JURY | COMPETITION RULES
FICTION JURY MEMBERS
TV, Film, Stage and Voice-Over Actress-Director
Laura Gómez began her journey as an actress in her native Dominican Republic and later trained professionally in NYC, where she’s been living for over 13 years. She currently plays the role of Blanca Flores in the Netflix hit show Orange is the New Black. Additionally, she is member of Spanish Repertory Theater, where she has participated in critically acclaimed plays, like Doña Flor and her Two Husbands and The House of the Spirits. As an established Voice-Over artist, she is the official announcer of brands such as Covergirl and has provided her voice for the audio books Of How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent by Julia Alvarez and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Gómez has also starred in, written, produced and directed several short films, including “To Kill a Roach,” winner of the NYU 2012 Technisphere Award for Outstanding Achievement, and “Hallelujah.”
Production and Costume Designer-Director-Producer
Rafi Mercado has over 20 years of experience in the film, Broadway, fashion, commercial, music video and TV industries. Mercado holds a master’s Degree in Art Direction from New York University, a Bachelor of Science in Film from Boston University and has also studied at L’Université de Grenoble in France. His credits as a film director and production designer include the short film “204” (produced by The Ricky Martin Foundation), winner of the Audience Award at Cinefiesta 2010, and the feature-length film Miente, for which he won the first Best Director Havana Star at the 11th Havana Film Festival New York (HFFNY). Miente was ultimately chosen to represent Puerto Rico at the 2010 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. He has previously served as part of the Fiction Jury at the 14th HFFNY. Mercado is currently developing his next film as director of 14 Stitches– regarding Caribbean stories dealing with psychological, social, spiritual and sexual identity crises.
Theater and Film Actor-Screenwriter
Colombian stage and cinema actor Sebastian Ospina studied at Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute New York in the 1970s. His credits include actor/screenwriter of “Cuartico azul” (1978), awarded Best Latin American Short at Cartagena Film Festival; actor of Carne de tu carne (1983), and Tiempo de morir (1985). In 1994, Ospina won the National Film Award for his screenplay Adiós, María Félix filmed later as Soplo de vida (1999). He arrived in New York as actor/screenwriter of the short “Morir en Cali” (2017), screened at the Colombian Film Festival. He now resides in Manhattan and works closely with filmmaker Catalina Santamaría on stage monologues, which include live-music and video, as well as producing film-performance workshops.
DOCUMENTARY JURY MEMBERS
Julian Troksberg is an Argentine writer and director. His first feature-length documentary, Simon: Hijo del pueblo, tells the story of anarchist Simon Radowtzky. He has published an award-winning volume of short stories, La ruta hacia acá, and frequently writes for a variety of documentaries and television series on literature, human rights, photojournalism, among other topics. Currently, he is working on a documentary about Isabel Perón, the first female president in the Americas, while finishing a new book of short stories titled Los pisos y los techos.
Luciano Castillo (Camagüey, Cuba, 1955) holds a master’s in Latin American Culture. He is the Director of the Media Library Andre Bazin at The International Film and Television School in San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV) and a member of the Consejo Nacional de la Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba and of La Asociación Cubana de la Prensa Cinematografica (a FIPRESCI’s brand). Additionally, he has served as jury member at prestigious film festivals such as Valladolid, Mar del Plata, La Habana, Cartagena, Lima, Guadalajara, Guatemala, among others. His publications include La Verdad 24 Veces x Segundo, Concierto en imágenes, Con la Locura de los Sentidos and Pioneros del Cine Cubano co-authored with Arturo Agramonte. Castillo participates periodically at university conferences and cultural institutions in various countries.