OUR 2019 JURY PANEL
Actor & Writer
Art LaFleur began his acting career in 1978, and in a profession known for its unforgiving nature. He has since been fortunate enough to call himself a working actor. Born to a steel mill worker in Gary, Indiana, Art learned one of the most important traits that would assist him in his acting career – a persistent and dedicated work ethic necessary for the profession. As one of four children and the middle of three brothers, Art developed an early passion for competition in sports, particularly football, which he excelled at, earning him All American honors in high school and a scholarship to the University of Kentucky. After leaving Kentucky, Art joined the Army Reserves as a parachute rigger and jumped out of perfectly good airplanes. He then began trying out different careers, first in Gary, then Chicago, in sales, bar and restaurant ownership and management. While managing a bar/restaurant, Art formed a friendship with one of his bartenders who convinced him to collaborate on a comedy script. Upon finishing their first draft Art decided to move to Los Angeles, from Chicago, to become a writer and began to study acting at the urging of a friend to improve his writing skills. After a short time, acting became his focus. He started his professional career, at age 34, in an equity play, at the Mark Taper Forum in L.A. and his first love of stage has never diminished.
With an extensive history of working in film, television and stage (over 140 film and television credits), Art has a face that you’ve seen a hundred times. Some of his most memorable feature highlights have been: “Santa Clause 2 and 3,” “The Replacements,”, “Mr. Baseball,” “Air America,” “Field of Dreams,”“The Sandlot,” “Man of the House,” and the comical andnostalgic“Zone Troopers”. Art’s television appearances include: “Cold Case,” “House,” “Malcolm In The Middle,” “Still Standing,” “ER,” “The Practice,” “Tales From the Crypt,”“JAG”and “The Mentalist”.
ROBIN FORMAN HOWARD
Director of Syracuse University’s Los Angeles Academic Semester Program
Robin Forman Howard, Director of Syracuse University’s Los Angeles Academic Semester Program, has worked in almost every field of feature film and television production over her 30-plus year career in the entertainment industry. Beginning her entertainment career in post-production, Ms. Howard worked her way up to producing and then to become Executive Vice-President for Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Productions and then for Mark Rosenberg & Paula Weinstein’s Spring Creek Productions. Culminating her entertainment career as President of Spring Creek Television, she developed and served as Executive Producer on IRON JAWED ANGELS for HBO. This $25 million film about the women’s suffrage movement in America, starring Hilary Swank and Angelica Huston, had its World Premiere at the renowned Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for 5 Emmys, 3 Golden Globes, and the prestigious Humanitas award. Additionally, because of its inspiring message, it is routinely screened in Women’s studies programs in colleges and universities throughout the nation.
Since retiring from the film industry, Ms. Howard continued to pursue her love of teaching. She began her academic career with a production course at UCLA. She has been teaching “The Business of Development, Production & Post-Production” for the Los Angeles Semester program of her beloved alma mater, Syracuse University since the program’s inception. Her classes are designed to expose students to the many facets of the industry as well as to provide meaningful interactions with accomplished professionals. Ms. Howard has maintained her deep connections to many working professionals and former colleagues in the industry, whom she calls upon regularly to speak in her classes thus maximizing her students’ immersion into the entertainment industry. In July of 2013 she became the Director of the SULA Semester Program.
Ms. Howard was raised in Brooklyn, New York and received a BA in Television/Radio from Brooklyn College and a Master’s degree from Syracuse University where she attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications on a Teaching Fellowship. She moved to Los Angeles in 1976 ready to begin a career in the movie business.
Ms. Howard began her career as a Post Production Supervisor for Marble Arch Productions where she worked on both features and television. After leaving Marble Arch she continued as Post Production Supervisor on many high-profile feature films including Sydney Pollack’s Academy Award winning epic, OUT OF AFRICA. In 1985, Mr. Pollack asked Ms. Howard to join the new company he was forming for Universal Pictures with his partner Mark Rosenberg, former head of production for Warner Bros. As Executive Vice President of Mirage Productions, Ms. Howard ran the day-to-day operations of the company as well as serving as Associate Producer on THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS, starring Jeff Bridges and Michelle Pfeiffer, and WHITE PALACE starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader.
When Mirage Productions was dissolved in 1989, Ms. Howard moved on to line produce the feature film CRISSCROSS starring Goldie Hawn. In 1990, Ms. Howard was reunited with Mark Rosenberg when he and his wife Paula Weinstein formed Spring Creek Productions for Warner Bros. They asked Ms. Howard to join their executive team to run their company as well as produce movies. As Vice President for Spring Creek, Ms. Howard managed all the company’s financial, contractual, personnel, organizational and business affairs. At the same time she Co-Produced the feature film FEARLESS starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Peter Weir. In addition, she produced several television movies including BECAUSE MOMMY WORKS starring Anne Archer, and CLONED starring Elizabeth Perkins for NBC as well as HBO’s THE CHEROKEE KID starring Sinbad, Burt Reynolds, and James Coburn.
In 1997, Ms. Howard created Spring Creek Television for Ms. Weinstein and in 1999 was promoted to the position of President. In addition to IRON JAWED ANGELS, which was given special recognition by the United States Women’s Congressional Caucus and screened in the Library of Congress, the company produced GIVING UP THE GHOST, a romantic comedy starring Marg Helgenberger and Alan Rosenberg as well as IF YOU BELIEVE, a Christmas fable, both for Lifetime.
Ms. Howard is a member of the Producers Guild of America and The Television Academy.
Actress, Director, Producer, Teacher
Mary Carrig is a classically trained actress, director, producer and teacher. She earned a B.A. in Speech Communication as a theatre major at Bowling Green State University and has trained extensively with Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA. Television credits include Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders, recurring role of Natalie on the Young & the Restless, Passions, the Bold & the Beautiful, Criminal Minds, Make it or Break it for ABC FAMILY and Just Add Magicfor Amazon. Mary can be seen as Principal Hilda in the dance feature, Stepping Highand Ruth in The Escort.
Stage credits range from Arthur Miller to Neil Simon, Commedia dell'arteand world premieres of new works. Recent roles include Minnie in Leaving Homeat the Ruskin Group Theatre, Sue Bayliss in All My Sons, Louise in After the Fallat the Lillian Theatre, Lindy McDaniel in Stuck in Neuralat the Secret Rose, Rose Seiler in the World Premiere, TALHOTBLOND at the Ruskin Theatre Group, Emily in the award-winning Reborningfor the 2014 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Mary played Dr. Hecate Porter in Macbethat the Archway Theatre and Gertrude in the Archway’s Hamlet.
Ms. Carrig served on the production staff of the World Premiere Blues BioDrama, Original, The Musical, written by Rachel Nee Hall, based on the life of Blues Artist Janiva Magness. She was Artistic Director for Conejo Valley Shakepeare Society in Thousand Oaks and served on the Board of the Stagecoach Inn Museum and Thousand Oaks Arts Festival.
Mary enjoys serving as Alumni Chapter Leader of the Los Angeles Chapter of her alma mater, Bowling Green State University.
Rachel Nee-Hall is an Emmy nominated Director and Producer. As a member of the Directors Guild of America for nearly 20 years, she has directed and produced countless television shows including Dr. Phil, EntertainmentTonight, The New Ricki Lake Show, The Doctors and Iyanla; Fix My Lifefor The Oprah Winfrey Network. She has also served as 1stAD and Unit Production Manager in DGA signatory short films. In addition to directing, Rachel is a skilled cinematographer and editor.
In 2016, Rachel produced, shot and edited a full-length documentary on child trafficking in Nigeria, The Boy They Called Bizarre. Before that, she produced and shot a documentary in Senegal on FGM.
She serves as Executive Producer of Silky Pants Productions, Inc.®a full service media production company and has had the honor of working with hundreds of celebrities, including Oscar winners; Charlton Heston, Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson and Paul McCartney as well as revered directors; Tyler Perry, and the late John Singleton.
(Technicolor Entertainment Services)
Vice President of Technical Operations and Quality Assurance
Bob was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and has been actively involved in the motion picture community for more than 32 years. Bob grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by people involved in all aspects of the film community. This early exposure to writers, technicians, and set designers fueled a passion to last a lifetime. Over the course of his 15 years at Technicolor, Bob had global responsibility for the industry leading quality standards of hundreds of titles of major studio theatrical releases. In addition to his professional commitment, Bob has been an industry leader in all aspects of the motion picture experience, from image origination, theatrical presentation, technical innovations, to archival storage and retrieval.
He served as the Vice President of Technical Operations and Quality Assurance at Technicolor Worldwide Entertainment services. There, he established and upheld global image and sound quality standards for theatrical releases. In addition to that he delivered uncompromising customer satisfaction to studio clients.
Bob was elected to the Board of Directors of the Association of Cinema and Video Laboratories (ACVL) in 2001. He then served as president from 2009 to 2011. He is also involved in the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). In the Inter-Society for the Enhancement of Cinema Presentation he was on the Board of Directors and was an original charter member representing ACVL and Technicolor since 2001. He was appointed to the "Laboratory Advisory Group" for the 80th Annual Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical Achievements by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.