Film Institute - Reels Background

Films and Filmmakers Fall 2016

Fall 2016 Schedule

Screening Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in Calcia 135, University Hall Room 1010, or at another location as listed.

Sept 13 | Sept 20 | Sept 27 | Oct 4 Oct 11 |Oct 18 | Oct 25 | Nov 1 | Nov 2 | Nov 15 | Nov 22 |Nov 29 | Dec 6 |

Sept 13 – MICHAEL SLOVIS (executive producer, director, director photography)


(Executive producer, director of AMC’s Preacher Michael Slovis)

As a Director of Photography Michael Slovis photographed films and television, including five seasons of the widely recognized Breaking Bad. Nominated seven times for Outstanding Cinematography Emmy Awards, he won once. He has directed The Walking DeadEDRubiconCSICrime Scene Investigation30 RockLaw and Order SVUChicago FireChicago PDHell on WheelsGrace PointElementaryBreaking BadGame of ThronesMan in the High CastleThe AffairThe New Yorker on Amazon, Hulu’s The Path, and is now Executive Producer/Director of AMC’s Preacher. Michael has lived in Montclair with his wife Maria for 31 years.

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SEPT 20 – TOM LEESER (digital media artist)


*Please note the special location: Calcia Hall Room 135

Photo of Tom Lesser

Tom Leeser is a media artist, educator, curator, and writer. He is Program Director of the Art and Technology Program and Director of the Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Tom received his BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). His film, video, online work, interactive installations, and public performances have been exhibited at Eyebeam, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, MachineProject, the Mount Wilson Observatory, MassMoca, The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The Fowler Museum, Redcat Theater, The Kitchen, The Millennium, Siggraph, and film and video festivals worldwide, with support from Art Matters, Creative Time, and the Daniel Langlois Foundation.

Recent projects include: DryRun, a public art and sound/poetry project for the City of Santa Clarita, History Refused to Die and The Futures Project at the Alabama Contemporary Center for the Arts and the Los Angeles Filmforum. He is an editor and producer for the web-based journal and curatorial project

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SEPT 27 – NATALIA LEITE (writer, director, actor)


Co-sponsored by the  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Center at Montclair State University.

Be Here Nowish Poster

Natalia Leite is a writer/director/actor, born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her feature film debut, Bare premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015, starring Dianna Agron (Glee) and Paz De La Huerta (Boardwalk Empire). The film was released by IFC in US theaters nationwide, and by Paramount Pictures in the UK. She often deals with sexuality in her work, which has been described as having “emotional intelligence and sensitivity” (LA Times), and as “cementing the reign over highly stylized and sexually progressive dramas” (Slant). She is a frequent contributor to Vice Media, creating original content like the provocative Vice show, Every Woman. Together with Alexandra Roxo she created the acclaimed series Be Here Nowish. Natalia was listed in 2015 as one of Indiewire’s Filmmakers To Watch and has been featured in The Sunday Times, The New YorkerThe GuardianVogue, among other publications. She is currently directing her second feature film MFA starring Francesca Eastwood (Outlaws & Angels) and Kevin Durand (X­Men).

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OCT 4 – SKIP LIEVSAY (sound technician)

SCREENING – SELECTED EXCERPTS (featuring films by Ethan and Joel Cohen)

Photo of Skip Levisay

Skip Lievsay is one of the most accomplished sound technicians in the film industry today, having worked on more than 150 feature films, with notable directors such as Joel and Ethan Coen, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuarón, John Sayles, Terrence Malick, and Jonathan Demme. In 2007, he was nominated for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing Academy Awards for No Country for Old Men, and, in 2010, in the same categories for True Grit. In 2013, he won the Academy Award for Best Sound for Gravity, being nominated in the same category for Inside Llewyn Davis.

From Fargo to The Big Lebowski and No Country for Old Men, the sounds of Coen brother films are exhilarating, incorporating an array of music composition and inflections of sound to add to the all-encompassing world of their movies. Academy-Award Winning Sound Mixer Skip Lievsay will discuss the creative process behind their films as well as the collaborative relationship with Ethan & Joel which has endured and prospered across so many films.

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OCT 11 – LESLIE MCCLEAVE (producer and director)


The Blind Boys of Alabama

Filmed over the course of ten years, How Sweet the Sound is the first film to tell the story of this legendary gospel quartet. The Blind Boys of Alabama met as children in the 1930’s at a state-run segregated vocational school and would become one of the last great gospel quartets, traversing the famed “gospel highway” and beyond. As the surviving band members recount their unlikely success story, we see a rare, frank view of life on and off the road with these renowned performers, now in their 70’s and 80’s.

Leslie McCleave’s previous work includes the supernatural, environmental-awareness tale Road, which won the Outstanding Performance Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was acquired by Showtime, iTunes, and Snag Films. Her narrative short films, Avenue XBlixa Bargeld Stole My Cowboy Boots, and Meeting Marty have screened at numerous festivals and venues including New Directors/New Films at the Museum of Modern Art, Berlin International Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Lollapalooza, and have received top awards at the Sundance, Locarno, San Francisco, and South by Southwest Film Festivals. Her films have been broadcast nationally and internationally on Sundance Channel, Showtime, Film Four UK, TV2000 and PBS. In 2011 she created the 5-screen, 9/11 documentary installation cedarliberty, (with Elena del Rivero), presented at the International Center of Photography in New York City and at the New York State Museum in Albany. Her work has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Irish Film Board and the Sundance Institute. How Sweet the Sound is her first documentary feature.

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OCT 18 – TIM K. SMITH (director, editor)


Sex and Broadcasting

Tim K Smith, a 20 year film and TV veteran, started his career serving coffee on Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and has since worked in every aspect of the filmmaking process. He has spent the last 10 years focusing on his love of documentaries which has included his collaborations as editor of Morgan Spurlock’s Comicon Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, co­producing and editing two films for HBO including the critically acclaimed Kevorkian and editing Quest for Honor, the Oscar short­listed documentary following the plight of Kurdish woman in Iraq. Sex and Broadcasting marks his directorial debut, a feature length documentary about New Jersey’s WFMU, the world’s strangest and most unique radio station, and one man’s attempt to keep it alive in the face of recession, the persistent threat of commercial media, and the challenges that come with keeping a rebellious group of outsiders together.

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OCT 25 – ANTHONY TARSITANO (writer, director)


Lost Cat Corona Poster
Anthony resides in New York City with his wife and producing partner, Deborah. With an extensive career in media and advertising already in place, Anthony and Deborah founded City Squirrel Films in 2007. In 2013 he wrote and directed Ice, starring Kevin Corrigan—World Premiering at the Academy®-qualifying TriBeCa Film Festival and International Premiere at the Academy®-qualifying Raindance Film Festival in London. Ice garnered a Jury Award at the Academy®-qualifying USA Film Festival, and Best Narrative Short at the Berlin Independent Film Festival and Phoenix Film Festival. In 2008 he wrote and directed Calling it Quits, starring Dennis Boutsikaris, Jessica Hecht and Bob Clohessy. The film traveled the domestic film festival circuit 2008- 2009 garnering awards for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Ensemble, Best Story and Best Cinematography along the way. From 1990 to present Anthony has also written and directed numerous Television & Radio spots for MasterCard, Citibank, Quicken Loans, Amica Insurance, 21st Century Insurance, and Nickelodeon, and others.

Lost Cat Corona, starring Ralph Macchio, Paul Sorvino, and Gina Gershon, is about a play it safe guy must search for his wife’s missing cat, bringing him face to face with the colorful, wacky, and sometimes, the more dangerous element of his neighborhood, forcing him to confront his fears and rethink his M.O.

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NOV 1 – BEN SYNDER (playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker)


11:55 Poster

Ben Snyder is a playwright, screenwriter, and filmmaker. His plays have been produced at Center Stage New York, The Vineyard Theater, Crossroads Theatre, The Apollo Theater, New York Stage and Film, and at HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. Over the past decade, The Hip Hop Theater Festival has presented his plays at venues including The Bronx Museum, P.S. 122, The Harry Dejur Playhouse, The Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, and Summer Stage. Ben’s work has been nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award. Ben’s films have screened at the LA Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, The Cannes Film Festival, Aspen Shorts Fest, Austin Film Festival, and been featured on the PBS series On Story.

He wrote and directed the feature film, 11:55, featuring Julia Stiles, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and David Zayas. His original TV pilot The Come Up, starring Michael K. Williams (The Wire) and Andre Holland (The Knick), recently participated in IFP’s Screen Forward Lab. Ben was the Story Consultant for the award winning documentary TheWolfpack. Most recently, he was hired to develop a miniseries for Channel 4 (England) and Lionsgate Entertainment, a half-hour comedy for rapper T.I., and has been commissioned to adapt the solo-shows of John Leguizamo into a feature script. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, a former fellow at The Juilliard School, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Ben is a member of Labyrinth Theater Company.

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NOV 2 – Margarita with a Straw with Broadway actress Ali Stroker

SCREENING – 6:30PM – 9:30PM – Leshowitz Hall, Chapin Hall 

A rebellious young woman with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to study in New York, unexpectedly falls in love, and embarks on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery.

ReelAbilities Montclair is part of the largest disability film festival in the country and is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The festival will feature cutting edge and sometimes controversial films that challenge assumptions and promote discussion about ability and disability.

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NOV 15 – Beth B (writer and director)


Throughout her prolific career, Beth B has produced over 30 films within the documentary, experimental, and narrative genres. B worked in television as an Executive Producer, Producer, and Director for eight years. She has mounted large-scale media installations for the Hayward Gallery and the Wexner Center and created a theater production for BAM’s Artist in Action series. Her films have been shown at museums and cinemas worldwide as well as film festivals including: The New York Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Nuremberg Int’l Human Rights Film Festival, DOC NYC Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival and many others.

Currently, Beth B is releasing her new feature documentary film, CALL HER APPLEBROOG, with Zeitgeist Films as distributor. The film had its world premiere at The Museum of Modern Art at Doc Fortnight and opened at the Metrograph Theater NYC as well as other theatrical venues. The film reveals renowned artist Ida Applebroog’s groundbreaking artwork that has been a sustained enquiry into the polemics of human relations, but more intimately, it is about her dramatic struggle to overcome adversity. Her personal story is one that Beth B knows well—Ida is her mother and colleague.

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Nov 22 – 

Directed by Arthur Vincie / Produced by Benjamin Wolf


Three Trembling Cities Poster

Arthur Vincie:
Arthur recently wrote and directed the sci-fi feature Found In Time.  The film was released on Amazon and other VOD channels by Green Apple Entertainment.  It went to 26 festivals, winning Best Feature at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, and Best Sci-Fi Feature awards at Shriekfest, Intendence, Shockerfest, ZedFest, and Phoenix Comic-Con.

Focal Press just published his non-fiction book on preproduction, Preparing For Takeoff: Preproduction for the Independent Filmmaker.  Caleb’s Door, his first feature, is available on DVD and VOD.

Arthur’s shorts have screened at festivals and art venues in the US and in Europe.  He’s also line produced/production managed 13 features, including Helena From The Wedding; Goodbye Baby; The Toe Tactic; and Racing Daylight, starring David Strathairn and Melissa Leo.  These films screened at the Tribeca, Slamdance, Nantucket, SXSW, Rome, Woodstock, and other film festivals, and have gone on to theatrical, DVD and cable distribution.  He’s also line produced pilots, industrials, music videos, and shorts.

Prior to line producing, Arthur worked in just about every department, for ABC, NBC, BBC America, MSNBC, the Knitting Factory, and various independent production companies.  He holds a B.F.A. from NYU.”

Ben Wolf:
Ben’s experience spans several continents, genres, and styles.  He recently shot the musical Life of an Actress (dir. Paul Chau) and a six-hour road movie on all the towns in the U.S. called ‘Amsterdam,’ Amsterdam Stories USA (dirs: Rob Rombout and Rogier van Eck).  The film won awards in Portugal and Serbia and was televised in several European countries. Deceptive Practice (dirs: Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein), a film on the magician Ricky Jay, screened throughout the U.S. via distributor Kino Lorber. Food Chains (dir. Sanjay Rawal) premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, and Invitation to Dance(dir. Christian von Tippelskirch and Simi Linton) premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.  He also lensed Arthur Vincie’s lo-fi sci-fi film Found In Time, Shoja Azari’s Venice Biennale entry The King of Black and Marc Leland’s werewolf film She-Wolf Rising.

Ben’s other credits include Gold Mountain (Student Academy Award, Best Cinematography), Lustre starring Victor Argo, The Young Girl and The Monsoon starring Terry Kinney and Diane Venora, Requiem for Kosova (official selection at over forty film festivals around the globe, and winner of several awards). Ben has shot across the globe, including Sarajevo, China, India, Germany, Malaysia and East Timor.

Ben teaches cinematography at Montclair State University and has taught seminars at DocNomads in Belgium, SVA, Brooklyn College, Wright State University, and SACAC in Delhi.

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NOV 29 – INGRID JUNGERMANN (writer and director)


Scene from Women Who Kill and Ingrid Jungermann
From the film Women Who Kill, and director Ingrid Jungermann)

Along with several short films, Ingrid co-created the acclaimed web series The Slope, and created the WGA-Nominated web series F to 7th, featuring Amy Sedaris, Michael Showalter, Gaby Hoffmann, Olympia Dukakis and Janeane Garofalo. Her work has screened at various film festivals around the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival and Outfest. Ingrid, who earned her MFA at the NYU Graduate Film School, was one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 Faces of Independent Film and Out Magazine‘s 100 People of the Year. Her debut feature film, Women Who Kill, premiered in competition in the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, where she won Best Screenplay. She is currently in development at Showtime for a half-hour comedy version of F to 7th.

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Dec 6 – Alicia Slimmer (director)


Photo of Alicia Slimmer
Alicia Slimmer is an award winning independent filmmaker whose debut feature film, CREEDMORIA, recently took home the Industry Choice Award at Dances with Films Festival in L.A., the same night she won Audience Favorite at the Brooklyn Film Festival. CREEDMORIA made its world premiere at Cinequest Film Festival, in March 2016 where it took home the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature Film Comedy. CREEDMORIA was recently nominated for the prestigious Stubbornly Independent Award at the upcoming Tallgrass Film Festival in Kansas where they presented her with the Outstanding First Feature Award. The Hollywood Reporter says CREEDMORIA “boasts an exuberant comic vitality that keeps the viewer engaged.” CREEDMORIA is a film Slimmer also produced and wrote, borrowing many elements from her own life growing up in Queens, NY, in the 1980s. The Village Voice called it “a timeless lark: a rollicking, touching family yarn…Slimmer’s undying faith in these characters’ lovability gets under your skin and the movie stays warm and endearing throughout.” Entertainment Weekly posted an exclusive sneak peek of CREEDMORIA online, praising its “edgy undertones.” Her previous short film, MY FIRST CAR, premiered at Dances with Films Festival in LA and won Best Comedy at the 24th Annual New School Invitational Film Show. Slimmer is a member of two prestigious groups of women filmmakers: NYWIFT and Film Fatales. Slimmer’s indie approach has been highlighted in The Wall Street Journal online, The Hollywood Reporter,, Crain’s and Indiewire, and countless blogs and podcasts. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Clifton Leaf, a magazine editor and author, and their daughter.

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