Park City, UT – Sundance Institute today announced members of five juries awarding prizes at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival which runs January 20-30, 2011. All awards will be announced the evening of January 29 at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony. The Short Film Awards will also be named earlier at a ceremony on Tuesday, January 25 at Park City’s Jupiter Bowl.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY JURY
Jeffrey Blitz started his film career in 2002 with the Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning documentary Spellbound. His fiction feature debut, Rocket Science, became his first to play the festival (Sundance, 2007; Dramatic Directing Award). He has also directed the documentary Lucky (Sundance, 2010) and multiple episodes of NBC’s “The Office.” In 2009, he won the Emmy for comedy directing.
Matt Groening created the longest-running comedy in television history…The Simpsons. As a cartoonist, Groening began his “Life in Hell” weekly comic strip series in the 1980′s which continues to this day in newspapers nationwide.
Laura Poitras is working on a trilogy of films about America post 9/11. The first film, My Country, My Country, was nominated for an Academy Award, Independent Spirit Award, and Emmy Award. The second film, The Oath, received the Cinematography award at Sundance, the Grand Jury Award at Edinburgh, Special Jury prizes at Hot Docs and Full Frame, the True Vision Award at True/False, and the Gotham Award for Best Documentary. She has attended the Sundance Institute Documentary Edit Lab as both a fellow and creative advisor.
Jess Search is the Chief Executive of the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation which has given funding and support to over 60 British documentaries including Sundance films Afghan Star, The End of the Line, The Yes Men Fix the World, How Is Your Fish Today and Black Gold. Jess moderates The Good Pitch, a partnership with the Sundance Institute which connects filmmakers with NGOs, foundations and brands.
Sloane Klevin won an Emmy for her work on the feature documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. The film also won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Her latest project is Freakonomics, for which she edited segments for Alex Gibney, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.
U.S. DRAMATIC JURY
America Ferrera made her Sundance Film Festival debut in 2002 with Real Women Have Curves, which earned her a Special Jury Prize for Acting. Since then, she has starred in the Festival films How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, Steel City, La Misma Luna, and The Dry Land (also an Executive Producer). America is well-known for her Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award winning role as Betty Suarez in the hit television series Ugly Betty. She has starred in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2, Our Family Wedding, and voiced Astrid in How to Train Your Dragon. She currently serves as an Artist Ambassador for the global humanitarian organization Save the Children, most recently helping to build an elementary school in Diassadeni, Mali. She is also a member of the 2011 Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board.
Todd McCarthy is chief film critic for The Hollywood Reporter and for many years held the same position at Variety. He has made several documentary films, including the award-winning Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematographyand won an Emmy for writing Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer” He is currently a member of the selection committee of the New York Film Festival.
Tim Orr studied cinematography at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for David Gordon Green’s first feature George Washington, and has directed photography on all of Green’s films, including Sundance Award winner All the Real Girls; as well as Undertow; Snow Angels, Pineapple Express and the upcoming Your Highness. Orr also served as director of photography on Mike White’s, Year of the Dog; Peter Sollett’s Raising Victor Vargas, and Mark Milgard’s Dandelion for which Orr was again nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
Kimberly Peirce staked her place as a director of singular vision and craft with her unflinching debut feature, Boys Don’t Cry, which she developed at the Sundance Institute Feature Film lab and went on to earn numerous honors including the Best Actress Oscar for the film’s star, Hilary Swank, Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Awards for Chloe Sevigny, and National Board of Review and Boston Film Critics Directing Awards for Peirce. Peirce’s most recent film, Stop-Loss, is a topical and emotionally penetrating drama inspired by real-life stories of American soldiers, including her own brother, fighting in Iraq and coming home.
Jason Reitman made his directorial debut with the short film Operation at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. He has directed three other films that have screened at the Festival including the short films In God We Trust and Gulp, and the feature film Thank You for Smoking. Jason has received four Academy Award nominations, two of which are for Best Director for the films Juno (2007), and Up in the Air (2009). He was also a member of the Sundance Film Festival’s 2008 Short Film Jury. Jason is currently in post production on his latest directorial endeavor Young Adult. He is also a member of the 2011 Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board.
WORLD DOCUMENTARY JURY
Jose Padilha is a Brazilian producer, writer and director. He directed and produced the documentaries BUS 174, Garapa and Secrets of the Tribe, as well as the feature film Elite Squad, for which he won the Berlin Golden Bear.
Mette Hoffmann Meyer is head of documentaries and co-productions for Danish DR TV. Mette has commissioned and supported great award-winning films over the years from Burma VJ, The Red Chapel’ The Devil came on Horseback, Taxi to the Dark Side to Please Vote for Me.
Lucy Walker has directed four award-winning feature documentaries: Devil’s Playground about Amish teenagers (premiered Sundance 2002); Blindsight about blind Tibetan teenagers climbing Everest (2006); Countdown to Zero about nuclear weapons, and Wasteland which won Audience Awards at Sundance and Berlin and the IDA’s Best Documentary Award.
WORLD DRAMATIC JURY
Susanne Bier made the Oscar-nominated After the Wedding (2006) and the US-produced Things We Lost in the Fire (2007), which were both hits at the domestic box office. Her latest film In a Better World (2010) is the Danish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Bong Joon-Ho is an award-winning writer-director born in South Korea. He graduated from the Korean Academy of Film Art. Film credits include Barking Dogs Never Bite; Memories of Murder; The Host ,and Mother.
Rajendra Roy joined the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art as Chief Curator in July 2007, leading the museum’s film collection, preservation and exhibition efforts. In 2009, he organized the first museum retrospective of the films of Mike Nichols, and same year co-organized the exhibition “Tim Burton” which will tour internationally through 2012. He is also a member of the selection committee for New Directors/New Films, presented annually with the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
SHORT FILM JURY
Barry Jenkins is an award-winning writer/director whose feature film debut Medicine for Melancholy garnered three Spirit Award Nominations, a Gotham Award nomination as well as awards from the San Francisco International, Sarasota and Woodstock Film Festivals. The picture also earned Barry a slot amongst Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 Faces of Independent Film”
Kim Morgan is a film and culture writer who authors her own site, Sunset Gun, a blog devoted to movies, music, photography and mostly, the power of cinema — from screwball to noir, art house to grindhouse, venerated classics to poverty row rarities. She also authors MSN’s movie blog, The Hitlist, and has written for Entertainment Weekly, GQ, LA Weekly, IFC, Salon and Huffington Post. She’s appeared on AMC, STARZ and MTV and most recently, as guest programmer for Turner Classic Movies.
Sara Bernstein is vice president, HBO Documentary Films, for Home Box Office, responsible for overseeing the development and production of various documentary films for the network. As a supervising producer, her credits include the Emmy®-winning documentary films Baghdad ER, White Light, Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale; the Oscar® nominated documentary feature films Which Way Home, Burma VJ and Irag in Fragments; the Academy Award®-winning Music by Prudence and The Blood of Yingzhou District; the Emmy® nominated Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq; the Peabody and Sundance Film Festival Award winner Hear and Now; and the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy® nominated To Die in Jerusalem.