2017 Judges


Bill Nolan
Bill Nolan is a film aficionado and has been a past Instructor at Cochise College for over 21 years teaching digital photography and film history in Willcox, AZ. Bill holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising from Michigan State University, is working on a Masters from Western New Mexico State University as well as authoring a new book. He is also the owner of Quail Canyon Systems, which specializes in computer hardware. Bill is in his 4th year as one of the festival judges.

Kelly Van Shaar
Kelly Van Shaar is a local media professional who owns Van Shaar Productions in Safford, Arizona. He has been the lead instructor for Media Studies at both Thatcher High School and Willcox High School. Kelly has also been an adjunct instructor teaching audio production for the Media Communications program at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Arizona. Kelly has a degree in music and is actively involved in theater arts as well as production. Kelly has written and recorded many of his own songs. Kelly was last year’s recipient of the Stan Robinson Award of Excellence and is in his second year as a judge.

Luis Maria Lopez Benitez
Luis Lopez is an independent producer and media professional who currently lives in Asuncion, Paraguay. He holds a degree in Broadcasting Communications from ITT Technical Institute and is a former producer at Channel 33 Univision in Phoenix, Arizona. Luis was on-hand two years ago at the festival as a visiting photographer and correspondent while continuing work on a documentary series about worldwide environmental issues. Luis is also in his second year as a judge for the festival.

Scott Christian Carr
Scott Christian Carr is an award-winning writer and producer of film/television. He is the Co-Creator of The Learning Channel (TLC) television series DEAD TENANTS. As Head of Development for both the Emmy Award-winning Triple Threat Television and the Academy Award-nominated Fredric Golding Productions, Scott developed original programming for MSNBC, ESPN, CNBC, A&E, The Hallmark Channel, Discovery Networks and The Learning Channel. This marks Scott’s first year as a judge for the festival.

Timothy Bryant
Timothy Bryant is an Executive Producer and owner of Caribou Moving Pictures, an award winning film and TV production company located in Phoenix, Arizona. Growing up in Burbank, Tim got a taste for working in film production early on from commercials to feature films that eventually lead to Caribou’s feature film production of “Planet of the Killer Robots”. He is currently working with “Star Trek” alum Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov) on the feature film “In Search of Steven Spielberg”. This is Tim’s first year judging at the festival.

Irene Gottlieb
Irene Gottlieb is the Executive VP of Garnet Media Group in Sarasota, Florida and brings extensive experience to film projects with a comprehensive understanding of business development, distribution, marketing and media. Irene is a Producer and staff writer for non-fiction television (Discovery Life Channel’s “Real Bloodlines”) and high profile film projects. Irene is also a credited screenwriter and published author. Irene has currently aligned herself and Garnet Media with other established production companies and agencies to help cultivate new media products. This is her first year as a judge for the festival.




All entries are judged on a 30 point scoring possibility for tradecraft (writing, directing, editing, etc.), combined with an overall division and category ranking for tie breaker considerations.