Meet the judges

Michael Kaplan

Michael Kaplan is a Visiting Lecturer teaching Film and Television Criticism, Theory and Production in the Department of Theatre at The Ohio State University. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Film/Video Production and Studies from Syracuse University in 1989 and a Bachelor’s of Science in Film and Photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1984.

Besides an academic career that spans more than two decades, Kaplan was the Manager of Post-Production and Staff Editor at Wendy’s International for ten years. Besides teaching, Kaplan, along with his wife, Jesse Chandler, perform Jazz and Swing Standards with their duo, The Velvet Sirens. The musical duo plays regularly at the local, regional, and national level and is presently working on their third CD.


Paige Piper

Paige Piper is a Lecturer in the Program in Film Studies and the Department of French and Italian at The Ohio State University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2016. Her most recent article on the Nordic Noir trend in Francophone visual cultures appeared in the 2018 spring issue of Contemporary French Civilization, and she served as Associate Guest Editor for a special issue of Film Matters Magazine in 2015. Paige‘s current research examines the cultural borders and aesthetics of transnational social thrillers. She is an avid cinephile and photographer, a member of the Midwest Working Group in French and Francophone Cinemas, and a screening panel member of the Austin Film Festival.



Andrew Rose

Andy Rose teaches screenwriting for the Film Studies program at Ohio State University. He has written and/or produced over two dozen projects for almost every major Hollywood studio and network. A WGA member, he has also written numerous articles for MovieMaker magazine and had his first book, The Aspiring Screenwriter’s Dirty Lowdown Guide to Fame and Fortune, published this year.





Matthew Swift

“Matt Swift has been the academic advisor, program coordinator, and internship supervisor for The Ohio State University Film Studies Program since 2009. He serves as the production lead for The Journal of Short Film; a freelance multimedia, information technology, and audio/visual – film/video consultant for Nicolettecinemagraphics; co-founder of the Columbus Moving Image Art Review – a free quarterly local film showcase since 2009; and is a practicing media exhibition artist, filmmaker, writer, and educator.




Lauren Ubbing

Lauren Ubbing is the proud former president of Mad Royal Film Society! She studied film and English (focuses in screenwriting and poetry) at the Ohio State University and graduated in December 2017. Currently, she is a barista at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, on staff at the Columbus Museum of Art, and applying to MFA programs for poetry. Movies have hugely impacted her identity as a writer and human being; some of her favorites (in no particular order) are: Heavenly Creatures, Frances Ha, The Conversation, Lost in Translation, Swiss Army Man, and The Silence of the Lambs.