Student Showcase of Films Competition & Awards Show Judges for 2019 Packed with Film Industry Insiders!

February 19, 2019

Student Showcase of Films Competition & Awards Show
 Judges for 2019 Packed with Film Industry Insiders!

...and many, many more!

The 24th Annual Palm Beaches Student Showcase of Films (SSOF), the largest student film competition and awards show in Florida, is on the move! Almost 700 submissions were received with 280 advancing to the judges, surpassing last year’s total and revealing the depth of talent that can be found in Florida’s educational programs. Now it’s time for an elite group of 45 industry insiders from around the world to begin evaluating the student entries. The judges will review projects in 10 distinct categories as well as two coveted scholarship awards. This year the SSOF will award more than $15,000 in cash and prizes. The line-up of film and entertainment experts contains directors, producers, writers, development executives, and other industry professionals. A notable few for this year include:

Hal Cantor – A writer for television, film, and theater, Mr. Cantor recently developed To Hal & Back, a personal, half-hour comedy with Sony Pictures Television. He wrote on Fusion channel's acclaimed special, The Naked Truth: Dirty Little Secrets. Prior to that, his drama pilot, Mouthpiece, was picked up by Fox Television Studios. He also wrote The Lake Effect, a one-hour drama pilot for Showtime and the drama pilot, Twilight, for Sony Pictures Television. Hal’s plays have received productions in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

James Currie – A life-long wildlife enthusiast and native of South Africa, Mr. Currie has quickly become one of the most recognizable experts in birding and wildlife in North America. He hosts and produces the popular birding TV show, Nikon’s Birding Adventures, now in its 10th season and airing on Discovery Channel’s Destination America.

Jinko Gotoh – A producer and consultant for the animation industry with 25+ years’ experience spanning a wide range of media, with emphasis on the evolution of animation and CGI. Ms. Gotoh is currently producing The LEGO Movie Sequel for Warner Animation Group. Her other screen credits include The Little Prince, directed by Mark Osborne; the Academy Award nominated The Illusionist, helmed by Sylvain Chomet; 9, directed by Shane Acker; the Academy Award winning Finding Nemo, directed by Andrew Stanton.

Leslie Gray Streeter – A pop culture writer, columnist and reviewer for the Palm Beach Post, which means that if it's about music, movies, nightlife, food, drinks, TV, books, weird celebrity hijinks or something that's fun, Ms. Streeter has something to say about it.  She also has a popular weekly column called That Girl, chronicling events around Palm Beach County.

Ellen Jacoby – As Founder and President of Ellen Jacoby Casting International, Ms. Jacoby has employed over 250,000 actors, dancers, performers through the years. She has worked with the who’s who of Hollywood, including Steven Soderbergh, Joel Schumacher, Sidney Pollack, The Farrelly Bros., Bob Zemekis, Ron Howard, Mike Nichols, Michael Bay, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Garry Marshall, John Landis, James Cameron, Joe Roth, Tony Scott and many more.

Michael Jordan – As a highly trained specialist with the Russian Arm System, the industry leading tool for stunt driving sequences and vehicle footage, Mr. Jordan has pushed the creative boundaries for high energy stunt sequence filming. A few notable film credits include The Walking Dead, Bloodline, Rosewood, Graceland and The Glades, among others. He is also an in-demand director for commercial visuals for such clients as Fiat, Jeep, BMW and Chevrolet. 

Nick Kendall – As a virtuoso violinist, Mr. Kendall has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, BBC Proms in London, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Hamer Hall in Melbourne, the Sydney Opera House, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Teatro del Lago in Chile, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Osaka, Marlboro Music Festival, Dvorak Hall in Prague and an array of sports arenas across Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Luxembourg as one of the featured artists on the touring super show, Night of the Proms.

John Logan Pierson – A past winner of the SSOF Burt Reynolds Scholarship, Mr. Pierson is now an Executive Producer for director Peter Berg’s production company, Film 44. For Film 44, Mr. Pierson produced the Mark Wahlberg action films Patriot’s Day and Mile 22, as well as creating an upcoming action-comedy new to Netflix.

Suzanne Niedland – Award winning filmmaker, Broadway producer, professional actor and ballroom dancer, Ms. Niedland serves on boards of PBC Film and Television Commission: The Cultural Council of PBC: Kennedy Center’s International as well as the National Committee of Arts: and The DeVos Institute for Arts Management. She earned her Masters in Documentary Filmmaking and is in post-production of a documentary about her friend, Burt Reynolds. 

Hal Rosenfeld – A percussionist, composer, arranger and orchestrator whose work can be heard in over 50 films, television shows and video games. Among Mr. Rosenfeld’s numerous musical contributions are The Greatest Showman, The Hate U Give, Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events, ABC's The Mayor, and the Robert De Niro/Zac Efron film Dirty Grandpa.

About the Palm Beaches Student Showcase of Films
Student submissions are judged by industry professionals with finalists to be presented with cash awards and prizes during the red carpet awards show on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Every year, the SSOF awards show attracts more than 750 students and their families, along with celebrity presenters, industry pros, media, state and county dignitaries, performers and more. Celebrity presenters have included Burt Reynolds, Vanilla Ice, Cheri Oteri, Backstreet Boys Howie D., Thomas Ian Nicholas, Bruce Campbell, Clint Howard, Linda Blair and many more! The live show is hosted by actor, entertainer and star of CBS Blue Bloods and PBS South Florida’s On the Town in The Palm Beaches, Frank Licari! The SSOF is funded by the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners through the Department of Housing & Economic Sustainability. Major sponsors include Lynn University and the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission. Category sponsors include Keep Palm Beach County Beautiful, Inc. (Environmental PSA Award), Film Florida (Sara Fuller Scholarship), Suzanne L. Niedland (Suzanne L. Niedland Documentary), Michael Chasin (Nellie & Fred Chasin Screenwriting Award) and Ralf Gschwend (Poster Design). For more information, please visit


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