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Life With Layla film screening co-presented with Montclair Film Festival and NJTV

May 4, 2019, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
SponsorReelAbilities Film Festival | New Jersey and Montclair Film Festival and NJTVCost$15.00 general public, $13.00 Montclair Film membersPosted InThe Film Institute at Montclair State
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ReelAbilities Film Festival NJ is proud to co-present the documentary film Life With Layla with the Montclair Film Festival and NJTV.

Life with Layla will premiere on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30pm  at Montclair Kimberly Academy Upper School, 6 Lloyd Road, Montclair NJ 07042.

The opioid epidemic has destroyed lives and ravaged communities across America. Seven-year-old Layla is well aware of her family's history of drug and alcohol addiction. After losing an aunt to a fatal overdose, Layla's family struggles to cope with their loss, and with other family members’ continuing heroin addiction.

Tickets can be purchased here:

Q&A with co-directors Ken Spooner and Mike Mee, and producer Steve McCarthy to follow. 

KEN SPOONER – Director, Producer

Ken earned a B.A. from the Broadcasting Department at Montclair State University in 2013. Since then, he has founded SpoonyVision Studios, a multimedia production company. Ken produced and directed the award-winning short film To Be Strong, which received national recognition, winning an Honorary Webby, and a Best Documentary award at the Jersey City International Film Festival. Ken also directed and edited American Voices, a feature-length documentary that aired on NJTV in 2012. His most recent camera credit is on HBO's acclaimed documentary film Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists.

MIKE MEE – Director, Producer

Mike also graduated from the Broadcasting department at Montclair State in 2013 and this is where he met co-director, Ken Spooner. After graduating, he freelanced for NBC and has credits from working on feature films and TV shows such as: Project Runway, The Rachael Ray Show, HBO's Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists, HBO's Wizard of Lies and John Wick 2. He is currently a producer for CNN and SpoonyVision Studios.


Monika Kolodziej was born in Poland and earned a B.F.A. in Filmmaking at Montclair State University in 2013. Since graduating, Monika has worn many hats on productions ranging from; filming, editing and coloring feature documentaries, to filming short non-fiction films. Her work has taken her around the country and the world working on commercials, non-fiction and documentary features, and she is also the creator and editor of the website, a collective of young filmmakers from New Jersey. Monika is currently editing a documentary about John Bayless, a recording artist, concert pianist and composer, and teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University. 

STEVE McCARTHY – Executive Producer

Steve McCarthy is an Emmy Award winning network TV news producer and director. A former staff producer for "60 Minutes" and "Dateline," he formed McCarthy Productions, Inc in 2001 and produced projects for "60 Minutes," "Dateline," "Charlie Rose," MSNBC, PBS, BBC America, Reuters and others. In 2006 he directed an independent film Finding Paddy. In 2016 he co-produced the documentary The One That Got Away which aired on PBS. In 2019 he co-directed and co-produced an HBO documentary about Journalism through the life stories of Pete Hamill and the late Jimmy Breslin called Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists. McCarthy teaches journalism and documentary production at Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media. He helped develop the student newscast “Montclair NewsLab”. Recent student projects include reports on the refugee crisis in Greece, sustainability projects in Malawi, post-revolution life in Tunisia, and documenting the work of Swedish NGO Spiritus Mundi in Amman, Jordan as they bring music, dance, and theater into the lives of a group of orphans, refugees, and handicapped youth. The film Hayatuna recently premiered in the Montclair Film Festival.

ReelAbilities Film Festival NJ is made possible by generous funding from the Kessler Foundation.