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A two-time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, Ms. Peltier won her first Emmy for educational programming at the age of 23. Since then, she has accumulated over 50 national and international awards and accolades for her work as a producer, writer and editor. She was director and co-writer (with her mentor, Oscar and 16 Emmy Award winner Arnold Shapiro) of the primetime documentary special, "Scared Silent: Exposing and Ending Child Abuse", hosted by Oprah Winfrey. This multi-network simulcast was hailed as television’s most watched documentary ever, and earned Ms. Peltier the coveted Humanitas Prize. Following was the Peabody Award-winning "Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse”. In 1994, she was producer-director-writer of A&E’s four-hour special, "Titanic: Death of a Dream" and "Titanic: The Legend Lives On", then the network’s highest-rated program ever, which won two National Emmy Awards, including one to Ms. Peltier for outstanding documentary writing. Three more Writer’s Guild of America nominations for documentary writing followed, as well as four primetime Emmy Nominations as an Executive Producer of National Geographic Channel’s "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan”, also 2010 People's Choice Award winner.  From 1996-2010, Peltier was a partner and co-founder of MPH Entertainment, which created over 350 hours of original documentary and reality television programming, of which she produced, wrote or directed hundreds of hours.


Peltier’s dramatic TV and film credits include writing the Lifetime movie "Nightwaves" and "The Collector", for the hit CBS series, "Ghost Whisperer". With her MPH partners, she served as an executive producer of the film "Men Seeking Women" (starring Will Ferrell) and co-executive producer of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” More recently, she produced and was second-unit director of the multi-festival-winning indie feature, "White Irish Drinkers", for Ovington Avenue Productions, of which she is also a principal with her husband, the film and TV writer/director, John Gray.


Most recently, she was story consultant and co-producer for the 2014 award-winning feature documentary “Look At Us Now, Mother!” and the feature documentary “I Am A Ukranian,” and served as a story consultant on the upcoming feature documentary “The Brainwashing of My Dad."  She authored the darkly comic Hollywood novel, "Reality Boulevard" (a Kirkus Review “Best Indie 2013” choice and is the co-author of eight non-fiction works: including five Random House books with 'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan, all of which were New York Times Best Sellers.  The first, “Cesar’s Way”, stayed number one for 11 weeks and has sold over a million copies worldwide. Peltier graduated Phi Beta Kappa/ cum laude from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.   She lives in Nyack and Manhattan New York with her husband, stepdaughter and their rescue dog Frannie.

Jeff Melman has directed nearly 500 television series - both comedy and drama.  He graduated from San Diego State University and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in directing.  His first job was as the production assistant during the first season of the iconic series, “Barney Miller”.  He ascended quickly on that series, stage-managing the second season, then associate directing during seasons three and four.  He started directing on the multi-camera comedy series, “Night Court”, producing and directing 76 episodes.  He transitioned to single-camera comedy on the Emmy awarded “Malcolm in the Middle”, directing 26 episodes over four years and earning two Emmy nominations for “Excellence in Comedy Direction”.   He transitioned to hour drama, directing several episodes of “Desperate Housewives” as well as directing multiple episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, for which he earned a Director’s Guild nomination for “Best Directing in a Drama”. Over the course of his career he has also directed episodes of “Brothers and Sisters”, “Private Practice”, “Frasier”, “Two and a Half Men”, “Everybody Loves Raymond”, “Community”, and “Arrested Development”.

Julia Parker is a successful actress, model and television host from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Having modeled in New York City for years for such labels as Catalina swimwear, Nike and others, Julia move to Los Angeles where she began a successful acting career that included roles in the Emmy-nominated television film “The Flight That Fought Back”, the series “90210”, “After Lately”, Matthew Perry's sitcom “Go On”, “Episodes”, the soon-to-be-aired “American Crime Story”, among others.  Her work also includes the feature films “Grace of God”, “Ribbons”, the award-winning films “ASHES”, “Don’t Let Them In”, “The Moment I Was Alone” and many others.  She was recently part of the prestigious judging team for the Top Shorts Online Film Festival along with being a presenter at the Golden Reel Awards.  Her upcoming film projects include “Maria De Luna”, “Bonds”, and “Death Before Dying”.  Julia is also recognized for her work as the host of a number of infomercials, red carpet events, her behind-the-scenes “Ride Along with Julia” vimeo channel and as a correspondent for many entertainment websites with her always entertaining celebrity interviews on the red carpet.

Diego Loreggian started working in 2001 as a graphic and motion designer for Hollywood features, such as: "Hannibal", "The Merchant of Venice", and "The Italian Job". In 2005 he founded DNA Cultura, a company that deals with museum exhibits through the use of new media technologies.

Since 2008 Loreggian has produced several documentaries, short films and TV series. From 2010 he has worked as a visual effects supervisor and line producer on numerous productions that have been filmed in Italy: "The Borgias", "The Twilight Saga - New Moon", "The Avengers", "Casino Royal" and "Inferno".

In 2015 he founded Time Film, producing the short film/pilot "Doppia Luce", winner of 15 awards and 35 official selections worldwide. He's currently in pre-production with two psychological thrillers: "There" and "Electric".

Grace Parry is an up and coming British Actress and has starred in several British independent features, shorts and series. She is best best known for her role as mean girl 'Katy Gilmore' in series "Night School"; based on the international bestselling books by CJ Daugherty, fantasy series "REN" and comedy feature "The Comedian's Guide To Survival".   Grace's work shows that she brings the same raw talent, passion and commitment to every project that drives her film career. She is currently attached to several films shooting 2016/2017.

Nami Melumad is an active Los Angeles based film composer. Having worked for Magic Productions Inc., Nami has scored numerous projects including commercials, trailers, animations and documentaries, which have been screened worldwide and won multiple international awards. She studied film scoring at the highly acknowledged Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV program at the University of Southern California (among her teachers were Bruce Broughton, Jack Smalley), and was mentored by composer Thomas Newman. Alongside film scoring, Nami has composed music for theater productions, video games and worked as a symphonic arranger.

Some of her most notable credits include: "The Other Dreamers", "And The Tiara Goes To", "On the Edge" and "Mindgame".

Virág Gulyás is the founder of MissCareer/Less, a magazine dedicated to women who embrace change, and works as a freelance creative project manager. As a former ballet dancer, she faced the challenges of what it means to change a career and start a new life in a culture where success is defined in linear terms. Today, she is helping women to share their personal stories through which they empower others and gain clarity for themselves. She believes that the raw, honest storytelling is the new generation of (women) empowerment. Virág is an author, speaker, workshop leader with a strong commitment to causes she believes in.  As she reminders herself and others daily: "If you don't plan your life, someone else will; it's this simple." When she is not penning her next piece or crafting a project, she is teaching Pilates or strives to find peace on her Yoga mat.



festigious 2016 judging team melissa jo peltier jeff melman julia parker nigel barber kelly karavites casey ruggieri diego loreggian linda palmer grace parry nami melumad virag gulyas anna skrypka roy zafrani

Nigel Barber is an American trained actor and voice over artist based in London, England. He has worked in the industry since joining the AEA in the late 70’s, a member of SAG/AFTRA as well as British Equity. Nigel has worked on Stage, in Film, Television and on Radio. Nigel has just completed filming "Mad to be Normal" playing opposite David Tennant. You can see Nigel as 'Head of Nation America' in the new Bond film "Spectre", he also played the 'Chairman’ in "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" and 'Killian Grun' in "Sniper: Ghost Shooter", starring Billy Zane and Denis Haysbert. Nigel was the lead antagonist, ‘Admiral Nathan Black’, in Jeffery Lando's "Roboshark" for Sony Pictures and appears in the new television series "You, Me and the End of the World" for Sky1/NBC/Working Title.  A few of Nigel's most recent films include the Bollywood feature "Welcome to Karachi", "Firequake", "High Strung" and "Lake Placid vs Anaconda". Nigel also played ‘Carrie’s’ father in Jeff Wayne’s classic "The War Of the Worlds" UK arena tour. Nigel appeared in the London West End stage premiers of "A Hard Rain", "The Bodyguard-The Musical", "Xanadu" and as 'James Arthur Ray' in the world premier of "Hearts On Fire". Nigel trained at The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts - Santa Maria, The Actors Workshop - Los Angeles, Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre - Los Angeles. Sal Dano Actors Workshop - Los Angeles. The Actors Centre - London. Nathan Osgood Actors Studio - London.

Casey Ruggieri is an LA based actress and writer. Graduating with a B.S.A. degree in Cinema and Production, she has written in various formats for the big and small screen including; feature, short, sketch and sitcom. Some of her onscreen credits include "Gone Girl" (Directed by David Fincher), "House of Lies" and "Kroll Show", as well as dozens of national commercials. Casey is very active and passionate about her work with the arts for youth in the non-profit sector. She helped start G.R.O.W.T.H. (girls reaching out and within to heal), an LA based afterschool program working with at-risk teen youth. Currently, she is a head mentor with "Young Storytellers", a nonprofit that works with elementary level students, teaching them the fundamentals of screenwriting and storytelling. She is currently developing a youth non-profit of her own.

Kelly Karavites is a NY based award winning Executive Producer with a recent win for Best Feature Film at the Manhattan Film Festival for "Mommy's Box". After a career in financial services and after having served in the United States Army he launched his career in show biz. As an Actor and Comedian, Kelly has appeared Off Broadway, on television and in many diverse indie films. He is the owner of Achilles Heal Films LLC, a unique film company whose goal is to entertain, inform and heal people.

Kelly is also known for "Broadwalk Empire", "Kovar" and "Confused by Love"

Award  winning  writer / director / producer,  Linda   founded   Runaway Productions.   Her recent feature, "Sienna's Choice", is currently on the festival circuit and has accumulated 6 wins and 9 noms.  In 2015, she  directed  and  produced the multi-nominated and winning feature, "Last Call at Murray's" (starring Michael Gross, John Savage),  marketed her  award winning short  film,  "Our Father",  through 23 film festivals and 22 awards, and co-directed  and  co-produced  the  award winning web series, "Carbon Dating", written by showrunner, Amanda Serra.  Previously, Linda  wrote,  directed, and produced the feature film comedy, "Halloween Party" which won best soundtrack at the Laughlin Int’l  Film  Festival  and its opening song “Voodoo” become a 2013 Oscar contender  for  Best  Song,  and produced and production designed "The Wedding Video" among other films and many commercials.

Anna Skrypka is an award-winning producer and CEO of the successful Los Angeles-based entertainment Production Company, ASCA Films. Anna’s credits include multiple acclaimed feature films, commercials, music videos, web-series and numerous short films. Since the beginning of her career, Anna has created hundreds of working opportunities and possibilities for many of the talented people in Los Angeles, New York, Kiev & Kharkiv. Some of her most notable credits include: "At Last", "Behind the Blinds aka Filmmaking 101", "Waves", "The Pinhole Effect", "John Bondage", "Happy Ending", among others.  Anna Skrypka has received significant international recognition for her cinematic achievements, winning numerous awards and nominations from prestigious film festivals as well as from noteworthy organizations the TV and film industry.  She is a member of Women in Film (WIF) and The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), Anna Skrypka has also given seminars and master classes on TV and film production at several academic institutions and film studios. Anna believes in equal opportunities for every talented person no matter their gender, race or nationality, believing that the only things that should matter to achieve success and recognition are one’s work, passion, persistence and talent.

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