Film Institute - Reels Background

Films and Filmmakers Spring 2017

Spring 2017 Schedule

Screening Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040, or at another location as listed.

Jan 24 | Jan 31 | Feb 7 | Feb 14 | Feb 21 |Feb 28 | Mar 21 | Mar 28 | Apr 4 | Apr 18 | Apr 25 |

Jan 24 – Sam Pollard – Director

Two Trains Runnin’
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

Sam Pollard

Sam Pollard is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director whose work spans almost thirty years.  He recently completed as Producer/Director a 90-minute documentary titled The Ground On Which I Stand: August Wilson for the PBS series American Masters and directed the new documentary Two Trains Runnin’. Between 1990 and 2010, Sam edited a number of Spike Lee’s films:  Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers, and Bamboozled.  He also co-produced a number of documentary productions with Spike Lee:  Spike Lee Presents Mike Tyson, a biographical sketch for HBO that received an Emmy, Four Little Girls, a feature-length documentary about the 1963 Birmingham church bombings which was nominated for an Academy Award, and When The Levees Broke, a four-part documentary that won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. In 2012, Sam completed as a producer/director Slavery By Another Name, a 90-minute documentary for PBS that was in competition at the Sundance Festival, and completed editing on the feature-length documentary Venus and Serena that was televised nationally on Showtime.

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Jan 31 – Marya Cohn – Director

SCREENING – The Girl in the Book
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

The Girl in the Book

Marya Cohn is a writer /director and filmmaking professor. She wrote and directed the feature film, The Girl in the Book, starring Emily Van Camp and Michael Nyqvist, which premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival, was released by Myriad Pictures and Freestyle Releasing in December 2015, and is currently available on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.  Her short film, Developing, starring Natalie Portman and Frances Conroy, screened at Sundance, won grand prizes at the Belgian Festival Mondial du Cinéma de Court Métrage and the St. Petersburg Message to Man Film Festival, and aired on The Sundance Channel and Channel 13’s Reel NY. She has also directed plays at The Here Theater, Rattlestick Theater, Dixon Place, Vital Theater, HB Playwrights’ Foundation and Theater, The Women’s Project, New Georges, NADA 45, and the playwrights’ unit at EST. Marya teaches screenwriting at Montclair State University and is a filmmaking mentor for Vermont College of Fine Arts’ non-resident MFA program. She received her MFA from NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television and her BA from Harvard University.

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Feb 7 – Candy Straight – Producer & Amy Fox – Writer

7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

 Equity Poster

Amy Fox writes screenplays, plays, and nonfiction. Most recently she wrote the screenplay for EQUITY, the female-driven Wall Street film which premiered at Sundance 2016. Equity has been called a “suspenseful feminist thriller” by the New York Times and aims to tell a great story while furthering the conversation about gender in the workplace. Amy’s previous feature screenplay, for the Merchant Ivory film Heights, starring Glenn Close and Elizabeth Banks, also premiered at Sundance (2005) and was released by SPC. Fox’s plays have been produced by theaters in New York, including the Ensemble Studio Theater and Clubbed Thumb, and have been seen in London, Tehran, San Francisco, Austin, and St. Paul. Amy has received writing commissions from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, and been nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is on the screenwriting faculty of NYU ‘s Graduate Film Program. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.

Candace Straight is a private investor and independent director. Throughout her successful career, she has worked for numerous corporations including, Merck & Co. Inc., headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and Bankers Trust Company. Straight has also served as a principal of Head and Partners and as an Advisory Director of Securitas Capital, L.L.C., a global private equity investment firm specializing in insurance and financial services related industries.  Straight is a director of Neuberger and Berman’s mutual funds which have assets of approximately $40 billion. She is also the Executive Producer of EQUITY, an independent film starring two time Emmy winner (Breaking Bad) Anna Gunn. EQUITY is the first female-driven Wall Street film with Gunn playing a senior investment banker threatened by financial scandal.  The film premiered January 26, 2016 at the Sundance film festival and was purchased by Sony Pictures Classics. EQUITY was released in theaters on July 29, 2016.

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Feb 14 – Reel Montclair: Academy Award Edition

Location: John J Cali School of Music, Leshowitz Hall 7:30 PM

Reel Montclair

Join other film lovers for an exciting evening of in-depth conversation about the Academy Award nominated films, performances, and crafts, as well as the state of filmmaking today. Moderated by long time Star-Ledger film critic STEPHEN WHITTY, esteemed critics ALISON BAILES (Sirius XM Insight, More), STEPHANIE ZACHAREK (Time Magazine) and ERIC KOHN, (Indiewire) will discuss merits of the films and performances that landed the greatest prize in Hollywood, an Oscar nomination. This FREE event is produced by The Film Institute at Montclair State and New York Film Critic Series and is open to the public, but registration is required.

Reserve your seat here.

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Feb 21 – Double Feature

Diana Legon – Writer / Director & Jorge Perez – Director of Photography

SCREENING – Quizás, quizás, quizás
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

Co-Sponsored by Global Education.

Jorge Luís Santana Pérez is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and founder/president of the FIVAC, International Video Art Festival in Camagüey, Cuba.  He is a member of the National Guild of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC) and also the founder and director of the cultural center CEDINM in Camagüey. He has been exhibiting work since the early 1990s.  Diana Rosa Pérez Legón is a film director and producer at FIVAC, International Video Art Festival in Camagüey, and also a member of the National Guild of Cuban Writers and Artists (UNEAC).  She has been directing and producing documentaries, short films and video art installations since the early 1990s.  Their most recent film “Quizás, quizás, quizás” documents an encounter of the musical group “Golpe Tierra” from Madison, Wisconsin with various Cuban musicians, students and bands in Camagüey, a province in inland Cuba. This one-week suggestive cultural exchange (sponsored by the Madison-Camaguey Sister City Association) allows us to enjoy good music while offering a firsthand authentic vision of Camagüey’s local musical panorama.

Alison Klayman – Director

SCREENING – The 100 Years Shows
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

100 Years Show Poster

Alison Klayman’s feature documentary AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY won a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film went on to be released theatrically around the globe and shortlisted for an Academy Award, nominated for two Emmys and two Cinema Eye Honors, and earned Alison a Director’s Guild of America nomination. She is a regular contributor to the New York Times’ Op-Docs series, and was named one of the “20 Directors to Watch” on A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis’ list of international filmmakers under 40. She is Executive Producer of TOMORROW WE DISAPPEAR, and her new short THE 100 YEARS SHOW about the Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera debuted in 2015.

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Feb 28 – Joe Foley – DP / Producer & Andrew Jernigan – Associate Producer

SCREENING – Forbidden Cuba
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

The filmmakers will be joined by Charles Bittner, Diana Rosa Pérez Legón and Jorge Luís Santana Pérez for a discussion about Cuba following the film.

Forbidden Cuba is a dramatic comedy. It follows Gil Bigelow, an American businessman sent on a covert mission to Cuba to find an executive gone rogue and plant the seeds for future business expansion. On arrival, Gil quickly gets swallowed in the unknowns of Havana. Traveling deeper into the island, he’s stripped of his routines, gadgets and bearings, and finds his eyes opened to the beauty and vibrant culture of Cuba – challenging his corporate directives, his identity and everything he’s known.

Without permits, permission or a Plan B, Forbidden Cuba was filmed guerilla-style on location to reveal a nation on the verge of dramatic change. Colliding narrative storytelling with documentary filmmaking, it’s both a cautionary tale of an American conquistador in Cuba and the first American feature filmed on the island since the revolution of 1959.

Andrew Jernigan – Associate Producer

Andrew Jernigan was brought onto the Forbidden Cuba production team in 2014, during the US portion of the shoot. In the same year he was a guest speaker at Creative Mornings NYC, co-produced and directed Kevin Garrett’s music video, “Control”, and in 2015 his short film, “Mug”, premiered at the Coney Island Film Festival. Recently, he produced over 40 videos for Greatist, a 500,000+ social media company based in NYC, and he is currently working as a Non-Teaching Adjunct at New York City College of Technology.

Joe Foley – Co-Director of Photography / Producer

Joe Foley has been working in film for two decades and has shot 15 features. Filmmaking has taken him all over the world from Morocco, Helsinki, Singapore, Cambodia, and Bali to Paris and South Pasadena. Even though he has shot music videos in Ghana, television in Seoul and corporate videos in Shanghai, he found no location as exotic or as captivating as Cuba. The colors and designs there are magical and the people are incredibly warm and inviting. Working with the international team on “Forbidden Cuba” was a dream come true (if your idea of a dream is to shoot for 19 days straight and eat grilled lobster every other night). It was an amazing experience that continues to give.

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Mar 21 – Jamison LoCascio – Writer / Director

SCREENING – The Depths
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

In 2012, Jamison LoCascio began to write the screenplay for his first union short, “Midnight Catch,” an adrenaline-pumping thriller, which premiered to much acclaim at the New Jersey International Film Festival and Manhattan Film Festival. LoCascio was applauded as only a 19 year old writer/director, tackling heavy themes with style and a personalized touch, and he decided to form his production company, Halcyon Valor Productions Incorporated, that same year. LoCasio’s short films have since been honored by the Screen Actors Guild and screened at such festivals as the New York City Downtown Short Film Festival, Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, and NewFilmmakers New York. LoCascio’s shorts “Track 3” and “A Stranger’s Confession” were both official selections of the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner and his films have been anthologized in the prestigious Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan, distributed worldwide on DVD by Spiritual Cinema Circle, picked up for online distribution by Film Bay, and chosen by Direct TV for their new International Short film platform. LoCascio recently completed post-production on his first feature-length film, “The Depths,” starring Michael Rispoli, Patch Darragh and Charlotte Kirk. LoCascio and his team have just recently launched their latest initiative by filmmakers for filmmakers called FILM VALOR, a look behind the scenes at LoCascio’s company Halcyon Valor Productions.

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Mar 28 – Karl Nussbaum – Filmmaker/ Video Installation Artist

Karl Nussbaum

Karl Nussbaum is a Brooklyn based filmmaker/video installation artist, whose work has been internationally exhibited in galleries, museums, universities and international film festivals, including the Sundance, Rotterdam and London International Film festivals, Oberhausen, KurzFilm Festival Hamburg and Black Maria; in NYC at Lincoln Center, Director’s Guild of America, P.S. 122, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium, La Mama, Exit Art, Socrates Sculpture Park; at the Smithsonian / Hirshorn Museum, Harvard Film Archives, The Carpenter Center, Richmond Museum of Fine Art, Portland Art Museum, MMX Gallery/ Berlin, Witteveen Art Centre (Amsterdam), Sideshow Gallery (Brooklyn), Laconia Gallery (Boston), Kunst Haus Wiesbaden, Kriti Gallery (India) and the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. Television screenings include Sundance Channel, Canal Plus and NHK in Tokyo. Nussbaum was a featured artist at the Global Freud Symposium at Clark University and at the 12th Annual Holocaust Series Symposium at St. Mary’s College.

Nussbaum is a founding member of the 80’s East Village NYC film collective, Film Crash and has worked as a free-lance director for MTV, MTV2, VH-1, Fox TV, Children’s Television Workshop, and the Sundance Channel.  He is currently a Film professor at Montclair University, NJ. and has an MFA in New Media from the Transart Institute/ Berlin

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Apr 4 – Doug Elkins – Choreographer

SCREENING – A Hundred Indecisions
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

Doug Elkins

Since he began his dance career as a B-Boy, award-winning choreographer Doug Elkins has earned a reputation for “effortlessly melding” numerous “dialects” of dance and movement languages. Doug is a two-time New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award-winning choreographer and 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Creative Arts Fellow.  He has taught and choreographed extensively in the US and Europe and has created original work for Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, Flying Karamazov Brothers, MaggioDanza, Pennsylvania Ballet, Union Dance and CanDoCo of London, as well as a number of university dance companies and the renowned Mini & Maxi of Holland.  With A Hundred Indecisions, his career-long exploration into the unexpected connections between form and culture expands into film.

Elkins is the third 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.  This advance screening of A Hundred Indecisions 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 at Peak Performances, April 20-23, at the Alexander Kasser Theater (

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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Apr 18 – Nanfu Wang

SCREENING – Hooligan Sparrow
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

Co-Sponsored by Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

Hooligan Sparrow Poster

Nanfu Wang is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. She is a recipient of Sundance Documentary Fund and Britdoc Journalism Fund. Her feature debut Hooligan Sparrow premiered at Sundance 2016. It has since been included in numerous other festivals in over 25 countries such as Hot Docs, Sheffield, Full Frame, Human Rights Watch Film Fest, etc. It opened theatrically across North America and was later released on POV, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, etc. It won the Best Debut Film at Cinema Eye Honors and the Truer than Fiction Award at Independent Spirits Awards. Wang was honored by the International Documentary Association with the 2016 Emerging Filmmaker Award. Originally from a remote village in China, Wang overcame poverty and lack of access to formal secondary education and went on to earn graduate degrees in communications and documentary film from universities in China and the United States. Wang holds three master’s degrees from Shanghai University, Ohio University, and New York University in English Literature, Media Studies, and Documentary respectively.

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Apr 25 – Ian Olds – Writer / Director

SCREENING – Burn Country
7:00 p.m. in University Hall Room 1040

Burn Country Poster

Ian Olds is a director of both narrative and documentary work. He directed Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi, a feature-length documentary that follows the relationship between an Afghan interpreter and his client, American journalist Christian Parenti. The film won Best New Documentary Filmmaker at the Tribeca Film Festival, First Prize of the Jury at Documenta Madrid, and the Special Jury Prize at Pesaro Film Festival. He and Garrett Scott directed the feature documentary Occupation: Dreamland, an in-depth portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the city of Falluja, Iraq. Occupation: Dreamland was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won a 2006 Independent Spirit Award. Olds’ short fiction films have played at numerous festivals in the US and abroad including Sundance, Los Angeles and Rotterdam in 2007. He received a 2005 Princess Grace Award, a 2006 Media Arts Fellowship sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and was recently named one of the 25 New Faces Of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. Ian received his MFA from Columbia University’s Film Program in 2006.

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