Meet the Judges

Pryde Pierce

Pryde Pierce – Filmmaker, actor, & videographer.

Pryde Pierce is an award-winning independent filmmaker, actor, and videographer. He has starred in productions of Shakespeare and worked with Fortune 500 companies, and celebrities. He has been awarded for his writing, directing, cinematography, acting, and editing; including winning a “Best Actor” award when his short film “Hemorrhage” screened at the Directors Guild of America in the 48 Film Festival. Most recently, he worked on the upcoming film Shriver starring Michael Shannon and Kate Hudson, and appeared (uncredited) in the Sundance film “Pleasure” by Ninja Thyberg. He taught Digital Filmmaking to underprivileged students for the non-profit organization LJR Arts Academy. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Full Circle Players theater company in Riverside, and is on the Advisory Board for the film program at San Bernardino Valley College.


Don Smith

Don Smith – Senior Designer

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.


Rachel Nee-Hall

Rachel Nee  - Director & Producer


Emmy nominated Director and Producer, and member of the Directors Guild of America for nearly 20 years. Rachel has directed and produced countless television shows, including Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight, The New Ricki Lake Show, The Doctors, and Iyanla; Fix My Life for The Oprah Winfrey Network.

In addition to directing, Rachel is a skilled cinematographer and editor.

In 2016, Rachel produced, shot, and edited a full-length documentary on child trafficking in Nigeria, The Boy They Called Bizarre, an official selection of the Faith and Family International Film Festival. Before that, she produced and shot The award-winning documentary short The Final Cut, shot in Senegal on abolishing female genital cutting.
Rachel also spent a decade in front of the camera as an Emmy nominated news anchor, reporter, and producer for CBS owned and operated news stations across the country.


Hayden Evans



Hayden EvansOriginally from a small town in rural Idaho, but now living the “California Dream” in Huntington Beach with his wife and too-cute-for-words son. You’ll see a lot of *retrotastic* flair of Southern California throughout his artwork!

In fact, you’re going to see a lot of different things; from creepy creatures to colorful caricatures of some of your favorite cultural characters! Whatever it is you stumble upon, you’ll find they all share a commonality of charm, kitsch, and endearing irreverence.

Click here for more of Hayden’s wonderful artwork!



Keith Hanz

Keith began teaching at Mt. San Jacinto College in 1998 in Photography, Art, and Digital Media. As AssociateKeith Hanz – Photography Judge Professor, Director, and Department Chair of MSJC Photography since 2004 and 2006 respectively, he transitioned the program from traditional to the digital paradigm. While teaching at MSJC, Keith designed and built the state-of-the-art Pixel River studio. In that purpose-built space he is able to create his photographs and paintings, and is now ready to share that space with other professionals.

Keith established the Pixel River Group (PRG), which is a constructive critique community of practice devoted to photographers honing their craft. Keith earned a BFA and MFA from the University of Illinois, has worked as a Professional studio & assignment photographer and painter since the early 1980’s, and has been active in training photography faculty through out the state of California. He has recently completed his second master’s degree (MET) in educational technology at Boise State University.


Laura Berendsen Hughes

Laura Berendsen Hughes is a graphic designer and fine artist. Laura Hughes ArtistShe 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.

Andrea Ables

Andrea Ables – Graphic Designer

Andrea Ables has 21 years of experience in advertising and marketing. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Laguna College of Art and Design (2000) and a Certificate in Interior Design from UCLA Extension (2020). She can wear the hats of both creative and marketing sides of a business but prefers living in a world of Adobe. In addition, she has a passion for branding and packaging in the healthcare and food industries. You can see her work at She is a local Orange County girl, and in her free time, she most likely is:
– Running along the trails of the Fullerton Loop
– Sailing with the Oasis Sailing club in Newport Beach
– Drawing at the School of Art studio in Santa Ana
– Enjoying pilates and yoga at home with her cockatiels (she loves birds)
– Serving on the Board as the Director of Professional Development for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Los Angeles



Cathy Stevenson

DigiFest judge Cathy StevensonBorn and raised in New York City sparked Cathy’s life-long passion for theater. After traveling extensively she moved to Southern California where she produced art shows, fashion shows and taught improv to teens and adults. She was the director of the Summer Camp plays at JDS for four years and then moved to Mexico, where she has a successful podcast about life, travels, theater, art and Baja California living.




Jamie Kimble

The artist behind the lens.Photographer Jamie Kimble

Her love of photography stems back to her childhood having a natural obsession with photographing her pets, family and friends in their natural environment. Today, her passion continues to thrive as she explores nature and natural light with her two young daughters in search of finding the perfect location for her clients. Jamie utilizes minimal posing and editing techniques to ensure your quality time together is fun while capturing those raw candid moments.


Van Phan

Van Phan Animator

Van has worked as an animator, previs artist, and designer for films and games produced by Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain, Activision, 2K, Naughty Dog ILM and Blue Sky Studios. His credits include Aqua Man, Harry Potter, Shrek2, Madagascar, Stuart Little 2, Ice Age 3, John Carter, Uncharted, How to Train Your Dragon (pilot), Oz the Great and Powerful, Thor, Alice and Wonderland, Skylanders, NBA2K17, Captain America Civil War, and various other projects including award-winning VR projects screened at the Tribeca, Cannes and Venice Film Festival.

Van’s breadth of experience in feature animation, emerging technology, real-time game engine, films, broadcast, interactive media, academia, and business has given him a unique perspective and teaching philosophy. He loves solving problems and pushing boundaries of new mediums. In addition to production work, Van enjoys teaching as it allows him to help students achieve their own “WOW” moments, and volunteers his time at various high schools and organizations in the bay area and at DSU.

His future goals are to continue to create “WOW” moments working on exciting projects that have social impact and purpose. His last VR film Upstander recently premieres at the Tribeca and Cannes Film festival 2020. Upstander recently won best 360 VR and proceeds from the distribution will be donated to charity.



Hannah Warner

As the owner and director of Temecula Music Teacher, LLC, Hannah Warren Music TeacherHannah takes on the role of creating programs, mentoring, creating music curriculum, supporting teachers, and aiding them in coming up with educational goals and tools for each student. She is a highly experienced performing pianist and teacher with 20+ years of experience performing and working with beginners to college preparatory music students and has many more years of experience accompanying and composing music.

Hannah has a Bachelors of Music, Piano Performance degree from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music where she studied under Daniel Paul Horn. At Wheaton Hannah received intense classical training, studied theory, music history and composition. In addition to piano, she has taught music theory classes, theater, vocal coaching, band and choir, and is a highly motivated and energetic mentor to both students and teachers.

She has been operating a music business in Temecula since 2001. As a transplant from Minnesota years ago, she has now adopted the fact that she loves being a California girl. Hannah and her wife Anna have four boys who are the joys of their lives. Kaden is 17, Elijah is 17 and Gabriel and Jonas are 14.


David Schreiber

David Schreiber - MFA in Film/TV David Schreiber earned his Bachelor’s in Linguistic Philosophy from The University of California – Los Angeles, where he graduated summa cum laude. Upon being graduated, David entered New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts and earned an MFA in Film/TV. David spent a number of years running motion picture story departments for several A-list filmmakers, including Mel Brooks and Spike Lee, an NYU classmate. While not developing screenplays into movies, David worked in the lighting and camera departments of numerous independent features, had several of his own screenplays produced– and eventually found a home teaching digital filmmaking to college students. After spending a number of years teaching various aspects of filmmaking, from screenwriting to directing to producing, David created and managed the film program of an arts college. While not working on his own material, David sees his calling as helping the next generation of movie-makers hone their skills and realize their cinematic dreams.


Scott C. Sickles

Scott C. Sickles – Biracial Korean American writer

SCOTT C. SICKLES (he/him) is an LGBTQ/neurodivergent/biracial Korean American writer. His plays have been performed in New York City, across the United States, and internationally in Canada, Australia, the UK, Hungary, Singapore, Indonesia, and Lebanon.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’s world premiere of Nonsense and Beauty garnered an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and was an ATCA’s Steinberg Award finalist. Other full-lengths: Marianas Trench (O’Neill Finalist; 2020 Portland Stage Little Festival of the Unexpected, 2020 Road Theatre Company Summer Playwrights Festival), Pangea (O’Neill Semifinalist), The Known Universe (Mixed Asian Media Festival), Composure (Lambda Literary Award Finalist, Next Stage Press), Intellectuals (Smith & Kraus’s New Playwrights: Best Plays of 2007), Hairdresser on Fire (Next Stage Press), and Perfecting the Kiss (Capital Fringe).

Published Short Plays include Beautiful Noises (Smith & Kraus), murmurs (Samuel French), Turtles and Bulldogs (Applause), Badger and Frame (Applause) and a Hungarian translation of The Other Half, and the anthologies, Demon Bitch Goddess and Playing on the Periphery: Monologues and Scenes for and About Queer Kids (both on Amazon).

Sickles has received five consecutive Writers Guild of America Awards for the daytime drama General Hospital, and nine Emmy nominations. Member, Dramatists Guild, New Play Exchange.


Sheila Ryle

Sheila Ryle - Digifest Judge

Experienced Conductor with a demonstrated history of working in the performing arts industry. Skilled in Choral, Improvisation, Piano, Theatre, and Performing Arts. Strong professional with a Masters in Education focused in Conducting/Directing from Occidental College.




Lisa Cabrera

Lisa Cabrera - Digifest Judge

Lisa Cabrera is a life-long, award-winning artist and picture framer with twenty-eight years of experience. She graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and was exposed to many types of art, styles, techniques, and instructors. She went to Cal State University Fullerton and received a B.F.A. in Art specializing in Illustration. While in college, Ms. Cabrera learned to customize picture frames, which has heavily influenced her work; lending her own style to her framing to accentuate her artwork.

Ms. Cabrera maintained a small art gallery and studio in the Pomona Arts Colony from 2006 to 2014 and participated regularly in the Pomona Second Saturday Art Walks. She relocated to Lake Elsinore 2014 and continues to exhibit her artwork in venues, exhibitions, and art fairs. Up until recently, she worked with STUDIO 395, an arts non-profit in Lake Elsinore. She currently freelances her artwork and framing, and takes commissions and custom orders for both.



Facebook: Lisa Cabrera Lake Elsinore

Instagram: @framegal13


Yves Andre Martin

Yves Andre Martin - Actor, Writer, Director & Producer.

Yves André Martin is an actor, writer, director, and producer. He currently works in communications for the City of Los Angeles and Bellevue College, however he has an extensive history teaching the next generation of artists.




Byron Fry

Byron Fry – Composer

Byron Fry is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, producer, studio musician and educator in the L.A. music industry. His credits span work in every genre with numerous #1-hit and grammy-winning artists and multi-platinum producers, over 2 dozen hours of footage scored for film and TV, arranging and playing on innumerable records, as well as touring through dozens of countries.

Trained in composing & arranging by Dick Grove and Sammy Nestico, he continues to get commissions to compose for orchestras and large ensembles, and produces artists in every genre on an ongoing, free-lance basis. As an educator, Byron has taught hundreds at schools and colleges as faculty, as a clinician, and as a Contract Artist for the State of California.

John Larsen
John Larsen - Producer/Director & Creative Director

With over than 30 years of professional experience, John has been a Producer/Director and Creative Director/Designer for several award winning film, video and multi-media presentations for many corporate clients such as IBM, Intel, Xerox, Motorola, Toyota, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Bell Atlantic/Verizon, and Coors Brewing Company.
Heading up his own production consortium, HEADSWEST MEDIA DESIGN, John has also designed and directed film segments for several audience interactive attractions for both Universal Studios in Hollywood and Florida as well directing and designing extraordinary shows presented at Sea World, Florida, and at Disney’s EPCOT Center.
In 2012, John was a founding member and executive director of STUDIO 395, a non-profit arts collective based out of Lake Elsinore, California. STUDIO 395 was dedicated to creating public art projects to employ and support local artists.
Currently, in “active retirement”, John is a board member of the BLUES AGAINST HUNGER SOCIETY producing live shows and promotional/social media video segments in Baja California.