The 2021 Jury

The CIFF Jury will select the Jury Choice film in each category, as well as the film that is awarded the Best of Fest. Each category will have a jury of 3-4 circus and film professionals.

2022 Circus International Film Festival Jury TBD.

Meet the Jury

Under 18 Jury

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Eve Gordon (NZ)

Eve, affectionately known as NZ circus’s Beyonce, discovered physical storytelling at drama school. It very quickly became her vocation, passion and her life’s drive. Graduating with a Bachelor of Acting in 2002, Eve has been working as a circus performer, actor, experimental filmmaker, costume-creator, and producer for the last 15 years. As well as training her acts, running the The Dust Palace Productions and heading The Dust Palace School, she has also co-directed all 15 of The Dust Palace’s full-length circus theatre works since 2009 – convincing many she keeps a troupe of nocturnal elves.

Patti Chambers (USA)

Patti Chambers is a director/producer based in St. Louis.  She has been working in the film, television and production industry since 1988 on projects that span live television, commercials, digital content and films. She is a senior writer/producer for Edward Jones, producing videos for audiences in the United States and Canada.

She is also vice-chair of the Circus Harmony board, the unofficial photographer for Circus Harmony, a circus parent and circus student.

In 2020 she helped bring Circus Harmony’s The Balancing Act to the screen along with Laura Lippert and Jessica Hentoff, contributing on cinematography and serving as senior video editor.

Her photography was used to promote the 50th Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Circus Arts.  

She considers circus life to be one of the most engaging subjects in her artistic career and is deeply grateful to have been welcomed with open arms by both her home circus – Circus Harmony, as well as by circuses and performers around the world. 

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Dmitry Chernov (RUS)

Dmitry Chernov Russia Dmitry is Founder & Artistic director of the Chernov Creations, one of the world's leading artistic creations company in circus arts. His act creations have won multiple awards in international festivals. Dmitry is also the Founder & Organizer of the "Online Circus Festival," the first online festival created to support artists during the Covid19 Pandemic. Dmitry is a highly successful large ball juggler from Russia, his unique act became a Prize winner in the International Circus Festivals in Paris, Moscow, Budapest and the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo (“Premiere Rampe”). Dmitry was artistic director of the Israeli International Circus Festival in Ashdod (2016-2017).

Stacy Gubar (USA) - Youth Representative

Stacy is a fifteen year old circus enthusiast from California. She first joined circus at age six and has considered it a second family and home ever since. 

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Shorts - Documentary

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Jasmine Straga (AUS)

After an illustrious international career as a contortionist, aerialist and dancer, Jasmine went on to a career as creative director, and then founded Gala Entertainment Management (U.S.) and co-directed of R Empire & Gala Entertainment (Asia), creating shows, events, and contracted artists for some of the largest casinos, cruise ships, and entertainmentment companies in Asia. She now serves on the Board of Directors of Federation Mondiale du Cirque, and is Founder-Director of the Australian Circus Festival, as well as Director J.S. Creations. Jasmine has sat as a judge/jury member for Festival International du Cirque de Massy, International Circus Festival of Wuqiao, International Circus Awards, Sochi, Russia, Festival International del Circ, Spain, international Circus Festival of Wuhan, and many more. 

Jasmine is also a circus educator who directed AICA and Coffs Harbour PCYC Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, and currently teaches at Performance Art Western Sydney and Umbilico, creating boutique acts for Europe's leading circuses, varieties and cabarets. Her students have worked in companies worldwide, from Cirque du Soleil to Circus Krone, Circus FlicFlac, Moulin Rouge, and many more. Her students and acts have also won numerous international awards, at the Festival International du Cirque de Monte Carlo and Wuqiao International, among others. Jasmine was nominated for best Choreographer/Creative Director at the 2015 International Circus Masters Awards in Sochi, Russia.

Francine Price (USA)

Originally from Upstate New York, Francine is a freelance video editor based out of Brooklyn, NY. With a focus primarily on short form promotional and branded content her clients include Showtime, Oxygen Network and PVH Corporation as well as a mix of smaller production companies and non-profits. She graduated in 2012 from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications where she studied Video Production.

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Blake Lavia (ITA)

Blake Lavia is a multimedia artist and community organizer. Their art practice dances between filmmaking, writing, photography, animation, and mixed media illustration. From documentary filmmaking to novel writing, their work focuses on societal issues, cultural memory, and our current climate crises. Blake is an advocate for change, and they imbue their art and writing with strong social messages and calls for action.

Blake’s work has been exhibited in a number of venues, such as the Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, LoosenArt, New York K&P Gallery, Richard f. Brush Art Gallery, the Western Massachusetts Biennial, the Blow-Up Chicago Arthouse Film Festival, and THE ROAR Magazine, among others. Through their work with Talking Wings, Blake collaborated with the multimedia artist Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo on the "North Country Art, Land and Environment Summit." During the Summit community members from the St. Lawrence Watershed, Haudenosaunee Territory, came together to discuss sustainable and regenerative solutions for the climate crises. Under the Talking Wings umbrella, Blake is once again collaborating with Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo on "Burning or Breathing," a documentary series about "Earth Guardians."

Shorts - Performance

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Christo Tsiaras (USA)

Christo Tsiaras has been at the forefront of the production community in Boston since 1982. Having been a senior editor at some of the hottest shops in Boston such as National Video and Videocraft, Christo has had an exhilarating ride editing thousands of projects. Previous clients have included leading ad agencies like Arnold Worldwide and Hill, Holiday as well as Fortune 500 corporations, filmmakers, directors and independent producers. As editor and director, Christo has won many awards for his television commercials, music videos, documentaries, corporate videos and, most recently, digital photography. Christo is also a photographer and designer who “sees” edits before they happen. He uses his highly trained ear as a composer and a former sound engineer to make edits practically dance off the screen. Beyond the highly stylized craft of editing is Christo’s mastery of storytelling whether he’s telling it in 15 seconds or in a full-length feature film.
Previous and current clients include Hasbro, The Disney Channel, Tommy Hilfiger, CNN, Turner Classic Movies, USA Networks, Timberland, Reebok, McDonalds and Animal Planet. Current projects include editing the award winning independent film “Red Flag” which is winning numerous awards around the country including Best Picture at the Boston Comedy Film Festival and Hot Guys with Guns which has garnered critical acclaim in major LGBT festivals around the country and in Europe. 

Veronica Blair (USA)

Veronica Blair is a professional aerialist with over 15 years of performing and teaching experience. She is currently Aerial Director for Celebrity Cruises Entertainment.
Expanding her portfolio beyond performing, Veronica launched the development of “The Uncle Junior Project” in 2010. The ongoing documentary shines a light on the careers of African-American circus performers, including Emanual “Uncle Junior” Ruffin who remained largely uncredited for his contributions to American Circus until after his death. In 2017, she was invited to speak at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival about her experience as producer and director of “The Uncle Junior Project”, and served as organizer and moderator on a panel highlighting the African-American circus experience. She’s also worked with the African-American Art and Culture Complex to stage "Entrapment to Entertainment: A Celebration of Blacks in American Circus", a three-month exhibition that ran from October, 2013 – January 2014 with over 1,000 attendees.

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Genis Matabosch (ESP)

Genís Matabosch has an International Degree in Administration and Conservation of the Patrimony by the Patrimony National Institute in Paris and holds a Bachelor in Arts History.
Genis is well known around the globe for his passion and philanthropy in Circus Arts. Genis obtained his doctorate in Circus History by the University of Barcelona. He is president of Circus Arts Foundation based in Besalú (Girona).
Genis is the director of one of the world's most prestigious circus festivals, the International Circus Festival "Golden Elephant" in Girona, Spain, which is known for its high level circus acts and multiple circus activities surrounding the festival, including the Circus World Expo, a trade expo dedicated to circus arts.
Genis also directs the Great Christmas Show also based in Girona and Circusland, the International Palace of Circus, Besalu, Spain, which has grown to become the world's largest museum and archives of circus artefacts.

Full Length

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Nerissa L. Williams (USA)

Mrs. Williams—CEO/Owner of TCGT Entertainment, Boston, Ma.  (www.tcgtentertainment.com) is the Assistant Manager for the Emerson College Paramount Center Film Sound Stage in Boston, MA.  She is a graduate of Hampton University where she received a Bachelor of Art degree in Fine and Performing Arts. She has received her Masters of Fine Art degree in Film Production (emphasis in Producing) from Emerson College.  Her career experience includes over thirty years of working and learning in Performing and Media Art. She began on stage and worked her way up to the position of Producer, Creative Producer, UPM and Line Producer for Film and TV. Over the past six years she has Produced and served as Production Manager for a variety of Live Events, Theatre, Fashion films, Documentaries, Narrative Shorts and Music Videos. Her world travels have set her apart in the Creative Producer role.  She was awarded the LEF Foundation Fellowship to attend the Flaherty Seminar in upstate New York.  Her documentary endeavors have promoted her to the final rounds of the Creative Capital granting process.  She looks forward to the ongoing forward momentum of TCGT. Her favorite quote,  “Wow them with Brilliance.”

Pavel Kotov (CAN)

Senior Casting Director of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, Pavel Kotov is a former Russian National Team world-class acrobatic gymnastics athlete and Judge for the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG). He held a number of positions in Public Relations and Marketing in the industry of sports and fitness, and also performed in the Russian Bars act of the Great Moscow State Circus.
Pavel was invited to join the Casting Team of Cirque du Soleil in Montreal, Canada in 2004, and currently holding the title of the Senior Casting Director, he is responsible for recruiting and casting of artists for all new creations and existing shows of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group.

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Gypsy Snider (USA/CAN)

Gypsy Snider has dedicated her life's research and work toward the melding of movement, theater, and circus. In 2002 she co-founded The 7 Fingers, a contemporary circus and production company where she created a series of shows: En Panne, SisterS, Réversible, Intersection, Amuse, Un Dia, Traces, and Loft.
She has choreographed televised feature performances for America’s Got Talent, Her Majesty’s Royal Variety Performance, the illusionist Darcy Oake, the EUFA and several large-scale fashion shows in Asia. Most recently she created a show for the Virgin Voyages Cruise Line.
In 2013, working with director Diane Paulus on a new vision of Pippin, she choreographed and wove circus into the revival of the Broadway musical. Gypsy’s work on Pippin earned her a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. 
Born and raised in San Francisco, Gypsy began her circus career at the age of 4 when her parents founded The Pickle Family Circus. She toured with the company for most of her childhood. She went on to graduate the Dimitri school of physical theater in Switzerland. Gypsy then performed with the Cirque du Soleil for several years before creating "Les 7 Doigts de la main" in Montreal, Quebec.
Gypsy is also a guest teacher and director at the National Circus School of Montreal. In 2015, she received the Evolving Circus Award in New York City presented by Diane Paulus. She was invited to speak at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington DC in 2017 on Circus Arts in the United States.