top of page
  • NYS Writers Institute

Albany Film Festival spotlight: Karen Allen

Award-winning actor, theatrical director, and writer Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House, Starman, The Glass Menagerie, The Perfect Storm, Year By the Sea), will attend a screening and discussion of her 2017 short film “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud,” based on the Carson McCullers’ short story, to the Albany Film Festival on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at the University at Albany.

Based on Carson McCullers’ short story of the same name, first published in 1942 and collected in The Ballad of the Sad Café, Allen’s film highlights the bookish theme of our film festival.

“I read McCullers’ story when I was in my early 20s and it took a hold of me and hasn’t let go since,” Allen said in an interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle (TX). “I stayed very close and true to the story Carson McCullers wrote, as I wanted to illuminate in the film the characters she has so beautifully drawn in the pages of this story,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to be bringing this incredibly sensitive and original story to audiences all over the world.”

An Albany Film Festival special event

Screening and discussion of her directorial debut A TREE. A ROCK. A CLOUD.

11 a.m. Saturday, April 2, Lecture Center 1, University at Albany

About Karen Allen

Karen Allen was born in southern Illinois, but grew up in Washington, DC. Her father was in the FBI and her mother was an elementary school teacher. She is the middle child of three daughters.

At 17, Karen went to live in NYC to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology to study textile and clothing design, having been interested in textiles since she was a young child. She left after two years to travel in the West Indies, Mexico, Central and South America and returned to the US a year later to live in Washington, DC in 1972.

Although she had early interest in writing and had begun to have her work published in the early 1970’s, she was inspired to work in the theatre after seeing Jerzy Grotowski’s extraordinary Polish Theatre Laboratory in a performance of Apolcalypsis Cum Figuris in 1972 when his company came to the US on tour. She attended George Washington University and began to study and perform with the experimental company, The Washington Theatre Laboratory in Wash DC, whose work was based on Grotowski’s teaching.

She co-produced theatre productions with actor/director Paul Iorio (now a Franciscan Monk in Italy) and together they brought experimental companies from Europe to the Washington Project for the Arts for several years. In 1977 she left DC to move back to NYC and to continue working in the theatre.

Karen Allen photo gallery

Producers Brian Long and Diane Pearlman, Director Karen Allen and Production Designer Kristi Zea on the 1947 diner set of “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”

Harrison Ford and Karen Allen on the set of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)

Karen Allen and Bill Murray in "Scrooged" (1988)

Karen Allen and Joanne Woodward in "The Glass Menagerie," directed by Paul Newman, 1987

Bill Murray and Karen Allen in "Scrooged" (1988)

Timothy Bottoms, Karen Allen, and Bruce Bruce Boxleitner on the set of "East of Eden" (1981)

Al Pacino and Karen Allen in "Cruising" (1980)

Karen Allen and Rutger Hauer in "Voyage" (1993)

Karen Allen, John Malkovich in "The Glass Menagerie" (1987)


bottom of page