Film Judges

Our judges consists of highly qualified and motivated content creators. With many years of experience in the industry, they have the "eye" to recognize talent across both the art and film genres.

Jimmy Andrews

Festival Founder and Submissions Manager

    Jimmy is a former journalist turned filmmaker with 8 feature films and multiple shorts under his direction. He is the CEO of our parent company Vanilla Palm Films.

Candyce Weir

Actress, Producer, Director

    A Canadian-born actress with a long list of film and TV credits. The Best Actress category is named in her honor.

    Candyce lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a managing partner in Vanilla Palm Films.

Sonya Peña

Actress, Voice Talent

    Sonya is an actress and voiceover talent based in the Dominican Republic. Sonya was 6 years old when she first performed a song and 8 years old when she first stepped into acting.
    Today, Sonya is known for her appearances in short films, feature films, TV shows and radio. She speaks several languages including English, Japanese and Portuguese.

Art Judges

Laura Best

Artist, Instructor, Gallery Owner

    Laura first learned to love painting by watching her grandmother paint. After obtaining her music degree, she began painting professionally and now teaches art in Bakersfield, CA.

   Laura is the Director of Art for the Vanilla Palm Film Festival & International Art Competition.

Rebecca Aguilar

Portrait, Mural Artist, Interior Designer

    Becky's art is a time capsule of life in Bakersfield. Her colorful artwork tells a story without a single word needed. 

Aurea Reynolds


    Aurea is known for her large format paintings and murals that can be found in private homes and public buildings. She currently calls Santa Monica home.

Karen Boyd

Marketing Director

    Karen has a true heart for small business. As a business consultant, she serves as a public relations, marketing, and advertising executive for multiple businesses in numerous  states.

    Karen is an avid art lover and collector.

Yvonne Cavanagh

Multidisciplinary Artist

 Yvonne currently works on abstract, ethereal drawings and strong functional ceramic pieces using vibrant patterns and colors. She holds a BA in Art from San Francisco State University, an MA in Education from the University of La Verne, and a MFA from Azusa Pacific University.

Festival Director

Katie Price

   Katie is a former television and radio newscaster, working for the Bakersfield NBC affiliate KGET TV-Channel 17 for nearly a decade, and Bakersfield radio station KUZZ, founded by the late country music legend Buck Owens.
   She has worked in marketing, public relations, and event planning throughout her career.
   Katie currently runs Bucket List Bunnies Bakersfield - a networking organization for women 45 and older.
   Last, but not least, Katie has worked as a counselor at Bakersfield High School for 20-years. She is recently retired from two-decades of teaching public speaking at California State University-Bakersfield.