We’re deeply indebted to the following experts who joined us in assembling this year’s of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World. Here are some details about them and their deep film festival expertise.
Miriam Bale is the artistic director of the Indie Memphis Film Festival and a former film critic who has written for publications including The New York Times, Sight and Sound and Film Comment. She has also organized film programs for the Anthology Film Archives, Bamcinématek, and more, and founded the La Di Da Film Festival in New York City.
Clint Bentley / Greg Kwedar
Clint Bentley is the director of Jockey, which he wrote and produced with Greg Kwedar. The film, Bentley’s directorial debut, is based on the life of his father and premiered in competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Prize for Best Actor for Clifton Collins Jr. and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Clint also wrote and produced Transpecos with Kwedar.
Tranpecos was Greg Kwedar’s debut as a feature director. The film premiered at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. In addition to writing and producing Transpecos and Jockey with Bentley, he has spoken to thousands of students nationwide and taken part on panels about his work at venues for SXSW, Sundance, UNESCO, the United Nations and more.
Jim Cummings is a Sundance and SXSW-winning filmmaker from New Orleans. He is a champion of the digital independent filmmaking renaissance and is very vocal at film festival happy hours and on social media about DIY filmmaking. His films Thunder Road and The Wolf of Snow Hollow have been showcased and praised around the world for their genre-fluid aesthetics and his new film, The Beta Test, is no different. He lives in Los Angeles and treats his home like a film studio.
Micah Gottlieb is the founder and curator of Mezzanine, an independent and arthouse revival film series based in Los Angeles that offers programs created in collaboration with local artists, filmmakers, curators and other luminaries. He is formerly the assistant programmer at the Quad Cinema and previously worked in independent film distribution in New York. He currently works as an archivist in Los Angeles.
Noel David Taylor
Noel David Taylor, is an English-American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and production designer. Taylor has created over 40 accomplished shorts and experimental films. Through this body of work, Taylor has created an inimitable aesthetic universe: a unique alchemy of homemade nightmare comedy and an absurdist sense of tragedy. His screenplays have won several awards. His feature film directorial debut, Man Under Table, premiered at Slamdance 2021.
Iman Zawahry is one of the first hijabi American-Muslim filmmakers in the nation and has worked on films that have played at over 100 venues worldwide. She’s an Emmy award winner, Princess Grace Award recipient, Lincoln Center Artist Academy Fellow, and Sundance Momentum Fellow. She is also the co-creator of the first American Muslim film grant with Islamic Scholarship Fund, where she currently serves as director of Film Programs. Her debut film, Americanish, is now on the festival circuit and has won more than 20 awards, including best director and best film. She is currently faculty of film production at the University of Florida.
Main image: Iman Zawahry. Photo by Stephanie Chi Yun Lun.