MEET THE JUDGES
Having toiled on the front lines of the entertainment industry and the water conservation movement, these experts judge the competition finalists based on their ability to creatively address the issue of responsible water use.
Carl Bell is the weathercaster for the weekend editions of "Today in LA." He became part of the "Channel 4 News" team in September 2003. Prior to joining KNBC, Bell was the weekday afternoon weathercaster at KCAL, presenting weather segments during the Noon, 2PM and 3PM newscasts. He joined KCAL in March 1990 and became well known in the market for combining his weather segments with community outreach. He spoke to hundreds of Southern California school children during his tenure at KCAL with his "Classroom Weather" segment and visited scores of viewer homes with his popular "Carl's Backyard Weather" reports. While working for KCAL, Bell won two prestigious Golden Mike Award's and an Associated Press Award for "Best Weather Segment." In addition to his weather reports, Bell hosted several KCAL stand-alone specials, including "Disney Afternoon Live" (from Disneyland), "The Three Stooges Thanksgiving Marathon," and the station's live broadcasts of the El Toro Air and the Pt. Mugu Air Shows. Bell began his career in television as a page at the NBC Burbank Studios in 1983. In 1984, he received his first job as an on-camera weathercaster at KECY-TV (CBS) in El Centro California. He moved to Monterey, California in 1985 to be the weathercaster for KMST-TV (CBS). In 1989, while working for KMST-TV, he received the first of two Associated Press Awards for "Best Weather Segment" (the second was garnered at KCAL). In addition to his duties at KMST-TV, Bell could also be heard presenting weather reports on Monterey's KXDC-FM's morning drive show. Raised in Southern California, Bell is a graduate of Hoover High School in Glendale and from the University of Southern California. He currently lives in Oak Park with his wife and two children.
Sasha Perl-Raver has enjoyed an eclectic career that's included beauty queen-dom (as a former Miss San Francisco) and celebrity chef status (on Food Network's series, Private Chefs of Beverly Hills), but the one constant has been her devotion to film, entertainment and criticism. Since graduating from USC's esteemed critical studies program, where she was always first to raise her hand in Professor Leonard Maltin's class and Gary Ross became her mentor, Sasha has gone on to write for and appear on outlets including TV Guide Channel, LOGO, Style Network, CBS.com, AOL and Fox News, a stint she counteracted with hefty donations to Obama's campaign. Her interviews, reviews and reports can currently be seen on NBC's Los Angeles affiliate, KNBC, as well as on NBC.com's Popcorn Biz blog, Fandango.com, Hollywood.com and MovieWeb.com. If you ever need to find her at a screening or a junket, she's the one with her plate mounded with dessert or a mouthful of pilfered candy.
Elise Pearlstein most recently produced Participant Media's State 194, a documentary directed by Dan Setton about Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's attempt to build a Palestinian state, which had its world premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. Prior to that, she produced Last Call at the Oasis for Participant and director Jessica Yu, a documentary examining the global water crisis, which premiered last year in Toronto and screened earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival before its theatrical release in May. Pearlstein won two Emmy Awards and was nominated for an Academy Award® for producing Participant Media and River Road Entertainment's Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner, which was one of 2009's most successful documentaries.
Prior to producing Food, Inc., Pearlstein produced Jessica Yu's documentary Protagonist, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Pearlstein and Yu also worked together on The Living Museum documentary for HBO, and they are currently partnered on a film about the Gorongosa National Park Restoration Project in Mozambique.
Other credits include the 2006 Million Dollar Recipe, a feature-length documentary that Pearlstein directed and produced which uses the lens of the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest to comment on changing roles of women and home cooks. From 2000 to 2005, Pearlstein produced and wrote prime-time documentaries for NBC's Tom Brokaw and the late ABC news anchor Peter Jennings. And in 1999, Pearlstein co-produced and co-wrote Smoke and Mirrors: A History of Denial, a feature documentary about the tobacco industry's sordid history that was short listed for the 2000 Academy Awards.
Rick Porras graduated from Stanford University with an A.B. in History and began his studio career working for Robert Zemeckis on The Public Eye, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump, The Beatles Anthology Music Videos, The Frighteners and Contact. As a result of his experience on The Frighteners, Peter Jackson invited Rick to be a Co-Producer on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, beginning a six and a half year journey in New Zealand. Being in the unique position to be involved with LOTR from the early design through final delivery, Rick handled film and post production duties along with the DVD extended cut releases and the Electronic Arts game franchise. In addition, Rick was also a Second Unit Director for all three films. His company, Eucalypto Films Ltd., develops film, game and television projects.
Jane Griffin serves as president of The Groundwater Foundation, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to educate people and inspire action to ensure sustainable, clean groundwater for future generations. The Groundwater Foundation is based in Lincoln, Nebraska and is a well-respected voice for groundwater education and citizen involvement. Griffin's background includes a B.A. from Smith College in Northampton, MA and a diploma from the Universita' Internazionale dell'Arte in Florence, Italy. Griffin's professional experiences reflect her awareness of the need to educate people to create knowledge of the world around us. She has accomplished this goal through her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Nebraska, the Nebraska Art Association Board, and by co-founding an Italian language school for both adults and children.
Seth Jones, a 14-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career, he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association first place general feature writing award and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jones has had the pleasure of interviewing numerous actors over the years, including Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Wilson, Joe Pesci, Patrick Stewart and Greg Kinnear. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association.