Voices Rising Film Festival during the weekend at Plaza MAC

Linda Leuzzi

Roman, co-organizer of the Babylon Pride Parade, will walk the red carpet on Friday, September 30 at 5 p.m. She will perform before the debut of Knock Out Blonde at the Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center. It is one of three selections presented that evening as part of the Voices Rising Film Festival, a weekend offered until Sunday October 2, celebrating independent, new and alternative filmmakers. Other performers include Andrew Vass and Raquel Castro with the poignant “You Will Be Okay” as well as Chris Milo.
“Twenty-five people are flying in for the Knock Out Blonde opening from London, a mix of film crew and family friends,” said Jaret Martino, who imagined Voices Rising in association with Awareness Media. , Love Wins Productions and My Mind Enterprises. “They will be in the audience and participating in our Q&A panel.”
Patchogue will have a lot of visitors, Martino pointed out. “We have people coming from Belgium and other places and they will be looking for places to eat and stay,” he said.
Catherine Oberg, executive director of the Plaza MAC, was asked if she considered film festivals when the nonprofit was established more than a decade ago.
“I knew film festivals were a full-time job,” she said. “As a filmmaker, I would send my applications to upcoming festival organizers for judging and I knew the process was overwhelming. I met Jaret in February and he already had a forum. It’s a good partnership. We offer quality mainstream and independent films. But these are truly independent and the topics are important and engaging. What is unique is to bring the artists as well as the public to discuss the subjects. And there are panels with resources to improve their worlds.
Oberg thanked the Greater Patchogue Foundation for its financial support and the Patchogue Arts Council.
The first film, Knock Out Blonde chronicles the life of Kellie Maloney, formerly Frank Maloney, a famous boxing promoter who guided Lennox Lewis to become the world heavyweight boxing champion.
Two subsequent films will be screened that evening, including Saving Mary Alice about an abuse survivor, and O’Kelley Legends: 2E Behind the Scenes about 13-year-old Jordan O’Kelley, who is adapting his book into a fundraising show. funds supporting emotional needs. gifted.
The films last between 1h30 and 19 minutes. With some it is less.
“It’s a mix of feature films and short films,” Martino explained.
What is especially important with this film festival is that advocates will be in the audience discussing the topics of the films. Eric Lella, DO RPCV Senegal, assistant clinical professor, family medicine and neuromusculoskeletal medicine and medical director of the Edie Windsor Health Center in Stony Brook will be on site Friday evening and to save Mary Alice, Amanda Myczkowsk from the Safe Center and Vicki Cooper, Lily Cooper and Sarah Sampson will be there from The Retreat – All Against Abuse as well as Ashley Nicolls from EOC-Suffolk. In addition, Robert Vitelli and Brian Rosen of LGBT Network will be present.
Four other films will be screened on Saturday October 1; Bring Her Home, which follows three Native women who fight to vindicate their missing and murdered loved ones, Culture and Community, which shows a Native American family near San Francisco dancing and participating in powwows to honor their ancestors, and Resilience , which tells a story An Indigenous family’s efforts to rebuild their sacred gathering place after a massive forest fire destroyed it. Martinez contacted local tribes for their representation and was waiting to hear who their speakers would be. From Darkness to Light: The Peter Krueger Clinic, tells the story of this incredible clinic and its HIV efforts over three decades.
“Stony Brook University Hospital has connected with us and several of their professionals will be in attendance,” Martinez pointed out. This includes Adam Gonzalez, Ph.D, director of behavioral health; Allison Eliscu, MD, FAAP, Associate Director of Clinical Pediatrics (Dr. Eliscu is heavily involved in LGBTQ+ health care for adolescents); and Rose Cardin, MSNRN, director of patient education, Stony Brook Medicine.
Four more films, Look In My Eyes, Uprooted, After Laughter, A Paid Connection and This is What New Yorkers Say are scheduled for release on Sunday. Plus, there are bonus shorts.
Martino said there has been a lot more support since the Love Wins series in June at the Plaza MAC. “We keep climbing and getting support,” he said.
Suffice to say there is a lot of hard work. Oberg pointed out that COO Rick Eberle strives to convert every movie to top quality and is audio verified. (Eberle has a wealth of experience, including a publicist, agent, musician and marketer.) “It takes a long time to do the digital work,” she said.
Voices Rising was specifically aimed at black, minority and trans filmmakers, Martino said. But with the multitude, how are the films chosen?
“We have 25 assistant programmers judging in 12 technical categories,” Martino said. “They write notes on overall quality. Next, industry professionals take a look. As for the Plaza MAC venue, “Voices Rising needed a safe and inclusive space to be heard,” Martino said. “Filmmakers can come away feeling empowered and continue their personal journey.”
Sidebar: The general film festival Voices Rising runs from September 30 to October 2. Admission is $9 per film; members pay $9 per day; an all-access pass costs $125.
The Plaza Cinema & Media Arts Center is located at 20 Terry Street, Patchogue.
For more information, click on www.plazamac.org.

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