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Announcing the 2023 New Hampshire Film Festival Juries with Ted Hope, Eliza Coupe

PORTSMOUTH, NH (September 21, 2023) – The New Hampshire Film Festival is excited to unveil the prestigious juries of its upcoming 21st Annual edition, taking place October 12-15 throughout downtown Portsmouth, NH.  Legendary independent film producer Ted Hope, actress Eliza Coupe, and award-winning writer/director Julian Higgins lead the way as members of the festival’s Narrative Grand Jury.  All will be taking part in the festivities.

The New Hampshire Film Festival (NHFF) recognizes the best works in several categories by presenting its infamous granite awards to the winners.  The bricks, weighing in at over 20 pounds of granite, are a celebration of the amazing artists and pay homage to the beloved “Granite State.”  Surely it is the most physically significant award in the film industry.  Of all of the NHFF Awards bestowed over the four-day event, seven are chosen by distinguished juries.

The Grand Jury Awards, one for narrative feature films and one for documentary feature films, are chosen by juries from the top nominees among undistributed films as selected by the festival’s staff, board and programming team.  This year’s Documentary Grand Jury features Emmy award-winning documentary producer Matt Renner, MovieMaker Magazine publisher Deirdre McCarrick, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Patrick Bresnan.

Highlighting NHFF’s love of the short-subject medium since its inception are three juried short film awards for live action shorts, animated shorts and documentary shorts.  Beginning with its 20th edition, the New Hampshire Film Festival was named an Academy Award qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Short films that receive the festival’s Live Action Short and Animation Short Jury Awards now qualify to submit for Oscar consideration, provided the films otherwise comply with the Academy rules.

To spotlight the creative talent that is alive and well in New Hampshire, NHFF also hands out several awards specifically to local filmmakers.  One such award, the New Hampshire Short Film of the Year, is presided over by a jury of prominent creatives from the state.  This year’s New Hampshire Jury features Keene State College Film Studies Professor Jo Dery, novelist and publisher for Yankee New Hampshire Ernesto Burden, and award-winning documentary director and producer Taylor Lee Nagel.

Rounding out the festival’s 2023 juried awards is the Best Screenplay Award.  NHFF’s annual screenplay competition is for feature-length scripts and is decided upon by a single special guest judge.  This year’s judge is John Pollono, who wrote, directed and starred in the independent feature Small Engine Repair opposite Jon Bernthal, Shea Whigham and Ciara Bravo.

Below is the full list of juries for the 21st Annual New Hampshire Film Festival:

Narrative Grand Jury
  • Actress Eliza Coupe
  • Writer/Director Julian Higgins
  • Producer & Executive Ted Hope
Documentary Grand Jury
  • Filmmaker Patrick Bresnan
  • MovieMaker Magazine publisher Deirdre McCarrick
  • Producer & Executive Matt Renner
Narrative Shorts Jury (Live Action Short, Animation Short)
  • Writer/Director Vanessa Beletic
  • Producer & Stunt Coordinator Amy Greene
  • Producer & Executive Ana Leocha
Documentary Shorts Jury
  • Filmmaker Ivete Lucas
  • Filmmaker Tim O’Donnell
  • Center for Independent Documentary Co-Founder Susi Walsh
New Hampshire Jury (New Hampshire Short Film of the Year)
  • Writer/Director & Professor Jo Dery
  • Writer & Publisher Ernesto Burden
  • Director & Producer Taylor Lee Nagel
Screenplay Judge
  • Writer John Pollono

For additional information on the 2023 Juries, please visit the New Hampshire Film Festival website: