The Nacogdoches Film Festival is about more than simply watching films. It is, first and foremost, about gaining a better understanding of the intricacies of filmmaking while, at the same time, being entertained. It is an experience in intellectual engagement.

A significant part of the Film Festival experience is being able to talk with some of the people who helped make the film you just watched, as well as to ask them questions about the what, or the why, or the how of the filmmaking process.

An important part of our mission is to help develop and nurture the future of film making in all media platforms. Providing learning opportunities for young and budding filmmakers is at the core of who we are and what we do.

The following is a list of our film industry guests for the upcoming 2017 Nacogdoches Film Festival:

  • Amber Benson

    photo of Amber Benson

    As an actress, Amber is best known for her role as Tara Maclay on the long-running TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since that time, she has become a notable novelist/director/screenwriter. Amber co-created, co-wrote, and directed the animated supernatural Web series, Ghosts of Albion, for the BBC with Christopher Golden.

    Benson wrote, produced, and directed the feature film Chance and co-directed the Slamdance Film Festival favorite, Drones. She's also the author of the best-selling Calliope Reaper-Jones novels (five in all), and recently completed a book tour for her newest novel, The Witches of Echo Park (Ace Trade Publication).

  • Carl Crum

    photo of Carl Crum

    Carl, who with his wife Elizabeth co-founded the production company, Brazos Film and Video, and producer of One Square Mile, a documentary television series that portrays American culture from the perspective of distinct square miles across the US. Originating in Texas, One Square Mile airs on over 150 Public Television stations in 39 states.

    Carl grew up in Austin, Texas and witnessed the rise of the independent film scene first-hand. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, his thesis film, East of West, aired on PBS, and documented the rural culture of East Texas, including cock-fighters and a self-taught taxidermist.

    In addition to his documentary work, Carl also leads DOC shops documentary filmmaking workshops across the country. He is currently producing the ITVS/PBS series, Women and Girls Lead, which highlights stories of empowered and empowering women across the US. Carl’s documentary work has been nominated for nine Emmy awards and has won three.

    I remember identifying myself as a Texan when I was eight years old. My father decided I was old enough to climb Guadalupe Peak, and as we drove across Texas I recall realizing how large the state was. In the years that followed, I would see Texas through overnight trips and vacations. I remember meeting Watt Matthews during a trip through Lambshead near Albany and watching in wonder as the gristmill turned at the Landmark Inn in Castroville. I remember watching the Texas Relays in Austin and sleeping on a canvas tarp under the stars in the Big Bend.

    My perspective of Texas has been honed over numerous trips and excursions as a child and adult, spectator and documentarian. The stories that I am capturing with OSMTX are not a tourist’s perspective, but first person accounts of what it means to be Texan. OSMTX allows individuals to be the ambassador of our collective Texas culture.

  • Benjamin Hedin

    photo of Benjamin Hedin

    Benjamin Hedin's fiction, essays, and interviews have been published by The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, The Nation, The Oxford American, The Chicago Tribune, Poets and Writers, Salmagundi, and The Georgia Review. He is the editor of Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader, widely regarded as one of the finest collections of music writing, and the producer and author of a forthcoming documentary, Two Trains Runnin'. His nonfiction chronicle, In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now, was published in March of 2015 by City Lights Books.

    Hedin was born in Paris, France, and raised in North Carolina and Minnesota. He studied music at the College of William and Mary and in the fall of 2002 entered the Graduate Writing Program at The New School in New York City. After earning his M.F.A. in fiction from The New School he started teaching, first at Long Island University and The New School, and later in the Expository Writing Program at New York University. He is the son of Robert Hedin, the award-winning poet and translator.

  • Justin Herring

    Writer/Director/Director of Photography Justin Herring studied filmmaking at Stephen F. Austin State University and received his M.F.A. in Filmmaking in May of 2016. As a writer/director, he has produced several short films and a feature film, Camino, that is set for its world premiere on November 12th, 2016 at the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth, TX. As a director of photography, he has shot multiple feature films including the award-winning feature film The History of Time Travel, which has screened at the Austin Film Festival, Miami Super Con Film Festival (where it won Best Sci-Fi Feature Film) and many other festivals around the world. He was also director of photography on the Top 20 Louisiana Film Prize short film Necrophilia: A Love Story.

  • Jeff “Moose” Howery

    photo of Jeff “Moose” Howery

    Jeff “Moose” Howery has worked as Dolly Grip, Key Grip and Best Boy for over 55 film and television productions and was the dolly grip for Apollo 13. In fact, Moose was aboard the famous “Vomit Comet” airplane that was used to film the “weightless" scenes for Apollo 13, dipping and climbing through the air to simulate the feeling of weightlessness in 20-25 second intervals.

    Howery is a Houston native. His first job in production was as a sports cameraman for John Crow TV Productions, a company that did the video at all Houston sports venues beginning in the early 80s. From there it was an easy segue into film production, which was starting to take hold in Houston during the oil boom years. His first big production job was as dolly grip for Adam, a television movie filmed in Houston about the murder of John Walsh’s son.

    From there his career took off and Moose was regularly on the road all over the world as a Key Grip, Dolly Grip, Best Boy and electrician on such films as: The Jewel of the Nile, Blind Fury, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robocop 2, Rush, and Far and Away. In the mid-80s, he and Big John Hernandez owned a Houston-based grip equipment company, Coast 3 Services, that had two mobile grip trucks and loads of film rental equipment. Jeff and John were so popular in the industry as grips for major features that they brought in Lisa Steed (Nacogdoches Film Festival’s programming and facilities director) to book rental equipment. Howery met his wife on a film set at North Carolina’s Dino de Laurentiis Studios in Wilmington and he has made his home there ever since.

    To quote "Moose Howery—The ultimate professional. This guy has a list of credits that makes us all hang our heads. He's a rock star.”

    Some other notable credits include: Forrest Gump, Contact, Bruce Almighty, Apocalypto, The Book of Eli, Secretariat, Green Lantern, The Avengers, 42, Ride Along, Transformers: Age of Extinction.

  • Levie Isaacks

    photo of Levie Isaacks

    Cinematographer Levie Isaacks, A.S.C. has worked on location and in Hollywood for the last 30 years as a cinematographer and Director of Photography. He was the photographer for the Academy Award-nominated documentary, For All Mankind.

    Born in Houston, Texas, of deaf parents, Levie used sign language to say his first words. He served in the U.S. Army as a platoon leader in Vietnam and was decorated with a Bronze Star for heroism and an Army commendation for valor, leaving the Army as a captain to return to college. His cinema life began while working part-time at a local television station in Austin, Texas, while attending the University of Texas. There he was handed a newsreel camera and that is when the love affair with film and telling stories began.

    After graduation, he continued to work in broadcast journalism and later in commercials and documentary films in his home state of Texas. There, he was also able to garner experience as a camera operator on films shooting on location in Texas. When the time came to move to Los Angeles to try his hand at being a Director of Photography of movies and television, he got his first feature film at Roger Corman’s Concord studios in Venice, California.

    From that time until now, he has practiced his craft on independent films and television. Levie was nominated for a “Cable ACE” award for an episode of Tales From the Crypt and his TV credits include Dawson’s Creek and Malcolm In The Middle, which won a Peabody award. He was also nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers for outstanding excellence in cinematography for Man Up, an ABC series.

    His feature credits include movies for MGM, Universal and Paramount studios.

  • Joe R. Lansdale

    photo of Joe R. Lansdale

    Champion Mojo Storyteller and longtime Nacogdoches resident Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over 40 novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies.

    Joe’s Hap and Leonard novels are the inspiration for Sundance Television’s new series, Hap and Leonard, which debuted last season and has been approved by the network for a second season.

    He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime A chievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others.

    His novella, Bubba Ho-Tep, was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story, “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road”, was adapted to film for Showtime's Masters of Horror, and he adapted his short story, "Christmas with the Dead," to film as the SFA Film Program’s summer feature film project in 2012. The film adaptation of his novel, Cold in July, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

    He is currently co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero. He is Writer-In-Residence at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame, and lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.

  • Brad Maule

    photo of Brad Maule

    Two-time Emmy Award nominee Brad Maule grew up on a farm in rural west Texas. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin College cum laude with a B.F.A. in theater and English.

    Upon graduation, he headed out for Los Angeles to pursue his show business dreams. Brad got his first taste of fame touring the country with, The Serendipity Singers. He went on to backup such artists as Bobby Gentry, Jim Nabors, and Don Ho. A singer/songwriter, Brad also released three solo country albums, Living It Up, Chameleon, and Miles and Miles of Texas.

    Brad is best known for his long-running role as Dr. Tony Jones on the television serial, General Hospital, a role he played from 1984 to 2006, and his three years as Ashlee Simpson's father, George, on the WB network's 7th Heaven. His other television credits include guest starring roles in The White Shadow, Three's Company, Too Close for Comfort, Charlie's Angels, and the ABC miniseries, Malibu.

    Brad has also been a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, John Davidson, Sally Jesse Raphael, Phil Donohue, Montel Williams, Regis and Kathy Lee, Ralph Emory, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, ABC's The Home Show, The Match Game, The Family Feud, and many, many other talk and game shows.

    Maule's theatre credits include starring in Billy Barnes' musical revue, Movie Star, at the Westwood Playhouse (now the Geffen Theatre) in Los Angeles. He performed the role of Hamlet in the Los Angeles production of Somethin's Rockin' in Denmark. He also won the Drama-Logue Award for the Los Angeles premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Marry Me A Little.

    Brad is currently a lecturer for the film program at Stephen F. Austin State University. From 2009 to May 13, 2016, he hosted his own talk show, Maule in the Morning, on KSFA talk radio. Brad is the father of 2 grown children, Lily and Hunter.

  • Herbert Midgley

    photo of Herbert Midgley

    As a filmmaker for the last twenty years, Herbert Midgley has worked as a director, unit production manager, assistant director, camera, editor, sound design, sound mixer, boom, grip, production assistant, screenwriter, and composer. He has worked on nine feature films, and thirty-plus short films. Also, Herbert has made many narrative and art films and is an active photographer. He is in demand as a producer, composer and assistant director for independent films. Last year he wrote three feature film screenplays and various indie films and music videos.

    In 2014 Herbert Midgley premiered his sci-fi feature film The Rise Of The Robots in film festivals all over the United States. In 2016 The Rise Of The Robots received a distribution deal on Amazon Prime and on DVD.

  • Christopher North

    photo of Christopher North

    Austin-born Christopher North is a Brooklyn-based composer, bassist and multi-instrumental musician. He has composed for Film, Original Series, Theater, Dance/Installations and various ensembles (jazz, chamber music, orchestral, etc.) He's performed at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway and on Grammy Award Winning Recordings. He's also a singer/songwriter (eclectic rock, children's music including Disney, Noggin & Sesame Street.)

    Growing up in Dallas, he acted in movies, plays and commercials like his mother. A preacher's kid, he also sang in the choir at his father's church. He followed his muse further still to Manhattan in 1997. He now thrives in Brooklyn, having released 14 albums (with several more back logged soundtracks out soon). He has scored 13 feature films as well as countless shorts, most of which are screening / distributed around the world.

    His 6th feature, Bible Quiz, which won Best Documentary 2013 at Slamdance in Park City, Utah, screened at IFC and is on SUNDANCE Global. 2014 was a magnum opus year, with scores for four features, several shorts, several episodes for two Original Series, two dance pieces and music/sound/song for a play. Think Ink, Wally Chung's animated short with music/sound design/voice by Mr. North, won the Spirit of Slamdance award, making the composer 2 for 2 award winning in Park City.

    2015 has seen many weekends with multiple festival screenings all over the world including festival favorites Think Ink, Karl Manhair Postal Inspector, All in Time, Missing People and A New High. The latter two, both feature documentaries, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

    He is proud and honored to be part of the Sundance Family, as a Composer/ Fellow in the 2015 Sundance Institute & Skywalker Sound's Music and Sound Design Lab for Documentary Film at Skywalker Ranch.

  • Jeff Pope

    photo of Jeff Pope

    Jeff Pope is an actor and musician from Memphis, Tenn., who starred as Chub in the Sundance series, Hap & Leonard. He also appeared opposite Andrew Garfield and Laura Dern in the film, 99 Homes.

    Jeff also appeared in three of southern writer/director Craig Brewer's films: Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan and the MTV series, $5 Cover. He got his ass kicked by two different Dannys (Trejo and Glover) in the film, Bad Asses on the Bayou, which is the third in a franchise of films about geriatric vigilantes. He can be seen briefly as country crooner Red Foley in the Sony bio of Hank Williams, I Saw the Light.

    Jeff recently wrapped filming of the drama, Burden, starring Forest Whitaker and Tom Wilkinson. Musically, Jeff has scored three small films and has appeared on several Memphis based garage rock albums with Jack Oblivian and Jay Reatard. Jeff lives presently in New Orleans, Louisiana with his wife and two ungrateful cats. He currently has no outstanding warrants and is happy to be here.

  • Al Reinert

    photo of Al Reinert

    Upon graduation from Texas A&M University, Al Reinert began his career as a journalist with the Houston Chronicle in the mid-1970s before moving to freelance work. His articles appeared in several publications, notably Texas Monthly. By the late 70s, he was working as an apprentice to screenwriter-director Robert Benton and subsequently worked on productions of music videos.

    In 1990, he produced and directed the award-winning documentary, For All Mankind, about the NASA space program which earned him an Oscar nomination, as well as winning the Grand Jury Prize Documentary at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival. Five years later, he put that knowledge to work as co-scenarist of Ron Howard's Apollo 13 (1995), adapted from astronaut Jim Lovell's memoir about the failed 1970 space mission. He and co-scripter William Broyles, Jr. earned an Oscar nomination.

    His documentary film, An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story, was the winner of the Documentary Spotlight Audience Award at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival. Reinert was the writer, director and producer.

    Al’s just-completed documentary, Rara Avis: John James Audubon and the Birds of America, tells the story of one of the most remarkable men in early America, a self-taught painter and ornithologist who pursued a dream that made him famous in his lifetime and left a legacy in art and science that endures to this day.

  • Larry Waks

    photo of Larry Waks

    Larry Waks is an attorney who maintains a high-level Intellectual Property practice serving a broad range of domestic and international clients in the high tech, media and entertainment industries, on a scale that takes him across the country and around the world. On the transactional side, Larry has negotiated a variety of agreements with record labels, film studios and production companies, program providers, cable networks and advertisers, among others. Additionally, Larry represents publishing and distribution companies and computer game, ringtone, software and hardware companies.

    Larry has substantial experience representing record companies, publishing companies, film studios and producers, video game companies, advertising and public relations companies, artists, bands, songwriters, screenwriters, industry trade groups, merchandising companies, broadcasters, cable network content companies, and print media throughout the United States and in foreign countries in litigation and transactional matters. He has handled lawsuits involving anti-piracy, anti-bootlegging, and other intellectual property issues, including copyrights, trade secrets, and trademark disputes, in addition to libel and privacy matters.

    During his more than 35 years in practice, Larry has played an instrumental role in Austin's emergence as the "Live Music Capital of the World" and in Texas' status as a "Third Coast" destination for film and television production. As counsel for the University of Texas Film Institute and Burnt Orange Films, Larry established a first-of-its-kind public/private partnership to create and support a university-based commercial film production company.