The Rural Route Film Festival was created to highlight works that deal with unique people and places outside of the bustle of the city. Taking in a Rural Route program is like choosing the road less travelled, and learning something new about our constantly amazing world. Whether it be a fictional backpacking drama set in the Peruvian Andes, a personal/experimental work about life in a Kazakh village, or a documentary about an organic, Appalachian turnip farm, our mission is to screen work about rare people and cultures normally overlooked by the mainstream media. Our content consists of top quality, cutting edge contemporary and archival work from sources both local and far, far away.
Since 2002, the Rural Route Film Festival has been centered in New York City, where both founders (originally from Iowa) met working in the film industry. Whether screening in New York, or on one of our many tour dates, our content is more relevant than ever, tackling some of the most important topics of the day within the slow food movement, global warming/environmental arena, and life sustainability symposium.
Who we are
Alan Webber (Festival Director) hails from Elkader, Iowa, where he started making VHS movies at an early age. Upon moving to New York, he obtained his M.A. in Media Studies from the New School while apprenticing under director Hal Hartley. Alan’s short films include: Day is Done, Hawkeye Fever and Adventures of the Brooklyn Hipster Superhero along w/narrative music videos for rock bands Japanther, Federation-X, The Silver Jews, and Akron/Family. Through 2008-2009, he traveled to all 7 continents screening the RRFF while vlogging. He currently spends his time screenwriting for potential feature projects.
Rodney Linderbaum (aka “Dog”) is Rural Route’s Communications Director. Rodney lives in Iowa City, IA, where he helped design the world’s largest wooden nickel, and serves as an active camper and outdoorsman.
Angela Vargos’ journey has taken her from the suburbs of Chicago to Ohio University’s School of Film before finally settling in Astoria, Queens. She works as a film and script editor for Halyon Films and Ella Communications; her works include the music videos of Sarah McGuinness, and the Emmy-nominated feature documentary Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story.
Denis Blot obtained a BA (Denison University) and MA (NYU) in Cinema Studies, and his passion for film has had him don many hats as film educator, DVD film reviewer, documentary stock footage researcher, and DVD marketer. When not watching movies, he is an active traveler, hiker, and beginner guitar player.
Kimberly Sawicki currently serves as Sr. Account Manager for Co-Communications, Inc., an integrated marketing firm based in Westchester County. Prior to her current position, Kimberly interned and later became Press Assistant at the Woodstock Film Festival. Originally from Long Island, Kimberly lived in upstate N.Y. for the past 10 years before relocating to Queens in 2012. She holds a B.S. in Mass Communication with a concentration in film studies from SUNY Oneonta.
Eugene Lehnert (Post-Production Director) was born on Long Island but grew up in the small upstate New York town of Sharon Springs (pop. 500). The town now hosts the reality tv show The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green. Eugene now lives in New York City as a filmmaker and editor. He’s made such films asBlood Ties, Armageddon for Andy and most recently the web series The Outer Boroughs.
Emily Cameron is a traveler and aspiring cinematographer. From some combination of Washington, Texas, Iowa, Thailand, and finally Brooklyn, she has had her fair share of rural. When not exploring, Emily makes films and photographs.
Joey Azoulai is a graduate of Pratt Institute and writer/video producer whose credits include the web series, “Adam on the Road” and “Interns.” In addition to his work in entertainment, Joey cares for a 4×4′ plot in the Flatbush Community Garden, volunteers at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm and roasts organic coffee beans. As a Brooklyn native, Joey loves the big city but misses the stars and often fantasizes of a rural life.
Chad Hunter is Rural Route’s Appalachian Archival Consultant. He is a freelance archivist and founding board member of the Center for Home Movies and co-founder of Home Movie Day, the largest on-going public film preservation event in history. He previously served as archivist for WITNESS, Appalshop in Eastern Kentucky, and George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. He has been a guest lecturer at the Cinemateca Brasileira in São Paulo, Brazil and a visiting archivist at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hunter currently lives with his wife and daughter in Pittsburgh, PA where he plays banjo in the old-time Appalachian group, the Panther Hollow String Band.
Severine von Tscharner Fleming raises rabbits, herbs and rare fruit in the Hudson Valley. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Conservation & AgroEcology, where she also founded SAFE (The Society for Agriculture & Food Ecology). She is currently producing a documentary about America’s young farming community, called The Greenhorns. She also works as a consultant for Slow Food, and advises Rural Route on agricultural issues and co-organization of an extensive new wave agri-film festival to educate the nation.