The AJFF Jury

Deliberated by an esteemed panel of filmmakers, journalists, students, and experts, each year, the Jury reviews select films playing in competition and picks winners across six categories:

In addition to the existing Audience Awards for Best Narrative, Best Documentary and Best Short, see the films eligible for Jury Prizes in these same categories.

An Emerging Filmmaker Prize will also be awarded to a rising creative talent, whose film shows exceptional skill and artistry. The Building Bridges Prize will honor the film that most exemplifies the mission of AJFF, informed by founder and partner American Jewish Committee, to foster understanding among communities of diverse religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

Rounding out the list is the Human Rights Prize, awarded to the film that most powerfully captures the perseverance and strength in those whose sense of justice guides them in the face of bigotry, inequality and/or persecution.

2018 Jury Wrangler
Arik Sokol (Producer, Opus Media Productions)

2018 NARRATIVE JURY

Dan Mirvish (Filmmaker & Co-founder, Slamdance Film Festival)
Scott Orlin (Journalist & Correspondent, Cinema Magazine & Hollywood Foreign Press Association)
Sara Grasberg (Graduate Student, Emory University, Film & Media Studies)

Films in Competition

2018 DOCUMENTARY JURY

Nina Gilden Seavey (Filmmaker & Research Professor, The George Washington University
Brantly Watts (Writer, Director, Producer & Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence, Atlanta Film Society
Taylor Hartley (Undergraduate Student, University of West Georgia, Film and Video Production)

Films in Competition

2018 SHORTS JURY

Deborah Riley Draper (Writer & Director, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice)
Curt Holman (Writer & Film Critic, Creative Loafing & Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Melissa Simpson (Undergraduate Student, University of North Georgia, Film & Digital Media)

Films in Competition

2018 EMERGING FILMMAKERS JURY

Alicia Malone (Film Reporter & Host, Filmstruck & Fandango)
Steve Mensch (President & General Manager of Studio Operations, Tyler Perry Studios)
Gentry Parks (Graduate Student, Savannah College of Art & Design, Film & Television Production)

Films in Competition

2018 BUILDING BRIDGES JURY

Shawn Levy (Film Critic & Author)
Melanie Maron Pell (Associate Director & Director of Regional Engagement Department of Regional Offices, American Jewish Committee)
Alex Preston (Graduate Student, Savannah College of Art & Design, Film & Television Production)

Films in Competition

2018 HUMAN RIGHTS JURY

Catherine Dana (Novelist & Professor, Emory University's Tam Institute for Jewish Studies
Jessica Ritchey (Writer & Film Critic, RogerEbert.com)
Joseph Tiller (Undergraduate Student, University of North Georgia, Film & Digital Media)

Films in Competition