Owen Shapiro

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Owen Shapiro's career embodies years of dedication and commitment to film and community at Syracuse University. He is a practicing filmmaker, directs the film program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, serves as associate editor for the award-winning Point of Contact magazine, and three years ago created the Syracuse International Film and Video Festival (SIFVF), of which he is artistic director. As SIFVF artistic director, Shapiro manages all artistic and programming aspects of the festival, working alongside his wife, Christine Fawcett Shapiro, who serves as executive director. The festival has become a premier event since its inception, inspiring creativity, cultural celebration and economic opportunity for the City of Syracuse and Central New York. Shapiro's work has allowed the festival to showcase films and videos that might not otherwise be seen in Syracuse, has put Syracuse on the map as an up-and-coming part of the film festival circuit, and has solidified partnerships with international film academies and archives, allowing the festival to truly call itself an international enterprise because of its global affiliates. Shapiro has been Director of the Film Program at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, since 1973. Shapiro has shepherded the film program to national recognition. He designed and developed the B.F.A. and M.F.A. curricula and cross-discipline courses in film and music, film and drama, and film and languages, literature and linguistics. He also designed space for the new film facilities in the Shaffer Art Building, including film editing, animation, sound and lighting studios, and a film studies research lab. He has taught film at the University since 1973 and chaired VPA's former Department of Art Media Studies from 1992-95 and in 1999. While Shapiro wears a multitude of hats, he is foremost a gifted and award-winning experimental documentary filmmaker. He has made over 30 films and a dozen videos on a wide range of subjects, all exploring the boundaries between documentary, narrative, and experimental genres. His films have been showcased and have garnered awards at film festivals around the world. According to Shapiro, the single most important event in his filmmaking career was in 1976, when Henry Langlois, a legend in the film world, presented "Homage: Owen Shapiro," a retrospective at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, an event that opened the door to many of his subsequent successes as a filmmaker. His films have been in festivals in Edinburgh, Athens, Hong Kong, Israel, England, Germany, France, and throughout the USA. He has won numerous awards, and in 1987 was honored with a Fulbright Fellowship to be a guest professor at Tel-Aviv University, Israel.