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  • NYS Writers Institute

Talking movies with William Kennedy and Jacob Brackman

Did you know William Kennedy the novelist aspired to be William Kennedy the film director? That nugget and many more are here in this conversation with Kennedy and his longtime friend Jacob Brackman.


Their discussion, recorded in Kennedy's living room earlier this spring as a feature of our Albany Film Festival, is an homage to movies and a reflection of the changes -- good and bad -- they've seen over the decades.


Longtime followers of this page are familiar with Kennedy's work, including writing the screenplay for Francis Ford Coppola's "The Cotton Club." (In 2019, Coppola visited the Writers Institute for a sold-out event.) If you don't know Jacob Brackman's name, you may know his work: he wrote screenplays for "The King of Marvin Gardens" (1972), starring Jack Nicholson, and the punk rock musical "Times Square" (1980) and served as executive producer and 2nd unit director of Terrence Malick's -- his college roommate -- classic "Days of Heaven" (1978), one of the best films ever made according to many critics.


As a lyricist, Brackman co-wrote the Broadway musical "King of Hearts" and dozens of Carly Simon songs, including her top 10 hits, "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" and "Haven't Got Time for the Pain.”


Here's the video. Enjoy this visit in William Kennedy's living room:


Our inaugural Albany Film Festival couldn't have happened without the generous support of our friends and sponsors. Thank you!

Premier sponsors:

Chet & Karen Opalka, The Towne Law Firm, P.C., UAlbany Speaker Series.

Presenting sponsors:

June M. DeSorbo, Film Albany, a division of Discover Albany, Times Union, The Touhey Family Foundation.

Supporting sponsors:

Ellen Jabbur, New World Bistro Bar, O’Connell & Aronowitz / StudentDefenders.com, The Swyer Family Foundation, University Auxiliary Services.

And Friends:

Add a Zero Productions, CDTA, Skip Casano & Bella Pipas, Brown & Weinraub, PLLC, Pernille Ægidius Dake, Foy Fund, Paul & Mary Grondahl, David & Lauren Hayes, Honest Weight Food Co-op, William & Mary Jean Krackeler, Cecilia Lauenstein & Ronald Nadeau, Betsy Lopez, H. Carl McCall and Dr. Joyce F. Brown, Roemer Wallens Gold & Mineaux LLP, Servico Inc./ Scott Schuster, Herb and Cynthia Shultz, UAlbany William L. Reese Emeritus Center, and Hon. Leonard A. Weiss.