Upstate FIlms names new co-executive directors
The Daily Freeman is reporting the Upstate Films board of directors has selected Paul Sturtz and Jason Silverman co-executive directors of the Rhinebeck-based nonprofit. Sturtz and Silverman succeed Steve and DeDe Leiber, who retired in December, 48 years after they founded Upstate. The Leibers will continue as directors emeriti and as consultants through Upstate’s 50th anniversary in the spring of 2022. “We are thrilled to bring Paul and Jason onboard,” Susan Goldman, chairperson of the Upstate Films board and a co-founder of the organization, said in a prepared statement. “Their experience in the field of independent cinema is extraordinary. More importantly, their work in building community through the arts resonates deeply with Upstate Films’ history and mission." Sturtz was a co-founder of the Ragtag Film Society in Columbia, Mo., an arthouse theater that became the basis for the True/False Film Fest, a nonfiction festival. He has also worked as a journalist, served as a city councilor in Columbia and was recognized for his work with an honorary doctorate from the University of Missouri. Silverman served as the artistic director of the Taos Talking Picture Festival, named one of the world’s top 10 festivals, and as the cinematheque director at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe. Silverman also is a former journalist. His 2015 documentary film "SEMBENE!" was named one of the top 10 films of 2015 by New York magazine. Upstate Films began with a single screen in Rhinebeck. That location later added a second screen, and the Liebers took over the former Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock in 2010. Since the COVID-related shutdown began in March 2020, Upstate has been streaming films for online viewing. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.