Jury Members of 2020 Edition

Our 12-member jury is made of producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, and musicians that are all successful professionals in this industry.

The Members of Our Jury Panel

Elona Paja
Executive Director
Julian Biba
Festival Director
Alexa Servodidio
Jury Member
Elona Paja is an actress, director, producer, and screenwriter that graduated University of Arts of Tirana, Albania in 2001. For 19 years Elona worked as journalist, radio and TV talk show host, and film director at Albanian National Television.

As a journalist, Elona has covered the culture, social, sports, and historical aspects of Albanian life all over the country. Elona has under her belt several documentaries and one TV series for children, all of which were well received by the public and the media while shown on Albanian National Television.

In her earlier career, she acted in films like: Me you and Cassandra, After the news, and The babysitter in our building.

Some of Elona's well-received documentaries are: The confessions of a prostitute - screenwriter; "Lalo" - director/screenwriter; Himara with seven branches - screenwriter; Saranda and its treasures - screenwriter; "Blue" - director/screenwriter; Confession - director/screenwriter; "Visualize the invisible" - director; and "Koco Plaku" - director/screenwriter.

Elona is the director/screenwriter of the first children's TV series in post-communist Albania, called “The babysitter of our building”

For a couple of years, Elona resides in New York, USA, where she has been the host of several events organized by the Albanian community and is presently the Executive Director of New York True Venture Film Festival.
JULIAN BIBA Festival Director

Julian is an award-winning director with 9 wins and 5 nominations credited on IMDb.

He is the writer / co-director of the award winning film “DEPARTURE”.

Julian is the director of the documentary "Aka Dr. Hope" awarded: "Best Experimental", "Best Documentary" and "Best Director" by TINFF; "Best Documentary" by MIWAFF and "Silver Winner" by Telly Awards.

He is the screenwriter/director/producer of "The Red Rose" awarded: "Rising Filmmaker" by Montreal International Wreath Awards Film Festival; "Award of Recognition" by United International Film Festival and "Best NY Short" by International New York Film Festival.

Julian has co-written and co-produced the film "Paftuar" (Uninvited) that was screened on May 2016 at Cannes Festival Short Corner and also won "Best Cinematography" and "Best Production" awards at International Film Festival and Albanian Film Week in NYC.

Julian's feature script "The Bright Future" was picked as 10 best scripts at the AlbaScript workshop organized by Cineuropa and ANCC.

Julian's other feature script "Leap of Faith" was quarter-finalist at National Screenwriters Day Screenwriting Competition and 2018 Gold Reel Award Winner in Nevada Film Festival.
ALEXA SERVODIDIO is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/ Psychotherapist with her own Private Practice. She works with individuals, couples, and families, treating children and adult.

She also hosts her own radio show: Insight Into Healing which airs on blogtalkradio.com/alexas29, Wednesday’s at 8pmEST . You can see her TV Show: The Alexa Show on SECTV and White Plains Community Media.

Alexa has over fifteen years of experience acting on stage, in television and films. She was seen in lead roles in the following Stage Productions/TANYS: Roundelay, A Lonely Summit, Find A Penny, Metamorphosis, A Temptation, A Wish, Well, A Lying Truth, Amaranthine Thread, Menu Driven The Pursuit Of Love ,Odd Jobs, Menu Driven, 10 Minutes Early, Nuts and Bolts, and Eating Out.

She has also had lead roles in independent films, TV, and internet such as: Gail Scott Key/ENOW, Enemy Minds, Penelope, PSA /Lung Cancer Reverse, The Project, Return to Innocence Lost, and Beautiful Other television credits include principal roles in It's All Geek To Me, The View, and Lucille Roberts. Be sure to catch her cameo appearance in Girl On The Train.

In addition to acting, Alexa is also a successful Commercial Model and a certified Personal Trainer and Aerobics Instructor. She teaches kickboxing, Pilates, spinning, aqua aerobics and step.

Alexa works with individuals, couples, and families. she treats children and adults experiencing a variety of issues related to anxiety, depression, PTSD, divorce, interpersonal relationships, communication/relational skills, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and trauma.


ALEXA'S BOOK "Finding Your Peace Within The Chaos"

Alexa Servodidio, LCSW is the author of "Finding Your Peace Within the Chaos" and Host on her radio show Insight into Healing. While preparing to write this book, Alexa decided to start each chapter with a question from her radio show. Her vision is to provide each reader with at least one educational tool for them to utilize and then share it with another. Giving back and paying it forward are the principles she bases her book, her show, and her life on. She wishes to thank everyone for joining her on this journey.

Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: CCB Publishing (March 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1771432705
ISBN-13: 978-1771432702
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,112,770 in Books

WEBSITES/SOCIAL NETWORKS

http://blogtalkradio.com/alexas29 www.ccbpublishing.com/aservodidio.html https://www.facebook.com/alexa.servodidio?fref=ts www.facebook/com/insightintohealing https://twitter.com/alexas129 https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexa-servodidio-a433003 http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1901148/

ALEXA'S SHOWS
Insight Into Healing; Radio Show This is a live show; takes live callers and there is a live chat during the show:
BlogtalkRadio Healing and Personal Growth, Psychoeducation,Exploring barriers and strengths of individuals.Every Wednesday at 8pmEST .
The Alexa Show: TV Show; airs on SECTV and Wpcommunitymedia.org : This show encompasses Alexa's various careers and utilizes her credentials as a Licensed Psychotherapist, Actress/Radio Show Host, and Trainer/Instructor.

Contact Info :
To Contact Alexa directly
Email: alexa29[at]aol.com
Adriatik Berdaku
Jury Member
Georgios Beno
Jury Member
Gjilberta Lucaj Cohen
Jury Member
Adriatik Berdaku is an award-winning Director and DP with more than 25 years of experience in the industry.

Cinematography education in Italy as Director and Digital Imaging in 2005

Award Special Price of Jury Director for the music video “With You” Albanian National Music Video Festival 2008.

Third place in the photographic culture of European Photo Competition in Ferrara Italy (Adriatic Photo Contest-2014).

The best photos, at Magazine Top Selection By Canon Club Italia

Director for the music video “Amore Piccolina” of Gianmarco Fraska Italy

Director and DP for Danish singer Blak & Jimilian – Slem Igen music video with 10.000.000 views on Youtube and over 25.000.000 streams on Spotify. Danish Deejay Award, Danish Club Award, Zulu Award, Danish Musik Award, Nickelodeon Award.

On 2020 was the cinematographer and co-director of film “DEPARTURE” awarded as Best Short by WFC Singapore.
GEORGIOS BENO
EDUCATION
St. John’s University | Queens, NY
Bachelor of Science May 2018
Major: Television and Film
Course Highlights: Introduction to Film and Aesthetics, Production Design, Screenwriting Fundamentals,
Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Introduction to Visual Storytelling, Audio Design & Techniques, Feature Analysis

WORK EXPERIENCE
Freelance Production Assistant| New York, NY Fall 2018-Present
• Office PA for It’s Bruno! on Netflix and PUSH movie featuring Victoria Justice.
• PA for a Blumhouse produced Docuseries airing on FX.
• Key PA for various commercials and music videos (YSL, IBM, Danny Brown, Weezer).
• Familiar with all film related vendors.
• Locations Assisting.
• Ran dailies to Technicolor Postworks.
• Driven Passenger vans for crew and talent (Roger Federer for On Running).

Fadil Berisha Studio | New York, NY Winter 2017 – Fall 2018
Assistant
• Apprenticeship under master photographer, Fadil Berisha.
• Assisted with managing the set – working with lights, camera, fans, backdrop, etc.
• Able to put videography skills to use with behind the scene work for social media platforms.
• Utilized Final Cut Pro X to edit videos and color correct.
• Clientele included – Sherri Hill, Jovani Fashions, the French Royal Family, Miss Universe, Miss New York, and various other social media influencers.

Evening Entertainment Group| Scottsdale, AZ Summer 2017
Marketing Intern
• Managed social media by posting content and creating content that would create maximal engagement in the night club industry.
• Assisted with overseeing inbound and outbound marketing campaigns to produce new business and support sales.
• Supported executives in fan engagement, brand loyalty and advocacy. • Catered too high priority clientele.

Cigar Oasis | Farmingdale, NY Summer 2014–Winter 2015
General Intern
• Executed administrative work and attended meetings.
• Communicated effectively with clients regarding purchases.
• Manage orders, packaging and shipping of products.
• Organized travel and accommodations for Sales Manager.
• Filmed and edited tutorial videos of the products.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Producing, writing, directing and editing short films and a documentary.
• Freelance work filming popular nightlife DJ’s, fashion models and various products for sale.
• Curated the U.S. Premiere of the film “The Delegation” by Bujar Alimani.
• Experience in reading scripts.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Equipment & Tools: Arri 16mm and Panasonic Lumix G.
Knowledge of Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premier, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom,
Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Social Media
Gjilberta Lucaj is a New York City-based concert cellist with a critically acclaimed international career. A native of Albania, her solo career started at age 13, performing in Vatican City for Pope John Paul II. Her career has taken her to Mexico, China, South Korea, throughout Europe, the Caribbean and even to war-torn Afghanistan.

Nominated in 2016 by the President of Albania as one of the 100 most accomplished Albanian-Americans, she has been hailed across the world for her beautiful tone and mesmerizingly passionate performances. She has been featured in the New York Times, Elegance Magazine, Westchester Magazine, Vogue Italy, TimeOut NY, Couture Fashion Magazine as well as many TV stations domestically and internationally.

Gjilberta pioneered the concept of pairing her dynamic cello solo performances with couture fashion shows in NYC starting 2005. She has performed for Fashion Week in NYC and throughout the USA.

Gjilberta has recorded and performed for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Sony, Avatar Studios, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Ricky Martin, Coldplay, THALIA, IL DIVO and Jay-Z among other notables. Versatile in genres of music beyond classical, she enjoys performing tango, jazz, bossa nova and electronic dance music on both acoustic and electric cellos.
Jon Russell Cring
Jury Member
Joe Wooley
Jury Member
Joshua Shull
Jury Member
Jon Russell Cring is a 13 times winner and 4 times nominated film director on IMDb. He grew up on stage, as an Actor and Musician, so it was no surprise when in 1998 he began working in the growing independent film industry of Nashville, Tennessee. He created an ambitious plan to make twelve feature films in twelve months, the Extraordinary Film Project. After making six films in six months, he decided to slow down and travel the country making the remaining six films which took fourteen months. Additionally Jon has Produced and Directed hundreds of projects since he moved to New York State in 2010. In the past ten years he's made seven award winning feature films, five documentaries, written dozens of scripts, judged film festivals, written industry articles for magazines, and travelled all over the world promoting his films.
Joe Wooley is a Retired US Marine and Professional Actor who serves on New York State and National Committees of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television & Radio Artists)

His impressive acting resume includes appearances and or roles in Power, Blue Bloods, Law & Order SVU, This Is Us, Big Time Adolescence, 21 Bridges, The Enemy Within, Heat, and many more films and voiceovers.

Joe has also appeared in International films. Red Carpet Celebrity Hosting is also one of his specialties. Joe is currently Writing and Producing a Hollywood documentary of his Rise, Fall, & Rise again which speaks of the sudden passing of his Mother Ernestine in late 2016. His first song/music video "GOD Just Laughed At Me" is relative to the documentary.

A powerfully imposing Actor & Voiceover Artist with a variety of range; his voice & acting style has been compared to James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, Louis Gossett Jr., Al Pacino, Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson & Forest Whitaker.
Joshua Shull is the President of Pentwater Productions (founded in 2008), and LOC8NY. He has written, produced, directed, production supervised, and location managed projects covering all platforms of media for over 20 years.

Recently, Josh served as Director and Co-Producer of the United Nations Global Compact Summit, a 26 hour live-stream with guest speakers, videos, and virtual panels from around the world.

Early in 2020, Josh served as Production Supervisor and Live Events Director for Warner Media’s Superbowl Grid Iron (6 days of broadcasts x 3-5 shows per day), and Bleacher Report’s Superbowl Coverage. Other Live TV Producer Credits in 2020: CNN’s Citizen Town Hall on ending gun violence with Lori Lightfoot, David Axelrod, Isiah Thomas, Arnie Duncan. TNT’s Inside the NBA Roast Live from House of Blues, Chicago. Josh also served as production supervisor/location manager for Steve Harvey’s New Years Eve 2020 pre-tape.

In June 2019, Josh (for the third year) served as Coordinating Producer and Director of Live Events for Warner Media and Dick Clark Productions for the NBA Awards filmed at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA. And in August 2019, served as Producer of The Jonas Brothers Concert on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, and at the legendary Stone Pony for the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.

Recently, Josh and his team location managed the East and West Coast filming for David Letterman’s Netflix Show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, also The Break with Michelle Wolf on Netflix, Amanda Seales’ HBO Stand Up Special, and Showtime’s Pariah: The Lives and Deaths of Sonny Liston, and produced several show opens for VH1 and MTV series.

Josh also served as production consultant/supervisor/producer on Comedy Central’s late night series, The President Show (22 episodes), and for I Heart Media/ATT/Direct TV’s multi-platform live concert series (live web/radio/TV) featuring: Usher’s Album Release at Pier 15 in NYC, Sting Live at Irving Plaza, and Secret Sessions with Lorde at The Houdini Estate in Los Angeles. Josh also worked on the return of MTV’s series, Unplugged, filmed at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ.

In 2015, Josh scouted, and negotiated the contract at the St. James Theatre on Broadway for the filming of Birdman: Or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (2015 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture.)

Credits as TV producer, and production supervisor: Comedy Central, VH1, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Warner Bros’ The Great Gatsby, BBC, MTV, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, TLC, and countless commercials and photo campaigns.

Credits as Location manager: The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, The Yearly Show with Trevor Noah, HBO’s/Funny of Die’s Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide, VH1 Storytellers (6 eps), Logo’s Trailblazer Honors (5 years at Cathedral of St. John the Divine), Dear Mama at St. Bart’s Church, VH1’s Big Music in 2015, You Oughta Know (2013 and 2014), Superbowl Blitz (6 nights/6 shows) VH1’s Make a Band Famous, Nickelodeon HALO Awards , NBC’s SMASH, MARVEL’S The Avengers, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, ABC’s Ugly Betty, I Am Legend, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, USA’s White Collar, HBO’s The Newsroom, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, What Happens in Vegas, Robert DeNiro’s ‘The Good Shepherd’, and more.
Vanessa King
Jury Member
Mardig Bidanian
Jury Member
Wilhelm Lewis
Jury Member
Vanessa King is an NYC-based producer, screenwriter, and professor who has worked in development with top-level industry talent for nearly two decades. Her work as a writer has received numerous awards, having earned her recognition from industry bodies including AMPAS/Oscar’s Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship (feature) and Sony Worldwide Entertainment’s Emerging Filmmaker Program (TV Series). In 2005, she co-founded the New York Screenwriters Co-Op, New York’s only free-to-the-public screenwriting workshop with over 2000 active members. Vanessa is faculty at Gotham Writer’s Workshop (NYC) and Staffordshire University (UK), where she teaches both television and screenwriting to students, beginner to post-graduate. She recently was Showrunner of the TV pilot “Two Roads”, a concept she co-created and co-wrote for Sony’s VUE Network. Vanessa is passionate about diversity and inclusion within the industry and was a consultant on Final Draft Screenwriting Software’s Diversity and Inclusion product build. She’s a board member of the Diversity List, amplifying top scripts written by female-identifying and BIPOC writers. She is a judge for the Hip Hop Film Festival, The UCLA Graduate Screenwriter’s Showcase and The 24 Hour Film Festival. She was named one of The Huffington Post’s 13 Women To Watch and for three consecutive years, has been named to Vanity Fair’s “Downtown 100”, a list that recognizing New York’s top networkers in the entertainment industry. Originally from Canada, she lives in New York City.
Mardig Bidanian

● Board of direction of Montreal International Wreath Award Film Festival (MIWAFF) 2015- Present

● Member of Jury of Montreal International Wreath Award Film Festival (MIWAFF) 2017- Present

● Production Assistant with No Mr. Mayor 2 - November 2018
Wilhelm Lewis was born on March 10,1969 in Brooklyn, New York. Early on in his career he started out in regional theater and dabbled in commercials. He worked on major national campaigns for companies such as Levi's, Aetna and Budweiser. At a young age his was bitten by the acting and worked in major films. His first step into acting was in The Cookout starring Queen Latifa. He then starred in American Gangster alongside Denzel Washington. He also appeared in Mind the Gap where he had the pleasure of working with Hollywood legend the late Alan King. His career has included over a dozen National commercials with one of them being directed by the acclaimed director Spike Lee for State Farm Insurance. In his free time he enjoys physical fitness, playing sports, riding motorcycles and traveling the world.