Independent Film Festival to Feature Expert Panelists

Under a grant through the President’s Innovation Award program, Genesee Community College is hosting its first Independent Film Festival on Saturday, May 5, 2007 from 1-5 PM. Two short PBS Wide Angle films will be shown, the first at 1 PM followed by discussion and refreshments, the second at 3 PM also followed by a panel discussion.

The first film to be screened, Back to School, profiles seven children in seven countries as they start their first year of school in 2003. Returning in 2006, the film shows that some of those children are already struggling, hanging onto their education by a thread.  The second film, H5N1: Killer Flu, stands as a warning about the next potential global human flu epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that the first H5N1 virus – which already has jumped species from birds to humans – could kill tens of millions of people worldwide.

A panel of experts will facilitate the discussion following each film, with Norm Gayford, Professor of English at Genesee Community College, serving as moderator. Norm has been teaching at Genesee for nineteen years. He holds a MA in Teaching from Brown University and a MA in English from SUNY Brockport. Norm has been involved in theater for many years, including roles in two recent Genesee plays.

Panelists for Back to School include Tamara Rosenberg, the film’s Coordinating Producer. Rosenberg has been working on the award-winning international current affairs series WIDE ANGLE since 2002. She has worked on documentaries about young Muslims in France and the cultural impact of outsourcing in India. The production of Back to School was the centerpiece of WIDE ANGLE’s 2006 broadcast season. Prior to joining the series, Rosenberg worked as an Associate Producer on Media Matters, the critically acclaimed newsmagazine on PBS. Tamara has lived, studied, and worked in France, Israel, New Zealand, and Egypt. She graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York last September.

Dr. George Eisen of Nazareth College and Dr. Ann Monroe-Baillargeon of the University of Rochester are also slated to appear as panelists for Back to School. Dr. Eisen, a professor of Sociology and History, is the product of three educational systems: Hungary, Israel, and the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in History and Sociology from the University of Maryland and is the recipient of two Honorary Doctorates from University of Budapest and Uzhgorod National University, the Ukraine.
Dr. Ann Monroe-Baillargeon joined the Warner School Faculty in 2003, teaching courses that prepare teachers to effectively work with all students in inclusive classrooms. She holds a Ph.D. in teaching and curriculum from Syracuse University.

Panelists for H5N1: Killer Flu include:
• Ron Jacobs, Director/Assistant Professor of the Respiratory Care Program at Genesee Community College. Jacobs received his MBA in Health Care Systems Management from the University of Buffalo and has 35 years of experience in respiratory therapy.
• Jane Weston, Associate Professor of Biology at Genesee Community College. Jane received her Ph.D. from the University of Kent at Canterbury in England. She taught at Erie Community College and Canisius College before starting at Genesee in 1993.
• Maureen Leupold, Associate Professor of Biology at Genesee Community College. Maureen received her MS in Biology from SUNY Brockport and has taught biology since 1990, including twice serving as a faculty chaperone for the BIO 113 Rainforest Biology in Costa Rica. Prior to teaching, Leupold was a staff biologist at Ward’s Natural Science in Rochester, NY.
• Carol Rinere, Supervisor of Management Services at Genesee Valley BOCES. Rinere holds an MS degree in Educational Administration and has twenty-nine years of experience coordinating a shared Health, Safety, & Risk Management Service for more than seventy school districts in western New York. In 2006 she developed a pandemic planning model that many school districts have customized in response to the Avian Flu risk.

The film festival is free and open to the public. For more information about the Independent Film Festival, contact Barry Chow, Director of Video/Telecommunications at (585) 343-0055 x6252.