IFFNY Announces Juries, Awards Night Host


The International Filmmaker Festival of New York will gather a diverse influential and creative voices across film, art, culture, to award 10 prizes in feature films, short films, documentary films, animation and music videos. The awards ceremony announcing the winners will be held on May 21, 2019 at Dolby Laboratory Theater in Manhattan.

Hosting the Opening and Awards ceremony is the internationally known artist and filmmaker Dr. Amina Zhaman. She has written, directed and starred in her own films, winning several accolades. Dr. Zhaman also serves as the Festival Art Director for IFFNY’s 8th edition. The awards will recognize the most finely produced films and screenplays. IFFNY celebrates important world cinema and independent films. It provides a forum for talented filmmakers to be recognized for their work, creativity, and achievements.

The jury is comprised of five extraordinary members including: Jon Russell Cring (Jury President), Ibër Deari (Festival Selector), Maja WampuszycMiranda Jean Larson, and  Carlos Freire. Organized by Woman of the Year Mrika Krasniqi of Nil Production, IFFNY promises to host amazing headliners and films.

IFFNY will take place from May 17-21, 2019 in New York hosted by Dr. Amina Zhaman and Dr. Ermira Babamusta. To view the full program and purchase tickets please visit www.iffny.com.


Jon Russell Cring (Writer, Director, Producer) – President of the Jury

Jon Russell Cring is an Award Winning Director of over sixteen feature films, twenty short films, and three television series.  Born in Columbus, Ohio in 1971 to creative powerhouse parents, Jon grew up around the arts. Traveling and performing with his family, presenting music and drama on stages criss-crossing the USA. His interest in film, besides rabid fandom, began when he met his future wife and muse Tracy Nichole. Writing a variety show together, STREETWALKING, Tracy started editing and contributing her own unique and sometimes demented ideas.

An unstoppable team was born. After purchasing one of the earliest Digital Video Cameras (Sony TRV 950,) Jon and Tracy spent a resident time in the wilderness of Indy Horror Filmmaking with a collaborator before making their first short film, HANK’S PLACE, which was immediately accepted into regional film fests (Southern Appalachian Film Fest 2006). After completing a string of fifteen experimental short films, Jon decided to do the same with feature-length films and the idea for the ExtraOrdinary Film Project was born.

Ibër Deari (Director, Producer, Writer) – IFFNY Festival Selector

Director, writer, producer, DOP Ibër Deari is born in 1990, in Macedonia. He is a talented director and writer, known for his award-winning movies: My City Screams (2015), Toka (2016), A long way Home (2017). Filming is his biggest passion and he has been making films since high school. He has also written and directed a number of short fictional and documentary videos. Ibër Deari studied Film School at the University of Audiovisual Arts “ESRA” in Skopje. He graduated in 2013 with the film “Last Confession”. Deari earned his Master of Arts in the Department of Film Direction with the film “Toka” (Land) and thesis “To Film or Not to Film”. 

Ibër Deari is the winner of numerous prestigious international awards, including: Best Artist in Macedonia from Milingona e Artë; Best Film for “Between Paradise and Hell” from Gässli Film Festival in Basel, Switzerland; the Audience Award for Best Film for “Last Confession” at New York Albanian Film Week in Manhattan; Best Director and Best Film for “My City Screams” at the Nine Eleven Festival in Prishtina, Kosovo; Best Short Film and Best Director for “Land” and Best Director for “A Long Way Home” at the International Filmmaker Festival of New York in Manhattan.

Maja Wampuszyc (Actor, Director)

Maja Wampuszyc is known for: The Immigrant by James Gray (Cannes and New York Film Festival 2013) opposite Oscar Winner Marion Cotillard. Produced by Oscar Winners Anthony Katagus (Twelve Years a Slave) & Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker); Mrs. Zygmund on The Knick, directed by Oscar Winner Steven Soderbergh; Magda Nagy on Madam Secretary directed by Robert Greenlea. 

Most recently she produced the award-winning documentary Where are we now? The Italian American Today by Richard Vetere. Her film works include Mona Lisa Smile by Mike Newell and Shopping by Henry Jaglom. As a director, she is a Member of the Playwright Directors Workshop at The Actors Studio developing two plays by Richard Vetere Aleppo and Zagłada. Member of Third Wing Media Ensemble currently in rehearsals for the Genius Project in the role of Ayn Rand. Maja Wampuszyc is represented by Bret Adams Artists Ltd.

Miranda Jean Larson (Actor, Producer)

Miranda Jean Larson is an Actor, Writer, and Producer living in NYC. As an actress she has performed in several theatrical productions around the city, her favorites having been by Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde or anything wonderfully weird.  She has also acted in several short films which includes her first professional writing, directing, and producing credit: “Innocence” which won several awards at film festivals including Best Short Film (IFFNY 2018) and Best Indie Film (Top Shorts: March 2018). Miranda is currently producing a new short film with writer Veneta Callpani called “Inward” which is in script development.  She is also hard at work writing her first feature film which she hopes to bring to life in 2020. She is so excited to be back with IFFNY this year as a juror!

Carlos Freire (Director, Producer)

Carlos Freire is an Ecuadorian-born award-winning documentary filmmaker. Carlos graduated with an AA degree in Media Studies, a BA degree in Film Production and a MFA in Media Communication Arts focused in Documentary Production. As a communicator, Carlos has produced media for more than fifteen years. He is known for producing Terraza 7 and My Dream At The Other Side and Qween Amor. Carlos was given recognition from the President of the Borough of the Bronx for his commitment to the art community of New York City.

As an international content creator Carlos covered the visits of the president of Ecuador to China and Saudi Arabia. In these trips he had the opportunity to work closely with presidents of other countries as well. This work was aired in Ecuadorian news channels and presented as documentaries. He also produced two television shows, Business in Queens hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce at Queens Public Television (QPTV), and Guerrilla Mosh TV, a rock music television show aired in Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN).

Dr. Amina Zhaman (Writer, Director, Actress)

Amina Zhaman is a NY-based Circassian filmmaker, musician, theatre director, critic and scientist. Winner of Golden Apricot 2013 (Armenia, “Contribution in a Debut Film” Award), Loutraki International Film Festival 2013 (Greece, “Brightest Debut”), International Rights Film Festival “STEPS” 2013 (Ukraine, “Best Script”, “Best Actress”, “Best Music Video Against War”), Albanian Film Week International Festival in New York 2013 (USA, “Audience Award for Best Feature Film” – “Right to Love”), International Festival of Circassian Culture 2014 and 2016 (Russia), International Film & TV Festival Slavic Fairy Tale 2016 (Bulgaria, “Best Short Film”).

Screenwriter of an internationally acclaimed hit feature “Right to Love” (dir. by Paul Kurti, USA, 2012). Amina Zhaman directed and starred in the first ever screen versions of American classical plays “Before Breakfast” (USA, 2014) and “The Movie Man” (USA, 2016) written by Eugene O’Neill.

In 2017 Zhaman premiered her debut stage production “7 Days. 7 Nights”. Currently she is working on her second theatre show and gives master-classes on filmmaking, film management, American drama, journalism in entertainment industry and importance of English language in international career at the best academies around the world.


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