Judge Panels IMFF 2021

Our Judging Panels are comprised of film industry professionals. Take a look at the amazing judges for 2021's 10th Anniversary Edition of the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego, California. This year's theme is "Your Story."

Judges agree to our ethics policy in order to select the best films. We are honored to introduce you to the judges for IMFF 2021.

There are two competitions: Mobile Feature Film and Mobile Short Film. Each are judged by a separate panel. 

The Feature Film competition selects not more than three exceptional narrative feature films. Short Film competition selects a limited number of films from all genres and categories. 

IMFF 2021 is the 10th Anniversary edition of the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego. As is our tradition, the festival takes place during the last weekend in April 23 - 25, 2021. #MFF2021SanDiego

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Mobile Feature Film Judges

Mark Hadlow Portrait 

Mark Hadlow | Actor | New Zealand

Mark is a multi-talented actor, writer, director, producer and singer who we all came to know and love as the dwarf Dori in Peter Jackson's trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit. In 2018/19, along with his Hobbit co-star Jed Brophy, Mark starred in "Blue Moon," a feature film shot entirely on an iPhone in New Zealand by Stef Harris. "Blue Moon" won the 2019 Best Film Award in the Global Mobile Film Awards™.

Mark is one of New Zealand's most prominent actors and entertainers, having performed in 130 plays, musical theatre, dozens of film appearances, television series, commercials and radio voice-overs in the thousands.

"The Hobbit" was Mark's third Peter Jackson movie. In "Meet the Feebles" he played the voices of Heidi the Hippo and Robert the Hedgehog, and sang many of the songs. "King Kong" saw him performing the role of Harry in the vaudeville scenes opposite Naomi Watts and Bill Johnson.

Hadlow is renowned for his singing voice and has appeared in many musicals and concerts, with his all time favorite being "Little Shop of Horrors."

Mark has been nominated for and won several awards, including Best Supporting Actor in a Television Comedy in a Television series "Willy Nilly," playing the role of the challenged brother Harry in a three-season top rated sitcom. He won Best Theatrical performance of the Year in 1993 for the hugely successful one-man show "SNAG", and ultimately went on to win Entertainer of the Year in 1995. He won Best Voice Over Artist in the Radio New Zealand Awards 2010.

Mark is also a master narrator, his most recent work being narrator of the enchanting short film 'The Story of Percival Pilts' by Janette Goodey & John Lewis. He has also released an audio CD called "Tall Tales," a collection of classic children's stories.

"Hello everyone it’s amazing to think that a mobile phone Film Festival can be like a beacon, a chance for us to see the talent and the films that we get to judge and find gold!  In these decimating times Susan Botello and her team provide a window, a glimmer of hope and a challenge to pursue dreams and make it happen. Can’t wait for this, bring it on!" Mark



Kimberley Hart

Kimberley Hart | Producer, Actor, Costume and Wardrobe | Australia

Kimberley grew up in small-town New Zealand with a love affair for Filmmaking, inspired by the likes of Jane Campion, Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi. Kimberley moved to Sydney Australia in 2008 to pursue her film career. Studying Costume Design for Performance and Production Management for Film at the Australian Film Television & Radio School in Sydney. Kimberley has worked in the Film/TV/Theatre Industry since 2011, behind the scenes in Film, TV & Theatre, roles such as Costumier, Art Finisher, Props Maker, Scenic Artist, Costume Assistant with a dabble of Extra work here and there. It was mostly as a Costumier/Art Finisher for The Sydney Opera House and Baz Luhrmann's stage show 'Strictly Ballroom', she really honed her skills. 

It wasn't until she came across the film partnership with the Director Ross Perkins, as the Producer on the set of 'Mad House', her filmmaking really came into fruition. With this true horror feature, filmed entirely on an iPhone, 'Mad House' won awards, such as 'Best Feature' at the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego 2019, 'Best Director', 'Best Actors' at the Global Mobile Awards™ 2019 and nominated for Cult Classic Film Festivals. During filming of 'Mad House', Kimberley also founded the Film Collaborative Company: Monkey Mansion Productions, which supports and encourages aspiring Filmmakers and Creatives.

Some of her work in Costume and Wardrobe includes “The Great Gatsby” (2013) with Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton. 

“I am honoured to be part of the Judging panel IMFF 2021. It will be an amazing year with a completely fresh new look at life after 2020s challenges. We will see inspiring new creativity that has developed out of this. My philosophy is: from bad things good things blossom...like from rain storms...beautiful rainbows appear. 2020 will be our nugget in the rough, that has challenged us and produced new fresh creativity in all of us. I am looking for these fresh new inspiring stories that are waiting to be told.” Kimberley



Mobile Short Film Judges


Jed Brophy new

Jed Brophy | Actor | New Zealand

Jed is an actor from New Zealand with a long association with fantasy entertainment. During the 90s he appeared in episodes of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess," as well as the films "Dead Alive" and "Heavenly Creatures," both directed by a relatively unknown director at the time, Peter Jackson. Jackson later cast Jed in several parts in The Lord Of The Rings, including "The Fellowship of the Ring" and "The Two Towers," and tapped him with the starring role of Nori in his epic adaptation of "The Hobbit." 

Jed has also had roles in other well known genre projects including "King Kong," "District 9," "Legend of the Seeker," and "The Shannara Chronicles.”

In 2018/19, Jed co-starred along fellow Hobbit actor Mark Hadlow in "Blue Moon," a feature film directed by Stef Harris. It was shot entirely on an iPhone in New Zealand. ".Blue Moon" won the 2019 Best Film Award in Global Mobile Film Awards™.

“I had hoped we would be able to attend this coming year, we’ve been trying for a few years now. I wish all the contestants the very best, it’s the making that’s important, more now than ever Looking forward to seeing your work.” Jedi

IMDb | Website


Demetrius LaSean Witherspoon SHORTS Judge IMFF 2019

Demetrius Witherspoon | Director, Writer, Producer | Indiana, U.S.A.

Demetrius was born in Louisville, KY and went on to be an RnB Singer and in 2013 film screenwriting, cinematographer, producer, Director, Editor. He has always loved films since he was 5 years old. Inspired by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams. Demetrius wants to take the audience on a journey that they never been on before with his films. He has created commercials, and Award-Winning short films and Music Videos. He helmed 2013 Music Video As Pure: The Trilogy, short films Submerge: The Chronicles of Ni're, 2014 Submerge: The Frozen Land, Ville (cinematographer), Submerge: Ni're Reborn.

Demetrius Sci-Fi installments Submerge: Echo 51 has a worldwide distribution and he has won "Best Director" and other Awards for the film. His next 2 Sci-Fi film projects are "Submerge: Blue Star" due out Spring 2020 and the Feature-length film Submerge: Galaxy of Subversion do to be Released in 2021. Demetrius is building his Submerge Franchise not only with films but Comics, Submerge Card Games, Action Figures, Novels and more.

“As a Judge for IMFF, I have been blown away by amazing films shot with mobile phones. I encourage all filmmakers to use your phone and tell your stories. There are no limits or excuses anymore.” Demetrius

IMDb | Website


Shola Ajayi

Shola Ajayi | Cinematographer, Editor, Instructor | New York, U.S.A. & Lagos, Africa

Olubusola M. Ajayi, “Shola”, splits her time between New York and Nigeria and continues her work as a part-time lecturer, screenwriter, and filmmaker while co-running pan-African spaces UR4Africa and Public Art Africa in Lagos, Nigeria.

UR4Africa is an organization that sets out to build bridges between people of African descent, living on the continent and abroad; through media projects, social development projects, and cultural exchanges.

Public Art Africa is a youth-led organization that seeks to create a platform for young people in Nigeria and Africa to express themselves, have access to art and media education resources while learning about important social topics such as Human Rights, The Environment, and Health Empowerment.

Shola studied Photography and Screenwriting at the University of Central Florida and went on to pursue an MFA in Film Production at Boston University as well as a Masters in Media Studies at The New School. Shola's primary focus has been to create films and new media projects that explore social issues amongst people of color while also developing stories and images that present Africa and Africans, specifically Nigerians, in new and innovative ways. She enjoys exploring storytelling from the format of documentary and also fiction.

Hair: A Conversation, The American Dream: An African Tale, Black Girl Yoga, Being Big Uncle, Champion, Tipsy, and Love Come Back are some projects that Shola has developed in collaboration with various individuals to present fresh narratives about African people and people from the Diaspora.

"I am so excited to be joining the judges for the IMFF 2021. I am a big fan of Susy Botello and this platform and feel honored to be a part of this community of content creators. I'm looking forward to seeing the innovative and creative films these storytellers will be bringing to the festival next year." Shola



Nathan Bechtold

Nathan Bechtold | Actor, Filmmaker | Indiana U.S.A.

Nathan Bechtold is a Lafayette, Indiana based filmmaker/creative, and the current state president of Indiana Filmmakers Network Inc. He has been an active board member of the Indiana Filmmakers Network for nearly twelve years, helping to establish multiple IFN chapters, hubs, partnerships and affiliations across Indiana and beyond.

Professionally, Nathan Bechold writes studio reviews for upcoming films, he is a script doctor, character developer, and creative consultant. He also enjoys acting, is an Improv Olympic alum, and ex-AFTRA, and has performed in multiple stage, studio, screen, voice and new-media productions.



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