Charles Marinaro

Co-Founder & Chairman

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Charles is an award-winning writer, director, actor, and producer raised in the Catskills in the town of Monticello, NY. He has had a passion for writing and the arts since he was able to pick up a crayon. His humble acting career began as he performed in many high school musicals at Monticello High such as Grease, The Sound of Music, and Fame. After high school he graduated from SUNY Sullivan and then furthered his education before opening businesses such as The Client’s Advocate: Photography & Self Promotion and Dream Chasers Inc. He later put together a film production company called Transcending Pictures. Within Transcending Pictures, Charles wrote and directed multiple feature length films, short films, commercials, promos, and music videos. Charles won Best Supporting Actor, Best Crime Drama, and Best Picture at festivals for his work in “Savior”. He was nominated People’s Choice for best of the festival for his work on “The Factory”. He became one of the founding members and President of the Hudson Valley International Film Festival that ran in 2015 & 2016 in Monroe, NY. The festival promoted independent productions from all over the world throughout its three day culturally enriching event. For the past 2 years Charles has worked diligently to find a venue and propose the idea of a Catskill International Film Festival. After 2 long years, Charles' work has paid off; this year’s opening night movie, “A Line Between All Things,” will premiere as the fourth feature film he has directed.

Anthony Gagliardo

Co-Founder & Chairman

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Anthony Gagliardo has lived in the Catskills for most of his life, having attended school in the tri-Valley Central School district before graduating from Sullivan County Community College with a degree in Criminal Justice. Anthony then advanced his education b attending SUNY Cortland where he obtained his degree in Criminology in addition to being accepted into the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. Since graduating from Cortland, Anthony returned to the area and began acting after being offered the role of a background actor and has now been in numerous films including a large role in the upcoming film, "A Line Between All Things," which will premiere this September at the Catskill International Film Festival.

When not acting, Anthony has been heavily involved in politics where he has worked on multiple events and political campaigns with the goal of obtaining enough knowledge and experience to make a positive difference in the community. Anthony has also done volunteer work with the ASPCA as well as the Save the Kids organization which is dedicated to providing at-risk youth with positive alternatives to incarceration. After the Catskill International Film Festival, Anthony is looking to further his education in order to enhance his means of helping others.

Meet the Committee!!

Sunny Vandewater-Edelman

Talent Coordinator & Assistant Director

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Sunny received a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Elementary Education from S.U.N.Y New Paltz and studied acting with Iza Itkin, Robert Castle, Bob Luke and Peter Sklar. She also took classes at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. In addition to acting, Sunny also teaches sixth grade science and math at Twin Towers Middle School in Middletown, NY and has directed many school drama productions.

Classically trained in acting, Sunny has directed and performed roles from Shakespeare to Disney, worked in regional theatres, numerous independent programs, and an Emmy-winning television program. She enjoys working with local independent filmmakers both as an actor and as an assistant casting director for Hudson Valley Casting. Sunny was the event planner for the Hudson Valley International Film Festival for two years and is now looking forward to working with the Catskill International Film Festival. She continues to advocate for women and serves as membership chairperson for UPWIFT (Upstate Women in Film and Television).    

Sunny is excited to work on the next Emmy awarded series or in any feature opposite Colin Firth.

Valeria Henry

Creative Director & Committee Coordinator

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Valeria Henry, a Catskills resident since 2000, is a talented actress, dancer, and choreographer. Valeria, who is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil has studied the art of acting both in live theater and film which has been' Valeria's passion since childhood. Valeria has performed both overseas and in N.Y. theaters. She's played roles in independent films and takes great pride as a writer also. Currently she is writing a pilot which is about a series that is near and dear to her heart that she plans to release in 2019. As a writer, Valeria enthusiastically and creatively adds twists and plots daily. Her creativity runs 24 hours a day, sometimes even jumping from bed to make notes from her constant inspirations. Her diverse and create styles are forever flowing and ready to perform.

As a true admirer of independent and international film productions, Valeria is honored to be a committee member of the first Catskill International Film Festival.

Benjamin Michael Brown

Event Planner & Marketing

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Benjamin Brown was born August 7, 1990 and is an American model, actor, writer, and singer. Ben's modeling career has seen him do various fashion shows such as Bronx Fashion Week, Brooklyn Fashion Week, and Atlantic City Fashion among others. Ben has won the 845 Model of the Year award and has also been nominated for two additional male model of the year awards.

Recent acting roles have seen Benjamin perform in Transcending Pictures' films "Crush" and "A Line Between All Things" which will have its world premiere this September at the Catskill International Film Festival.

Charles J. Martin III "Chazz"

Media Relations Coordinator

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Charles J. Martin III graduated from Herkimer County Community College and Buffalo State College where he studied radio and television before beginning his career in these fields. Now, Chazz is an entertainer and media specialist having worked over 15 years in radio, as a DJ with CJEM^3 Productions, and recently in film; both on production as well as acting. You can see Chazz's work in BCM Films' "Savior of None" as well as Transcending Pictures' hit feature films "Savior" and "Irony of Catharsis". He is also a producer in the upcoming "A Line Between All Things" which has its world premiere at the Catskill International Film Festival.

In addition to being a mentor and advisor throughout the industry, Chazz also has served as media relations for film festivals where he will again take up that role at the Catskill International Film Festival. Be sure to discuss the arts when you see him in September!

Nicole Cooke

Design & Social Media Coordinator

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Nicole recently graduated from Baruch College where she earned her degree in Management of Musical Enterprises which she finished soon after completing a highly competitive Disney College Internship Program. From a very young age Nicole has been an active member in both theater and vocal groups and continues to remain involved in any way she can, especially in her native Hudson Valley. Currently, Nicole is managing a music school on Long Island as well as developing a social media presence for a Manhattan based entertainment group.

Nicole is very excited and honored to be a part of the first ever Catskill International Film Festival!