FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 15
CITIES LOST AND FOUND: A NEW CONVERSATION ABOUT URBAN DEVELOPMENT
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16
WHEN: Saturday, September 16, BREAKFAST from 9AM-12pm/ PANEL 10AM-11:30AM
WHERE: The CineHub, 20 W. Main St., #4, Beacon, NY
ACCESS & ETHICS: HOW DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS WALK THE DELICATE TIGHTROPE OF MAKING THEIR ART.
Beacon Independent Film Festival (BIFF) and The CineHub will host a Filmmaker’s Breakfast at The CineHub, as part of its 5th annual festival. The breakfast event is open to the public and will feature a panel discussion on Access & Ethics: How documentary filmmakers walk the delicate tightrope of making their art. The panel will feature four prominent documentary filmmakers: Hope Litoff – Director, 32 Pills; Beth Levison – Producer, 32 Pills; Joy Haynes – Director, Voices From Within; and Mike Seely – Director, Exiled. The panel will be moderated by BIFF Committee Member and film and commercial director/producer, Benjamin Ryan Nathan.
The panelists will be introduced with a short clip from their respective films, which demonstrate the issues and challenges surrounding access and ethics that they have wrestled with throughout their creative process.
Following the discussion, the audience will have the opportunity to mingle with the panelists, after which the afternoon film block, entitled “Failed Institutions,” will screen all three films represented by the panelists.
Hope Litoff (Director, 32 Pills) is a 20-year veteran film editor. 32 Pills is her directorial debut. She began her career assisting filmmakers such as Ken Burns and Stephen Ives on The West, as well as Miss America, dir. Lisa Ades (PBS) and Blue Vinyl, dir. Judith Helfand and Dan Gold (HBO). She went on to edit such verite projects as Keeper of the Cohen, dir. David Gaynes, College Boys Live, dir. George O’Donnell, and Seeing Sally, dir. Peter Goodman, all of which played in multiple film festivals. Her television credits include Chasing the Crown (WE), The Well Seasoned Traveler, dir. George Billard (A&E), and Indie Sex, dir. Lisa Ades (IFP). Hope is confident that her many years as an editor will serve the storytelling and narrative challenges that she will inevitably face directing this personal film.
Beth Levison (Producer, 32 Pills) is an independent producer/director and the recipient of two national Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards. Prior to 32 Pills, she produced The Trials of Spring (2015), a cross-media project including a feature-length documentary (dir. Gini Reticker) and six shorts about women human rights activists in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen. Her independent documentary directorial debut Lemon (2011) about Brooklyn-born poet and performer Lemon Andersen was executive produced by Impact Partners and Russell Simmons, shown at some 40 festivals around the world, selected for U.S. State Department’s 2014 American Film Showcase, and broadcast on PBS stations nationwide. Levison got her start in television working for HBO, PBS, Sundance Channel, and others. She is on the producing faculty with the MFA program in Social Documentary Film at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and brings her creative producing expertise to 32 Pills.
Joy Haynes (Director, Voices From Within) was born in Mexico City, Mexico, grew up in Washington, DC and has lived in six states and four countries. With six brothers and sisters ranging in age from 23 to 50, she is neither the oldest nor the youngest. When she was just 12 years old she took herself by city bus to the Kennedy Center to attend her very first audition, which was for the musical Dick Whittington and His Cat. From that experience, she learned she can’t sing. Having been bitten by the acting bug, however, she attended the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts in Washington, DC, where she graduated at age 16, and earned her BFA in Theater from Stephens College at just 19 years old. She earned her law degree cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center. Currently working both in front of and behind the camera, Joy also practices immigration law, striking a challenging and exciting balance between her entertainment and legal careers.
Mike Seely (Director, Exiled) is a filmmaker and director of photography based in San Francisco. He has produced, directed and photographed several award-winning films, and has experience working on dozens of cross-cultural and international projects. His work has been broadcast in the US and screened at festivals internationally including Slamdance, Tribeca, Toronto International Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival. As a director of photography, he has worked with various independent directors, as well as non-profit and broadcast clients such as National Geographic, MTV2, Frontline World, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 2005, he completed his MA in documentary film production at Stanford University, and for 2010 he received a Fulbright grant to work in Lodz, Poland on a project exploring the Polish documentary film tradition.
Benjamin Ryan Nathan (Director/Producer) is the founder of Footage Films, and is an award-winning director and producer, specializing in creating socially-conscious films, commercials, and PSA’s with the aim to inspire direct positive action in their audience. Based in New York, Ben has produced, directed, & edited major commercial campaigns, PSA’s, documentary films, and viral videos, working with brands and organizations including UN Environment, The People’s Climate March, Sesame Workshop, The President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, and Oxford University Press. He has collaborated with top creative talent, including Ken Burns, Martin Sheen, Debra Messing, Blythe Danner, and James Cromwell. Ben is currently in post production on his feature documentary film I Can Dance!, about the power of dance to transform children’s lives in NYC public schools, and is in development on a feature documentary film about human and labor trafficking in the United States.
Immediately following our “Failed Institutions” block, San Francisco- based filmmaker and director of Exiled, Mike Seely will host a discussion following the film about the current state of deported veterans issues, and how concerned citizens can do more to help.