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The Beverly Hills Film Festival announced the 2024 Jury for the 24th annual event, May 1-5, 2024 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, located at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. This year’s jury is an impressive list of industry masters and veterans of their craft, including three Oscar winners and six members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Film credits among the Grand Jury include John Wick, The Twilight SagaThe Hunger Games, Saw, the Kung Fu Panda franchise, Sleepless in Seattle, Taps, The Big Chill, Rain Man and many more.

The BHFF, along with the Festival Jury, as well as, the Audience Choice, will present awards in the following categories: Golden Palm Award (best film in all categories); Best Feature; Best Documentary; Best Short Film; Best Director of Photography; Best Editor; and the Golden Palm Screenplay Competition Award. Audience Choice Awards include Best Feature; Best Documentary; Best Short Film; Best Director; Best Male Performance; Best Female Performance; Best Producer; Best Screenplay; and Best Animation.

“The caliber of this jury fills me with gratitude because it is truly a reflection of all the hard work that goes into creating this celebration of cinema,” said President of the Grand Jury, Federico Lapenda. “Our  mission as a Jury of this prestigious Festival is always to attract the best in the industry and bring them together to serve as spokespersons and mentors, inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and helping them grow their careers in filmmaking.”

2024 Beverly Hills Film Festival Jury:

  • ROBERTA AUGUSTO is Brazilian-born stalwart in the film industry, boasting an illustrious career spanning two decades. Her journey commenced at Summit Entertainment, where she made her mark by spearheading the release of blockbuster hits like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Sahara. Roberta has ascended to the esteemed position of Senior Vice President of Marketing, Distribution & Publicity at IDC, a Lionsgate CompanyShe oversees operations across more that 20 countries in Latin America and has facilitated the theatrical release of over 165 movies. Her unparalleled expertise has been instrumental in the success of iconic franchises in Latin America, including The Twilight SagaThe Hunger Games, John Wick, and Saw. Notably, she played a pivotal role in the promotion and distribution of acclaimed films such as the Oscar-winning La La Land.
  • JOEL CRAWFORD was inspired as a kid by the 1988 animated cyberpunk action film Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo and knew that he loved animation. in his most recent project as director of the 2023 Academy Award® and BAFTA nominated film Puss in Boots: The Last Wishstarring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek, he was able to marry his passion for the spaghetti western with his love of absurdist comedy. He made his feature film directorial debut on the DreamWorks Animation feature film The Croods: A New Ageand worked as a story artist on Trolls, Shrek Forever After, Rise of the Guardians, Bee Movie and all three Kung Fu Panda films. Prior to, his story artist credits include The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Alvin & The Chipmunks: ChipwreckedCrawford is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, and ASIFA-Hollywood.
  • RON BASS is an American screenwriter and film producer. He won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for Barry Levinson‘s award-winning film Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.  Films that Bass is associated with are regularly nominated for multiple motion picture awards. His films have grossed over $2 billion.
  • FREDERICO LAPENDA (JURY PRESIDENT) is an award-winning filmmaker and global executive who has worked in the industry for almost 30 years. Lapenda is a pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and is credited as one of those responsible for the globalization of the sport. In addition to presiding over the Beverly Hills Film Festival® Grand Jury, Lapenda has produced films, MMA events, video games, commercials and documentaries. One of his most significant achievements was the creation of Amazon Allies, a mix of Avengers and Lion King, a children’s book about four super-powered talking animals that protect the Amazon rainforest, co-authored with Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee. 
  • BRIAN CURRIE recently wrote The Greatest Beer Run Ever for Skydance with Peter Farrelly directing. The film stars Zac Efron, Russell Crowe, and Bill Murray and was released on September 23rd through Apple TV+. Brian co-wrote and produced Green Book which was directed by Peter Farrelly and stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Brian received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Picture for this project. The film also received multiple Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture comedy/musical and Best Original Screenplay.
  • ALEX ALDANA is the Executive Director of the Pico Youth & Family Center (PYFC) in Santa Monica, CA. PYFC is the home of Pico Digital, a professional Film and Music Academy for underserved BIPOC youth and young adults throughout Los Angeles County. Alex is a proud first-generation Chicano as the son of a former farm laborer and factory worker who migrated from Jalisco, Mexico in 1970 to pursue a better life on the Westside of Los Angeles. As a person with Cerebral Palsy, being confined to a wheelchair has given Alex the drive to pursue and accomplish all of his professional goals.
  • BRETT LEONARD is an award-winning filmmaker and technologist at the forefront of the digital media revolution. He is widely recognized as a top thought-leader in Virtual Reality since introducing the concept and term to popular culture as the Director/Writer of the cult-classic film Lawnmower Man, starring Pierce Brosnan. Brett was one of the first to pioneer modern stereoscopic techniques and photo-realistic CGI in his hit IMAX 3D film, T-Rex, and introduced American audiences to Russell Crowe in his film Virtuosity. Brett recently directed Hollywood Rooftop, the first film to be shot in both 360VR and traditional cinema, combining the mediums for the first time. Brett’s work as a visionary Director/Producer/Futurist has always pushed the edge of innovation and continues to do so with a project slate dedicated to defining a new process of content production for the emerging era of A.I. and the Metaverse.
  • RICHARD FISCHOFF started his career in publishing working for Simon and Schuster and Warner Books as an acquisition editor. In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles to work for Universal Studios. Pursuing a career in film and television, he was vice president of MCA Publishing. Later as Vice-president of Stanley Jaffe Productions he was the associate producer of Kramer vs. Kramer and responsible for Taps and Without A Trace. He went on to work as Vice President Production for Paramount Pictures, President Jaffe-Lansing Films, Senior Vice President Tristar Pictures, Co-President Sandollar Productions, President, Carson Films. He was involved in the production of The Big Chill, Desert Bloom, Fatal Attraction, The Accused, Sleepless In Seattle, Freeheld among others. He has produced credits on a number of television films, many for Von Zerneck-Sertner films.
  • GARY SHAPIRO spent the 70’s as a very young man thru the present in various executive marketing and distribution capacities at Columbia Pictures, MGM, Hemdale Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Beacon Pictures, initially specializing in the United States and Canada, later managing the marketing of major Hollywood studio films and independent films worldwide. He was one of the early developers of grass roots marketing which became a valuable tool in marketing movies and still a valuable tool on the Internet. Shapiro began consulting with various film and entertainment industry firms several years ago and helped create the initial worldwide marketing strategy for Paramount Pictures and Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. He is currently consulting with a number of film companies on utilizing a global digital platform and media player for extending the marketing value and ecommerce revenue streams of their content. He is a longtime member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on The Foreign Language Film Selection Committee.
  • ARNOLD SCHWARTZMAN is the Oscar winning Producer and Director of the feature documentary Genocide (1981), and a renowned designer and prolific author. His other feature documentaries include Building A Dream (1989), Echoes That Remain (1991) and Liberation (1994). He began his career in British network television, then became an advertising agency art director, producing commercials for Coca-Cola etc. In 1978 he was invited to Hollywood by legendary designer/filmmaker Saul Bass to be his studio’s design director. He is the designer of several of the Academy’s Oscar commemorative posters, programs and theatrical trailers. A Governor and past Chairman of BAFTA, Los Angeles, and the founding Chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Documentary Branch. In 2001 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth ll for services to the British film industry in the USA, and in 2006 was conferred the distinction of Royal Designer (RDI) by Great Britain’s Royal Society of Arts.
  • NATE THOMAS has directed and produced award-winning PBS documentaries to feature films, IMAX films, television commercials, public service ads, etc. He directed and produced the award-winning, East of Hope Street, and the Warner Home Video feature release, Stompin. In 2014 Thomas received an Emmy Award for directing and producing for the FBI a series of 30 second television public service ads about the dangers of counterfeit clothing, music piracy and theft of trade secrets. Thomas had previously received a commendation from FBI Director Robert Mueller for earlier PSA work on child cyber predators. In 2018 he received another Emmy nomination for a subsequent FBI PSA campaign on ransomware and business email compromise. Thomas is a tenured Professor of Cinema and Television Arts at California State University, Northridge where he heads the film production program


  • AI in Filmmaking, Thursday, May 2 at 12noon, featuring Norman Wang CEO & Co-founder at Glassbox Technologies; Phil Donahue, seasoned game designer, Unreal Authorized Instructor at Epic Games; Nathaniel Nuon, award-winning director with 3rd Realm Creations; Tom Graham, co-founder of Metaphysic, develop software and AI tools that create hyperreal synthetic media.
  • Modern Day Filmmaking and Distribution, Friday May 3, at 12noon. Panelists TBD.
  • Next Frontier of Filmmaking on Saturday, May 4 at 12noon  covering 3D, Immersive, AI, Virtual, XR, featuring Katerina Munis, Extended-Reality (XR) Filmmaker; Jason Chen, CEO and Executive Producer at the newly formed DESERT ECLIPSE, technology based Virtual Production and Finance Company; c. Craig, screenwriter and filmmaker with projects. His innovative film Fathead was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

The Beverly Hills Film Festival will feature over 250 films in competition, with daily red carpet premieres, networking events, panel discussions, and nightly after parties from  Wednesday, May 1 – Sunday, May 5, culminating in the Closing Awards Ceremony and Gala held at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. (7000 Hollywood Boulevard). Opening Night kicks off with red carpet premiere films: The Kindness Within featuring Leon Logothetis, aka the @theKindnessGuyBau, Artist at War, starring Emile Hirsch and Inbar Lavi; Murder at Hollow Creek starring Jason Patric, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Lord,, Penelope Ann Miller, Jason London, Jeremy London; Chuck Zito: An American Story featuring Sylvester Stallone, Pamela Anderson, Tony Danza, Andrew Dice Clay, Chazz Palminteri, James Caan, Ron Perlman; My Divorce Party starring Rumer Willis, Desiree Staples, Michelle Meredith, Kimia Behpoornia, Sarah Hollis, Dionne Gipson, Cap Peterson and Laith Ashley.

For the complete festival program, schedule, and passes, visit


The annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival® was founded in 2001 by award-winning  filmmaker Nino Simone.  The 24th annual event, taking place from May 1-May 5, 2024, is dedicated to showcasing and promoting non-studio films to the entertainment industry. Designed to bridge the world of premiere independent cinema with Hollywood, the festival hosts world-class screenings, networking events and industry seminars. Tickets are available on the fest site. Prices range from $23.00 per screening to $599.00 for a Platinum Festival Pass. For a complete festival line-up, schedule and pricing, please visit


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