Award Juries

Narrative Short Film Award - £1000
East Anglian Short Film Award - £1000
Student Short Film Award £500

Our juries are are always looking for potential. They are looking for films that experiment, push boundaries, tell a story you haven't heard before and do so in a way that captivates the audience - not just looking for highly polished, big budget productions, we want to celebrate all filmmakers, regardless of their access to resources.

2023 Judges

Aasaf protrait

Aasaf Ainapore

East Anglian Short Film Jury 2023

Aasaf Ainapore studied directing at the London Film School before becoming a commercials director. His first short films have screened at LFF, Edinburgh Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, Rhode Island International Film Festival and Ann Arbor Film Festival. Aasaf has very recently completed Peregrine, a BFI-developed and funded coming-of-age short film that he wrote and directed he is a BAFTA Connect Director and works as a directing tutor at the University of Suffolk. He is also a visiting tutor at the London Film School (MA).

Alice Whitney

Alice Whitney


An East Anglian native, Alice is a multi-disciplinary producer and co- founder of production company Creative Nation. She produces content across film & TV, digital, the arts, education, training, festivals and events. Alice is Course Lead for BFI Film Academies in both Norfolk and Suffolk. She was also a member of the Screen Industries Steering Group which established Suffolk’s official film office, Screen Suffolk. She is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of UK film talent and committed towards inclusive growth of the film sector in the East of England.

Portrait of Anna Fagher

Anna Fargher

East Anglian Short Film Jury 2023

Anna Fargher was raised in a creative hub on the Suffolk coast by an artist and a ballet teacher. She read English Literature at Goldsmiths before working in the British art world and opening her own gallery. She wrote her first book, THE UMBRELLA MOUSE, on her iPhone notepad during her daily commute on the London Underground. It won the 2019 Sainsbury’s Book Prize for Fiction and was listed in the Sunday Telegraph’s 50 Best Books of 2019. Anna’s third historical adventure, THE FIRE CATS OF LONDON, was published on 7th July 2022.

Amit Shah portrait

Amit Shah

Narrative Short Film Jury 2023

Amit is an actor who graduated from LAMDA and has been working in TV, Film and Theatre for the past twenty years. His most notable work is at the National Theatre and in the acclaimed BBC drama, HAPPY VALLEY. His last short film, BIG EARS, directed by Sam Baron and produced by Guy Lindley was featured at Suffolk Shorts last year, in which he performed opposite fellow judge and actor, Amy Green.

Amy Green Portrait

Amy Green

Narrative Short Film Jury 2023

Amy Green, originally from East Anglia, studied at the London College of Music, gaining a B.A. Hons degree in Musical Theatre. She is an actor, agent, teacher and her biggest claim to fame being you could be carrying her around in your pocket and not even know it; voicing Samsungs version of Siri ‘Bixby’. In 2021 Amy found herself filming ‘Big Ears’. The short that went on to win ‘Best East Anglian’ film at both Suffolk Shorts and Norwich Film Festival, with a few best supporting actress nominations along the way.

James Christopher

East Anglian Short Film Jury 2023

James Christopher is an associate director of INK, the UK’s largest producer of short plays which hosts an annual festival in Halesworth, Suffolk. In a previous life he was theatre and chief film critic for respectively Time Out and The Times. He has been on an improbable number of judging panels including the Derek Jarman Award, the BAFTA Rising Star Award, the Perrier Award, and the  Palm Dog Award in Cannes Award in Cannes. However, he says that Suffolk Shorts is the creme de la creme!

Portrait of James King

James King

Narrative Short Film Jury 2023

James is a writer, broadcaster and one of the best known film critics in the UK. He is BBC Radio 2’s resident movie reviewer, providing his expertise on the Jo Whiley Show among others. He presented No Time to Die: The Official James Bond Podcast: No Time To Die and is the author of several books including, most recently, Be More Keanu and Fast Times & Excellent Adventures: The Surprising History of the 80s Teen Movie.

Rachel Prendergast Award pic

Rachel Prendergast

Student Short Film Jury 2023

Rachel runs SubMotion Productions and has navigated the company into the world of narrative film, with two highly commended short films and a slate of features in development. Rachel takes great pride in producing films on her doorstep, utilising local talent and locations. Recently she collaborated with a local college, turning an ambitious short film production into an invaluable educational opportunity. 
 Rachel transfers her skills between SubMotion and large features films as a Production Manager.

Past juries and awards

Izabella Malewska portrait

Izabella Malewska

Narrative Short Jury 2022

Izabella is a British/Polish actress and writer. Most recently Izabella played Elena in short film What If and received a Best Actress nomination at Underwire festival. She also played Cameron’s accomplice in Holby City season 23 (2021). Alongside her acting work, Izabella is part of writing and directing trio (and all-female production company) Plunge Theatre. Their work straddles physical comedy with a surreal edge. In Autumn 2022 the trio will be releasing their dark comedy short film MOTH on the festival circuit.

Portrait of Sheryl Crown

Sheryl Crown

East Anglian Short Film Jury 2022

Sheryl Crown is an experienced Independent Film and TV Producer, with a track record in creative development, production and investment on a regional, national and international level. Through her production company, Rubicon Pictures ltd, she is currently working in partnership with clients, in the UK, Europe, and the US. Sheryl Executive Produced Oscar and Bafta winning Searching for Sugarman. She was the Head of Development and Production at  Screen East, the regional Screen Agency.

Portrait of Director Henry Blake

Henry Blake

Drama Jury 2021

Henry is a British writer/director based in London, who grew up in New Zealand and who is passionate about realism and character led drama. His work is heavily research-based and often raw and uncompromising. Henry’s low-budget, debut feature, COUNTY LINES  premiered at the 2019 London Film Festival and received 4 BIFA nominations.

David Morrissey

Drama Jury 2021

David Morrissey is one of the UK’s best-known and best-loved actors, a household favourite since his first role in One Summer (1983) and a cult favourite since he appeared in The Walking Dead. He’s also an acclaimed producer and director. David is an active supporter of a number of charities, and an ambassador for UNHCR.

John Ferguson

John Ferguson

Documentary Jury 2021

John is an editorial photojournalist who has worked with many international and national media outlets and major NGOs. Having worked and visited nearly 60 countries, he has a diverse range of photo stories from conflict zones and national disasters to promotional campaigns focusing on poverty and rural loneliness. He is currently working on a project based around mental health issues within the black community which has now gained support from the mental health charity, MIND.

Suffolk Shorts Judge Ryan Gander

Ryan Gander

Art & Performance Film Jury 2021

Ryan Gander is an artist living and working in Suffolk and London. He has established an international reputation through artworks that materialise in many different forms from sculpture to film, writing, graphic design, installation, performance and more besides. Gander’s work involves a questioning of language and knowledge, a reinvention of the modes of appearance and creation of an artwork.

Bill Jackson

Art & Performance Film Jury 2021

Suffolk Based conceptual​​ artist, photographer​, performer and foto filmmaker, ​Bill Jackson has created site specific projections, installations and soundscapes. He has received many international awards for his photographic prints and films including a Gold and Silver at The Tokyo International Awards and screened at the 2019 Venice Biennale for ‘Alive In The Universe’. 

Carla MacKinnon

Animation Jury 2021

Carla MacKinnon works across art, animation, film and live events. Her award-winning films have been exhibited internationally and broadcast on the BBC. In 2009 she founded the organisation Rich Pickings, using film and discussion to explore scientific and psychological themes. She is an animation lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts and a PhD candidate at Arts University Bournemouth, conducting research into animated documentary filmmaking.

Alexandra Leaney

East Anglian Film Jury 2022

Alexandra Leaney is researching focalisation as an organising principle of the screenplay narrative within her PhD at University of East Anglia. The critical thesis includes a theoretical and methodological framework, drawing upon narratology, to analyse focalisation within the screenplay. She is also developing a 24 to 30-episode Sci-Fi TV series for the Chinese market with co-writer, and story originator, Dr Kira-Anne Pelican.

Suffolk Shorts Judge Gillian Allard

Gillian Allard

East Anglian Film Jury 2021

Gillian Allard, the Suffolk-born award-winning photographer and Winner of the Sky Arts Master of Photography 2017, uses a range of in-camera techniques to explore her subjects and create juxtapositions and optical illusions.  She is a specialist in applying photographic images to alternative surfaces such as wood and stone and her series ‘Refugee Stories’ commissioned for the PhotoEast Festival, with the work exhibited in both Ipswich and London.

Gillies MacKinnon

Drama Jury 2021

Gillies MacKinnon is an award-winning Scottish director. A fine visual stylist who coaxes exceptional performances from his casts, he is a favourite with audiences and critics alike. His film credits include Hideous Kinky, Small Faces and Regeneration. His TV credits include The Village and Whisky Galore.

Jeremy Là Zelle

Documentary Jury 2021

Jeremy is a filmmaker specialising in documentary films that align environmental and human concerns. He is an avid storyteller and has won numerous international film festival awards. Whilst based in the US he continually travels around the world, filming and documenting projects for TV Networks, Nations, NGOs, Charities, and Businesses who make a positive social impact on their communities.

Christopher Andrews

East Anglian Film Jury 2021

Writer and Director Chris Andrews started his career in the camera department, before completing an MA in screenwriting at the London Film School in 2012. He went on to write and direct short films including FIRE in 2015 and the multi award winning STALKER in 2018. His feature screenplay SCAFELLS featured on the 2018 The Brit List and in 2019 he was named by Screen International as a Screen Star of Tomorrow.

Jonathan Watkins

Art & Performance Film Jury 2021

Jonathan Watkins is a freelance director and choreographer whose most recent film project, Kes – Reimagined, premiered in November 2019. Credits include 1984 (Northern Ballet) winner of best new dance production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016. Dance on film credits include Route 67, Sofa and Bunker and as Movement Director on Road (Royal Court) The Machine (M.I.F) Coriolanus and Aristocrats (Donmar Warehouse) and People (National Theatre).

Kate MccGwire

Art & Performance Film Jury 2021

Kate MccGwire is an internationally renowned sculptor whose practice employs natural materials to probe the beauty inherent in duality. Her work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery (London), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Paris), Snape Maltings (Suffolk) and Glasstress at the Venice Biennale. She currently splits her time between London and Suffolk.

Kate Muir

Drama Jury 2021

Kate Muir is an author and critic. She is writer and producer of The Great Menopause Scandal, a documentary for Channel 4, and an accompanying book. She was chief film critic of The Times, and has published three novels. Muir is a campaigner for Women and Hollywood, which advocates for equality and diversity in the movie industry. She also works with Time’s Up UK and is on the board of Birds’ Eye View, a charity which promotes the distribution of female-led films.

Richard Prendergast

East Anglian Film Jury 2021

Richard has a natural ability for story telling through film and video. His vision and passion, backed by his in depth technical ability and experience, make for exceptional thought provoking watching. His most recent project is a short film he has written and directed titled “Sylvia” is having great success, having won 15 awards at film festivals worldwide.

Alice Taylor

Animation Jury 2021

Alice Taylor was an award winning graphic artist and illustrator in the US, where she established a highly-respected animation program that was used as a curriculum model in Texas. In 2015, Alice moved back to her home town of Lowestoft where she is now Mayor and an advocate for The Arts.

Tracey Gardiner

Documentary Jury 2021

Executive Producer Tracey Gardiner has over twenty years’ experience developing and making documentaries and low budget feature films. Her production company Iridescent Films recently co-produced feature doc 100 Men (Netflix). Her award winning films include: Keys to the Castle (Scottish BAFTA and RTS), How M&S Lost its Millions (Wincott Award – Best Documentary), and the Grierson Newcomer Award for Send Me Somewhere Special.

Vanessa Engle

Documentary Jury 2021

Vanessa Engle is a documentary filmmaker who has been making authored films for BBC Television for over thirty years.  She has been nominated seven times for Grierson Documentary Awards – more than any other director.  Love You to Death was nominated for the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2016 for Best Single Documentary. In November 2015, Engle received an Outstanding Contribution to Documentary award at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival.