LALIFF Short Film Jury Awards

LALIFF 2021 will award a jury prize to the Best Animated Short Film, Best Live Action Short Film, and Best Direction of a Live Action Short Film.

Best Live Action Short Film and Best Direction of a Live Action Short Film

A jury of three judges will select the Best Live Action Short Film and the Best Direction of a Live Action Short Film. The awardees will receive finishing services and DCP creation by Fotokem.

Meet our fantastic Jury:


Jackie Cruz is best known for starring on all seven seasons as fan favorite "Marisol 'Flaca' Gonzales" on the hugely popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Jackie was named one of the "Top Latino Powerhouses in Hollywood" by The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to acting, Jackie is an accomplished singer/songwriter. She also has a loyal fan base, with more than 1.6 million followers on social media. Jackie can currently be seen in the feature films Tremors: Shrieker Island on Netflix and opposite Lucy Hale in A Nice Girl Like You, streaming now. She will next be seen in the feature films Faraway Eyes, opposite Christina Ricci, Lansky, opposite Harvey Keitel, and Midnight In The Switchgrass, opposite Bruce Willis. On TV, she can most recently be seen on Good Girls for NBC.

Edson Jean

Edson Jean is a Haitian-American actor, writer and director and IFP/Gotham Narrative Labs alum. His debut feature film Ludi premiered at SXSW(2021). He most recently was nominated for a Streamy and Mipcom award for directing all eight (23 minute) episodes of his dramedy, Grown, for Complex Networks. Prior to that, he wrote, directed, and starred in “The Adventures of Edson Jean” (2013), which aired on HBO/HBOGO. As an actor he was most recently seen in Moonlight, War Dogs, HBO's Ballers and Bloodline (Netflix).

Amanda Trokan

Amanda Trokan is Director, Content Acquisition at WarnerMedia where she acquires films for HBO and HBO Max. Previously, she was Director of Content for the crowdfunding and streaming start-up Seed&Spark, and gained experience in development, writing, and film festivals from roles with Film at Lincoln Center, HBO Original Programming, Tribeca and indie producers. She holds an MBA in Media & Entertainment and resides in New York City.


Best Animated Short Film

The profile of LXiA's Animated Shorts Program filmmakers is diverse, representing Latinx creatives from the US, Mexico, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, and the UK. Many of these filmmakers are independent animators and artists, and their short films have screened at important film festivals such as Annecy, GLAS, SXSW, Sundance, and more. All the films in our Animated Shorts Program Presented by Cartoon Cartoons are competing for this award

A jury of three judges will select the Best Animated Short Film to receive (1) Storyboard PRO license presented by Toon Boom. The license will be awarded to the Director of the short film and will be valid for one year upon activation.

Meet our fantastic Jury:


Director, writer, and storyboard artist best known for his work on Cartoon Network’s BAFTA award-winning series "We Bare Bears", Hernandez is currently the executive producer of the upcoming spinoff of the same title. In 2018, he was nominated for an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Storyboarding in a Television Broadcast Production. Beginning as a caricature artist, he attended the California Institute of the Arts and later landed a job as a feature storyboard artist at Pixar Animation Studios. Hernandez has been credited on several feature films, including the Academy Award-winning Inside Out, Monsters University and Coco.

Carlos Zaragoza

Carlos Zaragoza is the production designer for Sony Pictures Animation’s original animated musical Vivo, which features brand new songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative force behind the Broadway smash Hamilton. Zaragoza’s wide experience includes art directing for over 17 years in feature live action, animation, musical theater, commercials, and TV drama and shows. His designing credits include Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro, which won the Oscar and Satellite Awards for Best Production Design. His work on Pan’s Labyrinth also earned Zaragoza the Art Director’s Guild Excellence in Production Design Award. Zaragoza’s animated design work includes The Tale of Despereaux, Gnomeo & Juliet, Madagascar, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and The Emoji Movie.


Writer/Producer/Director, Doreen Spicer-Dannelly is best known for developing and serving as Supervisor Director on Disney Channel’s critically acclaimed animated series "The Proud Family". The series was nominated for an Image Award and won the BET Comedy Award in a Children’s Program in 2003. To date, Doreen Spicer-Dannelly is the first credited woman of color to develop and produce an animated series for the Disney brand. Currently, Spicer is the Showrunner and Executive Producer for the animated series, "Onyx Monster Mysteries", for Amazon Kids+ and "Pocket.Watch". Spicer’s debut middle-grade novel, Love Double Dutch, was released in 2018 from Penguin Random House Publishing.