Featured Films and Clips 2022

The following films will be screened during the Albany Film Festival. The program and schedule will be announced shortly.


Director: Michael Caplan, USA | 2014 | 1 hr 26 min

Screening and discussion with Russell Banks and Michael Caplan

10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

"Algren" spotlights the hard-knock life and authentic creative legacy of one of the most underrated writers of the twentieth century, Nelson Algren. Through interviews with Algren's contemporaries, experts, and "literary soulmates," as well as through the photography of Algren's friends, Art Shay and Stephen Deutch, the film tells the story of his hard-nosed lifestyle and brutally honest portrayal of the American underclass. It celebrates his tremendous contribution and influence on American letters, and pushes Algren, champion of the marginalized, out from the margins. Read more



 Director: Karen Allen, USA | 2017 | 30 min

Screening and discussion with Director Karen Allen

11 a.m. - 12 p.m., Lecture Center 1

Based on the short story by groundbreaking southern American writer Carson McCullers, written when she was just 25, the film, “A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD." is set at a roadside café in the early morning in the spring of 1947. A young boy and an older man meet by chance. The man relates a luminous tale of personal heartbreak and loss, and of his hard-won understanding of the nature of love. The film is the directorial debut of award winning actor/director Karen Allen, who starred in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Read more



 Director: Stanley Nelson and Traci Curry, USA | 2021 | 1 hr 56 min

Screening and discussion with Stanley Nelson, whose film is nominated for a 2022  Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary

2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Screening, Campus Center West Auditorium
4:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Discussion,
Campus Center West Auditorium

This powerful film was made to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, N.Y. The violent five-day standoff between mostly Black and Latino inmates and law enforcement gripped the American public and resulted in acrimonious recrimination and protracted lawsuits. Drawing upon archival material and interviews with survivors, witnesses, and government officials, the documentary underscores an ongoing need for criminal justice reform and conversations about systemic racism. Read more



Director: D.W. Young, USA | 2019 | 1 hr 39 min

Screening and discussion with director D.W. Young

12:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m., Lecture Center 1

 Directed, edited, and produced by D.W. Young, THE BOOKSELLERS explores the world of antiquarian and rare book dealers and their bookstores. It focuses primarily on booksellers in New York City, including Adina Cohen, Naomi Hample and Judith Lowry, the three sisters of the Argosy Book Store; Stephen Massey, founder of Christie’s NY Book Department; and Nancy Bass Wyden, owner of the Strand Bookstore. Other prominent people featured in the film include Fran Lebowitz, Gay Talese, Justin Croft, Zack Hample, Susan Orlean, William S. Reese, A. S. W. Rosenbach, Jay S. Walker, and Kevin Young. Read more


Director: Catherine Rafferty, USA | 2021| 26 min

Screening and discussion with director Catherine Rafferty, Will Pedigo, Allison Valiquette, and Dana Wright
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Screening, Campus Center West Boardroom

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE documents the work of more than a dozen artists as they beautified the Troy NY Hoosick Street bridge pillars with colorful murals. The film outlines the history of the neighborhood and business district that once stood where the bridge is today, and features interviews with residents who remember the neighborhood prior to the bridge opening in 1980. The documentary piece also examines the future of this location as a public gathering space to unify the communities to the north and south of the bridge.



Variety show screening and discussion with director Shannon Plumb and Richard Lovrich

3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m., Lecture Center 2

CHOPPED LIVER is a series of comic shorts shot on vhs. Following in the tradition of CAROL BURNETT, MONTY PYTHON, and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Shannon Plumb puts together a timely variety show. In the past Plumb has worked alone performing all her own characters. Now, in this episodic journey she explores the interactions of the comic duo. For the third episode of CHOPPED LIVER, Plumb invites Eva Mendes to play with her in this series of zany, surreal and poignant skits.

Chopped Liver


Clips and discussion with David Van Deusen
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Screening, Campus Center West Boardroom

David Van Deusen was editor and publisher of The Walnut Times, The Dick Van Dyke Show newsletter for more than 20 years.  Along the way, he forged friendships with show stars Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Rose Marie, and many others from the cast.  Known and acknowledged as “the other DVD” by Reiner, Van Deusen’s feature-length documentary pays tribute to the cast and crew and details the continuing enjoyment by old and new generations of fans alike.



Director: Dan Swinton, USA | 2014| 1 hr 35 min

Screening and discussion with director Dan Swinton

10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Screening, Campus Center West Auditorium


The Hard Places is a documentary profiling the powerful story of Dr. Tom Little, who spent more than 30 years providing eye care in Afghanistan. He and his family lived through the Soviet invasion, civil war, Islamic extremism, and the U.S. occupation after 9/11. Despite the constant dangers, Dr. Little refused to leave and as a result had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of people. On August 5th 2010, as Little and his team were returning to Kabul from a remote eye camp in the Afghan wilderness they were ambushed and killed.

The film probes the continuing legacy of Dr. Little’s work, seeks to understand his motives, and explores the impact that his death has had on his family.



Director: Derek Cianfrance, USA | 2020| TV series 
Screening and discussion with director Derek M. Cianfrance and author Wally Lamb

1 p.m. - 2 p.m., Screening, Campus Center West Auditorium

Based on the bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, and starring Mark Ruffalo, this limited series follows Dominick Birdsey as he struggles to care for his twin brother, Thomas, while discovering the truth about his own family history. Ruffalo won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe for best actor for his role, aired on HBO and shot partly in Ulster and Dutchess counties. Read more



4:30 - 6 p.m. Lecture Center Room 6

Screening and discussion with director Stephen Soucy




Director: James Camali, USA | 2021| 1hr 46 min
Screening and discussion with director James Camali and producer Glen Trotiner

10:45 a.m. - 1 p.m., Screening, Lecture Center 2

Upstate New York Premiere. Based on the play of the same name by Josh Adell, THE MENTAL STATE tells the story of a working class mother (Carly Pope) struggling to save her troubled teenage son (Jance Enslin) who continues to cope with the suicide of his veteran father (Bryan Greenberg). The film explores the human story behind the news reports and asks how we as a national community can address the urgent issues of teenage mental illness and school shootings. “It is our sincere hope that the film will spur an open national dialogue regarding the stigma surrounding mental health and gun violence in schools,” said director James Camali. THE MENTAL STATE was produced by Matt Einstein, Ronnee Swenton, and UAlbany alumnus Glen Trotiner.



Director: Hugo Perez, USA | 2021| 1 hr 16 min

Screening and discussion with director Hugo Pérez

1:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m., Screening, Lecture Center 2

Cuban-American writer and director Hugo Pérez's documentary OMARA looks at the life of Cuban singer Omara Portuondo. It tells the story of Omara’s seven decades-long career for the first time, and how she became a trailblazing single mother and advocate for Afro-Cuban women, already an icon before ever joining the highly successful Buena Vista Social Club. Previously, Perez produced "The Writer" series for the NYS Writers Institute which aired on WMHT. 



Film clips and discussion with George McNamee

4 p.m. - 5 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Based on The Trial of the Chicago 7: The Official Transcript, co-edited by George McNamee, the film, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, follows the notorious course case of the Chicago 7, a group of anti–Vietnam War protesters charged with conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intention of inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It features an ensemble cast including Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Jeremy Strong, and Ben Shenkman.


Director: Kim A. Snyder, USA | 2020| 1 hr 38 min

Screening and discussion with Samantha Fuentes and Kim Snyder

1:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

From Kim A. Snyder, director of the Peabody Award-winning documentary NEWTOWN, US KIDS is a 2020 American documentary film following members of the March for Our Lives movement after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. The film had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020. Samantha Fuentes is a survivor of the Parkland shooting.



Director: Michael Kennedy, USA | 2021 | 1 hr 15 min 

Screening and discussion with director Michael Kennedy

3:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m., Lecture Center 1

Directed by Michael Kennedy, WHITEWASHED: THE RACISM PROJECT, is an original documentary theater performance based on Black history, current events, and the personal experiences of the cast, including Shirey Archie, Royal Brown, Danielle Colin, Diaka Kaba Hill, Aaron Moore, Tim Martin, and Sakea Martin.