MEET Our Film Festival Judges

SASHA CARRERA

Actor and writer Sasha Carrera is probably best known locally from her role as Petra Antonelli in the Baltimore based web series Thespian. Her education in dramatic arts began at Wesleyan University, where she graduated with a BA in theatre, continued through the New Actors Workshop conservatory program with Mike Nichols and Paul Sills and culminated with an Arts in Education degree from Harvard University. She has performed on stage and screen from Boston to Los Angeles. As a writer, her work has been published in the LA Times, the Atlantic Unbound, in greeting cards, gallery texts and catalogues. She worked as a reader for Artisan Entertainment before becoming a script consultant with the Genre Company and Elysium Films in Los Angeles. Her most recent screenplay placed as a semi-finalist in the Austin Screenwriters Awards and her short film won numerous awards including best script in the comedy short division of the Houston International Film Festival. 

SCOTT COOPER

Scott Cooper is professor of World Languages at Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, MD) He studies 19th and 20th century narrative and the use of short fiction and poetry in second language instruction.

JEFF KNAPP

Jeff is a SAG-AFTRA/AEA actor, writer, director and corporate spokesman. He has served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild and is currently on the Honors and Tributes Committee that chooses the SAG-AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award winners. He is also on the Communications Committee.

ROBERT NEAL MARSHALL

Marshall is the face behind some of the crazy characters in several Festival promos and previously as LakeFest emcee. He is also Executive Producer of the Columbia Film Festival. Over the years he has worn various hats for Columbia Festival of the Arts, including Programming Manager and Director of Marketing.  Marshall is a SAG-AFTRA & Equity actor, writer, producer, and director who started off working in the West End of London on the Olivier and Tony Award winning musical ME AND MY GIRL with Robert Lindsay and Emma Thompson. He has appeared Off-Broadway, on television, in Web Series, and in Feature Films. As a Casting Associate for famed Pat Moran, Marshall was a member of the team to win an Emmy for casting HBO’s GAME CHANGE and an Emmy Nomination for casting Season 1 of VEEP. He is an Independent Producer, Line Producer, Casting Director and Production Manager.  For the past decade Marshall has also been a guest speaker with the Cunard Line on the subjects of film and theatre.  

MATTHEW MYSLINSKI

Matthew Myslinski is an independent film director whose work has screened at festivals and venues worldwide, including the Festival de Cannes and Universal Studios. Along with writing and directing his own projects, he actively participates as crew on feature films and television series such as: ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’ ‘WandaVision,’ and ‘Lovecraft Country,’ and with noteworthy organizations like: ‘National Geographic,’ ‘The Smithsonian Institute,’ ‘Elle Magazine,’ and ‘Legg Mason.’ A graduate of the University of Maryland, Matthew is now based in Atlanta, Georgia.”

JILL REDDING

Jill Redding has been on stage for over 60 years starting as a young actress on live movie theater stages before the Saturday morning movies began. Many years of local theater honed Jill’s acting skills. In the last 20+ years Jill has worked with a troupe of actors playing over 30 characters in improve style comedy. She appeared as the feisty outspoken bartender at the longshoreman’s bar scenes in 10 episodes of the second season of the wire, The game changer in the movie Game Change and as a surly book buyer on Veep are just a few of her credits.

ADAM SAVAGE

Adam is a lifelong film enthusiast with a degree in cinema from UMBC. He was thrilled by the opportunity to be a judge for the Columbia Film Festival and wants to congratulate all those who submitted on their hard work, regardless of whether they were selected.

KATHY SEARLE

TV: Red Oaks, Empire, The Good Fight, Blue Bloods, PBS pilot Amanda’s Alligator and The Odd Squad, Body of Proof, Law & Order, Gossip Girl, Lipstick Jungle, Law  & Order Criminal Intent, Hope and Faith, MTV’s Hey Girl and Damage Control, etc. Film: Recently released The Black and White Thriller Empathy, Inc., My Man is a Loser, Pitching Tents, Crazy Famous, Love in Killnerry, 8 Slices, Bill Tillman and the outlaws, Fools Day, Petunia, Meskada, The Good Guy, Three Backyards, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Baby Mama, Being Michael Madsen.  Kathy’s theater credits include the off-Broadway shows “I Want To Destroy You,” “Apple Cove,” “Perfect Harmony ,” “My First Time.” Star and co-creator of “Awesome 80’s Prom” and “Carrie”.  Williamstown: Whaddabloodclot. Kathy can be seen and heard in numerous commercials and Voiceovers. Visit www.kathysearle.com or on Instagram @KathySearle. Currently she has won three awards for best actress in the feature film “Love In Kilnerry,“ and nominated for best actress in the western Bill Tillman and the Outlaws. 

DAVE SIMMONS

Programming Manager with Columbia Festival of the Arts and graduate of American University, Dave Simmons is an Experienced Arts Programming professional with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Arts Management, Programming, Event Budgeting, Planning, Contract Negotiation, Technical Production, Marketing, and Social Media Promotion.

TRINA SPACKMAN

Trina Spackman is an artist whose biggest passion is to bring joy and hope to people through the arts. She developed this love at a young age as she participated in Music Man, Honk, Broadway Bound, and Rumplelstiskins Daughter. She then moved on to study dance at Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. In addition, she has performed in various festivals, rehab centers, schools, and churches and enjoys teaching children how to express themselves through movement as well. Both Trina’s parents were in the Arts. Her father, the late singer/composer Tim Battle, got his start with the famous Boys Choir of Harlem in New York. 

DIANE ALEXIS WOLCOTT

Diane studied Radio, Film, and Television at Sam Houston State University in Texas with hopes of being a director.  After raising a family for over 25 years, Diane returned to the Creative Arts in 2012.  She was cast as Mother Gigonne in a stage production of The Nutcracker, a role which required her to dance on drywall stilts while wearing a 6 foot diameter hoop skirt.  Diane’s passion for performing and production is now re-ignited as she pursues film and television throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Light design, producing, production assistant, second director, prop master, set design, and special effects are a few of Diane’s talents. Landing supporting, lead and background roles in major motion pictures, independent films, and series television, Diane is now pursuing live theatre and film, two mediums in which she hopes to continue.

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