Film Contest Information

Awards Presented

The Awards will be presented at The Campus Theatre on Saturday, April 13, 7:00PM. 

Best Feature Documentary Presented by Panavision
This award is presented to the most engaging and relevant feature-length documentary. It must be technically and creatively well-rounded. The filmmaker will receive a $15,000 rental credit with Panavision.

Best Short Documentary Presented by Panavision
This award is presented to the most engaging and relevant short documentary. It must be technically and creatively well-rounded. The filmmaker will receive a $5,000 credit with Panavision.

Global Awareness Award Presented by Panavision
This award is presented to the Best International Feature Documentary that expands awareness of social and cultural issues beyond our borders. The award is chosen by a jury using the same artistic criteria as the Best Documentary Awards. The filmmaker will receive a $5,000 credit with Panavision.

Emerging Documentarian Award Presented by Panavision
This award recognizes exceptional talent exhibited by one artist in feature documentary filmmaking. The award is chosen by a jury using the same artistic criteria as the Best Documentary Awards. The filmmaker will receive a $5,000 credit with Panavision.

Best Denton Documentary
This award is presented to the film that best represents the people and places of Denton County. The filmmaker will receive a prize valued at $500.

Best Student Documentary
This award is given to the best short documentary film by a university student. The filmmaker will receive a prize valued at $500.

The Orr Award
To celebrate Kathy Orr’s legacy, Thin Line has dedicated an award named after her. The Orr Award honors the artistic excellence and significant contribution of women in documentary feature films, along with the social and cultural impact of their work.

Other Jury Awards to be presented at the Award Ceremony


Best Feature Documentary
This Mountain Life: Grant Baldwin (Canada)

Best Short Documentary
There is Something in the Water: Rory WT (England)

Global Awareness Award
Bellingcat - Truth in a Post-Truth World: Hans Pool (Netherlands)

Emerging Documentarian Awards
Chelsea Hernandez for "Building the American Dream": Chelsea Hernandez (Texas)

Best Denton Documentary
Mack Minded: TWU

Best Student Documentary
At Arm's Length: Dana Reilly (Rhode Island)

The Orr Award
Emelie Mahdavian (New York City) 


Suzanne Dooley is a long time veteran of the film and television industries. She started as a child actor and moved into production, as a P.A. Production Coordinator, Production Manager, and Producer She has worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC and PBS, amongst others. She is a Past President of Women in Film/Dallas, creating the Grants and Scholarship program to help promote the role of women in the industry.

Summre Garber is a producer and programmer of films. Besides producing four short films and directing one about a podcast that helps put people to sleep, she is also the co-host of her own podcast called Fog of Truth about documentary cinema. Summre was the Director of Operations at Slamdance for four years until 2013 when she became the Co-Captain of the Documentary Programming Committee and has maintained that role ever since.

Kerol Harrod is a children’s librarian for the Denton Public Library. He wrote and created the award-winning local television show Library Larry’s Big Day, and his songs, commercials, and other writings have won numerous statewide and national awards. Kerol enjoys collaborating with other artists and believes that the creative process is a vital component of education.

Anita Sugimura Holsapple is an award-winning Japanese- American filmmaker. Her personally inspired documentary, “Battlefield: Home - Breaking The Silence” had its Texas premiere at Thin Line last year and was later awarded the 2018 SAMHSA Voice Award for Best Documentary for addressing the issues of PTSD. Anita is an active member of NYWiFT and serves on their Documentary Committee; she is also a member of International Documentary Association (IDA), the Alliance of Women Directors and Film Independent.

Andrew Jacobson has always held a deep interest in storytelling via any medium but has favored film due to its enhanced ability to communicate ideas through multiple senses. At Texas A&M University, he chose to pursue a more technical film education by studying computer animation/visualization with a specialization in film, providing him the knowledge to craft stories in a digital landscape. Currently, Andrew works at the IMG Studio in San Antonio, Texas, where he has leveraged his technical experience to explore filmmaking in a 360-degree, virtual reality environment to further immerse viewers.

Melinda Levin is a documentary filmmaker and a Professor in UNT’s Department of Media Arts. Working primarily in the documentary mode, Levin has produced, directed, edited and shot documentaries in the U.S. and abroad, including North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Her works have screened on PBS and broadcast outlets worldwide, and at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The San Francisco Art Museum, The Society for Applied Anthropology, The American Anthropology Association, and The Society for Cinema and Media Studies, as well as several U.S. Embassies, theatres and broadcast outlets worldwide.

Sashenka Lopez was born and raised in Denton, TX and is currently volunteering as Program Manager at KUZU, teaching at a DISD International Baccalaureate Title-1 school, serving as the Denton Public Library Board President, and performing noise inspired Mexican-folk ballads as BAKA. Sashenka enjoys documentary films that shed light on history, expand the mind, and elevate social thinking.

Lindsey Maestri is the Executive Director for the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in Lubbock (LHUCA), where she also serves on the Flatland Film Festival committee. She holds a BFA from the University of Arkansas, a Post Baccalaureate from the University of South Florida, and an MFA from Louisiana State University. Other administrative positions she has held include Executive Director of the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky and Exhibitions and Programs Manager for Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft.

Andrew J. Nelson currently works in the Physical and Post Production departments for A+E Studios in Los Angeles. A 2013 MFA graduate of UNT’s Department of Media Arts, he’s a fan of documentaries that focus on social justice, youth and identity.

Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker and longtime educator, currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Film and Moving Image at Stevenson University. A member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and a Rotten Tomatoesapproved film critic, he is lead film critic at Hammer to Nail, film critic at Film Festival Today, host of Dragon Digital Media’s award-winning Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed, a regular film commentator for the Roughly Speaking at The Baltimore Sun, and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice. In addition, he is one of three co-creators of The Fog of Truth, a podcast devoted to documentary cinema.

Jill Snider has worked in the Entertainment industry for over 20 years and is an alumnus of the University of North Texas. She currently works at Starz Entertainment in Program Acquisitions for STARZ, Encore and StarzPlay. Jill has a deep affection for documentaries and loves that her job involves watching them.

Bart Weiss is an award-winning filmmaker, educator and director/founder of the Dallas VideoFest. He produces “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV and is a producer and host of the podcast the Fog of Truth. Bart is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington where he teachers film and video. He was President and Chair of AIVF and was a video columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and United Features Syndicate. He currently writes for Student Filmmaker and Bart received an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University.

John Williams has deep Denton roots. He attended Billy Ryan High School, serves on the UNT Alumni Association’s Denton County Alumni Chapter Steering Committee and was a 2018 Serve Denton honoree as Business Partner of the Month. Williams is the principal owner of two popular bars near the Denton Square where artists are always welcome: East Side Denton and Oak St. Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor.