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Competition Judges

Competition Judges

Diane Strand

Diane Strand is the majority owner of the multi-award winning JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. The Producer at JDS Actors Studio and Founder of the nonprofit 501c3 JDS Creative Academy. In addition, Diane is the Creator and Executive Producer of the show Spectrum of Innovation news and information for Riverside and Digifest Temecula.

JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. was established in May of 2003, with her partner in both life and business, Scott Strand. Their multi award winning corporate video company was built mostly on word of mouth; some of their local clients include Abbott Vascular, City of Temecula, Temecula Chamber, MSJC, Cal State San Marcos and Temecula Valley Hospital.

In January 2010, Diane started a Drama Club program with Scott, which launched in the Temecula Unified School District. There was such a huge response that they decided to create an Actors Studio for all ages to learn the technique and craft of Acting, which is now known as JDS Actors Studio. JDS Actors Studio has launch well over 100 actors into mainstream Film, Television, Commercial and Theater acting careers and provided well over 700 students in the Temecula Valley creative enrichment, self-confidence and leadership skills through acting classes.

In 2014, Diane founded and launched the nonprofit 501c3 JDS Creative Academy (JDSCA), which offers education, training & apprenticeship, programs in all disciplines of visual, performing and digital arts. JDS Creative Academy located at JDS Studios, services the entire Temecula Valley and surrounding regions with a mission to inspire, educate, and enhance achievement in video production and workforce development by providing job skills and hands-on training in the visual, performing and digital arts. JDSCA works with foster and at-risk youth, autistic young adults, developmentally disabled adults and mainstream populations both youth and adults, creating cross- collaborative enrichment, workforce training, and a creative safe environment for all. Diane founded the Digifest Temecula Event in 2017, and created and launched the web series program Spectrum of Innovation in 2018 through JDS Creative Academy.

Diane is also deeply involved with the community and the region’s economic development. Diane /JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. is a member of many business and community organizations. Diane currently is sits on two other Boards in addition to JDSCA: The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest California, as a Board Member, for Riverside County Workforce Development. Diane also serves on the Woman in Business committee for the Temecula Chamber of Commerce. Diane mentors, teaches and trains youth and young adults both mainstream and those with developmental disabilities. In addition to working with the Temecula & Murrieta Unified School districts as an advisor on professional video production and acting as a career goal. Diane is a founding member of the Women’s Business Center of California, Charter Board Member of the North San Diego Real Estate Investors and past executive board member for the EDC of North County San Diego. Diane also had an exciting career in the mainstream entertainment Industry working for Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. on show’s such as; General Hospital, Friends and Veronica’s Closet.

What keep’s Diane balanced the most is the love of her family she is a very proud parent of two wonderful boys and her beautiful girl: Joshua Daniel Strand, 19, and Jordan David Strand, 15, and Jasmine Diane Strand, 10. All three who are namesakes of JDS.


Don Smith

Since his graduation from California Institute of the Arts, Don has enjoyed a varied career producing visuals for the entertainment industry.

As a senior designer for Digital Productions and Whitney-Demos, Don helped
to create over 50 commercials for such clients as TRW, Rockwell, Mercedes
Benz and Samsung. Don also worked on a Mick Jagger music video and feature films such as Lorimar’s ‘The Last Starfighter’, MGM/UA’s ‘2010’ and Tri-Star’s ‘Labyrinth’. While at Digital Productions, the company received a Special Achievement Academy Award for its work in Special Effects and his work received numerous film festival awards and a Clio for Outstanding Commercial.

In his twenty-six year career, Don has been an animator, art director, fine artist, scenic designer and playwright. For the last sixteen years, he has also been a teacher of animation and multimedia at many Southern California colleges, before settling down as a full-time instructor and department Chair of Multimedia at Mt. San Jacinto College.


Johanna Lack

Johanna Lack is an award-winning television producer and writer who has worked on shows for HGTV, DIY, CBS, ABC, and Discovery Channel, which include House Hunters, Designed to Sell, Renovation Realities, Designers’ Challenge, Landscapers’ Challenge, Weekend Warriors, Color Correction, Designing for the Sexes, Rescue 911, and The Insider’s Garden (just to name a few).  As a freelance communications specialist, her work ranged from writing video scripts for JDS Video & Media Productions to building online course pages for a leading online education company to writing press releases that appear in local publications.  Johanna is currently the Program Manager for JDS Creative Academy's video production job training program, head writer for JDSCA's Spectrum of Innovation,  and an active member of JDSCA’s Board of Directors.

Laura Brendenson Hughes

Laura Berendsen Hughes is a graphic designer and fine artist. She has a BFA in sculpture from UNC-Chapel Hill and a demonstrated history of working in the Marketing and Design industry.  Her original Illustrations appear in digital and traditional media, and while her work as a graphic artist and illustrator has always been about communication, she has recently returned to working in fine art where the goal is original creativity.


Beverly Stephenson

Beverly Stephenson Has been involved with the local theatrical community since moving to this area in 1980. As an actor her first performance in Temecula was in 1981 in How the Other Half Loves. Since then she has appeared in many shows including Plaza Suite, Mixed Doubles, The Unvarnished Truth, Nunsense, Godspell, Jekyll & Hyde, A Chorus Line, Pride and Prejudice, Dangerous Liaisons, Curtains amongst others. She also had a stint doing dinner theatre, singing telegrams and children entertainment. Beverly has produced, directed, costumed and choreographed many regional productions including, Kiss Me Kate, Grease, Annie, The Wiz, A Chorus Line, George M, West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rumors, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, How to Succeed In Business, Nutcracker the Ballet amongst others. As a writer, she has written 2 musicals, co-written 1 and edited another. She has written 2 screenplays, a sit-com, and co-written 2 additional screen plays. She also has completed 36 children stories on common courtesies and social graces and last year had her fist book published based on the Nutcracker and a second one is ready to be published. She has a slew of other stories to create and even more costumes to design.


Catherine Snodgrass

“I am extremely fortunate to have been born and raised in New York City, the art capital of the world. Its unique kaleidoscope of culture, energy, evocative scenery, and a pulsating art scene is my infinite source of inspiration." – C. S. Snodgrass

Catherine is a local artist who was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. From an early age, her artwork quickly gained a good deal of recognition from the City of New York and included various awards from the city's cultural arts coordinator, chancellor, school board president, and superintendent. Her work was featured in many urban art exhibitions. During junior high school, her “Times Square” painting was selected to exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She was soon accepted into the High School of Art & Design and later studied at Pratt Institute in New York City. Catherine’s career path took many turns and her relevant work experience contributed to a current career as an artist, illustrator, graphic designer, and published children's book author/illustrator.


James Dylan Crowleyjames dylan crowley

...an artist from Southern California who began drawing at an early age, his skills developed to where he was doing commissions in High School.  He went on to study fine art and animation at Mt. San Antonio College,  Woodbury University, and The Animation Academy.  He has worked as a designer and animator for video games, television, and film.  He has worked Fox, Disney, Warner Bros, Cartoon Network, MTV,  Nickelodeon, and recently wrapped on Cosmos: Possible Worlds.  He loves to learn about food, wine, and cultures from all over the world.  

More information coming soon...

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