Local News: AFS GRAND JURY

(AUSTIN, TX)—The Austin Film Society announces the three jurors who will determine the recipients of this year’s $115,000 Austin Film Society Grant. The grant, which started in 1996 and is awarded annually, has given $1.35 million in cash and $157,790 in goods and services to over 385 film and video projects. 
The panel is in charge of selecting the recipients of the funds, which can be used towards production, post-production and distribution of independent films. $10,000 is given away in travel grants. In addition to $100,000 in cash, a total of $15,000 in goods and services from MPS Camera Austin and Kodak will be awarded. Submissions for the AFS Grant opened on March 30th and closed on June 2nd this year. The panel decisions and announcement of grantees will take place the final week of August. 
Each year, AFS selects three jurors from the film community outside of Texas to travel to Austin and decide the recipients of the grant. The panel is always a mix of accomplished independent filmmakers and influential film curators. This year’s jury is: Aaron Katz, the co-writer/director of LAND HO!, which is currently in theaters; Angela Tucker, documentary producer and creator of the web show, “Black Folk Don’t”; and curator and film journalist Tom Hall, who is the newly named Director of the Montclair Film Festival. AFS Associate Artistic Director Holly Herrick, who oversees AFS Grants, says of the jury selection: “Each year, we select a jury that represents a broad spectrum of artistic possibility. Among them, this year’s panelists have created eclectic narrative comedies, viral web series, concert films and social-issue documentaries, and explored subjects ranging from family, aging, race, class and coming-of-age to punk rock ethos. They are also established industry players with extensive knowledge about the current landscape for independent film. We have many promising projects applying this year, and look forward to the insight our panelists will bring to the table, drawing from their diverse talents, artistic influences, and professional experience.”
For those interested in meeting the panelists during their stay, AFS will present a special Moviemaker Dialogue on Monday, August 25 with juror Angela Tucker, featuring a discussion of her popular documentary web series, “Black Folk Don’t”, which was funded by PBS and Black Public Media. Angela will be showing a few episodes of the series and discussing platforms and opportunities for documentary storytelling on the web and for public broadcasting.  The evening’s media sponsor is local PBS affiliate KLRU. The full panelist bios are below.
Tom Hall
Festival Director, Film Programmer & Journalist
Tom Hall is the Director of the Montclair Film Festival in Montclair, NJ. Previously, Hall held the position of Director, Artistic Director and Director of Programming at the Sarasota Film Festival (2005- 2014) and Programming Director at newportFILM in Newport, RI (2009-2011). In addition, Hall was Programmer for The Nantucket Film Festival in Nantucket, MA (2002-2005) as well as a former Director of New Media for Bravo/The Independent Film Channel (1997-2000). In January of 2010, Tom was named one of Spring Board Media’s 20 under 40 in Film. Tom has directed short films for Bob Mould’s Carnival of Light and Sound Tour and was an inaugural member of the indieWIRE blogging community with his blog The Back Row Manifesto, which is now a standalone website. He is a regular contributor to publications Filmmaker Magazine and Hammer To Nail. He has served as a moderator for Indiewire @ Apple Store Conversations in New York, conducting on stage interviews with Darren Aronofsky and Barry Sonnenfeld. Additionally, he has moderated staged conversation events with Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, Christopher Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Klein and Julian Schnabel, among many others. He is on the Executive Committee of IFP’s Festival Forum, a Founding Nominating Member of the Cinema Eye Awards for Non-Fiction Film, and has been a Nominating Juror for both the Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards. A graduate of the University of Michigan (’94), Hall resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons.
Aaron Katz
Writer/Director,  COLD WEATHER, QUIET CITY and DANCE PARTY, USA
Critically acclaimed writer, director, and editor Aaron Katz was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, before crossing the country to study filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Immediately following graduation, he returned with five friends to his hometown, where they filmed his feature debut, DANCE PARTY, USA, an Official Selection of the 2006 SXSW Film Festival.  QUIET CITY, his sophomore feature, premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2007. Following a successful festival run both home and abroad, the Brooklyn-set romance was selected by Stephen Holden as a New York Times Critics’ Pick and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for the John Cassavetes Award.  Katz’s third feature, COLD WEATHER, opened as a Spotlight Premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival and went on to play the Los Angeles Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, and BFI London Film Festival, among several others. Released theatrically by IFC Films and dubbed by Indiewire as “2011’s first great American indie,” the genre-bending mystery garnered widespread praise from critics, including Roger Ebert and Manohla Dargis, and ranked on several lists among the best films of the year.  Katz’s latest feature, LAND HO!, an Iceland-set buddy comedy which he co-wrote and co- directed with Martha Stephens, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to great critical acclaim. The film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, named on several “Best of Sundance” lists and was released in July 2014. Katz currently resides in Los Angeles.
Angela Tucker
Documentary Director & Producer, THE NEW BLACK, PUSHING THE ELEPHANT, AFROPOP, (A)SEXUAL, Black Folk Don’t
Angela Tucker is a writer, director and producer. Her directorial work includes (A)SEXUAL, a feature length documentary about people who experience no sexual attraction available on Netflix, Hulu and Netflix and BLACK FOLK DON’T … a satirical, documentary web series in its third season featured in Time Magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life.” She is a Co-Producer on THE NEW BLACK, a feature length documentary currently in production about the complicated histories of the African American and LGBT civil rights movements. The film was honored with the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access. Angela is also the Series Producer for the PBS documentary series, AFROPOP. She was the Director of Production at Big Mouth Films, a social issue documentary production company that is a project of Arts Engine, Inc. There, she produced several award winning documentaries including PUSHING THE ELEPHANT (PBS’ Independent Lens) about a Congolese mother and daughter separated over 12 years. She received her MFA in Film from Columbia University where she was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship. Tucker is based in Brooklyn, NY and can be followed on Twitter @tuckergurl
About Austin Film Society:
The Austin Film Society empowers our community to make, watch and love film and creative media. Through Austin Studios, which AFS opened in 2000 through a lease with the City of Austin, AFS attracts film development and production to Austin and Texas. Gala film premieres and the annual Texas Film Awards raise funds and awareness of the impact of film on economy and community. Austin Film Society is ranked among the top film centers in the country and recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and Directors Guild of America. For more information on the Austin Film Society, visit www.austinfilm.org.
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