“Below is a selection of Fusion International Film Festivals Jury. It is made up of Film Professionals that includes; Directors, Producers, Scriptwriters, Film Festival Organisers and Film Enthusiasts. Our wider jury will vary at each festival which will allow for maximum consideration of each entered film and script.”
– Dan Hickford
Alex McCall is a member of BAFTA as well as a producer, writer and director behind a number of features, shorts and documentaries including Written by “Mrs Bach: Broken Silence”, “The Forensic Squad” & “Birthday”. He has also worked very closely with the BBC and we are delighted that he has supported “Fusion” from the outset.
Michael is an Academy member / Active member of the U.S ‘Motion Picture Sound Editors Association’ and a member of The ‘Society of Authors’. He partnered with Tony Scott during the late 80’s based at West London’s Film-Photo Design Studio, working on titles such as: ‘Aliens’ ‘Romancing the Stone’, ‘The Holcroft Covenant’, ‘Out of Africa’ and ‘The Whistle Blower’ before he wrote and directed ‘Katherine of Sinai’ with an all star cast: Peter O’Toole, Edward Fox, Steven Berkoff, Joss Ackland and Brian Blessed to name but a few.
Michael developed an experimental 35mm film stock ‘Colour Reversal’ with manufacturers ‘Agfa’ which was first tested on James Cameron’s ‘ALIENS’ and was a great success. Currently, and with 17 awards to date such as: ‘World Peace’ Cannes, SOCHI Intl Film festival in Russia, Women in Films (USA) and others, his main interest is in promoting young talent. “It’s heartbreaking that young people can’t even drive a car without paying 8 times more for insurance than older people do, no chance of a mortgage and yet for so many, their passion remains un-battered. I am in awe of many young film makers, whilst feeling utterly ashamed at how they can be treated by government and businesses.
Current projects include another all star cast (Action spy) movie planned for 2019-20 with US/Bulgarian co-producer and Doctor of medicine Zlatina Filipova, who has now become Bulgaria’s most prolific film producer, having launched 4 larger budget titles in an impossibly short space of time.”
Skip Shea is the founder and director of the Shawna Shea Memorial Film Festival, an international fringe ﬁlm festival, which is the major fundraiser for the Shawna E Shea Memorial Foundation, Inc. He is also the president of the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, Inc.
Shea is also an award winning ﬁlmmaker, writer and actor including such projects as TRINITY (2016), BEACON HILL (2014) which was nominated for Outstanding New Approaches – Drama Series at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2015, AVE MARIA (2103) and MICROCINEMA (2011).
His one man show CATHOLIC (SURVIVING ABUSE & OTHER DEAD END ROADS) had its world premiere on stage in New York City in 2005.
Kevin Bisbangian is an award-winning film producer/director/writer/poet.
As a writer and filmmaker, Kevin has been nominated and won many distinguished awards at the most credential film festivals all over the world. He is among the official judges at one of the greatest fashion film festivals in the USA and has mentored film students at Queen Mary University in London. He is a qualified chartered Engineer and holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from South Bank University in London. As a senior consultant he has worked for major companies such as BP, Channel Four and Shell UK. He writes poetry in English, Farsi and Spanish.
Lella Satie is an artist with acting, writing and directing credits. Upon completing her B.A. in Film Studies from the University of Western Ontario she pursued her passion for acting. Lella trained and worked as an actress in North America and Europe. One of her most notable roles is a one-woman-show portraying Frida Kahlo which she wrote and acted in, directed by her mentor and world renowned acting-coach Susan Batson.
Lella’s directorial short film Father won thirteen awards and screened at over thirty festivals worldwide. Lella Satie is currently directing a documentary Illuminate, and developing short film Goddess Rising. Her involvement and interest spans across multiple art forms, healing arts and entrepreneurial endeavours.
Lenard Morgan Pugh, also known as Witch Hazel, is a soulful writer and visionary with an expansive, esoteric insight. He has a B.A. in English and Philosophy, a Masters in Occult Science and Masters in Oriental Medicine.
As an artist and activist, he specializes in writing and producing thematic Hip Hop scores for documentary directors dedicated to exposing social injustice.
He recently played a role in the Frances Causey Directed ” Is Your Story Making You Sick?”, as well as contributing an alternative Hip Hop score for her film “The Long Shadow”, on slavery and white privilege.
He started off in hip hop as a battle MC on Chi Town’s underground scene during the 90’s, travelling and performing with the likes of Rubberoom, Underground Solution, Kinetic Order, Juice and many more.
He went on from there to become the Program Coordinator at Talib Kweli and Mos Def’s Nkiru Center For Education and Culture in Brooklyn. There he also got chose to host and find talent for FOUNDATIONS, the famed underground open mic event exposed NY executives and talent scouts to dead prez, Zion I, Black Star, Toni Blackmon, Masouko Chipembere and more.
Not only was he involved with artists from all over the world trying to bring something new to hip hop, he has also built on panels and in discussions with some of the greatest minds in black literature and art, Octavia Butler, Sister Souljah, Walter Moseley, Eric Micheal Dyson, Dr. Cornell West and Ishmael Reed to name a few.
He is currently writing Black Horror scripts and managing his father , author Charles Pugh’s ( Hospital Plot, Griot) catalogue. His Hip Hop score for “Is Your Story Making You Sick?” is being officially released in January.
An avid film lover with a very open mind Lenard loves to see new Independent films.
Steven Allison is a Scottish freelance writer and cinephile currently based in London. After completing an LLB in English Law and a BA in Journalism, he travelled the world for several years, working as a freelance ghost- and content-writer. Steven then returned to the UK, where he continued in these roles before establishing himself as an entertainment writer, eventually specialising in not only film and television reviews, but also interviews with the creatives involved in both.
In this capacity, he runs his own blog and an Instagram page for mini film reviews, neither of which favour any genre over another. On top of this, Steven contributes to other entertainment blogs and websites, including thenerddaily.com, thefilm.blog, subscript.it and others. On the side, he covers horror fan films (short films made by fans to pay homage to their favourite horror franchises) for horrorfanfilms.com, and loves to write human interest pieces – especially on LGBTQ issues. He will soon launch a podcast centred on LGBTQ representation in film and television.
Thank you for inviting me to such a wonderful organisation. I love cinema. I’ve kept watching various films since my childhood. My starting point as a film lover was Western and film noir.
And now I’m genuinely interested in discovering good short films, they have unlimited possibilities and I’m looking forward to discovering secret gems here.
Steven Fischer is a two-time Emmy nominated writer/producer/director. His early career in cartoons and animation took off in London under mentors at Melendez Films and Bill Melendez Productions, producers of the classic Peanuts animated TV specials. Mr. Fischer has produced the critically acclaimed animated documentary Freedom Dance with Golden Globe-winning actress Mariska Hargitay, Old School New School with Emmy Award-winning actor Brian Cox, and a catalogue of creations for PBS/Maryland Public Television, TV Asia, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Nextel and many distinguished patrons throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
He is a Fulbright Award recipient and sought internationally to speak on the nature of creativity, with invitations from Harvard Medical School, Mind Camp Canada, Cunard, Egyetemi Színház Theatre Festival Hungary, and at universities across North America.
Mr. Fischer comes to the Fusion International Film Festivals jury having served five years as Jury Chair for the CINE Awards and as Jury Chair for the Academy Awards qualifier, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.
Pegah is Persian Australian award winning writer, director and producer, now living in Dubai, UAE. In 2011, Pegah co-found the media company ‘The Works Network’ and also heads it’s creative arm ‘Creation Works’ in Dubai, which predominantly makes films, commercials and visual content. In 2007 Pegah co-found the production company ‘New Wave Films’ in Iran, with a prime focus on women’s films and hiring women crew to empower more women in the industry. Both companies are active till present day.
Dr. Zlatina Filipova
Dr. Zlatina Filipova is an executive film producer, writer and actress. Born in Burgas Bulgaria. She is also an eminent medical doctor of long standing in aesthetic dermatology. Based in Abu Dhabi, Malta and Bulgaria, she became a film producer in 2013 with an ongoing slate of films operating under parent company: GOLDAMAXFILM Ltd, which she founded, and with productions planned into the early 2020’s. Rumoured to be in (Pre) co-production on a UK/US/ Bulgarian spy thriller with Director Michael Redwood at Pinewood Studios due to commence early in 2020 with a star cast.Zlatina is now officially recognised as Bulgaria’s most prolific film producer; the first European producer to operate drone cameras.
Fellow jury member (and Co-Producer) Michael Redwood said: “This woman is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise tough and mirky film industry”.
When her first high budget feature film Levski, premiered in 2015, it was watched by over two million people and was awarded best historical film in France, as well as best photography, best editing, and best male actor for actor son: Simeon Filipov.
Her second feature film ‘Inches from the Ground’ was released in 2016, receiving best director and best producer awards at The West Coast FF 2018. As producer and writer, her 3rd film ‘Runaway Smartphone’ premiered in February 2019 (dubbed into English in the U.S) and was awarded Best international children’s film in its first outing in France. It also received best family film and (again) best male actor for her Son Simeon Filipov, at the West Coast FF 2018.
Berrin Ilhan is an award winning writer and film critic with a multilayer education, who graduated from Ankara University, Faculty of Communication from Radio, Television and Film department.
After building a career in the advertising field and film, she graduated at Istanbul Bilgi University with a Comparative Literature digress, along with a film and television minor, together with the master course in French cinema.
As a cinephile father’s daughter, Berrin turned her direction to cinema of which she has always had a fascination. She worked as film critic for Hurriyet Newspaper/Keyif and her first film project as a writer “A Bucket of Water” was premiered in Cannes Film Festival in 2013 and was one of the official selection shorts in Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival. Her second feature project developed in New York Film Academy “Perfect Couple/Lale” won two awards in both London and Madrid with several nominees in other international film festivals.
Maria Albiñana has an MA Acting Degree, Journalism and Classical Ballet Dance. She’s based in LA but she’s originally from Spain.
She extended her acting training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Piccolo Teatro di Milano, Moscow Art Theater School and Actors Studio, where she recently became Finalist.
Maria has been working in films such as: La Madre, selected in 2016 at L’Atelier in Cannes, Where the smell of the sea doesn’t reach, San Sebastián Film Festival, Reluctant Nanny, Hallmark Movies; TV series: Da Capo, for Channel 9 Spain, iFamily and Centro Médico for Channel Televisión Española; short form series: Sin Vida Propia, We all wanted to kill the Presiden, released on Amazon Prime, and Tocate; Theater companies: Classical Theater Spanish Company, Teatres de la Generalitat Valenciana and directors Pepe Sancho, Carles Alberola, Jesús Cracio and Assumpta Serna; and dance companies: Young Camara Ballet Alicia Alonso, WEP Productions and Funky Angels Co.
She starred in the successful spanish series, Sin Vida Propia, that won over 20 awards in Web Series International Festivals. This lead her to co-found and direct the web series section in Valencia International Film Festival- CinemaJove. In 2017 she receives Best Actress for the short film, Te echo de menos at the Online Film Festival US. In 2014, wins Best Actress for Sin Vida Propia at LAwebfest, and during the same year is nominated as Best Actress at Videomakers Web Association Italy. Recently, she has been nominated as Best Supporting actress for the series We all wanted to kill the president, at RomeWeb Awards.
As a writer, in 2013 she won Best Playwright at “Nuevos Tiempos Awards” for Retales de Vida y Aprender a Contar. That same year she writes, directs and choreographs the stage musical Star Desamparados, premiered at the Teatro Talia in Valencia (Spain). Maria has directed several stage productions, operas and musicals. And regularly teaches acting masterclasses and workshops at Alfas del Pi Film Festival, Escuela del Actor, Caxton College…
She just finished shooting the Australian film I met a girl and is preparing two more projects: Matar a mama and iLove. She is also preparing the fifth edition of the web series section at CINEMAJOVE Film Festival.
Victoria graduated from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh with a BA in Stage Management and Theatre Production, before gaining a European Multimedia Master (EMM) with the Master Europeo in Gestioni di Impresa Cinematografica e Audiovisiva (MAGICA) programme.
She has since gained numerous film and television credits for BBC, ITV, Netflix, Discovery Channel and independent companies including Production Designer for the multi-award winning documentary ‘Written By Mrs Bach’.
Following a world premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Victoria’s directorial and writing debut, ‘TAM’ (2017), went on to win an IndieFest Award of recognition, and was immediately bought by the BBC for broadcast Jan 2019. It has since received 2 Best Director and Best Screenplay Nominations at both Nice and Amsterdam International Filmmaker festivals. Victoria has since been working as Writer/Director on numerous additional film and tv projects including BBC 2 documentary ‘The Collins Variety Agency’ which was broadcast May 2018 on BBC 2.
Romanian born film director and film critic with a multilayered education and a complex professional background: from photography during his university years to management and eventually film making, Vlad has studies in humanities as well as economics and maths. He has won several international film awards and nominees.
As a film critic he has collaborated with several film festivals since 2013 and he is one of the Founders of BELIFF film fest London. He has a keen eye for spotting talent.
A self confessed cinephile, Adam has been fascinated by all genres of film for as long as he can remember.
Possessing an annual Curzon Cinema pass he was proud to see all but one new release in 2018. With a particular love of animation and Asian cinema, he is excited to see the variety and quality of films submitted. He lists Werner Herzog, Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan in his top Directors list.
Cati Gonzalez is a Spanish-born NYC fashion and street photographer turned screenwriter, film director.
Her photography has been published in Photo (French magazine), i-D, Spin (magazine), Vogue (magazine), Colors (magazine), Vibe (magazine), Interview (magazine), Paper (magazine), Trace (magazine), Surface (magazine), Libération, El País, Mademoiselle (magazine), New York (magazine) and has worked with celebrities such as Director David Cronenberg, Russell Simmons, Notorious B.I.G., Pharrell Williams, The Ramones, David Byrne, Thurston Moore, Chloe Sevigny, Jaime King, Common (rapper), Beenie Manamong others. She has also worked on various music artists’s album covers for Sony, Warner Bros., and Atlantic Records.
The fashion photographer later transitioned naturally into moving images in 2012. In that same year she wrote, directed and filmed her first independent film titled ‘Ekaj’. Her Film was selected and screened at sixty five Film Festivals worldwide and won it’s first award for “Best Film” at the NY Urban Arts Festival in Tribeca, NYC. Since then, the film has picked up a total of twenty nine awards and multiple nominations between the years 2016 and 2018.
Gonzalez’s screenplays, have won her multiple awards and nominations at several screenwriting competitions in 2018 and 2019.
Her love of independent cinema and the creative world is clear for all to see. She is delighted to be supporting Fusion International Film Festivals and becoming a member of their core jury.
Michael Gonzalez is a independent film producer, video editor and aspiring screenwriter from New York City. He is also the co-creator of the independent film companies, Tompkins Square Park Films and Cati and Mike Gonzalez Films, created in 2012. His first Independent Film ‘Ekaj,’ which he co-produced and edited, went on to screen at 65 Film Festivals worldwide. During it’s Festival circuit run between the years of 2016 to 2018, the film garnered 29 awards and several nominations. The film was officially released online in 2017 and is currently signed with Los Angeles distributor, Indie Rights.
Michael is the writer of the feature film screenplay ‘Raised’ which has been nominated for “Best Urban Feature Drama” at the 2019 Oaxaca Film Festival “Global Script Challenge.
As well as being a member of the Fusion International Film Festivals Jury Michael, alongside Cati will be offering outlets to film distributors for all interested filmmakers.
Valerie Ng is a co-founder and managing editor of Australian film publication Rough Cut. Based in Melbourne, she critiques films for the aforementioned, as well as the ABC, The Big Issue, and 4:3.
Debbie Zhou is a freelance film and theatre critic, and a managing editor of Australian film publication Rough Cut. Her words also appear in Time Out Sydney, The Guardian, The Big Issue, Metro Magazine amongst others.