Thursday, September 22, 2016

Saratoga Springs International Film Festival: A Success

On Sept 17th, I participated in the inaugural Saratoga Springs International Film Festival.  This event was established to showcase independent film, and also to showcase the scenic and architectural beauty and heritage of Saratoga Springs, NY.

The event actually started the night before with a cocktail party for those involved with the festival. It was held at the West Side Sports Bar and Grill located at 112 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs NY 12866. The West Side Sports Bar and Grill did an excellent job at hosting us, and went beyond accommodating us. This was a time to meet some of the other people who helped out with the festival, such as the volunteers and judges, and also some of the VIP who were attending. Go to the gallery section of the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival to view some of the pictures.
Some of the volunteers of the film festival

I met some wonderful people here at the party. It was a pleasure to speak to the other members of the festival, some of which I had not met previously. I also had a chance to speak to Steve Beer (see below) and a fellow author Dr. Hollis Palmer.  Dr. Palmer has authored twelve books; his topics include business, history, true crimes and fictional novels.  It was a pleasure and honor to meet some of the people at this party.

Sandra Graff and Dr. Palmer

The next day would be the film festival. I must give kudos and appreciation to those wonderful volunteers, who got up so early to get the venues ready for the fair. These people have worked so hard to get this fair up and running. Learn more about them on the Saratoga Springs International Film Festival website with Meet the Team, and Volunteers.

I went to a panel discussion featuring Steven C. Beer held at the Saratoga Springs City Center. He is an attorney that concentrates his practice on film, television and music matters. He represents industry-leading film production, film finance and film distribution companies.  He has extensive experience working with multi-platinum music artists, both mentoring and representing many of the most popular acts in the music industry: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Jon Batiste and Stay Human. This man is THE ATTORNEY, in terms of entertainment law.
Caitlin Stedman and Steven C. Beer

His presentation was very informative, and centered on those who produce an independent film, and music. This information is valuable for those in the independent entertainment world, for sometimes they do not have the finances to get legal advice. If you get a chance, seize the opportunity to hear this attorney speak.

Also, at the city center, I viewed some of the exhibitors. Spaceout.VR  had a very impressive interacting display of their virtual reality device. I was very impressed with this technology, and I will predict in a few years; this will be the standard format for most gaming and entertainment throughout the world.

As part of my duties at the festival, I introduced several movies.  The first on was Since: TheBombing of Pan Am Flight 103   directed by Phill Furey, who also wrote, produced and composed the film, and editor and producer Spencer Averick. The film was held at the Davis Auditorium on Skidmore CollegeThe bombing of Pan Am flight killed 270 lives; the film deals with some of the victims of this attack, and their loved ones, friends and their advocates, who fought to get the truth and justice for the victims.

The next movie I introduced was a series of short movies. These movies were held at the Criterion Bow Tie Cinemas, 19 Railroad Place, Saratoga Springs. The Bow Tie Cinema did an excellent job, not only showing the festival but also allowing us to have a table to advertise the festival and to sell tickets.

The movies I introduced were part of the Family/Drama Shorts category. They included Camping Trip directed by Audrey Larsen, Red by Tony Savant, Yellow by Alexander Hankoff and Alexander Maxwell, Stay Awake  by Jamie Sisley, A Pinch of Salt by Nyman Agdor,  Uncle Buzzy’s House by Kristine Niven and Christina Vinsick, and Alice’s Mirror, a French movie directed by Benoit Lelievre.

After the movie, I moderated a Q and A session with the team who brought the Uncle Buzzy’s House and also the producer of Stay Awake.  The audience did not ask any questions, so I had to ask come up with questions off the cuff.  I did enjoy this experience very much, and hope to be asked to do it next year.
I am pictured here with the wonderful people of Folded Leaf Productions

Caitlin Stedman with director Christina Vinsick

This Friday, September 23, the festival will announce its winners. Next week I will post these winners here, so please check back.

I have to acknowledge the wonderful work by the director of the film festival, Caitlin Stedman, she and her family and friends worked diligently at this festival.  Their sacrifice in time and effort made them the heart and soul of the festival.  It is also important to thank the sponsors of the event, who generously supported us.  I also want to personally thank all the fans who came out to view the movies; they are the ones who truly made the effort worthwhile. 
 The Saratoga Springs international Film Festival was a huge success. I am looking forward to next year; I would encourage everyone, from movie makers to fans, begin making plans to attend next year. We are currently also looking for volunteers and business to be part of our next festival, go to the website to find out more. Also please subscribe to our newsletter.

W.A. Rusho is a professional wrestler, historian, and author of the novel “Legend of the Mystic Knights”. The previous publisher of this novel is no longer in business, and so he is actively seeking a literary agent or publisher. If you wish to contact him, email him, or visit his website.


  1. I've been eager to hear about how the film festival went, William. So glad to hear that it was a resounding success! Bravo to all involved.

  2. Congrats on introducing some movies and also on moderating a panel. It's great to see how involved you get with all of these events you go to.

  3. Sounds like it was a wonderful experience all around William! Thank you so much for sharing this with us, especially enjoy seeing the participants who made the event such a success. :-)

  4. Congratulations! I'm glad the festival turned out well. May there be many future festivals in Saratoga Springs.

  5. Sounds like the Saratoga Springs Film Festival was a lot of fun. It is great that you are so involved and even are moderating some discussions. Thank you for sharing this event with us.

  6. Glad to hear the festival was a success. I am a big fan of film festivals. You get exposed to so many movies that you otherwise would never have known about. There are whole genres like shorts and documentaries that rarely get a screen in commercial theaters but can be brilliant, well-made films.

  7. Glad it was such a great experience for you and think it's wonderful that you were introducing some movies.

  8. Hi William, congratulations on your contribution to the success of this show. How neat that you were able to introduce some of the movies. Enjoyed seeing the photos of the other volunteers. Having organized many events in the past myself in the past I know the amount of work involved. Hats off to all involved.

  9. Thx for the interesting post, William. I think you attend more festivals than anyone I know! Sounds like the Saratoga Springs Film Fest was a terrific event. Thx for sharing.