Featured Guests 2022

Karen Allen

Karen Allen: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "A tree. a rock. a cloud"

11:00 a.m. - 12 p.m., Lecture Center 1

Karen Allen is presenting her directorial debut, the film short “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” at the Albany Film Festival. Allen made her major film debut in 1978 in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE. Her career-changing role came with the blockbuster movie RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981). She also appeared with Jeff Bridges in STARMAN (1984), and with John Malkovich and Joanne Woodward in the Paul Newman-directed film version of THE GLASS MENAGERIE in 1987. Allen has a long-standing relationship with the Berkshire Theater Group and sits on the board of the Berkshire International Film Festival. Read more

Russell Banks

Russell Banks: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "Algren" with Michael Caplan

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

Russell Banks is an American novelist known for his portrayals of the interior lives of characters at odds with economic and social forces. The internationally acclaimed author has published 21 works of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, The Book of Jamaica, Cloudsplitter, Lost Memory of Skin, and most recently, Foregone. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. Two of his novels, Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter, were made into award-winning feature films. Read more

Michael Caplan

Michael Caplan: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "Algren" with Russell Banks

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

Michael Caplan is the writer and director of ALGREN, a documentary that details the life and legacy of American writer Nelson Algren. An independent film director, producer, and teacher, he is also an associate professor in the Cinema Art + Science Department at Columbia College Chicago.

His previous films include A MAGICAL VISION, a feature length documentary that spotlights Eugene Burger, a magician and guru of the magical arts, and STONES FROM THE SOIL, a documentary on his father that showed on national PBS in 2005. Read more

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James Camali: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "Mental State" with Glen Trotiner

10:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Lecture Center 2

James Camali is a director, editor, and photographer. He was an architecture student at Roger Williams University, but after a year he transferred to the School of Visual Arts to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker.  His shorts and films include GARY (2015), A FATAL OBSESSION (2015), THE LENNON REPORT (2016) and his new feature film THE MENTAL STATE set to enter the 2021-22 festival circuit.

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Ironweed Award winner, Derek M. Cianfrance discusses film clips of "i know this much is true" with Wally Lamb

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Derek M. Cianfrance is a director, cinematographer, screenwriter, and editor.  He is best known for writing and directing the films BLUE VALENTINE, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (filmed in Schenectady and Scotia); and THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS as well as the HBO miniseries I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, starring Mark Ruffalo. For his contributions to the story of SOUND OF METAL, he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay with its director Darius Marder and Abraham Marder.

Speaking of I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, Cianfrance has said, “With ‘I Know This Much Is True,’ there’s a lot of grief in this story, but you can’t have grief without love. Just like you can’t have sorrow without joy,” Cianfrance said.

Read more

D Colin

DANIELLE Colin: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "Whitewashed"

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

Danielle Colin (WHITEWASHED: THE RACISM PROJECT) is a poet, performer, visual artist, and educator living in Troy, NY. She is the author of two poetry collections, Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop. She is also a Cave Canem, VONA and New York State Writers Institute fellow.

Michael Connors

Michael ConnOrs: Panel discussion on production of the "the Gilded Age"

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Michael Connors was the assistant location manager for nine episodes of HBO’s THE GILDED AGE. He previously worked as assistant location manager on THE UNDOING starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and ELEMENTARY, and THE BLACKLIST and several other television series.

Jim Dixon

JIM DIXON discusses "films made in the capital region" with Jackson Murphy AND C.J. LAIS 

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Jim Dixon retired from practicing law not a moment too soon, and now works as a freelance writer and film critic. A lifelong and unrepentant movie geek, he firmly believes that everything you need to know in life you can learn at the movies. He lives in upstate New York. jimdixoncom.wordpress.com

Samantha Fuentes

Samantha Fuentes: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "us kids" with Kim snyder

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

Samantha Fuentes was wounded during a school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. 17 people were killed during that senseless act of gun violence. She has bullet shrapnel permanently embedded in her legs and behind her right eye, and currently manages symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She frequently speaks about her life experiences and works closely with Angel Faces, an organization that serves girls who have endured all types of trauma.

Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "Whitewashed"

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

Michael Kennedy is a playwright, director, and founder and artistic director of Creative Action Unlimited. Her production of WHITEWASHED: THE RACISM PROJECT made its debut in 2019. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Development, a Master's in Community Psychology and has completed extensive specialized training in creative action methods with individuals and groups.

C.J. Lais

C.J. Lais discusses "films made in the capital region" with Jackson Murphy AND JIM DIXON

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Boardroom
C.J. Lais Jr., a lifelong Capital Region resident, has been obsessed with movies practically since birth, and has been writing about them for the Times Union for more than 20 years. He also compiles the weekly movie quiz in the newspaper’s Preview section. A Troy native, Lais took film classes as a UAlbany undergrad; counts Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson among his past co-stars (he worked five days as an extra on “Ironweed”); and once sat next to Peter Bogdanovich at a local screening. Currently, Lais can be seen boring his two daughters with endless film trivia and trying to get them to watch movies on his “essentials” list.

Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb discusses film clips of "i know this much is true" with Derek M. Cianfrance

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Wally Lamb is the author of six New York Times best-selling novels: I’ll Take You There, We Are Water, Wishin’ and Hopin’, The Hour I First Believed, I Know This Much is True, and She’s Come Undone, and was twice selected for Oprah’s Book Club. Lamb also edited Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away, two volumes of essays from students in his writing workshop at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Connecticut, where he volunteered for 20 years.

In May of 2020, I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE premiered on HBO as limited series based on the novel. Co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, the six-episode series starred Mark Ruffalo in the roles of identical twin brothers Dominick and Thomas Birdsey. Read more


RICHARD LOVRICH AND SHANNON PLUMB: Screening of Variety Show episode "CHopped Liver" and Discussion 

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Richard Lovrich began his career as a photographer, graphic artist and project manager in New York City working in banking, pharmaceuticals and fashion. As the Albany New York Times Union’s first art director he spearheaded new sections and special editions, winning awards for illustration, design and writing along the way. Hired as Proctors Schenectady's first Art Director, he ushered the theatre’s image through its period of explosive growth and acquisition eventually serving as the Creative Director of Proctors Collaborative, serving three theatrical venues. He serves on the boards of the Schenectady Film Commission, CCIAC, Contemporary Circus and Immersive Arts Center, and the NEFL Northeast Filmmaker's Lab. He is the author of Have a Very Bad Day.


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George Mcnamee: discussion of clips from "the trial of the Chicago 7"

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

George McNamee conceived and co-authored the Tales of Hoffman, recently reissued as the Trial of the Chicago 7, which sold over 200,0000 copies, and served as the basis for the 2020 film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. He is chairman of Plug Power, the leading producer of hydrogen fuel cells supplying early adopters including Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot.

Paul Miller

Paul Miller: Moderator for "bridging the divide"

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Paul Miller is an independent writer, filmmaker and photographer based in upstate New York. His documentary SEARCHING FOR TIMBUCTOO was screened at the NYS Writers Institute in November 2021. As 20-year veteran of broadcast and cable television, he has worked for national shows and networks, including The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, PBS headquarters, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He currently serves as Senior Director of Advancement Communications at UAlbany.

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Jackson MUrphy discusses "films made in the capital region" with JiM DIXON AND C.J. Lais

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Jackson Murphy (a.k.a. Lights Camera Jackson) is an Emmy Award-winning movie critic, interviewer, host, writer, producer and media content entrepreneur. He began his career reviewing films at the age of 7 1/2 and since that time has appeared on numerous national and international TV, radio and online shows, including The Tonight Show, Today, Fox and Friends and The Morning Show (Australia). Jackson currently hosts the podcasts 2Fast2Films and The LCJ Q&A. In 2012 he became the youngest member of the Critics Choice Association. He is the film critic for 99.5 The River (Albany, NY) and Cultjer.com, and is the lead writer for AnimationScoop.com.

Stanley Nelson

Ironweed Award winner, Stanley Nelson: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "attica" with Marcia Smith

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

Stanley Nelson is an American documentary filmmaker and a MacArthur Fellow known as a director, writer and producer of documentaries examining African-American history and experiences. He is a recipient of the 2013 National Humanities Medal from President Obama. He has won three Primetime Emmy Awards. Nelson and his wife, Marcia A. Smith, formed the nonprofit documentary film production company Firelight Media, whose films include the the critically acclaimed 2003 documentary entitled THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL.

His newest film ATTICA was nominated for best documentary feature. Other recent films include CRACK: COCAINE, CORRUPTION & CONSPIRACY for Netflix; the Emmy-nominated TULSA BURNING: THE 1921 RACE MASSACRE for the History Channel; and MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, which became Nelson’s 10th Sundance Film Festival premiere and first Grammy nomination for Best Music Film in 2020. Read more

Hugo Perez

Hugo Pérez: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "omara"

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

Hugo Pérez is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose films often focus on his Cuban-

American heritage and the systematic oppression of marginalized people. He was the recipient of the

2009 Estela Award for Documentary Filmmaking presented by the National Association of Latino

Independent Producers, and his work has frequently appeared on PBS and in film festivals. His writing

has been featured in the New York Times Magazine and Salon, and his films have screened at venues

such as MoMA and the Smithsonian. Perez is the founder of M30A Films. Earlier in his career, Pérez was

the NYS Writers Institute videographer and director of its WMHT television series, “The Writer.”

Lauri Pitkus

Lauri Pitkus: Panel discussion on production of the "the Gilded Age"

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Lauri Pitkus is a freelance, NY-based location manager currently working on season 2 of the HBO series,

THE GILDED AGE. She loves working with directors, production designers, writers and 

cinematographers, translating their vision and ideas to practical locations. Her TV credits include

HBO's THE UNDOING, the Netflix series, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and the Showtime series, NURSE


BOURNE ULTIMATUM, BURN AFTER READING, AND GHOST. After more than 25 years of not sitting

behind a desk, she is decidedly feral.

Shannon Plumb

Shannon Plumb: Screening of Variety Show episode "CHopped Liver" and Discussion 

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

Shannon Plumb's cinematic studies of life's various roles and characters explore the complexities embedded in the ordinary and extraordinary. From the humble persona of a new mother to iconic figures from the silver screen, Plumb portrays these characters with zest and humor. Inspired by the curious spirit of slapstick comedy and the physical humor of silent film legends such as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, Plumb employs a low-fi aesthetic by using Super-8 film, stationary camera shots, long takes and hand-made props and costumes. Plumb is a one-woman show starring as all characters and acting as the creative force behind her films. The low-quality production of the films and her elastic expressiveness as an actress adds to the charm of her work and pushes it beyond its obvious predecessors and influences.

Catherine Rafferty

Catherine Rafferty: "Bridging the Divide" Discussion with Will Pedigo, Allison Valiquette, & Dana Wright

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Catherine Rafferty is Education Producer at WMHT. Catherine produces short and long-form
stories about the impact of education on students, parents and teachers in the Capital Region.
She also shares curriculum developed by local educators on PBS LearningMedia.

She is the producer of BRIDGING THE DIVIDE, a multiplatform documentary project about how public art is bringing together a community divided in Troy, NY. Catherine has produced segments for the local story of PBS's Future of Work, WMHT’s public affairs program New York NOW, and produced season 13 of WMHT’s independent short film series, TVFilm. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Photojournalism.

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Bob Shaw: Panel discussion on production of the "the Gilded Age"

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., Campus Center West Boardroom

Bob Shaw served as production designer for HBO’s THE GILDED AGE. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Production Design for his work on THE IRISHMAN (2019) and won Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series for both BOARDWALK EMPIRE (2010), and MAD MEN (2007), and nominated for the award three times (2000, 2001, 2004) for his work on THE SOPRANOS. His credits also include THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK (2021), THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013), PAN AM (2011), DIEHARD WITH A VENGEANCE (1995), ROBOCOP 3 (1993).

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Ironweed Award winner, Marcia Smith: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "attica" with Stanley Nelson

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

Marcia Smith is president and co-founder of Firelight Media, which produces documentary films, provides artistic and financial support to emerging filmmakers of color, and builds impact campaigns to connect documentaries to audiences and social justice advocates. Under her leadership, Firelight Media was honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Read more

Kim Snyder

Kim A. Snyder: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "us kids" with Samantha Fuentes

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

Kim A Snyder's most recent feature documentary, US KIDS, premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Prior, she directed the Peabody award-winning documentary NEWTOWN, which premiered in the US Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Her most recent short, LESSONS FROM A SCHOOL SHOOTING: NOTES FROM DUNBBLANE, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Short. Snyder’s prior works include the feature documentary, WELCOME TO SHELBYVILLE, and over a dozen short documentaries. Her award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I REMEMBER ME, was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate-produced the Academy Award-winning short film TREVOR.

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Daniel Swinton: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "THE HARD PLACES"

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

Daniel Swinton is a multiple Emmy award-winning visual communicator and documentary veteran. He formerly served as the Director of Production & Content for Mountain Lake PBS and Vice President, Production at WMHT-PBS in Albany, NY where he produced numerous award-winning documentaries, television series and original multi-platform content including the Emmy-Award winning SONGS TO KEEP: TREASURES OF AN ADIRONDACK FOLK COLLECTOR and William Kennedy’s PROHIBITION STORY. Other recent works include the Emmy-award winning travelogue series BREWED IN NEW YORK, and the short documentary WILLIAM WARFIELD: CAST IN HISTORY. As a filmmaker his work conveys a sensitivity toward subjects whose lives have taken unorthodox paths and invites the viewer to engage with the unknown in ways that may challenge personal preconceptions.

Glen Trotiner

GLEN TROTINER: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "THE mental state" with James Camali

10:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Lecture Center 2

Glen Trotiner, film producer, writer, and director, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from UAlbany.

His film career began as a Directors Guild of America trainee on Sidney Lumet’s POWER and shortly thereafter as second assistant director on Brian De Palma’s THE UNTOUCHABLES. Trotiner serves on the board of trustees of the Directors Guild of America Training Program, the very apprenticeship program which launched his career in the motion picture industry. He has helped produce dozens of movies, including THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN, BELLA, BERNARD AND DORIS,  FAM-I-LY, which premiered at South by Southwest; and BIG TIME ADOLESENCE (which premiered in competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

David Van Deusen

David Van DeusEn: discussion of clips from "Celebration the Dick van dyke show"

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., 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.

D.W. Young

D.W. Young: FILM Screening & Discussion OF "the booksellers"

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

D.W. Young has directed 11 documentaries and short films and worked as editor on more than 50 films. films have screened at festivals around the world including New York Film Festival, SXSW, Vancouver International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, and many more. His features includes THE BOOKSELLERS (2019), THE HAPPY HOUSE (2013), NOT INTERESTED (2010), A HOLE IN A FENCE (2008).  Read more