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Our Distinguished Panel of Judges ...


Cinema Ed is very pleased to have these knowledgeable industry leaders as our 2016 judges for the SOMA Film Festival. Each judge provided input on films and gave their choices as the Best of 2016.  A common theme among all of the judges was the high quality of work coming from ALL the students and their wish that they could have screened many more films.  Thank you to these excellent film professionals in their own right for helping give recognition to all future filmmakers.

Howard Libov

Fairleigh Dickinson University's Film Program Director; Chair, Visual & Performing Arts Dept. holds two master degrees and is an award-winning film director, producer and screenwriter whose work has been distributed theatrically, on HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and PBS. He has also worked as a writer and producer of newscasts and documentaries for the CNN cable network. Howard attended the film programs at New York University and The American Film Institute. His films include the feature Favorite Son (Director/Co-writer) with Pablo Schreiber (HBO’s The Wire) and Connor Paolo (World Trade Center) and is presently in distribution with Panorama Entertainment. The film won "Best Director" at the Hoboken Film Festival and the "Gold Remi Award" at the Worldfest International Independent Film Festival , besides being a selected feature at numerous other film festivals.  He has numerous other credits, which you can find here.

Orit Schwartz

After growing up in Los Angeles and attending California State University, Northridge, Orit began working in Hollywood as a production assistant on the television hit, Roseanne. Additionally, her career in TV production included working on That 70s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun. Orit also served as an associate producer for NBC's NewsRadio. She is recognized for her substantial contribution to the growth of the BendFilm Festival during her four years at the helm. She was responsible for procuring a jury including Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum and Magnolia Pictures head of distribution, Neal Block. For two consecutive years during her tenure as Festival Director, BendFilm was voted among the top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee by MovieMaker magazine. Orit is also known as an independent filmmaker and screenwriter. Her short film co-starring Jane Lynch and Stephen Root, The Frank Anderson, played over 40 festivals, won numerous awards and was acquired by MTV.

Gerard Amsellem

In addition to being an award winning film director and painter, Gerard has over 15 years experience as a high school teacher, and is the highly regarded creator and leader of La Cinémathèque, a very successful film club that screens films, explores the origins of modern film, discovers influential filmmakers, and discusses the styles and philosophical messages of the films presented as part of each series. Gerard was born in Morocco and lived the first 25 years of his life in Paris, where he studied painting at the University of Paris and earned his Masters Degree in French Literature and Art History. In 1982 Gerard moved to the U.S. and continued to paint and develop his interest in film. His most recent film Bartleby 2013 received a Director’s Citation from the Black Maria Film Festival and was an official selection of several other festivals. It was also selected by SOMA Film Festival's own independent panel of judges to  be screened as part of the inaugural Festival. He is currently working on two films, a documentary on the late French painter Bernard Requichot and the film When If Not Now.

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