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Announcing the 2012 Grand Jury

The New Hampshire Film Festival is a celebration of film, but it is also a competition. Only a select few winners will get to take home a “Granny,” our signature Award carved from granite. To choose the winner of the festival’s most prestigious award, the NHFF turns to its Grand Jury, chosen each year to include a diverse group of people from many aspects of the film and television industry. We are pleased to present the 2012 Grand Jury:

Tommy Chong

Grammy Award winning comedian Tommy Chong is legendary for his invaluable contribution to American counter-culture as part of the iconic comedy duo Cheech and Chong. During their reign, the twosome recorded six gold comedy albums, including the 1973 Grammy winner “Los Cochinos,” and starred in eight films, most of which Chong co-wrote and directed. The first, Up In Smoke, was the highest grossing comedy of 1978, topping $100 million at the box office. Others were Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie (1980), Nice Dreams (1981), Things Are Tough All Over (1982), Cheech and Chong: Still Smoking (1983), and The Corsican Brothers (1984). He appeared as Leo on Fox’s That 70s Show and guest starred on Dharma and Greg and The George Lopez Show. He is the recipient of the 2012 NHFF Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dale Launer

Dale Launer’s movie-biz break came after the producing team of Lancaster/Wagner optioned his screenplay of Ruthless People. It was produced and released in 1986, starring Danny DeVito and Bette Midler. Launer followed this effort by optioning the rights to the film Bedtime Story, which was re-written and re-titled Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Launer also produced the film of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine. He also wrote and directed Love Potion #9, which was followed by My Cousin Vinny, which he wrote and produced. The film starred Joe Pesci, Fred Gwynne and Marisa Tomei; and Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for the role. Most recently, he wrote, directed and produced Tom’s NU Heaven, a self-financed independent film that went on to win Best Picture at the Monaco Film Festival 2007.

Maureen Masters

Maureen is currently director of regional publicity and film festival bookings for Magnolia Pictures, where she oversees regional marketing efforts for Magnolia’s theatrical slate. She began her film career in college writing indie film reviews, eventually earning a BA in journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduation, she was hired by Moroch, in Dallas, TX, doing film publicity. Continuing her career in film publicity, she moved to Philadelphia working for Allied Advertising and PR. While in Philadelphia, she earned her Masters in communications from Villanova University. In 2010, Maureen moved to New York to work for Magnolia Pictures where she has overseen successful regional campaigns for All Good Things, Melancholia, Page One: Inside the New York Times, Trollhunter, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and most recently Take This Waltz and Queen of Versailles.

Michele Meek

Michele Meek pioneered the development of NewEnglandFilm.com, the premiere magazine and resource for independent filmmaking in the northeast, and led the transition of the 30-year-old film magazine The Independent to the nonprofit organization Independent Media Publications where she remains a board member. She has written extensively on film and travel in leading publications such as MovieMaker Magazine, The Independent Film & Video Monthly, WHERE Magazine, Bonjour Paris and indieWIRE. In 2009, she edited the book The Independent’s Guide to Film Distributors, which provides the acquisition and contact details to nearly 200 independent and niche film distributors in addition to essays on marketing and distributing independent media. An updated edition of the book is anticipated for a 2012 release. She received the 2005 Baldwin Award for Alumni Recognition in Film & Video by Boston College and the 2000 Image Award for Vision and Excellence by Women in Film & Video New England. She has served on numerous juries for film awards, festivals and screenwriting competitions. Her successes have been lauded in Inc. Magazine, National Public Radio and The Boston Globe, and she has spoken on numerous panels including the National Alliance for Media Arts & Culture, Convergence at Tribeca, Global Entertainment Network Summit, among others. She has taught film, literature and writing courses at Emerson College, Boston College, Massachusetts College of Art, and University of Rhode Island.

Alicia Witt

You might know Alicia Witt from her body of work as an actor on shows including Friday Night Lights, Law & Order and Cybill, and from the films 88 Minutes, Two Weeks Notice, Last Holiday and Mr. Holland’s Opus to name a few. But she is also a classically trained pianist and accomplished singer/songwriter. For the last three years, she’s been performing her original songs at venues across the country such as Hotel Cafe and Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles, and Joe’s Cafe and The Living Room in New York. Her self-titled first EP is out on iTunes. Alicia’s first music video, for the single ‘Anyway,’ was played on MTVu and VH1.com. She has also appeared as musical guest on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and is currently working on her next album. She will next be seen onscreen in several films she recently completed work on, including Pasadena, opposite Cheryl Hines, Ashton Holmes and Peter Bogdanovich.

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