2021 Short Film Competition Judges

Headshot of Maximiliano with a friendly smile and blurred ouy background.

Maximiliano Benitez makes films about civics, technology, and the arts. His work goes behind the scenes of powerful movements to document progress in the humanities and sciences. In addition to filmmaking, he has been trained as an organizer, educator, and entrepreneur and his work combines those disciplines.

Among other honors, his work has been presented at the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division SXSW Film Festival showcase and he was a presenter at the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Shorts documentary pitch program. He lives and works in Austin, TX and is a staff member of Austin Film Society.

Headshot of Taylor smiling into the camera.

Taylor Hertsenberg is the Senior Marketing Specialist at the Texas Film Commission and has been with the organization for 5 years. His role includes promoting the office’s programs and resources to the entire state of Texas through the TFC’s digital platforms and managing partnerships with festivals and organizations. In his former role as Marketing Specialist, Taylor managed the TFC Job Hotline and Texas Production Directory.

Barb smiles happily at the camera from a row of red theater seats.

Barbara Morgan serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Austin Film Festival. Since co-founding the organization in 1993, she has shepherded the festival from a weekend of films and panels into a week-long celebration of storytelling through film, television, and other emerging forms of narrative media.

Leveraging the vast amount of footage recorded at these events since its inception, Morgan created the festivals On Story Project in 2009, and serves as the project’s Executive Producer. A conglomerate of mainly digital resources, On Story includes a television show (available on PBS affiliated stations nationwide), radio show (distributed by PRI and NPR affiliated stations), podcast series, a three-part book series (published in partnership with UT press), and extensive public archive. She has received 2 Lone Star Emmy’s for On Story episodes.

Morgan is an independent film producer, whose films have included Natural Selection, Antone’s: Home of the Blues, Portrait of Wally, and Spring Eddy. She serves on a number of boards, including Dell Children’s Blood and Cancer Center, and The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University. Morgan lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, Hannah, and two dogs.

Cedric Hill

Denise Schamens

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