Jury Member Bios

Allison Dollar

A longtime champion of interactive video, ALLISON DOLLAR is a recognized expert in digital media specializing in accelerating early stage ventures. She is CEO of ITV Alliance, a coalition of Fortune 1000 media and tech corporations driving advanced television. She has advised household brands and brought newcomers to market, working with innovators at Liberty Media, Comcast, IBM, AOL, France Telecom, Scripps, AT&T, Hollywood studios, TV networks and others in OTT streaming, social video, VR, ecommerce, mobile, games, and immersive entertainment. She was CSO of Webcasts.com (IPO as iBeam), co-founder of eTV World, chaired NAB’s Executive Committee to launch Multimedia World, and sits on the board of the Space Tourism Society.  As CSO of GMG she created partnerships with Dick Clark Productions, Westfield Mall, and new video outlets such as Southwest Airlines. A frequent juror for the TV Academy’s Interactive Emmys, she chairs the Los Angeles Venture Association’s Digital SIG, is a thought leader for Sprockit and Expert Dojo accelerators, and advises Silicon Beach companies. Her book, published in 2003 for NAB by Focal Press, Interactive Television: Tracking and Preparing for an Emerging Market, foretold the historic reworking of the television business model.  She holds a M.A. from the University of Virginia.

Angela Harrer

ANGELA HARRER is an Emmy® award-winning television creator who studied film and television production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Over the past decade, Angela’s worked on a variety of projects for the screen, including shows on Comedy Central, PBS and in the local news market in Boston. Angela is the co-producer and director of the nine-time Emmy® award-winning production, THE FOLKLORIST, and her work has been recognized with over 34 awards, including 6 Emmys®, 12 Tellys, and 14 Communicator awards.

Asatuurs Keim

ASATUURS KEIM is a European filmmaker who found himself buried in imagery since the production of his first film “Dont Panic”.

His passion for moving images has taken him on productions around Europe, the United Kingdom and the USA.

A former journalist, founder of Independent Film productions (International community support network for filmmakers) and graduate of Raindance London, the London Media and Film Academy, he was a student of Alexander Mitta, Gunars Binde and Brian Tufano. Asatuurs has taught cinematography at Brighton Filmschool and Arstudio.

Passionate and excited, he is always on the move in search of his own stylistic paradise.

Bri Castellini

BRI CASTELLINI is the Community Director for Stareable, the largest community of web series creators and fans, as well as an award-winning independent filmmaker, known for the web series Brains (creator/star), Sam and Pat Are Depressed (creator/star), Relativity (executive producer), and Stray (producer), as well as the short film Ace and Anxious (writer/director).

Daryn Strauss

DARYN STRAUSS is a WRITERS GUILD AWARD winning writer, producer, director, and “digital chick” who has won numerous awards on projects that have garnered over 250 million views. She was the recipient of the 2016 WRITERS GUILD AWARD for Original New Media for her online comedy Weight and was previously nominated for a WRITERS GUILD AWARD for her pioneering, critically acclaimed web series Downsized, which was recognized by numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, Indiewire, Fast Company, and The Guardian as one of the best series on the web. She created and executive produced #DayOff, a social media take on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for Vine and YouTube featuring internet stars Cameron Dallas, Nash Grier, and Lauren Giraldo for Astronauts Wanted and Sony Music. She was also part of the writing team of the EMMY AWARD winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and directed digital programming for the EMMY AWARD nominated MAKERS for AOL. She served as the producer for the digital companion experience to NBCUniversal's 2017 Upfront at Radio City Music Hall and many star-studded NewFront events. http://www.darynstrauss.com/

Frank Chindamo

FRANK CHINDAMO founded and runs www.VirtualFilmSchool.org, www.LaughMD.com, an Fun Little Movies. FLM is one of the world's top producers of comedic “Advertainment” videos for the web and TV. FLM has won over 30 awards for its work, including the award of a Chevrolet by Kevin Spacey for a series starring NBC’s Whitney Cummings. FLM has graced the front pages of Forbes Magazine, the LA Times, and been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, CNN, and USA Today. FLM’s campaigns and endorsements feature companies such as: Petco, Walmart, Best Buy, Intel, Kingston Technologies, eVite, Radio Shack, Planet Green TV channel, and Titanic and Avatar producer Jon Landau’s TED talk.


Frank holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from NYU. He’s taught  at USC, UCLA, Pepperdine, Columbia and currently and Chapman University. Past students include: Primetime Emmy Winner Bernie Su, billion-hitter Freddie Wong, and 5SecondFilms. Frank co-wrote the book www.YouTubeSuccessin5Steps.com.

Jackie Ugrinovsky

JACKIE UGRINOVSKY is the Director of Marketing at ONEHOPE, a brand that supports a charitable cause with each thoughtfully-crafted product, including award-winning wine, gourmet coffee, beautiful gifts, and artisanal pantry items. Since its launch, more than $3 million in donations have been made to help feed the hungry, provide clinical trials for cancer patients, find forever homes for shelter animals, and much more.

Jason Brasier

JASON BRASIER is an award winning Writer/Director/Producer and Co- Owner of American Wasteland Entertainment, LLC. Jason now currently serves as Executive Director of the Ozark Mountain Webfest in Brason, Missouri. He also served as Vice President of the International Academy of Web Television. Jason serves as adjunct-faculty teaching production at Ozarks Technical Community College and Missouri State University, of which he is also an alumnus.

Jason van Gumster

JASON VAN GUMSTER is the author of Blender for Dummies (now in its 3rd edition) and the GIMP Bible. He specializes in using open-source tools to produce animations and visual effects for television, film, and video games. He is a writer, animator, and teacher who has run an animation studio, and currently hosts the [sometimes] weekly Open Source Creative Podcast.

Jeffrey Gurian

JEFFREY GURIAN is a comedy writer, performer, director, author, producer, doctor and Healer.   He’s written material for comedy legends such as Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers, George Wallace, Phil Hartman, Richard Belzer, and Andrew “Dice” Clay.  Jeffrey has performed stand-up at all the big clubs in NYC and L.A. and was featured several times on Comedy Central’s hit Kroll Show with Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen, Laura Dern and Katy Perry.  He was in the viral “Too Much Tuna” sketch and was also a regular on-air personality on Sirius XM’s Bennington Show, where he brought on special guests/friends like Russell Peters, Trevor Noah, Colin Quinn, Artie Lange, Susie Essman and Lisa Lampanelli.   He writes a weekly column covering the comedy scene for The Interrobang called “Jumping Around With Jeffrey Gurian”, and has also written for MTV, National Lampoon, Weekly World News and many Friars Roasts. In 1999 he launched Comedy Matters, a celeb-based online entertainment column that has evolved into Comedy Matters TV, an internet TV channel with over 500 A-list celebrity interviews and well over 1.7 million views.  He’s produced shows starring Kevin Hart and Susie Essman, and according to Paul Provenza, and Nick Kroll is known by everyone in comedy. Visit his website at http://www.comedymatterstv.com

Jenni Powell

JENNI POWELL is the Emmy Award-winning producer of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Welcome to Sanditon, lonelygirl15, Emma Approved and The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. For two years she was Director of Content and Social Media for VidCon and was a producer at Felicia Day’s YouTube Premium Channel Geek & Sundry, where she produced the Geekie Award-Winning Talkin’ Comics Weekly. Most recently, she was Head of Production for NewMediaRockstars before co-founding Discourse Productions, a boutique production company specializing in digital media content and events. She is also a Faculty member of the New York Film Academy where she teaches Story Generation, New Media, Transmedia, and more.

Jesse Cowell

JESSE COWELL has written/directed/produced over 250 pieces of content, written seven features and is currently developing two TV shows. Called a “legend” by the massively popular Rooster Teeth Productions, Jesse was one of a handful of filmmakers creating online content before YouTube opened its doors.

Jesse first made his mark in 2004 by launching the comedy feature film, Shades of Gray (not the S&M film) online. Spread through bittorrent networks, private servers and a “play it forward” DVD sharing system, the film reached scores of comedy fans which lead to screenings being thrown all over the world.

Jesse went on to create the series Drawn by Pain (2008) and Status Kill (2009), both of which had millions of views, were featured by hundreds of sites and achieved critical acclaim with a Webby Award win in 2008 for Drawn by Pain.

Jesse then served as My Damn Channel’s Director of Content from 2010-2013, where he executive-produced all of their original content slate. He worked closely with passionate filmmakers on projects featuring Josh Gad, Seth Green, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Adam Carolla, and Judah Friedlander. Jesse is also proud to have helped develop the half-billion-view Daily Grace show starring Grace Helbig. My Damn Channel’s Founder, Rob Barnett has called Jesse, “an extremely talented, dedicated, passionate filmmaker and creative executive.”

Currently, in addition to developing several new TV series, Jesse has mentored up-and-coming filmmakers for Storycentral LABS and the CBS interactive showcase. His innovative multi-platform creative  content work continues to be featured by many of today’s respected media outlets.

Juliette Irons

Originally from Canada, and now based in Los Angeles, JULIETTE IRONS is quickly becoming well-known for her abstract movement all over North America. After spending one season as a principal dancer for MaSHUP contemporary dance, as well as training with Netherlands Dance Theater in for a summer in Holland, Juliette is now the creative director of her own company called "Art.uncensored" - which debuted their first show "DISORDER" in march of 2013. Also, Juliette was one of 5 soloists featured in "Regretless" - a collaborative dance show with musical artist Richard Walters. Juliette recently traveled on a 3-city teaching tour of Australia, including the Brent Street Studios Arts College Program in Sydney, where she also set choreography. Juliette was chosen to speak and present her work at the UK Synesthesia Association Conference in London this year, as well as held master classes at Studio Harmonic in Paris. This past year Juliette was a faculty member of Top 10 Dance Challenge Convention tour, and teaches regularly at EDGE performing arts center in LA, as well as Movement Lifestyle and Millennium Dance Complex. Juliette was also selected as a finalist for the 2013 and 2014 Capezio Ace Awards, and is now working on an upcoming abstract contemporary show for AXIOM. She continues to travel around choreographing and teaching her unique brand of musicality and technique.

Kimberly Hill

KIMBERLY HILL wrote for a number of series including “Cheers,” “Family Ties,” “One Day at a Time,” “Empty Nest,” “All is Forgiven,” “Facts of Life,” “EZ Streets,” “The Tortelli’s,” “Lateline” and “E.R.” – the comedy.  She created and wrote pilots under contract to Paramount and for NBC. Kim also produced or served as a consultant on some of these series and more, including “Due South,” before she went into rehab at Yale Divinity School – where she got a masters degree and has been writing in recovery ever since.

Lydia Schoenberger

LYDIA SCHOENBERGER is a past board member of the International Academy of Web Television and is a board member emeritus. She played a major content role at the Raindance Web Fest in London for years, ultimately taking a leadership role. This was born out of her roots in the web series world, where she has been active since 2009. Today, she lives in Los Angeles, where she works to produce of content in both film and digital formats.

Matt Glasner

MATT GLASNER is a freelance casting director. Previous Casting Director credits include the Indie Film, ‘Braid’ which had it’s world premiere at the TriBeCa Film Festival, the soon-to-be-released ‘Hurricane Bianca: From Russia Wth Hate’ and numerous Short Films. He has also collaborated casting on numerous other projects including the Academy Award Winning Film ‘Spotlight’, ’Season 1 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones’, ‘Chicago Justice’, Netflix Film ‘Alex Strangelove’ and Season 3 of ‘Quantico’.

Paul Kontonis

PAUL KONTONIS is Chief Marketing Officer at WHOSAY, the largest and most trusted influence marketer in the world. He is responsible for overseeing all of the the company’s marketing, communications, social media and editorial strategy. WHOSAY is a Viacom company. Kontonis is a 25-year digital media veteran with an industry leading expertise in the B2B marketing, branding, content marketing, and the cross-platform video distribution and monetization of original digital content. Formerly, Kontonis served as Senior Vice President, Strategy at Collective Digital Studio (now Studio71), a multi-platform digital entertainment company and multi-channel network (MCN). Before Collective Digital Studio, Kontonis was Vice President, Group Director, Brand Content at Digitas. At Digitas, where he helped establish the Digital Content NewFronts. He has also served as the President of the Global Online Video Association, an industry trade group representing media networks and video platforms and Chairman of the International Academy of Web Television. Kontonis holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from New York University.

Philip Gilpin

PHILIP GILPIN, JR. is the Executive Director of ITVFest (the Independent Television Festival)
and is responsible for growing ITVFest’s industry-leading presence in the television world as
one of the only festivals focused solely on independently produced episodic content.
Strengthening ITVFest’s community of content creators, executives, producers, and fans is
at the heart of his and his team’s daily mission.

Before joining ITVFest in 2012, Philip was a Business Affairs Analyst at HBO in Los Angeles
where he worked with the financial and contract components of titles such as “The
Sopranos”, “Sex and the City”, Six Feet Under”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Wire”.  It
was these years of in-depth industry experience that gave Philip the vision of moving
ITVFest out of Los Angeles and into its present-day home in Vermont.

After ITVFest’s first 7 years (2006-2012) in Los Angeles, the Vermont move has created a
unique and high-powered retreat for the TV industry’s best talent and executives to meet
each other in a relaxed, beautiful Vermont foliage setting to share their ideas, buy and sell
shows, and discuss the latest industry topics.

Philip serves on the Board of Governors of the Boston/New England Chapter of the National
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (the Emmys). Prior to his role at ITVFest, Philip
was the Executive Director of the Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber of
Commerce. Philip is Boston born and raised, with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and
Mathematics from Boston College.

Rodney V. Smith

RODNEY V. SMITH describes himself as a webseries evangelist and is heavily involved in the webseries movement in Toronto and New York City. He is one of the founding members of the Independent Webseries Creators of Canada (IWCC).


Smith grew up in Barbados with an active interest in writing and art. An encounter with a Canadian producer spurred his interest in film and after immigrating to the USA in 1999, Smith has spent  years working in various crew positions. He developed and filmed his first feature film MORT in 2002. After a move to Atlanta, GA in 2003 where he rebranded the television series MEET THE PRODUCTS, Smith decided to dedicate his efforts towards the art of cinematography.  He became actively involved with the online forum DVXUser, creating several short films in online competitionsand eventually the criticaly acclaimed webseries DOMINION.

Smith recently releasd the the epic 15 episode science-fiction webseries OUT OF TIME on Amazon Prime and is the author of the novels SO I MIGHT BE A VAMPIRE and SO YOU USED TO BE HUMAN.  He is currently working on his third novel and a feature film adaptation of his first novel, SO I MIGHT BE A VAMPIRE.

Sal Tassone

SAL TASSONE was born in Italy.  After attending The University of Bologna medical school, he returned to the US. At that time, it was very difficult to transfer a medical degree from abroad, so he began to research other fields to work in and fell in the world of banking.  On a chance meeting with a film cinematographer, he was invited to go to a commercial film shoot. Immediately, he realized that he had discovered Nirvana. He left banking and started working in commercials. His rise to become a producer was unprecedented. Sal  has produced commercials for some of the most important directors of our time. For the next 20 years he produced over 500 commercials and won numerous accolades-Clios, Palme de Or. He has produced for major clients such as McDonald, BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Apple, Wendy’s, Got Milk to name a few.

The natural progression was to transition into films. He produced an independent feature film that won Best picture at the New York and Chicago Film Festivals.  To this day it has a strong cult following. Last year he had his directorial debut. He directed three short Films.

Recently, Sal was involved with the launching of-ZENsations Magazine. A magazine dedicated to the individuals that have been an inspiring force through Film and Fashion primarily and inspiring in other aspects of life.

Scott Camera-Smith

SCOTT CAMERA-SMITH has always been drawn to the forefront of imaging technology, starting in the early 90‚’s. Graduating from the University of San Francisco with a dual degree in Science and Art, he concentrated on Photography and Computer Graphics Imaging in it‚’s earliest incarnations. After working in the computer imaging world, he entered the film industry. Scott started in 2000 at Lucasfilm Entertainment with the visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic. His first film was Pearl Harbor (2001) where he mobilized the camera department in digitizing their proofing/ dailies system. Scott spent most of his time around cameras, visual/ special effects and computer imaging. In 2005 as Digital Compositor, Rotoscoper and Digital Painter, he worked on films like Evan Almighty, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3 and Transformers. (See filmography here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1154485/). Additionally Scott shares an Academy Award with his ILM visual effects team from his work on Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Dead‚’s Man Chest (2006 – Gore Verbinski).

Most recently, Scott has been an executive with two VFX/Animation studios in the San Francisco Bay Area, providing him with a founder‚’s perspective on what a digital arts studio should (and could) be. His latest effort includes leading a team of creature technologists and artists to revolutionize creature and character conceptualization, asset creation and pipeline technology.

Sue Samuels

SUE SAMUELS (Teacher, Choreographer, Performer) has established herself as one of the staples of the
performing arts community of today. With over 45 years of experience, her expertise is often sought after for mentoring and coaching purposes by professionals and aspiring artists alike from around the world. Her students have included numerous stage, film and tv stars including Melba Moore, Brooke Shields, and Irene Cara. She received the Flo-Bert Award from the NY Committee To Celebrate National Tap Dance Day for her many contributions to both the Jazz and Tap dance community and continues to serve on the Bessie Award Committee (New York Dance and Performance Awards).

Performance and choreographic credits include lead dancer and assistant choreographer in such shows as Got Tu Go Disco at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway, The Johnny Hallyday Show in Paris, The Brazil Export Show in Rio de Janeiro to name a few. Her work has also been commissioned by dance companies worldwide including the Haitian-American Contemporary Dance Theatre and Jeunes Danseurs d’Haiti (the Young Dancers of Haiti). Televised credits include “All My Children”, “Jerry Lewis Telethon”, “Contemporary Women”, “the Arthritis Telethon with Melba Moore”, “Zoom”, and numerous commercials and industrials for Dr. Pepper, 7 Up, Wheat Thins, Head & Shoulders, Adidas, Glaxo, Members Only among others.

Tom Diggs

TOM DIGGS' work has been produced in New York, regional theatre, and is streaming online. The Fairy Hoax was developed at TRU Voices, Workshop Theatre, and was seen at Fullerton College in January. Fair and Decent was commissioned by The Kennedy Center, produced at Luna Stage, and nominated for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.  Milo at the Movies was developed at Seven Devils Playwriting Conference, Aurora Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, and Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals. His musical web series pilot for PERKS can be seen on Youtube. Tom graduated from NYU/Tisch with an MFA in Dramatic Writing. He was a Dramatist Guild Fellow and a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Tommy Upshaw

TOMMY "MADDOX"-UPSHAW has been working in the film industry for close to 19 years. As a teenager he was a Production Assistant in New York City and the Boston area taking whichever opportunities came his way. Maddox’s opportunities came in the form of music videos which lead him to become a Union Grip/Electric for a span of 6 years before becoming a professional Motion Picture Cameraman, during which he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree at the American Film Institute.


Upon completing his Masters and beginning his career as a Cinematographer, there was only one focus in filmmaking, to become one of Hollywoods premier Cameramen. With mentor and friend, Academy nominated Cinematographer Matthew Libatique ASC, Maddox was given opportunities to work directly with some of Hollywood’s premier directors such as: Spike Lee; F.Gary Gray; Jon Favreau; Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris.


After years of tutelage and opportunities from Libatique, Tommy has developed a career that has spanned the globe shooting feature films in South Africa, South Korea, and North America. This past spring his television opportunity came with shooting Kevin Hart’s TV comedy, “Real Husbands of Hollywood” with directing legend Stan Lathan. T. Maddox-Upshaw is known as an inclusive Cinematographer who looks forward to making a difference by inspiring and hiring a new generation of talented artist and craftsmen.

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