2019 Judges

Jen Gerber a native of Arkansas, Jen Gerber built her film career in Chicago before completing an MFA in writing and directing from Columbia University in New York. She recently released her debut feature film THE REVIVAL with a theatrical run in Los Angeles and digital distribution on all the major streaming platforms. The film received a jury special mention at NewFest for "outstanding performances" and The Hollywood Reporter called the film "riveting". Jen freelanced for over a decade as a writer and director for a variety of commercial production compancies in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. As a 1st assistant director Jen worked with James Franco on The Sound and the Fury and Black Dog Red Dog starring Whoopi Goldberg, Olivia Wilde and Chloe Sevigny, 2 seasons of Rick Bayless' Mexico One Plate at a Time, along with many commercials and short films. Jen taught film at the university level for many years at Columbia College Chicago and spent four years as a tenured track professor at the University of Central Arkansas. In addition to university teaching, she was the Creative Director at The School of Creative and Performing Arts in Los Angeles and New York for six years. Her films have played at Palm Springs Short Film Festival, Champs-Elysees Film Festival, Outfest, NewFest, Manhattan Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, Tropfest New York and Tropfest Australia, Love Your Shorts, DGA-LA, Big Screen Film Festival, Women in the Director's Chair. Her directing awards include Regional Finalist for Student Academy Awards, Princess Grace Award, VGIK Best Student Program Award, Tropfest 2013 Finalist as well as receiving the "Indie Soul" award at the Boston International Film Festival. Jennifer is currently the Executive Director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the longest running all documentary film festival in North America.

Ken Goodman known as Arkansas's Leading Man, Ken has performed on stages across the region, has been a featured soloist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and has entertained audiences with his one-man shows and as Master of Ceremonies, among other things. Joy Dewing, CSA, National/Broadway Casting Director, states "I can say with confidence that Ken is good as they come." Currently, Mr. Goodman appears as El Gallo in The Fantasticks and as Cox in Box and Cox, both running at The Hot Springs Bathhouse Dinner Theatre.

Ken is a Founding Member and is on the Board of Directors of The Entertainment Foundation, a not-for-profit organization providing professional entertainment to our nation's veterans, senior adults and the underserved. 

Ken has been married to college sweetheart Stephanie for 27 years, and they enjoy their 3 kids and 2 grandchildren.


Amy Hale is an actress, singer, director and writer that is so happy to call Hot Springs home, when she's not on the "Amy & Friends Morning Show" on KLAZ, she's teaching acting and improv classes. She has written live shows for Oaklawn and Magic Springs for the last five years and recently wrote and directed her first short film. She has quite the array of rescue animals (babies). She spends most of her time with her three terrific kids and amazing husband, Tony.

David Hughes is currently the Dean of Business, Technical and Early College Programs at National Park College. He is an award winning, 31 year veteran of education in Arkansas who will be retiring at the close of the school year to begin new adventures. As an educator, Hughes has served on numerous state and national committees and boards. In addition to his work in education as a teacher, counselor and administrator, Hughes in past president of the Spa City Blues Society. He has produced over a dozen of the Hot Springs Blues Festivals as well as numerous other events through the years. He chairs the Unknown Legends Musicians Relief Fund, a non-profit for Arkansas based musicians who had assistance with healthcare. 

Hughes is the President and CEO of Side Hustle Entertainment, Inc. an entertainment company that provides publishing services, event production, personal chef services and wedding and funeral services as an ordained Dudeist Priest. In his spare time, HUghes writes a monthly column for Arkansas' Music Magazine Nightflying and is an on air personality for the KUHS community radio on his Monday night show, The Mojo Box. Hughes's proudest achievement is his four children and seven grandchildren.

Marsalis Weatherspoon is a native of Hot Springs. He is a 2006 graduate of Hot Springs High School. He teaches strings (5-12) and general music (5-6) for the Hot Springs School District. Weatherspoon holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Henderson State University (2012) where he is currently seeking a Master's of Arts in Teaching. During his undergraduate career, Weatherspoon, in addition to his composition focus, also participated in Concert Choir, Chamber Chorale, applied voice (baritone) and Opera Workshop.Very active in student life, he served as former vice president of the Black Students Association, former secretary of the Theta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Alphia Fraternity, Inc., and former director of Henderson's Angelic Voices of Christ with the mission of "providing music education to people of all ages and all walks of life." He attends Living Waters Church of God in Christ and is a licensed minister. He is the Minister of Music for Malvern District and the Dean of Education for the Arkansas First Jurisdiction Music Department's Applied Studies Institute. He has been afforded the opportutnity to travel to various venues, reaching across denominational lines, and reaching both young and old. He is a highly sought-after worship leader, keyboardist, and workshop clinician.

Tom Wilkins for 34 years has been a well known principal in the rebirth of Hot Springs, his projects include; Creator of the original downtown Christmas lighting program, original founding Board member of the Witness Musical, birthing both Veterans Memorials, founder of the Arkansas Walk of Fame, 33 years of managing his musical and theatrical theatre at 701 Central Downtown, and a very long list of other accomplishments and honors over those years.

This year is sponsored by: