Jury members ManIFF 2017

As diverse as the festival's officially selected films, the second edition welcomes a panel of jurors with an eclectic mix of local, domestic and international recognition within the world of film and media.

Steven Oritt

(United States)

U.S based Steven Oritt has an abundance of experience in the international filmmaking industry. Starting in music videos where he worked with various artists such as Foo Fighters, Muse, OneRepublic, Pete Yorn and Paulina Rubio among others. Steven recently completed his first feature length documentary 'American Native,' which premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival. Subsequently, Steven has just completed production on his second feature documentary, 'An Accidental Climber,' which follows one man’s attempt to become the oldest American to climb Mt. Everest. What ensued was the worst disaster in mountaineering history. The film is due for release in 2016.

Martin Mckenna


Australian Writer/ Director/Producer and Co-founder of Point of View Films, Martin Mckenna has been involved in film and television for over twenty years.  After many years in series and serial television he moved to complete his first feature film, the offbeat coming of age ‘Is This the Real World’ in 2015 which is due for a theatrical release in 2016. He has also directed in theatre as well as for the screen. As a writer and script editor he has been involved in hundreds of hours of broadcast drama, and numerous feature film scripts, including ‘Neighbours, ‘All Saints’, ‘Packed to the Rafters’, ‘Something in the Air’, ‘Stingers’ and ‘Correlli’. Martin is currently attached as a writer director to several feature film productions in both Australia and the UK.

Jane Anderson

(United Kingdom)

Jane Anderson has cast for BAFTA winning productions. She casts gritty drama through to fun filled comedy. Recent independent films include the comedies ‘Convenience’ & ‘Down Dog’ and the soon to be released thriller ‘Monochrome’. On the small screen she has cast award nominated series ‘All At Sea’ & ‘Hank Zipzer’ and in her years as Casting Associate she worked on the likes of ‘Sherlock’. ‘Mo’, ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’. She is a member of the Casting Directors’ Guild of Great Britain and Ireland.

Emiliano Galigani


Emiliano Galigani is an Avant Garde director and producer: he founded ‘Metropolis Produzioni’ in 2001, the International production company based in Tuscany have produced many plays and shows around the world including ‘The Wall Live Orchestra’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Welcome to the Machine’. The established theatre productions drove the organisation on to the screen with titles ‘The seventh Ad’, ‘When we were Friends’ and ManIFF’s world Premiere ‘The Imago’, Emiliano’s latest project ‘Homewards’ is currently in pre-production. Adding to all this natural passion for creativity Emiliano also founded Tuscany’s ‘Film Academy’ and the ‘Cartasia Art Festival’ which is in its 14th biennial year.

Mark Hudson

(United Kingdom)

Mark Hudson is one of the most ‘in demand’ acting coaches in the UK with an endless list of film, television and theatre credits. A former actor and two time BAFTA Award winning BBC Producer Mark works with an ever increasing roster of actors that reads like a who’s who of film and television talent. In 2001 Mark opened the Manchester School of Acting one of the most successful and forward looking independent drama schools in the country. MSA students include many of the most successful and recognisable actors in the industry today. Mark is a member of both the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Royal Television Society.

Gareth Jones

(United Kingdom)

Gareth Jones has been involved in the finance, sales and distribution of feature films for over twenty years. After graduating in law from University College London, Gareth practised as a corporate lawyer with City firm ‘Macfarlanes’. He joined ‘HandMade Films’ as an in-house lawyer in 1984, went on to head ‘HandMade’ and subsequently became Managing Director of ‘Alibi Films International’, both international film sales companies. Gareth negotiated the corporate acquisition of ‘HandMade Films’ by ‘Paragon’, a Canadian public company, and was instrumental in floating ‘Alibi Communications’ plc on ‘AIM’ and sat on the main board. Gareth has exec produced, financed, packaged and sold international rights in dozens of successful independent feature films including ‘Withnail and I’, ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’, ‘Nuns on the Run’, ‘The Man With Rain in His Shoes’, ‘Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, ‘The Hard Word’, ‘The secretary’, ‘The Business’, ‘Mystics’, ‘Open Range’, ‘My Summer of Love’ and ‘4,3,2,1’ and Mum's List.

Matthew Butler and Tori Hart

(United Kingdom)

The writing and filmmaking partnership of Matthew Butler and Tori Hart has been recognised by Screen International as stars of tomorrow. Over the past fourteen years they have been working professionally as actors, writers and director. Their production company Fizz and Ginger films havecredits that include working with the likes of Sir Ian Mckellen, Sir Derek Jacobi and Stephen Fry on titles such as ‘Miss in Her Teens’, ‘Two Down’ and ‘E’Gad, Zombies!’. A selection of their films have all been distributed and have garnered awards and screened at many international film festivals. They have just completed their third feature "The Isle" due for release later this year.

Matt Wilde

(United Kingdom)

Matt Wilde is a former Associate Director of the NT Studio and Out of Joint. His first feature film Kicking Off won the Best UK Feature Film at the Raindance International Film Festival 2016. Recent work includes: One Hour Only by Sabrina Mahfouz (Old Vic New Voices, Underbelly, Edinburgh), Everyman adapted by Kerry Frampton (Splendid Productions Tour), Days of Significance by Roy Williams (Unicorn Theatre, London), Medea by Euripides adapted by Ben Hales (Splendid Productions Tour), Dead Heavy Fantastic by Robert Farquhar (Liverpool Everyman), Splendour by Abi Morgan (GBS Theatre RADA), Blavatsky’s Tower by Moira Buffini (Camden People’s Theatre, London), Out of Focus by Gabriel Bissett-Smith, Shireen Mula & Tash Rickman (Only Connect Theatre, London) The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson (Unicorn Theatre, London), Lost Monsters by Laurence Wilson (Liverpool Everyman) and Nocturne by Adam Rapp (Almeida Theatre). Other work includes: One Night in Istanbul by Nicky Allt (Liverpool Empire), Branded by Simon Bent (Old Vic), Stoning Mary by Debbie Tucker Green (Teatro Flumen, Valencia), Get Tested by Laura Wade and The Elephant In The Room by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Celebrity 24hr Plays at Old Vic), Out of the Fog by Roy Williams (Almeida Theatre), Polar Bear by Mark Schultz (Birmingham Rep/ATC), On The Middle Day by Gavin Birch for (Old Vic@ IWM), Gizmo Love by John Kolvenbach (ATC – Edinburgh and Tour) and On Tour by Gregory Burke for (Royal Court, London and Liverpool Everyman). For the National Theatre he directed Slow Time by Roy Williams, co-directed the His Dark Materials Revival by Nicholas Wright and was Associate Director on Stuff Happens by David Hare and Jumpers by Tom Stoppard. Matt has and continues to be involved in developing and producing new work with writers from the Royal Court London, Old Vic New Voices, British Council, Soho Theatre, Liverpool Everyman, and the NT Studio. He also directs extensively in the UK’s leading Drama Schools. Matt is a fantastic new member to the Manchester film festival’s jury select for 2017.

David Shaw

(United Kingdom)

Manchester based casting agent, David Shaw has a vast experience of casting for both feature films and T.V. His many years of casting in the industry include credits such as the BBC’s ‘From Darkness’, ‘In The Club’, ‘In The Flesh’, ‘Tatau’ ‘The Syndicate’, ‘Shameless’, ‘Phoenix Nights’ and the multi award winning ‘Life on Mars’. David also works closely with the Manchester School of acting with fellow jury member Mark Hudson and his continuing work with young actors in the area is helping to produce such international talents such as Olivia Cooke and Warren Brown. This will be David’s first year as a jury member at the Manchester film festival and his extensive knowledge in the field of casting will be invaluable to this year’s jury select, particularly in the festival’s in-competition best actor and actress awards.

Nicholas Gray

(United States)

New York based and Kentucky born, Nicholas Gray is one-half of Uncompromised Creative, along with his wife and creative partner Katharine Clark Gray. Their latest film ‘The Paper Store’ stars Stef Dawson, Penn Badgley, and Richard Kind, and most recently garnered Best Actor and Actress awards for Badgley and Dawson at the Oxford International Film Festival. Their debut feature ‘If You Could Say It In Words’ starring Marin Ireland won multiple festival awards and nominations, including Best Feature and Best of Fest at the Derby City Film Festival in Louisville. The film earned Nicholas an Honorary Admiralty from the state of Nebraska for the autism outreach campaign attached to the project, and afforded him an opportunity to speak at the United Nations. As Director of Creative Development for NYPS and Front Wheel Productions in NYC, Nicholas oversaw development on a half-dozen feature scripts, including the screen adaptation of The Honeycomb Trilogy by Mac Rogers ‘The Messag’) and the unscripted series ‘A Hero’s Welcome’, which tracked combat veterans’ readjustment to civilian life. Select stage credits include: as writer, ‘Dug Ou’t (Lincoln Center Directors Lab); as actor, ‘Funeral Game’s (the Public Theater); as director: ‘Burning My Dreams to the Ground’ and ‘The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me’, both with Gregory Marcel, and ‘Run Hide Fight’ for the Brooklyn collective Sticky. MANIFF17 is excited to welcome Nicholas onto this year’s jury select.

Katherine Clark Gray

(United States)

New York based, Katharine Clark Gray is an internationally produced playwright, screenwriter, and producer. Her cyber-thriller User 927 gained national media coverage and won her both a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Reverie Next Generation Playwriting Award. Among her other works for stage: ‘Two Front Teeth’ (finalist, National New Play Network); ‘Timber Land’ (Lark Play-wrights' Week Selection); ‘The B Side’; ‘Francis Bacon’ (Ithaca Great Playwrights Award); ‘The Pestilence Is Coming’; ‘Three Chord Fiction’ (Barrymore Award for collaborative work); and dozens of one-acts. Her debut screenplay ‘The Walk’ was a quarterfinalist in both the New Voices Screenplay Competition and the Final Draft Big Break contest. Her first feature as a producer, ‘If You Could Say it in Words’, won Best feature at many festivals around the world. Katie's latest feature film, ‘The Paper Store’, which she wrote and art-directed, has screened at home and internationally, and garnered several awards, including Best Indie Drama by LA Film Review and Best Indie Drama at the Manhattan Film Festival. The script was adapted from her play 516 [five sixteen], which enjoyed runs in New York and Philadelphia and received four stars from Time Out New York. Katie spent a number of years as a teaching artist in Philadelphia with the Wilma Theater as well as the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice Division. She has worked extensively with incarcerated populations and at-risk youth, and was recently named the 2016 Playwright in Residence for Voices Inside/Out. She will head to Danville, KY in July for VI/O to develop work with inmates at a medium-security prison. Katherine is a dynamic addition to the 2017 jury.