NFT Competition Judges
30 semi-finalists will be chosen from total entries by a judging committee composed of professional editors, writers, and filmmakers from the sponsors Red Hen Press, WebdelSol.Com, and Nextpix Film.
The final three winners and seven honorable mentions will be chosen by judges who are popular and active players in the worlds of filmmaking and literary pursuit. The judges as follows:
Ken Atchity is a writer, film producer, and literary manager, responsible for launching dozens of films and books. Ken has produced 28 films, including LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT (Angelina Jolie; Fox), GOSPEL HILL, and HITTING THE BRICKS. Films in development include THREE MEN SEEKING MONSTERS (Universal), THE LAST VALENTINE (Hallmark Hall of Fame), and RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT (starring Jim Carrey; Paramount). He has also been a Distinguished Instructor, UCLA Writers Program, a reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review, and Vice-president of P.E.N. Los Angeles.
Robert Olen Butler has published more than a dozen novels, including A GOOD SCENT FROM A STRANGE MOUNTAIN which won the prestigious Pulitzer prize. He has written feature-length screenplays for New Regency, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney, and Universal Pictures, as well as teleplays for HBO. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, and Paris Review, among others. He is director of the creative writing program at FSU and has been awarded both a Guggenheim and NEA fellowship.
Kate Gale is both an accomplished poet and editor. She is 2005-2006 President of PEN USA, the founder of Red Hen Press, The Los Angeles Review, and the Los Angeles WRITERS IN THE SCHOOLS program for underserved communities. Kate received her doctorate in English literature from Claremont and now teaches at California State University. She wrote the libretto to the opera RIO DE SANGRE, as well as four previous books of poetry, one children's book, and a novel.
Michael O'Keefe is an accomplished actor and writer. He completed his MFA at Bennington and is currently at work on a novel. Recent films he has appeared in include FROZEN RIVER with Melissa Leo, and MICHAEL CLAYTON with George Clooney. His best known film role is Danny Noonan in the comedy film CADDYSHACK. He received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as the oldest son of a Marine aviator in THE GREAT SANTINI. O'Keefe's Broadway theatre credits are considerable and he is also known for his portrayal of Fred, the husband of Roseanne's sister Jackie on the ABC series Roseanne. Additional television credits include Law & Order, M*A*S*H, and HOUSE M.D.
Known throughout the 80's and 90's as a playwright with productions from coast-to-coast, Don Thompson has more recently shifted his focus to film. His plays have included TIBET DOES NOT EXIST, L.A. BOOK OF THE DEAD, and DEMOCRACY: A WORK IN PROGRESS. His first feature film, CLOUDS, received awards and special recognition from 6 U.S. and International Film Festivals and was released theatrically (limited) by IN Pictures. His production company nextPix currently produces and co-produces feature films and documentaries, and also supports first time directors through its firstPix grant program. Many of the firstPix selections have been recognized by top-tier festivals such as Sundance, Chicago Documentary Film Fest, and the Mill Valley Film Festival. The nextPix feature film THE MESSENGER, directed by three-time Cannes selection Oliver Schmitz, is scheduled for release in 2009.
Barbara J Zitwer has written several books, as well as the play, PAPER DOLL, about Jaqueline Susann. She has also produced films such as VAMPIRE'S KISS with Nicolas Cage, and was Executive Producer on LAZARUS RISING with Columbia Tri-Star and Bernie Sofronski. Currently she is executive producing THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB that will star Julia Roberts. Barbara is also an accomplished literary agent. She lives in NYC.