The 2022 Jury
The CIFF Jury will select the Jury Choice film in each category, as well as Audience Choice Awards in each category. Each category will have a jury of 2 circus and film professionals.
Meet the Jury
Under 18 Jury
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.
Lyra Gross (USA)
Bio coming soon
Shorts - Under 10 Minutes
Tristan Cunningham (USA)
Cunningham steps so fully into each character that with each snap of a transformation you hold your breath, as if observing a magic trick" -SFGate.
She is a S.U.N.Y Purchase Theater Arts and Film Conservatory Graduate and a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. She has won the 2016 TBA Outstanding Performance Award and the 2016 BATCC Excellence in Theater Award. She is also a trained acrobat and juggler who joined Circus Smirkus at age ten and has performed with Circus legends Alberto Zoppe and Marcel Marceau. She is a Smirkus alumni, board member and chair of the diversity and access committee. She is the Cirque School LA youth program director, and works in partnership with several social circus programs.
Most recently she was in All Rise on CBS, The Fugitive starring Kiefer Sutherland, NCIS, 9-1-1,
Mr. Mayor and on Netflix’s comedy show Family Reunion.
Sean Mckeown (ARG/USA)
Bio coming soon
Shorts - Documentary
Crystal Manich (PRI)
Puerto Rican director Crystal Manich has directed over seventy productions in opera, plays, and musical theatre across the United States, Argentina, and Australia. Delving into camera work, she recently directed the world premiere opera The Copper Queen as a western thriller feature film for Arizona Opera, which garnered her an award for Best First Time Female Filmmaker at the 2021 Toronto International Women Film Festival. She also directed a multi-cam livestream of Catán’s Spanish language opera La Hija de Rappaccini for Chicago Opera Theater at the Field Museum, for which Crystal was nominated for a regional Emmy in 2021. Crystal previously worked for Cirque du Soleil as Assistant Artistic Director for the Quidam big top tour in Brazil. She is an alumna of Carnegie Mellon University.
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.
Shorts - Performance
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.
Kim Campbell (USA)
Kim Campbell is a freelance editor, podcaster and creative writer who has spent a career focusing on the arts, particularly literature, theater and circus. Former editor of CircusTalk News, they have written about theater and circus for Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association and the International Network of Circus Arts Magazines. In 2019, they were on the jury of FIRCO in Madrid (Circus Festival Iberoamericano) and in 2021 they were on the voting committee for the International Circus Awards.
Joel Gershon (USA)
Ever since he studied abroad in Rome during college, Joel dreamed of working in a creative field and having adventures around the world. Luckily for him, his fantasy became real shortly after he graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2003, but first he worked for the environmental organization, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the groundbreaking Air America Radio network, where he was a producer on a show hosted by Rachel Maddow and Chuck D. and worked alongside such talents as Mark Maron and Al Franken.
It was in 2005 that Joel got his incredible chance to live and work abroad when was hired as a reporter for the International Herald Tribune in Bangkok, and stayed for the next 12 years. During his time there, he also worked as the regional correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter, worked as a consultant for human rights oriented NGOs, filed print and broadcast stories for CNN, and was a reporter/producer for the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand.
In 2011, he began developing "Cirque du Cambodia," his first feature-length documentary film about two young Cambodians who dreamed about being the first from their country to take the stage with the world-famous Cirque du Soleil. In 2020, he completed the film, which has won multiple awards (including the 2021 Circus International Film Festival's Jury Prize for Best Feature Film), and the film is still making the rounds and wowing audiences at different film festivals.
Joel finally moved back to the U.S. in 2017 after accepting a lecturing job at American University in Washington D.C. He is now working as the Director of Education and a content producer for the community TV channel, DCTV. You can learn more about Joel at joelgershon.com.
Brandon Peryada (USA)
Bio coming soon