Award Juries


Ryan Gander

Best Art & Performance Film Jury

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. His work can be reminiscent of a puzzle, a network with multiple connections, a huge set of hidden clues to be deciphered, encouraging viewers to make their own connections and invent their own narrative in order to solve the charade with its many solutions, staged by the artist.

Alexandra Leaney

Best East Anglian Story Jury

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. This critical analysis focusses on child protagonists in films for adults and supports the creative research component, which comprises two feature film scripts: In Absentia, a coming-of-age story, and Jacob’s Friend, a story of a child who is witness to terrorism. 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.

Carla MacKinnon

Best Animation Jury

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

Kate Muir

Best Drama Jury

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. Previously she was chief film critic of The Times, and has published three novels. During her time as a critic, Muir also became a campaigner for Women and Hollywood, which advocates for equality and diversity in Hollywood and the wider 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.

Sophie Fiennes

Best Documentary Jury

Acclaimed Director Sophie Fiennes, originally from Suffolk, will be actively taking part in developing the festival as well as sitting on the jury. Well known for her documentary features, most recently Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, Sophie’s unique way of looking at the world brings insight into the lives of philosophers and artists. She has also contributed to Hopper Stories, a collection of shorts in 2012.

Gillies MacKinnon

Best Drama Jury

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.

Vanessa Engle

Best Documentary Jury

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 her most recent film, The $50 Million Art Swindle (2019)she tracked down a rogue art dealer, Michel Cohen, who had gone on the run from New York in 2001. In November 2015, Engle received an Outstanding Contribution to Documentary award at the Aldeburgh Documentary Festival.

David Morrissey

Best Drama Jury

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. Away from the cameras, David is an active supporter of a number of charities, and an ambassador for UNHCR. He has huge affection for Suffolk, where he has a house on the coast.

Tracey Gardiner

Best Documentary Jury

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.

Christopher Andrews

Best East Anglian Story Jury

UK based 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. As a writer Chris has worked on feature screenplays for BBC films, AGC Studios, Wigwam Films and Cinestaan Film Company and in development on a TV series for eOne and Imaginarium Productions.

Bill Jackson

Best Art & Performance Film Jury

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 ‘The Venetian Mirror’, a collaborative work with the poet Tamar Yoseloff at the 2019 Venice Biennale for ‘Alive In The Universe’. He has exhibited worldwide at The Photographers Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, The Brno Museum and the Museum Of Modern Art in Argentina.

Kate MccGwire

Best Art & Performance Film Jury

Kate MccGwire is an internationally renowned British sculptor whose practice employs natural materials to probe the beauty inherent in duality. Growing up on the Norfolk Broads her connection with nature and fascination with birds was nurtured from an early age. She currently splits her time between London and Suffolk and 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.

Richard Prendergast

Best East Anglian Story Jury

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 and now entering for consideration at to the 2020 Oscars.

Alice Taylor

Best Animation Jury

Alice trained as graphic artist and illustrator. She went on to win awards in the US, where she taught digital graphics, art and animation at a large urban vocational school and established a highly-respected animation program that was used as a curriculum model in Texas. She was College Board Teacher of the Year for the 5-state Southwest Region, one of the top 6 art teachers in the US and on the board of professional artists and art teachers who judged student art portfolios for the College Board, an elite university entrance examination system used by universities worldwide. In 2015, Alice moved back to her home town of Lowestoft where she is now Mayor.

Jonathan Watkins

Best Art & Performance Film Jury

Jonathan Watkins is a freelance director and choreographer whose most recent film project, Kes – Reimagined, premiered in November 2019. Credits include Kes (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), 1984 (Northern Ballet) winner of best new dance production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016. Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, As One, Diana and Actaeon (Royal Ballet) and works for Texas Ballet Theatre, Yekaterinburg Ballet and Ballet Manila. 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).

Jeremy Là Zelle

Best Documentary Jury

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.


Claire Whittenbury

Claire developed her muscle as a runner hauling film cans across Soho and after years in film and TV production she became part of the team that launched the FilmFour channel, where she discovered her love of short film through the Short Attention Span Cinema strand. She went on to produce The Shooting Gallery with Mark Kermode, profiling filmmakers and introducing new short films to a late night audience on Channel 4. Claire currently produces videos, supporting conservation and mental health charities. She’s dedicated to bringing international short film to Suffolk and determined to encourage investment in local talent.

Rachel Aldridge

Rachel spent ten years in London working for ITV, also starting as a runner, and worked her way through the ranks to become Producer/Director on a number of factual entertainment programmes. Since moving back to Suffolk she has worked as a Suffolk-based location manager and location scout. She currently works part-time for Screen Suffolk, the county’s official film office, supporting and promoting filmmaking in the county. Her aim is to raise the profile of filmmaking in East Anglia, and to create a fund specifically for that purpose through The Suffolk Short Film Festival.


Hebe Dobson-Mouawad


Hebe is a writer based in Suffolk. Starting out as a sales associate at an international film distribution company, Hebe soon discovered her passion for writing. In 2016, aged nineteen, her first work was published in The Guardian, being shared over 6,000 times across social media. Currently, combining both her love of writing and film, Hebe is studying for her BA Hons in Screenwriting at the University of Suffolk. Now in her third year, she is working on her first feature film script.

Jim Horsfield

Technical Manager

Jim Horsfield has worked internationally on events and festivals for 15 years, specialising in projection and AV Project Management. He has worked with numerous clients including Brighton Festival, The Banff Mountain Film Festival UK, NESTA, Max Cooper and the Samsung Olympic Torch Relay. Originally from Birmingham, Jim now lives in Ipswich.

Eileen Haring Woods


Eileen Haring Woods is an artist/film maker and producer whose career includes theatre, music, film, arts, event production in NY, Dublin, London. Fifteen years with the New York Film Festival was followed by two years with the London Film Festival/Museum of the Moving Image. As Artistic Director of Haring Woods Studio projects included retail and leisure promotions, large scale arts festivals, Gunpowder Park arts and environment, 10 years’ Interdependence Day events and the Global Parliament of Mayors. Work in Suffolk includes two years of the Aldeburgh DocFest and the first Flipside festival. For the 2019 Venice Biennale she showed her own work and co-produced the 28 day Alive in the Universe project.

Christine Howell


Christine Howell is a specialist in policy and security, having been Senior Director of Policy and Security at Oracle for 16 years. Christine advised us on our application to be incorporated as a CIC and is working on general administration for the launch of the festival in 2020.

Mary Graham


Having earned her spurs working for leading London agencies and major brand in-house marketing teams, Mary Graham knows how marketing works from both sides of the fence. As a Director of First Light Festival Mary championed Suffolk Shorts and now provides the team with much needed support, both moral and professional. Mary is a founder of Yellobelly, a creative agency based in Suffolk.

Rob Bevan

Programming Team

Rob Bevan was a founding partner at online drama production company XPT, and director of BAFTA-winning Online Caroline, he also co-founded NoHo Digital. Rob began his interactive media career in the late 1980s creating educational CD-ROMs for Apple’s Renaissance project and The MultiMedia Corporation, the BBC’s former Interactive Television Unit. He is a member of the BAFTA British Short Film category longlisting group.

Christian Aldridge

Programming Team

Christian Aldridge studied painting at the Slade School of Art and Animation at Norwich University of the Arts. He has a keen interest in hand-drawn animation and maintains a studio practice in Darsham as well as holding a teaching position at the University of Suffolk at East Coast College.

Richard Johns

Programming Team

Richard Johns has produced a number of high-profile independent feature films, including the double Academy Award nominated thriller Shadow of the Vampire, starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. Richard co-founded Corona Content with business partner Rupert Jermyn. Together, the pair produced the darkly comic thriller The Liability, starring Tim Roth and Jack O’Connell. Richard is a long-time member of BAFTA and an alumnus of Ateliers du Cinema Européen. Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Richard now resides in Suffolk.

Charlotte Triefus

Award Sponsor

Charlotte has a home in Suffolk but is now based primarily in the US where she is on the board of Pure Earth, a not-for-profit that identifies and remediates toxic pollution in the developing world. Charlotte is an advocate for people who are finding their creative voice later in life, and is supporting a special award for filmmakers over 50 and stories that feature those generations.


Suffolk Shorts is proud of our partnerships and look forward to establishing future connections with like minded organisations.