The Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival welcomes back our three Comic-Con Film School moderators as this year’s festival judges. Nick Murphy, Valerie Perez, and Sean Rourke have been sharing their knowledge and expertise in independent filmmaking with Comic-Con attendees for 15 years now. The Comic-Con Film School takes place over all four days of the event, kicking off each morning with an hour-long seminar on filmmaking as part of the overall CCI-IFF program. In celebration of both Comic-Coin 50 and 15 years of Film School, these three mainstays are also this year’s Film Festival judges.
Nick Murphy got his start making VHS movies in 1993 in his hometown of Jackson, MO. He graduated from the Los Angeles Film School in 2002. In 2006, Nick and producer/star Valerie Perez, along with a ragtag skeleton crew of passionate fans, made the first Tomb Raider fan film: Tomb Raider: Tears of the Dragon. It was a huge hit, garnering worldwide acclaim and attention from G4's Attack of the Show, and was recently chronicled in the book 20 Years of Tomb Raider: A History of Lara Croft by Megan Marie. For the past 15 years, Nick has been a panelist at Comic-Con Film School, teaching talented filmmakers how to make their own indie movies that are held together with duct tape and love. Nick and his pals at Spoon Pictures haven't stopped making micro-budget movies for over 25 years—everything from pizza delivery assassins (Pizza and Bullets) to most recently a coming-of-age high school tale set in the 1990s at a small town roller rink, All Nite Skate (to be released this summer).
Valerie Perez stars in film series such as The Adventures of Paula Peril and Universal Dead and in various shows for The Nerdist and Stan Lee’s World of Heroes. She has modeled for DC Comics, Marvel, Dynamite Entertainment, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic book covers and video games. Valerie also enjoys bringing superheroines to life for children’s charities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Each year she co-heads the Comic-Con Film School and is official ambassador for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror’s Saturn Awards honoring the best in film and television.
Sean Rourke is a pre-visualization editor in Hollywood. He cuts together computer-generated versions of big action scenes before they are shot, so that filmmakers have a game plan when they get on set. You can catch his work in such movies as Avengers: Infinity War, Christopher Robin, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, and most recently, Avengers: Endgame. He's also been the moderator of the Comic-Con Film School for 15 years now, teaching attendees how to make their first movie for very little money. Sean loves vampires, and that's really the most important thing in this bio.