2023 Festival Jury.

Meet the 2023 Film Festival Jury!

Documentary Feature

Amar Dass Jury Headshot 2023 - wvn

Amarjit Dass

Founder | Consultant | Humanitarian

Amarjit Dass
is the Founder and Consultant at Moonlight Hubb Consulting, LLC. As a consultant, she works with organizations around the world to develop and strengthen programs that support historically underrepresented and marginalized communities. The focus areas of her work are: leadership, empowerment, health and education.

Amarjit has been a lifelong supporter of social causes for youths, refugees and women. She previously interned with USNC of UN Women Los Angeles Chapter and Human Rights Watch. As a graduate student at University of Southern California’s Global Medicine program, Amarjit was one of ten students selected to intern at UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy. During her internship, she learned about various social causes UNICEF was working to advance girls’ rights around the world.

After spending amazing years in Los Angeles, Amarjit moved to San Diego to work closely with the diverse refugee communities. During her free time, Amarjit loves to watch documentaries, cook global cuisines, read, write short stories and spend time at the beautiful beaches in San Diego.

anne phillips headshot jury 2023

Anne Phillips

Manager | Social Impact Strategist

Anne Phillips
(she/her) is the Senior Manager of Market Development for Uncommon Productions and a freelance social impact strategist and fundraiser for nonprofits and documentary films. 

She has 23 years of social justice experience in community organizing, grassroots marketing, and fundraising. 

Her passions include abortion access, prison abolition, and racial justice. She resides in Los Angeles with her perfect grey cat sons, Joey and Jack.

Selma Nayebi Jury Headshot 2023 - wvn

Selma Nayebi


Selma Nayebi is independent and an award-winning filmmaker from Tehran, Iran. In the past 
17 years, she has been researching, directing, shooting, writing, and editing short documentaries about the themes of poverty and the plight of marginalized people, particularly women. Over the past decade, she has completed 9 films and has her work.

shown in more than 30 international film festivals. She has made two documentaries abroad; in 2016, she made a documentary called “Open Doors” in Thunder Bay, Canada with Shebafilms, and in 2017, another documentary called “I want to be free” in Paris, France. She is currently editing the hour-long documentary Carousel of Time, a film about One of the pioneers in carousel manufacturing in the United States, Charles Wallace Parker who became known as the “King of the Carousel.”

She is also an academic, with a master’s degree in Art Research. A talented graphic designer, she has created posters, logos, and social media graphics for all of her own films and has done several works for many other artists. She is also experienced in Lithography and worked for Azmon Lithography in Tehran for 3 years, where she was involved in every phase of the artistic and technical processes for printing books, magazines, banners, posters, catalogs, etc. She did graphic design, layout, and all phases of the lithography process, using software programs to prepare the design and colors so that it is readable by the image-forming machine.

Sahraa Karimi - women's voices now 2023 film festival

Sahraa Karimi

Teacher | Film Director

Sahraa Karimi (April 20 1981) is an Afghan film director and teacher currently based in Italy, who was notably the first female chairperson of the Afghan Film Organization

She has directed 30 short films, 3 documentary films and one fiction film Hava, Maryam, Ayesha which had the world premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival.

Prior to the fall of Kabul to the hands of the Taliban, she was the first and the only woman to be directing Afghanistan’s film entity.

Documentary Shorts

Sjoukje Yao Wu Headshot Jury 2023 - wvn

Sjoukje Yao Wu

Filmmaker | Researcher | Consultant

Born in Shanghai, Sjoukje Yao Wu is a Dutch researcher educated at Leiden University and Columbia University, specialized in international sustainable development cooperation projects.

Sjoukje Yao Wu recorded a radio program on migration integration for BBC World Service, was interviewed by Horizon 2020 on technology and innovation, broadcast on European Commission’s site. She worked as director’s assistant at International Film Festival Rotterdam, participated at film premiers at Vision de Reel Documentary film festival in Switzerland, and was international producer of documentary film ‘A State of Being’.

Professor Lei Wen from Shanghai Theatre Academy is the director, and the film received the Best Documentary Award at The Buddha International Film Festival, Sweden Film Award and dozens of other awards at international film festivals. She was invited in Global Artist Committee of Asian Art Association in Feb 2022.

Katie Callahan Neginskiy Jury Headshot 2023 wvn

Katie Callahan Neginskiy

Director | Teacher | Consultant

Katie Callahan Neginskiy
is a teacher, education consultant, and non-profit founder. She is from the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina, but is currently based in Los Angeles. She has a Bachelor’s in International Relations, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in ESL, and a second Master’s in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies.

She has taught in five countries and spent ten years managing adult education programming for Heartland Alliance’s refugee resettlement organization in Chicago. She has worked as an educational consultant for several institutions, including American Institutes for Research.

She founded and currently directs the California based non-profit, the International Women’s Resource Center, which provides education and community building programming for refugee and immigrant women.

Vivienne Tailor Jury Headshot 2023

Vivienne Tailor


Vivienne Tailor
earned her Cultural Studies MA with a Concentration in Media Studies from Claremont Graduate University, her Creative Writing MFA (specializing in film studies) from National University, and her English BA with an African American Studies Certificate from the University of Georgia.

Her Comparative Arts research centers on oppressive regime structures, healing trauma through Art, and historical amnesia with the reclamation of memory and re/creation of individual and national identities.

She applies her language reading skills in Mandarin, French, and Spanish and her developing skills in Korean and Japanese to include native scholarship in her research. Her research fields include Memory Studies, Transitional Justice, Identity Politics, Trauma & Perpetrator Studies, Discourse Analysis, Film Studies & Magical Realism (Ghost Studies, Dead Body Politics).

She has presented at numerous conferences and currently has several chapters pending publication with Routledge and Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Youth Documentary

Ausma Palmer Jury Headshot 2023 wvn

Ausma Palmer


Ausma is a writer and copy editor based in Brooklyn. In 2020, she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University, where she also studied comparative literature and film studies. A lifelong cinephile, Ausma adores Eastern European cinema and French new-wave films and has a penchant for memoir storytelling that explores emigre stories, family histories, the concept of identities, and what makes us who we truly are.

She started as a social media intern for Women’s Voices Now and later served as the social media coordinator; she continues to contribute to WVN as a writer for The WVoice while working full-time as an editorial assistant.

At any moment of her spare time, Ausma can be found reading or solving crosswords for hours on end as a tennis match plays on TV in the background.

Marta Pinto Jury Headshot 2023

Marta Pinto


Marta Pinto lives in Porto, Portugal. After years of being fascinated about cinema, she enrolled at University of Beira Interior and is currently in her second year of Film Studies.

In 2022, she had the opportunity to be part of the MOTELX film festival supporting crew, in Lisbon, and the rewarding and exciting experience further fueled her ambitions.

This year, Marta participated in the pre-selection jury of the Porto Femme Film Festival.

Lesley Elizondo - women's voices now 2023 film festival

Lesley Elizondo

Director | Educator | Researcher

Lesley Elizondo is a Mexican American director of photography and cinematography educator born and raised in Los Angeles. 

In 2019, Lesley’s DP work with the activist group “Ya Basta” was featured in a week-long video installation on Sacramento and Washington DC’s capitol buildings. Her cinematography has also been featured in the Senorita Cinema Film Festival in Houston, the Pride Arts Center Film Festival in Chicago, the Stella Adler Academy Hollywood Short and Sweet Film Festival in LA, and the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase in St. Louis. On Youtube, “Pa Delante” has over 96 thousand views and “MacBeth” has over 3.6 thousand views. 

Lesley’s awards include the Women In Film Loreen Arbus Cinematography Fellowship, the Antonio David Blanco Cinematography Fellowship, the NHFA Fellowship, the Dorothy Arzner Memorial Fund, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Grant. Because of her work, Lesley has been invited to attend the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts annual Gala and Pitch Session in Washington DC for the last three consecutive years.  

As a cinematographer, she has lensed narrative, serial, documentary, theatrical, protests, live events, music and commercial projects. Lesley completed a Master of Fine Arts in Cinematography from UCLA and two Bachelor of Arts Degrees from the California State University of Long Beach; one in Narrative Film Directing and the other in Spanish Literature. 

Most recently, she completed the cinematography on the documentary “Basta,” the pilot “Salem High,” and is currently doing research for “Intern Reaper,” a Taiwanese short film to be shot in 2021.

Lesley teaches cinematography at the New York Film Academy and at UCLA Extension.

Hear from our Selection Committees


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