The Innovation Lab depends on the expertise of our well-rounded and passionate jury members, who not only select the recipients of the Innovation Lab funding assistance, but who also provide their professional feedback to applicants. Composed of a group of industry experts that represent all aspects of motion picture production, multi-platform storytelling, and emerging entertainment models, our jury was committed and invested each step of the way. So thank you to our jury members, and congratulations again to our funding recipients!
Sandy Cioffi – Sandy Cioffi is a Seattle-based film and video artist. She has produced and/or directed several films, including the critically acclaimed Sweet Crude, Crocodile Tears, Terminal 187 and Just Us. Sandy has worked with human rights organizations in global hot zones before, during, and after conflict. Sandy has worked extensively with the Hate Free Zone in Seattle, producing films about treatment of immigrants post-September 11. She was Seattle Director for the video documentation of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003. In 2005-2008, Sandy made four trips to the volatile Niger Delta in Nigeria to film Sweet Crude, documenting conditions and interviewing the region’s key stakeholders, including leadership of the armed resistance movement. Sandy has been active in political advocacy for the Delta’s people, appealing to media, U.S. legislators, international diplomats and NGOs to raise visibility of the humanitarian and global economic issues. As an educator, Sandy has worked extensively with young people – as an artist-in-residence at many middle and high schools in Washington, and through the mentor/apprentice film program at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center. She was a tenured professor in the Film and Video Communications Department at Seattle Central Community College from 2001-2013 and an adjunct professor in the Film Studies Program at Seattle University 2013-14. She was the Director/Chair of Film+Media at Cornish College of the Arts 2013-15. Currently, Sandy is directing a non-fiction media project with CREA, a feminist human rights organization – having filmed with the participants of the SELF Academy this December. She is the Director of a new X festival at the upcoming Seattle International Film Festival.
Diana Dotter – A senior creative leader with two decades of experience in entertainment media, marketing, and business strategy, Diana utilizes her creative abilities to help organizations help the world. Diana founded three successful startup companies over the past 15 years, including Seattle-based Convergence Media Partners, which creates original content for television and mobile, and is working on an initiative to build a $25 million media campus to support the digital media and entertainment industries in the Pacific Northwest. As the current Executive Director of TheFilmSchool, she has led the organization in its transition from a traditional screenwriting school to a cutting-edge digital media educational institution. Under her executive leadership, TheFilmSchool has produced two short films, which have collectively screened in over 20 film festivals around the world and have received distribution on the Alaska Airlines inflight channel and on IndieFlix. She has created strategic partnerships with two regional colleges and has set the organization on track for the next 10 years. Diana co-produced the feature film Zaytoun, which was chosen for special presentation at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, screened at the London Film Festival and AFI, and is currently available on Netflix. She recently produced the made-for-television documentary The Mystery of Mount Rainier, which will air on PBS in January.
Elisha Miranda – Elisha Miranda left New York City to teach screenwriting, directing, and script analysis in the Theatre and Film Department at Eastern Washington University in 2014. She holds an MFA in Film from Columbia University, an MCP from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where she was a recipient of the Media Lab Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA in Ethnic Studies and English from the University of California at Berkeley. For 15 years, Miranda has written, directed, and produced projects for multiple platforms. Her films have screened and won awards both nationally and internationally at festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Miranda directed and co-wrote the New York Times acclaimed Pandora’s, a multimedia theatre show that premiered off-Broadway. She has also directed documentaries, music videos, interstitials and commercials for brands such as Harley Davidson, MAC Cosmetics, Clinique, and AT&T. Under her pen name, E-Fierce, she wrote her debut young-adult novel series, The Sistahood: On the Mic. She is also a contributing author to the anthologies Juicy Mangos, Other Rican, and The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism. For her work as a published author, she was awarded an author in residence at the National Book Foundation and made the YALSA book list for her young adult fiction. A seasoned cultural activist, she has served on the board of numerous organizations serving women, youth, and people of color, as well as co-founded three community-based arts organizations — including Chica Luna Productions, a New York nonprofit that seeks to increase the number of women of color in film. During her tenure at Chica Luna, Miranda produced over fifty films. Currently, Sangria Street, the television show she co-created, is in development. Her web series, The Go Girl Chronicles, based on her graphic novel, was awarded a 2015 artist grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC) and was an official winner at the 2014 Hollywood Film Festival – Cine Cause Initiative. She is also directing Power to the Pencil, a feature documentary about the role of people of color and women in animation. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Miranda is also penning her next feature — Stainless — exploring the psychological impact of racial profiling and bullying.
Brad Wilke – J. Brad Wilke (@jbwilke) is a co-founder of Smarthouse Creative and a programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival. A graduate of West Point, Brad holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, as well as a Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington’s Department of Communication. At Smarthouse Creative, Brad designs and executes digital and social media strategies for films and filmmakers, as well as film festivals, brands, and startups. Smarthouse will be distributing Pablo Valencia’s feature comedy, Chatty Catties, and the female-directed anthology feature,13 Chambers, later this year.