2013 Judges for the Blue Water Film Festival
Stephen Bannatyne – Former Port Huron resident, Steve is a producer and co-founder of Lucky Hat Entertainment, a production and development company based in Los Angeles, California. Previous productions include “If A Tree Falls: A Story Of The Earth Liberation Front” (winner of the 2011 Sundance editing award), “Everything Strange And New” (2011 Spirit Award nominee for Best First Feature), ”The Order Of Myths” (winner of the 2009 Peabody Award), “Goodbye Solo” (winner of the 2008 FEPRESCI Prize at Venice Film Festival), “Entre Nos” and “P Star Rising” (official selections of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival), and the short films “Plastic Bag,” “Utopia Pt 3″ and “Sinking State.” Lucky Hat is also developing several projects including “Z for Zachariah” based on the novel by Robert O’Brien and “A Dangerous Friendship” about the relationship between F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
Before founding Lucky Hat in 2007, Steve worked on numerous productions in San Francisco including “Bicentennial Man,” “Monkeybone,” “The Wedding Planner,” “High Crimes” and the animated television series ”Higglytown Heroes.”
A native of Michigan, Steve attended film school at Grand Valley State University before moving to California in 1997. He lives in Eagle Rock with his wife and daughter and their dogs Woody and Lucy.
Chris Gore – As a writer, filmmaker and television personality, Chris has built a solid reputation as a hilariously outspoken voice in the film world. As a teenager, Chris founded the brutally honest magazine “Film Threat,” which began as a fanzine he created as a college student in Detroit. As the ‘zine evolved into a respected national magazine, he relocated to Los Angeles. The print magazine was retired in 1997 when it was re-launched as a website (www.FilmThreat.com) which he publishes. FilmThreat.com has an online audience of over 500,000 readers monthly and was named one of the top five movie websites by the “Wall Street Journal.” Chris sold “Film Threat” at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to former editor Mark Bell. Chris has appeared as a film expert on MSNBC, E!, CNN, Reelz Channel and has also hosted shows on FX, Starz and IFC.
As an author of three books, “The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide” (Random House) is considered the bible of the industry and is required reading at film school. A fourth edition was released in 2009 along with a companion website UltimateFilmFest.com.
In addition to being a noted speaker and author, he was the film expert on the G4TV’s “Attack of the Show” where he is the show’s film expert and hosts a weekly movie review segment, “DVDuesday.” Chris wrote and produced the feature comedy “My Big Fat Independent Movie,” was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in Independent Film by “Film Festival Today” magazine, and currently lives in Los Angeles.
Kathryn J. McDermott – Her production career includes “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Karate Kid III” to name a few of the blockbuster hits on which she has worked. For ”First Knight” and “My Life” she was an Associate Producer. She recently returned to Michigan to produce “Mislead,” a film based on true events about two brother struggling to improve their lives in southeastern Detroit.
Mike White – Often mistaken for the ginger screenwriter/actor of the same name, Mike White is noted as a frequent contributor to publications such as “CinemaScope,” “Paracinema,” Detroit’s “Metro Times” and Detour-Mag.com. White was featured in the documentaries “David Goodis: To a Pulp” and “The People Vs. George Lucas.” He authored “Impossibly Funky: A Cashiers du Cinemart Collection” and weekly co-hosts “The Projection Booth” podcast.
2012 Judges for the Blue Water Film Festival
Stacey K. Black – Stacey K. Black is a two-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Hairstyling for her work on the hit TV Series, “Glee,” an accomplished musician, a television director, and a documentarian. Some of her other hairstyling credits include “The Stepfather,” “Running With Scissors,” “Major Crimes,” “The Closer,” “Nip/Tuck,” “EZ Streets,” “Providence,” and “CSI:NY.”
Stacey made the leap from Hairstylist to Director on “The Closer” starring Kyra Sedgwick. She directed the episodes “Last Woman Standing,” and “Star Turn,” which featured a song she wrote specifically for the episode, and she recently directed “Major Crimes,” the episode titled “Cheaters Never Prosper.” She has written and directed two short films, “Blue Moon,” and “The Truth is Underrated,” and is currently shooting a documentary centered on songwriters who have moved to Nashville, TN, to pursue their dreams in music. This passion project, “Send My Mail To Nashville,” should make it’s festival rounds in 2013.
Some of her soundtrack credits include “The Closer,” “CSI:NY,” and three songs on the feature film, “I Am Death,” in which she appears as “Herself.”
A native of Port Huron, Michigan, Stacey was raised by her loving and supportive mother, Martie Black, who lost her battle with cancer in 2002.
Kathleen Rose Perkins – Kathleen Rose Perkins is currently a Series Regular on Showtime’s hit comedy series, “Episodes”, starring opposite Matt LeBlanc. On film, she has a starring roles in upcoming feature films “Lamb of God” (written and directed by Diablo Cody in which Perkins stars with Octavia Spencer, Holly Hunter and Julianne Hough) as well as the UNTITLED NICOLE HOLOFCENER PROJECT (alongside Julia Louis Dreyfus and James Gandolfini). This past year, Perkins starred in “The Pact” (2012 Sundance Film Festival Selection) and “Cowgirls n’ Angels” (alongside James Cromwell), both of which released theatrically in 2012. On Television, Perkins has recurred on a number of shows including “Tell Me You Love Me” (HBO), “Trust Me” (TNT), “NCIS: LA” (CBS), “Gary Unmarried” (CBS) and “Til Death” (FOX). Some notable guest appearances include turns on “American Horror Story” (FX), “Private Practice” (ABC), “NIP/TUCK” (FX), “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC), “Royal Pains” (USA) and “Lie To Me” (FOX). Kathleen is a native of New Baltimore, Michigan.
John Webber – John Webber began his animation career with Walt Disney Feature Animation in 1994 when he started in the clean-up department on the “Pines of Rome” sequence in Fantasia 2000. He worked with some of the top Supervising Animators on “Pocahontas” and “Hercules” and then moved to Disney’s Orlando facility where he animated on the character of “Mushu” in “Mulan”. John followed things up with animating on lead characters for “John Henry”, Lilo in “Lilo And Stitch” and Kenai in “Brother Bear”. He completed his digital training with Disney when the Orlando facility was shuttered and became a founding partner in a full-service animation studio called, “Project Firefly”. “Firefly” was responsible for completing over 20% of the CURIOUS GEORGE movie among other client-based projects. After three years at Firefly, John worked for several months as a digital animation lab assistant with Full Sail University before joining his current position among the faculty at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) as an animation professor. John is a native of St. Clair, Michigan.
2011 Blue Water Film Festival Judges
Elliot Wilhelm – Since 1973, Elliot has been the Director of the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT) series at the Detroit institute of Arts Museum (DIA) and the Curator of Film at the DIA since 1984. One of the most acclaimed and best-attended film programs in the nation, the DFT has been host to more than three million viewers in the last 36 years.
Named a ‘Michiganian of the Year’ in 1984 by “The Detroit News,” Elliot has been host of the weekly Channel 56 program Film Festival since 1995, and twice has been nominated for local Emmy awards for his work. He has taught numerous courses in film history for both the DIA and Wayne State University, and is the author of the 1988 reference book “Videohound’s World Cinema: The Adventurer’s Guide to Movie Watching.” Elliot was described by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Roger Ebert as “a brilliant programmer and critic, and a heck of a nice guy.”
John Fitzpatrick – In the corporate arena, John has a field of specialty in television and film screenwriting, having worked in development for the Walt Disney Company, Wind Dancer Productions, 20th Century Fox, and most-recently employed as COO for Paula Abdul, Co. In addition to short films, full-length screenplays and one-act plays, his writing credits include several television series from “Roseanne” to “Rugrats.”
As director of the Imagine Writing Program for Television, Film and Theatre at Desales University, Pennsylvania, John has taught writing for television and film, as well as playwriting. He specializes in theory, story and character development, structure and dramaturgy/coverage.
Presently, he is proud to be Chair of the Hollywood Black Film Festival (student short film division) and is developing his first novel.
Susan Cohen – A winner of the 2009 Blue Water Film Festival “Bronze Award” her film “Open Your Eyes,” this Sarnia native has been producing successful films in Los Angeles.
Susan’s first foray in film was in 2002, as a producer on the American Film Institute (AFI) thesis film “Fueling The Fire,” which won more than twelve national and international awards and screened at thirty-three film festivals worldwide. “Fueling The Fire” has aired on HBO and Cinemax.
Susan was a recipient of the American Film Institute Jean Picker Firstenberg Award for Excellence for her Directing Workshop for Women short film, “Open Your Eyes” in 2008.
Due to work on a soon to be pitched television series on a national cable channel, Susan will be unable to attend the 2011 Blue Water Film Festival.
2010 Blue Water Film Festival Judges
Rich Goteri – Rich is the creative director at Michigan Actors Studio. Beginning at age 16 as a stand-up comic in many New York clubs, he auditioned and was accepted into the legendary acting school The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute at age 19. He worked Off-Broadway theatres in NY, directed at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre and taught his first acting class to homeless mothers and their children for the State of New York. This experience changed his life.
His acting roles include “Saturday Night Live,” “Law and Order” and writing cold openings for “Mad About You.” Rich has acted alongside Wes Studi (“Avatar”), Robert DeNiro, Wesley Snipes and Rosie O’Donnell.
From California to Michigan, Rich has been Director and Faculty for many film study colleges and has been nominated for outstanding teacher of the year six times.
He wrote the book “Something From Nothing” for Brainiac books, which has become very popular within the improv community. He has also penned, sold or optioned several screenplays which filmed in 2010.
Douglas Schulze – Schulze is an award-winning filmmaker and President/CEO of the Michigan’s oldest and most reputable film trade school, the Motion Picture Institute. Douglas brings nearly two decades of real-world experience and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Cinematic Arts from Eastern Michigan University. His first 35mm feature film “Hellmaster” aired on HBO and Cinemax.
More recently, Thinkfilm, the elite art house distributor of the Academy Award-winning “Spellbound” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” released his latest feature “Dark Heaven” now available nationally in all Blockbuster stores.
Schulze’s tenure in the film industry has included collaborations with a wide variety of Hollywood professionals including Academy Award-winning special effects artist Chris Walas (“The Fly,” “Gremlins”) and screen veteran actor John Saxon (“A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Enter the Dragon”).
His current directorial effort is a feature-length, suspense-horror entitled “The Rain” starring Dee Wallace (“E.T. the Extraterrestrial,” “Cujo,” “The Howling”).