshland (La isla mínima), led the Goya Awards from Spain’s Academy of Cinema this year with 17 nominations.


Phil Lord

Phil Lord was born in Miami, Florida. He is a writer, producer and director, whose career began with creative partner Christopher Miller with the animated MTV comedy series “Clone High” in 2002. Lord and Miller’s first full-length feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) grossed over $225 million at the worldwide box office and led to the opportunity to create their first live-action feature film, 21 Jump Street (2012), another major box office success. In 2014, the pair released The LEGO Movie, a massive international hit at $450 million+ at the worldwide box office; and the sequel 22 Jump Street, which out grossed the original film to land in the top 15 films of the year at the domestic U.S. box office.  The LEGO Movie has won multiple critical platitudes, including Best Animated Feature from New York Film Critics Circle, Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Producers Guild of America.


This distinguished jury selects from five first-time feature filmmakers from Latin America, Spain and/or Portugal for a $10,000 cash award presented by Lexus.


Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez was born in Venezuela and is currently based in Mexico. He studied music and photography before he attended the National Film School in Lodz, Poland. Hernandez made several short films including “Aprendiz” and “Pierwszy krok w Chmurach”, which participated in various international film festivals, receiving multiple awards. His first feature, The Night Buffalo, premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2007 and also screened at San Sebastian Film Festival 2007. That same year was selected as one of Variety’s “Ten Directors To Watch.” The Heirs (Los Herederos), his second feature film, is currently in postproduction, and recently received the support of the Works-in-Progress Prize from Los Cabos International Film Festival.


Elena Manrique
Indie Sales

Elena Manrique served as an executive producer on the 2007 Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth (Art Direction, Cinematography and Makeup), which also scored nominations for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay for director Guillermo del Toro. She also served as executive producer of several Goya Award winners (the Academy Awards of Spain): prison drama Cell 211 (Celda 211), winner of multiple honors, including the 2010 Goya for Best Picture, and the 2007 ghost story The Orphanage, another multiple Goya nominee (including Best Picture) and multiple winner (including Best New Director and Best Screenplay). Her other producing credits include the 2009 drama Rabia, an international film festival circuit favorite; the 2008 train murder mystery Transsiberian from director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Session 9); the 2008 drama The Oxford Murders; and 2008 MIFF Official Selection The King of the Mountain.  Her current projects include producing and co-writing Ciudad Delirio (2014), screening at this year’s Festival, and serving as head of acquisitions at the Paris-based sales agent Indie Sales.


Hernán Musaluppi

Hernán Musaluppi studied Cinema and Literature in Buenos Aires. In the 1990s he worked on Silvia Prietoby Martín Rejtman (a selection of 1999 Miami International Film Festival), La libertad by Lisandro Alonso, No quiero volver a casa by Albertina Carri and Crane World (Mundo grúa) by Pablo Trapero, among others. In 2001 he founded Rizoma with Natacha Cervi. In just a few years Rizoma became one of the most respected independent film companies in Argentina, taking home several prizes from prestigious film festivals. Since then, more than 25 of Rizoma’s films have been commercially distributed worldwide. Rizoma’s current slate includes The Project of the Century (La obra del siglo), by Carlos Quintela and Sunstrokes (Las insoladas), by Gustavo Taretto, screening at this year’s Miami International Film Festival. Musaluppi is the President of CAIC, the largest Producer’s association in Argentina, and the first Argentinean producer to become a member of ACE. In 2012, he published his first book El cine y lo que queda de mí. In 2014, he was part of the Official Jury for the Best First Feature Film award at the Berlinale.


First-time screenwriters are eligible for a $5,000 USD cash prize, courtesy of the Jordan Alexander Ressler Charitable Fund. This special award recognizes and supports artists in their careers as professional screenwriters. It was created by the South Florida family of Jordan Alexander Ressler, an aspiring screenwriter and Cornell University film studies graduate who, during his brief entertainment career, held production positions with the Tony award-winning Broadway hits 700 Sundays with Billy Crystal and Jersey Boys.


Hans Morgenstern

Miami-based film critic Hans Morgenstern holds a Master’s degree in literature from Florida International University with a concentration on cinema. Mr. Morgenstern’s thesis analyzed Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey against the classical Hollywood form. He has taught film courses at Barry University and FIU and worked in the programming departments of Miami International Film Festival and Miami Jewish Film Festival. Mr. Morgenstern is a voting member of the Florida Film Critics Circle. His film criticism is mostly featured on Independent Ethos, a blog with an international following focused on in-depth film and music analysis and featuring interviews with notable filmmakers and musicians. He has also contributed reviews and articles to the Miami New TimesReverseshot.com, Hollywood.com and the Miami Herald.


Mitchell Kaplan

Mitchell Kaplan is a co-founder of Miami Book Fair International and serves as the Chairperson of its Board of Directors. He also serves on the steering committee of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, Miami-Dade College’s literary center. Mitchell recently served a two-year term as President of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and continues an active involvement with the organization. He also serves on the Board of ABFFE, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. In 2009, he joined forces with award-winning Hollywood producer Paula Mazur to create The Mazur/Kaplan Company, with the objective of identifying, optioning, and producing literary properties for film and TV. In the last six years, the company has grown in to a leading producer of high quality, commercial film & television, and has numerous projects in all stages of development and production.


Gary Ressler

Gary Ressler is a Principal of the TILIA FAMILY OF COMPANIES, family owned-and-operated ventures in the Real Estate, Financial Services and Lifestyle Industries with an active presence in Downtown Miami since the late-1970s.  TILIA is headquartered in its landmark property,  THE HISTORIC ALFRED I. DUPONT BUILDING where TILIA EVENTS also operates a world-renown Special Events Venue. TILIA is actively developing the future of Miami with CENTRO CONDOMINIUM, the first residential condominium project set to rise in Miami’s Central Business District since the ‘Great Recession’. Mr. Ressler is also President of the Board of the DOWNTOWN MIAMI PARTNERSHIP (DMP), Downtown Miami’s private sector voice and advocate to promote a prosperous, livable and dynamic downtown.


CinemaSlam represents the finest work of the year from South Florida’s Film students, as Miami’s Center of Cinematography, Arts & Television, Miami Dade College’s School of Entertainment, Design & Technology, Miami International University, and University of Miami’s School of Communications put their best foot forward in this year’s 5th Annual CinemaSlam competition. The jury will determine the following winners: Miami CinemaSlam Champion 2015, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Drama, Best Documentary and Best Technical Achievement. The final award: CinemaSlam Audience Award Winner 2015, will be determined by audience votes following the screenings on Friday, March 6 at MDC’s Tower Theater.


Melissa Ader

Melissa Ader joined the Field Marketing Team for KIND Healthy Snacks just over a year ago. She is passionate about promoting the company’s social mission of spreading and inspiring acts of kindness, both large and small, throughout South and Central Florida. While often known only for their line of delicious healthy snacks, KIND is a mission-driven company that thrives on the opportunity to make the world a kinder place; one kind act and one KIND snack at a time.


Aaron Moorhead

Aaron Moorhead is from Tarpon Springs, Fla. and graduated from Florida State University’s film school.  He directed the feature A Glaring Emission (2010) before teaming up with creative partner Justin Benson on the films Resolution (2012), V/H/S: Viral (segment “Bonestorm”) (2014) and Spring (2014).


Ayoub Qanir

Ayoub Qanir graduated from University of Miami (Class of 2005) and extended his education at the Lee Strasberg Film School in Los Angeles where he completed a degree in Film directing and production. His is currently pursuing a graduate program in Nanotechnology at Harvard University. Ayoub has become known for building his concepts and stories from the sciences up, most notably in his critically acclaimed “Human After All” series featuring French music duo Daft Punk, and in his concept film “Koyakatsi”. Additionally Qanir has just recently completed his latest work, a short film, “Artificio Conceal”, set in London and starring David Bailie (Pirates of The Caribbean) and Simon Armstrong (“Games of Thrones”).


Luxury developers Terra Group and The Related Group are sponsors of MiamiFF32’s Park Grove Shorts Competition in the name of their upcoming Park Grove condominium partnership. The Park Grove Shorts Competition will present a winning short filmmaker with a $2,500 cash prize.


Rachel Bleemer


Nicolas Calzada


Tatyana Chiocchetti


Alessandra Gherardi


Genevieve Guermont


Matthew Knobel


Oliver Mahrdt
German Films


Steve Mesa


Ileana Oroza


Jaqueline Proctor


Kevin Sharpley


Lisa Sloat


Jose-Antonio Valencia