July 19, 2024



Susan H. Shapiro
Discussion Moderator

Susan H. Shapiro, is a producer/director. This year footage Susan shot was featured in the 2018 Film Festival premiere Studio 54, which the New York Times deemed “one of this year’s small treasures.” She was President of Production for Cineville International from 1995-2001. She line produced Night on Earth directed by Jim Jarmusch. Her first film Ginger Ale Afternoon premiered at Sundance in 1990, and its soundtrack by Willie Dixon was nominated for a Grammy. National Geographic partially financed Being Rapa Nui, which she co-directed and filmed about the indigenous and art community on Easter Island. Currently she is working to reissue Cannes Man, a film she directed featuring Seymour Cassel, Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper and many others. An environmental attorney and activist, she is board member and legal counsel to many environmental and community groups. She is also a passionate painter; her work can be viewed at susanhillary.com.


Deborah Kampmeier
Director, Peel (2016, 16min)
With: Laura Piccoli and Olivia Stoker

Two sisters provoke and resist betrayal and truth.

Deborah Kampmeier’s first feature Virgin, starring Elisabeth Moss and Robin Wright was nominated for two 2004 Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Actress for Elisabeth Moss.  Her second feature Hounddog, starring Dakota Fanning was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.  Deborah’s third feature, SPLIT, won Best of Show at the 2016 Female Eye Film Festival and was nominated for the Independent Vision Best Film at the 2016 Sarasota Film Festival.  Deborah is in development with several films including Dirt Rhapsody, Untamed, Tape, Crazy Head Space, And Then There is You and an Untitled Carson McCullers Project.  Deborah is the founder of Full Moon Films, a company dedicated to the development and production of films by and about women.

Artistic Statement

I’m interested in finding a way to create new myths that reveal and express women’s truths, especially the unspoken, silenced ones.


Susanna Styron
Director, House Of Teeth (2017, 25 minutes)
With: Deborah Hedwall, Amanda Nichols, Stephen Bogardus, Michael Cullen, George Sherman

In the aftermath of her divorce, a woman in midlife sets out to find her bearings — and her mojo — as she discovers the challenges and surprises of life beyond marriage.

Susanna Styron is a writer and a director. Her debut feature was Columbia Pictures’ Shadrach starring Harvey Keitel and Andie MacDowell. Other directing credits include Sidney Lumet’s TV series 100 Centre Street, for which she also wrote; and the web series All Downhill From Here starring Brooke Adams. Susanna has written several award-winning television movies; and written for the TV series Borgia. Her documentary, Out of My Head, a collaboration with Jacki Ochs about the mysterious and misunderstood neurological disease migraine, will be released in 2018.

Director’s Statement

Despite a recent spike in attention to the state of feminism, and women’s roles in society and in the arts, a taboo remains around the actions and desires of “women of a certain age.” It’s my intention with this film to rattle that taboo in a deceptively subversive way. Under the ever-resent veneer of order and control, our heroine confronts the forces outside her control, including her own emotions, as she makes her way, step by step, through the minefield of her new identity. In the process we’re faced with rarely expressed truths about marriage, motherhood and female sexuality at mid-life.


Gabrielle Lansner
Director, The Birch Grove (2015, 20 min)
With: Lonnie Poupard Jr., Matthew Reeves, Colette Krogol, Hela Sage Giaever, Hannah Tamminen

Caught between love and death, two brothers wrestle with their past in a dance towards reconciliation. A poetic film about the power of family ties, inspired by the novella of the same name by the Polish author, Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz. http://www.thebirchgrovefilm.com/index.php

Gabrielle Lansner is a critically acclaimed filmmaker and choreographer. Her short narrative films with dance have screened extensively and won awards worldwide. Her fourth short film, The Birch Grove, is currently touring film festivals worldwide. She is currently in the early stages of development for her first narrative feature film, Still Life, which she has penned as well. For over 30 years, Lansner has explored artistic disciplines moving from pure dance works, to dance/theater, to film. Since 1997, she has been the Artistic Director of Gabrielle Lansner & Company, a critically acclaimed dance/theater company based in New York City. She has also choreographed episodes of Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

Artist Statement

I am interested in telling stories that are character driven and portray complex emotional worlds. I come to filmmaking from an extensive background in choreography and performance and have always been focused on story, character, emotion and psychology.


Suzanne Mitchell
Director, Ed (2017, 12 min)

A film about Rockland’s Edward Simons: violinist, violin teacher, conductor, and inspiration. If activity level is a clue to ones age, then Simons is a young man at 100 years old.

Suzanne Mitchell has produced numerous long and short form television series and specials as well as feature length documentaries. Winner of two Emmys, she has collaborated with Academy Award-winning director Barbara Kopple on projects such as: New Passages, The Hamptons, Woodstock: Now & Then, and Force of Nature. Her 2013 film Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde was hailed by the New York Times as “a grand documentary” and by the Village Voice as “inspiring in the best possible way.” She created and directed six PBS documentaries focused on women’s issues, for which she won two Gracie awards and one Emmy.

Artist Statement

A Director of documentaries, I believe in the power of a story to transcend ideas that impassion people into creating positive change. Through the art of verité filmmaking, I extract the authenticity behind my subjects by offering them a chance to expose their deepest thoughts, fears, passions, and convictions. Cinematography plays a central role by exposing nuances in each scene and the beauty of the larger landscape. My career continually takes me to interesting places and introduces me to fascinating people. As long as there is a need for storytelling, I will continue to shine a light on humanity.


Jen Fineran
Director, The Invisible World (2016, 13 min.)

A dogged artist travels to otherworldly dimensions filled with angels and demons in this short documentary about Rockland painter Mark Weiss.

Jen Fineran is an editor known for her intimate and eclectic storytelling. The Invisible World, her debut as director, won “best short” at the Illuminate Film Festival. Her editing includes Emily Kassie’s Academy Award-winning I Married my Family’s Killer about intermarriage in post-genocide Rwanda, and Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry which won a Sundance Special Jury Prize, was shortlisted for an Oscar, and earned Jen an Emmy nomination. Several films she edited will premiere in 2018: Kristi Zea’s Everybody Knows… Elizabeth Murray (PBS), Alison Klayman’s Take Your Pills (SXSW, Netflix) and Jonathan Schienberg’s Colossus, a rare look into the aftermath of deportation and separation.

Director’s Statement

I like a wide-open path for telling a story. Working chronologically makes me nervous.  I jump between scenes, flip flop and intercut until the film emerges.