Each year FilmQuest will have a Grand Jury composed of between 3-7 major industry professionals, who will pick several of the winners for the awards. These awards will include the Grand Prize, runners-up, Best Short Film, Best Student film, and others.


DOUG JONES – Doug is the world-renowned actor known best for his roles as Abe Sapien in Hellboy, Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four, the Faun in Pan’s Labyrinth, Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus, as well as many more iconic and well known characters in the world of cinema.

AMRITA ACHARIA – Amrita is best known for her work as Irri in the hugely popular Game of Thrones. She gained critical acclaim starring in the Oscar short-listed Norwegian film I Am Yours, and is to be seen next in the highly anticipated horror film Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead.

The 2014 Grand Jury is still being built, and these names are tentative until 100% confirmed, so check back regularly to see who is added to the Jury. More Grand Jury members to be announced soon.


FilmQuest has put together a Selection Committee filled with professionals from within the film industry. The team consists of directors, producers, writers, actors, journalists, professors, editors, casting directors, animators and more. It is our goal and duty to all the filmmakers who submit to FilmQuest to give every film a thorough and fair review throughout the selection process. The Committee will not only be responsible for making the Official Selections each year, but will also vote on nominees and, in some categories, the winners for the awards.

JONATHAN MARTIN – FilmQuest Festival Director – Jonathan is a writer, producer and director most known as the creator of the most awarded horror short film of all-time, An Evening with My Comatose Mother. His films and music videos have won over 90 awards and have played at over 110 film festivals around the world since 2011. He is currently attached to direct a feature film and a web series, both in development with each slated to be filmed in 2014. As Festival Director of FilmQuest, it is Jonathan’s goal to create a festival for the Fantastic unlike any other, one that serves the filmmaker first and will become a launching pad for filmmaker’s careers for years to come.

RICHARD TEASDALE – Assistant Festival Director – Richard is an accomplished film editor and filmmaker. He was the videographer for the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah for five years, where he became a multi-award winning video journalist. He and Jonathan have co-edited several projects together, and their working relationship dates back to their student days at Utah Valley University.

BRIAN HIGGINS – Selection Committee, FilmQuest Express Chairman – Hailing from Northern Ireland, Brian is a natural raconteur and imagineer who uses film to tell stories the world over. Although several of his films have screened at prestigious international film festivals, Brian still believes in maintaing a strong local presence by teaching the power of film to local indie communities. He is the Utah Producer and Director of the “48 Hour Film Project,” and has also created and produced three national genre-specific film festivals, most notably The Demon Chaser Film Challenge. His latest project is Create Reel Change, which brings creativity to mental wellness.


SEAN DECKER – Selection Committee – Sean is a well-respected journalist within the horror community (having written for Dread Central, FEARnet and Fangoria). Sean Decker recently co-produced the upcoming feature L.A. Slasher. Sean is currently executive producing a high-profile biopic about one of Hollywood’s most legendary figures.

JONNA JACKSON – Selection Committee, Production Manager – After a decade of managing and touring with rock bands, Jonna settled down in Los Angeles. Her love of music quickly turned into a love for film, and she began production working for AEG while also managing a major retail chain of over 20 stores in Southern California. Jonna edits scripts while also serving as the Production Manager for the world famous Screamfest Horror Film Festival the past 6 years. Jonna will not only be lending her expertise and talents to FilmQuest, but also organizing the volunteer efforts for the fest.

IAN JOHNSTON – Selection Committee – Ian is the owner of the Emmy® Nominated Too Many Legs Animation Studios inc., an established high-performance animation company. There, he also works as one of the five key managers and acts as the Creative Director. Working directly with clients in animation and VFX, he helps in image building campaigns for client companies that hit a balance between emotional and narrative storytelling. During his 15+ years of animation experience, Ian has assisted businesses of Utah all the while branching into other states like New York, Colorado, Nevada, and California.

LISA KANE – Selection Committee – Lisa is the lead graphic designer for the Daily Herald‘s marketing department and has worked as a storyboard artist for films in Utah, including An Evening with my Comatose Mother, directed by Jonathan Martin. She graduated from BYU in 2007 and studies cinematography and animation. She continues to work as a storyboard artist.

ALEX NIBLEY – Selection Committee – Alex has been involved in filmmaking for over thirty years in a variety of capacities. He holds a BA in Mass Communication from the University of Utah and an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater. He also studied screenwriting and film analysis from Frank Daniel, and has been teaching those subjects at Utah Valley University for twelve years.

KIT REES – Selection Committee – Kit, with his brother Nathan, is the co-founder of Squishy Animation. A graduate of Weber State University in Graphic Design, Kit is a virtual 3D modeler and animator. Within Squishy, Kit works mainly on the props and locations.

NATHAN REES – Selection Committee – Nathan, with his brother Kit, is the co-founder of Squishy Animation. A graduate of Brigham Young University’s prestigious animation program, Nathan has continued to strengthen his career in character modeling and movements. He and Kit are currently developing the animated science fiction film Firepower.

NICHOLAS RIVERA – Selection Committee – Nicholas is a 28 year veteran of the film industry and a multi award winning composer. He has worked with Sony, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and many other studios both major and Indie. He has worked on projects in England, Germany, Netherlands and in every film and TV hub in the U.S. He has scored over 100 projects. Including work with Morgan Freeman, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. He is currently working on two feature films and is creating a global film and television portal and library.

TINA THORUP – Selection Committee – Tina is a casting director and founder of the Applebox Filmmakers Alliance, where she educates filmmakers on branding techniques, project marketing and the production of profitable films. Her first experience of working with talent began in High School, and has matured into a full service casting company for commercials, feature length films, shorts, music videos, television, web-based, and new media content. As a casting director she instantly earned the confidence of directors, producers, and creative heads. Tina brings a strong visual sensibility of matching talent with over-all project vision.

More coming soon! We’re awaiting bio’s from our committee members. Check back often!