Film Festival Jury

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Film Festival Jury Members

The Film Festival Jury brings their talent and expertise as screenwriters, writers, producers, directors, and editors—as well as a passion for study abroad. The jury is comprised of accomplished IES Abroad alumni and film studies-related faculty from our Centers.

The jury will select the top student films for public voting on the basis of capturing the spirit of study abroad, production quality, entertainment, and originality.

Jordan Cain

2016 Study Abroad Film Festival Winner

IES Abroad Vienna Alumnus, 2016

Jordan Cain is originally from a small city in Orange County, California called La Palma. He’s currently in his 4th year at Indiana University studying at the Jacobs School of Music, pursuing a Music Education degree with a minor in Wind Conducting. Music has always been Jordan's passion but he also loves connecting with people and discovering ways to help them reach their full potential. He hopes to be a teacher someday, as he feels that is the most fulfilling profession for him. Jordan danced his way to the top of the 2016 Study Abroad Film Festival, and took home the grand prize for his film “Even in Europe…”. Read his thoughts in winning the Festival, and he plans for the future in his Meet the Jury Feature!


Kate Domaille

Film Educator

IES Abroad London Faculty - Film Studies

Kate Domaille has been a professor of film studies at IES Abroad London since 2012.  She teaches three courses: two in British cinema, one with an emphasis on the role and effects of film censorship in Britain.  Most recently she has developed and now teaches a course on Visiting Europe in Cinema In this course the students look at issues around economics of European cinema, the importance of film festivals, questions of language, subtitling and dubbing, and the cultural exchange value of European cinema. In other work Kate has worked with the BFI Film Academy Programme.  This programme gives opportunities to young filmmakers to work with expert input from established filmmakers in the production of a short film. Students work in teams from original script to finished film, developing craft skills and knowledge of industry practice along the way. Read Kate's Meet the Jury Feature to get to know more about her.

Gwen Field

Director & Producer

IES Abroad Paris Alumna, 1970-71

Gwen Field is an award-winning producer of independent films and has competed twice at Sundance and once at Slamdance.  Her vision is to create movies and television products that entertain and inspire as well as provoke and push people to higher ground.  Among her many credits, she has produced Black Irish (2007), Charlton Heston Presents The Bible (1997), Modern Vampires (1998) and the seminal indie classic PATTI ROCKS (1988). Gwen has a BA from the University of California Berkeley, and an MA in film studies from the American Film Institute.  She was an avid photographer when she studied abroad in Paris, which may have foreshadowed her career in film production.  Gwen has been a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for over 20 years.  When she’s not at work in Hollywood, she’s on tour with her daughter, actress Ayda Field, and son in law, Robbie Williams or collaborating with her son, writer-director Dylan Trussell.

Willard Huyck

Writer, Director & Producer

IES Abroad Paris Alumnus, 1965-66

Willard Huyck is a motion picture screenwriter and director whose film credits include American Graffiti, Lucky Lady, French Postcards, Best Defense, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Radioland Murders. He also worked on the screenplays for the first Star Wars and the first Mission Impossible. Huyck (along with George Lucas and Gloria Katz) received the NY Film Critics Circle and the National Association of Film Critics Best Screenplay awards for American Graffiti. He was nominated for the Best Screenplay Academy Award for the same film, which was recently designated as one of the Best One Hundred American Films by the American Film Institute. Huyck received his Bachelor's degree in Cinema from the University of Southern California. His junior year was spent in Paris studying at the Institute of European Studies (now IES Abroad).  French Postcards was inspired by that experience. He is a former member of the Foreign Film Selection committee of the Academy Awards and is a current member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also chairs the Writers Guild Screen Credits Committee. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, film collaborator Gloria Katz. Read Willard's Meet the Jury feature.

Franz Leithold

Writer, Director & Editor

IES Abroad Freiburg Faculty - Film Studies

Dr. Franz Leithold earned a Ph.D. in Slavic and German Studies from the University of Freiburg. He is currently Media and Computer Center Director at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg library, where since 1996 he has taught seminars and lectures on German film and literature. He pursued a degree in Library Science in Cologne from 1989-1990. Current research areas include film history, film theory, aesthetics of film, and film production. Dr. Leithold has also produced several TV features. Among his more recent publications: Studien zu A.P. Cechovs Drama "Die Moeve” (1989), 193 p.; several articles on Russian literature, which were published in Harenbergs Lexikon der Weltliteratur. Autoren –Werke – Begriffe. 5 volumes (1989). In addition to this he has also produced his own films, including stage direction, camera, editing, and screenplay writing. He has also received several awards and prizes, including: Lehrpreis des Landes Baden-Württemberg (2001), Intermedia-Globe in Gold – Worldmediafestival inHamburg (2002), and Förderpreis beim Medienpreis der Universität Freiburg für Uni-TV (2005). Read Franz's Meet the Jury feature.

Leland L'Hote

Program Dean for Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Quito, and Santiago

IES Abroad Chicago

Leland L’Hote has been a Program Dean for IES Abroad since 2010 and currently supervises the IES Abroad Centers in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Santiago, and Quito.  He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Kentucky and previously served on the faculties at Longwood University and Iowa State University, where he primarily taught courses on Hispanic Cinema and Spanish Cultural Studies.  He has published and given numerous presentations on contemporary Spanish film, including the works of directors Agustí Villaronga and Pedro Almodóvar, as well as the representation of immigrant minorities in Spanish documentary cinema.  Lee founded Iowa State University’s European Film Festival, and he includes among his favorite film courses he has taught: “Cuban Cinema Since the Revolution”, “Spanish Cinema of the Franco Era”, and “Almodóvar as Auteur.” Read Lee's Meet the Jury feature.

Mara Perbellini

Script Writer & Story Analyst

IES Abroad Milan Faculty – Film Studies

Mara Perbellini is a scriptwriter and story analyst for major film and TV production companies. After getting her B.A. in Italian Literature and her Master’s Degree in Screenwriting at UCSC in Milan, she began to write screenplays and work as a story analyst for Rai Fiction and Eagle Pictures. She also worked as assistant director on the TV-movie “Una famiglia per caso” for RAI 1. She has had over twelve feature film stories and screenplays purchased or optioned; she wrote many episodes for the animated series “Uffa che Pazienza!” (Rai 2, season 1 and 2) and several prime-time mini-series and series, such as “Distretto di polizia 8” (Canale 5), "Ci vediamo a Portofino" (Rai 1), “La vita che corre” (Rai 1), “Eleonora Duse” (Publispei) and “Ombre sulla neve” (Casanova Multimedia).Mara is also a playwright. In 2012-3 she wrote 5 plays for “Decalogo parte prima” that premiered at the Spoleto “Festival dei due mondi” in 2013. She’s currently writing a historical epic film as well as other TV and cinematic projects. She also attended the Film School at the New York Film Academy, both in NYC and in L.A. (at Universal Studios) and the London Academy of Radio, Film & TV: while there, she directed, wrote and edited 4 short films.  In 2006, Mara joined the Faculty of IES Abroad Milan where she teaches History of Italian Cinema and Filmmaking. She also collaborates with MISP (Master in International Screenwriting and Production ) at UCSC and tutors Italian film students in the film-making summer course at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Read Mara's Meet the Jury feature.

Naomi Seekings

Director, Producer & Editor

IES Abroad London Faculty - Film Studies

Naomi Seekings has worked in theatre, film, and TV. In 1993, she was invited to join the groundbreaking theatre and film company The Grassmarket Project as Associate Director. For the last 25 years, she has been involved in the production of multi-award winning plays, film research and script writing, and the making of short documentaries. During this time, Professor Seekings also worked with other production companies on BAFTA-nominated and BAFTA-winning short films. Independent work comprises installation films commissioned by museums and promos that feature the innovative projects done by arts centres and institutes. She continues to design and deliver film and video production courses to those in the private and public sector. Professor Seekings has been teaching film at IES Abroad London since 2010. Read Naomi's Meet the Jury feature.

Fred Zollo

Film and Theatre Producer

IES Abroad London Alumnus (Fall 1974)

Frederick Zollo is an American film and theatre producer. He has produced more than 100 plays in New York, London, and On-Tour. Zollo is an 18 time Tony nominee, winning the award six times. Frederick Zollo is best known for his film work on Best Picture Oscar Nominees Mississippi Burning (1988), and Quiz Show (1994). He is currently work on a film about the Emmett Till story. Read more about Fred's work in theatre and film here.

Past Film Festival Jury Members

Dr. Octavio di Leo

Writer & Producer

Former Center Director - IES Abroad Rio de Janeiro

Octavio di Leo holds a M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Yale University, where he studied with and served as an editorial assistant for the well-known literary and cultural critic, Harold Bloom. Dr. di Leo has taught at Yale University, the Free University of Berlin, the Technological University of Berlin, and the University of Buenos Aires. He has also collaborated in Rome with the German composer H.W. Henze in the writing of his memoirs, and a puppet opera for the Münchner Biennale. Dr. di Leo has been with IES Abroad since 2003, first in Barcelona, Rome, and now as the Director of IES Abroad Rio de Janeiro. He is a published poet, a literary critic, and a skilled translator. In 2013, Octavio’s first film, Stolica/Chair, which he wrote and produced, was accepted and screened in the Human Rights Documentary section of the 6th Naples Human Rights Film Festival. In the Spring of 2015 Octavio completed A Travessia, a film created with the assistance of IES Abroad Rio de Janeiro film course students. Read Octavio's Meet the Jury Feature.

Elisabetta Lodoli

Director, Screenwriter & Writer

IES Abroad Rome Faculty - Film Studies

Elisabetta Lodoli, an accomplished director, screenwriter, and writer, graduated in History and Philosophy at Bologna University (Italy) and received her Master’s degree in Film and Television at Calarts, Los Angeles, California. Now in Rome, she has been directing in cinema, television, and documentaries, including for RAI CinemaFiction, the most important Italian Public Broadcast. These include Più leggero non basta (A lighter burden to bear) and Lui e Lei 2 (He&She season 2) in 1999, Stiamo bene insieme (Happy together) in 2002, and Il futuro ha 50 anni (The future is 50 years old), a 2011 documentary on the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification. For IES Abroad, she recently directed Stolica/Chair, a documentary that records the stories of women and men who lived the 1992-95 war in Yugoslavia. The film was accepted and screened in the Human Rights Documentary section of the 6th Naples Human Rights Film Festival. Elisabetta also recently published her first novel, Questo mare non è il mio mare (This is not my ocean) about a 17 years old girl from Sri Lanka just arrived in Roma, Italy, to join her family. "But in some way Love is involved..." is the working title of the documentary Elisabetta is currently developing about violence against women. "This time it's the men’s turn to speak out” is the logline of the film which yields the floor to ex-abusers. It won't be an inquiry, but rather a creative documentary aimed at dismantling gender stereotypes, male and female alike, and promoting a different culture regarding relationships between men and women. Professor Lodoli has been teaching film at IES Abroad Rome since 2008. 

Kyle Rodriguez

2015 Study Abroad Film Festival Winner

IES Abroad Buenos Aires Alumnus, 2015

Kyle Rodriguez is a Senior Economics major at Occidental College in Los Angeles. After graduation, he hopes to relocate to Chicago to find work that he is passionate about. What that might be, he is not so sure. Kyle spent this past summer backpacking by himself through South America after a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His hobbies include but are not limited to playing guitar, filmmaking, music production, backpacking, and ultimate frisbee. Watch Kyle's winning film, It's Okay, and learn more about him by reading his Meet the Jury feature.

Alexa Penton

2014 Study Abroad Film Festival Winner

IES Abroad Beijing Alumna, 2014

Alexa Penton is an Orlando native and a cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she earned a B.A. in Mandarin Chinese and a B.A. in Art History. Alexa was the winner of the 2014 Study Abroad Film Festival after spending her spring semester abroad in Beijing, China. Her love for film and imagery was first inspired by her grandfather, Ted Perry, a screenwriter who served as Director of the Department of Film for the Museum of Modern Art and later taught film courses at several universities. She is also especially inspired by the filmmaker Terrence Malick and the cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Her interest in China began as a freshman taking Chinese classes at Timber Creek High School and continued through her college career at Ole Miss, where she was accepted as a member of the prestigious Chinese Language Flagship Program. Alexa will be moving back to Beijing to work as a Resident Assistant for the IES Abroad program there and plans to continue using film to document her travels at home and abroad. Read Alexa's Meet the Jury Feature then watch her winning film, East of Here!