2016 Short Film Competition Judges

Film Fest logo. A blue handy man leaning forward holds a green video camera. The wheel of his wheelchair forms the C in the phrase Cinema Touching Disability.

November 4-5, 2016
Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 West Anderson Lane, Austin TX, 78757 (map)

Cindy Adams

Professional portrait of a woman in business dress, smiling and leaning on folded arms over a leather armrest.Cindy is the Chief Operating Officer of Superior HealthPlan, Inc., an affiliate of Centene Corporation (www.centene.com), a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise that provides programs and related services to individuals receiving benefits under Medicaid.

Cindy's professional experience includes 36 years working with government-funded programs in both the public and private sectors, with an emphasis on long-term care delivery in a community-based setting. She earned her BS in Social Work from the University of North Texas. She currently serves on the Board for the Texas Silver Haired Legislature Foundation, and was appointed by the HHSC Executive Commissioner to the Promoting Independence Advisory Committee and the Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee.

Cinema Touching Disability is pleased to have Cindy as a Short Film Competition judge for the fourth time. 

Dr. Laurence A. Becker

In profile, a man in athletic clothing and helmet rests one hand on the seat of a bicycle and looks at the camera.Dr. Laurence A. Becker received his Ph.D. in Creative Learning Environments in 1980, from the Union Institute & University.  Prior to his PhD, he had served for ten years as Chairman of the English Department at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. While at St. Stephen’s, he founded and, for six years, directed the Texas Student Film Festival- one of the largest and most successful student film festivals in the US at that time. 

Then in 1983, he directed and produced the international, award-winning documentary film With Eyes Wide Open about autistic savant artist Richard Wawro of Edinburgh, Scotland. For the past 36 years, he has worked with and written about some of the world’s most prolific autistic savant artists.

A longtime supporter of Cinema Touching Disability, Dr. Becker has served as a Short Film Competition judge since 2007.

Dr. Melody Chatelle

Business portrait of a woman with a red blouse and gold jewelry, turning at a 3/4 angle to smile at the camera.Dr. Melody Chatelle is a well-respected and effective veteran of the national and state legislative arenas. Prior to forming Chatelle and Associates, her own political and communication consulting company in 1999, Dr. Chatelle worked for 12 years as Director and Vice President of Government Affairs for Mariner Post-Acute Network and served for 10 years in the Texas State Capitol as a legislative aide to a former Texas State Senator, as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She is a life-long Methodist, a volunteer with Hospice Austin, and a former Board member for My Healing Place and Texas CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates.

In 2008 LangMarc Publishing released Dr. Chatelle's first book, Journeys of Heartache and Grace: Conversations and Life Lessons from Young People with Serious Illnesses, a narrative non-fiction work around the topic of end-of-life communication. The book is based on her dissertation.

A long-time CTD partner and supporter, this is Dr. Chatelle's first year as a Film Festival judge.

Eric Clow

A man in sunglasses smiles at the camera with a sweeping desert landscape in the background.Since his childhood, Eric Clow has been passionate about film. He started making short documentaries in high school. His award-winning short film, It’s Just Us: Taking a Stand While Sitting Down, focused on the struggles of the disability rights movement.

In 2011, Eric graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in Geography, but he also received extensive training in film production, film editing, screenwriting, and radio programming.

Eric’s passions still reside in the arts, and he spends his time writing, making music, and constantly seeking new films to enjoy. He currently works at VSA Texas, the State Organization on Arts and Disability. 

Cinema Touching Disability is pleased to welcome Eric back for his fourth year of judging the Short Film Competition.

Lynn Johnson

A woman in hoop earrings leans her head to one side and smiles at the camera. Lynn Johnson received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from UT Drama Department, Austin, TX and has spent her time in Film and Theater ever since. After working in the film industry in the 70’s, she continues her love of films by participating in SXSW and Sundance Film Festivals as a volunteer. In 1987, she began her theatrical adventures in Austin by working and volunteering for Live Oak Theater, Capitol City Playhouse, Zilker Hillside Summer Musicals, Texas Performing Arts, Long Center for Performing Arts, and Zachary Scott Theater, where she is a regular. Lynn has been a judge for Lights.Camera.Help annual film festival, and this will be her fourth year as judge for Cinema Touching Disability.

Currently she is the Community Relations and Outreach Services liaison for VSA Texas, the State Organization on Arts and Disability.  

Barbra Sonnen-Hernandez

In a field of blue bonnets, a woman in glasses smiles at the camera as her hair tosses in the wind.Native Texan Barbra Sonnen-Hernandez started "KIDS IDEAS," Austin's first children's television educational program in the 1990s, which aired on KXAN and KNVA. In addition to directing and producing the show, she taught acting and video production classes for kids and teens.

In 2008, she became ill with a rare disease called Guillain Barrè Syndrome (GBS). After a year of hospitalization and countless therapy sessions, her experience with this illness lead and encouraged her to write a book (Why Didn't I Die?).

Today, Barbra continues to write books, is a strong advocate for healthcare, and lends herself to community service. As a Rare Disease Ambassador for Central Texas, she has organized rallies at the Texas State Capitol bringing awareness to the Legislature. Barbra is on the city of Georgetown Texas ADA Advisory Board and also works from time to time as an actress for film and television, encouraging those with disabilities to pursue this profession.

Cinema Touching Disability is thrilled to have Barbra return for her second year as a competition judge.

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