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2019 Festival Judges

Todd Persche

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Todd is the Executive Director of the Baraboo Range Preservation Association, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary as a local land trust. He grew up in northern Illinois, enjoying a rural landscape dominated by bur oaks until suburban sprawl overran the farms and fields. Numerous family camping trips to the vaunted Wisconsin state parks system at an early age introduced him to wilder lands valued by residents. This put him on a path of exploring the Baraboo Hills over forty years ago. An undergraduate Art degree from UW-Madison and an MFA from Northern Illinois University were the foundation for a career of promoting ecological themes through drawing, painting and cartooning. After moving to Baraboo in 1997 with his family, Todd began working with many local environmental groups where he learned about healthy land management practices. In 2013 he transitioned from a full time art career into his position with BRPA.

Elliot Meyer

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Elliot is the Communications and Media Coordinator for the Wisconsin and Land Water Conservation Association, representing all the county conservation departments and county supervisors across the state. A big believer in the power of storytelling, Elliot loves sharing the hard work of our farmers, landowners, and conservationists when advocating for stewardship of our land and water resources. Elliot is an avid backpacker and most notably hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2017. He lives in Madison with his fiancé Mikhaila, a Life Science Communications Ph.D. student at UW-Madison.

John Mossman

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John is a filmmaker and actor whose work has screened worldwide, winning top awards in both narrative and documentary categories.  His feature film "Into the Wake" was shot in Sauk County. He is also co-founder of The Artistic Home Theater in Chicago and was named  “One of 10 People Making a Difference in Chicago Theater” by Performink Magazine.  His work has been listed in numerous year-end top ten lists and in 2019 his revival of Requiem For A Heavyweight received Jeff Awards for Best Production and Direction. As an actor he has appeared in theaters throughout the country, as well as in film and on television.  He has taught and collaborated on artistic projects in Thailand and Ireland, teaches Film Directing at Columbia College and Harold Ramis Film School, and received degrees in film and theater from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. John grew up in Baraboo.

Dave Erickson


Dave has had over 40 documentaries on public television. A member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the creation of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, he also founded the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council and was an early member of FLOW (Friends of the Lower Wisconsin). He produced, wrote and directed two Lower Wisconsin River documentaries "Gather Like the Waters" and "Rhythm of the River", and produced others about Wisconsin culture for Taliesin, Circus World, Badger Army Ammunition Plant, International Crane Foundation, Ho Chunk Nation, Menominee Nation, American Players Theatre, Pendarvis State Historic Site, and Wisconsin Arts Board, and yet others about garage rock and brain tumors. He received awards from the National Animal Behavior Society, National Association of Catholic Broadcasters, CINE Golden Eagle, PBS and National Educational Film Festival. His documentaries have been shown at the Chicago International Film Festival, the First Nations Festival, the Driftless Film Festival and others.

Jennifer Kobylecky

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Jennifer is the former director of education for the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, where she played an integral role in the planning and promotion of the foundation's documentary film Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time. She also co-developed the foundation’s Land Ethic Leaders program, which utilized the arts as an entry point for facilitated conversations about environmental values. She currently works as a communications and outreach manager at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and serves on the board of directors for the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance.

Dan Emerson

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Dan is a recent graduate of University of Wisconsin Baraboo/Sauk County. He is a published author, a produced playwright and screenwriter, as well as author and creator of his own graphic novel series. Dan is a photographer, and passionate about nature conservation. He enjoys state parks and fills his time with his wife and pets.   

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