The Judges

Head Judge:  Jack Sholder (Director of A Nightmare on Elm Street II)

Preliminary Judges:  Dottie Jean Kirk, Lee Stockdale, Katie Winkler

Jack Sholder

Jack was born in Philadelphia where he studied to become a professional trumpet player. While still in high school, he performed under such conductors as Leopold Stokowski and Eugene Ormandy.

After studying at Drexel Institute of Technology, the University of Edinburgh and L’Université de Besançon he graduated from Antioch College with a degree in English literature.

Jack began his career as a film editor, working on the documentary King: From Montgomery to Memphis that was nominated for an Academy Award. He won an Emmy for his editing work on 3-2-1 Contact. After writing and directing several award-winning short films, Jack directed Alone in the Dark in 1982 for New Line Cinema with Martin Landau, Jack Palance and Donald Pleasance. He then wrote Where Are the Children starring Jill Clayburgh for Ray Stark and Columbia, and directed A Nightmare on Elm Street II.

His next feature for New Line, The Hidden, won many awards including the Grand Prix at the Avoriaz Film Festival, Jury Award at the Sitges Film Festival, and Best Director at Fantasporto. Premiere Magazine called it “one of the ten most underrated films of the ’80s.” This was followed by Renegades with Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips and By Dawn’s Early Light for HBO with Martin Landau, James Earl Jones, Rip Torn, Rebecca de Mornay, and Powers Boothe.

Jack directed four movies for the Fox Network: 12:01 with Jonathan Silverman, Martin Landau and Helen Slater; Dark Reflection; Generation X, based on the Marvel comic book; and Runaway Car. He directed Hands That See with Courtney Cox for Showtime. In 1998 he wrote and directed Evil Never Dies for Artisan Entertainment and, in 2000, completed Arachnid for Filmax (Barcelona) and Lion’s Gate.

In 2002, Jack directed Beeper, a thriller starring Harvey Keitel and Joey Lauren Adams that was shot in India. And in 2003 he directed Twelve Days of Terror for Fox Television Studios, a fictionalized account of an infamous series of shark attacks that took place in New Jersey in 1916.

In addition, Jack has directed episodes of Vietnam War Stories, Gabriel’s Fire, Pensacola, Tales from the Crypt and Tremors, as well as the pilot for Richard Donner’s The Omen for NBC.

In 2004, Jack became the founding Director of the Film & Television Production program at Western Carolina University where he is Professor in the Department of Stage & Screen.   He is currently living in Asheville, NC.


Dorothy Kirk (Dottie Jean Kirk)

Dorothy has been a storyteller all her life, but in 1965 when she graduated college, she didn’t realize storytelling could be a career. With a degree in math, she pursued a career in information technology.

Late in her career, Dorothy taught IT and project management at Ernst & Young. She used her stories to teach principles and give examples. Surprised by the number of students who commented that the stories were the best part of the course and what they’d always remember, Dorothy began to believe she had a gift for storytelling. 

When she retired in 2011, she decided she wanted to become a performance storyteller. Dottie Jean tells stories of her growing up in the 40’s and 50’s in Salisbury, NC. She has produced and performed in three one-woman shows: Hold Still! I Can’t See MyselfI Came Out in a Darkroom; and Shine, Baby, Shine which she has performed in Asheville, Palm Springs, Atlanta, Salisbury, and Columbia. She also recently appeared at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in a two-woman show entitled Made from Scratch with Connie Regan-Blake. ​Dorothy is currently working on a book of her stories.


Lee Stockdale

Lee is a prize-winning published writer with a BA in English from the University of Washington and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Queens University, Charlotte, NC. Lee spent last summer as a Fellow in the Rare Book Division of the Library of Congress curating audio recordings from New York’s St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery Poetry Project. Lee teaches a Poetry Craft Workshop at Isothermal Community College. He is in direct contact with a number of various spirits.


Katie Winkler

Katie’s work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, most recently featured in Saturday Evening Post and SciPhi. In addition, her short fiction has been anthologized in Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South. Other credits include Mirror Dance, Phoenix Photo & Fiction, Mulberry Fork Review, Punchnel’s, Fabula Argentea, A&U Magazine, and Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, among others, as well as theater reviews and feature articles for the Hendersonville Times-News. Also a playwright (A Carolina Story), she is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the North Carolina Writers Network. She lives with her husband and daughter in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. She is an English Instructor at Blue Ridge Community College and has appeared in numerous productions with the drama department there.