NEFL8 – Lab Fellows

Schedule ~ Film Talks ~ Industry Speakers ~ Lab Fellows and More.

PURCHASE TICKETS to Film Talks and Pitch Contest!   Win over $10,000 in in-kind services

NEFL8 Tickets


NADIA ACEVEDO – Show & Tell 
Nadia serves as Head of Filmmaker Engagement for Show & Tell’s virtual screening platform and coaching services.  Her work with filmmakers is rooted in understanding their unique distribution and fundraising needs and connecting them with the proper Show&Tell coaching and virtual screening resources.   As a filmmaker, Nadia has produced an Ecuadorian film called “Sólo Es Una Más.”   She received her bachelors in Cinema Studies in Paris, France and Masters degree in Media Management at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.  A frequent industry speaker at international film festivals, her expertise includes film market analysis, movie distribution/sales, videography, on-set shooting coordination, film crew collaboration, casting, and competition analysis.

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

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.

MELISSA HOUGHTON, Executive Director WIFV – Washington, DC

Melissa J. Houghton joined Women in Film & Video (WIFV) as Executive Director in August 2005.  Since that time, membership numbers 900+ media professionals and program provision exceeded 90 professional development offerings for the last four years.  WIFV serves as a fiscal sponsor of independent media projects and provides the Randy Goldman Career Development Scholarship, the Seed Fund for Documentary Filmmakers, Carolyn’s First Decade Fund, and the Jane Cusumano/WIFV Narrative Short Film Finishing Fund in its portfolio of programs that benefit members.  Houghton excels at putting WIFV resources, connections and advocates at the service of the regional media community.

CAROLE JOYCE, From The Heart Productions – Ventura, California

Carole Joyce has over 30 years experience in the film industry.  She is the daughter to Carole Dean, Founder to  In her own career, Carole J graduated from Brookes Institute of Photography, she worked with Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment and Edgar Scherick, former President of Fox, developing network shows.  She is an award winning filmmaker for her documentary, “Survivors”. A commercial photographer, she shot major campaigns for Propaganda Films, LA Metro and Fujifilm.  As a television producer Carole has overseen the production of more than 150 shows for cable television, including “Healthstyles” guests included Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil, and a creative producer for the Players Network.  She works behind the scenes for the 501(c)3 From the Heart Productions which administers the Roy Dean Film Grant awarding over $2.5 million in grants to independent filmmakers and serves as fiscal sponsors for numerous independent film projects.  Discover FTH podcasts on,  How to Fund Your Film.    And visit Check The Gate Replay for more.

VALERIE LANSBURGH  – Actor / Writer / Director / Producer

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.

PAUL RAPP – Entertainment Attorney – New York

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.

DONNA PENNELL – Showrunner / Executive Producer – Schenectady, NY
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.

KEVIN CRAIG WEST – Actor, Filmmaker, SAG-AFTRA, AEA – New York, NY

Kevin was born in the Albany, NY and grew up in the Arbor Hill section of the city He joined the Marine Corps in 1986 and after his service became passionate about acting and filmmaking.  He has a recurring role portraying Terrance Bryant in NBC’s new hit series Law & Order Organized Crime He is an award winning actor/filmmaker and proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. When not on camera or stage, he enjoys producing, directing, writing and coaching. He also enjoys sharing his talents as a teacher/artist and has worked with many Arts in Education groups. He currently resides in New York City and visits the Capital Region often while either performing in local productions or visiting family and friends. Visit him on social media @KevinCraigWest

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


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.

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.