2017 Cause + Effect Film Festival Panel of Judges


Alexia Ridley is the News Anchor/Reporter at WUGA, the NPR affiliate in Athens. In addition to providing daily news coverage, Alexia also hosts Athens News Matters. She comes to the Classic City from Macon, where she was News Director of the FOX/ABC television affiliate. Alexia was also the host of a live, call-in, community outreach show. A former “Air Force” brat, she has spent time in several different states and a few countries. But the Savannah native considers Georgia home. Though the Michigan grad still follows the Big Ten, she now happily cheers for the Bulldogs. In her spare time Alexia enjoys going to dinner with friends at one of the many great local restaurants in Athens, reading, and relaxing.


Audey Lee came to Athens in late 2010 and quickly connected with the community through family, theatre, music, and volunteering. The topics of environmental preservation and social justice are forefront in Audey’s daily life and work. It is an honor to watch the works of local filmmakers and contribute to this trailblazing festival.


Deborah Gonzalez, Esq. is an attorney whose legal practice focuses on entertainment (including film, TV, music, digital and interactive, and art.) She is the Executive Director of Letterbox Legal, a new way of offering legal services to creative professionals.  She obtained her JD from New York Law School and is licensed to practice in both New York and Georgia. Clients include filmmakers, producers, game and mobile app developers, artists and art professionals, animators, musicians and music professionals, authors, and various other creative professionals. Deborah was a past-President of the Georgia Music Industry Association and a former board member of Women in Film & Television Atlanta.  She is also a member of the Georgia Production Partnership, Georgia Music Partners, Women in Animation, and the Entertainment & Sports Law section of the State Bar of Georgia. Her charitable work includes the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, Art if King, and various creative non-profits.  Two of her current projects include Safety Shot, an initiative to combat sexual harassment on set and a recent Georgia House study on minority participation in entertainment. Contact: Deborah@letterboxlegal.com


Forrest Tuff is an award-winning filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the CEO of One Vision Productions, a multimedia production agency that specializes in video production, aerial drone services, and corporate + government branding. It was named one of Atlanta’s “Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” (2015-2017). Tuff has been featured in the Atlanta Business Journal, Business Leader, and Black Enterprise.

Tuff is a pro bono mentor with SCORE Association, and community ambassador for both the American Heart Association and YouthSpark. He received a Leadership Certificate from BoardSource, and is a United Way VIP Alumnus. Forrest is founder of the Pay It Forward initiative, which annually donates to non-profit organizations. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award, MLK Drum Major for Service Award and the Community Outreach Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia.

His desire to entertain, teach and inspire through the lens of compassion, turmoil and human resilience can be seen in his films. His most recent documentary, Released: When Does The Sentence End?, is a call to action for communities, business owners and policy makers in the fight against recidivism. 

Tuff is a member of the American Screenwriters Association, Broadcast Music Inc., Drone Pilots Association, Georgia Production Partnership, and The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast Chapter. He also serves as a judge for the Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, and Telly Awards Silver Council.


Dr. Nate Kohn is professor at the University of Georgia, Associate Director of the George Foster Peabody Awards, festival director of Roger Ebert’s Film Festival, director of the University of Georgia MFA program in screenwriting and award-winning producer. Dr. Kohn produced Zulu Dawn starring Burt Lancaster and Peter O’Toole; the independent feature Somebodies, which premiered at Sundance (2006); Rain, the Bahamas’ first indigenous feature which premiered at Toronto (2007) and on Showtime (2010); the feature film Bottleworld (2010); he was Executive Producer on the BET television series Somebodies (2008); he was Producer on the feature length documentary Bayou Maharajah that premiered at the SXSW Festival (2013); he produced the Emmy Award-winning short documentary Ebertfest 2012; and he was Executive Producer on The 73rd, 74th  and 75th Annual Peabody Awards Specials for PivotTV/Participant Media (2014, 2015 and 2016).  He has served on juries and mentored screenwriters at the Atlanta, Hawaii, Kerala, and Bahamas International Film Festivals. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and of the book Pursuing Hollywood: Seduction, Obsession, Dread (AltaMira Press, 2006).