Catskill Film and Video Festival: Awards & Websites

Published on February 7, 2012

 Photo by Tiffany Joy Butler

And the winners are…

People’s Choice Awards

Experimental: “Running Still” by Dawn Breeze




Video & Performance: “seize/duplicate\repeat” by Mikel Bisbee-Durlam and Jody Wood





Documentary: “Brunswick” by Nate Simms




Narrative Shorts: “Laundry”  by Danielle Katvan




Stop Action & Animated Shorts: “Correspondence” by Zach Hyer




                                                       Feature Film: “Glitch in the Grid” by Eric Leiser


Critic’s Picks


Rachel Seligman: “Waiting” by Laura Manney




Janet Riker and Tim Davis: “Early Humans” by Teri Frame



Annie Nocenti: “Brunswick” by Nate Simms




Richard Kroehling: “Two Boats, One River” by Carolina Gonzalez Hutton





Meira Blaustein:  “Stranger Things” by Danielle Katvan



Will Lytle and David Smilow:  “A Christmas Present” by Molly McIntyre



Laura Morgan:  “Glitch in the Grid” by Eric Leiser




 Filmmaker/Artist Websites by Category


Dawn Breeze, Running Still,

Laura Manney, Wating and Arrival,

Lewis Smithingham, My Mother the Flatiron,

Tony Murray, Out of This World,

Charmaine Ortiz, TYB Gesture,

Moira Holohan, Untitled (Sky),

Rebecca Carter and Andrea Goldman, Leider of the Pact, and

Heidi Zito, Portrait of Man and Fruit,


Nancy Wyllie, EXIT STRATEGY: Education Behind Bars,

Nate Simms, Brunswick,

Video & Performance

Steve Snell, MFA Thesis Quest,

Teri Frame, Early Humans,

Danielle Katvan, Glide On,

Tiffany Joy Butler, An Ode to Cinema’s Worst Writing Cliché,

Chris Udemezue, Tar Redone,

Mikel Bisbee-Durlam and Jody Wood, seize/duplicate\repeat, and

Short Narrative

Shabnam Piryaei, dollhouse,

Danielle Katvan, Laundry, Stranger Things,

Stop Action & Animated Shorts

Molly McIntyre, A Christmas Present,

Carolyn Radlo & Alanna Simone, and this forest shall be a desert,

Nathan Meltz, After the Day After,



Two Boats One River, Carolina Gonzalez-Hutton

“Two Boats One River” is a minimalist meditation of men and women at work on the river. But don’t let the word minimalist scare you off, in every moment life bubbles forth, complexity begets complexity.  –Richard Kroehling

Brunswick, Nate Simms

An ancient family farm is turned into MacMansion dotting the hillside. Nate Simms’ film “Brunswick” explores how traditional American values – hard work, respect for land and communitarian sharing– are crushed by the hard core realities of aggressive real estate development and the never-ending drive for exploding profits. –Richard Kroehling

An evenhanded look at the lines that divide a small community when developers covet a family’s farmland. With leisurely pacing, “Brunswick” allows each scene, be it a community meeting or a farmer’s hoe, to unfold like a day in the country. Beautifully shot, revealing great tenderness for the subjects.—Annie Nocenti

Waiting, Laura Manney

“Waiting” by Laura Manney is an artfully composed, visually elegant meditation; it is deceptively simple, with a limited palette and strong geometry, but is actually formally quite complex, with wonderful layers of pattern and repetition, variation and modulation. It is perfectly paced and has just the right hint of a narrative arc while remaining tantalizingly abstract. The artist skillfully synthesizes sound and image, and creates a subtle, lyrical, and satisfying piece.

Early Humans, Teri Frame

Teri Frame’s “Early Humans” is a mesmerizing work that depicts the straightforward physical transformation of a woman’s face into a series of clay masques depicting proto-humans.  On a deeper and more haunting level, it challenges our notions of self-image and physical beauty and lays bare our mortal dread of disfigurement and decay. –Janet Riker

I found Teri Frame’s “Early Humans” to have all the qualities vital to a good work of video art, including: 1/Imagehood: it mattered that the artist was using a camera, and that the camera was a witness to something essential. 2/Vividness: the world of this artist was alive, maybe even moving. 3/Mise-en-Scene: The artist and the camera were in a dire two-step, making meaning together. 4/Humor: without which no one would bother to take the time. –Tim Davis

A Christmas Present, Molly McIntyre

“A Christmas Present” is a remarkably fragile piece. But all good things of winter are fragile. The narrative is tender and welcoming. The imagery is childlike. Nostalgic for those whose Christmas days were populated with construction paper and wood glue, making messes on Grandmothers kitchen tables. –Will Lytle

“A Christmas Present” turns animation standards on their heads.  The pace is leisurely and at least initially, the story doesn’t seem to have a direct connection to the images.  In fact, there doesn’t even seem to be a story in the true sense of the word.  Yet the film works directly – and wonderfully – on what is perhaps most human about humans: the sweet ache in us that is our shared awareness of time – its passage, its gifts, its irretrievability.   “A Christmas Present” uses words and graphics in a low-key yet perfectly balanced way to touch on the very core of what it means to know we’re alive.

The story – in the form of a young woman’s first person narration of a Christmas visit she and her boyfriend (of a year-and-a-half) make to the boyfriend’s family – gently and repeatedly keeps us aware of time’s movement.  The drive up starts early in the morning, a game of Yahtzee takes place in the afternoon, the family goes to attend six o’clock mass before the four o’clock mass lets out.  There’s a walk in the woods afterwards.  There’s even a step backwards in time with the viewing of old family photos.  By nine o’clock the young couple are about to go out to meet friends.  A day’s events are chronicled.

Meanwhile the stop-action images mirror this same passage of time, yet mark it with nature’s indicators – a rosy dawn in that snowy wood yields to full winter brightness, then afternoon greys and evening purple.  Shadows of the bare trees flicker on the snow as clouds scud past the sun.  The shadows also swing around the trunks of the trees that throw them as the sun crosses the sky.  Birds flutter and cast shadows of their own.  A deer cautiously explores, leaving dainty hoof prints behind – a type of trail in time.

What is lovely about this film – and gives it its resonance – is the pitch-perfect tone of both the narration and the graphics.  The story is simple yet brims with emotional texture because it’s about specific people doing the specific things they do on a particular day.  And, much like folk art, the depiction of the natural world – trees, snow, a tree trunk, deer, birds, family members on walk – is focused on evoking the essence of the thing, not the surface.  The result of the blend of what we hear and what we see is magical – and genuinely moving.

Sweet without being cloying, smart without being self-conscious, effortlessly beautiful in word and image, “A Christmas Present” truly is a gift. –David Smilow

Stranger Things, Danielle Katvan

Chance encounters. Stolen moments. Lives briefly intersect as two strangers, each at his and her own crossroad, confide in each other their most intimate secrets before parting ways.  Sometimes these temporary, unlikely connections are the best way to understand one’s own dilemma and determine one’s own resolution. This encounter at a darkened roadside motel could very well be one of them. Filmmaker Danielle Katvan created an uncanny, nuanced piece where a moment in time could capture the inner lives of two individuals so different from each other, yet so close. –Meira Blaustein

Laundry, Danielle Katvan

Have you ever dreamt that you will meet the love of your life in the most mundane, unlikely places? A supermarket? A street corner? A laundromat?  In this quirky, magical tale of love found amongst dirty socks, a young man’s imagination takes him on a journey juxtaposed between the suds of laundry being washed and the soil of fields being imagined. Filmmaker Danielle Katvan created a beautifully tempered film where the ordinary and the routine can quickly transform you to a fantasy where dreams and reality are one and the same. –Meira Blaustein

Glitch in the Grid, Eric Leiser

Half journal, half dream, this visually ecstatic film gives us three young men whose wild imagination finds no welcome in a grim and broke California of 2009. This film is a mix of animation, non-fiction and drama that gracefully arcs over “you can’t do it that way” barriers and, like its heros, enchants. -Laura Morgan

Orphaned, John Yost

The bond between two adopted sons is at stake when a father’s death splits the family into gangs of haves and have-nots.  When sibling  rivalry is a deadly game, even the brother’s keeper better watch out! -Laura Morgan

 About the Critics:

Laura Morgan has worked as a Director, Producer, and Educator for over 25 years. Her award-winning productions have been shown on NBC, Showtime, European and Asian television, and to the U.S. Congress. Her extensive experience on feature films includes work as an  actress, art director, editor, script doctor and executive. She has been an assistant professor of film at NYU and NYIT, and currently teaches  “Directing Actors for Film” at the New School University. Ms. Morgan has been a juror for the National Emmys and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Film Awards.

Janet Riker has been director of the University Art Museum, University at Albany since 2004. Prior to moving to the Capital Region she served as Director of the Rotunda Gallery in Brooklyn for 14 years.  She holds an M.A. degree in Art History from Columbia University and a B.A. from Alfred University.  She has organized numerous exhibitions of visual art and has lectured widely on contemporary art and artists’ issues.

Meira Blaustein  is the Co-founder / Executive Director / Programmer of the Woodstock Film Festival (WFF), one of the most respected and influential regional film festivals in the USA.  Blaustein has over 20 years of experience in filmmaking, writing, producing and directing numerous  shorts and documentaries. Her full-length documentary about severely disabled children, For Love of Julian, narrated by Susan Sarandon and distributed by Wellspring Media, received critical acclaim.

Rachel Seligman is the Associate Curator of the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Seligman has worked at the National Museum of American Art, the Courthouse Gallery at the Lake George Arts Project in Lake George, NY, and was the Director and Curator of the Mandeville Gallery and Curator of the Permanent Collection at Union College, in Schenectady, NY from 1997 – 2011. She is a frequent panelist for the regional SOS grants and recently served as chair of the Visual Arts Program panel of the New York State Council for the Arts.

Annie Nocenti is a journalist, writer, editor and filmmaker. Her journalism has appeared in Details, Utne, HEEB, Stop Smiling, PRINT, Filmmaker, Scenario, and more. Nocenti is also known for her work in comics, writing Daredevil, editing the X-Men, and creating the  characters Longshot, Typhoid, Spiral, Blackheart and many more. Nocenti is currently writing Green Arrow.

Richard Kroehling is a director with extensive credits in television, video/film art and feature films. His work has been screened in museums, festivals, gallery installations and networks around the world. He directed Einstein with William Hurt for The  American Masters Series and World without End for England’s Film Four.  Richard created and directed the controversial TV series Confessions, and features 2B and The Death of Death, a philosophical science-fiction film portraying a rusting world on the cusp of wonder and tribulation, starring James Remar.

David Smilow is an actor and Emmy and Writers Guild Award winning writer for his work in daytime television over a 12 year period. He has appeared in productions at local Equity theatres – Shadowland in Ellenville, Stageworks in Hudson- and is a member of Actors & Writers, a readers’ theatre company based in Ulster County. David lives in Saugerties, NY.

Tim Davis is an artist, musician, and writer living in Tivoli, NY and teaching photography at Bard College.  His work has been collected by  the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney, Guggenheim, Walker, Hirshhorn, Brooklyn, Baltimore and many other museums.

Will Lytle is a local artist and former teacher of the INDIE film program for Onteora CSD. Will is best known for his collectable handmade biographically illustrated books.

Watch the CFVF Trailer!

Program Notes with Parental Advisories (pdf)

The Greene County Council on the Arts’ Masters on Main Street project is proud to announce the Second Annual Catskill Film and Video Festival to be held on Sunday, January 29, 2012 from 10am to 6pm at the historic Community Theatre located at 373 Main Street in Catskill, NY. Highlights include: Academy Award winner, Zach Hyer’s animated short Correspondence (2011Student Catagory); native Catskill/New York City filmmaker Danielle Katvan’s narrative short Stranger Things (winner-Eastman KODAK Award for Excellence);  Eric Leiser’s feature Glitch in the Grid (winner-Park City Film Festival).

The festival will showcase 32 pieces, predominantly shorts, by 34 artists, filmmakers, and collaborative teams from across the country. A mix of video and film, this diverse grouping includes work by seasoned filmmakers as well as young artists setting the tone in contemporary video work. In addition to traditional categories such as documentary and animation, the festival will also explore the relationship between film and video work and highlight the connection between performance and video. Video interviews and live Q&As will help provide insight into the artistic process.

Recent grads represent Bard College, New York University, School of Visual Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Hunter College, Savannah College of Art and Design, Alfred University, State University of New York at Albany, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Maine College of Art, University of Kansas, and Penn State.

The work of several local artists has been selected for the festival including Greene County native Zach Hyer and Hudson Valley residents Carolina Gonzalez-Hutton, Nate Simms, John Yost, Nathan Meltz, Dawn Breeze, Michael Chernoff, and TonyMurray.


Film and video industry professionals are participating as reviewers recognizing excellence and innovation in each category with many thanks to Meira Blaustein (Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Woodstock Film Festival), Annie Nocenti (scriptwriter, documentary filmmaker and founder of the Cine Institute in Jacmel, Haiti) and Richard Kroehling (Emmy Award winning writer/director/filmmaker) who is also creating a video montage of Catskill landscapes especially for the Festival lobby.

This year’s festival was curated by Jacqueline Weaver, artist, educator and graduate of the College of Saint Rose’s MA program (  Jacqueline’s work in video and installation addresses the culture’s interpretation of histories– personal and universal, recent and long past.  Recent screenings include site specific works for Letting Go (Newark, NJ), and 21 Rooms (York, ME) as well as several shows in New York’s Capital Region. Her short video Gaza, January 3, 2009 was featured last summer on the PBS series TV Film.

This event is free and open to the public. Most subjects and imagery are appropriate for audiences under 18, with parental advisories listed in the program notes and on the event webpage,  In the event of inclement weather, the festival will be postponed until February 5, 2012.

Chronogram Article

Image Credits:

Zach Hyer, film still from Correspondence, 2011 Academy Award Student Category animated short film.

Shabnam Piryaei, film still from dollhouse, short narrative film illustrating the filmmaker’s poem ode to fragile.

Jody C. Wood and Michael Bisbee Durlam, still image from seize/duplicate\repeat, performance based video.