January 16, 2022

ROCKLAND IN MOTION REDUX. Programs 1 & 2, and the two conversations with the filmmakers, for one week only

As the year comes to an end and many are unable to return safely home to the county for the holiday season, we are revisiting our two part short film series from earlier this year highlighting the work of artists with Rockland roots: ROCKLAND IN MOTION. For one week only, you can rewatch our program of short films ranging in topic from dance to comedy to corporate greed. You will also have an opportunity to watch the recorded Zoom discussions between the filmmakers and the two Rockland artists who led the talks: Travis Stever of Coheed & Cambria and author of Friday Black Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.


The following links will be active on December 24.
Rockland in Motion, Program 1
Rockland in Motion, Program 1 discussion moderated by Travis Stever
Rockland in Motion, Program 2
Rockland in Motion, Program 2 discussion moderated by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

To jump to individual films, click the time stamps in the text below the video window.

We hope that Rockland in Motion will remind you that a wide range of filmmakers live and work in our communities, that they contribute to local culture and commerce, and that making and understanding visual media is an important part of a good education. In our Zoom discussions, filmmakers generously shared their approaches to the art form, the ways they’ve creatively adapted to our new virtual world, and how community plays a part in their development as artists, including perspectives from veteran filmmakers alongside first time and early career filmmakers.

Rockland in Motion is divided into two parts of approximately an hour each, with each part streaming continuously for two weeks. The filmmakers have provided introductions of thirty seconds or less that run before their film. Information on where in the program each film begins will be provided, to make each film easy to find and return to.

The filmmakers have generously provided their work for very modest stipends. The two programs may be watched for free, but if you are able, please help Rivertown Film keep the art of film and local filmmaking in focus in our region by making a donation.


Following are the films and filmmakers in Program 1 of Rockland in Motion.


Frank Vitale (writer/director): NIGHT AT THE CARNIVAL, narrative short (0:04:21). Young Abigale explores the bright lights, vivid colors and bizarre attractions of the Rockland County Carnival at the Palisades Mall. Games of ‘skill,’ exhilarating rides and the shocking freak show. Vitale has been making films for thirty years. He produced and directed over 150 shorts, documentaries, PSAs, television specials and features that were honored with 75 awards. His feature film, Montreal Main, played major festivals: Locarno, London, Mannheim, Edinburgh, AFI, MoMA and the Whitney. His recent feature, The Erotic Fire of the Unattainable, has screened at the 2020 Sarasota and Brooklyn film festivals. More on the filmmaker here.


Marta Renzi (director): DANCING IS AN OLD FRIEND, videodance (0:11:54). Two old friends re-connect virtually. Marta has directed over 2 dozen short films, completing her debut feature film Her Magnum Opus in 2017.  Twice in the 80’s Renzi was commissioned to direct half-hour videodances which were broadcast on PBS. Her most recent pre-virus premiere was Skybridge at Hunter College, her 6th commissioned dance film for a university dance company. She has received 7 NEA Choreographic Fellowships, and a New York Dance & Performance Award (a “Bessie”), and funding from Metropolitan Life, the Jerome Foundation and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. More on the filmmaker here.


Charles Caster-Dudzick (writer/director): PLATFORM PANIC and COMMON TIME, experimental musical shorts (0:04:31). Caster-Dudzick is a graduate of the Nyack public school system and student of High School Media-Production mastermind Kathy Buckley, he made short narratives and animations with help and guidance from an invaluable community of peers and mentors. He has shot films for local filmmaker and choreographer Marta Renzi, is both personal assistant and associate producer to Academy Award Nominee Kristi Zea, and currently works in the Art Department on NBC-Universal’s “New Amsterdam.” More on the filmmaker here.


TRØN & DVD (performers/co-creators): AFRAID OF THE DARK, music video (00:03:38). From the album Afraid Of The Dark (Kiam Records), video directed by Johnny North. As TRØN & DVD, brothers Norvin and Darian Van Dunk have pushed themselves to take their music in new directions ever since they were kids, running amok in their hometown of Nyack, New York. With Manhunt, their second LP on Kiam Records (released September 13, 2019), TRØN & DVD present their most confident vision to date: a story of two black artists leaning into their craft to navigate the anxieties of family life and personal vices — all while surviving the threats posed by modern America. More on TRØN & DVD here.


Myles Aronowitz (director): THUNDERBIRD, web series episode (0:02:20). Ongoing series follows photographer Lisa Levart exploring indigenous stories and their relevance in contemporary life. Myles has worked on over 100 feature films and TV series as a still photographer. During his 35 year career, his photographs have been used as the key art on over 30 posters. Lisa is an artist/activist based in the Lower Hudson Valley, NY, operating in the intersection between fine arts and social engagement. Her work has been exhibited widely and is represented in the permanent collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in NYC. More on the filmmaker here.


Paul Schwartz (writer/director): TIME CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, narrative short (0:14:04). About the fragility of memory and the power of love. Paul is an award-winning writer, musician and filmmaker. Notable projects include the play A MEASURE OF DOUBT, the film TIME CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, the ARIA and STATE OF GRACE recordings, the operas ORPHEUS ‘68 and SNEHVIDE (Snow White), and multiple ballet scores. Upcoming projects include the documentary THE PERSISTENT SWAN, the short film CONNECTION and the feature-length film UNICORN. He is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and London University, and is a member of ASCAP and the Actors Studio Playwrights and Directors Unit. More on the filmmaker here.



Brooklyn Demme (director): THE PLACE WHERE THE PEOPLE GATHER (AKUY EENDA MAAWEHLAANG), documentary short (0:22:34). Follows the local Lenaape land case. Brooklyn is a filmmaker and writer based in Nyack, NY. His faith in documentary as a vehicle for social change grew from experience working on projects with his father, Jonathan Demme (I Am Caroline Parker, What’s Motivating Tyrone Hayes, and Protection Not Protest: The People Of Standing Rock), often as a PA. His interest and experience broadened further as an intern at the inspiring documentary collective Kartemquin Films. More here.


Veronica Murphy: CONSUM(HER), new media (0:01:00). The film is a glance-worthy consideration of how advertisers have negatively marketed to and historically projected upon women. Whether it be cosmetics, moisturizers, soaps or coffee—the industry has regularly found a profitable demographic in inferiority and insecurity. Veronica Murphy is an emerging artist in the United States exploring cultural themes of visual aesthetics & activism in New Media, Film and Photography. She is currently graduating from Purchase College, and previously graduated from Purdue University. Murphy uses new media and historical references to stimulate conversation and exploit predominant concerns focused on social dynamics, technology, and identity. More on the filmmaker here.


Max Cea (writer/co-director): LOST CITY, comedic short (0:14:57). A Nigerian tourist gets lost on his way to see a comedy show. Directorial debut. Cea is a writer and filmmaker. He has written journalism and cultural criticism for outlets like GQ, Nymag, The New York Times, Salon, and Billboard. He grew up in Nyack and graduated from Nyack High School in the Class of 2011. “Lost City” is his first short film. More on the filmmaker here.


Following are the films and filmmakers in Program 2.


Lucas Ruderman (director): ROSE, dance film (0:05:25). A tango with forbidden love. Lucas Ruderman is a filmmaker born and raised in Nyack. Creating works such as short films, music videos, and documentaries, he has a passion for collaborating with artists and exploring different moods and styles of filmmaking. His main source of work includes camera operating/assisting and gaffing on commercials for products such as Coca-Cola, Adidas, Champs, Arm & Hammer, Bell & Howell, and others as well as working G&E on Hollywood features such as Marshall and Black is King. More on the filmmaker here.


John Gray and Melissa Jo Peltier (writer/director & producer): EXIT PACKAGE, narrative short (0:13:09). A corporate video conference leads to unexpected rivalries and suspicions. John is a New York based filmmaker. Best known for creating the long running CBS hit television series GHOST WHISPERER, he has written and directed many movies for television and feature films, including the award winning WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. His short films have played in festivals around the world and continue to win many awards. Melissa is a New York-based American producer and author. She is widely known for producing, writing and directing the 1994 A&E documentary mini-series Titanic: Death of a Dream and Titanic: The Legend Lives On, the show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan and for co-authoring five books with Millan. In 2013, she published her first novel, entitled Reality Boulevard. More on the filmmakers here.


Daniel Wolff (written and read by): BRINKS, poetry film (0:05:09). A collaboration between Daniel Wolff and Marta Renzi concerning history and revolution, both personal and political. Wolff has helped produce documentaries with both Jonathan and Brooklyn Demme. He continues to work on the former’s New Orleans project, RIGHT TO RETURN. He also writes books. More on the filmmaker here.


BLM In Nyack, a project of Truth to Power Media


Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer (directors/performers): EMBRACE IN THE TIME OF COVID-19, dance film (0:03:28). Produced during quarantine through Bridgman Packer Dance. Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer have choreographed and performed collaboratively since 1978. Decades later, they continue to be a vital and present voice in the dance ecosystem. In 2001 they expanded their choreographic vision, stretching the boundaries of dance on stage by merging it with video technology, creating a groundbreaking metaphoric tool for portraying thoughts and memories, challenging the sense of reality. They continue to receive international critical praise for seamlessly melding these two art forms. More on filmmakers here.


Azure Rouet McBride (writer/director): HOW LUCKY YOU ARE, narrative short (0:02:45). Virtually produced during quarantine, this film is a visual representation of a fictional feature-length screenplay of the same name birthed from a decade of journals and diaries from childhood. Azure is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker who was raised in Nyack, NY. She spent half a year in the south of France studying Cinema at Le Collège International de Cannes and interning at the Cannes Film Festival before moving to Brooklyn, New York to study Film at Pratt Institute. Prior to earning her degree, she studied under directors Spike Lee (Red Hook Summer,) Jonathan Demme (Marley) and worked alongside Prince as his videographer. In August 2019, Azure was recognized as a Featured Director at the Hip-Hop Film Festival in Harlem, NY, where her film A Star in Brooklyn was screened. More on filmmaker here.


Shar Adrias (writer/director): SHE IS…WE ARE…, new media (0:01:57). Adrias established a film company in 2005. Having been a dancer all her life and a choreographer, she brings a special kind of texture and vision to her projects. She operates on instinct and feeling, rather than math and science. Specializing in documentary and dance, her passion is in the art of story telling. More on filmmaker here.


Caroline Cummings and Juliana Roth (directors/actors): THE CARDS, narrative short (0:06:17). A collaborative, improvised film about the reunion of friends around a shared regret. Caroline was raised in Nyack, New York and is now an actor and writer based in Los Angeles, California. She aims to help audiences look at themselves and others with kindness and understanding through her films and comedy. She has studied at Pace Performing Arts, The Groundlings School, and Upright Citizens Brigade. Currently she is either decorating a cake, or rewriting a script for the millionth time. Juliana is an artist based in Nyack, NY. She is curious of the possibilities for telling stories across genres. She is most passionate about collaborating with others and likes to apply art and storytelling for transformation, to build community, and as a pathway for creative social change. Currently, she works with Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center, Rivertown Film Society, and Leftfield Productions to do just that. Sometimes, she acts. Mostly, she writes. She was selected as a 2020 VIDA Fellow with Sundress Publications for her fiction. More on filmmakers here and here.


Martina Savoca-Guay (writer/director): CHLOE, narrative short (0:06:59). Directorial debut. Accidentally left at home by herself, a young girl goes on an adventure and finds that the city isn’t such a scary place after all. Martina has worked in the film and television industry for over ten years, most notably assisting in the launch of VICELAND. After working with Vice, she went on to coordinate commercials for Vayner Media and various Scripps Networks shows. CHLOE is her directorial debut and screened at TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles as part of HollyShorts in 2019. In fall 2019, Savoca-Guay went on the road with WME’s Together Live show to document the ten-city tour featuring Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, Sue Bird, Sophia Bush, Cheryl Strayed and many others. From that tour, she produced and directed two P&G sponsored web series (City x City and Limiting Beliefs) as well as a podcast (Hungry Hearts) hosted by Amena Brown. She recently completed her second short film, HALF-LIGHT, winner of the Award of Excellence at The Best Shorts Competition.