Diverse Perspectives and Expertise: Meet the Jury of IFFNY 2024


The International Film Festival of New York (IFFNY) is renowned for its celebration of cinematic excellence from around the globe. Year after year, it brings together a diverse array of voices and perspectives to honor the art of filmmaking. As we anticipate the festivities of IFFNY 2024, let’s take a closer look at the esteemed members of this year’s jury, each bringing their unique expertise and passion to the table.

Natasha Ruth – Movie Critic

Natasha Ruth’s journey in the world of film criticism is as fascinating as the movies she evaluates. Born in West Africa and later relocating to the United States, Natasha’s love for cinema transcends borders. Her academic pursuits led her to Los Angeles, where she delved deep into the intricacies of movie criticism. Since then, she has traversed the globe, offering insightful critiques at prestigious film festivals.

But Natasha’s contributions extend beyond the realm of criticism. As a dedicated educator, she imparts her knowledge of movie analysis and social media to aspiring filmmakers and enthusiasts alike. Her commitment to nurturing talent and fostering a deeper understanding of cinema reflects her profound dedication to the art form.

Olgierd Minkiewicz – Director, Musical Artist & Creator

Olgierd Minkiewicz is a director, musical artist, and creator dedicated to finding imaginative ways to tackle life’s everyday problems. He has over 10 years of experience in the real estate industry, as well as six years as the president and founder of Polymathy Inc., a company that connects and supports the artists that change the culture with their work. He carries a deep passion for the creation of music as it pertains to its lyricism, production, creative direction, storyline, and videography. “Leading Me Straight”, a short film with music written and performed by Olgierd, is a critically acclaimed piece sweeping over 20 film awards, including “Best Music Video” at the New York Short Film Festival, Lancaster International Film Festival and International Filmmaker Festival of New York.

Despite his affinity for dance, theatre, music, and other expressive collaborative outlets, his greatest mission falls under storytelling, and the innate desire to share his ideas, wisdom, and artistry with the world with the hope to inspire positive change.

Xi Ren – Filmmaker

Xi Ren is from China and lives in LA. She earned her undergraduate degree in directing and a graduate degree in screenwriting in America. She is a screenwriter and a member of the International Screenwriters’ Association. Four of her scripts have won 7 times and been nominated 10 times in many international film festivals. She serves as a jury for several film festivals.

Fisnik Halili – Cinematographer

Fisnik Halili, hailing from Skopje, North Macedonia, embarked on his professional journey as a photographer, igniting the flames of his artistic passion. With each click of the shutter, he found himself drawn deeper into the realm of visual storytelling. As his skills flourished, so did his desire to delve into the world of cinematography.

Transitioning seamlessly from photography to cinematography, Fisnik found himself immersed in the captivating realm of motion pictures. While his heart beats to the rhythm of filmmaking, he hasn’t shied away from exploring the diverse avenues of expression, having lent his expertise to numerous music videos that captivate both the eyes and the soul.

Avdi Thachi – Producer & Editor

Over the past decade, Avdi Thachi has established himself as a distinguished film editor and producer. Starting in Skopje, Macedonia, he honed his editing skills on diverse projects before founding his production company, Lumiere Films. A milestone was the short ‘Farmer’s Blues’ which he edited and co-produced, earning acclaim. He went on to edit films of various lengths and produce/edit television. His latest endeavor feature-length fiction ‘Everybody Calls Redjo’ backed by the North Macedonian Film Agency, cements his reputation. Avdi’s passion has fueled a remarkable career arc from local editor to internationally recognized producer/editor.

As the countdown to IFFNY 2024 begins, we eagerly anticipate the insights and perspectives that Natasha Ruth, Olgierd Minkiewicz, Xi Ren, Fisnik Halili, and Avdi Thachi will bring to the festival. With their collective expertise and passion for cinema, this year’s jury promises to uphold the tradition of excellence that defines the International Film Festival of New York.

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