Montclair Film Festival Announces Third Annual “Behind the Screen: Media Careers” on Saturday, November 23rd



Abbe Harris         908.233.7990   
Stu Zakim            732-754-9051  


Free Day of Seminars for Those in High School, College, and Students of All Ages


(Montclair, October 29, 2013) – The Montclair Film Festival (MFF), in partnership with Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media today announced the third annual day of insightful conversations with luminaries from film, TV and journalism entitled “Behind the Screen: Media Careers,” on Saturday, November 23 from 10:00 a.m.-5:45 p.m. at Montclair State’s University Hall. Admission is free to high school and college students, as well as anyone else who is interested in an inside look at the art, craft and finances of creating films and TV shows and what it takes to build a career now and in the future.

Each of the following in depth conversations will be moderated by an industry professional:

  • Storytelling with the Camera – Emmy-Award® winning Cinematographer of “Breaking Bad,” Michael Slovis, ASC discusses how he uses his art and craft to tell stories in film.
  • Documentary Filmmaking – MFF Artistic Director Thom Powers, recently called “ A Kingmaker of Documentaries” by the New York Times, speaks with Ross Kaufman, director, producer, cinematographer and co-editor of Born Into Brothels, winner of the 2005 Academy Award® for Best Documentary.
  • TV Network ProgrammingJoel Stillerman, EVP, Original Programming, Production & Digital Content for AMC Networks (“Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead”) discusses the considerations TV network programming executives make when determining what shows to air, how they work with producers and the future of TV entertainment.
  • Music in Film – How music is used in film and how films about music are made. Panelists: Alex Steyermark, filmmaker (Prey for Rock & Roll, Losers Take All,) and music supervisor (David Bowie, Public Enemy, Michael Jackson), and Emmy®-winning producer Blair Foster, who is working on documentaries about Frank Sinatra and James Brown as well as with Oscar® winning filmmaker Martin Scorcese. Don Fleming moderates.
  • The Making of Concussion – How to make an independent film, go to Sundance, get released and live to tell about it. Stacie Passon is a Montclair based film director and screenwriter, whose debut film Concussion premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and is currently in theaters across America. Julie Fain Lawrence is an actress and one of the stars of Concussion.
  • The New Journalism – Reinventing news in the digital age with Albie Hecht, the recently named Executive Vice-President and General Manager of HLN (Headline News TV Channel). Hecht is also the Academy Award winning producer, (2012’s Inocente) and former president of both the Nickelodeon and Spike television networks. Moderated by Merrill Brown, the inaugural Director of the MSU School of Communication and Media.
  • Crafting Visual Effects for Film & TV: The Role of the Visual Effects Supervisor – Industry veteran Jim Rider – VFX Supervisor on Tower Heist, Place Beyond the Pines – discusses how to make a film believable, create compelling visuals that serve the story versus carry it and find that impeccable balance between story, characters, and special effects. Moderator: Mark Fitzmartin
  • Financing With Crowd-FundingJohn Trigonis, Campaign Specialist for Film/Video at Indigogo explains how filmmakers use crowd funding to get their films made. What are pros and cons and hints and tips to crowd funding?
  • Make Your Own 3D Movie – How to shoot and edit a 3-D movie with readily available cameras. With filmmakers Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno, Emmy®-nominated, award-winning husband-and-wife principals in Bongiorno Productions.

Students are encouraged to R.S.V.P. to the seminars of their choice at R.S.V.P’s are not required, but those who do will be given priority for seating, over walk-ins.

“This is our third Behind The Screen and I am very pleased that it has become an annual event,” said event organizer Conrad Fink, President/Director of This is TV and a member of MFF’s Board of Directors. “We were very fortunate for the first two Behind The Screen events to have many really talented, working experts come share insights about career paths with the students.

This year, we have another great line up of panelists who will be addressing students’ questions about building media careers, but we’re also working to give the panels a broader scope so anyone who is curious about film, TV, or news can find out how the media work Behind The Screens.”

Montclair State University School of Communication and Media faculty member Susan Skoog, one of the event organizers, added: “We are so thrilled to once again work with MFF to bring this impressive lineup of guests speakers to our campus. It’s so important for students to hear directly from working professionals about what’s needed to build a career in the ever-changing landscape of media in the digital age. And, they are all very excited at the chance to talk to the Cinematographer and Executive of one of the most popular shows ever, ‘Breaking Bad.’ ”

“The Montclair Film Festival is a tremendous asset for our students and for neighboring communities, ” said Daniel A. Gurskis, Dean of the University’s College of the Arts. “We appreciate our partnership with this exceptional organization and look forward to continuing joint efforts to expand events and programming.”

About The Montclair Film Festival:

The Montclair Film Festival, Inc. (MFF) is a community-based organization that produced its first multi-day, multi-venue film festival in May 2012; the third annual Festival will take place April 28-May 4, 2014. MFF, founded in 2010, exists to nurture and showcase the talents of filmmakers from around the world and creates a cultural focal point in the Township of Montclair that unites, empowers, educates and celebrates our region’s diverse community and robust artistic heritage by presenting a wide assortment of engaging and affordable programs and events all year long. For more information about MFF, visit www.

The 2014 Montclair Film Festival, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is made possible through its growing membership program, as well as through individual, corporate, foundation and government support. As of 10/1/2013, spring festival sponsors include the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Additional support is provided by festival partners the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Public Library, Montclair Kimberly Academy and Montclair State University.

About Montclair State University

Building on a distinguished 105-year history, Montclair State University is proud to be a leading institution of higher education in New Jersey. The university’s six colleges and schools serve more than 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 300 majors, minors, concentrations and certificate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 250-acre suburban campus just 14 miles from New York City, Montclair State combines the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a dynamic, sophisticated, and diverse academic environment. The University’s new School of Communication and Media provides groundbreaking programs that give students the tools they need to succeed in the communication and media industries. For more information, visit

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