Zelma Badu-Younge, one of the most charismatic cultural fusion artists, captivates her audience as she steps on stage. This mesmerizing performer is considered one of the most electrifying choreographers, with her high-energy synthesis of West African traditions combined with other world dance forms. Zelma’s passion for dance led her to study at the National Ballet School of Canada (Toronto), l’Academie des Grands Ballet Canadiens (Montreal), Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (New York City), and at the University of Ghana’s School of Performing Arts. She holds a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance and Choreography (Concordia University), an M.F.A. in Dance Ethnology (York University), and a Ph.D. in Culture and Values in Education (McGill University). Dr. Badu-Younge is a Professor of Dance at Ohio University and Dance Director/Choreographer for Azaguno, a multi-ethnic ensemble focusing on research, preservation, and global form performances.
She has presented scholarly papers, conducted workshops, or performed internationally in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Zelma is a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for choreography (2016 & 2008); multiple awards in Canada, including the prestigious Chalmers Awards for Creativity and Excellence in the Arts, the Laidlaw Foundation, and Canada Council for the Arts Awards for Choreography. She was also nominated for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, recognizing outstanding works of theatre, dance, and opera in Toronto.
Nazish Zahra Abbas
Nazish Zahra Abbas aka Ziggy is a Pakistani born Canadian director, writer, and producer. She has a Masters in Film and Television Production from University of Bristol, UK and a Masters in Mass Communication from AIOU, Islamabad, Pakistan. Nazish has directed, written and produced documentaries, short films and hosted TV shows. Currently she is writing a comedy series and an animation film. Nazish made her writer’s debut in the low-budget independent film for her master thesis, ‘Matching Pair’ (2002) – a cross cultural comedy based in the UK.
Nazish is a highly motivated, enthusiastic and experienced professional working on diverse and challenging television projects, behind and in front of the camera, from documentaries to televised studio projects, from script writing to directing and from researching to teaching. As an entrepreneur she co founded MabbleFilms.com, Gogi Studios Canada & Pynkit, a women empowerment platform. Currently she is under training to become a Life Coach to pursue her passion to help others live a conscious meaningful life. She loves to sing, paint & walk in nature. Nazish has lived in different continents around the world which reflects in her work, offering a unique perspective, cultural fusion with a touch of humour.
Martin I. Petrov is a film festival professional, strategist and film events specialist. He is the founder and festival director at WoFF: World of Film International Festival In Glasgow, UK since 2014. He is a member of the European Film Academy since 2020.
In 2017, Martin established the EuropeNow Film Festival, a travelling film festival in collaboration with the Council for European Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York.
With long experience in film curation, Martin also works closely with distributors and young creators, tailoring festival strategies for independent filmmakers.
Martin has long standing partnerships and collaborations with festivals, platforms and film Giovanni Battagliamedia with global outreach and is currently making his first steps into film production.
Giovanni Battaglia Is a 54 years old Italian pharmacist, a part time actor, part time cinema journalist and food and music lover.
In 2010 he meets the French director Olias Barco and the Belgium writer Stephane Malandrin during the Roma film festival.
In 2014 he co-starred in the Belgium short movie “a la recherche de Emilio Saltarelli” with Belgium actor Rosario Amedeo and Italian Marco Marletta.
In 2015 he plays in Olias Barco’s movie “Polina” filmed in Kiev with French, American and Belgium stars like Edouard Baer Virginie Ledoyen Jean Reno and Canadian Saul Rubinek. In 2018 he played in “Granada Nights” directed by British talent Abid Khan. No one knows him in Italy…
Tom’s humble beginnings in the animation world started at Duck Studios as a digital ink and painter. He moved on to become a Post Production Producer for FX Networks promotions, YouTube Awkwafina’s TAWK, and nine TCM televised film documentaries for the award-winning documentarian Laurent Bouzereau. For the past eight years he has been working in the feature film industry as an Assistant Editor for New Line Cinema and STX Entertainment, working alongside James Wan (The Conjuring 2) and Melissa McCarthy (Life of the Party, Happytime Murders). The feature he was apart of was the newly released “The Craft: Legacy”.
Back in 2011, Tom Yamamoto ran to his ma with reams of paper full of doodles and scripts following two characters he’d named Rus and Chelli. After a long conversation over snacks and juices, Peggy realized that Tom had some legs on his idea. The team was formed. A year later, they had a child together and named it In The Belly with Rus + Chelli.
In 2017 they launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, and with the help of a couple writers and animators across the sea they are now producing the first batch of episodes. The first and only (maybe, maybe not) mother + son duo bring you the deranged world of Rus and Chelli!
Jury Short & VR
George Snow was trained as a graphic designer and filmmaker at Hornsey College of Art, London. After being thrown out for hitting the Head of Department he returned 10 years later as a teacher. He was among the first photographers to cover the widespread unrest in Northern Ireland after the introduction of Internment Without Trial. His work was widely published in the Left Wing press. He designed all of the early Star Wars books and magazines but abandoned that trade after discovering video and software programming in the mid 80’s.
His most successful videos were ‘I’ve Been Thinkin’ About you’ for London Beat and ‘The Assignation’ for Channel 4 in London. He is a keen sportsman and runs the highly successful Bike Palestine cycle tour. www.bikepalestine.com . He presently lives as a recluse in his castle in Tuscany.
Kerim Yildiz (aka. kerimbonia)
Special VR JUDGE
Kerim Yildiz (aka. kerimbonia) is a multi-disciplinary freelance 3D artist with over 20 years of professional experience in the automotive, design, entertainment and music industries. Over his career he has worked on several world class projects and created 3D content for live events with artists and musicians such as Justin Timberlake, Cher, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Cirque du Soleil, PY1 / Guy Laliberté, Céline Dion, Madonna, DJ Tiesto, Calvin Harris, P! NK, to name a few.
In his spare time, he works on his personal project, kerimbonia, where he 3D scans himself in various costumes with photogrammetry, creates rigged 3D models ready for animation, then integrates himself into fully 3D-made fantasy worlds and displays results as still images, pre-rendered animations or even real-time gaming apps (www.instagram.com/kerimbonia). He recently started working with Cosmovision Records as a VJ and creates live visual content for shows and events.