2020 Judges

Tally Shorts Film Festival gives out two judged awards every year. The Tally Shorts Favorite Award is given to the best overall film in the festival. The Florida Favorite Award is given to the best film originating from Florida.

We’d like to give a big thank you to our distinguished panel of judges who had the unenviable task of picking the lone winners from an extremely high quality grouping of films.

Mike Armstrong
Mike is a Professor in the Division of Communications and Humanities at Tallahassee Community College. He earned a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Florida State University, and a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication from California State University, Chico. He currently teaches communication and film courses at TCC. Dr. Armstrong has also served as a post-production coordinator for several Hollywood produced films, as well as being a script consultant for several independently produced film and television production companies.

Brandy Berry
Brandy’s numerous film credits include writer of Blockenstin (2009), Before the Dawn, BTD (2012), and Freshwater (2016) which she also directed and produced.

Russ Franklin
Russ is the author of the novel, Cosmic Hotel. He has degrees in math, physics, and literature, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University, as well as a Kingsbury Fellow at Florida State University. His work has appeared in Oxford American, Alaska Quarterly Review, Greensboro Review and other publications. He currently teaches writing at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Rafael Gamero
Rafael is from Belize, Central America/Caribbean and teaches fiction writing at Florida A&M University as an Assistant Professor of English. He completed his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Wasafiri, and Litro Magazine among others. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife and two children, where he is currently working on a novel.

Anosh Gill
Anosh is a creative director and educator with more than 20 years of international design experience, working with hundreds of municipalities, government agencies, travel destinations, and educational organizations. His work has earned more than 60 awards in advertising, design, and illustration. Gil earned an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University and a B.S. in Industrial and Product Design from The Ohio State University.

Christoper Hayes
Chris is a poet whose works have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Gettysburg Review, The Apalachee Review, and several other national literary magazines. He has won the Erskine J. Prize for Poetry from Smartish Pace and the Oboh Poetry Prize from Boxcar Review. He holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University and currently teaches there as a professor in the College of Business.

Steve Horswill-Johnston
Steve is a four-time Emmy Award winning director, producer, aerial cinematographer, and communications executive with more than 20 years’ experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Steve serves as Chief Communications Officer & Brand Strategist for Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. He is the founder of Nashville Aerial, specializing in aerial cinematography and production. Steve is a former script consultant for DreamWorks Animation. Prior to his current position he was the creative architect and executive director of The United Methodist Church’s first network television advertising campaign; the first and largest Protestant effort of its kind. He produced more than 16 national television commercials and 40 radio commercials.

Lee Kitchen
Dramatist Guild Member, Lee is the author of more than a seven full-length plays, two one act plays and a dozen ten-minute plays. One of his plays, Scabs, was accepted at the Last Frontier Theatre Playwriting Contest and was produced as a short film. It was also a short play finalist at the Humana Festival. His play, JoJo Mama and the Voodoo Queen was selected by Michael Warren Powell as his Panelist Favorite at an earlier Last Frontier Playwriting Contest; it was also runner-up at a Dallas Theatre Playwriting Competition. A screen play adaptation of JoJo Mama and Voodoo Queen made the first cut at the Sundance Film Festival. He has acted in College and Community Theatre and has extensive experience in commercial production during his career at J. Walter Thompson Advertising in New York and Chicago.

Laura Johnson
Laura is the Executive Director of Southern Shakespeare Company and a professional stage/film actor. Laura has performed with regional and local theatre companies including Resurgens Theatre at the New American Shakespearean Tavern, Canopy Roads Theatre Company, Irish Repertory Theater, Southern Shakespeare Company, and Theatre Tallahassee. Johnson was most recently seen on the Ruby Diamond Auditorium stage in Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra’s Requiem of Defiance and has served as Adjudicator for the SETC. Laura has been most recently recognized for her work promoting arts and culture in the Capital City. Laura is highly visible in episodic television, indie films, commercials, and as the on-air host for the Multi-state Powerball.

Mary Jane Ryals
Mary Jane  is the Poet Laureate of Florida’s Big Bend Region. Nominated in 2008, Ryals will hold the title until 2012. She brings the world of poetry to schools and literary events in Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, and other north Florida counties. Her latest book of poems is The Moving Waters, published by Kitsune Press in 2008. Ryals has been involved with the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Competition, Florida State University’s Valencia, Spain Study Abroad Program, the Tallahassee Writers’ Association Festival of Books, and the literary magazine, Apalachee Review. Ryals won the 2010 bronze metal from the Florida Book Awards for her novel, Cookie & Me.

Sue Stetzmann
Sue is a ceramic artist who create large, public art murals and sculptures that resemble buildings. Mostly self-taught, she also studied at the University of Arts in Philadelphia.  She is the founder of Tallahassee Clay Arts.