Our judges

  • Gillian Caldwell, 1Sky Campaign Director

    … is a filmmaker and an attorney with thirty years of experience advocating for social justice in the United States and around the world. Most recently, Gillian served as Executive Director of WITNESS, which uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. Gillian led WITNESS’ rapid expansion during her decade of leadership and helped produce numerous documentary videos for use in advocacy campaigns around the world. She is also co-editor and author of a book published by Pluto Press called Video for Change: A Guide to Advocacy and Activism (2005). Gillian was formerly the Co-Director of the Global Survival Network, where she coordinated a two-year undercover investigation into the trafficking of women for forced prostitution from Russia and the Newly Independent States that helped spur new anti-trafficking legislation in the US and abroad. She has worked in a broad range of other organizations on social justice issues in the US and around the world, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Echoing Green Fellowship (1996-1998), Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Award(2000), Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Award Winner(2001-present), Tech Laureate of the Tech Museum (2003), Ashoka:Innovators for the Public as a special partner (2003), Journalist of the Month by Women’s Enews (2004), Skoll Social Entrepreneurship Award(2005-present). She received her BA from Harvard University and a J.D.from Georgetown University, where she was honored as a Public Interest Law Scholar.

  • Leila Conners, President and Co-founder of Tree Meida, Producer/Director 11th Hour

    … founded Tree Media Group in August of 1996. With a background in international politics, Leila set out to build a production company that creates media to support and sustain civil society. Leila and Tree are currently creating an internet television channel, called Tree Channel, that will carry the content that Tree creates, among other media.
    Most recently Leila directed, wrote and produced a feature-length documentary, The 11th Hour, with Leonardo DiCaprio and 54 leading thinkers and scientists about the state of the world and the state of the human condition. She has written 2 short films with Leonardo DiCaprio on the environment called Global Warning and Water Planet and a feature film script for Ridley Scotts Scott Free Productions on the state of the oceans. Leila has also been published in newspapers and magazines around the world including the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Yomiuri Shimbun and Wired Magazine among others. Projects over the last 10 years with Tree Media Group include work with the Council on Foreign Relations, NASA, JPL, Norman Lear, Green Cross International, Harvard University, and Hollywood studios among others. Her article on Death and American Culture was published in War, Media and Propaganda, published by Rowman and Littlefield. Leila is currently in pre-production on her next feature-length documentary on consciousness and how to heal the environmental crisis.

    Prior to Tree Media, Leila was Associate Editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, an international journal of social and political thought, and Associate Editor of Global Viewpoint of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, an internationally distributed op-ed column that reaches 200 papers. At NPQ, she interviewed thinkers and policy makers including: Kofi Annan, Nafis Sadik, Betty Friedan, Hans Bethe, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Boutros Boutros Ghali among others. She is now Editor-at-Large for NPQ.

    In 1991, Leila translated Jacques Attali's book from the French for Random House entitled, Millennium. Leila is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGAW).  Leila serves on the Board of Global Green USA and the Entertainment Board for One Voice, a middle east peace project. Leila is often invited to speak on issues of sustainability and the environment and has served on panels nationally and internationally.  The film, The 11th Hour, to date has won the Diversity Award and the Earthwatch award in the United States and the Clarion Award in the UK.

    Leila lives in Santa Monica with her son Aidan Michael.

  • Nadia Conners, Creative Director and Co-founder of Tree Media Producer/Director, 11th Hour

    … is a writer, director and producer of both narrative and documentary films.

    She is a Founder and Creative Director of Tree Media Group, a media company with a mission to use media to support civil society. Nadia is a director and writer of the environmental documentary, produced with Leonardo DiCaprio, entitled The 11th Hour, as well as on the two shorts Global Warning and Water Planet (also with DiCaprio).

    Last year she wrote a narrative feature for Ridley Scotts company Scott Free called Oceano. Nadia is set to direct her first narrative feature Earthquake Weather which she also wrote.

    She is currently completing production on another documentary entitled Here Comes Greatness which is about the brutal suburban American phenomenon of backyard wrestling.

    Her background is varied she worked extensively on political campaigns, she is an award winning graphic designer and a guerilla filmmaker. Her life experience of living in France, Egypt, and America have contributed to her desires to make films that cross cultural and political boundaries.

    In addition to receiving a degree in European Philosophy and History from the American University in Paris she also attended New York Universitys Directors Workshop.

    She is member of the WGA west and is represented as a writer and director at UTA by Shana Eddy and Keya Khayatian.

    She speaks French from her days in Paris where she also picked up a love of red wine, bread, cheese and political dialogue on the screen, in the news, and on the streets.

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Actress, Rachel Dawes in Batman: The Dark Knight

    … is one of the great young actresses of today.  After receiving rave reviews out of the 2002 Sundance competition for her starring role opposite James Spader in Lion’s Gate’s Secretary, she went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical”, an Independent Spirit Award nomination for “Best Actress”, a Chicago Film Critics’ Award for “Most Promising Performer”, A Boston Film Critics’ Award for “Best Actress”, a National Board of Review Award for “Breakthrough Performance” and an IFP/ Gotham “Breakthrough Performance” Award. 

    Years later, back at Sundance in 2007, Maggie starred in Sherrybaby which opened in theaters September of last year.  Maggie played a female convict struggling to overcome her drug addiction and regain custody of her daughter.  The film was well-received by critics and garnered her second Golden Globe nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama.  Gyllenhaal was also nominated for a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for her role in Don Roos’ Happy Endings, opposite Lisa Kudrow and Tom Arnold. In August 2006, Maggie was seen in Trust the Man with Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and David Duchovny and in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center with Maria Bello and Nicholas Cage.  She also starred in Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson.  In the past few years, she appeared in John Sayles’ Casa De Los Babys with Daryl Hannah and Lily Taylor and Mike Newell’s much-anticipated Mona Lisa Smile in which Maggie co-starred with Julia Roberts, Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst.  She was also seen in Criminal with Diego Luna and John C. Reilly as well as Spike Jonze’s Adaptation.

    Also accomplished on stage, Gyllenhaal starred as “Alice” in Patrick Mauber’s award-winning Closer at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles for director Robert Egan, and previously at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  She has also appeared in Anthony and Cleopatra at the Vanborough Theatre in London.  In 2004, Maggie starred in Tony Kushner’s play Homebody/Kabul, which ran in both Los Angeles and at B.A.M.

    Next up, Maggie will be seen as Rachel Dawes in Warner Bros. Dark Knight. Directed by Chris Nolan, the film is out in July 2008.

    Maggie made her feature film debut in 1992, alongside Jeremy Irons and Ethan Hawke in Waterland.  This was followed by a memorable performance as “Raven”, the Satan-worshipping make-up artist in John Waters’ quirky Hollywood satire, Cecil B. Demented, which led her to a co-starring role in Donnie Darko, a fantasy-thriller about disturbed adolescence. 

    Gyllenhaal is a 1999 graduate of Columbia University where she studied Literature. 

  • Rory Kennedy, Moxie Firecracker Films

    … is an award-winning producer, director, writer and co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films, an independent documentary production company that she runs with partner Liz Garbus. Kennedy has produced and/or directed award-winning documentaries for HBO, Lifetime Television, A&E, Court TV, The Oxygen Network and The Learning Channel, covering a variety of topics including the global AIDS crisis, human rights, domestic abuse, poverty, and drug addiction.

    In 1999, Kennedy’s film American Hollow brought her filmmaking to the attention of critics and the viewing public. The story of a tight-knit Appalachian family caught between century-old tradition and the encroaching modern world, American Hollow premiered at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Subsequently, it won Best Documentary prizes at a number of festivals, including the American Film Institute and The 1999 Chicago International Film Festival, also garnering an Independent Spirit Award nomination. After its critically acclaimed run at New York City's Film Forum, HBO broadcast the film as part of the America Undercover series, it was nominated for a Non-Fiction Primetime Emmy Award. Additionally, Little, Brown & Co. published Kennedy's companion book, American Hollow, in conjunction with the film's broadcast premier.

    The film also generated an "American Hollow" cultural exhibit, featuring the photographs of Steve Lehman, and has been shown at numerous museums, including The National Gallery of Art, The Dayton Art Institute, and The Norton Museum in Palm Beach. Elements from the book and exhibit have been combined and posted on The Washington Post website's electronic gallery (www.washingtonpost.com).

    Kennedy most recently directed and produced, Pandemic: Facing AIDS, which premiered at the Barcelona World AIDS conference on July 8, 2002. Pandemic follows the lives of five people living with AIDS in different regions of the world and uses their experiences to put faces behind the numbers and to connect audiences with the heartache and triumph of living under the extreme conditions that AIDS enforces. The film is accompanied by a book, cd, website, traveling exhibition, and educational material. 

  • Anya Kamenetz, author Generation Debt & staff writer Fast Company

    … is an American writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is a staff writer for Fast Company magazine and a columnist for Yahoo! Finance. During 2005 she wrote a column for The Village Voice called "Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young." The Voice nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for her work on a 2004 feature series of the same name. Her first book, Generation Debt, was published by Riverhead Books in February 2006. Her writing has also appeared in New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, The Nation, The Forward Newspaper, and Vegetarian Times

  • Tia Lessin, Producer, Bowling for Columbine & Fahrenheit 9/11

    … is director and producer of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Trouble the Water being released this fall by Zeitgeist Films. Tia also directed and produced the documentary short Behind the Labels in partnership with Peter Gabriel’s human rights group Witness. Tia was a producer of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, winner of the Cannes Palme d'Or, Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine, and The Big One. In television, Tia’s work as producer of the series The Awful Truth, which the Los Angeles Times called “the smartest and funniest show on television,” earned her two Emmy nominations and one arrest.

  • David Jenkins, Government Affairs Director of Republicans for Environmental Protection

    …a position he has held since January of 2005. In addition to maintaining the organization’s Washington D.C. presence and its relationships with members of Congress, the White House and federal agencies, David is the driving force behind REP's most widely recognized publications: C.E.P. (Conservative Environmental Policy) Quarterly and REP’s Congressional Scorecards. His editorial comments have been published in dozens of major newspapers across the nation.

    David also serves as a staff advisor to the REP Political Committee. In 2006 David was heavily involved in REP’s efforts on behalf of 30 GOP Congressional candidates that REP endorsed. Most recently he has been involved in REP’s decision to endorse Senator McCain in the 2008 presidential race, and has developed REP’s first candidate training manual to help GOP candidates take responsible positions on environmental issues and discuss those positions in ways that appeal to both the GOP base and the broader electorate.

    Prior to joining REP, David served for 10 years as Director of Conservation and Public Policy for the American Canoe Association (ACA). He established ACA’s conservation presence from scratch, built its grassroots capabilities, and successfully advocated for protecting the nation’s natural resources.  Under his direction, ACA became a leader in conservation that is widely recognized for its effective legal enforcement of the Clean Water Act, its landmark efforts to reduce pulp and paper mill pollution, its success protecting waterways from jet ski use, and its stalwart defense of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

    Jenkins is a life-long conservative Republican and environmentalist. He has served on the board of directors of Winter Wildlands Alliance (WWA) and North American Water Trails, as an adviser for River Runners for Wilderness (RRFW) and as a section editor for Paddler Magazine. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Furman University, and immediately after college served on the legislative staff of Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM).

    David lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Debbie, their daughter, Alyeska, and their two dogs, Denali and Kona.

  • Patti Prairie, CEO Brighter Planet

    …has successfully started and transformed dozens of businesses in established companies over the past three decades. With her dual pedigree of technology and business, she is now applying her ingenuity to the climate crisis. She joined the Brighter Planet team in the fall of 2006 to lead the development of an innovative company with a socially responsible mission:  to empower individuals independently and collectively toward a clean-energy future.

    Brighter Planet is a Vermont start-up committed to fighting climate change and building a clean-energy future.  Born out of a Middlebury College classroom, the company is dedicated to demonstrating how small actions can lead to meaningful change.  Through products, services, and expertise, Brighter Planet helps reduce greenhouse gas-emitting activities, expand use of green technologies, and build renewable energy projects.

    Prior to joining Brighter Planet, Ms. Prairie held Senior Executive positions at IBM, American Express, Beneficial Management, and BankBoston. As an entrepreneur in established companies, her diverse professional career includes:
    - developing new businesses
    - reengineering businesses for growth
    - streamlining / shuttering businesses for performance
    - forging strategic alliances for new market capabilities
    - managing corporate mergers

    Ms. Prairie has been active in non-profit board service, a limited partner in an investment fund, provided due diligence for venture capital groups, done strategic consulting and taught management and marketing courses. She published articles in trade journals, co-authored and authored books, has been interviewed by national and regional media, and is a sought after keynote speaker for seminars and customer forums.

  • Bill Stetson, Producer and Environmental Consultant

    …served as an advisor for the HBO movie Earth and the American Dream, and co-produced Citizen Suits, a PSA starring Alec Baldwin and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He co-executive produced Nora Jacobson's award-winning, independent feature film, My Mother's Early Lovers, and was the co producer of the AIDS documentary, A Closer Walk, directed by Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer and narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith. It appeared on PBS in August of 2006. Also in 2006, Mr. Stetson executive produced the highly acclaimed video/DVD archive What We Want, What We Believe: The Black Panther Party Library. For over twenty years, Mr. Stetson co-produced Environmental Insight, the nation's longest running, radio talk show on the subject of the environment.

    For over fifteen years, Mr. Stetson advised former Vermont Governor Howard Dean on environmental and economic growth issues, and advised Gov. Dean in his bid for President of the United States. He has served as a national adviser to three other presidential campaigns, and served on the national political committee of the Sierra Club. Mr. Stetson serves as an environmental adviser to Governor James Douglas of Vermont, and was the Kerry for President Co-Chair for Vermont.

    For eight years, Mr. Stetson, as C.E.O. of Fairhill Oil Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, transformed the company from a floundering oil concern to a successful natural gas exploration firm and an example of environmental excellence in the energy industry. In 2001, he co-founded an energy and environmental think tank, Foundation For Our Future (ffof.org), becoming its first president. FFOF creates curriculum programs on international sustainability issues, utilizing both text and video programs.

    Mr. Stetson's board service includes that of River Watch Network, which he co founded and helped merge with River Network, the Washington D.C. and Portland, OR based rivers advocacy organization. He is currently president of the Boatwright Foundation, and serves as a trustee and governor of the Smith Richardson Foundation. Mr. Stetson served as founding president of the Vermont Film Commission, dedicated to encouraging film and television production in that state. In 2001, Mr. Stetson was appointed to the prestigious board of the Center For The Environment at Harvard University.

    Mr. Stetson earned a bachelor's degree in government at Harvard and studied energy and natural resources planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the John F. Kennedy School of Government