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21: A Conversation With – Emelyn Stuart – Creator of Ocktober Film Festival

In this episode of "A Conversation With," I sat down with Emelyn Stuart, owner, and creator of the "Ocktober Film Festival". Emelyn shared how she opened Stuart Cinema & Café, an independent movie theater in New York, quickly making it a beloved community cinema. She didn't just open a cinema: she really put her heart and soul into it and turned it into a place that's unique and important in its community.


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Emelyn Stuart embodies all things are possible when you marry purpose, passion, serious work ethic, and commitment. Production wasn’t an obvious path for this businesswoman that doesn’t deem herself an innate “creative,” but it has proven to be a fit for an extraordinary woman that has allowed making a difference to propel her to uncharted territory. With a degree in business and less than a decade in the industry, Emelyn Stuart has exemplified leadership and provided inspiration to filmmakers globally.

Stuart’s first project, “Wings and Beer” (2009), started as a script and a dream from a friend and then morphed into an award-winning short film—a testament to the difference realized with a producer that brings partnership, rigor, and powerful execution. The CEO and President of Stuart Films LLC, Emelyn Stuart, is a proven force in the independent filmmaking community.

A vast range of projects that includes a successful off-Broadway play makes a difference for her collaborators but also garners her recognition internationally. Her wildly successful web series, “12 Steps to Recovery,” earned Emelyn the Best Producer award at the 2011 LAWebfest. Stuart is partly responsible for multiple award-winning feature films, including The Turnaround and Title VII. Her feature film Life Is Too Short premiered to sold-out audiences in New York for its 2015 screening debut, and in 2017 it was awarded Best FeatureFilm domestically and internationally.

The ability to produce projects but still look at them objectively is a keen talent Stuart possesses and is a catalyst for her creating the coveted New York based Ocktober Film Festival founded in 2012. The Ocktober Film Festival is a “teaching festival.” Film screenings, workshops, resource fairs, pitch contests, award presentations, and special celebrity guests are a small part of the stimulating things that happen at OFF. The festival is a unique experience for filmmakers, industry guests, and moviegoers.

In 2018, Stuart opened an independent movie theater in New York. Stuart Cinema & Café quickly became a beloved community movie theater. The theater offers a distribution alternative for independent filmmakers and is a resource hub for artists. In the meantime, Stuart can still be found speaking at conferences and film festivals around the country. In addition to speaking engagements and producing, Stuart continues to receive accolades and awards for her work in the entertainment business. Acknowledged by visionaries in the industry for her accomplishments, she has proven to not only be a name that rings bells but a revolutionary presence that makes a difference.

Submit Your Short Film: The Film Collective


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