Benh Zeitlin, Founder and Board President
Benh Zeitlin is a writer, director, composer, and founding member of Court 13. His award-winning shorts include Egg, Origins of Electricity, I Get Wet, and Glory at Sea. His work has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, Rooftop Films, and the San Francisco Film Society, and Cinereach. His first feature Beasts of the Southern Wild won 74 awards at International Film Festivals including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival, the Camera D'Or at Cannes. The film was released by Fox Searchlight and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2013 Academy Awards. Since then he has founded Court 13 Arts, and continues to develop his second feature film Wendy from his home in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jane Geisler, Board Secretary
Jane Geisler is a New Orleans-based film editor. She has edited award-winning short films, documentaries, music videos, branded content, and commercials for national broadcast. Her work in documentary features has included films on New Orleans’ dance culture, the Confederate monument controversy, and mining on indigenous lands across the globe. Jane attended the University of Mary Washington and the London Film Academy and is a member of both Women in Film and Television Louisiana and the New Orleans chapter of Film Fatales.
Susan Brennan is the 2016 Women in Film and Television Louisiana Iris Award winner. A graduate of Trinity Episcopal School, Isidore Newman School and Vanderbilt University, Susan is a lifelong resident of New Orleans.
Brennan is the owner and developer of Second Line Stages, the first LEED Gold certified, state of the art, sustainable sound stages in the United States, in addition to being a real estate developer and former board chairman of Prospect New Orleans Art Triennial. Boards include The Metropolitan Crime Commission, Prospect New Orleans, Young Life, Bureau of Governmental Research, and honorary director of the New Orleans Film Society.
Philipp founded and currently serves as the Executive Director of Cinereach, an independent film company dedicated to vital, artful filmmaking. Cinereach current not-for-profit collaborators include Sundance Institute’s Art of Nonfiction and Producing initiatives, Borscht Corp. of Miami, Indie Memphis, and Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA).
Originally from Germany, Philipp attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is currently based in New York. Phil also serves on the boards of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Cinema Conservancy, and is a Trustee of the Sundance Institute.
Josh Penn is a producer with the Department of Motion Pictures, based in New Orleans. He produced Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), for which he was nominated for Outstanding Producer at the 2013 Producers Guild Awards. He has also held producing roles on Patti Cake$ (Sundance 2017), Western (Sundance 2015 Special Jury Prize Winner), The Great Invisible (SXSW 2014 Grand Jury Prize Winner,) and Contemporary Color among other films. Josh had two projects premiere at Sundance 2018: Reinaldo Marcus Green's debut feature Monsters and Men and Sam Green's live documentary A Thousand Thoughts. Additionally, Josh has been a leading member of the Court 13 collective for over a decade. In 2018, Josh was accepted as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Jolene Pinder is a New Orleans-based documentary producer and currently serves as the Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana, a grantmaking organization designed to champion Louisiana talent in film. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society—the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival—for six years. She also teaches at Loyola University Center for Music and Fine Arts/Digital Filmmaking.
For four years prior, she worked at Arts Engine / Big Mouth Productions in NYC as a documentary film producer and Director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. She recently produced the documentary short, All Skinfolk Ain't Kinfolk (dir. Angela Tucker), which premiered at DOC NYC in November 2018. Other documentary producing credits include: (A)sexual (premiered at Frameline Film Festival), Arctic Son (broadcast on POV), Election Day (broadcast on POV), and Pushing the Elephant (broadcast on Independent Lens). She is currently producing the documentary feature Hollow Tree, a recipient of development funding from the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Fork Films, and the International Documentary Association.
Chloe Walters-Wallace manages the Firelight Media Documentary Lab, a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and access to first and second-time filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities, as well as "Groundwork" a new initiative which aims to expand the pipeline of emerging independent diverse makers from the South and the Midwest.
Previously, Chloe was Program Director of the New Orleans Film Society's Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, which establishes meaningful connections between industry leaders and Louisiana based filmmakers of color. Chloe has served on juries for NEA Media Arts, Create Louisiana, The Tricentennial Story Incubator, CAAM, Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, PBS Online Film Festival, Reel South, Cucalorus Works-In-Progress Lab & the TFI If/Then Short Documentary Program.