Monday, July 11, 2016


Recently, I had the fortune of reading “We Love Books, Films & Company.”  This online monthly magazine is produced locally by University at Albany Professor Ray Ortali.  It’s both scholarly and hopefully entertaining, focusing on the work of the best writers in the Capital Region.  The project was started as a complete labor of love by Mr. Ortali.  Ray is someone I met years ago at Upstate Independents film group and Ray has always been an ardent supporter of local independent filmmaking.  Recently the magazine expanded to encompass screenwriting! 

Ray’s reasoning is simple, “a good film first needs a good script.”  The first two screenplays are from Capital Region filmmakers Kevin Craig West and Christopher Schiller!

Here’s the best part- you can receive this completely free!  Just email with your name and you’re on the list to receive the next issue!  


Monday, May 23, 2016

Season 8 Films and Schedule!

Thursday, June 23rd at 10pm
Nice to Tweet You by Justin Maine
Beaks is a bird who lives to tweet, chirp and sing. But when a hiker in the woods suggests she can tweet better than him, Beaks is all atwitter. Is social media for the birds? This funny flight to the finish between nature and technology seeks to find out once and for all.

Guilt Trip by Majestic Tillman and Rashid  Howell
Shot in one single take, Guilt Trip is the story of two cousins dealing with the aftermath of a crime gone wrong.

The Dark is Shifting Almost Imperceptibly Toward You by Marilyn McCabe
This is a video-poem exploring the ephemeral but circular nature of life.

Kiki on a Bad Day by Christian Meola
After taking more Adderall than her usual dose, Kiki struggles through her routine plagued by bad luck, endless obligations, and a bizarre encounter with a boy.

Thursday, June 30th at 10pm
Passing by Kristin Holodak
In human history, there have always been outsiders – those visibly different. And there have always been those outsiders who slipped through unnoticed. The ones who passed, walking among the crowds – unlike and unnoticed. But when an alien anthropologist is discovered on Earth, passing for human, the definitions of like and unlike have to change.

Biollante by Patrick Stephenson
Shot in an evening and edited the next day. Based on a song written by the filmmaker, inspired by a picture of a rose a friend shot which reminded him of a Godzilla film that he saw as a kid but couldn't quite remember.

It’s Natural by Darian Henry and Wylia Mcleod
This documentary explores the many styles of hair that Black women have to choose from, and spreads a positive message about being yourself and being empowered.

Thursday, July 7th at 10pm
Bogged by Elliott Ambrosio
Atticus, our protagonist, is stuck in his basement by an unknown force. All he wants is to get out and see his sweetheart, even if that means attempting to escape again, and again, and again, and again.

Take Out by Kristin Holodak
When a young man enters a cafe unexpected kindness may be the most valuable thing he takes away.

The Demon Inside by Elliott Ambrosio
The Demon Inside is a psychological thriller that follows the story of a man who loses his wife to a horrific murder. He's taken refuge in a tool shed in an isolated area where at night, an unknown entity comes out for him from the depths of the woods. 

Thursday, July 7th at 10:30pm
Disneyland Dream by Marty Hardin
In July, 1956, the Barstow family of Westfield, CT entered a contest sponsored by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M) for a chance to win a trip to Disneyland. They were selected as one of 25 families nationally to receive a trip with $300 in spending money. The family patriarch, Robbins Barstow, documented the experience.

Immortal Dear by Dan Holodak
Five friends and former college bandmates are forced back together after years apart, when their friend and drummer of the band commits suicide

Thursday, July 14th at 10:00pm
The Cake is a Lie by Julie Casper Roth
On the day the last robot on Earth becomes sentient, the last human on Earth dies.

Tethered by Caitlin Stedman
A short film exploring the moment a mother loses a child under controversial circumstances.

Life Is Grand by Maya Suchak and Freddie Boehrer
This short Youth FX documentary reveals the hopes and dreams of Abdul Nur, the “Mayor of Grand Street” as he talks about the importance of community and his sidewalk general store.

Thursday, July 14th at 10:30pm
Falling by Maya Suchak and featuring Mikayla Appleberry
As two girls discover their feelings for each other, one of them is forced to choose between her new relationship and her father's disapproval. FALLING is an experimental narrative film that explores the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth as they navigate the intersections of love and family.

Curtis by John Yost
In the world of altered perception, the cat is king!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Independent YOU!

This past holiday season a good friend gave me Edward Burns’ book, “Independent Ed.”  The gift had a double meaning.   Everyone knows how much I like independent films.  But this friend and I had attended a UAlbany Writer’s Institute screening and discussion with Mr. Burns for his 1998 film, “No Looking Back.”  Then this past November, we both had the privilege of watching a preview of Mr. Burns’ new (and now canceled) television show “Public Morals,” followed by a great discussion, with none other than William Kennedy moderating! 

I highly recommend the book.   Ed details how he became an independent filmmaker, the production of his first film “Brothers McMullen,” (which won at Sundance) and his early success, including being cast in Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan.”  The best part of the book is when the success stopped happening and he had to face the fact that if he wanted to make the films he wanted, he would have to find a way to do it.  I don’t want to ruin the book because you really need to read it but he finds ways to not only make the films he wants to make but to have them be a financial success.  He gives “hard knocks” advice that will help any filmmaker trying to get their film made – beginner, novice or expert!
One of things mentioned is that we all have a unique voice.  You have something to say and you need to get your voice out there!  He says this most voraciously to criticisms that there are too many low-budget indie films that are not good, flooding the market, blah, blah, blah.  I could not agree more with Mr. Burns.  I’ll add that with today’s technology you do not need to limit your vision or project.  Maybe you’re going to make a feature, a short or a web-series!  Maybe your project is something no one has ever seen before!  BTW: TvFILM is here to support you, your film and everything in between!  True independent film is the edge not the middle.  Our ranks are filled with artists that need to say something no matter what the adversity is. 
As TvFILM begins its eighth season on-air, I hope that some of Ed’s spirit is felt when you watch this season’s films and listen to the filmmakers!  Right now we’re getting the word out on our Call for Entries.  So, help us find those “independent” voices that need to be heard or watched, well both!  Click here to find out all you’ll need to submit your film.  And watch for TvFILM premiering this June on WMHT!