Notes from the field

We’ve had a great time working with Philip on this short term internship. We asked him to give us a brief synopsis of his stay in New York and life goals. Here is what he said:

I’m here from Sweden, living in Greenpoint for a few months, and just celebrated my 21st birthday.  I took some time off from school inspired to try out some entrepreneurial ideas.  When I was introduced to the Greenpoint Film Festival Rosa Valado, the Director, offered me the opportunity to work with their social media platform.

It is an exciting time for me as I become familiar with what it means to work for myself and be my own boss, and to identify the needs and possibilities for different industries. With GFF, a platform that gets increasingly active nearing the festival time, there are many creative moments finding and developing content. I’ve spent numerous hours researching on the internet, as well as many hours running around taking pictures of the many film shoots in the neighborhood. It is a lot of fun learning about the film industry.

The fast pace of New York City, variety of activities, ethnic diversity, and social directness are new and exciting.  I’m learning to enjoy the process of working independently in a new and exciting place, where it can still get pretty lonely.  I’ve learned to reach out to my home support group through Skype and through the technology available – as I meet new people here and build my social and professional networks.

I want to create my own path , and to discover myself, and where and how I function best.  My time in NYC is certainly delivering the perfect classroom I was seeking.  I look forward to developing my business, and grow a varied clientele, as I explore different parts of the world and share my experiences through my blog and social media.

Philip Andersson


Notes from the field: Voting for the SAG Awards

We welcome Michelle Macau back to GFF – now on her fourth year. Michelle has worked with us on event management, ticketing, submissions, film selections and panels. She has had a very busy year with acting gigs, and teaching. We asked Michelle to send us some notes for our blog:

As a member of The Screen Actor’s Guild, I have the privilege of voting for actors nominated for the SAG Award. The SAG Awards are unique because nominees are selected by their peers.

Choosing the “best” actor or ensemble in a film or TV series, is quite challenging because the pool is packed with exceptional performances. For me the process is personal and the barometer is whether I am touched, affected, moved, gratified, or perhaps even transformed by a performance.

In 2017, I voted for Natalie Portman in Jackie. The reason is that I gained insight and a deeper respect for a historical figure whom I already admired. And Ms. Portman accomplished this in one particular scene.

It’s the point in the film when President Kennedy has been shot and declared dead. Two hours later, Lyndon Johnson is being sworn in as President and Jackie is standing next to him. I’ve seen this famous image numerous times over the course of my life. Yet I had never realized the public and political impact upon Mrs. Kennedy until watching Natalie Portman. She stands silent, dazed and devastated by her loss. And it hit me – she has lost her status completely. She is no longer First Lady. She is a widow, alone and isolated under tremendous public scrutiny. She is 34 years old.

Watching that moment made clear the ensuing decisions and actions that reveal Jackie’s character over the course of the film. I attribute this insight to Miss Portman’s performance and am grateful for the richer understanding of the astute, graceful, noble, savvy, strong, tenacious and wise person that made up the character of Jacqueline Kennedy.


Michelle Macau is an actor, director and educator.  Recent films include Zenith, written and directed by Ellie Foumbi, which will be screened at Lincoln Center in May 2017; Mother by Jennifer Sciarra; and Anne Bradford’s, The White Slippers, which screened at the 2016 Sedona International Film Festival.  Her last directorial project incorporated percussion with Margarita Engle’s The Surrender Tree.  She earned an MFA in Directing from Carnegie-Mellon University and teaches at Lehigh University.  Michelle has volunteered with the Greenpoint Film Festival since 2014 and is proud to be part of the GFF16 &17 Selection Committee.


Notes from the field: The importance of independent film festivals

Steve Swartz, one of our judges from last year’s GFF final selection talked to us recently about the benefit of film festival, in particular small film festivals. Here is what he had to say:

I would say that the film festivals – and especially the small ones – are the cinematic equivalent of the Irish monks who kept writing alive in the fifth and sixth centuries. If not for these festivals there would only be the Hollywood Hit Factory and its endless sequels and adaptations of comic books and graphic novels.

If cinema is to continue to be a reflection of our times, if it is to continue to be the voice of the dispossessed, the strange, the wonderful, the new, the vibrant – we need to celebrate and support the independent festival. By the time I had my movie at Sundance in 1990 the corporate entities were already taking over; you can only imagine what it’s like now. This isn’t to say that Sundance doesn’t still screen some amazing films, but it’s hardly the incubator for the truly unique, truly special little film that has been produces on a shoestring minus any “names”.

So I say ALL HAIL the small, independent festival. You are the lifeblood of cinema in these benighted times.


Steve Hellyard Swartz’s film “Never Leave Nevada” (which he wrote and directed and in which he co-starred) opened in Dramatic Competition at the U.S. Sundance Film Festival in January, 1990. A former two-time Poet Laureate of Schenectady county in upstate New York, Swartz has won numerous prizes for his poetry, been a four-time finalist in the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Competition, and won a Green Eyeshade Award for radio arts commentary given by the Society of Professional Journalists. He’s currently putting the finishing touches on a new novel, “Me Who Am Issued Amazed.”


Notes from the field

We talked to Bruno Barros to ask him what he’s been up to since last March’s GFF16. He tells us that he has been fully immersed in the film industry after quitting his very lucrative IT job and that he is very happy. Here in his own words:

I work in the Locations department on a film set. One of the most important, but least known departments to someone outside of the industry. The locations department is in charge of finding the locations that productions shoot at and dealing with everything from agreements with the location owner as well as permits from the cities for shooting, parking the production trucks, firearm and smoke use and anything else that might be required for the production to legally be allowed to do what it needs to do.

When on set it is the locations department that deals with disgruntled neighbors and other complaints. We also act as an liaison, or messenger, between the production and the location contact. For example, if the electricians need to hang a light somewhere that was not previously discussed, they will contact a locations person to ask for permission. We then reach out to the contact to find out if that is okay or not.

Locations is usually the first and last department on set. We put up signs to insure production knows where to go and we also deal with the trash at the end of the day that was created by production.

It’s a tough department with long hours but it provides the opportunity to work with every department and learn what everyone does and needs to get their job done. Locations is a great department to work in for anyone trying to become a producer.

Bruno Barros comes from an IT background.  His goal is to be a producer/director full time. He quit his IT job and jumped into the film industry full time (vs. the part time he had been scheduling). Currently he is working for a TV show as a scout in order to learn as many aspects of production as possible and loves it. Last year Bruno began working with the Greenpoint Film Festival organizing all the final screening materials; he was the point person for everything technical. He continues to work with GFF17 in an expanded capacity.

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