Past Industry Speakers


GREG AIDALA, actor, comedian, producer, Radial Gage Entertainment

Greg Aidala is a national comedian based in New York who has performed from New York City to Los Angeles with comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Quinn and Kathleen Madigan.  In 2005, he formed Radial Gage Entertainment company, and in 2006, Greg launched The Brew Ha-Ha Comedy Showcase which is an award-winning comedy showcase that has been featured all throughout the Northeast and New York City. Over 11,000 people have enjoyed the showcase since its inception, and LAUGHSPIN magazine has recognized The Brew Ha-Ha Comedy Showcase as one of the longest continually run showcases in the United States.

Greg has been featured in AT&T International print ads, and you can also see him in various television commercials that air throughout the Northeast and New England.  Greg is also a Friar at the esteemed Friars Club in New York City.

FRED BALZAC, Operations Manager, Adirondack Film Society

Fred Balzac serves as Operations Manager for the Adirondack Film Society and presenter of the annual Lake Placid Film Forum who has been a student of film since the 1960s when he went to the movies with his Dad almost weekly. In the late 1970s he attended Columbia University, where he studied, among other subjects, Italian film with Pellegrino D’Acierno and reviewed movies for the Columbia Daily Spectator, where he served as Features Editor. Fred is the author of two unproduced screenplays and at work on a third (ideally, not one that will remain unproduced!) as well as several produced plays. His work has won awards in journalism, essay writing and playwriting. Fred’s association with the Lake Placid Film Forum began by covering the event for the Lake Champlain Weekly, for which he continues to write while also editing Northern Home, Garden & Leisure and two other regional magazines.


ELAINE BAPIS                                                                                                                                      Author Camera and Action:  American Film as Agent of Social Change

As an adjunct professor of American history, literature, and film, Elaine Bapis’ particular focus on cultural history, film and the construction of identity, is groundbreaking.  She is the author of CAMERA AND ACTION:  AMERICAN FILM AS AGENT OF SOCIAL CHANGE which examines the changes in the American film industry, audiences, and feature films between 1965 and 1975. With transformations in production codes, adjustments in national narratives, a rise in independent filmmaking, and a new generation of directors and producers addressing controversial issues on the mainstream screen, film was a major influence on the social changes that defined these years. After a contextual history of film during this era, Camera and Action examines several key films including The Graduate, Alice’s Restaurant, Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy, M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Little Big Man, and The Godfather series. The author describes how these films represented a generation, constructed and deconstructed American culture, and made important contributions during ten years of great change in America.

IMAGINING THE BIG OPEN:  NATURE, IDENTITY, and PLAY IN THE NEW WEST is authored and co-edited by Bapis which explores how we imagine the West and how we use western places.  Here we meet fish, wolves, buffalo, tourists, gamblers, prisoners, computer programmers and Robert Redford.

Elaine teaches courses and seminars on the importance of bringing film into the classroom and teaching young viewers cinematic analysis, cultural connections and film’s discursive role in American culture.

Her published article “Easy Rider (1969):  Landscaping the Modern Western” appears in “THE LANDSCAPE OF HOLLYWOOD WESTERNS:  Ecocriticism in an American Film Genre.” Her other articles appear in the Utah Historical Quarterly.   She received her MA in English and her Ph.D. in American History from the University of Utah and resides in Salt Lake City, Utah.


NORMAN BERNS    Movie Budgeting Trainer – Unit Production Manager

Norman C. Berns is an Emmy-winning producer and director. His three-part documentary series, The Writing Code, recently aired on PBS.  Beginning as a theatre director, the full scope of his production work includes features and documentaries, TV series and commercials. At Equinox Films in New York, Norman produced a series of “Intermission Features” for The Metropolitan Opera’s “Live from the Met” broadcasts. Of the nine films, “Young Wonders” was expanded into a PBS special; his work on La Boehme garnered an Emmy.

A certified Movie Magic instructor, Norman was an early beta tester for Screenplay Systems budgeting and scheduling programs and was part of the Set Management development team that created ProductionPro Budget. A columnist for the seminal online publication, WebZine Weekly, Norman has also written for The Directors Guild and Tripod, Inc. His irregular columns appeared in BTL News and he blogged for ReelGrok, Pavaline and LinkedIn (

He is a consultant to the Roy W. Dean Film & Video Grants, on the Board of Advisors for People With Disabilities Broadcasting Corporation and the local Capital Cinema Cultural Exchange and its filmmakers’ labs. Norman is moderator of The Budgeting Group, owner of Reelgrok and the massive LinkedIn group Film and Television Professionals. Norman has taught film production and software for Media Services, The Directors Guild, Filmmakers Bootcamp and others.  In addition to his production work, Norman teaches a series of online seminars covering the fundamentals of filmmaking, from script breakdown to successful pitching. His live eight-hour seminar has been presented in New York and Los Angeles.  He is a member of DGA, SAG and Actors Equity.

PAUL BUCKLEY, City of Utica Film Commissioner

The City of Utica has been a backdrop to many student and “Indie” films. With its abundance of iconic locations, Utica has proven itself to be a “Film Friendly” environment. The Media Department helps these filmmakers cut through all the “red tape” that occurs when dealing with municipalities.  Assisting with locations, catering, hotels, extras, etc., the Media Department gets them on location and rolling in a timely fashion. Many production companies are amazed at how easy and friendly the people of Utica are to work with.  Ask the filmmakers of WE THE ANIMALS.    Visit


LISBETH CALANDRINO, Business Strategist, Customer Service Fanatic and Serial Entrepreneur

Lisbeth has been an entrepreneur since the age of 5 hosting her own “theater productions in the backyard,” and managing her grandfather’s fruit stand at the age of 9.   She quit her college teaching job and opened the first of seven carpet and furniture stores.   Over the next fifteen years, Lisbeth developed a unique “liquidator brand” and built sales and customer service programs until the sale of the businesses and her retirement in 2000. 

She’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-profits to corporate clients.   Known for her ‘no box thinking’ and was the winner of an international contest for the launch of a homeopath medicine.  Presently raising funds for the documentary LAST MAN STANDING  she believes that movies, like other products, have “legs” which connect them to other sources of money that people don’t always explore. Lisbeth believes this is the true source of serious fund raising.


REBECCA DEALEY, Casting Director | Casting Department | Actress                   Chrystie Street Casting

ROBERT HAWK, Independent Consulting for Independents

Producer of Kimberly Reed’s Prodigal Sons, Dayna Goldfine & Daniel Geller’s Ballets Russes, David Munro’s Full Grown Men, Jim Fall’s Trick, Alex & Andrew Smith’s The Slaughter Rule and Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy, Hawk has been a part of the independent film scene for 30 years.  Starting with his involvement in documentary as a researcher on Rob Epstein’s Oscar-winning The Times of Harvey Milk, he has been credited with discovering and/or nurturing the talents of such filmmakers as Epstein, Kevin Smith (beginning with Clerks), Joe Carnahan (from Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane to Pride and Glory), Ed Burns (The Brothers McMullen), David Siegel and Scott McGehee (The Deep End), Rodrigo Bellott (Sexual Dependency), Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect), Paul Devlin (The Front Man, Blast!, Power Trip, SlamNation), and Geller & Goldfine (The Galapogos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, Something Ventured, Kids of Survival/Emmy award, Frosh). He has consulted on films as varied as Terry George’s Some Mother’s Son, Tim Blake Nelson’s Eye of God, Lisa Krueger’s Manny and Lo, Tom Bezucha’s Big Eden, Jon Shear’s Urbania, and Smith’s Red State and Dogma, among others.  He has also consulted on hundreds of documentaries, including Oscar winners/nominees such as Common Threads, Regret to Inform, In the Shadow of the Stars, Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter and Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern.

Hawk served on the Advisory Selection Committee of the Sundance Film Festival for its entire existence (1987-1998). He currently serves on the advisory boards of Independent Film Week (IFP/NY) and The Legacy Project (a collaboration of Outfest and the UCLA Film and Television Archives). He has also been an advisor for AIFA (American Independents and Features Abroad) at the Berlin Film Festival, First Look (Tribeca Film Center/Eastman Kodak), the original Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and numerous other festivals.  He has served on many festival juries, both domestic and international, and has curated special film series for, among others, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco, the International Documentary Congress in Los Angeles, and the Melbourne and Sundance film festivals.

He founded San Francisco’s Film Arts Festival in 1985, a showcase for independent filmmakers of Northern California, and was its director for eight years.  As Exhibition Coordinator for the Film Arts Foundation, he not only programmed exhibition events year round but viewed and critiqued films at all stages of production, consulted with makers on festival and distribution strategies, and was an outreach resource for exhibitors, programmers, curators, festival directors and distributors throughout the world.

LARRY JACKSON, Producer, Industry Consultant                                                                      Persistence of Vision: A Resource for Independent Filmmakers 

Larry Jackson is a 40-year veteran of the motion picture business, working in every aspect from theater exhibition and marketing to distribution and production. As Managing Director of the world-renowned 3-screen Orson Welles Cinema Complex in Cambridge, MA he was responsible for general management, programming, promotion and advertising as well as developing other venues in the Northeast. His innovative marketing led to the launches of many successful independent films, most famously the Jamaican classic THE HARDER THEY COME, which played for 6 years in its first theater, introduced reggae in America and propelled the soundtrack album to become one of the best-sellers in movie history.

Jackson began filmmaking as production manager for the director Orson Welles, with whom he worked on several projects for both stage and screen. His innovative marketing led to work in LA as a producer’s rep, guiding marketing and distribution for offbeat films outside the Hollywood formula, such as Hal Ashby’s BEING THERE and Richard Rush’s THE STUNTMAN, both of which received Best Actor nominations for their leading men. In 1980 Robert Redford invited Jackson to join in planning the creation of the Sundance Institute, where he organized programs and selected and tutored participant filmmakers, as well as assisting in fund-raising efforts for several years.

At the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Larry established the theatrical distribution division and managed film acquisitions for TV and theatrical. He oversaw production and/or distribution of its independent films in the US and Europe, including legendary indies, such as STRANGER THAN PARADISE and MYSTIC PIZZA. He held later positions as V.P. in Charge Of Production at Orion Pictures and Executive Vice President of Miramax Films.

Larry holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching, both from Cornell University. He is in the process of collaborating with New York’s Mike Camoin and other artists to help make the Capital Region a unique artplace, cultivate diverse community partners and expert leadership leading to a vibrant future for independent filmmakers and the entire community.


JESSICA KELLY, Casting Director | Casting Department, Chrystie Street Casting

DOUG LECLAIRE, Producer, Director, Founder Asbury Shorts                                                      New York’s Longest Running short film exhibition and travel show

Doug LeClaire is a Clio Award winning Producer of national tv commercials and national cable network promos.  He’s produced advertising and promotional tv campaigns for Lifetime TV Networks; WE TV; Comedy Central; MTV; Oxygen, NBC and ABC TV Networks.

In 1981, Doug founded Asbury Shorts, now New York City’s longest running short film exhibition and travel show.  Asbury Short’s mission is to keep great, award-winning short films in theaters as opposed to iPads, computers or smart phones. Asbury Shorts has presented their short film “concerts” in historic venues from Los Angeles to Berlin.  Doug directed two award-winning short films back in the 1980’s entitled: “The Problem,” and “Surprise,” which aired on HBO.

From 2006-2014, Doug served as Director of Operations for the Paramount Theater at The Garden State Film Festival, and as an Instructor & Guest Lecturer on the world of Short Films for The School of Visual Arts; The New York Institute of Technology; The State University of New York; New York University, Monmouth University, Upstate Independents; Film/Video Arts and One Day University.

Doug LeClaire has line produced two independent feature films: “Greetings from the Shore,”  starring Kim Shaw, Paul Sorvino and Jay O. Sanders and “Broadway’s Finest,” winner of over 7 national film festival awards.  Doug has line produced a series of concert background videos for Roger Waters through Breathe Productions.  Doug was Unit Production Supervisor on a series of national tv commercials produced by the City of New York after September 11, 2001 which featured Kevin Bacon, Ben Stiller, Henry Kissinger, Al Roker, Harrison Ford and Woody Allen.


CHRISTINA KING, Producer, We The Animals

Christina King is a producer and filmmaker whose work spans commercials, documentary, and television with a focus on human rights issues, civic engagement through storytelling, and documentarizing filmmaker opportunities for minority voices.

King started her career in broadcast news, before going on to produce commercials, network television, and documentaries.  King is the co-director and producer of the documentary, WARRIOR WOMEN (ITVS) and recently produced UP HEARTBREAK HILL (POV) as well as the Sundance 2014 premiere, THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME (Sundance Channel International).  Other production credits include Ric Burns and Chris Eyre’s, American Experience:  TECUMSEH’s VISION, as well as Michael Moore’s CAPITALISM:  A LOVE STORY, PUSHING THE ELEPHANT (Independent Lnes), ELECTION DAY (POV), SIX BY SONDHEIM (HBO), FUR:  AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS, CHE, and the award-winning short THE KOOK.  King has also produced, line produced and production managed commercials for dozens of clients.  In 2014 King became the Time Warner Native Producing Fellow through the Sundance Institute and serves as a Producer on WE THE ANIMALS filmed in Central New York.

ANDY MAYCOCK, Screenwriter, The Hitchcock Murders

Andy Maycock grew up in Burnt Hills, went to college in Ohio, got a Finance job in Pennsylvania, and in 1994 returned home to get his Master’s in Education.  He teaches English, Cinema, Acting, and Screenwriting at Guilderland High School, where he is also the Media Director.  Recently, his script “The Hitchcock Murders” took the Grand Prize in the International Screenwriters’ Association “Table Read My Screenplay Contest,” earning the screenplay a staged reading at (and Andy a round-trip ticket to) the Sundance Film Festival.  Even more recently, Andy learned that the script has advanced to the Semifinal round at the Austin Film Festival.  His earlier work includes the screenplay “The Best Man’s Privilege,” which caught the eye of writer-producer-director Josh Stolberg (“Good Luck Chuck”).  Josh played a big role in helping Andy develop the script, which eventually became a semifinalist at the Austin Film Festival.  Andy’s teen-driving adventure “Getaway, Inc.” was a top-ten finisher in the Writers on the Storm Contest. Andy lives in Scotia with his wife Beth and their four kids (his are 17 and 19; hers are 16 and 18).  He’s a fan of candy corn, coffee, the Red Sox, “Back to the Future,” and Shane Black.


GRAEME McKENNA, (former) Programming Mgr at The Linda WAMC’s Performing Arts Studios

JEREMY YACHES, Producer, Public Record Productions — Brooklyn, NY

An  Emmy-nominated  producer  and  co-founder  of  Public Record, a production company that specializes in film, tv, branded content, and commercials, Jeremy produced the award-winning documentary In A Dream which screened in theaters all over the world and broadcast on HBO.

Jeremy’s short films include “HEART STOPPED BEATING” which premiered at Sundance, “ REMAINS” at SXSW & “El ÚLTIMO HIERLERO” at Tribeca. “ALWAYS A FIRE,” a short documentary which he produced and released straight to the web, was a viral sensation, racking up over a million views in its first week online.

Jeremy produced the pilot for 7 DEADLY SINS which aired on Showtime in the summer of 2014, and he is currently producing an adaptation of Justin Torres’ best-selling novel WE THE ANIMALS, a project for which he was selected by Sundance for their prestigious Producing Lab fellowship.

JEREMIAH ZAGAR, Writer / Director  Public Record Productions — Brooklyn, NY

Jeremiah Zagar grew up in Philadelphia as a latchkey kid, spending most afternoons in a dark movie theater or wandering the aisles of his local TLA video store. On trips home from college, he started filming his parents and after seven years premiered the resulting documentary In A Dream at  the SXSW Film Festival. The movie screened theatrically across the US and in film festivals around the world. It was broadcast on HBO, shortlisted for an Academy Award and received two Emmy nominations, including for Best  Documentary.

His newest feature-length documentary CAPTIVATED:  THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO to much fanfare in August of 2014. Jeremiah’s next project is the feature film WE THE ANIMALS, for which he was selected as a Sundance Directing & Screenwriting Lab fellow. When he’s not making movies and commercials, he spends his time swimming in New York City’s finest public pools.