AUDIENCE AWARDS are determined by votes from attendees during the festival. The Audience Awards presented Closing Night include: Favorite Narrative Feature, Favorite Documentary Feature, Favorite Gay Short Film, Favorite Lesbian Short Film, and Favorite Transgender Short Film.

AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE are chosen by our esteemed panel of jurors and include a cash prize. Three juries convene to select films for the following awards: Best Documentary Film, Best Narrative Film, Best Short Film, and Most Innovative Short Film.

Narrative Jury


ANASTACIA-RENEE is the 2018-19 Seattle Civic Poet, the recipient of the City of Seattle’s 2017 Artist of the Year Award, and the 2015-2017 poet-in-residence at Hugo House. She has received numerous writing fellowships and writing residencies, and is the author of Forget It , (v.), 26 (as Anastacia Tolbert), and Answer(Me). Her work has appeared in Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, Sinister Wisdom: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution, Ms. Magazine, Berkeley Poetry Review, and many more. She teaches poetry and creative writing at Hugo House and Seattle University and lives as a superhero in Seattle with her wife and dog.

BETH BARRETT is the artistic director of SIFF (organizers of the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education). She serves on the board of the Film Festival Alliance, and has participated in juries and panel discussions at several universities and film festivals.

PAUL STRUTHERS started working at Frameline (the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival) in November 2017 as its Director of Exhibitions and Programming. Prior to that, he worked for four years in Sydney as festival director for Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Documentary Jury

MOCHA JEAN HERRUP is an award winning documentary filmmaker and photographer whose films have screened worldwide. Currently, they are working with the Freedom Project to create digital media for their Nonviolent Communication and Prison Reentry programs. Mocha has a PhD in Film and Media studies and was a professor in the Radio-TV-Film Department at the Austin Community College, where they also helped to found the Peace and Conflict Studies program. They have programmed for many festivals including Cinematexas, SXSW, and the Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

KEVIN K. MAIFELD is the founding director and a professor of the graduate and undergraduate arts leadership programs at Seattle University. He previously served as the managing director of the Seattle Children’s Theatre from 2001 to 2007. Kevin currently serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Seattle Men’s and Women’s Choruses. He has a MFA in arts management from University of Alabama and a BS in accounting from the University of Denver.

DR. QUINTON MORRIS is a concert violinist, chamber musician, educator, entrepreneur, and filmmaker who performs solo concerts, chamber music, and lectures internationally. He embarked on “Breakthrough,” a two-year tour of solo recitals, lectures on entrepreneurship, master classes, and community outreach projects, and his self-produced short film about Chevalier de Saint-Georges received a European Independent Film Award and a Global Music Award. The recipient of the Washington State Governor’s and Seattle Mayor’s Arts Awards, among others, Dr. Morris is currently an associate professor of violin and chamber music at Seattle U. He is the executive director and founder of Key to Change.

Shorts Jury

JON GARCIA, founder of Lake Productions, is a Portland-based filmmaker whose latest film ROOM TO GROW is screening at this year’s festival. He has released six feature films, including The Falls cult trilogy. Jon was nominated for an Emmy in 2016 for producing and directing original content for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He  is also a trained actor, novelist, and singer-songwriter, having performed his music in his own films.

MEGAN LEONARD is a producer, editor, and festival programmer based in Seattle. She has been a programmer for SIFF for the last nine years, where she heads the New American Cinema team and is also the lead shorts programmer. Additionally she programs for Indie Memphis, Cucalorus, and Doc NYC, and has served on the jury at Fantastic Fest in Austin. Her most recent short film, Mixtape Marauders, premiered at the Aspen ShortsFest in 2017 and was in the opening night program of SIFF.

ALEKSA MANILA is a drug counselor by day, drag queen by night and a widely recognized social change agent and provocateur. She has mastered the art of sensuality to evoke feelings and challenge bias, prejudice, discrimination, and hate. She continues to be recognized for her community efforts, having served as the Seattle Pride Community Grand Marshal, received the Dr. Wood Award for Excellence in HIV Prevention and Mayor Durkan’s Pride Award for Outstanding Leader, and been named GSBA Community Leader of the Year and Seattle Women’s Pride Community Champion.