BY PETER BELSITO
From Sydney’s Buzz Blog
In Cannes recently we met with Nora and Mike and were taken by their ambitious plans to organize a new New York City and state based film fest that deals mainly with the type of films we love the most. They bring impressive qualifications to this new task and we look forward next year to participating. The Rated SR “Socially Relevant” New York Film Festival Shines New Light on Film Violence. Nora Armani, Festival Founding Artistic Director, recently announced this new Film Festival to launch in both New York City and Rensselaerville, New York on March 14-20, 2014.
Entitled ‘Rated SR’ for Socially Relevant, the festival is a response to the proliferation of violence and related social ills in today’s movie industry. The fest aims to satisfy a market need to concentrate more on everyday positive human stories seeking an audience.
The Downstate-Upstate event will provide Festival attendees and public alike with the best of both worlds: the buzz of Manhattan and the rural setting of Rensselaerville. The main goal of the Festival is to support filmmakers who are producing films that tackle the tough social and environmental issues of the day without relying on gratuitous violence or sensationalism to draw in an audience.
“Rated SR aims to show that socially relevant films can be of high artistic value, educate, enlighten, but most of all equally entertain and be commercially viable,” said Armani who holds extensive festival organizing and curatorial skills honed from decades of experience in the United States and overseas markets. Armani organized film weeks at London’s ICA, Cine Lumiere, AFI in Los Angeles and Kennedy Centre, collaborated with Paris’s Pompidou Centre, The Edinburgh and Cambridge Film Festivals and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Armani had her films in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and is invited to attend the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Armani is joined in organizing “Rated SR” by Mike Camoin, Founder of the Festival’s Filmmaker’s Lab that will take place March 18-20th during the Upstate portion of the fest. Camoin is an Albany-based filmmaker, producer and director with a number of completed documentaries and shorts. Camoin is currently in post-production with “An American Life: The Journey from Violence to Hope” centered on mental illness and criminal justice featuring David Kaczynski. Armani and Camoin met serendipitously in Rotterdam during the fest’s synergetic industry forum and quickly discovered a mutual interest in non-violent storytelling. It is this synergy they want to carry over to New York with “Rated SR.”
Joining Armani and Camoin is Carol Ash, President of the Carey Center for Global Good, in Rensselaerville, NY, which will host the Upstate section of the Festival on its 100-acre campus. “The Carey Center for Global Good’s mission is bringing together innovative and dynamic people from around the world to seek creative solutions to the most pressing challenges of the day. Rated SR’s theme of nonviolence make this partnership particularly unique,” said Ash whose facility began hosting dialogues through film in 2012.
“We’re quite fortunate to have found a partner in the Carey Center for Global Good,” stated Camoin.
Keeping with the tradition of the institute, the Upstate retreat center is an ideal facility for filmmakers to gather in a supportive environment and move their respective and significant stories to completion. “The screening and lab components are designed to be complimentary,” he noted.
Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” The film festival also coincides with growing trends related to socially conscientious consumers. A number of independent research studies show there is a growing desire by consumers around the globe to do business with socially conscious companies.
Armani is a seasoned actor and filmmaker who notably draws her inspiration, among others, from the work of Sherry Lansing, Oprah Winfrey and Nelson Mandela.
Armani studied drama and sociology in England and currently divides her time between London, Paris and New York. Her most recent work “Moving Stories” will screen at the Monaco Film Festival in the official selection in May 2013.
Mike Camoin is founding member and former President of Upstate Independents, Inc. He is an advisory board member to The New School of Radio and Television, and serves as a consultant to the Albany Film Commission. He’s appeared on Vox-Pop with WAMC’s public radio Alan Chartock discussing all things independent motion pictures. Camoin is also attending the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Carey Center for Global Good, located on an historic 100-acre estate, features a unique setting for conferences, meetings, events and retreats. The mission of the Carey Center for Global Good is to bring together innovative and dynamic people from around the world to seek creative solutions to the most pressing challenges of the day.