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  • NYS Writers Institute

Albany Film Festival: Thank you for joining us!

From NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl:


We were pleased with the turnout, the enthusiasm, and the glowing reviews from filmmakers and attendees of the NYS Writers Institute’s 2nd Annual Albany Film Festival.


We considered it a resounding success on many levels. We were very thankful to observe how our featured veteran filmmakers were so generous with their time in sharing support and encouragement with young, aspiring filmmakers.


Filmmaker Stanley Nelson, whose documentary "Attica" was nominated for an Oscar, talks with UAlbany students following the film festival's awards ceremony. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)


The event had a warm, friendly and collaborative feeling among those who love to make films and those who love to watch films. During her Ironweed Award acceptance speech, filmmaker Marcia Smith said, "This [festival] is a reminder of why we do what we do."


The screenings and discussions sparked many deep and lengthy conversations out in the hallways after the lights came up, which is what we had hoped would happen.

I want to thank our generous sponsors who made it possible for us to present the daylong film festival free to the public.



I am also grateful for the time and energy the filmmakers, moderators and participants gave to the event. I am grateful to the faculty and staff at the University at Albany for their support and to our student and community volunteers, our amazing Writers Institute team, and the estimated 1,000 people who came throughout the day.


I was touched by how many family and friends came to the evening awards ceremony to cheer on the young filmmakers who won prizes in the short films competition. We were very pleased with the outcome and we promise to be back next spring for the 3rd annual NYS Writers Institute’s Albany Film Festival.


Send us your suggestions. Tell all your friends. Let’s make it even bigger and better in 2023.

Director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Derek Cianfrance joined novelist Wally Lamb (not pictured) for a discussion of their screen adaptation of Lamb's "I Know This Much is True."(Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Albany Film Festival attendees view the Oscar-nominated documentary "Attica" in the Campus Center West Auditorium. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Director Kim A. Snyder and Samantha Fuentes, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting in 2018, discuss Snyder's moving documentary "Us Kids." (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Paul Grondahl, filmmakers Derek Cianfrance, Shannon Plumb, actor/director Karen Allen, producer Diane Pearlman, William Kennedy, director Michael Kaplan, and novelist Russell Banks.



The first Ironweed Award was presented to legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola in 2018. The award recognizes filmmakers and actors "for exemplary achievement in film." (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Marcia Smith accepted her Ironweed Award at the Albany Film Festival. She is president and co-founder of Firelight Media, which produces documentary films, provides artistic and financial support to emerging filmmakers of color, and builds impact campaigns to connect documentaries to audiences and social justice advocates. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Albany Film Festival Short Film Awards were presented to filmmakers in Comedy, Documentary, Dramatic, Experimental, Best Overall Student Film, and Best Overall Short Film. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Victoria Diana won the Best Overall Short Film Award for "Devour." More on her film at https://apbfilm.com/devour-promotional (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



John Peter Shea accepted the award for Best Overall Student Short Film. View film on YouTube. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Max Schuster, left, and Reid Carrescia won the Best Dramatic Short Film Award for "Homecoming." (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)



Paul Grondahl with the Short Film Award winners in the Best Comedic Short category. The film "Army of One" was directed by Ricarlo-Luis. View film on YouTube. (Patrick Dodson / UAlbany)

Short Film Award winners not in attendance:

Best Experimental: "All I Could Hear Was Wind," directed by Marilyn McCabe

Best Documentary: "Imperfect," directed by Alexandra Mulligan