What Our Members Are Saying About WFG
"The group is unpretentious, focused and friendly. A great place for networking!"
- Mary Crescenzo
Independent Casting Director
"The Westchester Film Group offers amazing opportunities to learn inside tips on the filmmaking industry. In the few events I've attended, I've learned how to write and pitch screenplays, edit sound and critique a film. Westchester is full of accomplished industry people willing to share their expertise. The WFG gives them a platform to share their inspirational stories and technical insights with fledging artists like myself"
- Ann Cefola, Scarsdale
Creative Strategist and Filmmaker
"The Westchester Film Group is unique in that everyone is there for one reason- the love of film. It is a place that allows everyone in the business of film to share ideas, opportunities, and experiences in an open and stimulating way."
- Litany Burns
Bella Luna Films
Nyack, New York
"As a former guest speaker at a symposium on screenwriting and how to survive the vultures of Hollywood, I was most impressed by the talent and intelligence of the filmmakers who attended this and other events. It was most gratifying to know that an organization such as the Westchester Film Group exists to bring such creative minds together and one that affords them the opportunity to exchange ideas, opinions and business cards.
"The group performs a vital service not only to the county and the New York metropolitan area but also to the larger world of one's imagination. Under the dedicated direction of Jonathan Kaplan, may it continue to be such a gathering place and to thrive."
- Ed Woodyard
Windmill Productions, Armonk.
"My first contact with the Westchester Film Group happened several years ago while I was a student at Westchester Community College. The group had posted announcements there for an upcoming interview and audience Q & A session with a director from Ireland. Well, here was a big statement on an innocent-looking announcement. I decided that I had to check it out. What I found was a core group of people dedicated to getting information about the process of making films and equally dedicated to sharing that information with others. I listened and took notes. It was a great "class!" I immediately felt that I had found a home of sorts for this interest in film that somehow just won't go away.
"I haven't made it to every event, but that's not important. What is important is the range of events that you can choose from. I have listened to Marshall Fine as a guest speaker, toured an award-winning post-production studio, seen demonstrations of the latest editing software, and mingled with some of the area's most dedicated filmmakers and writers. Being part of the Westchester Film Group made me realize what a vital part Westchester County plays within New York's filmmaking community.
"I am now a student at Mercy College and am just completing an internship that gave me the opportunity to help Prof. Maria Enrico with the College's International Film Festival. This has been a true learning experience for me, one that I might not have gotten without the support of the Westchester Film Group. The other members not only made me feel like part of the group, but also ultimately validated my interest in film and writing. The support I got from Jonathan Kaplan and Jim Evans gave me the courage to be vocal about that interest. One thing lead to another and another and another. So I'm here to tell you that what you read in an innocent-looking flyer like this one could change your life. I hope you enjoy the films at this festival, and that you make the Westchester Film Group a part of your life throughout the year. I'm glad I did."
- Lena Eorio
"New York may be known as 'Hollywood on the Hudson', but the truth is that meeting a fellow film professional here in Westchester is (ordinarily) as rare as finding blue whales breaching in the River. To mix watery metaphors, the WFG is an oasis in the desert for suburban-living filmmakers of all stripes who are seeking good networking opportunities and camaraderie."
- Staton Rabin
"In the three years I have been associated with the Westchester Film Group, I have gained a thorough understanding of the movie business thru its programs, referrals, and its incredibly talented and diverse group of participants. During the summer of 1999, I believed in their talents enough to become an Executive Producer and raised the funding for the filming of two 16mm film shorts: "Empty Places", written and directed by Eugene John Bellida and Michael Stabile, cameraman Joe DiGennaro and many other actors and crew, including Westchester Film Group leader Jonathan Kaplan.
"The other film is 'Jake-Look At Me', written and directed by Joe DiGennaro, cameraman Jake Sauerbury and a whole additional group in supporting roles. Both shorts were produced by Eugene and Michael. The first short was featured in the first Westchester Film Festival, and featured as an Internet movie on FilmFilm.Com and entered into six North American film festivals. I have since joined the Association of Video and Film (AIVF), buy and subscribe to many industry publications and keep learning all the time.
"I am now taking an Adobe Premiere video editing course at Westchester Community College, and have just finished my first feature length screenplay. All because of the Westchester Film Group! It is a vision come to life, so folks, please use it, or lose it!"
- Steven Worthy
President, Big Note Entertainment
"Not only has the Westchester Film Group been a great resource for new clients, but I have made friendships that transcend the film business into everyday life."
- Bill Winters
Director of Photography
"As a student interested in filmmaking, I started attending some meetings when I was in tenth grade to get advice on schools, summer programs and to learn from speakers. I particularly enjoyed the night Terry George spoke about his films and the night when Marshall Fine talked about independent filmmaking.
I am still using the notes from the night Marshall Fine spoke to chose movies to rent that he recommended in his talk. I appreciate the emails and the fact that no one questioned my attendance at a young age and I hope in the future to become more active in the group as I continue my film studies at college next year."
- Erin Rakow
" In 1990, I began work on my first feature length movie entitled "Fear of the Dark." Having never directed a production of that scale, I was a little disheartened by the odds against me. All I had to reassure me was Robert Rodriguez's "10 Minute Film School" and a copy of "American Movie." As fate would have it, Saxon Henry, a freelance reporter who lives in my neighborhood, took notice of a PennySaver ad of mine and pitched an article about me to the New York Times.
"Jonathan Kaplan, having read the article, called me out of the blue one day and invited me to a meeting of the Westchester Film Group. Unfortunately I missed that meeting but was intent on attending the next one. Never have I felt so welcome as when I sat down at the table at Borders Bookstore. For once, I felt at home. Suddenly my future in filmmaking didn't seem so bleak. Here I was surrounded with good people that I could relate to. Many of them had been down the same road that I had been and offered their support and wisdom. The other members were more than eager to help one another. To me that is what it's all about - networking and the exchange and discussion of ideas.
"I was so inspired by the Westchester group's success that I have since formed the Mid-Hudson Film and Artists Group along with the help of Maryanne Arrien. The group, while open to everyone, is targeted towards the Dutchess and Putnam County areas.
"Things have began to take off for me and no matter how busy I find myself, I always try to take time out to attend the group meetings. I find it is always an enriching and rewarding experience"
- Glen Baisley
Light & Dark Productions
The Mid-Hudson Film and Artists Group
"I first came across the Westchester Film Group five years ago while perusing a copy of the AIVF magazine. I had long hoped for a group of people within my area that could share in my interest of filmmaking and that I could share my ideas with.
"Since the time I joined, I've attended various functions that have included tours of editing facilities, Blue Sky Studios and guest speakers such as Terry George. Through this group I feel well connected to world of filmmaking without having to be in Manhattan.
"Best of all were the friends and contacts that I have made. When it comes time to getting feedback on a screenplay or assemble a crew for a project I know I can count on finding members to give me the support that I need.
"The Westchester Film Group has been well led. Without receiving any dues or support from any arts organizations, the group has been kept alive by hard work and small voluntary contributions from a handful of attendees.
"Realizing this, many of the members (including myself) have formed a core group to help in the planning of activities and supplying food and beverages to many of the events.
"At our most recent Holiday party we gave out three different FREE beautiful Film books from Focal Press to every single person who showed up just as a way to say, 'we value your participation, thank you!'.
"This collaborative effort is the true spirit of the group"
- Jim Evans