The judges for the 2019 Film Festival competition will be working in tiers. In the first round, Gary and Michael will watch all of the films entered and then filter them into a shortlist for each category.
Once the shortlists are decided, our celebrity judges will then get involved to decide the finalists and best in each category.
Michael and Gary will decide the best zero budget film from all the finalists.
The Audience Favourite will be voted for on the night live by the audience, using software to collate their votes from the category winning films.
Our Judges for the Film Festival Competition are:
Mark Kermode is Chief Film Critic for the Observer, co-host of Kermode & Mayo's Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live, host of his classical music show on Scala Radio and reviewer for the BBC’s News Channel Film Review.
Hailed by Stephen Fry as 'the finest film critic in Britain' he is the author of several books about film, including Hatchet Job and It’s Only A Movie and How Does It Feel? He has written and presented film and music shows on Channel 4, BBC 2 and BBC 4, and on BBC Radio stations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Live and more. His series on film genres Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema aired on BBC4. It received rave reviews and an exceptional audience reaction.
With his wife Linda Ruth Williams he curates the Shetland Screenplay festival. He holds two Sony Awards for his radio programmes, and his band The Dodge Brothers’ album The Sun Set was voted Blues Album of the Year 2013 by the readers of Spiral Earth. Their new album Drive Train released to high acclaim last year. His monthly stage show Mark Kermode Live in 3D at the BFI Southbank is in its fourth year and has consistently full houses and celebrity film guests, and is podcast on Kermode On Film.
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the Best International category.
Photo credit: Julie Edwards Photography www.julieedwardsphotography.co.uk
New Forest based TV presenter Jon Cuthill fronts the BBC's Inside Out programme for the South of England.
Having worked for the BBC for nearly 25 years Jon is an award winning journalist and producer.
He has also presented and reported for the BBC's Panorama programme and regional television and radio here in the South.
Jon lives in the New Forest with his family where he also works as a retained firefighter.
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the Student Documentary category.
Guy Henry is a British stage and screen actor from Hampshire, who studied at Brockenhurst College from 1975-77 and went on to train at RADA (1979-1981).
Guy’s extensive theatre work has predominantly been with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He is known for his small-screen roles in HBO’s Rome (2005) and John Adams (2008) and Ricky Gervais’ BBC comedy Extras (2009). In 2010 he joined the cast of BBC’s Holby City.
He has appeared on the big screen in blockbusters Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1&2 (2010/11) and recently in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) as Governor Tarkin.
We welcome him to the judging panel and as a presenter.
Mark has been a professional actor, director and film maker for over 25 years. In this time he has had many roles in mainstream TV shows, films and theatre.
Mark also has other industry connected irons in the fire. He has run his own corporate entertainments and production company TrueView Events, for over 23 years during which he has written several murder mystery days and performed in well over 1000 Murder mystery comedy shows. As well as this, Mark has written, filmed and directed many TV scenes for professional actors TV showreels.
Film roles have included Dave in Down Terrace and the Librarian in the iconic torture scene in Kill List, both directed by Ben Wheatley, and more recently opposite Ryan Reynolds as Toby in Criminal. Marks TV roles have included Suspicions of Mr Whicher, The Bill, Holby City, Dr Who, and most recently; Eastenders as Tony, Doctors as Paul, This Country as Kurton’s boss Terry and the Christmas “live” transmission of Not Going Out with Lee Mack as Clive the drunken Christmas Turkey impersonator!
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the International Sci-Fi category.
In the summer of 2018 Keith English’s first feature film, ‘The More You Ignore Me’, was released in cinemas to excellent critic reviews. Written by Jo Brand and starring Sheridan Smith, the film has gone on to Amazon Prime with terrific audience reviews and is still garnering accolades as its release travels around the world.
Although this is Keith’s first feature film, he has been directing commercials, TV shows and corporate communications for over 20 years. He has more than 400 commercials to his credit, has been nominated for a BAFTA and has won many international awards for his work.
He is a local boy. He grew up on the Isle of Wight where he bought is first super8 film camera at the age of nine. He went on to study directing at Bournemouth Film School in the 1980s, leaving it with a distinction and ‘Best Film of The Year’.
Early on in his career he became Creative Director of a London production company, making feature trailers for the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Hugh Hudson and Tim Burton. From there he moved into TV commercials, becoming well-known in the industry, internationally.
Now living in The New Forest, Keith runs his own production company, Velvet Pictures alongside his wife, Producer Claire Cottrell. As well as still doing international work, they are currently in development of new feature films and TV series, alongside working on advertising/communications with local companies.
We welcome him to the judging panel and as a presenter.
Steve joins the judging team and brings his vast experience of Writing, Directing and Teaching in the film and television industry.
He has directed literally hundreds of episodes of Eastenders, Brookside, Holby City and The Bill, amongst others. He has produced and directed courses for the BBC Academy, The MetFilm School and the Actors Studio and is a Lecturer at a a number of schools and colleges in the South East of the UK.
He will be helping select the top five nominees in various categories, and we hope that you can give him something remarkable to sink his teeth into.
Leigh Gill is an actor who works on film and TV. You might have seen him play characters as diverse as Bobono in "Game of Thrones", Specs in "Get Santa", Chief Onus in "The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power", Kevin in "Hot Dog" and playing opposite Nick Nolte in "Head Full Of Honey".
He also makes regular appearances on "Celebrity Juice" and is in the BBC show "Island of Dreams" with Harry Enfield.
What you won't have seen yet is his latest major film role playing alongside Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro as Gary in the new "Joker" film, currently in post-production, and you may not have watched "The Witcher" on Netflix with Henry Cavil.
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the Student Comedy Short category.
Lisi Russell was wife and creative partner of prolific film director and local lad Ken Russell (Women in Love, Tommy, Altered States, Valentino) for 12 years, having met him at age 17.
Ken and Lisi ran a garagiste movement of (very) independent films in New
Forest locales and in Wales, making nine movies from 1999-2012 (Fall of the Louse of Usher, Kitten For Hitler, Revenge of the Elephant Man, Boudica Bites Back) and television specials (Composer on a Bicycle). Lisi has also acted in same films as well as in Invasion of the Not Quite Dead (2019), Puzzleface (2012), and Trapped Ashes (2006). She performed in three shows at Edinburgh Festival in 2016 and on the New York stage with Randy Jones of the Village People (2015) and Brad Dourif (Chucky, Wise Blood) in 2013. She co-hosted London’s Ken Russell Festival at the Cinema Museum (2017) and Lymington Community Center’s Ken Russell Festival (2016). She’s been an academic participant in Ken Russell symposiums at Kingston University, London (2017) and in Brussels (2014). She is a published poet and playwright. She provides the commentary on Ken Russell’s Gothic (2018) and Lair of the White Worm’s (2017) Vestron blu-rays. She was presenter of Film Awards at Keswick Film Festival in 2017. For Burberry she subtitled their Paris presentation of Ken Russell’s film House in Bayswater (2017). She has contributed to magazine articles for Rue Morgue and Screem Magazines. Guest podcaster for Criterion Now, Wrong Reel and Flixwise and is a yearly presenter at Alamo. Drafthouse Cinema in NYC.
She adheres to Ken Russell’s film-vitamin prescription: “One film a day.”
Craig was one of our judges last year and he just can't keep away. Helping as one of our panel of judges again this year, we are hoping to persuade him to entertain us and help hand out one of the awards... for comedy of course!
Canadian Comedian now living in Devon described by Russell Howard as the funniest man he has ever seen. You can find out more about Craig's work here: www.craigcampbell.info
Lucy is possibly best known for playing the role of Phoebe Aldridge on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers over the last nine years.
As well as her radio debut, she has also appeared on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s stages in Stratford-upon-Avon and Newcastle in her younger years, performing in Macbeth directed by Dominic Cooke in 2004 and Romeo & Juliet directed by Nancy Meckler in 2006. Lucy has also been seen on some of our favourite daytime TV shows, including Father Brown.
Lucy trained with the National Youth Theatre and alongside her acting work, is currently assisting in teaching drama and directing talented students in shows to share her knowledge amongst the next generation of aspiring performers.
We welcome her as the judge and presenter of the International Documentary category.
Michael O'Sullivan is a seasoned film industry executive with over 40 years' experience in the film, TV, home entertainment and cinema exhibition industries; primarily with Paramount Pictures.
During his career, Michael was involved in the production of over 70 movies and numerous TV programmes and series. These include films such as The Great Gatsby, The Duellists, Shogun, The Indiana Jones trilogy, Reds, The Winds of War, Shirley Valentine, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, The Talented Mr Ripley, the Mission Impossible series, Lara Croft Tomb Raider and many others.
He was also on the board of the joint venture companies, UIP, CIC and UCI and as such has an intimate knowledge of all forms of film finance, distribution and exhibition.
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the Student Animation category.
Adam "Woody" Woodford
Adam "Woody" Woodford is the singer for the heavy rock band called Polar.
Adam says "Having grown a passion for the contemporary music scene from a young age, I choose to follow my passion and develop a career. Our band has been going over a ten year lifespan and not only have I pushed my musical abilities but it's opened me up to a world of visual content."
"As a band we have full artistic control and over five albums we have created music videos to work alongside the song concepts. Media content is huge aspect with our band and how we market ourselves, as it's also a great way of documenting and displaying a touring lifestyle via social media."
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the International Music Video category.
Photo by Tom Adam Green.
Jen is the owner of Alphadu Productions, an independent film production house which has produced or co-produced over 50 international award-winning films since 2016.
Currently Jen is producing a feature documentary, and producing two films surrounding post traumatic stress disorder in first responders, stemming from her years as a paramedic, along with numerous other projects.
Jen is one of the Founders of the Berkshire Short Film Festival, she has six films touring the film festival circuit and is the humble servant to her American Foxhound Mack.
Jen won the Best in Festival Award at the New Forest Film Festival in 2018 and has kindly agreed to visit us this time and present the award for the Best Zero-Budget Short.
Andy Sowerby is a filmmaker and visual artist. Andy's practice often moves between both narrative, story driven work and abstract, expressive work.
Graduate of Newport Film School UK, his films have been selected for a variety of international film festivals including Aesthetica Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and BBC Music Video Festival and, of course, The New Forest Film Festival where, in 2018, he won Best Sci-Fi Short with his film "The Jump".
We welcome him as a judge and presenter for the Student Sci-Fi Short Award this year.
Cllr. Michael Harris
Cllr. Michael Harris has advised both high profile individuals & companies involved in the media industries for over thirty years. He is an honorary life member of BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts).
As portfolio holder for Local Economic Development, Property and Innovation, Michael was instrumental in creating Film:New Forest back in 2016. He is “looking forward to celebrating our local talent throughout the inaugural New Forest Film Festival”.
We welcome him as the judge and presenter of the New Forest College Student category.
Michael van Koetsveld
Michael co-founded the New Forest Film Festival and has the very enjoyable task of watching ALL the submissions and deciding, with Gary, which ones join the shortlist for the other judges to select the finalists from.
Gary co-founded the New Forest Film Festival and has the very enjoyable task of watching ALL the submissions and deciding, with Michael, which ones join the shortlist for the other judges to select the finalists from.
Gillian was first hooked by the acting bug at the age of 9 years old at Abbey Primary School in Kilwinning, Scotland where she was given the lead role of Scrooge in the Christmas play.
However, it wasn’t until 1990, after going stir crazy working in various roles in the corporate world, Gillian went back to college studying Performing Arts and Theatre Studies, and of course, yes, waitressed. Well, doesn’t acting go hand in hand with waitressing?
Gillian joined the many working as an Extra, The Bill, EastEnders, Britta Empire, Ruth Rendell Mysteries and even headed to Spain for Eldorado. She was lucky enough to get the odd line now and then. While living out in Australia Gillian ran the lighting and sound department for various productions.
As well as acting, Gillian has worked on many productions covering Location Management, Assistant Producer, Production Manager and Co Producer.
Her acting highlight so far has been working alongside Alison Steadman and Michael Attwell on the West End.
Whilst acting is Gillian’s main love, she set up Film Expo South in 2015 and being the CEO and Founder, this takes up most of her time these days. The first event took place in Southampton in 2016 with over 700 filmmakers attending.
Film Expo South is currently working with the Dorset Film Office on new initiatives to help connect creatives and fund TV and film, so stay tuned @filmexposouth and @DorsetFilm.
Gilly will be judging and presenting the Student Music Video category.