Judging Panel: Judi Levine & Ben Lewin

Judi Levine’s extensive producing career in feature films, television mini-series and documentaries has taken her from Australia to England, France and Los Angeles. She has been associated with award-winning film projects since her first short feature PLEAD GUILTY, GET A BOND which won an AFI award for Best Screenplay in a Short Film.

Levine produced the award-winning feature film THE SESSIONS starring Oscar-winner Helen Hunt, and Oscar nominees John Hawkes and William H. Macy. The film is about Mark O’Brien who was paralyzed by polio and confined to an iron lung, and the life-changing relationship he had with a sex surrogate. THE SESSIONS won numerous international awards including Audience Awards at the 2012 Sundance, San Sebastian and Mill Valley Film Festivals, and a 2012 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast. In 2013, THE SESSIONS garnered two Independent Spirit Awards for Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Actress, as well as two Golden Globe nominations and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Levine is currently co-producing THE CATCHER WAS A SPY, a WWII drama about a baseball pro-turned secret agent tasked with assassinating German physicist Werner Heisenberg. The stellar cast includes Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong and Sienna Miller.

In addition to developing numerous projects at her company Such Much Films, Levine has presented at various forums and conferences on independent production. Building on her experiences working and living in Los Angeles, Levine developed and tours with the seminars JUMP START TO HOLLYWOOD, aimed at helping aspiring artists find an easier path to establishing themselves in Hollywood.


Ben Lewin – writer/director

Ben Lewin's career has encompassed award-winning documentaries, feature films, TV movies, mini-series and episodic programs. Lewin wrote and directed THE SESSIONS, a film about Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes) who was paralyzed by polio and confined to an iron lung, and who had a life-changing relationship with a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt). The film won numerous international awards including Audience Awards at the 2012 Sundance, San Sebastian and Mill Valley Film Festivals, as well as a 2012 Sundance Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Cast. In 2013, the lead cast of THE SESSIONS garnered Independent Spirit Awards for Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Actress, as well as Golden Globe nominations in the same categories and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In 2016, Lewin completed filming PLEASE STAND BY about an autistic girl on a road trip. Starring Dakota Fanning and Toni Colette, the film is due for release in 2018.

Past notable works that Lewin has written and directed include GEORGIA, starring Judy Davis, which received eight AFI nominations; the multi-award winning series THE DUNERA BOYS starring Bob Hoskins; PAPERBACK ROMANCE starring Anthony LaPaglia and Gia Carides; and THE FAVOUR, THE WATCH AND THE VERY BIG FISH starring Bob Hoskins, Jeff Goldblum and Natasha Richardson. In addition to creating the renowned series RAFFERTY’S RULES, Lewin’s television work includes directing on ALLY McBEAL, SEA CHANGE and the acclaimed new ABC series SPEECHLESS about a family and their son who has Cerebral Palsy.

Lewin recently completed filming on THE CATCHER WAS A SPY, a WWII drama attracting attention for both its unusual story and stellar cast. The story of a baseball pro-turned espionage agent stars Paul Rudd alongside Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Guy Pearce, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Strong and Sienna Miller. Lewin is currently in development on a number of feature projects with his wife, producer Judi Levine.

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