Meet the Judges

We are forever grateful to our patient and thoughtful judges who spend hours and hours enjoying your films and sharing their insights with us. While we would love to screen all the submissions we receive, we don’t have enough time! Judges’ comments are not available to filmmakers or the public, but know that they are some of your strongest supporters.

Our 2017 panel of judges includes:

Jill Boniske

LFF judge Jill Boniske Asheville-based Jill Boniske is one of three reviewers at Chickflix.net (recognized by Lifehacker and O, The Oprah Magazine), which offers fun, informative, easy-to-digest thoughts on movies—from a female perspective. As “Arty Chick,” Jill usually covers documentaries, foreign flicks, and indies. Her film career began when she moved into production and development, working on features ranging from cult classic The Toxic Avenger to director Sidney Lumet’s Power. An industry insider, Jill also wrote the screen adaptation of Clyde Edgerton’s Raney, has directed a documentary, served as associate producer, and shared the screen with Kevin Bacon—so, if you meet her, you’ll be 2 degrees. Her credits also include stints as a TV writer/producer for a number of series.

Marsha Gordon

LFF judge Marsha GordonDr. Marsha Gordon has taught film history, with a special focus on the Hollywood studio system, at North Carolina State University since 2002. She is the author of Hollywood Ambitions: Celebrity in the Movie Age, co-editor of Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States, and former editor of The Moving Image: The Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. Marsha has just published Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller’s War Movies with Oxford University Press. Marsha also has a monthly show, Movies on the Radio, a series of conversations about the silver screen, from the producers of NPR’s The State of Things.

Craig Lindsey

LFF judge Craig LindseyCraig Lindsey is a three-time judge for Longleaf and is an award-winning writer, blogger, and film critic for several publications including the Raleigh News & Observer, the Houston Chronicle, the Philadelphia Weekly, the Baltimore City Paper, Vibe, and the Nashville Scene. Craig knows film. And music. And pop culture. And if you’re lucky, he knows you, too.

Noel T. Manning II

LFF judge Noel T Manning IINoel Manning has been reporting entertainment news and reviewing films, music, television shows, and pop culture since 1989. He is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the North Carolina Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. He is co-founder of the Real to Reel International Film Festival in Kings Mountain (Cleveland County) and hosts two weekly radio shows focused on film while also serving as an adjunct professor of communication and new media studies at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs.

Marcianne Miller

LFF judge Marcianne MillerMarcianne Miller is a book and film critic who writes for local magazines and newspapers that include Asheville’s Mountain Xpress, Canton’s Rapid River Magazine, and, currently, Hendersonville’s Bold Life magazine. A frequent judge at film festivals such as the Asheville Film Festival and western North Carolina’s competitors in the 48 Hour Film Project, Marcianne received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from Southern Appalachian International Film Festival. In a prior life, Marcianne produced films in Los Angeles and reviewed movies for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and Los Angeles Downtown News.

Lawrence Toppman

LFF judge Lawrence Toppman Lawrence Toppman has a BA in English and history from Duke University and an MA in journalism from the University of North Carolina, so he generally gets satisfaction every basketball season. He has worked at the Charlotte News and the Charlotte Observer for a total of 37 years, covering all sorts of culture, and is an official reviewer with Rotten Tomatoes. He currently writes about theater, dance, classical music, jazz, visual arts, and whatever else a desperate editor throws at him and has sung bass in the Opera Carolina chorus for 34 seasons—which reminds him how hard artists work at their craft (and that virtually all directors are crazy).

Paolo Tosini

LFF judge Paolo Tosini Paolo Tosini was founder of the film restoration lab at the National Film Archive (Cineteca Nacional) in Mexico City and remained as the organization’s director for five years. He has also served as a consultant on film restoration and archiving for institutions in Mexico and Latin America, including the Dominican Republic and Bogotá, Colombia, as well as Europe. He is currently in charge of the Collegium for the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Pordenone, Italy.