Judges for the 2019 Youth Action Film Festival:
Whitney Shefte is a Peabody, Murrow and Emmy award-winning video journalist at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 2006. She has documented everything from the opioid epidemic across the United States to press access issues in Pakistan to the forgotten conflict in Western Sahara. Whitney is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication where she concentrated in photojournalism. When she isn’t working, Whitney enjoys rock climbing, kayaking, practicing yoga, exploring the outdoors and traveling. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. Follow her @whitneyshefte, at facebook.com/shefte, or at vimeo.com/channels/whitney.
Rachel Roberson is KQED’s news education manager. Before coming to KQED, she spent 14 years as a middle school reading, writing and social studies teacher leader in San Francisco, Abu Dhabi and Austin. Rachel was a journalist based in the Bay Area prior to becoming a teacher.
Chanelle Ignant is KQED’s youth media specialist. Prior to KQED, she was a BAVC Bridges Fellow and reporter for the hyper-local, youth produced newspaper, The Richmond Pulse. She has taught numerous workshops on multimedia storytelling, and is an independent media maker and musician.
Ryan Schwenn is a junior at New Tech High @ Coppell and a student in New Tech’s film program, FUZE. A veteran of the FUZE Show, Ryan has also appeared in front of and behind the camera in several award-winning shorts submitted to the Dallas International Film Festival, the Better Business Bureau North Texas Film Competition, and the World of Seven Billion Student Film Contest. Ryan Schwenn has also worked and collaborated previously with several other film programs, including the SMU Advertising Department and CHS’ KCBY program. Experienced in many different aspects of film, Ryan is very excited to be returning as a judge this year.
Kaitlyn Rigdon is a fourth-year Fuze student and has been involved in films accepted to Dallas International Film Festival and All American High School Film Festival. She has been involved in the Better Business Bureau Student Video Contest for two consecutive years and was placed in the top 6 this past year. She has helped in the creation of films ranging from 20-minute dramas to short impromptu silent films. Kaitlyn has a large passion in the film industry and looks to grow in her skills as a filmmaker by pursuing it not only in college but in the oncoming future as well.
Andrew Patterson is an award winning filmmaker, with credits as a writer, director and producer. His first film Subtle Voices: Cries from Colombia (2006) was an official selection at both the Delray Beach Film Festival and the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. His second film, Let There Be Zombies (2014) premiered to a sold out crowd of over seven hundred fans at the Lakewood Theater in Dallas. The film won the People’s Choice Award at the Interurban Film Festival and the Award of Merit at Indie Fest. Let There Be Zombies is currently available On Demand through multiple platforms such as Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Xbox Video, Playstation, and Google Play. His production company, Film Patterson LLC, is currently in post-production for their next feature film called Prepper which is scheduled to premiere this summer. Andrew also teaches AP Human Geography at Coppell High School and believes that education is the key to shaping the mind of our next generation and is excited to be a part of creating that future. Andrew is married to his wife Lara and resides in McKinney, Texas where he finds rest and comfort while reading, watching movies and playing with his dogs.
Daniel Larva is a junior at New Tech High @ Coppell and a veteran of the Fuze program. Daniel has experience in operating a camera, audio equipment, directing, and editing. He also has experience working in large teams. In the first annual YAFF competition, his group received the award for The Best Short Film for their film Vanished. Later in his Fuze career, Daniel has worked on shorts accepted to the Dallas International Film Festival and the Better Business Bureau North Texas Film Competition. He has prepared to work with SMU on their student-led commercials.
YAFF is sponsored by: