2014 Jury

The 2014 GameCityPrize Jury

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Darren Aronofsky

Academy Award Nominated Director Darren Aronofsky was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
His most recent film Noah was released to critical acclaim in March 2014. Prior to Noah, Aronofsky directed Black Swan (2010), which won Natalie Portman the Academy Award for Best Actress and received four other nominations, including one for Best Picture. The film received scores of other accolades, appeared on over 200 critical Top Ten lists, and swept the 2011 Independent Spirit Award.

In 2008, Aronofsky directed The Wrestler, only the third American film in history to win the esteemed Golden Lion. Aronofsky also wrote and directed The Fountain (2006), a science-fiction romance starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, and Requiem For A Dream (2000), named to over 150 Top Ten lists.

Aronofsky’s first feature, π, won the Director’s Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. His honours include the American Film Institute’s prestigious Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, the Stockholm Film Festival’s Golden Horse Visionary Award and three Independent Spirit Awards.

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Lisa Pollack

Lisa Pollack is the Head of New Projects for FT.com. She joined the Financial Times in 2011 after working for financial data company Markit and at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In her first role at the FT, she was a reporter for the award-winning financial markets blog, Alphaville.

Alongside her reporting, she has worked on several digital developments, including the launch of fastFT, the FT’s market-moving news and views service. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

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Gemma Jackson

Gemma Jackson is an Emmy award winning British production designer and art director. She has spent the bulk of her career in film, having worked on films such as A Far Off Place, The Borrowers, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and Finding Neverland, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. More recently she won an Emmy for her work on the HBO miniseries John Adams. Jackson was the lead Production Designer on Game of Thrones for Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3, faced with the difficult task of physically realizing the small details of the locations in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Jackson was responsible for designing, building, and dressing the actual physical sets that need to be used in filming the series.

On 15 September, 2012, she won a Creative Arts Emmy Award for her work on Season 2 of Game of Thrones.

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Samira Ahmed

Samira Ahmed is an award winning journalist and broadcaster, and a visiting professor of Journalism at Kingston University. She presents the BBC1 ethics discussion programme, Sunday Morning Live and Newswatch, shown on BBC1 and BBC News Channel. Samira also presents a range of news and culture programmes on Radio 3 and 4, including Night Waves, The World Tonight and Sunday. She has presented The Proms for BBC4 and writes regularly on culture and politics in newspapers including The Guardian and The Independent.  She has a monthly column in The Big Issue.

Samira was previously a presenter and correspondent at Channel 4 News, where she won the Stonewall Broadcast of the Year award for her investigation into rape in South Africa and she made the Channel 4 documentary series “Islam Unveiled” about the status of Muslim women round the world.  She has been a reporter on Radio 4’s Today Programme and Newsnight, where she uncovered a major charity scandal, and was one of the first journalists to investigate the emergence of radical Islam at British universities. She also covered the OJ Simpson case as BBC’s Los Angeles Correspondent.

Her natural competitive streak found an outlet when she won Celebrity Mastermind in 2010. Samira read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University and started her career as a BBC News Trainee.

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Jeremy Farrar

Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds. Before joining the Trust he was Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, where his research interests were infectious diseases, tropical health and emerging infections.

He has contributed to 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers and has served on several World Health Organization advisory committees. Jeremy was appointed OBE in 2005 for services to tropical medicine, and he has been awarded the Memorial Medal and the Ho Chi Minh City Medal by the Government of Vietnam, the Frederick Murgatroyd Prize for Tropical Medicine by the Royal College Physicians and the Bailey Ashford Award by the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Jeremy is married with three children. He loves all sport and walking in the Alps.