The 2021 Jurors for Thin Line's Best Student Short Award are University of Texas-Arlington students enrolled in the Cinematic Arts program with faculty member, Barton Weiss. UTA's three-tiered Cinematic Arts program is devoted to storytelling and Personal, inclusive film instruction that embraces multiple genres, strong ethics, and professional standards within the cinematic tradition.
Bart Weiss is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and director/founder of the Dallas VideoFestival and produces “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV. He was President and Chair of AIVF and was a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and United Features Syndicate, Student filmmakers Magazine. He is co host of the Fog of Truth podcast. He is a tenured professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Bart received an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University.
Ciara Lacy is a kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian) filmmaker, whose interest lies in crafting films that use strong characters and investigative journalism to challenge the creative and political status quo. Her work has shown at festivals around the world including Sundance and Berlinale as well as on Netflix, PBS, ABC, and Al Jazeera. In the digital space, she has created content for the Guardian and the Atlantic Online.
She was the inaugural Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellow as well as part of the inaugural class of NATIVe Fellows at the European Film Market. Ciara holds a BA in Psychology from Yale University and has given talks at academic institutions across the U.S. She continues to work on documentary content for broadcast and digital while also expanding her intimate style of filmmaking into the branded content and commercial spaces.
Abbey Hoekzema is a transplant documentary filmmaker in Savannah, GA. She completed her MFA in Documentary Production and Studies at the University of North Texas and teaches film production at Georgia Southern University. She is the director of DOC Savannah, a collective of nonfiction storytellers in Savannah. Her past projects include producing and directing short documentaries exploring social issues on women, the environment, education and small communities.
She is a 2020 Southern Producing Lab Fellow for her first documentary feature, The Caregivers. Her short Mentor (2020) recently premiered on REEL SOUTH and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Her past films include Migrant (2019), Kicking All Odds (2017) and Into the Canyons (2014).
Hassan’s career in arts began in theater performances under the mentorship of "Ustad Bised" (the father of Afghanistan Theater). Subsequently, Hassan pursued his interest in filmmaking and honed his skills by enrolling in youth cinema association of Iran and participating in workshops in Kabul. In his career, Fazili has directed/produced plays for theater, documentaries, short films, and several popular television serials in Afghanistan.
Fazili’s latest film, Midnight Traveler, documents his family's three year journey as they are smuggled through several countries with the hopes of seeking refuge Europe. Midnight Traveler has screened in many festivals around the world and won several awards (Sundance, Berlinale, Sheffield, Yamagata, Emmy, etc.).
McKenzie is a filmmaker, actor, and poet based in Chicago. She is the writer, producer, and lead actor of Olympia, which premiered at the 2018 LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival. As an actor, she has worked on screen, including on FOX’s Empire, CBS’ The Red Line, and the upcoming FOX pilot The Big Leap, as well as onstage with Goodman and Steppenwolf Theatres, The Second City, Woolly Mammoth, and others.
Her poetry has been nominated for multiple awards including a Pushcart Prize. She is part of Growing Concerns Poetry Collective whose releases include two albums - BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES (2020) and WE HERE: Thank You For Noticing (2017), and the poetry collection Five Fifths (Candor Arts, 2018).
She is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab Fellow.
Joe Brown is a filmmaker and educator. His work focuses on issues of environmental and social justice. His films have screened at festivals such as: The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Birmingham Sidewalk Festival, the Dallas International Film Festival, the Milwaukee Film Festival, and the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. Brown's most recent feature documentary, Operation Wolf Patrol, has been featured by web platforms such as: TakePart.com, The DoDo, and the Earth Island Journal. Brown teaches video production at the University of Denver.
Jesse Alk is an American documentary director and cinematographer. He graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz, studied briefly at the NYU TISCH School of the Arts film department, and then attended the University of California, Los Angeles MFA Directing Program in the School of Theater, Film, and Television.
After a long break from filmmaking, Jesse's debut feature documentary PARIAH DOG premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it was awarded Best Feature. The film went on to play over thirty film festivals in twelve countries, winning additional awards in the USA, India, and Nepal. He is the son of the late documentary filmmaker Howard Alk.