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The 2020 Salute Your Shorts Film Festival Judges Unveiled

Updated: Aug 30, 2020

Salute Your Shorts Film Festival has unveiled the judges and jury for this year's festival. The 2020 Salute Your Shorts Film Festival winners will be announced live on Facebook page on Sunday, August 30th, 2020 at 5PM.

Here's a list of the judges and jury:


Tony Hale


Ina Pira

Quarantine Creativity and Super Shorts

Jack Hanley


Paul Sloop


Matt Fagerholm


Jeremy Howe


Katie Mccullough


Greg Sorvig

Female Filmmaker Award Jury

Erin Brown Thomas

Kath Tolentino

Deanna Wiley

Lauren Reid Brown

Becky Murdoch

Best of Fest Jury

Paul sloop

Erin Brown Thomas

Becky Murdoch

Matt Fagerholm

Alejandra López




Alejandra's short film "The Blue Cape", which she wrote and directed, has screened at Oscar® qualifying Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Uppsala International Short Film Festival, International Short Film Festival Berlin, Aspen Shortfest, among others, and was acknowledged with an Honorable Mention in the category for Best Live Action at Cleveland International Film Festival. She was the grand prize winner of Voces Nuevas - a Cine Sony and NALIP Short Film Contest. Alejandra was most recently a staff writer on the third season of Sony Crackle/Amazon's original series "Startup". Originally from Puerto Rico, Alejandra is now based in Los Angeles. She's repped by Bellevue Productions and WME. BECKY MURDOCH Becky Murdoch hails from Detroit, Michigan. During college she dove head-first into a decade-long career in music which brought her to Nashville, and ultimately Los Angeles. It was there that she attended her first film festival which prompted her transition into film producing and volunteering/working at festivals in the Los Angeles area. Meanwhile, while working at Epiphany Space in Hollywood, Becky single-handedly pioneered their live-events productions branch, creating hundreds of opportunities for artists of all kinds to showcase their work and bringing a personal touch to what can be a very impersonal city. Her backgrounds in music, film, and live events coalesced when she co-founded the Salute Your Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood, CA where she currently serves as festival director. DEANNA WILEY Deanna Wiley, was an intern for Salute Your Shorts Film Festival in the spring of 2019. Now that she has graduated from Southeastern University with a Bachelors in Film production, she is volunteering as the programming admin. She has also written and directed the short film Fading Warrior (18’). Most recently, she has edited videos for JcPenny and Apartment Therapy and also does some other freelance editing back in Florida. Deanna is passionate about creating films that inspire creativity and giving her audiences a different view of the world.

ERIN BROWN THOMAS Erin Brown Thomas is a dynamic director, writer, producer, and editor who's collaborated with heavyweight talent including Selena Gomez, Eminem, Lena Dunham, Emmy Rossum, and Elisabeth Moss and tentpole companies such as HBO, Netflix, Refinery 29, A Casual Romance, MTV, Snapchat Originals, and Makeready. Her films have received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and have been curated by Vimeo. Erin has directed over a dozen award-winning films which have screened in 92 festivals worldwide, including 14 Oscar Qualifying events. Most recently, the experimental But First placed her as an Artist in Residence at Palm Springs International ShortFest and her LGBT Dramedy Feeling Flush will have its international premiere at Inside Out, presented by Netflix . She was also selected to participate in the DGA's esteemed Commercial Directors Diversity Program. Erin’s screenplays have advanced at Sundance New Voices, the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Film Fest, and Blue Cat Screenplay competition. Her pilot “Managing Life” was enacted via UCB's selective “Let’s Table This” lab. Erin is currently in pre-production for her lauded original screenplay Italy ’99. When not on set, Erin dangles from the air as an aerial acrobat. Thus, she also founded a viral-hit prod. company, Versatile Assassins which tells complex stories about the human experience through aerial dance. Her youtube has quickly amassed 55k subscribers and over 4.7M views. Erin co-founded SYSFF in 2017 with Becky Murdoch.  Curation has deeply impacted her curiosity and voice as an artist.


Greg leads the artistic vision and film programming department for Heartland Film and its Academy Award®-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival and Heartland International Film Festival events in Indianapolis. He is also a member of the Tribeca Film Festival shorts screening team and served as an Arts Works II 2019 grants panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts. Greg has served as a jury member and panelist with festivals and organizations including USC, DePaul University, Cleveland International Film Festival, Port Townsend Film Festival, DC Shorts, Film Festival Alliance, and more.

INA PIRA Ina Pira is a curator for Vimeo’s signature Staff Picks. Previously, she was the Senior Programmer at the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, and the Sarasota Film Festival. Ina has extensive experience in festival programming, online curation, and digital distribution. She most recently helped produce the Vimeo Festival & Awards, curated a live director’s commentary screening series, and launched the "Stories in Place" grant program for Vimeo.

JACK HANLEY Jack Hanley is a Boulder-based academic, critic, and filmmaker. He is the host of the Crested Butte Film Festival and founder and host of several Boulder film series including The Clandestine Campus Cinema Society, the Bloody Celluloid Film Series, and the Central and East European Film Festival (co-founded at CU Boulder with Roger Ebert). He currently helms the award-winning film websites Mile High Cinema and Kinophilia. and is the co-host of the Superlatives Film Podcast. When not working on his upcoming documentary EVIL CHEESEY RIDES AGAIN he can occasionally be found in darkened theaters, savagely ruining films for his friends and family.

JEREMY HOWE Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jeremy moved to Los Angeles in 2002 for an internship at “The Young and The Restless.”  After three long years in the CBS mail room, he got his first Production Assistant job on the short-lived CBS sitcom “Out of Practice.” This led to a Writers’ Assistant job on a few other sitcoms before landing as the assistant at “The Big Bang Theory” in 2010, during their 4th season.  Two years later, in Season 6, he was promoted to Staff Writer, where he continued to be a writer for the remainder of the series.  He is currently a Co-Executive Producer on “Young Sheldon,” the prequel/spin-off to “The Big Bang Theory.”  Jeremy lives in Burbank with his wife and two children.


Katherine Tolentino is a mixed race filmmaker from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her short film Parachute was an Official Selection of Palm Springs Shortfest, Cinequest Film Festival, New Filmmakers LA, and the Hamptons International Film Festival, among others. She is Founder and EP at BorderWoman Pictures, a production company dedicated to bringing underrepresented voices to the mainstream. She also co-founded Bay Made Films, a quarterly screening series showcasing new films by emerging Bay Area filmmakers. She holds an MFA in Cinema Arts from Brooklyn College and was named an AISF Women in Screen Workshop Fellow in 2019. She is currently developing her first feature film, One Summer on Fire.


Katie McCullough is the founder of Festival Formula Ltd, a consultancy company that helps filmmakers navigate the world wide festival circuit with strategy and submissions support. With a background in writing she holds a BA in Scriptwriting for Film & TV from Bournemouth Media School, and is an Arvon Foundation and Royal Court Theatre London graduate. She has provided masterclasses and delivered talks at a variety of places including: Cork Film Festival, Encounters Film Festival, Heartland Film, Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, FilmFest Dresden, Aesthetica Film Festival, BFI Flare, and many more. She is also a leading voice in advising on film festivals, and has been quoted in The Hollywood Reporter and Screen Daily. She is an active member of the Film Festival Alliance and Short Film Conference.

LAUREN REID BROWN Lauren Reid Brown is a 35 year veteran teacher from Ohio. Shortly after retirement she first got involved with film festivals by attending many that her daughter’s films played in around the country. Her enjoyment of that led to volunteering at several including the Oscar qualifying Cleveland International. She next was asked to be a screener for several. Lauren became a screener for Salute Your Shorts inaugural festival in 2017 and is now Head Programmer. She enjoys the creativity and heart of independent filmmaking. Lauren also got actively involved working on numerous movie sets in a variety of capacities eventually becoming a Producer. Her latest work, HUMAN, which was shot in her mountain town of Salida, Colorado was to play at several festivals this season.

MATT FAGERHOLM Matt Fagerholm is an Assistant Editor at and a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. He spent four years writing film reviews and interviews for and has contributed to a variety of publications including Time Out Chicago, The A.V. Club and Magill's Cinema Annual. He has covered film festivals in Toronto, the Czech Republic, Iceland and all over the United States, as well as reported from the Academy Awards for the past three years. He is also the founder of Indie Outlook, a blog and podcast featuring exclusive interviews with some of the most exciting voices in modern independent filmmaking. Follow him on Twitter at @IndieOutlook and @mattfagerholm.

PAUL SLOOP Paul Sloop has been the short film programmer for the Oscar qualifying Cleveland International Film Festival since 2003. In addition to his role with CIFF he is also the Director of Programming at Film Pittsburgh which runs the Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF), Pittsburgh Shorts, the JFilm Festival, ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival, and the Robinson International Short Film Competition as well as a Teen Screen program. In 2020 he also joined the Cordillera International Film Festival as a short film programming consultant. Paul and his wife, Sarah, have six daughters and live in Mentor, OH.


Tony Hale started his career playing “Buster Bluth” on the ground-breaking series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and has since garnered two Emmy awards for his work playing “Gary Walsh” on the HBO hit VEEP. His other credits include SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, THE INFORMANT, STRANGER THAN FICTION, LOVE SIMON, THE HEAT, HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE, and voicing “Forky” in the new TOY STORY 4. Also, his children’s book “Archibald’s Next Big Thing” is currently streaming as an animated series on Netflix. Tony will soon be seen playing “Benedict” in Hulu’s upcoming series “The Mysterious Benedict Society”


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