July 26, 2016

For immediate release

Contact: Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, alexandra@stlawrencefilm.com, 315.212.7418


St. Lawrence International Film Festival to Host Gala Fundraiser & Screening

Filmmakers Behind Indie “Here Alone” to be Honored at Screening During Gala Fundraiser for St. Lawrence International Film Festival on Sept. 3


(Canton, NY, USA)—The St. Lawrence International Film Festival will return with a gala fundraiser and exclusive screening on Labor Day Weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4.

Hosted by film and television star Mark Valley (“CSI”), the gala fundraiser will kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, with an exclusive screening of a new feature film (“Here Alone”) and audience Q&A with the filmmakers, followed by a reception featuring live music, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. The gala will be held in the Performing Arts Center at The State University of New York at Potsdam.

“After a tremendous inaugural festival last year, which generated over $300,000 in economic activity in the North Country alone, we’re excited to continue our work toward bringing the best films and filmmakers in the world to the North Country,” said St. Lawrence International Film Festival Executive Director Adam Paul. “This year’s gala event allows us to ‘keep the lights on’ as we grow, bring on full-time staff and create a lasting contribution to the region’s cultural and economic development.”

SLIFF is hosting the benefit event to raise funds and thank supporters, as the group prepares for its second full festival, to be held in 2017. 

Originally from Ogdensburg, N.Y., gala host Mark Valley has amassed a diverse body of work collaborating with some of the most iconic writer/producers in Hollywood. He has been a television regular for a decade on series like “Boston Legal,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Harry’s Law,” “Human Target,” “Keen Eddie,” “Body of Proof” and “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” and is now shooting the film “Salty,” a Simon West comedy with Antonio Banderas. Mark is an Army veteran who served in the first Gulf War and is active with several veteran’s advocacy groups, including Volunteers of America, Veterans in Film and Television and the GI Film Festival Advisory Board. He lives in Los Angeles.

“I like watching movies, and I like the North Country, but I choose to support the St Lawrence International Film Festival because it has the potential to illuminate this specific part of the country, its history, geography, values, stories and people,” Valley said. “Bringing international film aficionados, students, artists and filmmakers to our region can only help local business, and spur on the creative potential that is already here. And, I like popcorn." 

For the gala screening and Q&A, the festival is proud to welcome the filmmakers behind “Here Alone,” a feature-length post-apocalyptic thriller filmed and set in upstate New York, which won the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award earlier this year. “Here Alone” stars Lucy Walters, Adam David Thompson, Gina Piersanti and Shane West. Entertainment Weekly called it “a taut, lean, unfussy film about a lone woman surviving in the wild woods of upstate New York … [who] happens to be on the run from virus-infected zombies.”

At the gala event, Director Rod Blackhurst, a native of Herkimer, N.Y., will be honored with SLIFF’s 2016 Empire State Filmmaker Award, along with Writer David Ebeltoft and Producer Noah Lang. To learn more about the award-winning film, visit herealonefilm.com.

“Festivals such as the St. Lawrence International Film Festival are creative champions for both the filmmaker and small-town audiences. They help expose unique narratives and emerging independent voices to a demographic that otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to view and interact with these films and their creators. SLIFF continually reminds us why we choose to create, and gives us an opportunity to tell our cinematic tale. Without platforms like SLIFF, varying expressions of film and the dialogue they can create, would remain hidden from an extremely deserving audience,” Ebeltoft said.

Following the gala, on Sunday, Sept. 4, the filmmakers will participate in a filmmaking workshop free to all students of the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley. This informational event will also be open to the public for a nominal fee.

Gala fundraiser tickets are $50 each. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, Aug. 1, online at stlawrencefilm.com.

Returning St. Lawrence International Film Festival customers who pre-purchased passes will receive free tickets, by calling (844) 753-4567 (extension 2) or by emailing info@stlawrencefilm.com. Members of the Directors Alliance will receive two tickets per membership, and may also register for the gala using the same contact information above.

St. Lawrence University and the Village of Canton are the featured sponsors for the 2016 St. Lawrence International Film Festival gala fundraiser, screening and educational workshop. Mountain Lake PBS is an official media sponsor.

About the St. Lawrence International Film Festival:

Founded in 2015 to celebrate the best films and filmmakers in the world, while attracting new visitors to the beauty of the St. Lawrence River Valley region in the U.S. and Canada, the St. Lawrence International Film Festival continues to contribute to the cultural and economic development of this very special place. This year’s exclusive gala will support the festival’s ambitious goal of creating a year-round institution that feeds the annual festival—one that educates and inspires filmmakers of all stripes, and enriches the community in which it resides. For more information, visit stlawrencefilm.com.



Alexandra Jacobs Wilke

Communications Director

St. Lawrence International Film Festival

(315) 212-7418


www.stlawrencefilm.com |