For the fourth annual North Fork TV Festival, the judges selecting the official pilots are established showrunners with notable track records of quality scripted episodic series. They work with the submission and selection committee to select pilots that best exemplify the spirit of independent TV.


creator, smash

Theresa Rebeck

Theresa is a judge for the pilots competition at the North Fork TV Festival. She’s also a prolific and widely produced playwright. Her fourth Broadway play, Bernhardt/Hamlet, premiered for Roundabout Theatre Company’s and made her the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time. Her plays Downstairs and Seared also premiered in July 2018. As an author, Rebeck has written three novels: Three Girls and Their Brother, Twelve Rooms with A View, and I’m Glad About You. She also authored Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business. In TV, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama Smash and has written for many other shows. Her produced feature films include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, Sunday on the Rocks, and Seducing Charlie Barker. Theresa has won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, the Peabody Award, and many others. In 2011, Theresa was named one of the 150 Fearless Women in the World by Newsweek.


creator, defiance

Rockne S. O’Bannon

Rockne is a judge for the pilots competition at the North Fork TV Festival. A screenwriter, director, and showrunner, he created both hit Syfy TV series Farscape and Defiance, the CW series Cult, the NBC sci-fi series SeaQuest DSV with Steven Spielberg, and the Fox film and television series Alien Nation. He has served as Executive Producer on the NBC series Revolution and the NBC/DC comics adaptation Constantine. For his work in film and TV, he has received an unprecedented nine Saturn Awards, presented by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. He has also received nominations for the cable Ace Award and from the Writers Guild of America.

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co-creator, raising the bar

David Feige

David is a judge for the pilots competition at the North Fork TV Festival. He’s also a producer, writer, and law professor. He co-created Raising the Bar with Steven Bochco and has worked on shows for CBS, NBC, TNT, BET, and Lifetime. In 2016, he won the Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award for Untouchable, a documentary feature he wrote, produced, and directed. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He has also written, produced, and directed short documentary films for the Op-Docs series of the New York Times and the Marshall Project. David was previously a well-known trial lawyer, serving as the first Trial Chief of The Bronx Defenders. He has been awarded one of the highest honors given to working public defenders, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s Reginald Heber Smith Award. He has also served as a Professor of Law and the Director of Advocacy Programs at Seton Hall Law School. Indefensible, David’s book about the criminal justice system, was published by Little Brown & Co.


writer + director, grimm

David Greenwalt

David is a judge for the pilots competition at the North Fork TV Festival. He is also a screenwriter, director, and producer. He was a co-executive producer, writer and director of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and co-creator of its spinoff, Angel. David was also a writer, director, and co-executive producer of The X-Files. He is the co-creator of the cult television show Profit and of the NBC supernatural drama Grimm with partner Jim Kouf and wrote and directed multiple episodes from 2011–2017.



Bob Abernethy

Bob is an entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Manhattan Beach, California. He’s a Trustee Emeritus of Johns Hopkins University, where he received a B.A. in mathematics & electrical engineering.

Justin Shaiffer

Justin is a PhD student at Columbia University and the Founder & Executive Director of Fascinate Inc., an organization created to excite underrepresented students about STEM.

Jonathan Brandeis

Jonathan is an executive producer and showrunner. Clients include AMC, PBS, Comedy Central, fX, Showtime, Bravo, ABC, Lifetime, VH1, MTV, and numerous production companies, universities, and corporations.

Tom Russo

Tom is the Head of Television for Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Productions NH. Previously, he was in the same role at Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions, where he developed and sold the hit comedy Black-ish.

Andy Howell

Andy is the leader of a worldwide collaboration studying supernovae and dark energy. He’s also an accredited film critic, writing under the name “Copernicus” for Ain’t It Cool News.


James Darling

James is a filmmaker and showrunner who's produced and edited shows for Discovery, NatGeo, HGTV, and Animal Planet as well as the acclaimed digital shows The Four Players and Home/Office.

Heather Lynch

Heather is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University with joint appointments in the Ecology & Evolution Department and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science. Her research interests focus on the population dynamics and biogeography of Antarctic penguins.

Sheetal Verma

Sheetal is a scientific strategist and medical writer for a healthcare communications firm based in New York. She’s also a mucosal immunologist with expertise in host immune responses to infectious diseases.

Kimberly Barbour

Kimberly is a Senior Resource Educator and serves as Outreach Manager for Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program. Kimberly holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Marist College and a M.P.S. in Environmental Management from SUNY Stony Brook.