Kathrina Miccio | The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival

“I never decided to be an artist, I was born this way. It is who I am.” –

Kathrina Miccio

Born in New York with family roots in Sorrento and Sicily, Kathrina Miccio is an artist, actress, writer, producer, and director. She is also a Breast Cancer survivor, which inspired her to write the short comedy entitled “St. Joseph” to make up for the sorrow her family and friends felt for her while going through treatment. She subsequently produced, directed and starred in this enchanting short film comedy, which already received 16 awards in the film festival circuit, such as Best Short Film, Best Woman Filmmaker and Best Director. 

 Miccio’s background in the arts is a life-long study and love for the visual expression of feelings and ideas. 

Her work is present in numerous private and corporate collections including those of actors like the late James Gandolfini, recording artist Andrea Bocelli and The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, just to mention a few. Miccio’s portraits include rock musicians and jazz legends, including Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and more. View the entire collection here: MiccioArt.com/Portraits

A large number of her famous people portraits can be seen as a permanent installation on the “Kat Walk” of The Cutting Room.

The Cutting Room, a well-known music venue in New York City owned by Steve Walter and actor Chris Noth (known for Sex and the City and The Good Wife), launched its first ever film festival in October 2018 in coordination with Kathrina Miccio as Festival Director and Laura Fay Lewis, a Juilliard graduated actress, writer, producer, director and painting artist as Program Director.

The Cutting Room International Short Film Festival (C.R.I.S. F.F.), focused on emerging, yet overlooked filmmakers to show quality films of true indie filmmakers honoring their hard work and dedication.

From October 20 to October 21, 2018, the C.R.I.S.F.F. screened worthy indie films and held live performances with opening and closing gala events. The festival gives filmmakers the opportunity for potential distribution and funding, as well as awarding the top films across numerous categories.

An original painting of the famous Felix, the Cat by Don Oriolo was one of the items up for auction at the festival with proceeds slated to go to a charitable cause.

Felix, the Cat by Don Oriolo  | Cutting Room 2018 International Short Film Festival | Photography by Jeff Smith

C.R.I.S.F.F. Award recipients, to mention a few, included:

Laura Fay Lewis – Best Documentary Film “The Empty Handed Painter.” An interview with Tony Masaccio, the late highly talented, wild and crazy artist raconteur who was able to convince the art world that his paintings are a DeKooning.

D.J. Higgins – Best Director for the short comedy “Santino,” a short film produced in New York entirely in Italian with a grant from the Russo Brothers in conjunction with the National Italian American Foundation.

Higgins – Best TV/Web Series for “Super Woman.”  Super Woman is the second part of a series that began with “Smack,” which is tackling drug addiction as well as human/sex trafficking.

Watch the gripping series on the SmackTV channel here:  www.smacktv.net

Viplav Shinde – Best Director for the international short comedy “A Lift Story,” an enchanting and amusing story about a naive young man and the female voice in an elevator.

Opera singer Cristina Fontanelli received the Best Actress and Artie Pasquale received the Best Actor in a short comedy Award for “Santino.”

Tim Busfield, who along with his real-life wife Melissa Gilbert presented their film “Tenure,” received the “Contribution to Cinematic Imagery Award.”

The “Lifetime Achievement Award” went to New York filmmaker John A. Gallagher who has been a fixture on the New York film scene for 30 years.

Laura Fay Lewis – Best Documentary Film The Empty Handed Painter | Photography by Jeff Smith

 Find out what it takes to run a successful film festival and more in the following interview with the festival’s director Kathrina Miccio.

  • Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Kathrina Miccio?

I’m an actor, writer, and director. I was named the 2018 First Woman of “Action on Film Festival.” I’ve recently taken on the role of Film Festival Director at C.R.I.S.F.F. NYC. I am also a renowned portrait artist with over 25 paintings in The Cutting Room NYC since 2001. I am a proud member of SAG since 2000, and also a member of the Brazen Giant Ensemble Theater group, NY. My career spans over 20 years and I was recently cast in “You Call Me Ugly,” “Dead To Right,” “Mojave Red and Blue,” “AM,” “When The Music Dies,” and “BIRR.” Previously, I had a recurring part on “The Sopranos,” and starred in the Off-Broadway play “Imagine” and The Theater for New City, NY. I graduated from Wagner College with a BA in Fine Arts, Theater, and a teaching degree, but this is where my desire to act began. I am also a Breast Cancer survivor. In all my ventures, my intention is to pay it forward and to inspire women to become more independent, stronger and create through all obstacles that life may bring. 

  • Apparently, you were an artist/painter first, but who influenced you when you entered the world of entertainment?

As a Fine Artist, it took a while to get my work and name out there, so throughout school and after, I worked as a Makeup Artist for Film and television. When I transferred to Wagner College Theatrical School, I took tons of acting classes. As many as I could and my grades were very good. I was encouraged to continue acting, so I continued to study. Then while doing makeup for a film, the director asked if I wanted to be in the scene. It was a SAG film and I was in a scene with actor Richard Lynch. So that really gave me the bug for acting.

  • How has your professional experience as an entertainment professional and artist contributed to your personal growth?

I could never do anything that wasn’t related to some type of creativity. I apply an artist’s mind to everything I do because I believe in “creating beauty” and in acting, “creating a character”. It brings me joy to look at the expressions of the face of people looking at my work.

  • Please tell us a bit about your role as festival director of the first-ever film festival at The Cutting Room. Whose idea was it and what was the experience like for you? 

The way I became a festival director is that I wrote, starred in, and directed a short film “St. Joseph” in 2017. It has since won 16 Film Festival Awards and received numerous nominations. Due to entering the film in festivals, I attended many of them and observed the way they were run. In March 2018, I decided to have a private screening of my short “St. Joseph” at The Cutting Room. I have a wonderful relationship with the owner Steve Walter. The audio is amazing because Gerard Hoffman is a genius and there’s a 16 ft screen with great projection quality. It all fit, so I started it. Honestly, not many people thought it would be successful. However, with my film family friends and the huge amount of independent filmmakers from all over the world, I truly believed it would work. And it did. It brought in 530 people over the 2 days run. For Awards night, it was magical to be able to hand out awards to these incredibly talented filmmakers from Mumbai, England, Toronto, California, and also locally.

  • What is next on your professional agenda? 

Since the C.R.I.S. F.F. was such a huge success, I have been offered to run another festival but it’s not written in stone yet. It certainly is a lot of work but also so gratifying. I also have my acting and writing to concentrate on and getting my TV series out there.

Artie Pasquale, Winner Best Actor in the comedy “Santino”| Photography by Jeff Smith


  • How has having gone through breast cancer changed you?

 Having gone through breast cancer, something happened to me that opened my mind to believe that anything is possible. There will always be the disbelievers, but that’s their problem. If you accomplish your goal even slightly, the gratification of the accomplishment and the joy it brings other people makes it all worthwhile.

  • What is one of your greatest motivators in life?

 My greatest motivation was going through 1 1/2 years of cancer treatments. During that horrific time, I promised myself when I felt good the sorrow that surrounded me from my cancer would be turned to laughter through my comedy “St. Joseph.”

  • What is your ultimate life goal?

 My ultimate goal is to create art that makes others happy and feel something, whether it’s in a piece of art that I paint, in a character I portray, or in a film festival where I can bring films and filmmakers from around the world together to socialize with others and show their diverse talents.

 Close Up 

  • The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is “The Essence of a Joyful Living.” How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?

The essence of being an artist is to feel joy with yourself because otherwise, it would show in the finished product. Whether it is a painting, an acting part, or organizing a film festival. Through the medium of oil and acrylic, I explore the essence of a subject. It involves the delicate flow of light to create movement, the linear sharpness of form to interpret emotions and the liberation of color to suggest emotion. Through my paintings, my portraits capture the strengths of character in people and the serenity of the countryside in my landscapes. Painting is an integral part of my life. With every stroke, I feel free to say what I’m thinking and feeling. As an artist, I am always looking forward to discovering those magical images on canvas.

  • When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?

 Well, I believe I can be and do what I want because I can control that. Having things takes money, sometimes lots of it. So, I tend to be frugal, so I have what I want in moderation. And I’m Ok with that.

Photography by Jeff Smith