September 22, 2021

RIVERTOWN FILM SOCIETY, NYSCA 2022

A selection of ten programs presented at Rivertown Film between fall of 2019 and fall of 2021, covering the transitions from live to virtual and back to live. The website this page is housed on is undergoing a complete redesign in the fall of 2021.


A Bigger Splash (1974, flyer)

A Bigger Splash (1974, Metrogaph Pictures, restored in 2019 and shown 10/23/19) was one of the last few films shown before the Covid 19 shutdown. This is a hybrid narrative/documentary about painter David Hockney, who was influenced in part by Edward Hopper (raised four blocks from the location where the film was shown). It was screened during LGTBQ History Month (Hockney was an early “out” gay artist), with Rockland County Pride, Rockland Center for the Arts, and the Edward Hopper Museum and Study Center as Community Partners. A discussion was led by a former artistic director of the Edward Hopper Museum and Study Center.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019, flyer)

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019, Magnolia Pictures, shown on 12/11/19) was presented with Community Partners Nyack Library, Nyack NAACP, and Nyack Sketch Log. A panel discussion included the chair and two members of the Toni Morrison Society, and was moderated by a Rivertown Film Society advisory board and NAACP member. Toni Morrison was a local resident.



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Late in 2019 an independent contractor was hired to bring new life into social media. She added Instagram to the existing accounts, and began editing excerpts from years of discussions with filmmakers that were archived on Vimeo and YouTube. These were ready to be launched just as Covid 19 shut down public gatherings. Rivertown Film was ready to expand virtual programming immediately. By the end of April, 2020, full films were being streamed.


TAPE and The University (both 2020, flyers)

TAPE (2020) and The University (2020) were new #MeToo themed narrative films, one about a film industry assault, the other about a campus Title IX investigation, made by Rockland County women. The Community Partner was the Center for Safety and Change, a local women’s shelter whose staff led the two discussions. The Center for Safety and Change, which guides Title IX training at local colleges, later repeated The University as part of their own programing.

John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020, postcard)

John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020, Magnolia Pictures) was streamed from August 7th through 27th, 2020, with Community Partners Nyack Center Teen Council (who had just organized a sizeable Black Lives Matter march and street mural), Rockland County Pride, Our Community Against Drug Abuse, and the Center for Safety and Change. A Zoom discussion, one of the few of its kind locally during this period, featured activists and faith leaders.

Losing Ground (1982, publicity photo)

Actors Maritza Rivera and Bill Gunn dancing along the Hudson River in Rockland County.

Losing Ground (1982, Milestone Films), by local resident Kathleen Collins, is considered to be among the first films to be directed by a Black woman. The 2/19 – 2/25/21 streaming was the first time Losing Ground was presented to Rockland County audiences. Community Partners included the Nyack NAACP, the Historical Societies of Rockland County and Nyack, and the Nyack Library. The discussion on Zoom included the daughter and son of Kathleen Collins; Losing Ground actress and theater director, Seret Scott; the composer for both films, Michael Minard; and Sam Waymon, friend of Kathleen Collins and partner of Losing Ground actor Bill Gunn. Also participating were the film’s distributors, Amy Heller and Denis Doros of Milestone Films. Rivertown Film advisory board and NAACP member, Bill Batson, was the discussion moderator.

Ganja & Hess (1973, publicity photo and Zoom discussion still frame)

Ganja & Hess (1973, Kino Lorber) by Rockland County writer, actor, dramatist, and director Bill Gunn, was shown for the first time in Rockland County when it streamed from 4/9 – 4/15/21. Top photograph shows Sam Waymon and Duane Jones during the penultimate scene, shot in a church that is now The Nyack Center and home to Rivertown Film Society. The bottom photo is a still frame from the Zoom discussion featuring actor/composer Sam Waymon, producer Chiz Shultz, and Bill Gunn biographer and Yale lecturer Nick Forster. Bill Gunn was also one of the two main actors in Kathleen Collins’ Losing Ground. Bill Gunn, Sam Waymon, Kathleen Collins, and Toni Morrison were a circle of friends who lived within a few miles of each other.


The audience watching Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters (2021)

The screening of Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters (2021, Kino Lorber) at the Nyack Center on 7/17/21 during Rivertown Film’s first live screening since February 2020. The room seats 190 on stackable seats, but only 80 were put on sale (and sold out) to maintain distancing, and everyone wore masks. It was intended to be shown outdoors but rain caused it to be moved indoors.

Free 0utdoors screening of Oscar winner Ratatouille (2007, photo)

In August 2021, Ratatouille (2007, Pixar sub-licensed to Swank) was shown for free to a distancing audience of families in Nyack’s Memorial Park, next to the Hudon River, with the Mario Cuomo Bridge seen in the background. The final words of Ratatouille are, “Not everyone can be a great artist, but great art can come from anywhere.”