Introducing the accomplished jurors behind the Indie Meme 2023 Jury Awards. We're proud to be joined by a range of active and insightful professionals with backgrounds in filmmaking, media, technology, festivals, organizing, academia, and more.
Sumaiya Malik is a fast-paced local Austin journalist with words at mainstream publications such as Community Impact, Austin-American Statesman, Austin Chronicle ,and Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. She has also extensively written about the South Asian community in the Austin South Asian newspaper.
In 2014, she co-founded Austin Arts and Drama Initiative, a local non-profit supporting South Asian culture and the arts. From 2016-2020, she served on the community advisory board of Austin PBS. In 2021, she was among the top five journalists to be a part of Texas Observer/NPR NextGen investigative workshop. In 2022, she served as an associate producer of a true crime podcast published by the UT Drag and available on Spotify. The same year, she produced a sonic ID that was aired on KUT.
She is Pakistani American, a mother of two cool kids and a proud Longhorn like them. In 2020, she went back to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin to receive a master’s in journalism and media from the Moody College of Communications.
Sachin Dheeraj is a DGA Student award-winning filmmaker who studied at The University of Texas at Austin as part of the MFA program in Film & Media Production. His work has been screened at prestigious film festivals such as Hot Docs, Raindance, EnergaCAMERIMAGE, and Krakow.
Sachin strives to tell stories that demand urgent conversation and seeks to engage with people, places, and communities that are slowly disappearing. He aims to affirm their existence through cinema by preserving their lives and memories.
His pre-thesis film, TESTIMONY OF ANA, won the National Film Award (Swarna Kamal/Golden Lotus) for the Best Non-Feature Film issued by the Government of India and the Best Short Documentary Award at the Oscar-qualifying 13th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala. The film also secured distribution on reputed platforms such as MUBI and Kinoscope.
He received the prestigious President's Award for Global Learning at UT Austin and the Austin Film Society Grant in 2020. Sachin won the competitive Panavision New Filmmaker Program Equipment Grant and the UT Graduate Continuing Fellowship (an award given to support the final year of an outstanding graduate student) to implement his MFA thesis project, MEN IN BLUE.
Kat Albert is a creative place maker, festival starter, and filmmaker. Her films and videos often have a female protagonist and range from gritty to magical realism and experimental.
She graduated from Texas Tech University and worked in advertising and marketing in Chicago before relocating to Austin. She is also a guest teacher and lecturer on filmmaking. Her films have played at festivals around the world.
In 2018, Kat started the Lake Travis Film Festival to bring a cultural experience to the suburbs. LTFF explores stories and films that have authenticity, vision, and passion.
This year, she is working with her studio ‘Studio-e2’ in Santa Fe to create a new arts district to showcase emerging artists in multiple disciplines.
Mikki Teneyuca is a passionate South Austinite who has dedicated her adult life to serving the community. As a native of South Austin, Mikki has deep roots and a strong sense of belonging to the area.
She has two Master degrees and has devoted her career to improving processes for the State of Texas as a senior process improvement consultant, with a focus on making services accessible and streamlined for the most vulnerable community members.
Mikki is also the founder of Reel Austin LLC, a platform that captures the stories of Austin's community and culture. Through her work, she ensures that the city's rich history is documented and preserved for future generations.
Mikki also serves as a commissioner on the City of Austin Ethics Review Commission Board and she serves on the board of OPRC, a local nonprofit that provides reentry resources for individuals returning home to Austin from incarceration. She’s committed to social justice and serving the community.
Cara Harpole is a writer and producer, who is currently working on an animated video series for Work Force Solutions Capital area.
She started as a videographer and editor for the Air Force where she won the “best video” during her stay at the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS). She later earned a degree in film at the University of New Orleans.
Her love for documentary film pushed her to become an organizer for Austin Documentary Fans (Reel Doc Fans) where she grew the membership from 464 to over 4,400 members under her watch.
In addition, she has screened documentaries for Austin Film Fest for two seasons. “Documentaries check all of the boxes when it comes to my curious mind and quest to learn about people, places and things” she said.
Dr. Z Rubi Sanchez Lozoya
Dr. Z. Rubi Sanchez Lozoya teaches Film Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
She specializes in Indian cinema and film cultures, cultural studies of South Asia, and transnational feminisms.
Dr. Lozoya has presented on these subjects at different national conferences and invited talks at Stanford University, Duke University, and University of California Berkeley.
She is currently working on her upcoming book, Female Lead, which focuses on the effects that streaming platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, have on the creation and distribution of independent Hindi films made by women and about women.
Karen Skloss has worked as an editor for over 20 years on documentary & narrative features including the acclaimed dramedy, SUPPORT THE GIRLS (dir. Andrew Bujalski), which was listed as a top movie pick by former president Barack Obama.
She began her career with the celebrated documentary, "BE HERE TO LOVE ME: The Story of Townes Van Zandt” (dir. Margaret Brown). Karen recently co-produced and edited, “Have You Got It Yet?” (dir. Roddy Bogawa) about Pink Floyd’s legendary original songwriter Syd Barrett, which will be theatrically released in spring 2023 through Mercury studios.
Her work has been shown on HBO, in the MOMA, in wide theatrical release, and in film festivals internationally. She began her career in film as a child actor and made her narrative directorial debut with the psychedelic coming-of-age film, THE HONOR FARM, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and is available through Gravitas Ventures.
SUNSHINE, her first documentary feature as director, was nationally broadcast on PBS's Emmy Award-winning series, Independent Lens.
A native Austinite who has worked for years in Austin’s eclectic and cross-pollinating creative community, Karen has also edited shows for Jerry Bruckheimer Television, A&E, Discovery, TLC, and TNT, in addition to producing commercial campaigns for New Balance, Cannondale and Charge Bikes.
She is a drummer and vocalist who was a founding member of Moving Panoramas and is currently a member of the psych duo SKLOSS.
Deepa Donde is an independent film, television, and radio producer based in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared on the following outlets: NPR, Huffington Post, PBS, BBC, CBS and NBC.
In addition to her work with the Futuro Media Group, Deepa also serves on the board of The Austin Film Festival. She has in the past served on the advisory boards of Fusebox: Contemporary Multi-Disciplinary Art Festival, Youth Radio (NPR’s premier provider for youth orientated content), Girls Impact The World Film Festival, as well as on the board of Ballet Austin.
Deepa has spent the last ten years within the philanthropic space, serving on the Board of Futuro Media, and was elected Chair of the Board in 2016. The Pulitzer Prize winning nonprofit produces multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, Futuro Media is committed to telling stories from points of view often overlooked by mainstream media.
Deepa received her Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in Medieval History from Brown University. She is close to completing her first independent narrative feature film, PERIPHERY and developing a documentary feature.
Alexander Rosales is a Latino director/filmmaker based in Dallas, TX. After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2015 with a BFA in Film/Video and earning the Outstanding Graduating Senior, he freelanced as a camera operator, traveling worldwide for various projects.
In an effort to narrow his focus, Alexander returned to his hometown and spent 4 years at the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with an MFA in Film & Media Production in the Winter of 2022.
His work has been screened at the Austin Film Festival, deadCenter Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and many more. His award winning short film TEJANO NIGHT, was a recipient of an Austin Film Society (AFS) Grant and was selected for over 50 program selections worldwide.
Alexander currently works in both the Dallas/FT. Worth metroplex and Austin, TX as a freelance director and video producer, helping businesses and nonprofits with content creation via storytelling.