YPSI 24 2016 judges announced!

We're proud to announce our judging panel for the 2016 YPSI 24 Hour Film Shootout!

Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad Independent Filmmaker Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad is a writer, director, designer and co-founder of Exxodus Pictures based in Detroit, Michigan. While attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California, Ahmad began his career conceptualizing and designing Hollywood music videos, television, and feature films. His credits include music videos for Dr. Dre, Brandy, and Fatboy Slim. Feature film and television credits include The Pretender television series for NBC and the film Dungeons and Dragons from New Line Cinema. Other high profile campaigns include commercials for Lipton, Pontiac, and the Star Wars Special Edition. Ahmad wrote and directed feature film Jinn, which has been released theatrically around the world and is currently on Netflix, cable and DVD. The film stars Ray Park (Star Wars the Phantom Menace, GIJOE, X-Men), Faran Tahir (Star Trek, Iron Man, Elysium), William Atherton (Ghostbusters, Die Hard) and Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings, Graceland). Ahmad has also directed national television commercials for Quicken Loans (Brian Unger spokesman) and One Reverse Mortgage (Henry Winkler spokesman). In addition to films and commercials, Ahmad designed the "Firebreather" super car, a 600 horsepower exotic American muscle car featured in the film Jinn and is the first time a movie vehicle has been designed and made available for sale to the public. Currently, Ahmad has completed filming the Exxodus Pictures feature film My Soul To Keep set to be released in 2016.

Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad
Independent Filmmaker

Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad is a writer, director, designer and co-founder of Exxodus Pictures based in Detroit, Michigan. While attending the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California, Ahmad began his career conceptualizing and designing Hollywood music videos, television, and feature films. His credits include music videos for Dr. Dre, Brandy, and Fatboy Slim. Feature film and television credits include The Pretender television series for NBC and the film Dungeons and Dragons from New Line Cinema. Other high profile campaigns include commercials for Lipton, Pontiac, and the Star Wars Special Edition.

Ahmad wrote and directed feature film Jinn, which has been released theatrically around the world and is currently on Netflix, cable and DVD. The film stars Ray Park (Star Wars the Phantom Menace, GIJOE, X-Men), Faran Tahir (Star Trek, Iron Man, Elysium), William Atherton (Ghostbusters, Die Hard) and Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings, Graceland). Ahmad has also directed national television commercials for Quicken Loans (Brian Unger spokesman) and One Reverse Mortgage (Henry Winkler spokesman).

In addition to films and commercials, Ahmad designed the "Firebreather" super car, a 600 horsepower exotic American muscle car featured in the film Jinn and is the first time a movie vehicle has been designed and made available for sale to the public. Currently, Ahmad has completed filming the Exxodus Pictures feature film My Soul To Keep set to be released in 2016.

Beth Kane Adjunct Faculty in Communications, Washtenaw Community College Beth Kane has a Master's Degree in film and video from the University of Michigan and has won an Emmy and several Addy awards for her work in advertising. She has been a Broadcast Producer at Young & Rubicam-Detroit and at Chiat/Day-San Francisco, and later served as Executive Producer for San Francisco Production Group—a production, post-production, 3D animation and special-effects company. She currently teaches Scriptwriting, Broadcast Arts and Communication classes at WCC.

Beth Kane
Adjunct Faculty in Communications, Washtenaw Community College

Beth Kane has a Master's Degree in film and video from the University of Michigan and has won an Emmy and several Addy awards for her work in advertising. She has been a Broadcast Producer at Young & Rubicam-Detroit and at Chiat/Day-San Francisco, and later served as Executive Producer for San Francisco Production Group—a production, post-production, 3D animation and special-effects company. She currently teaches Scriptwriting, Broadcast Arts and Communication classes at WCC.

Juanita Anderson Director of Media Arts & Studies, Wayne State University Juanita Anderson is the Director of the Media Arts & Studies program in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University. A veteran producer, documentary filmmaker and still photographer, she is a 7-time Emmy Award winner as producer of the groundbreaking African American television series Detroit Black Journal (Detroit Public Television) and Say Brother (WGBH, Boston). Her executive producer credits include the 1988 Academy Award-nominated feature film Who Killed Vincent Chin? which received the prestigious George Foster Peabody and DuPont Columbia Silver Baton awards, and the Favorite Poem Project Video Anthology (2000, 2003, 2006), commissioned for the bicentennial of the Library of Congress. She is also the producer/director of the film 18th and Vine: A People’s Journey (1997), on permanent exhibition at the Kansas City Jazz Museum and, most recently, The Favorite Poem Project: Chicago (2014), commissioned by the Poetry Foundation. Anderson has been a faculty fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema (2005), and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation (2008).   

Juanita Anderson
Director of Media Arts & Studies, Wayne State University

Juanita Anderson is the Director of the Media Arts & Studies program in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University. A veteran producer, documentary filmmaker and still photographer, she is a 7-time Emmy Award winner as producer of the groundbreaking African American television series Detroit Black Journal (Detroit Public Television) and Say Brother (WGBH, Boston). Her executive producer credits include the 1988 Academy Award-nominated feature film Who Killed Vincent Chin? which received the prestigious George Foster Peabody and DuPont Columbia Silver Baton awards, and the Favorite Poem Project Video Anthology (2000, 2003, 2006), commissioned for the bicentennial of the Library of Congress. She is also the producer/director of the film 18th and Vine: A People’s Journey (1997), on permanent exhibition at the Kansas City Jazz Museum and, most recently, The Favorite Poem Project: Chicago (2014), commissioned by the Poetry Foundation.

Anderson has been a faculty fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on African Cinema (2005), and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation (2008).

  

Jen Proctor Associate Professor Journalism & Screen Studies, University of Michigan - Dearborn Jen Proctor is a filmmaker and media artist whose work explores the experimental film remake, representations of gender, and found footage appropriation. Her award-winning films and interactive work have shown around the world, including Aurora Picture Show, FLEXFest, Antimatter, Migrating Forms, Festival of (In)Appropriation, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is currently an associate professor in Journalism and Screen Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She is currently at work on a documentary about the history of paranormal investigation. In her spare time, she studies abnormal feline behavior.

Jen Proctor
Associate Professor Journalism & Screen Studies, University of Michigan - Dearborn

Jen Proctor is a filmmaker and media artist whose work explores the experimental film remake, representations of gender, and found footage appropriation. Her award-winning films and interactive work have shown around the world, including Aurora Picture Show, FLEXFest, Antimatter, Migrating Forms, Festival of (In)Appropriation, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is currently an associate professor in Journalism and Screen Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

She is currently at work on a documentary about the history of paranormal investigation. In her spare time, she studies abnormal feline behavior.

Steve Byrne Arts & Entertainment Editor, Detroit Free Press, Executive Director, Freep Film Festival Steve Byrne oversees all the Detroit Free Press/freep.com arts and entertainment coverage including social media, weekly entertainment tabloid Play, the marquee Sunday section Entertainment + Travel, and the front page. This includes assigning, shaping, editing, and writing stories and other content. A longtime metro Detroiter, Byrne graduated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree and has been writing or editing arts entertainment coverage for more than 20 years, and is also the co-host of The Documentary Podcast seen at freepfilmfestival.com.

Steve Byrne
Arts & Entertainment Editor, Detroit Free Press, Executive Director, Freep Film Festival

Steve Byrne oversees all the Detroit Free Press/freep.com arts and entertainment coverage including social media, weekly entertainment tabloid Play, the marquee Sunday section Entertainment + Travel, and the front page. This includes assigning, shaping, editing, and writing stories and other content.

A longtime metro Detroiter, Byrne graduated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree and has been writing or editing arts entertainment coverage for more than 20 years, and is also the co-host of The Documentary Podcast seen at freepfilmfestival.com.

Hafsah Mijinyawa

Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Multi-media designer. Root beer.