2014 Panels

A Conversation on Music and Film

Friday, April 11th, 10am, Centennial Hall

centennial hall, keene state college, nh

229 Main St, Keene, NH


Larry Benaquist (Moderator)

larry benaquist, moniff panel moderator, a conversation on music and filmLarry Benaquist was on the faculty at Keene State College, from 1969 until 2010. Appointed originally to the English department, having a doctorate in Renaissance Studies, his interests turned to the study of film. Educating himself on various leaves at Brown University, the University of Southern California, and other institutions, he began offering courses in film theory, history and then film production. The program he founded in the seventies became a major in the mid-nineties. He has also produced films, several of which having been on public television. Here Am I, Send Me: The Journey of Jonathan Daniels, produced with Bill Sullivan, narrated by Sam Waterston, is the story of Keene native Jon Daniels, martyr to the civil rights movement who died in 1965. Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve: The First Hundred Years of Keene State College, is an in-depth, historical examination of one of the hundreds of normal schools in America, Keene Normal, opened the doors of education to those otherwise not able to afford it.

Kim Taylor

kim taylorKim Taylor is an independent singer-songwriter based in Cincinnati, Ohio who plays primarily in the styles of country and soul. She has toured extensively with the band Over the Rhine as a support act, as well as a backup singer and guitarist. To date, she has released several full-length studio albums, toured with notable international artists, and embarked on an acting career which has garnered positive attention from critics and bloggers. Her first full-length film, “I Used to Be Darker,” premiered at Sundance in January, 2013. Taylor has received notoriety from the frequent use of her music in popular television shows. Her songs have been included in such shows as Smallville, Justified, Eli Stone, One Tree Hill,Ghost Whisperer, Flashpoint, Army Wives, Hawthorne, The Unit, All My Children, Days of Our Lives, and Flashpoint. Her songs “No More War” and “A Good Man” can also be found on the soundtrack for the 2005 film, My Brother’s War. In 2009, she signed a non-exclusive licensing agreement with MTV so that the network can use her songs on some of their hit shows. Additionally, she struck a deal with Revlon in 2010, for her song “Little Miracle” to be used in an ad campaign. Taylor has expressed satisfaction with having her songs used in film and television, having stated “It feels like I’m doing something worthwhile when I hear my music in conjunction with a dramatic scene. I enjoy the process of connecting a song to a story that people are following…” Taylor currently will have two of her songs featured in Mark Wahlberg’s new TV Show, Breaking Boston.

Michael Hurwitz

michael hurwitzMichael Hurwitz is a composer and producer of music for visual media. To date, he has scored two feature documentaries: American Meat, a biopic demystifying US factory farming, and, Behind the Dress, the story of the first transgendered contestant in the Miss Universe pageant. Last year he scored the short Getting By, an exposé of global informal economies of survival, and, Tiradero al Cielo Abierto, a theatrical performance illuminating struggles of the Latin American Sex Trade. His music has also been featured in regional advertising campaigns and nationally at film festivals. He graduated from Berklee College of Music where he won best score in the Berklee Academy Awards. Hurwitz holds multiple credits as an album producer, engineer and instrumentalist, and currently performs with his Cinemastasia, a live solo performance where he uses 8 instruments and his laptop to create original music for silent films projected on a screen behind him.

Haik Kocharian

haik kocharianBorn in Armenia, Haik Kocharian was introduced to the world of art in early childhood by his parents, both artists. After graduating from the Armenian Theater and Art Academy, he moved to New York City to pursue his artistic aspirations, and attended Brooklyn College, where he majored in photography and film. In 2012, Kocharian wrote and co-produced his first feature length film, “Manhattan Romance,” a French – U.S. production starring Isild Le Besco and Jean-Marc Barr, which was screened in the U.S. at the ARPA International Film Festival, Los Angeles, in 2013. He also wrote, directed and produced “Please be Normal” starring Sam Waterston, Elisabeth Waterston, Louis Cancelmi and Dana Eskelson. The film is completed and is expected to be released in late 2014. Kocharian has written, directed and produced six short films including “Charlie,” which won the Thirteen/WNET Reel 13 Shorts Competition. During his early years in New York City, Kocharian became involved in photojournalism: he uses the unending dynamics of the City as a source of inspiration to develop and perfect his own visual style. Kocharian exhibits widely and has held several solo shows in New York City, including Gallery Mourlot in 2006, 92Y Tribeca in 2009, James Cohan Gallery in 2010, Robin Rice Gallery in 2007 and 2012. He has also participated in group shows at the Museum of the City of New York and the International Center for Photography in 2013, among others. He has also exhibited at Apple Gallery in Sacramento CA in 2007. Kocharian’s images may be found in corporate and private art collections worldwide. His work has been published in U.S. and European mainstream magazines, and he is the recipient of several awards, including a finalist in the Smithsonian Magazine Annual Photo Competition. Kocharian is also a singer-song writer. He has produced three albums, “Heaven” in 2007, “Juice” in 2009 and “Children’s Album” in 2012, and has performed live on many stages throughout New York City, including his CD release concert of “Children’s Album” at Public’s Theater’s Joe’s Pub. Kocharian is also actively involved in charity work and has collaborated with various non-for-profit organizations such as Meaningful World, a UN-affiliated NGO, in Burundi, Kenya, and Rwanda; African Services Committee in Ethiopia; Chodron Foundation in Nepal; and Self Help Africa and Faiths for Safe Water in New York City,

Don Baldini

don baldiniBassist and teacher Don Baldini has lived in Vermont for the past sixteen years. Before coming to the area, Mr. Baldini had a professional career as a studio musician in Los Angeles, touring and performing with The Tonight Show, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Peggy Lee, Tony Bennett, Helen Reddy, Paul Anka, Nancy Wilson, Teddy Wilson, Andy Williams, Henry Mancini and The Tshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Band. He can be heard on the soundtracks of The Little Mermaid, St. Elsewhere, The Love Boat, Charlie’s Angels, Jaws II, Disneyworld, Epcot Center and most recently with the Cincinnati Pops “Route 66” recording of the music of Nelson Riddle, whom Mr. Baldini was closely associated with in Los Angeles. He currently appears with the Vermont Symphony, Dartmouth Symphony, Opera North, and The Keene Chamber Orchestra, as well as several local chamber music and jazz groups in the region. Mr. Baldini holds a degree in music from Indiana University and did graduate studies at California State University at Northridge.

NHIA Panel – A Conversation on the Writing Process with Screenwriter Clare Sera

Friday, April 11th, 4-5pm, Courtyard Marriott Bar and Lounge
FREE and Open to the Public

the colonial theatre, keene, nh google map


75 Railroad St, Keene, NH

(603) 354-7900 ‎ · marriott.com

nhia panel with screenwriter clare sera  and film producer buzz mclaughlin

Hollywood screenwriter Clare Sera, whose latest film Blended starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore opens nationally this May, will discuss the writing process with film producer Buzz McLaughlin, who is also the Program Director of the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s MFA program in Writing for Stage and Screen. The two will discuss the development of a story from initial idea through final draft and beyond. Clare is also on the faculty of the MFA program and for those interested she and Buzz will be available for an info session about the program after the panel.

A Conversation on
Women and the Film Industry

Saturday, April 12th, 10am, Centennial Hall

centennial hall, keene state college, nh

229 Main St, Keene, NH


Virginia Prescott (Moderator)

virginia prescottVirginia Prescott is host of Word of Mouth, NHPR’s daily conversation about emerging trends, new ideas and under-reported stories from viral and pop culture. Her deep roots in public radio began at WWOZ in New Orleans. She later launched the Edward R. Morrow Award-Winning interactive media team at WNYC in New York City, and became editor, producer and director for NPR’s On Point and PRI’s Here & Now programs while at WBUR in Boston. Throughout her radio career, she’s helped build independent radio stations throughout the developing world and trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the Balkans. Her commitment to the power of sound and story-telling led her to create audio installations in Houston, Watertown, Massachusetts, and at MIT. She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University and was a member of the Peabody Award-winning production team for Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley. She loves working in radio, but regrets that so many good outfits go unnoticed.

Anna Culp

anna culp, senior vp of motion pictures at imagine entertainmentAnna Culp is the Senior VP of Motion Pictures at Imagine Entertainment, where she is an Executive Producer on the upcoming Get On Up directed by Tate Taylor for Universal Pictures. Previously, she was a Co-Producer on Katy Perry: Part of Me 3-D, for Paramount Insurge and an Associate Producer on Ron Howard’s Angels and Demons for Sony Pictures. Culp joined Imagine Entertainment as the assistant to Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer, working on numerous projects including A Beautiful Mind, 8 Mile, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. She was promoted within the company in 2002, serving as Story Editor, Creative Executive, Director of Development, and Vice President, until being promoted to her current position in 2011. During that time, she served as a production executive on Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe, and Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, as well as J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Clint Eastwood. Currently, Culp deals with all aspects of development and production of Imagine projects including the latest installment of the Dan Brown franchise, Inferno, by David Koepp; East of Eden written/directed by Gary Ross and starring Jennifer Lawrence; and The Most Wonderful Time directed by Jessie Nelson and starring Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, Annette Bening, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, and Felicity Jones. Culp started her film career in production on numerous commercials and films before graduating from the University of Richmond.

Ronnie Yeskel

ronnie yeskel, casting directorRonnie originally trained as an art teacher focused on a career working with mentally challenged and emotionally disturbed children. Many careers later, she accepted a job at The Folger Theatre, in Washington, D.C. making costumes and props and quickly moved in the direction of production and stage-managing and becoming an associate producer. She moved to NYC and after a spat of working as an assistant to famed casting director, Bonnie Timmerman and Joy Todd, set up her own casting office. After several years of casting New York theatre productions she made her way to LA in late 80s working initially as casting director for the innovative LA Theatre Center, which led to offers to cast films and TV. Ronnie has collaborated and inspired many gifted film-makers including Quentin Tarantino to take risks with their casting (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs), Gary Fleder’s (Things To Do In Denver When Your Dead), Steven Soderbergh (Underneath), William Friedkin (Jade), Forest Whittaker (Hope Floats), Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down), and many TV pilots and long-running series including Steven Bochco and David Kelley’s L.A. Law which ran for 8 seasons and 3 seasons of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, plus too many to mention. Ronnie’s other recent films include, The Sessions, based on a true story and starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy won the Audience Award And Best Ensemble Cast at the Sundance Film Festival. Ronnie is well known for encouraging directors as well as actors to take a risk, stretch themselves creatively and trust in their instincts. She has won many awards for her casting achievements. In 2010, Ronnie and Sharon Howard-Field partnered and are working on a number of feature films including Luis Mandoki’s Dancing At Sancho Ponza.

Clare Sera

clare sera, screenwriterClare is a founding member of the SAK Theatre Comedy Lab in Orlando, where she directed the improv shows and wrote factually questionable plays and sketches. After moving to Los Angeles she turned to screenplays (and liquor). Her first screenwriting gig was for Universal, writing about a curious little monkey called George. She’s written on animated projects for Dreamworks and Paramount and live action features for Disney, Walden and Paramount. Blended, the Warner Brothers script she co-wrote with Ivan Menchell will be released May 23, 2014 starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. She lives in Pasadena with her husband who has asked to be called Mr. Beauregard Titmarch III for this bio.

Edet Belzberg

edet belzberg, filmmaker, moniff's jonathan daniels award winner 2014Edet Belzberg’s films are distinguished by her choice of subject, in-depth treatment of place, and elegant storytelling. The MacArthur Foundation, in selecting Belzberg as a MacArthur Fellow and recipient of its grant, praised her for her “graceful and insightful” films. Belzberg’s directorial debut, Children Underground, was nominated for an Academy Award® and won the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize, the International Documentary Association’s Documentary Award, and the Gotham Awards’ Documentary Achievement Prize, among many others. Her film The Recruiter had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and its television premiere on HBO. It was awarded a DuPont-Columbia University Award for broadcast journalism. Edet and her most recent film, Watchers of the Sky, which just had its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, are this year’s Monadnock International Film Festival Jonathan Daniels Award recipient.