The Lower East Side Film Festival is thrilled to bring a panel of judges for the 2017 competition that represent the young, the bold and the fearless side of independent filmmaking.


Sasheer Zamata is a comedian, actress, writer and current cast member on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." She has appeared on TBS's "People of Earth," Amazon's "Transparent," Comedy Central's "Inside Amy Schumer," Netflix's "Bojack Horseman," SeeSo's "Night Train with Wyatt Cenac," voiced the role of Maisie in Nickelodeon's "Albert" and Sally in "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare," and appears in the features "Yoga Hosers," "Sleight" and "Deidra & Laney Rob a Train" on Netflix. She also serves as ACLU's Celebrity Ambassador for Women's Rights. Her one-hour standup comedy special, "Pizza Mind," is available to watch on Seeso.


Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 6.29.30 PM.png

Jeremy Allen White is a breakout star of the Showtime hit series SHAMELESS. The show wrapped shooting its seventh season late last year. Jeremy's film credits include Antonio Campos' AFTERSCHOOL in which he starred alongside Ezra Miller, THE TIME BEING opposite Frank Langella, and YOU CAN'T WIN opposite Michael Pitt. Jeremy also recently wrapped Gerardo Naranjo's English debut VIENA AND THE FANTOMES, a film about life on the road with an 80s punk band, where he stars opposite Dakota Fanning. Jeremy is currently shooting the male lead in the independent feature, SHOTGUN.


Also joining the 2017 LESFF judges panel is Paola Mendoza. Paola Mendoza is a Co-Director of Partnerships and Artistic Director for the Women’s March on Washington. Mendoza’s documentaries (Free Like the Birds, Autumn’s Eyes, La Toma, Still Standing), her fiction work (On the Outs, Entre Nos), and her most recent films in the documentary series (Behind the Headlines, Executive Produced by America Ferrera) have continually tackled the effects of poverty on women and children. Her films have been embraced at the most prestigious festivals around the world: Toronto, Berlin, South by South West, Full Frame, Pusan, Deauville, HotDocs and Tribeca. She was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” She is also a two-time nominee for the NALIP Estel Awards, given to Latino filmmakers in the field of directing. Her latest script, A Paso de Mangles has been supported by Tribeca Film Institute, Independent Film Week and Film Independents, Fast Track. Her first novel, THE ONES WHO DON’T STAY, was published by Penguin in 2013.


Tiffany Shlain is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, founder of The Webby Awards and co-founder of 50/50 Day, an annual event with thousands of screenings and discussions around the globe exploring what it’s going to take to get to a more gender balanced world. Her films and work have received over 80 awards and distinctions including premieres at The Sundance Film Festival, a Disruptive Innovation Award from Tribeca Film Festival, inclusion in NPR’s list of best commencement speeches and The US State Department sends Tiffany and her films to represent America at embassies around the world to foster dialogue. She runs the Let it Ripple Film studio in San Francisco and is a Henry Crown Fellow of The Aspen Institute. Twitter @tiffanyshlain,



Stephen Schneider currently stars as Ben on ABC's freshman comedy "Imaginary Mary." Stephen gained a major cult following after starring in “Broad City” on Comedy Central for the last two years as well as FX's "You're The Worst." His other major credits include a series regular role on “Best Friends Ever” on NBC.

He also received critical acclaim in the movie “The Funniest Movie Ever” in which he co-wrote and starred in (previously, an Audience-Award winner at Lower East Side Film Festival).

Stephen is also an accomplished writer who has written pilots for HBO, NBC and ABC. He's also a member of the sketch comedy group The B-Squad along with Eric Ledgin, whose sketches can be seen at


Cinematographer, Sam Levy began studying filmmaking at Brown University with Leslie Thornton. At The University of Paris-Michelet, with French New Wave director Eric Rohmer, Sam Levy began his professional career as an apprentice to cinematographer Harris Savides. Sam first gained recognition as a cinematographer in his own right when he photographed Wendy and Lucy for director Kelly Reichardt. He went on to shoot three films for director Noah Baumbach: Frances Ha, Mistress America and While We’re Young. Frances Ha garnered Sam a nomination for best cinematography from the London Film Critics Circle. He has also been recognized as Filmmaker Magazine’s “Favorite Cinematographer of the Year,” and voted one of “15 cinematographers to watch” by Indiewire. Sam’s recent films include Maggie’s Plan for director Rebecca Miller and Lady Bird, the feature film debut of director Greta Gerwig. He also shot the HBO show Crashing for director Judd Apatow.


Andrew Lim is the founder and creative director of Entoptic, a company that provides visual effects and titles for feature films as well as commercial and fashion clients. 

Andrew previously worked in Miami before moving onto Box studios in New York. In 2014 Andrew went solo before setting up Entoptic in 2015.

Andrew was born in London, England which was home until moving to the states in 2008. He currently resides in Washington Heights, New York with his wife and 3 year old son, Louis.


Marc Weiss is best known as creator and Executive Producer of P.O.V., the award-winning documentary series about to launch its 30th season on PBS. 

Marc was a leader in the independent media movement for forty years as a filmmaker, journalist, organizer and an innovator in the use of the Internet to engage people on social issues -- with P.O.V. Interactive in the mid-‘90s and Web Lab in 1997.  He has co-produced or executive produced a number of feature documentaries including When Strangers Click with Robert Kenner, Gun Fight with Barbara Kopple (both for HBO) and Mark Kitchell's A Fierce Green Fire .

In recent years, Marc has shifted his focus to working full-time as a climate activist.  He works nationally as volunteer co-lead of Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign and in New York he helped organize a broad climate / jobs / justice coalition called NY Renews

lesff Jury Alumni from years past