Three amazing jurors from the film world will be in attendance in order to declare the Best of the Fest, as well as awards in documentary, experimental, and animation. William Mapother, Toby Leonard, and John Gibson will give a well-rounded judgment as they each come from a different area of expertise.
Having 23 years of involvement in the entertainment industry including work in development, production, and performance on more than sixty film and television credits gives Mapother a varied palette of expertise. He is the co-founder of Slated, the film finance marketplace and is currently writing and producing a film loosely based on The Two Gentlemen of Verona. His voice work includes animation, video games, commercials, PSAs and documentaries. His acting credits include In the Bedroom (whose cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award), Another Earth (2011 winner of a Special Jury Prize at Sundance), TV's Lost (as Ethan Rom). Serving as a panelist and juror for many film festivals and events, he's been featured in numerous articles and publications. William is a national spokesperson for the cause of elder abuse awareness, and a former National Board member of the Screen Actors Guild. He is a co-founder of the Flyover Film Festival (Louisville, KY) and a member of the Kentucky Film Commission. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in English. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Toby Leonard currently serves as the Program Director of the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, TN. In 1999 he was part of a small group that saved the Belcourt, the city's last historic neighborhood theater, from the wrecking ball. Since then he has dedicated the past 13 years to making the Belcourt a nationally recognized venue for challenging cinema and a model of community pride and involvement. In 2006, he joined a small group representing 12 cinemas nationwide to begin work on the Sundance Institute Art House Project. That initiative gave birth to the Art House Convergence in 2008, an endeavor that is now the go-to conference for independent cinema operators (Landee W. Bryant, Executive Director of Maiden Alley Cinema has attended the past two years). Toby continues to serve on its Leadership Committee (Landee has recently been appointed to this committee) and frequently presents at the annual meeting. He has been a consultant to the Documentary Channel and has worked with Chicago's venerable indie music label Drag City to spearhead the theatrical releases of Tristan Patterson's 2011 SXSW-winning documentary Dragonslayer and Harmony Korine's 2009 film Trash Humpers.
A native of Henderson, KY, John has been involved in filmmaking and video production in some capacity since high school. While earning his BA in History from Murray State, he was a founding member of the Murray Independent Filmmaker Association (MIFA), a group of students who not only produced their own short productions, but also screened shorts and other movies in the campus theater.
In 2003, he began work for WKMS, the local NPR affiliate, as well as working as a video production specialist for Murray Electric System's local origination channel. Shortly thereafter, he returned to Murray State to earn his MA in Mass Communications, which also allowed him the fortunate opportunity to dabble in student teaching.
In 2008, Gibson and his wife Candace moved to Northern Kentucky, where he is currently a lecturer in the Electronic Media and Broadcasting program at Northern Kentucky University, as well as a producer/co-manager for NorseMedia, NKU's educational channel. In his free time Gibson enjoys drawing, editing, writing scripts and pitting his cats in matches of cuteness against each other.
Gibson was the director/producer/co-writer for You Owe Me, the Audience Favorite film at the inaugural Paducah 48 Hour Film Project (2009), and is currently in post-production on his first feature, Revelation Trail, a genre-blending character-based western horror, shot almost entirely in Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky. Accompanying the film is a multi-award winning web series and sizzle reels, also directed and written by Gibson and utilizing the talent of many of his former NKU students.