Now in its second year, the online Beneath the Earth Film Festival announces Guest Judges Christopher Zalla, Gabourey Sidibe, Jay Anania and Claude Grunitzky for the 2011 festival. From the official press release:

Beneath the Earth Film Festival (BTE), the latest purveyor of online content, reveals an impressive lineup of revered guest judges while also announcing this year’s Call for Entries after a successful first season as a standout and innovative online film festival. In an age when consumers are receiving more news and content through social media and social networking channels, BTE has partnered with some of the Web’s most passionate and far-reaching film reviewers to help shine the light on an emerging crop of talented filmmakers.

Starting this season, BTE has put in place a Grand Jury of film reviewers whose sites collectively reach over 1.1 MILLION people each month. Winners of the festival will receive the opportunity to have their film reviewed by members of the Grand Jury who will publish the reviews on their respective sites, acting as an instigator of word-of-mouth and buzz that’s invaluable to an up-and-coming filmmaker. The approach takes a page from what the Internet has been able to do for unknown musicians, who in most cases forego the traditional route of demo tape mailings and instead build unique views and followings online as an index of their marketability.

Alongside the Grand Jury are Guest Judges who are noteworthy industry players that are representative of the changing waters of film. This year’s Guest Judges include:

*Christopher Zalla: Zalla is a writer, director and producer of film and television. His first feature film won the 2007 Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Recent television credits include Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

*Gabourey Sidibe: The first time actress and Oscar Nominee, made her acting debut in the Academy Award nominated Lee Daniels film, Precious. Sidibe currently appears in the Original Showtime network series, The Big C and has finished shooting her next film, Tower Heist, a Brett Ratner action-comedy.

*Jay Anania: With about 40 years in the business, director Jay Anania’s body of work includes experimental, documentary and narrative films. Anania recently completed the critically acclaimed film, William Vincent, starring Oscar Nominee, James Franco, and is currently producing his next film, The Stare.

*Claude Grunitzky:
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the trans-cultural fashion and art bible, TRACE Magazine, Grunitzky also co-founded Trace TV network available in 150 countries on various cable and satellite pay television platforms and has collaborated with artists like Spike Lee, Larry Clark, Kanye West and Lily Allen.

With an impressive roster of talent on this year’s Grand Jury, BTE is anticipating diverse and inspiring film submissions from all over the world as the festival strives to bring festival-quality films to the home viewer and in turn give emerging directors an opportunity to establish their credibility, reach a wide audience and build a devoted following.

Beneath the Earth Film Festival takes place through the month of October 2011.

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