New York, NY – March 23, 2015 – The Metropolitan College of New York School for Business Media Management MBA program is proud to announce that Bienvenida “Beni” Matias, Ron Simons and Ralph Scott, will join the Panel Discussion for the MCNY 6th Annual Short Film Festival on April 9, in the school’s Conference Center at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY.
Bienvendia “Beni” Matias is a founding member of NALIP (National Association of Latino Independent Producers) serving as its first national coordinator and conference organizer, and recently completed a two year plus stint as NALIP’s acting executive director. She was director of production at the Independent Television Service, executive director of the Association of Hispanic Arts and AIVF, publisher of The Independent magazine, and executive-in-charge of production at WNYC-TV.
Ron Simons is the Founder and CEO of SimonSays Entertainment. Ron is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer and actor. He leads the SimonSays Entertainment strategic planning and development of theatre and film projects including the critically acclaimed films Night Catches Us, Gun Hill Road, Blue Caprice and Mother of George (all premiered at Sundance). His first documentary 25 to Life premiered at the American Black Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. He also produced the Broadway productions of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical), Porgy & Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk, New Drama Critics and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play), A Streetcar Named Desire (AEA’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award).
For more than 20 years, Ralph Scott has been instrumental in the promotion and exhibition of non-stereotypical African American images. As an independent film maker or promoter, Program Director of the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center, or as an executive at BET or Centric Television, he has made it his mission to promote and support filmmakers that have a non “Hollywood” approach to Black life on film.
With the theme of “Converging Futures”, the festival is a two-day celebration of both the business and creative aspects of the film industry that continues to grow and expand into divergent media fields as content and technology converge. The festival, which grew out a classroom project, has developed into a platform for burgeoning filmmakers, and provides real time project management experience for the school’s media management MBA students.
“Our Media Management MBA students are busy reviewing the almost 1000 films submitted to the competition from around the globe, and are working to identify the film finalists to be screened and judged on April 10th during the Festival,” says Prof. Kristie Velasco, Director of the Media Management MBA Program for MCNY. “We are especially excited that almost a dozen graduates from around the world, including alumni who helped found the film festival, are actively assisting our current students in the initial review of the films in competition. It is this extended Media Management MBA community, encouraged and cultivated by MCNY and the School for Business, that strengthens our program while it helps provide our students with a growing network of media managers who can support their entry into the media industries.”
“The panel of experts assembled for this year’s Panel Discussion is a remarkable grouping of professionals with insightful knowledge of the media industry,” says Dr. Tilokie Depoo, Associate Vice President and Dean, School for Business. “They bring their years of experience, professional linkages, expertise, and unique perspective to what promises to be a wonderful discussion of the business and future of the film industry in light of convergence.”
Beni Matias has produced and directed documentaries independently, for public television and nonprofits. Her documentary film El Corazón de Loisaida (The Heart of Loisaida), produced and directed with Marci Reaven, was recognized by the New York Public Library as part of their major film preservation initiative, “Twentieth Century Mirrors: America Through the Eyes of Independent Filmmakers.” She is currently producer/director of the documentary Coquito! (funded by the Latino Public Broadcasting) with producers Tami Gold and Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez. As a consultant, she works with filmmakers developing all aspects of documentary production.
As an actor, Ron Simons has appeared on stage, in film and television. He and fellow cast members won the London Stage Award for Acting Excellence for the play Boy Steals Train that he co-developed. His film and television credits include Blue Caprice, Night Catches Us, 27 Dresses, Mystery Team, Phoebe in Wonderland, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, As the World Turns and Nowhere Man. Ron is a recipient of the Heritage Award from Columbia College’s Black Alumni Council, IFP Cannes’ Producer’s Network Fellow and a Sundance Producers’ Summit Fellow. He holds a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from Columbia Business School and an MFA from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program.
Ralph Scott was one of the founding executives of Centric Television and was Executive Producer of Lens on Talent and Scene Stealers for BET. He is also currently Chairman of the Student Digital Arts and Cinema Committee and Co-Founder of Visual AIDS: A Cinematic Look at the HIV/AIDS Epidemic. A graduate of West Virginia State College, Ralph began his film career alongside Haile Gerima at Howard University on his world-renowned film Sankofa, and then on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. His varied industry experience includes work on Motown 40, the NAACP Image Awards and at the William Morris Agency.
The MCNY Annual Short Film Festival is free and open to the public. Additional information about the festival, including winning films from prior years, is available on our website at www.mcny.edu/filmfestival. Tickets for both nights are available free to the public on Evenbrite.com.
CONTACT: Prof. Kristie Velasco (917) 719-0293 or
ABOUT MCNY MBA in Media Management
Founded in 1964 by educational pioneer Audrey Cohen, Metropolitan College of New York has been dedicated to helping students achieve their academic dreams for over 50 years. The only one of its kind in the country, the one-year ACBSP accredited Master of Business Administration in Media Management at MCNY is a unique Purpose Centered Education program geared towards achievement-oriented, media professionals. The curriculum balances traditional MBA competencies with those particular to the media industry. To accommodate working professionals, classes meet on evenings and weekends. For more information about the school or the Media Management program visit us at www.mcny.edu or call 1-800-33-THINK.