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Featured Guests

Featured Guests 2024

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Jennifer Keishin Armstrong: Discussion of the book So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, bestselling pop culture writer, is the author of the 2024 book, So Fetch: The Making of Mean Girls (And Why We're Still So Obsessed with It), a celebration and reappraisal of the 2004 cult favorite, Mean Girls, marking its 20th anniversary. Glamour called it, “A fitting tribute to a film that has become so iconic to now multiple generations of young women.” Armstrong is also the New York Times bestselling author of Seinfeldia: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything (2016), and Sex and the City and Us (2018).

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Ironweed Award Winner Jacqueline Bisset: Film Screening & Discussion of Loren & Rose

3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Jacqueline Bisset achieved superstardom in films of the 1960s and ‘70s, beginning with such films as Roman Polanski’s Cul Du Sac (1966); Bullitt, opposite Steve McQueen (1968); Airport (1970), the film that launched the “disaster” genre; Francois Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973); Peter Benchley’s The Deep (1977); The Greek Tycoon (1978), opposite Anthony Quinn; and John Huston’s Under the Volcano (1983). She is prouder, however, of her performances in 21st century indie films that offer richer screenplays and more challenging roles, including The Sleepy Time Gal (2001), and Loren & Rose (2022). For her contributions to filmmaking, she received France’s highest recognition, the Legion of Honor, in 2010.

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Russell Brown: Film Screening & Discussion of Loren & Rose

3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Campus Center West Auditorium

Russell Brown wrote, directed and produced the indie film starring Jacqueline Bisset, Loren & Rose (2022), winner of major awards at film festivals around the country. In addition to his work with Bisset, Brown has earned acclaim for directing a number of legendary actresses in award-winning performances, including Cybill Shepherd, Karen Black, and Joely Fisher. His other films include The 44 Scarves of Liza Minnelli (2019), Above the Arroyo: A Dream of the Stairs of Los Angeles (2019), Search Engines (2016), Karen Black on Acting (2014), and Annie and the Gypsy (2012). 

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Deni Cheng: Film Screening & Discussion of Sucker

2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Deni Cheng is an emerging filmmaker from New York City. Her 2023 short film, Sucker, about two brothers struggling to overcome day-to-day challenges in Flushing, Queens, was featured at the 46th Asian American International Film Festival in New York City. Her previous short film, Paradise, won Best Narrative Short at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in 2020. Her music videos have been covered by Rolling Stone and Billboard. Along with her work in film and video, her fashion production and casting work have been featured in i-D Magazine, Dazed, and V Magazine.

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Cindy Chu: Film Screening & Discussion of Bayard Street

2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Cindy Chu is an emerging filmmaker from NYC. Her 2022 short film, Bayard Street, about two restaurant workers who find love in NYC’s Chinatown in the 1980s, was featured at the 46th Asian American International Film Festival. Her script for Bayard Street was a grand prize winner of Pitch Royale, judged by Oscar winners Baz Luhrmann and Jason Blum. She is also a fellow of Mentorship Matters, a program that pairs emerging writers of color with working TV showrunners. She serves as a writers’ production assistant on Silk: Spider Society, a Marvel production on MGM+, based on the superhero Cindy Moon, aka “Silk.”

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Rosa Clemente: Film Screening & Discussion of The American Dream and other Fairy Tales

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

Rosa Clemente, journalist, activist, and a 1995 University at Albany alum, served as assistant producer on the 2021 feature film, Judas and the Black Messiah, about the betrayal and assassination of Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party. That film received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay, winning two for Best Supporting Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), and Best Original Song. Clemente is best-known as the vice-presidential running mate of Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. At UAlbany, she became the first Black-Puerto Rican president of ASUBA (Albany State University Black Alliance).

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Abigail Disney: Film Screening & Discussion of The American Dream and other Fairy Tales

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

Abigail Disney, filmmaker, activist and philanthropist, is the granddaughter of Walt Disney Company cofounder Roy O. Disney. She is also an outspoken critic of the inequalities of American capitalism, a subject she addresses in her film (co-directed with Kathleen Hughes), The American Dream and other Fairy Tales (2022). She received an Emmy award for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary for The Armor of Light (2015), about gun control and the Evangelical Christian community. She also produced Pray the Devil Back to Hell, winner of Best Documentary at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, about women’s anti-war activism in Liberia. 

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Dr. Kyra Gaunt: Film Screening & Discussion of Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games

4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Dr. Kyra Gaunt UAlbany professor, ethnomusicologist, and leading expert on the pastimes of Black girlhood, is featured prominently in the 2023 Oscar-nominated documentary short, Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games, directed by Rada Studio and produced by ESPN. The film earned Best Documentary Short at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Gaunt is the author of The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop (2007), winner of the Merriam Prize, the highest honor of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Her 2022 TED Talk, “How Black Girls Can Reclaim Their Voice in Music,” has received more than 1.6 million views. 

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Joshua Glick: Discussion about AI & Film

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Joshua Glick is a film and media studies scholar focusing on the comparative histories of film, television, and radio; nonfiction media; race and representation; and the civic uses of emerging technology. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College. In collaboration with colleagues at MIT, he designed the online curriculum, “Media Literacy in the Age of Deepfakes.” He also co-curated the exhibition, “Deepfake: Unstable Evidence on Screen,” at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC. His current book project explores how the rising investment in nonfiction on both the left and right of the political spectrum has transformed the relationship between Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C.

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Lizzie Gottlieb: Discussion of Turn Every Page

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom

Lizzie Gottlieb's award-winning documentary, Turn Every Page (2022) explores the remarkable 50-year relationship between two literary legends, writer Robert Caro and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb— the film director’s father who passed away in June 2023 at the age of 92. In the film, Caro works to complete the fifth and final volume of his masterwork, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, for Gottlieb to edit. The New Yorker's Mary Norris called it “a rare window into a relationship that usually goes undocumented… the dance between editor and writer.” The film was named one of the Top Five Documentaries of 2022 by the National Board of Review.

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Larry Hummel: Film Screening & Q/A with Dr. Bob Wishnoff and Greg Pritikin of Swedish Erotica

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Larry Hummel, talent agent and producer of Swedish Erotic (A Comedy) (2023), is a 1994 University at Albany alum. As a producer, his many films include the thriller, Breakwater (2023), winner of the Audience Favorite Award at the Boston Film Festival; the boxing drama, The Featherweight (2023), nominated for the Venice Horizons Award at the 80th Venice International Film Festival; and the nature documentary, Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the West (2022), winner of numerous awards, and a 2023 Critics’ Choice Best Documentary nominee. Hummel is also a voice over talent agent for the AKA Talent Agency in Los Angeles. 

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Jaime Iglehart: College of Saint Rose Documentary preview 

1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Jaime Iglehart explores dreams - both sleeping and waking. She works within a variety of disciplines, including filmmaking, research and education. Jaime is currently a Visiting Professor of Communications at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.

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James Ivory: Discussion with Stephen Soucy of Merchant Ivory 

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom

James Ivory, film director and cofounder of Merchant Ivory Productions, is a towering figure of arthouse cinema. He is best-known for his collaboration on numerous Oscar-winning films with film producer Ismail Merchant and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. He earned three Oscar nominations for Best Director for A Room with a View (1986), based on the novel by Virginia Woolf; Howard's End (1992), based on the novel by E. M. Forster; and The Remains of the Day (1993), based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ivory is also the oldest person ever to win an Oscar for screenwriting (at age 89, for Call Me by your Name).

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Greg Pritkin: Film Screening & Q/A with Dr. Bob Wishnoff and Larry Hummel of Swedish Erotica

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Greg Pritikin inherited a love of film from his father, who had an extensive collection of 16mm prints. Pritikin watched them religiously before starting to make his own 8mm films at the age of eight. 

Pritikin entered the world of independent filmmaking in 1998 with his first feature, Totally Confused

Though he claims he never watched a music video in his life, Pritikin has directed several of them, including one for Willie Nelson. He was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for Dummy and Best Screenplay for Surviving Eden at the Milan International Film Festival.

Pritikin directed the 2011 television film Monster of the House.

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David Rosenthal: Discussion of the book Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom

David Rosenthal is the editor of Paul Newman’s posthumous memoir, The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man (2022), a candid autobiography of one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie stars. The book features Newman’s thoughts about his traumatic childhood, his career, his drinking, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, John Huston, his greatest roles, acting, his intimate life with Joanne Woodward, and his innermost fears, passions and joys. A legend of American publishing, David Rosenthal has worked on books with an astonishing list of authors, including Hunter S. Thompson, Jon Krakauer, Bob Dylan, James Cramer, Neil Young and Carrie Fisher.

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Spencer Sherry: Film Screening and Discussion of The Monkey

12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Spencer Sherry’s short film The Monkey is adapted from Stephen King’s same-named short story about a young father whose children find a wind-up cymbal-clanging monkey in their attic. Sherry received the rights from King to make the film as a participant in King’s “Dollar Baby” program, which offers filmmakers the chance to adapt one of his lesser-known stories for $1, with the stipulation that the films cannot be shown commercially or for a profit. Sherry, a former Communications major at UAlbany, raised the money to make the film through crowdfunding platforms, and featured Capital Region actors and locations.

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Matt Singer: Critics Panel with Alissa Wilkinson

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Matt Singer’s new book is Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever (2023). The reviewer for called it, “A funny, moving, illuminating look at the days when two ink-stained newspapermen from Chicago helped change the way cinema was talked about, made, and distributed, just by going on TV and telling viewers what they liked, and why.” Singer is editor-in-chief and film critic of, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, and a frequent contributor to CBS This Morning Saturday and Ebert Presents: At the Movies. His previous books include Marvel’s Spider-Man: From Amazing to Spectacular (2019).

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Stephen Soucy: Discussion with James Ivory of Merchant Ivory

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom

Stephen Soucy’s first feature-length documentary is Merchant Ivory (2024), an immersion in the glorious history of Merchant Ivory Productions. A UAlbany alum (class of 1991) and a successful theatre producer, Soucy is currently at work on Romy and Michele: The Musical, a theatrical adaptation of the 1997 cult film. His previous projects include the Los Angeles Ovation Award-winning Celebration Theatre production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and the Tony Award-winning The Boys in the Band. He also directed the short animated film, Rich Atmosphere: The Music of Merchany Ivory Films (2019), narrated by James Ivory.

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Aristotle Torres: Film Screening & Discussion of Story Ave.

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

Aristotle Torres is the writer-director of Story Ave. (2023), which was nominated for Outstanding Independent Motion Picture at the 55th annual NAACP Image Awards. Raised in the Bronx, Torres began his career as creative director for rapper J. Cole, the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. He is the founder of By Any Means, a noted multimedia artist collective, and has directed content for numerous artists including Nas, Kanye West, The Roots, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, and Busta Rhymes. His 2012 music video, You Be Killin Em by Fabolous, was nominated for Best Rap Video at the MTV Music Awards.

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Alissa Wilkinson: Critics Panel with Matt Singer

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Campus Center Assembly Hall

Alissa Wilkinson, movie critic, joined the New York Times as a featured critic in November 2023 after several years at Vox and Christianity Today. In announcing her appointment, the Times said, "Alissa has expanded the notion of the role a critic can play, producing not just memorable reviews but also a steady stream of thought-provoking essays off the news, diving into the Hollywood strikes, China’s relationship with the film industry and the perplexing question of why comedy doesn’t always translate to streaming.” Her forthcoming book, We Tell Ourselves Stories (2025), presents the history of Hollywood’s role as a creator of American mythology.

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Dr. Bob Wishnoff: Film Screening & Q/A with Larry Hummel and Greg Pritikin of Swedish Erotica

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Campus Center West Multi-Purpose Room

Dr. Bob Wishnoff, psychologist and executive producer of Swedish Erotica (A Comedy) (2023) received his graduate degrees in Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany in 1975 and 1977. He practices at Upstate Behavioral Health Consultants in Albany, where he specializes in treating alcohol and substance abuse issues in the workplace. A supporter of UAlbany, Dr. Wishnoff endowed the Wishnoff Professional Development Fund, which is awarded to a graduate student who plans to go into counseling, to support attendance at professional development conferences.

Dr Bob
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