Film Institute - Reels Background

Films and Filmmakers Spring 2016

Spring 2016 Schedule

Screening Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in University Hall, Room 1040 (or at another location as listed).

 Jan 26 | Feb 2 | Feb 9 | Feb 16 | Feb 23 |Mar 1 | Mar 15 | Mar 22 | Mar 29 | Apr 5 | Apr 12 | Apr 19 |Apr 26 (April 26 event is not open to the public).

JAN 26 – JEREMY WORKMAN (documentary filmmaker)


Magical Universe Poster

(Documentary film director Jeremy Workman) 

Step into the unique and visionary world of lifetime outsider artist Al Carbee, an 88-year old eccentric who spends his days creating outlandish works of art featuring Barbie dolls. Filmmaker Jeremy Workman has spent over a decade with his friend Carbee, compiling extensive footage and memories to provide audiences with a window into the magical universe of Carbee’s bizarre creative force and a glimpse of an otherwise unknown artist’s lifelong body of work. Learn more at

Jeremy Workman’s narrative and documentary films have screened at over 60 film festivals in more than 10 countries. His award-winning shorts and documentaries Who is Henry Jaglom? Claire Makes it Big, and One Track Mind have played at such esteemed film festivals as Tribeca, Hamptons, Slamdance, Melbourne, AFI, and MOMA’s Documentary Fortnight.

“The subject of Jeremy Workman’s Magical Universe isn’t really an established quantity in the world of outsider art, leaving the audience to form its own impressions of the endearing yet enigmatic Carbee.”– TIME Magazine/Lightbox

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FEB 2 – BEN DOLPHIN (director, cinematographer, and choreographer)

SCREENING – ARISING TRILOGY (short films) and a selection of commercial work

Still of Arising
(from the short film Arising)

The Arising Trilogy are liquid-inspired films, which took six years to create, featuring the shorts ArisingOn Arising, and Arisen. Ben’s work combines art, science and advertising. A native New Yorker, he directs and shoots Tabletop & Live Action TV Commercials on five continents. World renown for High Speed Liquids, he also shoots cosmetics, food, fashion, beauty, gold & diamond jewelry, pharmaceuticals and Live Action.

A master of High Speed and all Effects Driven Visuals, he is accomplished in blending Live Action and CGI Elements. Ben, also a Certified Steadicam operator is highly experienced with Motion Control and advanced product and camera rigs. Additionally, he is a 3D/Stereo Imaging Specialist certified by Sony and Panasonic.

Ben’s work has won 2 Emmys, an Addy and a Silver AD&D award. His work is characterized by a powerful sense of energy and design in movement. His dance background as a choreographer influences his commercial work. He choreographs strong and subtle interactions between camera, talent, product and lighting. His work demonstrates a consistent level of quality and depth of experience in filming liquids very few can rival. His choreography for camera elicits genuine performances from talent and objects.

Ben also directs Documentaries and Dance Films that have been featured in the Lincoln Center Dance on Camera Festival and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC. Having been in the companies of Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp, he danced at Lincoln Center in 2013, 2014, 2015 with the Buglisi Dance Theatre. The Harkness Dance Center, NYC recently featured his dance films and commercial work.

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FEB 9 – JEREMY KAPLAN (co-director and cinematographer)


A Will for the Woods poster

Directors of A Will for the Woods
(Co-directors of A Will in the Woods, top left to right: Jeremy Kaplan and Tony Hale, bottom left to right: Amy Browne and Brian Wilson.)

What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Determined that his final resting place will benefit the earth, musician, psychiatrist, and folk dancer Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial while battling lymphoma. The spirited Clark and his partner Jane, boldly facing his mortality, embrace the planning of a spiritually meaningful funeral and join with a compassionate local cemetarian to use green burial to save a North Carolina woods from being clear-cut.

With poignancy and unexpected humor, the documentary A Will for the Woods portrays the last days of a multifaceted advocate – and one community’s role in the genesis of a revolutionary movement. As the film follows Clark’s dream of leaving a legacy in harmony with timeless cycles, environmentalism takes on a profound intimacy.

Jeremy Kaplan (Co-Director/Cinematographer) received his B.A. from Boston College in Film and Philosophy and his M.A. in Documentary/Media Studies at The New School. His documentary work has brought him across the globe to Costa Rica, Egypt, and South Korea with topics ranging from the environmental impact of American corporations in Costa Rica to a portrait of a progressive New York Orthodox Jewish community. The years spent on A Will for the Woods have been his most gratifying work yet, due to the moving subject matter and the collaborative nature of the project.

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FEB 16 – Thomas Allen Harris (documentary filmmaker)


Through a Lens Darkly Poster

Image of Thomas Allen Harris
(Director of Through A Lens Darkly, Thomas Allen Harris)

Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People is about contemporary artists probing the recesses of the American dream by interrogating images of stories suppressed, forgotten and lost. The film brings to light previously hidden and largely unknown images by both professional and vernacular African American photographers which add to our understanding of history by providing a window into lives, experiences and perspectives of Black families that is absent from the traditional historical canon.

The documentary draws inspiration from the work of Marlon Riggs, particularly his ground-breaking Tongues Untied, in its assembly of a diverse yet focused community of storytellers to follow and transform a singular journey into a communal journey of discovery and a call to action. Through A Lens Darkly highlights Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Coco Fusco and Clarissa Sligh; in addition to LGBT artists of color, such as Lyle Ashton Harris, Glenn Ligon, Lola Flash and Carla Williams, who are rethinking the archive and its relevance to issues of identity and representation. The film was awarded the 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film, an Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Diasporic Documentary, and Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award.

Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning documentary films have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. Mr. Harris’ experimental videos and installations have been featured at museums and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, London Institute of the Arts and the Long Beach Museum of Art.

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Still of Forerunner
(image: still of Sahej Rahel’s film Forerunner)

Anuj Vaidya will be present at the screening and will speak about experimental and non-narrative filmmaking, media practices that engage the porous borders of art and film, the possibilities of digital media, and making work under a climate of censorship. He is an artist/filmmaker who lives between the US and India, and who works in the cusp between film and performance. He is also a media curator, one of the co-directors of the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival in San Francisco, and teaches queer studies in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program at Montclair State University. Apart from co-curating this series, Anuj was also one of the cinematographers on the video Between the Waves which will be screened in this program.

In a reversal of exhibition practices, this program lines up single channel video art and installations in a repertory film space and suggests novel ways of considering bodies in movement. These bodies are neither discrete nor constant; they challenge borders and boundaries and prefer entanglements with other species and other kinds. Varied in their consideration of the digital and in their use of performance practices, the works are primarily by artists living in Mumbai, Goa, and New Delhi.

A woman lies amongst pigeons in a public plaza in Logic of Birds, her body hospitable to their pecking and fluttering; man and bird merge in a play between painting and video in Man with Cockerel; an island sets the stage for bodies becoming other in Fjaka; and melting ice clocks the duration of a row in Iceboat. These performances of time and in space offer new utopias: a universe inhabited by myth and desire is the setting for the queer eco-fable Between the Waves; ancient ruins and spaceships offer a promise of time and space travel in the Forerunner; and a landscape comes to life in the liminal time between digital and analog in Night Noon.

Click here for a complete list of films in the program.

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MAR 1 – JENNIE LIVINGSTON (documentary filmmaker)


Location: University Hall, Room 1070, 7:00 p.m.

Q&A with director with professor Anuj Vaidya, professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

The event is co-sponsored with the LGBTQ Center, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, and the President’s Commission of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Paris is Burning Poster

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 American documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities involved in it. Some critics consider the film to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, and a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.

The film has become a seminal work among LGBTQ and Gender studies programs to discuss and debate.

Our screening of this film would include a Q&A with the Director facilitated by Anuj Vaidya, a professor in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies program. The Event is also sponsored by the LGBTQ Center and the Filmmaking Program.

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A distinguished panel of highly creative and successful women working in the film industry will discuss their professional journeys with Associate Professor of Filmmaking Lise Raven. Featuring writer/director Deborah Goodwin (Cherrys, Vampires in Venice, The Pastor), editor Carla Gutierrez (La Corona, Ella Es Matador), producer/director/writer Deborah Kampmeier (VirginHounddog), documentary producer/director Chiemi Karasawa (The Betrayal, Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me), and cinematographer Cybel Martin (Orange BowSangam). The event will also include a screening of short clips from each panelist’s film.

Location: Memorial Auditorium, Life Hall, 7:00 p.m. (find Memorial Auditorium on the campus map)

Register for the event here.


DEBORAH GOODWIN, writer/director of The Pastor

The Pastor Poster

Deborah Goodwin is a Brooklyn-based writer and filmmaker. Born in Manchester, England, raised in the Montreal art scene, graduate of Dawson College’s drama department and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Los Angeles refugee; (where she went to the AFI for screen writing and worked at USA Networks, CBS kids programming, CAA’s basement and Sanford-Pillsbury Productions as head of development). A Film Independent screenwriter’s and producer’s lab alumni, Urbanworld Film Festival Best Screenplay award winner for her family drama, Cherrys. Deborah’s micro-budget feature that she wrote, produced and directed, Vampires in Venice, a horror/fable, with Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum) had its sales debut at Cannes Market 2011. Her second feature, as a writer-director, is The Pastor, an inspirational action-drama with a largely Latino cast led by Arturo Muyshondt in the title role, Angelic Zambrana (Precious), Victoria Cartagena, (Gotham) Franky G (Power) Micah Hauptmann (Everest) was released in January, 2016, nationwide with WolfGang Cinema. Deborah is already developing her next feature and serves as a Film Fatales Fiction chapter leader in New York.


CARLA GUTIERREZ – editor of La Corona

La Corona Poster

Carla Gutierrez is an award-winning documentary editor. She edited the Oscar-nominated documentary, La Corona for HBO, which won Honorable Mention at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Carla also edited Ella Es Matador/She Is The Matador, which was broadcast on PBS’s P.O.V. in 2009. It premiered at the Silverdocs Film Festival and won Best Documentary Work-in-Progress at the Tribeca All Access Program. She began her career as the second editor on The Fall of Fujimori, (Sundance, POV, 2005) and received a Masters in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University in California.


DEBRA KAMPMEIER – director of Hounddog

Hounddog poster

Deborah Kampmeier’s second feature film Hounddog, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It won the top jury prize, Best of the Show, at the 2009 Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto. The film stars Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright Penn, Piper Lauri and David Morse. Deborah’s first feature film Virgin, which she made for $5,000 was nominated for two 2004 Independent Spirit Awards, the John Cassavetes Award and the Best Female Lead for Elisabeth Moss’ performance in the film. In addition, Kampmeier won Best Screenwriter at the 2003 Hamptons International Film Festival. Virgin garnered Best Feature Film at the 2003 Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, won Best Independent Spirit at the Santa Fe Film Festival and Best Actress at the Sedona Film Festival. Virgin had its world premiere at the 2003 IFP Los Angeles Film Festival. Deborah is currently in post-production for SPLiT, the story of one woman’s mythic journey to claim her own darkness and stop putting it into the hands of her abusive lover. Starring Amy Ferguson, Morgan Spector and Anna Mouglalis. Deborah is the founder of Full Moon Films, a company dedicated to the development and production of films by and about women.


CHIEMI KARASAWA – producer, and director of Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

Shoot Me poster

Chiemi Karasawa is an award-winning producer who founded Isotope Films in 2005 to develop and produce content based on true stories. She won an Emmy Award in 2010 for Ellen Kuras’ epic The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), which was also an Oscar Nominee in 2009. Billy the Kid (2008), a portrait of an adolescent with Asperger’s Syndrome won the prize for Best Documentary at SXSW Film Festival, LA Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival and was subsequently released theatrically and on HBO. Additional films include: Tell Them Anything You WantPortrait of Maurice Sendak (2009), directed by Spike Jonze for HBO; Elevate (2011), a story of a Senegalese basketball academy; Love Etc. (2011), about five New York love stories, and Harry Dean StantonPartly Fiction (Venice Film Festival Official Selection 2012). The award winning Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is her directorial debut.


CYBEL MARTIN – cinematographer

‌‌‌Image of Cybel Martin

Cinematographer Cybel Martin (Orange BowSangam) is a bi-coastal Director of Photography. Her films have premiered at Sundance, TriBeCa, Toronto and Berlin Film Festivals. She has shot commercials for Timberland Apparel, Reebok, Sony and L’Oreal; TV programs for ESPN, Netflix, NatGeo and Centric/BET. She’s been featured in Fader MagazineAmerican Cinematographer Magazine and most recently in Fast Company for her work shooting Virtual Reality. She writes about cinematography for

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MAR 22 – LIZ HINLEIN (director and cinematographer)


Other People's Children poster

(On the set of Other People’s Children with director Liz Heinlein (center)

Reeling from the death of her famous father (Scott Patterson), filmmaker Samantha Trassler (Diane Marshall-Green) falls down the rabbit hole of PK (Chad Michael Murray), a charismatic homeless man who becomes the subject of her latest documentary. She is at loose ends until P.K. gives her renewed purpose. Their affair, however, threatens to tear apart the fabric of both of their lives.

Liz Hinlein is an award winning director and cinematographer. Her films have been featured in film festivals around the world including The Berlin Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Blackwatch Film Festival among others. She has traveled around the world directing commercials for Fortune 500 companies and is currently one of four directors selected for the Viacom TV Directing program. She has a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from The American Film Institute.

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MAR 29 – WILL SWEENEY (producer and writer)


Location: University Hall, Room 1040, 7:00 p.m.

Moderated by Kelly Whiteside, Assistant Professor of Sports Media and Journalism, School of Communication and Media.

Co-sponsored with the LBGTQ Center.

Register for the event here.

Back on Board poster

Back on Board: Greg Louganis is an intimate portrait of the public triumphs and private struggles of trailblazing openly gay athlete Greg Louganis.

A refreshingly candid documentary film about this four-time Olympic champion, Back on Board follows Greg Louganis over the past three years as he struggles with financial security and reunites with the sport he once dominated but not welcomed in. The threat of losing his house during the recent financial crisis forces Louganis to re-evaluate the choices, relationships, and missed opportunities of his career.

With unprecedented access, the film reveals the complicated life of an athlete whose grace, beauty and courage sparked a worldwide fascination with diving. It chronicles Louganis’ rise from a difficult upbringing to nearly universal acclaim as the greatest diver ever, and from pioneering openly gay athlete with HIV to an overlooked sports icon. Back on Board is the engrossing story of an American legend as he re-emerges on the world stage to combat prejudice, promote tolerance, and return to the diving world after a long period of absence to act as a mentor to the next generation.

Will Sweeney is a writer, producer, and director based in New York City. Will was a producer on the award-winning The Royal Tenenbaums and has worked in production and development at Miramax Films and Walt Disney Pictures. With an emphasis on story and character development, Sweeney has worked on dozens of major motion pictures including RoundersCider House Rules, and The Squid and the Whale. Learn more about the film at

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APRIL 5 – Nathan Silver (director)


Sinking Heaven poster

Image of Nathan Silver
(Stinking Heaven director Nathan Silver)

Stinking Heaven is a dark as tar comedy charting the dissolution of a commune for sober living in early 90’s suburban New Jersey. Married couple Jim and Lucy (Keith Poulson, Deragh Campbell) run a commune for sober living out of their suburban New Jersey home. The motley members eat, bathe and work together selling homemade “health tea” out of their van. Although there’s constant bickering and plenty of fires to be put out, Jim and Lucy have managed to establish a haven for these outcasts.

From the director Nathan Silver about the film:
I’ll never shake the quote: “Hell is other people”. Every movie I make is a wrestling match with this statement. A movie about a commune in the early 90’s seemed like the perfect arena for the latest match. We worked without a script or storyboards. My co-writer and I outlined the story structure; the actors and I developed the characters; and the cinematographer improvised along with the actors. The point was to create an environment that would allow chaos and life to rule the movie. Shooting a period piece, I found it necessary to work with a news camera from the time. In the end, it’s a documentary of a fictional world – one that deals with the need for family, love, and humiliation.

Nathan Silver graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2005. Since then he has written and directed five short films and six feature films, including Soft in the Head (2013), Uncertain Terms (2014), and Stinking Heaven (2015). His films have played in countless festivals around the world, including Locarno, New York, Rotterdam, Viennale, Vancouver, AFI, Torino, Munich, and BAFICI and venues including MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.

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Co-presented in collaboration with the Office of Arts & Cultural Programming

Image of Nora Chipaumire

Born in Mutare, Zimbabwe, and based in New York City, Nora Chipaumire has been challenging and embracing stereotypes of Africa and the black performing body, art, and aesthetic for over a decade.  In Afro Promo #1Kinglady, she explores the influence of comic book heroes on the American immigrant experience.  Chipaumire is the second choreographer selected for Dance for Film on Location at Montclair State University, a three-year short film series that provides an opportunity for choreographers and filmmakers to explore the art of dance when created especially for film. The choreographer and first-time film director will be joined by collaborators Tony Pemberton (Unit Production Manager) and other panelists.

This advance screening of Afro Promo #1 Kinglady will be accompanied by documentary shorts on the making of the film at Montclair State, produced by a team of Montclair State students.  The film will have its world premiere with Chipaumire’s portrait of myself as my father at Peak Performances, April 14-17, at the Alexander Kasser Theater (

Nora Chipaumire has studied dance in many parts of the world including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica, and the U.S.  A graduate of the University of Zimbabwe’s School of Law, Chipaumire holds an M.A. in Dance and an M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from Mills College (CA).  She is a three-time winner of the New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Award and a recipient of the 2009 AFROPOP Real Life Award for her choreography in the film Nora.  Recent dance works include rite riot(2013), a 75 minute solo rendering of The Rite of SpringThe Last Heifer (2012), commissioned by Danspace Project; Visible (2011), commissioned by Harlem Stage and created in collaboration with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; Kimya (2011), a work for Jokajok!, a female ensemble based in Kenya; I Ka Nye (You Look Good) (2010), created and performed with choreographer Souleymane Badolo and musician Obo Addy; Silence/Dreams (2010), created and performed with Fred Bendongue; and lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi (2009), created and performed with Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited.  Chipaumire is featured in several films, including Fao (dir. Carolina Alejos & Luis Guardeno, 2010); Dark Swan(dir. Laurie Coyle, 2011); and the award-winning Nora (dir. Alla Kovgan & David Hinton, 2008), as well as the documentaries Movement (R)evolution Africa (dir. Joan Frosch & Alla Kovgan, 2006) and Cassa Cassa (dir. Elodie Lefebvre, 2011).

Dance for Film on Location at Montclair State University is a project developed and produced by the Office of Arts & Cultural Programming, with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Mi America Poster

Mi America is a character-driven drama that takes a hard look at the growing trend in hate-crimes against Hispanics in America. A hate-crime has been committed where five migrant laborers are beaten, shot, then ditched near an abandoned industrial riverfront complex. The bodies are discovered six months later. Rolando Ramirez (a Mexican-American Detective, and a longtime resident of this community), has been assigned to the case. Was it chance? Or was it fate? His journey will force him to question his own identity, and what it means to be a North American, as he attempts to bring those who committed this crime to justice.

Robert Fontaine made his directorial debut with the short film entitled Rebels (1995). The film led to the financing of the full length feature Crispy Crackers and Beans (1997) which Robert co-wrote, co-produced, directed and starred in. Robert then turned his focus to creating his own production company, Industrial House Films, which is independently financed and made its first feature debut in 2015 with the motion picture entitled Mi America. A character-driven drama about the racial identity crisis in America. Robert is the writer-director of the company’s initial film production, Mi America. Rick Porras (Lord of The Rings Trilogy) and Doug Claybourne (Nights in Rodanthe and North Country) will serve as producers.

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**This event is not open to the public.

Hounddog poster

Image of Deborah Kampmeier
(Director of Hounddog Deborah Kampmeier)

Written and directed by Deborah Kampmeier, Hounddog was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won the top jury prize, Best of the Show, at the 2009 Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto. The film stars Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright Penn, David Morse and Piper Laurie. Dakota Fanning plays a spirited young girl in 1950s rural Alabama struggles to rise above the repression that surrounds her. She finds comfort and safety, as well as a place to put her hurt and rage, in the music of Elvis Presley, but it will be her own voice that gives her the strength and courage to walk away from her past and into her future.

Deborah Kampmeier is an American filmmaker and writer with three feature-length films to her name. Virgin (2003), Hounddog (2007) and SPLiT (postproduction) — though different in plot and structure, they set out to empower women. Deborah began her career in theater as an actress after training at the National Shakespeare Conservatory from 1983–85, and has taught acting in NYC at such institutions as NYU, Stella Adler Studios, Michael Howard Studios, Playwrights Horizons and The National Shakespeare Conservatory. Deborah is the founder of Full Moon Films, a company dedicated to the development and production of films by and about women. Full Moon Films is located in upstate NY where Deborah lives with her daughter Sophia.

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