Jury 2017

Film Guide Archive:



    Kim Yutani focuses on the programming of US and World Cinema dramatic feature films for the Sundance Film Festival. She oversees short film programming for the Festival, where she has been a shorts programmer since 2006. She also works on the Offscreen series of panels and conversations at the Festival, and is a programmer for Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong.

    Kim started her programming career at Outfest Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading events for LGBT cinema, where she was the Artistic Director and the Director of Programming. She has been a reader for Creative Capital and on the short film nominating committee for Cinema Eye Honors, and has served on juries at the Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. Prior to her film festival work, Kim was a film critic and freelance journalist focusing on independent film.


    Gingger Shankar is a singer, violinist and composer, and was born into one of the world’s most acclaimed and influential musical families. Her accomplishments include working with top producers and film composers including Mel Gibson, The Smashing Pumpkins, Trent Reznor, Mike Nichols, Mike Myers, and James Newton Howard. In addition to her film projects, she has also has lent her voice and violin to several diverse projects ranging from soundtracks to pop and electronic hip-hop.
    An accomplished artist and performer, Gingger is the only female in the world that has mastered the 10- string Double Violin, an instrument that covers the entire range of the orchestra’s double bass, cello, viola and violin, and of which there are currently only two in existence. Coupled with her voice, which covers five octaves, the sound is unparalleled, unbridled, and unforgettable. She debuted with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a soprano in Osvaldo Golijov’s opera “Ainadamar” and later performed it at Carnegie Hall. The multi-talented powerhouse transitioned from opera to rock, Gingger then toured with the Smashing Pumpkins as a special guest on their 20th Anniversary tour.
    In addition to being the artist and co-composer behind the poignant score of Mel Gibson’s blockbuster “Passion of the Christ”, Gingger’s music can be heard in Mike Nichol’s film, “Charlie Wilson’s War”. Her multimedia project ‘Himalaya Song’ premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was named one of the ’10 Best Music Films at Sundance 2012′ by Rolling Stone. Her film ‘Monsoon Shootout’ premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
    She guested on the new Katy Perry album ‘Prism’. She debuted her multi-media project ‘Nari’ at the Toronto International Film Festival and the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She has also been touring her upcoming electro-pop record ‘Beautiful Imperfections’ which features co-writes by Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera). Her most recent projects include ‘Heartbeats’ directed by Duane Adler with Jay-Z and Roc Nation,  and Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘We Will Rise’ for the First Lady’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ Initiative which was the highest rated film ever to air on CNN.


    David Marriott currently serves as VP of Acquisitions & Distribution for Cinelicious Pics, an art-house distribution company bringing handpicked independent features & documentaries and 4K-restored art house and cult classics to North American audiences. Recent releases include Belladonna of Sadness, Dark Night and the forthcoming Funeral Parade of Roses.



    Kelly Thomas is a producer and co-founder of Extraordinary Renditions, a media development and production company. Most recently, Thomas produced Andrew Ahn’s Spa Night which premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and received the John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards. She has produced more than seven feature films and has worked with acclaimed directors Rodrigo Garcia, Phedon Papamichael, Robin Swicord, Brad Silberling and Iram Parveen Bilal.

    Previously, Thomas was the Producer in Residence for Film Independent’s Artist Development programs where she managed labs for writers, directors, producers, and documentary filmmakers. Thomas also served as VP of JuntoBox Films’ Incubator Initiative and has been a Lecturer in Media and Entertainment Management at the University of Virginia. Prior to the film industry, Thomas taught college English courses and worked in the financial sector at Standard & Poors. She has a PhD in English from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Virginia.


    Ritesh Rajan, a proud New York native, has always had a passion for performance. Looking to hone his skills he attended and graduated from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Ritesh is currently filming the 3rd season of Stitchers on FREEFORM, portraying quirky hacker Linus, which airs on FREEFORM. Ritesh can also be seen and heard in Disney’s The Jungle Book, along with The Last Airbender, Gifted Man, Star Wars Rebels, Young & Hungry, Baby Daddy, Barbie’s Dreamtopia and Law & Order. When he is not in front of the camera Ritesh can always be seen dancing bhangra and hip/hop or practicing his martial arts in a pursuit of a lifelong goal to become a ninja.
    Follow Ritesh Rajan on Twitter and Instagram at @teshrajan.


    Abigail Severance is a filmmaker whose work considers memory, political dynamics and the powerful act of witnessing. She works in a broad range of forms from fiction to formal experimentation and essay, crafting a body of work that comprises an ongoing excavation of nostalgia both as addiction and as inspiration.

    Her first film, Pump, won five best short awards in 1999. Since then, her work has screened in the U.S. and abroad, including Sundance, Los Angeles Film Festival, MOCA Los Angeles, New Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco Cinematheque, Wexner Center for the Arts, RedCat, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Black Maria, Antimatter, Curta Cinema (Rio de Janeiro), Studio Museum Harlem, Mix LBGT Experimental Festival (New York and Sao Paolo) and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, among other galleries and venues.

    Raised in New York, New England and Nova Scotia, Severance has been based in California since 1992. She holds a BA in cultural studies from Hampshire College and an MFA in film directing from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, where she was a Wasserman Fellow. She teaches in the CalArts MFA Film Directing Program and was Associate Dean of the CalArts School of Film/Video from 2012-2016. Her areas of academic specialization include visual design, hybrid film forms, the politics of representation, queer cinema and autobiography.

    She is currently in post on Acadia, an essay film about homesickness and running from the law in Nova Scotia, which received a 2015 CalArts Research & Practice Fellowship. Upcoming projects include the features Winterkill and The Summer We Drowned, a Film Independent Lab and Sundance Creative Producers Conference project. As a cinematographer, Severance has collaborated with other artists including Kadet Kuhne (Holding Pattern series: Infinite Delay), Jenni Olson (The Joy of Life and The Royal Road), Melinda Stone (How to Homestead series: How to Dye) and Julie Tolentino (Eye Witness and Evidence).​