2022 Film Festival Jurors

Feature Films

Michael Gottwald is a founding partner and producer with the Department of Motion Pictures. He produced BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, directed by Benh Zeitlin, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Camera d’Or at Cannes; it was nominated for four Academy Awards. Michael has produced episodes of “HIGH MAINTENANCE” and collaborated with acclaimed documentary filmmakers Bill & Turner Ross on TCHOUPITOULAS (premiered at SXSW), WESTERN (Special Jury Prize at Sundance), CONTEMPORARY COLOR (a concert film collaboration with David Byrne), and their most recent, BLOODY NOSE, EMPTY POCKETS, which premiered at Sundance and the Berlinale. Michael produced Geremy Jasper’s debut feature PATTI CAKE$, the closing night film of Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. He is an Executive Producer on WENDY, Benh Zeitlin’s follow up to BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, and FAREWELL AMOR, Ekwa Msangi’s debut feature, both of which premiered at Sundance 2020. He also produced ITVS and Topic’s documentary series PHILLY D.A., which premiered at Sundance 2021 before being broadcast nationwide on PBS. Before producing, Michael worked for both Barack Obama presidential campaigns, in 2008 and 2012.

Steve Shor has over 40 years of Industry experience in Studio, production and management positions, including ten years at Columbia/TriStar Pictures. Steve is currently an independent producer working on a variety of projects. Steve recently left the position of Program Director for the Sonoma International Film Festival after 15 years with the festival. He is also the industry liaison for the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Chris Metzler’s film career has taken him to some strange places as he has pursued making subculture documentaries on subjects as far ranging as rogue economists, lucha libre wrestlers, swamp rat hunters, ganja-preneurs, Black punk rockers, and evangelical Christian surfers.  His award-winning films include:  PLAGUES & PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA, EVERYDAY SUNSHINE: THE STORY OF FISHBONE RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE and RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE (Fairhope FF 2018). He also serves as the Director of Programming for two irreverent film festivals, SF DocFest and SF IndieFest, based in San Francisco.

Short Films

Tera Buerkle worked in film, video, and event production for over a decade after completing her undergraduate degree in Film Studies at Emerson College and Georgia State University. Although she is now working as a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, she uses the skills she learned through film studies in social science research, as well as in her private therapy practice. Studying nonverbal communications, how one chooses to frame their personal stories, and understanding the magnitude that culture influences identity and behaviors have all been valuable in both of her career paths. She currently watches movies in Lexington, KY, after having grown up watching movies in Atlanta, followed by watching movies in Boston and then Seattle. Tera is excited to sit quietly with audiences at the Fairhope Film Festival and feels honored to be a juror.

Jim Norton is a graduate of University of Wisconsin,  Stevens Point. Norton worked for Marcus Corpation in Milwaukee, operators of Movie Theatres and Hotels.
Jim is a former General Partner of N & S Theatres ( Norton & Suick), owner and operator of over 50 movie screens in various locations in four states including Florida.
Founder of Gulf Breeze Cinema 4, He is now retired , serving as director of Pensacola Cinema Art ( PCA) Pensacola Film Festival and film programmer for The Rex Theatre also located in Pensacola.

Joseph Brennan. Living in Mobile, Alabama, Brennan Joseph is a filmmaker who places humanity at the forefront of his work. Whether it be comedy, documentary, or digital content, his treatment of the subject comes from a respect for story, character, and nuance. Joseph celebrates the details and small moments; he loves how they lead to larger truths and even big laughs. An editor and cinematographer in addition to a director, he has created work for Nutella, Food Network, Chicago Cubs, Mobile Museum of Art, among others.