With submission deadlines now over — and with less than a month to go before we can finally showcase the amazing talent on our programs — we at the Long Distance Film Festival are incredibly excited to announce our inaugural jury! These revered members of the film community, with their varied tastes and experiences in the industry, will be judging our official selection by deciding on our grand prize recipients. We are extremely honored to have their support! Without further ado, our jury is as follows:
Léo Soesanto is a Paris-based festival programmer and film journalist. He’s been head of short films selection at Cannes Critics’ Week since 2017 and senior programmer at International Film Festival Rotterdam since 2016. His writing has appeared, among many publications, in Libération, Grazia, Vogue, Les Inrockuptibles and Premiere.
Setu Raval has been part of the Film Independent Spirit Awards staff since 2012. As the Senior Manager of Nominations, she oversees the nominations process and manages the six nominating committees for the Spirit Awards, as well as the selections process for Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants. In her position, Raval also has dedicated efforts towards ensuring the nominating committees and films in consideration are representative of Film Independent’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. She also managed grants tied to Film Independent’s Artist Development labs, Fast Track and Project Involve. Prior to her current role, she was the Spirit Awards Nominee Liaison and has also worked at the Sundance Institute, Sundance Film Festival, LA Film Festival and Creative Artists Agency. Raval was also the Festival Producer for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles for three years. She received her BFA in Film Producing from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
STEPHEN DARREN HOLMGREN, ESQ
Stephen Holmgren is an Entertainment Attorney and Film Producer originally from MN. He specializes in independent film and television legal, providing services to projects from Development through Distribution and is licensed to practice law in CA and NY, where he is presently primarily based. As a Producer, he has worked with numerous filmmakers including Adam and Zack Khalil (INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place./it flies. falls./]), Matthew Porterfield (Putty Hill; I Used to be Darker), Marie Losier (The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye), Cory McAbee (Crazy & Thief), and John Gianvito (Far From Afghanistan feat. filmmakers Travis Wilkerson, Soon-Mi Yoo, Minda Martin and Jon Jost). He is also part of the producing team for EMPTY METAL (Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer), małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore (Sky Hopinka), WHIRLYBIRD (Matt Yoka), 499 (Rodrigo Reyes), as well as Anthony Banua-Simon’s CANE FIRE. He helped build the documentary arts nonprofit UnionDocs, including organizing hundreds of screenings and events from 2009-2014, and is currently connected via their Advisory Committee. Holmgren has served on juries at film festivals such as CPH: Pix, Oberhausen, Black Maria, London Film Week, the Riviera Maya Coproduction Lab and the forthcoming Long Distance Film Festival.