Class of 1988
My passion is pursuing independent motion pictures. Eighteen years later and I’m still doing this — and I rarely ever look at the clock other than to see how much time is left in the day. I run my own company, Videos For Change Productions, creating original content designed to reach a global audience.
My passion began in 1992, with a video camcorder, a woodsman as my first documentary subject and a dream to make independent film. It took six years to finish “Inside the Blue Line,” my first documentary. I was told the average is seven years.
In 1995, I created a network for independent media artists in Albany, N.Y., called Upstate Independents, Inc. Now home to over 200 active members (and over 600 on Facebook), members come from four different states to attend monthly meetings, network, learn and promote their work.
Developing a community of support has been vital living outside New York City or Hollywood.
At present, I’m writing, producing and directing a motion picture called “Grazing Miss Albany,” which is loosely based on the lives of St. Francis and Clare — a modern day tale that asks the question “what would Francis and Clare do today in light of all that is going on in today’s society?”
Here’s a brief synopsis ... Seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, “Grazing Miss Albany” is the story of Patrick, the troubled owner of a family diner, and his longtime girlfriend, Emma, as they fight to hold onto their family business.
The couple’s future teeters on the actions of Patrick’s estranged brother, Francis, a priest suffering a crisis of faith. Meanwhile, Emma’s teenage daughter, Zoe Clare, seemingly holds the key to the diner’s fate.
“Grazing” is definitely my passion. I’m mostly self-taught yet somehow the project has already attracted the attention of Hollywood, an international distributor and Franciscan communities and faith-based production companies across the U.S.
I’m in post-production on a documentary surrounding social-justice called “An American Life: The Journey from Violence to Hope,” which features David Kaczynski, who identified his brother, Ted, as the notorious Unabomber. We’re in discussions with a UK firm to distribute the program internationally.
Another documentary project in development is an environmental history of Adirondack fire towers titled “From the Mountaintop,” which looks at the role of man-made structures inside the world's largest forest preserve.
“Mountaintop” looks at how man has always been a part of wilderness and whether it’s possible to continue to live in balance with our natural surroundings.
These projects often take years — and lots of passion. It’s really a miracle when things come together. At the moment, I can’t envision doing anything else.
I’m actually quite surprised by the connection between my passion and my Franciscan roots.
Since my first film, “Inside the Blue Line,” I’ve had a desire to connect with people and the environment. I would say there also is a reoccurring theme of “brotherhood” that runs consistently throughout my work.
While a student and years after graduating from St. Bonaventure, I spent time off-campus at Mount Irenaeus learning more about living in community with Franciscan Friars and fellow students. I think this experience tremendously shaped how I approach things and what I’m involved in today.
I’m very fortunate to have had that life experience, which influenced creating the model for the filmmakers’ network. In a highly competitive industry where few share their ideas, the network has demonstrated time and again that supporting others can better your community. Certainly, the generosity of the Franciscan community and the simple desire to stay connected with others long after graduation helps fuel my passion.
» Check out the test scene
of “Grazing Miss Albany”
http://tinyurl.com/FB-MissAlbany» View a video link to
“An American Life”