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the festival

Chashama Film Festival is rooted in the ideals of nurturing experimentation, artistic merit, and creativity. Our mission is to give a chance to filmmakers who do not always subscribe to the endlessly duplicated formulas of mainstream culture. Our festival is for both filmmakers and audiences who feel alienated by these systematized and commercial ideals and who hope to be part of something unique.

Film, as a medium, is in a state of transition. New technology allows new ways of harnessing creative energy. Never before has film been this accessible. Chashama Film Festival aims to prevent the ghettoization of unique concepts that are emerging. Rather, we want to celebrate the ideas and stories that would otherwise be disregarded. We want to adopt a non-conservative way of thinking, and make it our way, the New York City way. New York is the hub of provocation, where daring ideas can flourish. Chashama Film Festival, in the heart of Manhattan, is a vehicle for these visual thoughts to go places. We hope to create a firm base here, and eventually expand to cities on other continents where we can reach filmmakers who feel ostracized by tradition.

Yes. If you are rejected by society because of your work being too avant-garde, we want you as a filmmaker. If you are a person who needs an escape from this crazy life, we want you as an audience, because these films will make your life seem normal. We will pervade your way of seeing.

the organization

Chashama was founded by Anita Durst in 1995 as an organization dedicated to serving artists in New York City. Durst realized that lack of affordable space was the greatest threat to diverse, dynamic, and provocative cultural environment in NYC. Durst’s vision was to connect artists with untapped reserves of vacant real estate: empty storefronts and offices languishing between tenants.

Chashama has formed relationships with some of NYC’s largest developers and property owners and shown them that allowing artists to use temporarily vacant spaces adds value to properties by preventing neglect and decay, while invigorating surrounding communities with creative activity.

Landlords’ donations enable chashama to offer space to artists for free or at rates at a fraction of market values. Currently, chashama operates fifteen venues that include a fully equipped theater, two galleries, four rehearsal studios, seventy-three artists’ studios, and three storefronts window stages. For the past thirteen years, chashama has achieved it’s mission of providing opportunities to over 6,500 artists: space to paint, sculpt, rehearse, perform; cash grants for fees and materials; marketing and audience development for their performances and exhibitions.


JURY 2008

Dimitris Athos

Dimitris Athos was born and raised in New York City in a Greek-American family. While studying film production at NYU Tisch School of The Arts, he became U.S. correspondent for the Greek film magazine CINEMA. Published at age 22, he began attending press junkets and film festivals. Following was a stint in a talent agency where he worked in the casting process for feature films, TV, and NY theater. In 1999 Mr. Athos began sharing his time between New York and Greece, where he worked as a script consultant and producer on several Greek box-office hits. In addition, he also wrote "Homage To Callas". The project is a theatrical presentation about the opera Diva, under the musical direction of renowned opera conductor Eugene Kohn.

In the fall of 2004, Mr. Athos joined BEFILM The Underground Film Festival team as Program Director, identifying and programming a selection of the best and most interesting short films from around the world. BEFILM - which shows exclusively short films - is now entering its 6th year. The selections screened, tend to continue on to festivals such as Berlin, Cannes, Sundance and Toronto. Mr. Athos is an alumni of the United Nations International School. He is currently producing a documentary about the history of Ellis Island.

Sylvia Caminer

Sylvia has been producing films (The Deli, Blue Moon, Mixing Nia…) since 1993 and has garnered over a dozen awards at top film festivals around the world. In 2005 she kicked off her new production company, DolGer Films, Inc. She recently finished producing the Amy Smart starrer LOVE N’ DANCING, with Billy Zane, Tom Malloy, Rachel Dratch, Caroline Rhea and Betty White. Other recent projects include ORDER OF REDEMPTION (Busta Rhymes, Tom Berenger & Armand Assante) and DOORMAN (Jackie Long) both of which Sylvia Co-Produced and Aftermath (Chris Penn, Anthony Michael Hall, Frank Whaley & Tony Danza) which she produced through her company DolGer Films, Inc.

Sylvia is currently in pre-production on John Gallagher’s 3D feature DIGGER, this marks the 4th film Sylvia will produce for John. She is also developing several features including CHICKADEE with Chris Cooper (Breach, American Beauty), Julie Kavner (Click, The Simpsons) and Michael Emerson (Lost, Saw).

In between producing films Sylvia works as a producer/director for television. She has garnered three Emmy Award nominations, with one win in 2004 for directing the episodic television show Great Hotels (Discovery/Travel Channel). She also produced/directed the primetime shows Passport To Europe and Passport To Latin America (Discovery/Travel Channel) both hosted by Samantha Brown. Sylvia produced the Bill Kurtis/National Geographic Magazine’s expedition documentary Ring Cenotes, Hidden World, and recently filmed a pilot for a new travel adventure series, 37 Million Minutes. She is currently producing the feature documentary Angels Among Us.

Sylvia began her career as a theatre director with acclaimed stage productions in New York City and Denver. She then made the transition to film working as a production assistant in charge of extras on narrative features like the AGE OF INNOCENCE, A BRONX TALE and CARLITO’S WAY. A year later she produced her first feature, John Gallagher’s MEN LIE, which won the audience award at the 1993 Florida Film Festival.

Marc Dale

Marc Dale is the associate artistic director and a founding member of chashama. originally from washington, d.c., he now resides in new york city.

James Janowsky

James Janowsky is the Creative Director for the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. He graduated in 2000 from the Columbia University film program with a M.F.A. in screenwriting. In 2001 he was the Film Curator for the Eugene Ionesco Festival and in 2008 a juror for the Chashama Film Festival. He has written several screenplays and directed several short films. He recently submitted his screenplay, Spirited Music, for a Nicholl Fellowship and to the Williamstown Film Festival.

Lisa Regina

Lisa Regina has been involved in the arts professionally for over 25 years, as a creator, writer, director, actor and teacher. In 2001, she wrote, directed and produced "Kenny,"an educational film that won the Manhattan Global Film Festival's Humanitarian Award. An acting coach with over 18 years experience, Lisa founded LR Acting Workshops. Lisa is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Her acting credits include The Sopranos, The Bakery, The Tournament and national commercial campaigns for Delta Sky Miles and Macy's.

Following an assault, Lisa found personal strength and inspiration through her passion for the arts by creating, directing and producing "A Write to Heal," a theatrical performance that has been staged at several venues, including the Culture Project in New York City.

Lisa studied theater and film production at New York University's Tisch School for the Performing Arts. She continues to follow her passion through performance, writing and education.


Rick Kariolic- Director

Born in Chicago’s South Side, Rick Kariolic spent most his time watching movies and dreaming of making his own. Growing up, he often broke his father’s camera in trying to get the impossible shot. Despite a humble background and lack of formal artistic education, his deep passion led him to pursue a career in the creative and performing arts.

In 2002, Rick moved to NYC and connected with an improvisation group that performed around the city. Without delay, Rick pitched a screenplay to the group, and had made his first big-city film. Since then, he has directed and produced many films, ranging from experimental to feature-length documentary. Rick is a multidisciplinary filmmaker whose mixed media format is inspired by the collective spirit of family. His imagery focuses on life situations, including the birth of a child or the rescue of a friend, never turning off his humanity or the camera to share in “real time” moments and events through film and photography.

In 2003, Rick’s photography exhibition “Europe” was shown at the Chashama Black Box. In 2004, his multidisciplinary works were featured at the BE HERE Festival in the former Yugoslavia at performance venues in Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia. In 2006, Rick received a space grant from chashama for his multi-disciplinary exhibition of “paint and shoot”. Rick’s new feature ”The Picture” is currently in post-production.

Randi Pannell, Associate Director

Randi Pannell is the Founder and President of Sagital Works; a networking home for filmmakers, writers and artists seeking production and/or development. Her producing, directing and acting credits are extensive, and Randi is a member of SAG.

Kate, Festival Coordinator

Kate Lingley graduated last year with an honours degree in Film Studies. She has experience working with social issue documentary filmmakers in Vancouver, Montreal and New York. She is working on a film about migrant children in Shanghai, China. She is currently navigating her way through the rapids of New York film, and wants to apply her acquired filmmaking skills for positive social change.