With the exception of our Audience Favourite Award, winners of the Sunderland Shorts 2018 honours will be picked by our volunteer panel of key regional industry figures.

Maria Caruana Galizia

Producer and Managing Director, Candle & Bell

Maria is an award-winning producer based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She studied at the New York Film Academy and the SAE Institute in Glasgow before beginning her career as an assistant editor for Scottish Television, working on the channel’s longest running series, “Taggart”. She then went on to work freelance on productions including ‘Agora’, ‘Moby Dick’, ‘Game of Thrones’, and ‘Sinbad’.

In 2013 she founded Candle & Bell Limited, a production company dedicated to working with filmmakers from the North East to create powerful and original cinematic works. Through Candle & Bell, Maria has produced a number of award winning short films and currently has a slate of feature films in development. In 2017, Candle & Bell was named in “Creative England 50” a list identifying the 50 best emerging creative companies in England.

Iain Rowan

Writer, Director Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing

Iain is a published novelist and short story author, founder of Sunderland’s Holmeside Writers, and founder and Director of the Sunderland Festival of Creative Writing.

Jonny Tull

Audience Strategy, Film Programming, and Distribution Consultant

Jonny Tull is a freelance film consultant based in the north east. Formerly marketing lead and programmer for the Tyneside Cinema, Jonny’s now providing freelance support for film productions, exhibitors and distribution projects worldwide.

Saad Eddine Said

Artistic Director at Battersea Arts Centre

Saad Eddine Said is a Documentary Filmmaker. He also works as an Artistic Director at the Battersea Arts Centre. He is passionate about how art impacts our society and has been working internationally to promote intercultural dialogue through creative approaches.

Beverley Banks

Sunderland Shorts Festival Organiser

I have a BA(Hons) in Film and Media Studies from Stirling University, studied Scriptwriting at Central Saint Martin’s in London and have briefly presented local news for a radio station in Scotland.

I have volunteered my support to the Sunderland Short Film Festival for 3 years and have thoroughly enjoyed becoming more involved. Becoming part of the Jury for the 2018 festival has been a real honour and I have particularly enjoyed seeing the quality of work being produced from emerging talent. I am proud to be part of an event which gives this talent a platform.

Kristian Foreman

Programming Director, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival

Kristian has been the Programming Director of Sunderland Shorts Film Festival for the past three years and was a volunteer during its inaugural year. He is passionate about supporting and championing bold filmmakers with diverse voices, with a particular interest in showcasing short films from young and emerging talent.

Kristian has also produced a number of short films and is a co-host of weekly filmmaking podcast The Film Look.

Sean Kelly

Writer & Producer, Antshake

To transition from a financial career and pursue his love of writing, Sean set up his production company Antshake, wrote and made some short films, then ran a film investment fund for four years. He has been scriptwriting full-time since November 2017, and now has film and television projects in development with respected producers in the North East.

Carol Alevroyianni

Co-director, SALTo Arts Productions

With a background in photojournalism and festival production Carol worked as a consultant to channel 4 from 2009 – 2015 developing partnerships and award winning programmes for their 4Talent brand.

She was one of Culture Minister Tessa Jowell’s 16 Magicians developing the first Creative Partnerships programmes where she oversaw the commissioning of the Anthem for Northumberland film shot and scored by young people in the county and later directed the Shine festival of youth talent working with the talent and enterprise task force at the dept of education.

She has been nominated for the 2018 Diversity in Media Champion Award.

Rebecca Innes


Rebecca is a screenwriter (feature-length drama), copywriter and lecturer with a varied background within film, TV and education. She is Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University and a member of the European Women’s Audiovisual Network, who have recently awarded her development aid for a feature film set in Northumberland.

Zahra Zomorrodian


Zahra has been producing since 2002. She’s made dozens of shorts and two micro budget features. She’s currently in post production on her first feature documentary - We Are The Geordies - due for release this year.

Steve Bowden


Steve is film producer with over 25 years experience working in the film and television industry. He has ran two successful independent production companies, Ipso Facto Films and Vita Nova Films, and has been responsible for over 50 audio-visual projects including feature films, short films and television productions.

Abi Lewis

Producer and Director, Film Agogo Ltd

After graduating in live action & animated film, Abi has acquired more than a decade of experience in TV drama, commercials and online short form content.

In 2014 she pitched her way on to the Sheffield Doc Fest ‘Fast Track to Features‘ training programme, aimed at documentary talent wanting to make the move towards making their first feature film.

GEORDIE JAZZ MAN has screened in several international film festivals and won the 2017 Jury Prize for ‘BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT’ at NorthWestFest.

Anne Tye

Director, Sunderland Shorts Film Festival

I am a Senior Creative Industries Specialist at Sunderland City Council and a mentor for Creative United, part of Arts Council England. These days, I’m motivated by helping regional creative talent to showcase their work, whether glass, dance, music or film, and to get a foothold in their chosen sector.

This year I’m delighted with our Young and Emerging Filmmakers’ strand and I hope they enjoy mixing with and learning from our seasoned professionals.