NEFL7 Industry Mentors & Speakers

Nov 13-15, 2020 NEFL7 Industry Mentors and Panelists.*   


Experienced Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry. Skilled in Budgeting, Event Planning, Microsoft Excel, Customer Service, Government Relations and Production Management. Strong business development professional graduated from Boston College. Co-Chair New York Production Alliance, Board Member New York Women in Film and TV, Co-Chair NYC BOE Media and Technology Commission.

CR CAPERS – Harlem Film House, Hip-Hop Film Festival

CR Capers is the Founder and CEO of Harlem Film House, a 501(c) 3) corporation, that creates and produces film & music festivals, operates year-round workshops, theatre productions and live events, while also offering business consulting to filmmakers and content creators in underserved communities around the world.  In her role as Executive Director, CR creates a economic ecosystem by providing filmmakers services and resources to ensure longevity in careers in film, theatre and related entrepreneurial pursuits. The programs she produces provide an ecosystem with marketing and strategic partnerships between filmmakers, activists, businesses, entrepreneurs and the community at large.

She is the founder and CEO of the award winning Hip Hop Film Festival, named “BEST NEW FILM FESTIVAL THE UNITED STATES”. Her popular radio show and podcast “Why You Mad Son?” (which deals with the social ills plaguing the human community) generated over 3 million listeners worldwide and still boasts a legion of loyal fans raised in the global Hip Hop culture.  She has directed and produced 3 films and 2 shorts through her film company MBS Films.

Carole Dean, From The Heart Productions

Carole Dean, author/producer/grantor.  The Art of Film Funding Second Edition & The Art of Manifesting: Creating your Future.  Executive Producer credits BAM 6.6, Women Behind the Camera, Step Away From the Stone, American Chain Gang, and more on IMDB.  Carole is an entrepreneur, created and ran a film business in Hollywood, NYC and Chicago for 33 years, and sold it in 2001. Carole created the Roy Dean Film Grant in 1992 and has given over $2,500,000.00 in grants to independent filmmakers.  She is currently the President of From the Heart Productions, 501(c)3 nonprofit where she managing the Grant and fiscal sponsorships for the non-profit and teaches film funding through her Intentional Filmmaker classes found on and her pod casts on Her latest Power Point and book is How to Fund Your Film.    Visit Check The Gate Replay for more.

JOSH FRIEDMAN – Producer – Member D.G.A. – Key Industry Liaison

Joshua A. Friedman is a Producer, DGA Assistant Director, and Author of Getting It Done: The Ultimate Production Assistant Guide.  A Decade of Experience on shows such as Law & Order: CI to his newest feature film Warning Shot have led Mr. Friedman to create a mobile labor platform to Connect filmmakers around the world (Crew Me Up).  Mr. Friedman loves sharing his experience and cultivating new talent.   Crew Me Up is a New Mobile Labor Platform for the Film Industry Available on iTunes.  Why make 60 phone calls to hire 6 people? Crew Me Up offers detailed crew profiles, interactive availability calendars, favorite lists and more… all at the touch of button.  Friedman is building a community based on a simple mission:  Connect. Create. Collaborate … Crew Me Up.   Visit Check The Gate Replay for more.

VINCA JARRETT – Founder FILM PRO FINANCE, Entertainment Attorney

President of FilmPro Finance, a financial consulting service for investors and producers for funding one-off films and  building film slates. Vinca has worked on slate financing deals with investment banks including CIBC,  West LB, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and ICB, to introduce financiers to top tiered producers with  A-list packaged projects. Her top tiered clients have included Icon, Focus Films, Cosmic  Entertainment, APG, and the producers of Catch Me if You Can and I Robot. Filmpro has served as  the holding company for financing distribution of studio films that include DIE HARD 4, THE DAY THE  EARTH STOOD STILL, and ALIENS VS. PREDATORS. Vinca has provided legal services for and  consulted to investors, producers, writers, directors, talent, performers, musicians, composers, film  offices, and festivals around the world, and counseled and represented various tax incentives including Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and Arizona, and helped develop the tax incentives in  Massachusetts.  A few of her projects include the theatrically released films FEAST OF THE SEVEN  FISHES, THE PERFECT GAME, THE FOURTH KIND, PEACE, LOVE AND MISUNDERSTANDING,  and documentaries  including WITCH HUNT, FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH, TOUCHING THE GAME, THE STRANGE NAME MOVIE, and THE SURGE for PBS’s FrontlineVinca managed the BLOOMBERG INTERNATIONAL FILM & TV FINANCE SUMMIT and speaks globe on film finance addressing investors, financiers and industry professionals, and has appeared on Fox Business News, CBS, and NPR’s All  Things Considered as an expert on film and television finance.  She is currently writing SHOW ME THE F#©K!NG MONEY (SMTFM): HOW TO INVEST, RAISE AND RECOUP MONEY  IN THE FILM INDUSTRY, and launched the TV series of the same name in 2014 in which she interviews A-list financiers, distributors, bankers, investors,  attorneys, casting agents, and producers from around the world during Cannes, TIFF, Berlinale, and AFM. Sample SMTFM episodes can be watched at Facebook Please see and for more information.

VALERIE LANSBURGH  – Actor / Writer / Director

Although she has a very large body of work, with 42 years in production as an actor, writer and director and producer, most of the world knows her as DORIS SCHWARTZ from the television series FAME.  She considers this her most treasured artistic achievement.   Her latest feature LOVE & DEBT with Tom Cavanagh, Bellamy Young, and Bailee Madison is available on Amazon.  Other directing credits include the action-thriller BOUND BY LIES and TRIXIE’S SCORE  a short picked up by Shorts International as well as writing and directing a series of eight short erotic films for Showtime/Cinemax.   

Valerie is an adjunct faculty member at UCLA and works with the MFA and Professional Certificate programs at Maine Media and as guest faculty at multiple institutions.  She created MASTER CLASS for Euro Disney and is part of the International faculty of The Asian Academy of Film and Television in New Delhi, India.  A fan of the tiny house, Valerie shares a 600 square foot home with two 16 pound cats, 176 yards from the Atlantic Ocean.   Visit Check The Gate Replay Why Invest In The Arts for more.

Judy Laster is the Founder and Director of the 30 year-old Woods Hole Film Festival, the oldest film festival on Cape Cod, the Islands and one of the oldest in Massachusetts.  The Festival is an 8 day event that takes place each summer from the last Saturday of July through the first Saturday of August. The festival screens approximately 150 films selected from submissions from around the world. The program usually includes 40 feature (narrative and documentary) films in competition, special screenings of works by filmmakers in residence’s and other invited guests and short film programs and is dedicated to presenting the work of emerging independent filmmakers. As Director, Laster oversees the  programming team and manages all aspects of the Festival, including the Film & Science Initiative. In addition to Woods Hole Judy programs 2 year round film series and collaborates with other arts orgs both on and off Cape Cod. She is the founder of The Reel Blues Fest, a non-profit org dedicated to supporting the work of first time filmmakers and helping to provide health care to blues musicians. She was instrumental in the founding of the Film Festival Alliance. She  is also an attorney and a filmmaker and is currently producing 3 feature documentary films.

 PictureMATT LEVY, HEAD of SALES & ACQUISITIONS                                                                                 Passion River Films

Mat Levy has worked with Passion River Films since 2004. Having a background in Film and TV publicity, Mat has worked with film campaigns for New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia Pictures, Warner Independent, and Picturehouse. He has also worked with producers from VH1 and MTV on promotion and development. Mat attends most major markets and film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, AFM, and Hot Docs; as well as national retail and library trade shows including: National Media Market, Ingram Entertainment, Alliance Entertainment, Baker & Taylor, CTAM, and the American Library Association. Mat attended the University of Hartford and received a BA in Cinema Studies.



Director, screenwriter, producer and author, Dan was filming  “18 1/2” a Watergate conspiracy thriller/dark comedy, before being forced to take a “pandemic pause.”  His award-winning, critically-acclaimed feature BERNARD AND HUEY, scripted by Oscar/Pulitzer-winner Jules Feiffer, and starring Oscar-winner Jim Rash and David Koechner screened in over 30 film festivals on 5 continents and held a 20-city theatrical release by Freestyle Releasing/Entertainment Studios in the US.  Bernard and Huey sold to over 49 countries.  The film won several awards and nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay.  Dan is the author of the bestselling non-fiction book “The Cheerful Subversive’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking” from Focal Press/Routledge.  His film BETWEEN US, stars Julia Stiles and Taye Diggs, played in 23 festivals in 7 countries, and got a 50+ city theatrical release in the US, and sold to 144 countries, plus screening on Netflix, Showtime, Starz and all digital outlets.  Dan was mentored by Robert Altman on his first film, OMAHA (the movie), which led him to co-found the upstart Slamdance Film Festival. His film OPEN HOUSE prompted the Academy Awards to controversially rewrite their rules on the Best Original Musical category.  Mirvish also co-wrote his bestselling novel I Am Martin Eisenstadt based on the fake McCain advisor who took credit for Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent.  A former speechwriter for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, Dan has a master’s from USC film school, is a member of the DGA and has guest lectured at more than 40 film schools and universities.   Visit Check The Gate Replay for more.

PATRICK JEROME, Boston International Film Festival 
Patrick Jerome, Filmmaker, Writer, Director, and Producer, has made feature-length movies, short films, documentaries, music videos, and television programming since 1991. These cinematic offerings have received praise from audiences, and Broadway Pictures Entertainment Inc. continues to produce entertaining and powerful films.    A longtime staple of Boston’s thriving arts community, Patrick is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Boston International Film Festival.

PAUL RAPP – Entertainment Attorney

Paul Rapp is an intellectual property lawyer and writer who lives and works in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Mass and represents musicians, writers, fine artists, not-so-fine artists and businesses and institutions involved in the creative economy. He appears regularly on WAMC’s Vox Pop as a member of the copyright forum and wrote the column “Rapp On This” for Metroland Magazine.  He has taught at Albany
Law School, Western New England Law School, and MCLA. He’s also the drummer for the band Blotto (“I Wanna Be A Lifeguard”) and has the distinction of being the first person to appear on MTV wearing a Speedo.


Veteran entertainment publicity executive Amy Prenner has been at the helm her agency since 2007 focusing on getting earned media for her stable of consumer, entertainment and lifestyle clients.  Prenner most recently has been overseeing new business and publicity efforts for the agency’s film, television, streaming and brand clients, and along with heading up National Publicity teams in Los Angeles and New York.  Her clients included the Infinity Film Festival, a 2019 Academy Awards campaign for John Travolta for his leading role in “The Fanatic,” Elf on the Shelf, Riot Games, Studio Movie Grill, Hulu’s “Into the Dark, (season one)” the Blumhouse Anthology, Telemundo’s “La Reina del Sur,” El Rey Networks, the Saudi Arabian venture company Seven, The Golden Screen Awards, Nat Geo’s Sharkfest at Comic Con and Cirque du Solei’s Amaluna and Luzia.

Over her 20+ year career, Prenner has developed an extensive network of high-level media contacts with an extraordinary eye for strategy leading her clients to win Emmy and Academy Award nominations.  As the principal role of her own agency, The Prenner Group, Prenner has worked with cable networks including Epix, AMC Networks, Starz, Syfy, GSN, Freeform, Travel Channel, USA Networks and Fuse, launching many series on their behalf.  She’s consulted on Emmy campaigns for NBC hits such as “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” and “America’s Got Talent,” and worked to secure placements and awareness at major film and television festivals for a variety of clients, with presence at The Oscars, the Emmys, Television Critics Tour, Comic Con, The Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.  

DONNA PENNELL – Showrunner / Executive Producer

Donna Pennell is a Showrunner with more than 675 broadcasted programs to her credit. She continues to expand on creative ideas and is in development on shows in the docu-reality, competition, sitcom, and scripted drama genres.   As CEO of Destiny Productions, she has produced programs seen on ABC, NBC, CBS networks and cable affiliates. Some of her series include OUT & ABOUT, HOMEVIEW TV, HERE COMES THE BRIDE, HOLIDAY,  OPEN HOUSE, DINING OUT, CONNECTIONS, REAL ESTATE DEAL$, TV AUTOSHOW, and AT HOME.  Looking to further collaborate with creatives she formed Electric City Entertainment of NY, where development of film projects are currently underway.   Donna serves as a Schenectady Film Commissioner.

* Note, industry mentors subject to change, check website regularly for updates.


ERIC VOLLWEILER – Marketing Consultant / Producer – Check The Gate / NEFL7  

Eric Vollweiler is based in Upstate NY and has been producing and marketing film festivals, conferences, movie premieres, parties at major film festivals and concerts in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Utah, Albany, Connecticut, Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Manhattan, Kansas City, New Jersey and Toronto since 2005.  Some of Eric’s credits include the Saratoga Springs International, New York State International, Garden State, Boston International, Woods Hole, Silicon Beach, Seal Beach, Marina del Rey, San Pedro International, Artemis Woman in Action Film Festivals and events during Sundance and Independent Filmmakers Day during TIFF.  Eric is often given the responsibility for sponsorship, advertising, booking entertainment professionals, social media, production, and other public relations.  Eric attended Emerson College in Boston and Los Angeles earning a degree in Management Communications.   Find Eric on LinkedIn.

Michael J. Camoin – Founding Director NEFL – Filmmaker –Videos For Change Productions

Mike Camoin is a firm believer that emerging artists are an integral part to the future of the US culture and economy.  Working closely with Film Upstate, Mike has led the independent film movement in northeastern New York for over 20 years. Co-founder of Upstate Independents Filmmakers Network, Camoin served as the orgs first president (1995-2000).  Today, Camoin serves as the Founding Director of the Northeast Filmmakers Lab.  More recently, Camoin served as the UPM for the 2016 Sundance Special Jury Prize winning AS YOU ARE, locations manager on WE THE ANIMALS (Sundance 2018) and James Franco’s PRETENDERS and locations on director Alice Wu’s Netflix feature THE HALF OF IT.   As a filmmaker in his own works, Mike is best known for his documentary series on Adirondack culture Inside the Blue Line,  The Battles of Saratoga.
Camoin is currently developing  SCARED TO DEBT:  America’s Student Loan Scam,  Out of This League, a docu-series on the Atlantic League Professional Baseball, and  LIFE OR DEATH about two families devastated by mental illness and murder featuring David Kaczynski and Bill Babbitt.  Mike is responsible for the short films “Ruler of Life”, “Crossing the Whitestone” and “Relax.”  The latter made its Russian premiere in 2011 when Camoin was the sole American invited to an intensive 8-day producer’s lab in Russia, where the seeds for NEFL were planted.  He resides with his wife, Linda, and two children in upstate NY.   e-mail:

John Romeo – Assistant Director of NEFL6 – Actor, PhatAkter Productions

Albany born stage and film actor, recently co-directed, shot and co-edited the documentary, ‘The Neighborhood That Disappeared”, and was Director of Photography and editor on “Breakfast of Champions”. He also recently appeared  in “Fighting For Freedom” with Bruce Dern. His lengthy career on stage included working in London’s West End and Off-Broadway in NYC. He has taught Acting at Union College and Acting and Directing at  Russell Sage College. He owns PhatAkter Productions, LLC  Member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity and Upstate Independents Filmmakers Network.  John serves as Vice-President of Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange, Inc.

Veronica Medina-Matzner   –  Liaison to Latin America – Schroon River Productions

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Veronica Medina-Matzner has been living in the US for over 15 years. She holds degrees in Film, Cultural Journalism, Documentary Studies and an MA in Media Studies from The New School.  After living and working in places like France, Singapore and leading a production company in Rio, she returned to the US in 2015.  She has experience working across the film industry, including production, editing, and distribution, and has worked with a wide range of groups – from non-profits and Human Rights orgs to renowned film companies like Cinereach, Film Movement and the Sundance Film Festival.  Her film credits include Associate Producer and Editor of the documentary MORE THAN A ROOF about the first official visit of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing to the US in 2009; Associate Exec Producer of a feature documentary about the yoga pioneer in Brazil “Hermogenes, Professor and Poet of Yoga,” the 7th most watched Brazilian documentary of 2015. She’s pitched her projects in international markets like Sheffield MeetMarket and The Aesthetica Short Film Fest (both UK), and Lisbon Docs (Portugal).  She lives in Albany, NY, where she leads a production company, Schroon River Productions, producing doc-style projects for non-profit organizations.  Veronica is an active Board member of Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange, Inc. and liaison to Latin America for NEFL.

BRAD ROBINSON, Assistant Director / Filmmaker                            Two Pints Productions/Member-DGA

With over 2o years of experience in the film industry, Brad Robinson has worked on everything from micro-budget independent films to television series and studio films.  In 2007, Brad joined the Directors Guild of America (DGA) where his credits as an Assistant Director include BLUE VALENTINE, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, CONFIRMATION, LIMITLESS, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, THE UPSIDE, WIDOWS, and the upcoming ON THE ROCKS.  He has worked with directors such as Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola, Derek Cianfrance, Rick Famuyiwa, Renny Harlin, and Mike Million; as well as alongside icons Peter Bogdanovich and Woody Allen (with whom he has collaborated with six times).  Brad has been nominated three times as part of the directing team for the DGA Award for Movies for Television and Limited Series:  First, in 2013 for the USA show, POLITICAL ANIMALS, and twice again in 202o for two episodes of F/X’s FOSSE/VERDON.  In 2016, he was part of the winning team for the DGA Award for Commercial for his work for Powerade. 

Brad is also an award-winning filmmaker.  His debut feature film, PUBLIC INTEREST, won several awards while on the festival circuit.  Most recently, his short film, Ghosts of New York,” played film festivals around the world and won awards for Best Local Short Film at the Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, Best Short Short Film at the Hang Onto Your Shorts Film Festival, and Exceptional Merit at the Depth of Field International Film Festival Competition.  Brad is currently in development on a 6-part docuseries that he will direct.  In addition, he is producing the short film, “Post No Bills,” which is gearing up to resume production post-Covid.


JOE VENTURA – Eden Advisory Services; Owner, Eden Cafe

For over 30 years,  Joe Ventura has served financial services industry both here in the capital area and throughout the United States.  He is the owner of Eden Advisory Services and Cafe.  Joe has also served in the arts community for over 35 years.  With his bachelor of Science in theater Joe  has participated in film, commercials, theater and live entertainment.  As an advisor and supporter of the arts his desire is help the arts learn how to put the business into show business.