Who's Judging the Beliefnet Film Awards 2009?

Meet our panel of judges, and learn how the judging works.


Beliefnet is proud to recognize the films and filmmakers whose work is of the highest quality while also being imbued with significant spiritual and inspirational themes.


The Panel of Judges

  • Dilshad Ali is Beliefnet's Islam editor.

  • Paul Asay is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Christianity Today, and Beliefnet.

  • Saul Austerlitz, a writer and film critic living in New York City, is a frequent contributor to Beliefnet. He is the author of "Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes."

  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat are the directors of the multifaith website SpiritualityandPractice.com, where they have a database of more than 3,500 film reviews as well as discussion guides to movies for small groups and other special features. They are the authors of "Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life," now available on DVD.

  • Rebecca Cusey is an L.A.-based entertainment reporter.

  • Craig Detweiler directs the Reel Spirituality Institute at Fuller Theological Seminary. His feature documentary, "Purple State of Mind," is touring the country in 2008. Screening schedule at www.purplestateofmind.com.

  • Patton Dodd is the Christianity editor at Beliefnet.

  • Brandon Fibbs is a film critic for The Colorado Springs Gazette, Christianity Today Movies, and Cinemattraction. He has a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado and an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. His work can be read at www.brandonfibbs.com

  • Jenny Halper is the film editor of Spare Change News, a Cambridge bi-monthly dedicated to empowering the homeless. Her writing has appeared in the Boston Phoenix, NewEnglandFilm.com, BostonNow, amNewYork, 24/7, Beliefnet, and Park Slope Reader, among other outlets.

  • Gareth Higgins is a writer and speaker based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the author of "How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films" and blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com.

  • Douglas Howe is a writer/speaker and contributor to Beliefnet's Idol Chatter blog, and also the owner of The HOWe Team, which provides leadership development solutions to executives and professionals in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • Sharon Linnéa wrote Beliefnet's Reel Inspirational column, in which she reviewed family films and also served as the founding Inspiration Producer; she has a background in film history at NYU and is the author of the thriller, "Chasing Eden.

  • Ellen Leventry is a longtime Beliefnet writer/editor and contributor to Idol Chatter.

  • Mark Moring is editor of Christianity Today Movies and the pop culture editor for Christianity Today Magazine.

  • Nell Minow is Beliefnet's "Movie Mom" and reviews movies each week on radio stations across the country.

  • Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP, MEd in Media Studies, is the film/TV columnist for St. Anthony Messenger and has been a member of ecumenical and Catholic juries at Berlin, Venice, and Locarno, as well as the Newport Film Festival (short films).

  • Dena Ross is Beliefnet's Entertainment editor.

The Process

For each category, we will be naming two winners: The Judges' Award, named by vote of our panelists, and The People's Award, named by vote of the Beliefnet community

How the Judges' Award works: For each category, judges cast votes for first, second, and third place. To tally the votes, five points are assigned to first-place votes, three points to second-place votes, and one point for third-place votes. A single winner in each category, the nominee with the highest total points, is then named.

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