Preliminary Judge Biographies

Click here to see which categories each judge will be assigned to.

Jeff Hogan

Jeff Hogan has been filming wildlife behavioral sequences for over twenty years. Jeff’s clients include National Geographic, BBC, ZDF Germany, ABC Kane and many others. He has won several awards for his work including an Emmy Nomination for cinematography.  A naturalist at heart, Jeff’s passion for wilderness fieldcraft combined with his discipline with still photography allows him to produce unique, arrestingly beautiful behavioral films.

 Shane Moore

Shane Moore, a Jackson Hole based film maker, has been a freelance cinematographer and producer of natural history films for more than twenty years.  His work has appeared on PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and BBC.  His films have won numerous awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival including “Best Cinematography.”

 Ivo Filatsch

Born January 6th, 1965 in Graz/Austria, Ivo Filatsch joined the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) in 1992 as editor and producer for ORF´s science TV magazines, news and current affairs docs. From 1993 on he produced German versions of international documentaries for ORF´s prime time natural history strand UNIVERSUM. In 2006 Ivo changed over to the UNIVERSUM team as executive producer; he was script writer and executive producer for UNIVERSUM productions like the films celebrating UNIVERSUM´s 20th anniversary in 2007, for Let it Snow! or From Freezer To Furnace; Ivo also publishes articles in Austria’s leading magazine for science and natural history.

 Laura Metzger

Based in Manhattan, Laura Metzger is a Senior Producer with PBS series NATURE. Prior to joining the Nature team in 2006 and delving into the world of nature documentaries, Laura spent 7 years as the producer and on-air reporter for BBC’s entertainment news program Talking Movies which aired on BBC1, BBC World and BBC America cable channels.  In addition, she has been a freelance producer for CNN and Associated Press Television News. Laura’s television career began in NYC working for the independent production company Broadcast News Networks. Laura holds a Masters of Arts degree in Journalism from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Princeton University.

Shera Jenne

Shera started out in the film industry in Atlanta Georgia, where she freelanced on various projects such as national commercials, feature films, soap operas and industrials before joining Animal Planet as an associate producer in 1999. After leaving Animal Planet she worked on several productions, including programs for Discovery Channel and the History Channel. In 2004 she was based at NHNZ in Dunedin New Zealand where she directed episodes of the Most Extreme, NHNZ’s long-running Animal Planet co-production. Before re-joining the company as the North American marketing representative in 2006, Shera was involved in New Media production for Discovery Communications.

Mikio Kuroda

At 37 years old, Mikio has been working at NHK for 10 years.  He has been working in the nature documentary section for 4 years.  His programs focus on animals such as the Komodo dragon, Gray whale, Kermode bear, and Tarsius.

 Erin Wanner

Executive Producer

Erin Wanner has been developing and producing Emmy-nominated and award-winning television for 15 years.  She joined Animal Planet Media as an executive producer in February 2006 and, in that time, she has taken on over 200 hours of current and future production, including ratings powerhouse Untamed & Uncut and the critically acclaimed Living with the Wolfman and Dark Days in Monkey City. Prior to joining Animal Planet, Erin was an executive producer at Discovery Kids Channel for six years.  In that time she produced over 300 episodes of programming for both the pre-school and 6-11 audiences, including the series Endurance, Future is Wild, Grossology, Strange Days at Blake Holsey High, Wilbur and Paz. Her work at Discovery Kids earned nine Emmy nominations, ten Parent’s Choice awards, two Kids First! Awards, a Humanitas Certificate, and a Prix Jeunesse International Award. Before joining Discovery Kids, Erin worked in program development and production for the Emmy-winning children’s television production company, Lancit Media Entertainment.  As Vice President of Development at Lancit, she developed and produced the successful series Saddle Club, currently airing on the Discovery Kids Channel, and The Zach Files which aired for 3 years on Fox Family Channel. Erin is also singer, mountain climber and the proud mother of three-year-old Alexandra.

 Arlene Burns

Arlene Burns’ deep love of wild places has fueled a lifetime of extensive global travel. Immersed in photography and documentary filmmaking with projects throughout North America, as well as Siberia, Tajikistan, Japan, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Mongolia and Asia, she has worked both behind and on camera, as well as producing, directing, locations/logistics, writing and narrating, for programs and/or series airing on NBC, PBS, ESPN, OLN, ASCN, NHK and National Geographic Channels. She also worked for Universal Studios on the feature film The River Wild as technical advisor for production, and role model/trainer/coach/stunt double for Meryl Streep. Most recently, she was Festival Director for Telluride’s Mountainfilm Festival.

Adrienne Bramhall

Executive Producer, Sierra Club Productions

Bramhall heads Sierra Club Productions (SCP) and serves as executive producer on all SCP programs. Sierra Club Productions produces and co-produces and co-markets online content, TV and film projects — with the goal to connect films with grassroots outreach campaigns. The division most recently produced a half hour film on Sierra Club’s Military Families Outdoors program which takes children from military families for a week of outdoor camp.  Other productions include the Sierra Club Chronicles series co-produced with Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films and the Emmy Award winning Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film co-produced with Ric Burns and Steeplechase Films. Bramhall joined SCP in 1999, the year of its inception, and previously worked at CNN and Turner Broadcasting’s documentary division.

Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray joined the BBC’s world renowned Natural History Unit in 1993 to cut his teeth on the children’s television series The Really Wild Show.  He has since worked across practically all the  varied output that the unit has to offer on co-productions with WNET, National  Geographic and Animal Planet and has produced award winning programs for many of the BBC ‘s landmark series including Wild Africa, Life in the undergrowth, Galapagos and most recently Yellowstone.  He has a passion for wilderness, music and sustainable living.

 Sandy Ostertag

Producer, Director, Writer, Editor – West Films, Inc. and Long View Media, Inc., Jackson, WY.

Sandy Ostertag has produced film and video programming for a variety of clients including Thirteen/WNET’s NATURE series The Panda Baby, John Denver, Let This Be a Voice, TBS Cousteau’s Rediscovery of the World, and Discovery/BBC America’s Wildernes. She produced and directed the award winning 20 part series, The Photographic Vision, featuring Ansel Adams; was a segment director for the Late Show with David Letterman; and was senior producer for the series, The Eisenhower Era, for Disney Educational Productions.  Currently, she is co-producing a feature documentary investigating the effect of energy development on wildlife and wilderness in western Wyoming. Sandy is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America. She has a MFA in Film &Television from Carnegie-Mellon University and a BS in Still Photography & Film from Southern Illinois University.

Katie Bauer

Katie has been on staff at National Geographic Television’s Natural History Unit (NHU) for five years. As a Coordinating Producer, she is currently developing and field producing stories for the NHU’s latest series. Previous to this, she has helped to produce several natural history films, including Gabon: Eden on the Edge, Valley of the Wolves, and Patagonia: Eden at the End of the World. She was an associate producer on the National Geographic feature film Arctic Tale. Katie grew up with a deep interest in wildlife and conservation, leading her to join the NHU upon graduation from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She now lives and works in Washington, DC.

Jeff Merritt

For nearly four decades Jeff Merritt has been intimately involved in television and film production and post production including more than nine years of product development and marketing for Panasonic bringing the epitome of high definition professional products to market including the D5-HD VTR as well as the DVCPRO HD equipment that is ubiquitous for production today. Having worked with film and video acquisition during more than 26 years with US Air Force Combat Camera he documented the military war efforts during the Viet Nam conflict and the first gulf war in Kuwait and Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Jeff became proficient with the transition to digital cinematography and is a recognized authority on the basics of HD production and has consulted with such entities as National Geographic, WGBH, Discovery Networks, the BBC and Apple Computer, as well as teaching seminars on the use of HD products for many companies that utilize high-end equipment.  As an editor by trade, he has worked in staff positions for such companies as The Walt Disney Company (Senior Editor), FOX Television Network (Senior Editor), NBC, ABC, and later as Director of Post Production at E! Entertainment as well as VP of Operations and Engineering at Channel One Network. He has produced documentaries for home video encompassing nature and technology. Jeff is a technologist by experience and serves on the board of directors of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, The Hollywood Post Production Alliance (HPA), as well as membership in The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). 

Stella Cha

Stella is the Director of Film and Video at The Nature Conservancy.  She began her career in film at National Geographic Television in 1992 as a production coordinator for the Explorer series. Since then she has produced and written many programs for National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Specials. For more than eight years she worked in the award-winning Natural History Unit at NGT, focusing on films with strong conservation messages.  Stella has been with The Nature Conservancy since 2006.

Chris Bezamat

Chris Bezamat is a professional photographer who specializes in action sports, fine art, portraiture, and fashion photography. He has photographed celebrities while a photo assistant for Saturday Night Live and has been contracted for numerous advertising shoots including BR Guest Restaurants, Decente/DNA, Halston Formal Wear, KEP Designs, and Cris Cashmere. His work has been published in magazines such as National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, FHM Magazine, Outside Magazine, Food & Wine, Skiing Magazine, Powder Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding, Fluid Magazine (France), Taste Magazine (Holland), and Fri Flyt Magazine (Norway). He is a photographer for Teton Gravity Research and co-owner of Mountain Locations, a location scouting company based in Jackson, Wyoming. Chris received his Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Parsons School of Design in New York City. Prior to Parsons, Chris attended the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.

Bill Grant

William R. Grant is director of Science, Natural History and Features programs at WNET in New York, the flagship of the US public television system. He joined WNET in 1995 after 12 years at WGBH in Boston, where he was managing editor of Frontline, and then, for 10 years, executive editor of Nova. At WNET he is in charge of one of public television’s largest documentary production department which brings to national broadcast an average of 60 hours of programs a year, including the continuing series Nature and Secrets of the Dead. Prior to joining WGBH in 1983, he was a reporter and editor at two of the nation’s largest daily newspapers ­­­­­­—- the Detroit Free Press and the San Francisco Chronicle, where his work won numerous awards. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2005 was named to the University of Kentucky’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.


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