Guests

ALLOY ORCHESTRA is a three man musical ensemble, writing and performing live accompaniment to classic silent films. Working with an outrageous assemblage of peculiar objects, they thrash and grind soulful music from unlikely sources. Performing at prestigious film festivals and cultural centers in the US and abroad (The San Francisco Silent Film Festival, The Telluride Film Festival, The Louvre, Lincoln Center, The Academy of Motion Pictures, the National Gallery of Art and others), Alloy has helped revive some of the great masterpieces of the silent era. An unusual combination of found percussion and state-of-the-art electronics gives the Orchestra the ability to create any sound imaginable.

Alloy Orchestra will perform live along with the screening of Variete.

Brian Donovan has been a professional actor for over twenty-five years in film, television and radio. He’s worked on-screen with such luminaries as Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey and Jim Belushi. He is currently the voice of Rock Lee in the juggernaut anime hit, Naruto, and later this year he can be seen in the indie film, Somebody’s Mother. In addition, Brian has been the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Repertory Theatre since 1994, producing and directing more than 50 inner-city high school workshops and live shows. He lives in Los Angeles with his family and dog, Cosmo.

Brian will join us for a conversation following the screening of his film, Kelly’s Hollywood.

Mike Gasaway is an award-winning director with over eight years of directing/producing experience, specializing in computer animation. He’s directed on three award winning shows and has helped build two animation studios. His work has earned him an Annie Award for Best Children’s Animated Series and a nomination for an Annie Award for Best Directing in an Animated Series. In 2008, his team of directors was nominated for an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program. The following year, Back at the Barnyard earned an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Animated Program Special Class. His short film Help Me First! premiered with rave reviews at Fantastic Fest 2016.

Mike will join us for a conversation about independent filmmaking following the Steeltown Event.

Charlotte Glynn makes documentary and fiction films that have screened all over the world. Her first feature documentary, Rachel is, a film about her sister who is developmentally disabled, had its broadcast premiere on PBS America ReFramed and has screened internationally, including at the True/False Film Festival. Her most recent film, The Immaculate Reception, premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, was a Vimeo Staff Pick, and won the Hammer to Nail Short Film Contest and the Special Jury Award at the New Orleans Film Festival, among others. Charlotte was named one of the “25 New Faces in Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine in 2014.

Charlotte will join us for a conversation about independent filmmaking following the Steeltown Event.

Melissa Martin is an award winning producer/writer/director working in independent film and theatre. She is the Producer/Writer/Director of The Bread, My Sweet—an award winner screened at more than twenty festivals, a featured film in Chris Gore’s Film Festival Survival Guide, and released theatrically nation-wide. Martin is a writer and director for Dog Bytes, a web series that screened at more than twenty film festivals, including Berlin, Cape Fear, LAWEBFEST and Cannes. Martin also directed Flour Baby, Paper Umbrellas, and Come With Me—a pilot based on her web series, I’ll Call You. She is currently working on a new short as well as a feature film.

Melissa will join us for a conversation about independent filmmaking following the Steeltown Event.

Writer/director Chris Preksta is the creator of the online sci-fi series The Mercury Men, a re-imagining of classic cliffhanger movie serials which premiered on the Syfy/NBC Universal digital network. Chris is also the co-writer/director of the popular online sitcom Pittsburgh Dad, which has amassed over 35 million views, and co-author of the book based on the show. Chris directed the final season of the award-winning online sitcom The Guild, starring Felicia Day. Chris was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. His favorite movies are It’s a Wonderful Life and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Chris will join us for a conversation about independent filmmaking following the Steeltown Event.

John Putch is often referred to as an independent film “real McCoy.” One of his first indie efforts, “Valerie Flake,” landed him at the ’99 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Experienced in both Drama and Comedy, John’s other notable films include, “Pursuit Of Happiness,” “Bachelorman,” the award-winning “Mojave Phone Booth” and the “Route 30″ trilogy of films which were shot in South Central Pennsylvania, and his latest drama “The Father and the Bear.”

John will join us for a conversation following the screening of The Father and the Bear.

Eddie Rosenstein is a documentary filmmaker living in New York City. His films are about a wide range of subjects, but are mostly about regular people doing extraordinary things, often against great odds. His previous work includes: A TICKLE IN THE HEART (producer, 1996); WAGING A LIVING (co-director, 2003); SCHOOL PLAY, (co-producer/director 2008); SANDHOGS (producer/director, 2008); and BOATLIFT (Producer/Director, 2011). Eddie has also produced television programming for networks including A&E, TruTV, History, Discovery ID, HBO. PBS and AMC, and has won dozens of international film festival prizes and been nominated for an Emmy. Rosenstein teaches documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, lectures frequently and lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and two sons.

Eddie will join us for a conversation following the screening of his documentary, The Freedom to Marry, on opening night.

Witold “Vic” Walczak is the legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. A civil rights lawyer for thirty years, Walczak has handled many nationally significant cases, including Whitewood v. Wolf, the lawsuit that overturned Pennsylvania’s ban in 2014 on marriage by same-sex couples. Walczak is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has received many professional awards. He is a graduate of Colgate University and Boston College Law School. He and his wife have been together for over 30 years and they have three grown children. Walczak is a lifelong soccer player, avid biker, photographer and huge Bruce Springsteen fan.

Vic will join us for a conversation following the screening The Freedom to Marry on opening night.

Evan Wolfson is known as the national architect of the same-sex marriage movement. Having written his third year thesis paper at Harvard Law in 1983 on the subject, Wolfson began advocating for the freedom to marry when almost every gay rights leader was adverse. As the movement began to gain traction, he founded, FREEDOM TO MARRY, a not-for-profit which spearheaded the strategy and the national campaign. When Wolfson began working on the marriage movement, there was not a single town in America where gay people had even a shred of legal protection. As of this writing, gay marriage is now legal not only throughout America, but in 22 other countries on five continents. Much of his current work is now sponsored by the US State Department, which has requested Evan to provide his expertise to other nations currently embarking on same sex marriage battles.

Evan will join us for a conversation following the screening of The Freedom to Marry on opening night.